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Q&A: Actress Stefanie Scott on “INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3”

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The Brenner’s are the unsuspecting family to be receiving their fair share of terror in INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3, and Stefanie Scott is the unfortunate soul in this installment to be bearing the brunt of it. Scott not only tackles some heavy emotional subject matter in the Leigh Whannell-direct prequel, including grief and loss, but also masters the art of possession. We caught Scott on the brink of her Hollywood ascension and found out how a psychic predicted her rise in Tinseltown as well as the thespian benefits of listening to death metal…..

FANGORIA: Were you familiar with the INSIDIOUS movies prior to filming and did you feel any pressure regarding the huge success of the previous INSIDIOUS films?

STEFANIE SCOTT: I loved the first two films, and I didn’t really even think about it. I was so grateful to have got this role. It was a huge deal for me. Looking back I should have taken it more seriously, but I think that’s what was so great about it. I just reminded myself each day to be present and in the moment rather than just trying to be a certain way or act a certain way and impress people involved with the franchise. Just allowing myself to be grounded in it was the most important thing for me

FANGORIA: Well Blumhouse obviously loved what you did because you are involved in another production of theirs?

SCOTT: Yes, I have just completed another Blumhouse film (JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS) and I’m going to work with another one of the Blumhouse executive producers again, which I can’t really talk about, but I’m going to start shooting in August.

FANGORIA: Your character Quinn has an incredibly sad back-story that includes mourning the loss of her mother, not to mention dealing with some pretty scary supernatural things. How did you prepare for that?

SCOTT: I think everybody knows loss, and I think that’s what was so relatable about that storyline. I’ve had close family friends who have had the same thing happen. I think personal experiences are what really helped me to achieve those moments. I had a similar experience in that I had been very close with my grandmother who passed away, and I had reached out before in the hope that someone was listening. I would do that all the time.

Sometimes I would hear this one particular song and I felt like that was my grandmother communicating with me. I told Leigh about that in the audition process so he sent me to see a psychic before filming. I felt like it was like the scene in the movie where I go to see Elise, and just like Quinn, I was asking the psychic “What does this mean?  What does that mean?”

Not only did it help my performance, but also it was personally an amazing experience. Everything that the psychic predicted has come true. He predicted three contracts by the end of the year, and he explained what he sees me doing, which I didn’t think was possible; it was already June, but it was like one of those things where you forget about it and then I listened to it a few months ago and he was spot on.

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FANGORIA:: When your character becomes possessed, the transition that you make from a sweet young girl to a dark and tortured soul is quite remarkable. How did you go about turning in such an impressive performance?

SCOTT: I think it was all about being in a dark place. Prior to shooting that scene, Leigh actually made me listen to death metal while I was locked in a closet, which I think pissed me off a little bit. He put it on full blast in my headphones while I was immobile in a wheelchair and in a closet. Leigh had told me at the audition that he wanted to tackle it that way, which I initially thought was great.

That particular day on set, he wouldn’t let anybody talk to me. We didn’t want to break the mood and laugh or play and mess around, which was hard because we were all such good friends at this point. We tried to keep the mood very serious. By the end of the day Leigh apologized to me and said, “Sorry. I was a bit of a jerk to you today.”

FANGORIA: Quinn has some pretty intense moments during the film. What was that like playing such an emotionally charged character for an extended period of time?

SCOTT: I was on set 24/7. It was like a second home. I just felt myself living in this really dark world. I would arrive at the sound stage when the sun was going down and would leave when the sun was already up in the morning. Sometimes the really long hours helped me to feel pretty messed up, but then when you have to go back to playing the sweet young girl again and you’ve got huge bags under your eyes, it was a bit harder. Things were a bit creepier when we were on location in some places, like the abandoned hospital or on a street at 4 a.m. I think that was much creepier than the sound stage.

FANGORIA: You and Dermot Mulroney struck such a believable and lovely dynamic as father and daughter in the film. Was this something that came easily for you?

SCOTT: Well, he’s a dad, and I’m a daughter. It was just one of those things about knowing the relationship you have as a teen with your parents, and because it is such a crazy film where all hell breaks loose so fast, I think it was really important to shoot it just as if it were a drama instead of as if it’s a scary movie where you’re conscious of trying to build suspense, so I think it was all about having a normal relationship. I really loved shooting my scenes with Dermot, like the one where we were making breakfast. I felt like those were actually some of the most fun scenes to shoot.

FANGORIA: The production team went to great lengths to building Quinn’s world through her music and tastes, and you were given specific music to listen to. Are you going to continue listening to these slightly older bands?

SCOTT: I have been ever since. Leigh introduced me to so many people and that was what was so cool about it. I had a record player and he gave me so many records to listen to throughout filming and before scenes. I particularly loved Elliott Smith. I thought he and Joni Mitchell were really important for the scenes with my Mom, and then of course the Death Metal, which is a whole other story!

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 is in theaters now from Gramercy Pictures. You can check out our review here.

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About the author
Camilla Jackson

Camilla is an actress, writer, film-maker, musician, and horror junkie. She is new to FANGORIA and has a healthy knowledge of all things horror, particularly 70’s – 90’s films where she interviews writers, directors and actors for Australian cinephile group CINEMANIACS. In her spare time, Camilla writes screenplays, walks dogs, and scours the internet for bargains. She also had a small part in the remake of Australian telekinetic chiller, PATRICK. Currently she is training at The Groundlings and moonlights playing ethereal guitar in a cape.

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