Insidious: Chapter 2 star and Hollywood royalty Barbara Hershey spoke exclusively to SciFiNow about the supernatural horror sequel, working with James Wan and Leigh Whannel and her prospects for working on Insidious: Chapter 3 now that Wan has retired from horror.
Were you surprised by how successful the first Insidious film was?
Part of me wasn’t because I was appreciative that James [Wan] wasn’t doing a blood and gore type of horror movie, but going back much more the psychological aspect that if people got involved with the characters they’d get involved with the fears. I appreciated that a lot and it didn’t really surprise me that audiences appreciated.
Was it fun to have a more active role in this film? You got some great physical scenes with Specs (Leigh Whannel) and Tucker (Angus Sampson)…
Yes, especially with those two! Once I actually had to cut because I burst out laughing, they’re very funny. I was surprised and I really enjoyed it – it reminded me of Scooby Doo a lot.
Did you notice any commonalities between working on Insidious and The Entity, as it’s heavily inspired by that style of filmmaking?
I didn’t even compare it that way – it’s interesting, it’s the first time I’ve ever thought of it that way. I don’t don’t tend to think of things historical when I’m doing things. I have to say I didn’t think of things that way because every movie is so different and every director is so different – I didn’t actually make that comparison, no.
Was it nice to be working with physical effects again?
The thing that made this film fun for most modern actors is we had practical things happening to us – we didn’t have to make believe. We were actually confronted with real things. Because James does these very, very long takes that you might not see as an audience. You might cut into them, but we were doing these long takes and it really gives your body a chance to react to them and get involved with what’s going on.
Usually making horror films is not a scary experience at all, but in this case – especially with practical locations it was spooky – it was easy to get involved.
Was it good to have everyone back? I mean even the dead cast get to return!
That was tremendous. I always feel like at the end of the film is when we should be beginning it in terms of people knowing each other and trusting each other. So I’ve never done a sequel before so it was it was fun to get to leap back in and see that side of it for a change – it was nice.
Would you be up for doing a third film?
I can’t say, it depends on a lot of factors – it would depend on the script, whether James is doing it as he’s currently doing another genre. You never say never.
Have you ever had any hostility toward sequels?
As an audience I look at them warily, but I’ve never been offered one before. I’m trying to think whether there’s ever been an opportunity in my life for a sequel – I don’t think there was. Yes, as an audience member I look at them warily – you have to have a reason to do the film other than they want to use the name.
That was one of the good things about this one, it picked up where the other one left off – that’s why they called it Chapter 2, it wasn’t a thing someone invented, it was a continuation within minutes of the other one.
Was it more of case of not even looking at it as a sequel? You just see a chance to work with these people you had such an amazing time with…
I guess within a sense it’s true. It matters a lot to me the working experience, I think any actor – when a film comes out and people like it or don’t like it, all of that affects you – but when you’re an actor all you have is the experience of doing it, so how that is means a lot to me. All of these people were just wonderful and lovely to work with that counts a lot for me going in. I think everyone felt like that, we were all so happy.
Did you get much time to work with House Of The Devil‘s Jocelin Donahue, who plays the younger you?
No, not a lot of time – I just talked to her. The major thing I talked to her about was she’s never had a child so as that’s a major concern with the character, I talked to her about what that means. But she’s very open, and she’s such a beauty – that was nice! I’m not sure I looked quite like that!
We didn’t get to spend a lot of time together. This was a low budget film, shot very fast – I always amazed he can get the atmosphere he does in the amount of time. It’s definitely the darkest set I’ve ever been on in my life, I said that to him and he was like ‘Wow, that’s great!’ I couldn’t believe how atmospheric the set was, usually that’s just not the case.
It must help you get into the mood when you’re genuinely a bit creeped out…
Completely. Both the hospital and the house, and the long takes – a combination of the two was very surprising. Again, it’s not usually that way and hopefully the audience will feel it, but that downright freaky performance we filmed was actually that spooky.
There must be a really collaborative culture on set, as James Wan and Leigh Whannel work very closely with a circle of actors they obviously know really well…
Yeah, they’re very open. With Leigh I was very aware I was saying his lines and it must be very strange for an actor to hear other actors saying his lines, it’s in very unusual circumstances that’s happening. He was very loose. It was nice, if you came up with a problem he was here to help you. James was wonderful, of course, very jovial – always laughing.