Horror-thriller MA took the summer box office by storm and now it’s yours to own on Blu-Ray, DVD & Digital.
Octavia Spencer shows off a new side starring as a lonely woman who befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. While the kids think they’ve hit the jackpot, little do they know the connection they share with Ma and she’s out for revenge.
Rising star McKaley Miller is no stranger to the horror genre. She appeared in “Scream Queens” and can be seen in the upcoming finale of “Into the Dark.” In MA, Miller stars as Haley and to celebrate the Blu-Ray & DVD release, we had the chance to chat with her about the making of the movie including that crazy mouth sewing scene.
What sparked your interest in acting?
McKaley Miller: I’m from a smaller town in Texas and I was a dancer growing up and so I always thought I was going to go, you know, on the dancing path. And then totally randomly, there was this girl in my fourth grade class whose dad was the director and she invited me to skip school one day to be an extra and I said yes, just knowing that I got to skip school. That was literally the only reason I said yes. And from the second I stepped foot on that set, I would like, Oh yup, yup, this is what I meant to do. And I just absorbed and watched everything and was like, okay, this is exactly what I need to do. And I was like, I don’t know, 10 years old. And so I just never ever stopped bugging my mom about and helping me find just classes to start. And that was that.
What was it about ‘Ma’ that when you read the script, you were like “I need to be in this”?
MM: Before I even read the script, I saw that it was Octavia Spencer and Tate Taylor and I was like, I don’t even care what this is. I don’t even care if I only have one line, I want to be a part of this. Then I read this script and it was like the icing on the cake. It was so well written and I love the little twists and turns and there were funny moments but also very thrilling moment. So it had everything that a horror fan like me would love. And so I was sold from the second I finished the script.
What was it like working with Octavia because obviously she has the Hollywood sweetheart persona and here she’s really playing like the duality of the character.
MM: It was really cool because you’re right, she is that complete and total sweetheart. Whatever you think Octavia Spencer is, is exactly what she is. She meets your expectations every time. She is kind and funny and personable and then they would call action and she would just snap into this like bug eyed, scarier, intense ma. It was incredible to watch her make that transition from being Octavia and being able to joke around with us to actually completely turning into a different person.
Did she ever stay in character in between takes or did like when she was more the more intense version of ma or was it just like split second snaps back and forth?
MM: Yeah, she totally stayed in character when it was the times she was trying to get on our good side, you know. I think that was just her being her, just her joking around in between scenes. But it also was weird because you know, all the kids we would say as we were going like this is so weird because you as Octavia we’re starting to love and trust and admire and I can so see how these kids feel that way about ma and how they get themselves into the situation because it is very much like, oh my God, you’re so fun, you’re so cool, let’s hang out. And then we would realize the material we’re doing and what we were getting into and we were like, oh my God Octavia, you’re brilliant. She made us trust her on and off the camera.
I love that. Also, the friendship of the kids in this movie was so believable. Did you guys get to spend time beforehand rehearsing or bonding or what did you guys do to build your chemistry?
MM: None of us knew each other before we started filming and we all stayed in the same hotel. And because you know, we’re filling in the middle of nowhere, Mississippi, there was really nothing to do except hang out with each other. So, every day was spent like hey I’m off, are you off? Do you wanna go get coffee? Do you want to go check out this restaurant? And it was sort of like a really fast bonding with all of that. We got along so what you see on camera is super, super authentic.
And with a horror movie or a thriller, as I’d call this one, there’s always surprises as an audience when we’re watching things. Obviously you get to read the script beforehand, but was there anything when you saw the final cut that actually surprised you seeing how it turned out or maybe shocked you?
MM: Because I couldn’t see what was happening when we were doing my sewing my mouth prosthetic scene. I think that was kind of shocking to watch because you know, when you’re in there pretending to be passed out and everyone’s like, oh, it’s so creepy, I’m like, oh, I hope so, I can’t see it. So, getting to watch that on the big screen was awesome and awful and amazing.
Yeah. Not a lot of things make me cringe, but the mouth sewing thing was the one thing that I was like, oh, this, I don’t know if I can watch.
MM: Yeah, it’s good.
What was it like filming that particular moment with the prosthetics and such?
MM: Yeah, so it was prosthetic and I had it on top of my mouth. Then for the scenes where I’m just kind of in the back, they would actually not use the prosthetic. They would use a… we had the coolest special effects people ever, but we had multiple different prosthetics in multiple different ways to do this lip filling thing. But on the day it was a prosthetic and they actually had Octavia pull the needle out and she like pulled it out and then I, all I hear is I go cut and Octavia drops the needle and goes, oh my God, ew, that looks so real. So it was crazy.
That’s amazing. And I love DVDs. I’m one of those people who still buys DVDs and CDs because I just love things like behind the scenes features. For ‘Ma,’ I know we’re going to have a lot of things like an alternate ending and deleted scenes. Do you have a favorite thing that got cut that you’re excited that might be on the DVD or blu-ray?
MM: Ooh, you know what? I don’t actually know. I feel like it’s been so long since shooting. I’m trying to think of what even got cut. It’s going to be a surprise for me even to watch and be like, oh my God, I forgot we did that but yeah, I’m excited to see the alternate ending again.
If there was a sequel, what would you like to see happen? Cause I feel like with horror movies you may think someone’s dead but they’re never dead so.
MM: Right? Yeah. I don’t know. I’d love to see all the kids come back together and I’d like to see where they go from there and how they feel and what goes on and if ma truly is dead.
I know MA is a horror thriller, but there’s like some deeper messages within it, especially when it comes to bullying and how you treat people. So what advice do you have for young kids out there who may be going through like tough times like that?
MM: I think the thing is that you never really know what someone is going through and so, you know, don’t be so quick to judge a book by its cover and you know high school sucks for everyone and everyone is sort of going through the awkward times and learning and just be kind.
What’s next for you? Do you have like any kind of like, dreams, genres or dream projects that you haven’t yet that you’d love to tackle?
MM: I would love to do a Rom-com. I think that would be so fun and so opposite of a lot of things that I’ve done recently. I love horror, I think it’s such a fun genre but I’d love to do different varying characters and really expand.
And last question one of my favorite people to interview is Olivia Holt and I know you two are BFFs and previously did a movie together but fans would love to see you back together in something else. Do you have a dream project you’d want to do with her?
MM: My God, I would do literally anything with Olivia. Let me think. What would my dream project be? It’s so funny cause we audition for things a lot together like, you know, to play sisters or to play friends or cousin and we’re like one of you days something is going to work out for both of us to do together because we’re obsessed with other. I would love to do something gritty with Olivia, like Girl Interrupted, something like really dark and edgy and get to like explore that side with her. I think that would be really fun.
You can pick up MA on Blu-Ray, DVD & digital today. Here’s what you can expect when you pick up a copy.
BONUS FEATURES ON BLU-RAY™, DVD & DIGITAL:
NEW Alternate Ending
Creating Sue Ann – Take a deeper look at the character of Sue Ann, and how trauma from people’s past can manifest itself later in life.
Party at Ma’s – The cast, crew, and filmmakers discuss how all the elements came together to make this unique thriller.