Jessica is covering the January issue of Cineplex magazine, and you can find digital scans in our gallery. In the article, she talks about her most recent films “Mama” and “Zero Dark Thirty”, both to be released this month. Check it:
Technically, Mama is your first horror film. It’s based on a truly scary short film that caused quite a splash on the festival circuit and online. How much of that eerie ambience stayed intact when stretched to feature length?
“Well, the reason I signed on to do Mama is the name Guillermo del Toro. I’m a crazy fangirl when it comes to his work. So when I saw Andy’s short film I was totally blown away by what he did in such a small space of time, in three minutes. It’s like, one shot. Up the staircase, seeing mama. So that three minutes is the seed of what Mama has become, it maintains that strange feel of the short film which is incredibly exciting. We get to see more of what mama is, we get to understand where the two little girls come from and, of course, we are introduced to my character, Annabel, who isn’t in the short film at all.”
I’m guessing that del Toro and Muschietti allowed you some leeway to design Annabel?
“Yes, absolutely. The essence of what the character was in the script is still there. She played bass guitar in a punk band, but she wasn’t very good so she’d never be famous, so she was playing for fun. Her boyfriend just wants her to grow up but she wants to stay in the world. And along comes this level of responsibility in these two girls. Now, I kept pushing for her to not be very likeable. I wanted her to be selfish and initially see these kids as a hindrance, a major drag. And as the story progresses, she rallies and finds her strength when she has to wrestle with ‘mama.’ She’s the one you least expect would have that strength. This is not a cheap horror film. Though I should mention that I love cheap horror films, I love all horror films. But sometimes horror relies on nothing but loud noises and false scares and cats jumping out of cupboards, but this one refuses to do that…. Andy sculpted a feeling that no matter what is happening, something is just…not…right. It just builds and builds and builds.”