Thanks to the folks at Horreur Québec once again I had the giant honor to interview Sophie Thatcher, the main actress in the upcoming Stephen King adaptation, The Boogeyman. It was a great opportunity to ask her about how she developed her character in "The Boogeyman," her advice for young actresses, her favorite Stephen King film adaptation, and much more.
The interview was conducted over the phone (audio only), but it was enough to feel her radiant personality, and she managed to answer several of our questions. A giant thank you to Sophie Thatcher for giving us some of her valuable time.
Matthieu Côté: Sophie, how are you doing today?
Sophie Thatcher: I'm good, how about you?
MC: I'm doing great, especially when I see a good horror movie like "The Boogeyman"; it puts me in a good mood.
ST: Oh wow, thanks. Good news, I like that answer.
MC: I want to say two thumbs up for your performance in the movie. It was so crucial to have a believable family dynamic, and you did a fantastic job. Your character is not in the original short story by Stephen King. So, how did you build up Sadie Harper? How much of yourself did you pour into the Sadie character?
ST: I feel like no matter what, I naturally end up having parts of myself in the character, whether it be in my mannerisms and my tics when I'm nervous. Very small things that ended up lending themselves to the character. But I really just worked hard with Rob, creating the character and really mapping out her emotional arc and what beats change her and evolve her into the baddest, badass that she is.
MC: How was Rob as a director? His previous two films (Host, Dashcam) were more on the lower-budget side while being extremely creative. So, he was taking it to another level with this adaptation, and I'm curious to hear what you have to say about your collaboration with him.
ST: He's incredible. He knows everything about horror, and I got that right off the bat. I think within our first meeting, I could just tell that he was serious about it, and he was going to make something special. He was going to work towards making the best movie he could possibly make. And finding that grounding too, creating realistic family dynamics that feel lived-in and real. I think we did a good job with that. He set up all these hangouts so we could build a sense of closeness with the family beforehand. I think that helped build a sense of familiarity and closeness within the family, and if we didn't have that, I don't think the movie would've worked.
MC: Absolutely. What made this so good to me is your relationship and on-screen chemistry with the younger sister played by Vivien Lyra Blair. I'm guessing you created a certain bond over the course of shooting. Did you feel like you were playing the role of the older sister on the set as well?
ST: Interesting, yes and no. I definitely just felt at the end of the day just like equals because she's so smart. And even though she's 12 years younger than me, she's such a professional, and she's so smart and has so many different talents. She loves music, she loves writing. We had so much we could bond over. I definitely wanted to influence her taste and show her new things, but she would constantly be showing me new things too.
MC: What is something you showed her?
ST: I saw her for press a couple of days ago, and I got her (she's maybe too young for this) Kim Gordon's autobiography, "Girl in a Band: A Memoir," and I was like, "Wait three years before you read this."
MC: Looking at your résumé, it seems like you have an appreciation for genres, whether it's horror or sci-fi. Is it something you're looking for when picking your projects?
ST: I never specifically think about genres. It's just naturally what I've gravitated towards, and because I started off with the genre, people see me in that and realize I can thrive in that heightened world and overcome a lot. I think it's just people seeing that I can make sense in that world, but I want to explore a lot of different genres and play characters that are completely different from Sadie (The Boogeyman) or Natalie (Yellowjackets).
MC: Well, on that point, is there a dream project or something you would really love to do?
ST: I would love to play around more with period pieces and not have everything... I'm in a period piece set in the 90s through Yellowjackets, but even though I haven't lived through the 90s, it feels like so much of the 90s is recycled now, so it doesn't really count. I want a Victorian period piece, I want to do something crazy, I want to explore accents, I want to explore wigs, I want to be unrecognizable.
MC: That's really cool, and you worked on Prospect in 2018, which is a visual effects-driven movie. In some ways, with The Boogeyman, you also had to use your imagination because you were working in a visual effects environment. What is your approach to visual effects-driven scenes?
ST: It's a lot because it's really up to you, but you just have to draw from your memory and the experiences that make you feel a certain way or use your imagination and think, "What if?" There's a possibility of many different scary situations. It was never like I created a very specific creature in my head, but it was more like a feeling that evoked from creating an image of something. It was more abstract than thinking about, you know, a scary monster. But I feel like I've had to do a lot of that, and a lot of actors just have to get used to using their imagination because sometimes we'll be talking to a blue mark, and that's our character for the scene. You have to go into crisis mode with a blue mark.
MC: On that note, do you have any advice you would give to young actors or actresses who are trying to make it into the business?
ST: I would say keep doing self-tapes. Do them with anybody you feel comfortable with. Film your own movies, write your own scripts. If nothing is happening for you, then just write your own scripts and put them on Vimeo. Maybe people will watch them, maybe they won't, but if they don't, keep making more. Keep creating content.
MC: That's great advice. And what do you look for when you're working with a director?
ST: I love to collaborate and always want them to be able to hear me out and not be completely stuck in their ways, which I haven't experienced yet. I would also love... It's very different working with female directors because I feel like there's a sense of openness that I never really get to have to that extent with male directors. There's a sense of understanding already, and I've noticed that sometimes the set feels lighter when I'm around females.
MC: That's very interesting. What kind of environment is it on the set of Yellowjackets?
ST: Yeah, Yellowjackets is pretty mixed with a lot of people from different age ranges and different backgrounds. I think it's amazing to have so many different inputs and outlooks. I think it just makes for a more well-rounded story.
MC: Do you have a favorite day on the set of shooting The Boogeyman and maybe a least favorite day?
ST: (Laughs) Um, favorite day... I'll start with my least favorite day. My least favorite day, well, basically any of the final boss battle, but that was an entire week. So I'd say my least favorite day was when I bring my friends over for a party and it's just silent. I'm totally bombing it, and it's really awkward. I just felt that social anxiety in me because it felt like high school again, and it was just so painfully silent. It was awkward, and I was really channeling that anxiety you get in high school.
MC: You did a great job in that scene. And if you have a favorite day or maybe something you remember from shooting the film?
ST: Thank you. I don't know... there's this scene where I'm about to start the party, and I'm like, "Dad, do I look okay?" and he's like, "Yeah, you look like you're forgetting your worries." We got really silly that day, and we were all sort of manic. Vivyen was just throwing shoes at him and I was like “What is going?!” It was a good one.
MC: If I have one last question I can ask, I'm curious about your movie taste. Do you have a desert island movie or a favorite Stephen King adaptation?
ST: For a Stephen King movie, The Shining, definitely. For any movie... 28 Days Later.
MC: Love it. Thank you so much for your time!
The Boogeyman hits theaters this Friday June 2nd 2023.