On Sunday, December 11th, A&E is set to debut director Mick Garris’ latest endeavor, the television mini-series adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel Bag of Bones, which explores the themes of grief and lost love’s enduring bonds, an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire, and a new love haunted by past secrets.
In the story we meet bestselling novelist Mike Noonan (Pierce Brosnan), who is unable to stop grieving after the sudden death of his wife, Jo (Annabeth Gish). A dream inspires him to return to the couple’s lakeside retreat in western Maine, where he becomes involved in a custody battle between the daughter of an attractive young widow and the child’s enormously wealthy grandfather while also deailing with mysterious ghostly visitations, ever-escalating nightmares, and the realization that his late wife still has something to tell him.
Recently Dread Central had the opportunity along with several other journalists to take part in a conference call interview with Gish to talk with the actress regarding her role in “Bag of Bones,” her experiences working on the mini-series, and what keeps the actress coming back to the genre world time and time again. Check out our interview coverage below, and make sure to tune in to “Bag of Bones” when it premieres this Sunday at 9/8 CST with Part Two following the next night, December 12th.
Reporter: (Spoiler Alert) Why were you compelled to take this role, especially since you technically die within the first 10 minutes?
Annabeth Gish: Of course every actress wants to be featured throughout a project in order to fulfill her storyline, but I felt like the character of Jo was so clearly drawn and her essence is throughout the film so in that sense she kind of resonates from beginning to end. I also wanted to say yes for several [other] reasons. I’ve worked with Mick Garris before, and I adore him. It was another Stephen King project which I thought was great, and I really respect Mick’s work immensely.
Reporter: Was there anything physically challenging required when making “Bag Of Bones” that was tough for you?
Gish: Definitely. This project was very physically challenging for me in terms of prosthetics because I had to do a four-hour makeup job to become the zombie/ghost Jo. That for me became very scary. I’m very claustrophobic, and you have to wear all of this gunk all over your body – that was challenging enough right there. But then there was the scene I had to do under the bed that was really challenging. Sure, we’d all hide under the bed when we were children, but I don’t know when I’ve been under the bed recently, and they had to pull me with great velocity from under the bed. It was pretty crazy.
Reporter: Do you find yourself attracted to horror and, more specifically, Stephen King?
Gish: Yes, but not horror for horror’s sake. Between “The X-Files” and my two Stephen King projects, it’s not horror for horror’s sake. It’s not to scare the bejeezus out of everyone; it has to be a story with real drama, real heart, and mystery. And I think that’s what kind of delineates this project because it’s not just about zombies. It’s about three love affairs and solving a mystery. This is about race, it’s about genealogy, and it really spans a lot of things people will be drawn to watch it for.
Reporter: What were your experiences like collaborating with Mick again (Gish and Garris also worked on “Desperation” together in 2006)?
Gish: I really think Mick is an exquisite filmmaker, and I love how his sensibilities are a lot like mine in terms of storytelling. He really has a great skill as a director, and I absolutely trusted him while making this movie. I knew from the beginning it was going to be beautiful and something special; hopefully audiences agree.
Reporter: Is there something that scares you specifically?
Gish: Yes, actually I’m pretty scare-able. It’s probably why I like doing horror because my imagination takes me places. I kind of believe in ghosts; I believe that spirits can exist and wander around. So that definitely scares me. But I feel like the things that really scare me are catastrophic events, like my children, husband, family being harmed – something like that.
Reporter: You mentioned earlier that you didn’t want to choose projects just for the sake of horror – that it was a combination of story, plot, character, and other elements that you need as well. Are there any horror films that off the top of your head you’d consider touchstones of that model?
Gish: Recently I saw Insidious with Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, and it scared the bejeezus out of me. Even though I was scared, I couldn’t turn it off because it was so intriguing. That’s a recent example of a horror story that captivated me the entire time – and again, that was because there were so many human and complex issues going on beyond the horror.
Reporter: As someone who has done both television and film – with storytelling possibilities in film constricting and possibilities in TV expanding – what’s your take on both mediums as an actress?
Gish: I think television is definitely the ‘Wild West’ now. Between the internet and television right now, it feels like it’s all going to break wide open, especially as you see how many film actors are coming to TV – it’s kind of the place to be. However, you can’t replicate the experience of going to the movie theater and getting popcorn and watching the big screen. There’s still that experience that you can’t recreate at home. But it seems like it’s an expansive time for everything these days, and film will have to continue to expand; otherwise, people are going to stop going to movies, and that would be sad.
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