Exclusive: Ti West Talks PEARL, the Already-Completed X Prequel

Hope you dug A24's new slasher film, because the prequel's already in the can.

By Heather Wixson · @thehorrorchick · March 14, 2022, 6:07 AM PDT
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Mia Goth in X.

Last night, veteran writer/director Ti West celebrated the world premiere of his latest movie X at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival. The project stars Mia Goth, Brittany Snow, Jenna Ortega, Scott Mescudi, Martin Henderson, and Owen Campbell as a group of aspiring filmmakers who set out to make their own adult film in 1979 while renting a house on a remote farm in Texas, unaware of the dangers awaiting them once they arrive.

With X, this collaboration between West and A24 marks Ti’s return to horror after spending the last several years working in the realm of episodic storytelling in a variety of genres. So while the release of X later this week alone is something well worth celebrating, as it turns out, there’s a whole lot more to be excited about when it comes to what West has been up to lately. A few weeks ago, while interviewing Ti for our upcoming issue of FANGORIA, he revealed to us in confidence that he felt so inspired by his reintroduction into the world of horror movie-making that he has already written and shot a prequel for X entitled Pearl. - and we're getting word that footage from the prequel will be shown in theaters when X opens this Friday!

SPOILER NOTE: While the following isn’t necessarily a spoiler to any aspects of X’s story nor does it give away anything related to the film’s specific plot points, there may be some fans who don’t want to know about certain aspects of X, so consider this a warning before you read any further information.

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One of the biggest swings in X was casting Mia Goth to play two very different roles in the film: Maxine, an actress looking for her moment in the spotlight, and Pearl, the elderly villainess at the center of West’s horrifying story. West's decision might strike some at first as a curious one, but when he revealed to this writer that Goth will be reprising her character of Pearl for her very own prequel project, the master plan began to make a ton of sense. Last night, West shared the prequel news with the rest of the world following the premiere screening of X in Austin, so we thought that this was the perfect time to share what we’ve learned about Pearl so far.

To West, in many ways, Goth’s own enthusiasm for X helped inspire him to want to explore her dual characters from this project in a prequel film that is centered around her villainous role. “In terms of what I wanted to do with the movie, Mia just came in right from the jump and was like, ‘I can kill this,’” West explained. “I just believed her; I just believed that she totally got these characters. So that’s how Pearl came about. I decided that I wanted to make a film set in 1918 that’s all about that character, and we have already made and finished it. And Mia’s just tremendous in that, too.

“I think she understood the duality of the two different characters, she got what the parallels were between them, and she understood what the vibe differences were, too. Mia really understood the contrast of it all and she just was raring to go," West adds. "And that's what I needed. I just wanted someone that was just going to take a big swing at these performances, and I just believed her. I think Mia's super talented and she proved it in these two movies. Plus, I love that with the character of Pearl that Mia was able to create a villain character that wasn’t going to be a normal villain, and I love how she gave this character some humanity to her which is what that movie [Pearl] hangs on. Mia completely nailed these characters in both movies.”

So not only are we getting two horror movies from Ti West in the span of a year, but one of those films happens to be centered around a female horror villain, which sounds totally badass. This news about an X prequel truly feels like a gift to genre fans and gives us all even more depraved delights to look forward to in the future.

Also, be sure to check out our full in-depth interview with West and so much more awesomeness to be enjoyed in the next issue of FANGORIA which will be released in April. If you subscribe by March 15th, you’ll receive the subscriber-exclusive (and very retro) X-themed cover, and using the code FANGOX at checkout will get you 25% off a new subscription.