Q&A: Actress Louisa Krause Talks the Horrific Hangover of “AVA’S POSSESSIONS”Fearful Features,Home,Movies/TV,News Michael Gingold
The morning after an alcohol- or drug-fueled bender can be hell—but what happens when a young woman has to recover from weeks spent under the sway of a demon? That’s what happens to the title character of AVA’S POSSESSIONS, played by Louisa Krause, who gave FANGORIA some exclusive insights into this horror/comedy.
Opening in select theaters and on VOD tomorrow, March 4 from Momentum Pictures, AVA’S POSSESSIONS, written and directed by Jordan Galland, finds Krause’s Ava Dobkins freshly exorcized of the goat/cat/reptile demon Naphula, which made her indulge in all sorts of naughty behavior she now has no memory of. Still, she must atone by making court-ordered visits to Spirit Possession Anonymous, an AA-style recovery group for those recently cleansed of foul beings. While trying to reclaim her old life, Ava discovers evidence that there was more to her experience than she’s been told—and that her ordeal may not be over. Krause, whose credits include MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE and THE ABANDONED, here shares the screen with familiar genre faces including SPRING and EVIL DEAD’s Lou Taylor Pucci, MONSTERS and ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE’s Whitney Able, TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT’s William Sadler and WHEN A STRANGER CALLS’ Carol Kane, all inhabiting a Manhattan where there’s a demon potentially around every corner.
FANGORIA: Ava’s a pretty unique horror/comedy character; how did you go about creating her on screen?
LOUISA KRAUSE: I was lucky, because Jordan created the character that I got to just flesh out. I wrote my own backstory for her; usually, for most projects, in order to ground my parts in reality, I have to come up with my own history for them, so I had a notebook where I did all that. As for as the possession stuff, it was all right in the script what Naphula is, so I watched angry-animal videos. I also looked at MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO and River Phoenix’s performance; I wanted to take away that kind of energy, and used that as a base for Ava. And it’s weird, because it’s true—people have said this movie is like THE HANGOVER, and my character is sort of hung over, and I’m like, “That is kind of accurate.”
FANG: Did you do any research into 12-step programs to prepare for the part?
KRAUSE: Not really; I thought of it more in terms of, this thing happened to her, and before that she was still sort of struggling with her identity. Then she goes to this group, and I loved the mystery element of being a sort of detective trying to piece together what went on, and while all that is happening, also figuring out her identity or place in the world. Now that I’m thinking about it, it’s almost like the possession was maybe a good thing, in that it sort of makes her examine herself and her friends. That’s a positive thing for Ava; she was sort of a drifter beforehand, and now she’s dealing with her family in a way she never has before, because of this incident.
FANG: Did you look at any other possession movies for inspiration?
KRAUSE: I had watched some in the past, and I’m a sucker for binge-watching scary movies on Halloween, but you know, I didn’t really do any true research for this. I was mainly interested in the specificity of the demon Jordan wrote, so I wanted to incorporate those mannerisms when I’m this feline goat, or whatever it was. It’s supposed to beat a drum as it approaches, so that was easy to react to—Jordan did a lot of banging on set! During the exorcism, most of the scene is actually shot from my point of view as the demon, but they did get some coverage of me when I was doing these crazy things, mimicking this goat that I watched on video.
Also, the makeup that Jordan and Joelle [Troisi] created really got me there. I mean, I was looking out of these two tiny little slits in the contact lenses, and this facelift thing Joelle did on me; I really felt not human, so that certainly helped. It was a trip and a half, and just to live in the world Jordan created was so much fun. You don’t really know until you show up on set, and you’re in your apartment and you’re like, “This is so different and the lighting is so great and I’m in this neat world; and this is like a dream.” But it’s also got to be grounded in reality in order for people to buy into it and want to watch it. I really felt like I was in a unique place.
FANG: How was it working with veterans like William Sadler and Carol Kane?
KRAUSE: Oh, what a trip and a half. Bill Sadler is hilarious and had stories that cracked me up; actually, Zachary Booth was very funny too, and Carol Kane. All of them are really very smart actors and very interested in specifics and clarity, and if they had a question, they were going to ask it, without any pussyfooting around. When I’m on set, I totally admire the actors who are like, “Let’s figure this out”; they want clarity, and aren’t afraid to ask for what they need, whether it’s story background or information on other stuff. Because we all want truth at the end, I feel.
FANG: Do you have a religious background, and if so, did that play into the way you approached the role?
KRAUSE: That’s a good question. I do have a religious background, and I feel like it probably—not specifically for Ava—but I feel like just having a faith, no matter what role I’m in, somehow must give me strength. I’m glad that I grew up having faith, and I still have it, and I think it gives me hope and the will to keep on going. I’m sure that goes into any part I play, and it certainly went into Ava.