Junket Interview: Karen Gillan & “OCULUS” Cast Talk Shooting Intense Scenes, Favorite Horror Movies & More


If you love horror films, then mark your calendars because Oculus hits theaters tomorrow!

The film follows Tim and Kaylie, siblings who ten years ago witnessed the murder of their parents and Tim was convicted of the murder. Flash forward to today and the siblings are finally reconnected when Tim is released from protective custody. Tim has seemed to move on from the tragedy but Kaylie is determined to go back in time and “take down” the thing that caused everything – a malevolent supernatural force—unleashed through the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror in their childhood home.

The movie is full of twists and turns and definitely keeps you on the edge of your seats. In fact, it’s one of the best psychological horror movies we’ve seen in a long time. Also, major kudos to Brenton Thwaites & Karen Gillan who are the break out stars of the film. Big things are definitely ahead for them.

We had the chance to attend the press junket with Karen, James Lafferty, Katee Sackhoff & Rory Cochrane to talk about filming the intense movie.

Karen revealed that she was really drawn into the movie because “one of the things I loved about the script so much was the time that was devoted to the characters so we really see them develop before things happen to them so we’re actually invested and care. We really earn the scares which really excited me.”

Katee echoed her sentiment saying “I loved the fact that we saw from Marie, this vulnerability that she had and this obsession she had with mirrors before the mirror took her. I wanted to really make the audience love this family and understand this family and ultimately feel heartbroken for these children and what they had to go through. Mike did a phenomenal job of pulling you through this slow ride that was engaging the entire time then the last 30 minutes seemed to punch you in the face repeatedly.”

In the movie, you’ll also get to go back in time to see what really happened to Tim & Kaylie that night and the roles of the younger versions of the characters are beautifully played by Garrett Ryan & Annalise Basso. In the film, you start to forget what is the past and what is the present as the movie floats seamlessly back and forth between the two stories. We thought it might be confusing for the actors on set to keep track of the story but Karen said the script had the past written in italics so it was easier to distinguish the timeline. She also said she based her character off the work Annalis did. “[The kids] filmed their stuff in the past first. That was the first 3 weeks of the shoot. Brenton and I went down to the set and just watched what everybody was doing. Absolute credit to Annalise who played the younger version of my character because she really established the character. I went down and watched what she did and took it from there and tried to extend on it.”

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Rory, who plays Tim & Kaylie’s father, definitely had some tough scenes with the kids where he…basically tries to kill them. That definitely had to be hard but Rory said the kids were amazing which didn’t make it as tough to pretend like you were choking your daughter. “The kids were terrific. They were very resilient, diligent and professional. Kate had a safe word but I didn’t. I would check in every take to ask if i was hurting them, etc then we carved pumpkins on the side and I was like “I’m not that bad of a guy.” There were takes when I was choking Annalise and after a while it came a lot and she was like that might be too far and I felt really bad.”

Another highlight was when Karen attributed “Dr. Who” for helping her prepare a little for the horror film. “I worked on Dr. Who where we repeatedly had to be scared of something that wasn’t there,” she said laughing. “That came in really handy on this film.”

So, since this is a horror film, we definitely had to ask what fears would come through the Lasser glass if each of the actors were in front of it. James Lafferty joked saying “Every audition I’ve ever gone on would play out in the mirror.” Meanwhile, Karen said “I would say not being able to do what I want to do. Not to be completely fulfilled and happy. Not sure how that would translate to a mirror.”

And lastly, we had to know what kind of horror movies really scare each of the cast members. Is it the bloody gory ones or the ones that get inside your head? For James, it’s the ones that “really trick you.” He said, “If you can get me off balance then you can scare me.”

Karen is a huge horror fan and loves the cheesy slasher films but it’s “really the ones that are truly scary are the slow burners – the ones that build up to things. I really love The Ring.” Katee agreed saying that it’s the ones that seem like things that could really happen to you that scare the, well, s*** out of her. “I tend to be mostly scared by the movies of something that could actually happen. I spend a lot of time on the road and in different places so I tend to wake up in the middle of the night and run into walls a lot and forget where I am. Someone tried to open my hotel room one night and I was like, oh my god what’s happening.”

Oculus hits theaters Friday, April 11, 2014. If you missed our interviews with the cast from the premiere, check them out below!