In Paranormal Activity 3 up-and-coming actress Lauren Bittner portrays Julie, the super-sensible mom trying to raise her two young daughters, Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) and Katie (Chloe Csengery), with the help of her videographer boyfriend Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith). But for anyone who has seen the first two installments in the growing Paranormal Activity franchise, we know that things won’t be going very smoothly for Julie, Dennis and the girls once Kristi’s new imaginary friend “Toby” settles in to torment the young family.
Recently Dread Central caught up with Bittner to talk about the latest Paranormal Activity sequel, and while there was a lot that she wasn’t able to share with us (understandably so since secrecy is the name of the game with this franchise), the actress did talk a bit about her experiences on set making one of the scariest movies of the year and if she knows whether or not fans can expect to see more of her character down the road.
Bittner discussed her reaction when she found out she had landed the role of Julie in Paranormal Activity 3, saying, “I had seen the first two movies, and I really liked them a lot so I was excited to get the opportunity to be a part of the third film. I knew that these films have a huge and loyal fanbase so I found that really exciting because you always want to make sure you deliver for the fans. But I will admit that this kind of filmmaking was completely unknown territory for me since I had never worked without a concrete script before.”
The actress said that making the threequel was definitely challenging at times since so much of the story was up in the air (leaving cast members guessing about the scares), but she relished being pushed to the brink most of the time and felt like the approach of directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman definitely elevated everything while making the film.
“When we started filming, we were given a script of sorts that was written by Christopher Landon where he had developed the overall story for Paranormal 3,” explained Bittner. “But because of the nature of these movies, we still had to do a lot of improv-style acting since we mostly just needed to work off of specific beats that Henry and Ariel were looking for. It was a really crazy summer for us shooting this movie because we never knew what was going to happen next. Making this kind of movie can get in your head sometimes so a lot of that fear you see on my face in the movie was definitely real because sometimes they surprised even us.”
Bittner went on to talk about another aspect that was very real on set: the chemistry between her and her onscreen family. “We were really lucky that we just all immediately clicked from the first time we met. Both Chloe and Jessica were the absolute sweetest girls, and Chris was an incredibly nice and down-to-earth kind of guy so it was really easy to find those relationships with them. I love hearing that people believed we were a real family because at times it felt that way on set. I couldn’t have asked for better people to work alongside than them.”
And while there are a lot of unanswered questions remaining at the conclusion of Paranormal Activity 3 (don’t worry, we won’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t seen the flick yet), we asked Bittner if she had any idea of just what the fate of her character is, which is left ambiguous at the film’s conclusion.
Bittner said, “You know, I honestly have no idea what the fate of Julie is, and I think the way that Henry and Ariel chose to end the film was brilliant. I love that they keep you guessing like that- in fact, when I finally saw the movie for myself, I was kind of shocked along the way because I had no idea just what would make the cut and what wouldn’t, but I think that’s what is great about the Paranormal movies; they always know how to keep fans on their toes.”
“One thing I do know is that making Paranormal Activity was definitely the most fun thing I have ever done in my career; I’ve never quite experienced anything like it before, and it’s completely transformed my life in such a short time. I personally can’t wait to see what they do with the fourth film as a fan just to see where the story goes from here. I’m not sure if I’ll be involved or not, but I know I’d definitely love to come back again,” Bittner added.
Paranormal Activity 3 is currently in theaters everywhere. Special thanks to Lauren for taking time to speak to Dread Central during this crazy week!
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