Morgan J. Freeman’s (emphasis on the J) psychological horror flick Homecoming hits home video this week, and to celebrate this auspicious event, star Mischa Barton sat down to give her two cents on the murderous proceedings!
The film, starring Barton, Matthew Long, Jessica Stroup, and Michael Landes, tells the tale of Mike, a small-town star athlete who is the first in his family to attend college, receiving a football scholarship to prestigious Northwestern University. When he returns home over Christmas break to the people he left behind – his family and friends – they are all surprised to see him with a new girlfriend, Elizabeth, a pretty rich girl from Chicago. No one is more shocked than Mike’s homecoming queen ex-girlfriend, Shelby, who immediately wants to be rid of Elizabeth and plots to take care of the problem. Our story takes many twists and turns as Shelby does everything it takes to get Mike back.
Dig on the interview below.
Q: In Homecoming you play “Shelby,” a young woman who develops an unhealthy obsession with her ex-boyfriend. What attracted you to the role?
Mischa Barton: Though I’ve done my share of thrillers, I was attracted to the script and the character because I’d previously been on the receiving end of crazy rather than actually portraying it, so it was a lot of fun embracing Shelby’s warped perspective.
Q: Homecoming has been described as “Misery for Teens.” Had you seen Kathy Bates’ performance in Misery prior to shooting? What was your inspiration, and how did you prepare for the role?
MB: Kathy Bates is a phenomenal actress, and I found her performance inspiring well in advance of reading the Homecoming script. Though I didn’t channel Annie Wilkes for Shelby, I just tried to make myself vulnerable to the point of being overcome with jealousy, so much so that that Shelby’s vengeance seemed normal behavior from a first-person perspective.
Q: You were in freezing cold temperatures in the middle of Pennsylvania during the filming of Homecoming. How hard was it to film those scenes?
MB: I think that when playing a character so sadistic, any climate can be a challenge, but since Shelby is so cold-hearted, the freezing temperature kind of lent itself to getting more in tune with the character.
Q: Regarding the axe-wielding scene in Homecoming — Do you have any amusing anecdotes of filming that and other scenes with co-stars Jessica Stroup and Matt Long?
MB: For the axe-wielding scene I couldn’t help but think of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. This role is certainly not as classic, but it was fun and almost empowering even though I was scared to death of hurting the others, or myself, for that matter. Kind of ironic, since they (Stroup and Long) were the ones who were supposed to be afraid.
Q: From The Sixth Sense to Homecoming, you have starred in a lot of dark thrillers. What are your personal favorite films and performances from this genre?
MB: I’d be remiss if I didn’t single out Haley Joel Osment, with whom I had the pleasure of working on The Sixth Sense. Especially upon reflection, it’s amazing what he was able to tap into at such a young age. I think the genre itself is so entertaining – both to film and watch – because there are so many levels of fear that a performer or audience can tap into. Thrillers can go from one extreme to the other – camp to realistic – but either way they’re fun. My personal favorites are those that are scary and suspenseful without the gore.
Q: You most recently guest-starred on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” What do you have coming up next?
MB: “SVU” is my favorite show so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance. It was fun to return to NYC, as well. As for what’s next, I’ve yet to decide on my next role, but I am about to launch the new season of my handbag line in the UK and am very excited since they’ve been so well received.
Check out the Homecoming trailer, and if you’re so inclined, order yourself a copy below!
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