We got the chance to talk with Talitha Bateman, who plays one of the orphans, on the set between takes on Annabelle: Creation. Here’s what she had to say about working with everyone’s favorite demonic diva-doll.
DC: We see you’re wearing a leg-brace. That does not look very comfortable.
TB: My character had polio and she lost her legs, so she has to wear a leg-brace and walk with a cane. Most of the time she’s walking around limping and she can barely walk. The other girls kind of make fun of her for that, they tease her a little bit, so she’s really sad most of the time. But she also has Linda [played by Lulu Wilson], who is her little bundle of joy, so that’s what cheers her up most of the time.
DC: What’s your favorite thing so far about being in Annabelle: Creation?
TB: The stunts, I love doing stunts! And also I like doing period things, old fashioned [stuff], and the leg braces were pretty cool to wear too. I haven’t done any stunts in the wheelchair and I don’t know if I do any, but I’ve done some in this thing that goes upstairs [the chair lift]. I flew up in the air and the belt flew open, and that was really fun. It was cool to see the stunt double do it first to make sure it was safe, and then we did it twice. David wanted me to reach down and act like I was just going hahahaha. It was crazy.
DC: Any scary scenes shot with you yet?
TB: I shot the one in the dollhouse where I find her in the closet, the secret door with all the bible pages. That was freaking me out a little bit. Then I shot one where I had her in my lap in the wheelchair, and that was really hard to shoot because she kept falling out. She fell out on her face, and I apologized, I felt so bad. Then we shot one in the bedroom where Linda comes in and she’s looking straight forward, and at one point the Annabelle doll turns her head and looks at Linda, which was also creepy.
DC: How long have you been acting?
TB: Two and half years; not too long. I really like that I can play a ton of different people. You know how musicians can touch people with their music and a really good song? I like that some actors can do that with a good plotline, a good story, so I think that’s really cool.
DC: Did you watch the first Annabelle?
TB: I watched the first one, but I know that some people [actors] do not do that. I just kind of prepare and get ready for ‘action’, that’s kind of how I do it. I just watched the first Annabelle, but not the other movies, The Conjuring ones.
DC: Do you get scared?
TB: I don’t get freaked out, no, things like this don’t really scare me, other than real cases. Those things are creepy. But I like some horror movies, I watched Lights Out, and that was cool.
DC: Tell us more about doing these stunts.
TB: It’s always really fun for me. Right before I went in the harness I got really scared, which isn’t normal for me because I’m usually a daredevil. But when she [the stunt-person] was doing it she almost got hurt so I got a little freaked out. They have a ton of people around always looking out for me, making sure I’m ok in between every take. Everyone is really nice and kind on the set, so it’s not easy to be scared other than when I have to be.
DC: How is it working with David Sandberg?
TB: David’s really cool to work with because he’s so new to all this. He’s used to doing this [filmmaking] in his apartment with his wife, so it’s really cool to work with him. On the first day he was talking to this guy and he told me about a hand held camera, [and that] he doesn’t know what everything is. So it was really awesome to work with him because he had this little camera and he would literally be in the scenes. I’ve never worked with someone who was in the shot. In the dollhouse scene I was talking about, he was right behind the dollhouse while we were shooting with his own personal monitor, so that was really funny. Every time they yelled ‘cut’ he’d just pop his head up and give me some instruction, so that was fun.
DC: Is that better than a director who stays by the monitor?
TB: No, it’s just different. That can be good too because it can give me a moment to get into character, but it’s really nice to have him right there to tell me how it should be or if it was great. He’s really nice to work with because he’s not super-controlling. Some directors I’ve worked with are very controlling, and that can help too with my character because I can understand how they want it to be… but with him, he kind of just gives me freedom as an actor and I really like that. Usually on set I’m treated pretty nicely, so that’s cool. Some sets I’ve been on are not the greatest but they’ve been really nice, always. At least one person on the set is kind, so it’s cool to work with people like that. I kind of like it in-between to where they are honest with me, brutally honest so I can see what they want me to do, but also I want to figure out the character for myself.
DC: How do you prepare for a role?
TB: Reading the script really helps me. I’ve auditioned a few times where they’ve sent the script, and I didn’t read it because I didn’t want to get attached, but I realize now that’s always the best. Because before this, I hadn’t really read the script so when I auditioned I thought I did an ok job, then when I read it I thought ‘Oh, I would have done this completely different had I known what she goes through.’ I didn’t even know she gets demon possessed or anything, so I had just auditioned the best I could. Now I think I’m playing her very different from my original audition.
DC: What do you love about acting?
TB: There’s so many interesting things. For the Fifth Wave, that was really cool because I got to carry a gun. That was really fun to do. I was just running around shooting people, pretty much. With this, it’s very different because now I am that guy, the demon. This is going to be pretty cool because I have such amazing actors to work with. I have Lulu Wilson and she’s so good. She’s really good at feeding off of me, like, we’ll rehearse a scene and when we get to shooting it will be completely different than we thought it was. But she’s really good about just doing the best with your surroundings. So that’s really nice when you work with someone who’s so prepared.
DC: What scares you in real life?
TB: Murder mysteries freak me out, like, real cases. Have you ever seen The Lovely Bones? That movie really freaked me out as a kid. I would like to act in movies that, like I said before, the kind that kind of touch you, you know what I mean? Like when you watch a movie and then afterwards you can’t stop thinking about it. I like those movies.
David Sandberg directs from a screenplay by Gary Dauberman, who also wrote Annabelle. The film stars Stephanie Sigman (Spectre), Talitha Bateman (The 5th Wave), Lulu Wilson (Ouija 2, Deliver Us from Evil), Philippa Coulthard (After the Dark), Grace Fulton (Badland), Lou Lou Safran (The Choice), Samara Lee (The Last Witch Hunter), and Tayler Buck in her feature film debut, with Anthony LaPaglia (TV’s “Without a Trace”) and Miranda Otto (Showtime’s “Homeland”).
Serving as executive producers are Toby Emmerich, Richard Brener, Walter Hamada, Dave Neustadter, and Hans Ritter. Collaborating with Sandberg behind the scenes from his Lights Out team are production designer Jennifer Spence, editor Michel Aller, and composer Benjamin Wallfisch; they are joined by director of photography Maxime Alexandre (The Other Side of the Door) and costume designer Leah Butler (Paranormal Activity 3 & 4).
Currently scheduled for release on August 11, 2017, Annabelle: Creation is a New Line Cinema presentation, an Atomic Monster/Safran Company production. The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.
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