Revealed in the series Yellowjackets, Sophie Thatcher is the headliner of the film The Boogeyman, inspired by a short story by Stephen King. La Presse discussed death and monsters with the 22-year-old actress.
One of Sophie Thatcher’s first experiences in front of the camera was in the series The Exorcist, in 2016. A few years later, she landed leading roles in the series When the Streelights Go On and then Yellowjackets. Without being pure horror, these can be scary and, above all, place teenagers in situations that they should never experience.
If Sophie Thatcher excels in this kind of role, it is probably because she likes to play them. “I love horror!” It’s a genre that allows you to explore many themes, notes the Chicago actress. Stephen King is really good at addressing mental health issues in psychologically complex and multi-dimensional works. It’s also exciting to find yourself in completely crazy stories that, when I’m immersed in my character, make me experience things that I would not have experienced otherwise. »
In The Boogeyman, the characters of Sophie Thatcher, Sadie Harper, and her little sister Sawyer, played by Vivien Lyra Blair (the young Princess Leia in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series), are doubly tested. Their mother recently died and they are also haunted by the bogeyman who has taken up residence in the dark corners of their house.
“You don’t see it from the start,” she explains. The tension gradually builds as we get to know the characters and empathize with them. The wait makes it even more terrifying, in my opinion. I also believe that there would be no monster without mourning since it feeds on their vulnerability. »
According to Sophie Thatcher, her character nevertheless manages to confront the beast and defend her own thanks to this same vulnerability.
“Also, since her father is not emotionally present, she has to take her mother’s place and take care of her sister, which forces her to grow up fast,” she adds.
This father is played by Chris Messina (Air, Sharp Objects). A badly shod psychologist, he cannot find the strength to talk to his daughters about their common pain. A colleague therefore follows up with them, while he continues to see patients at home. The unexpected visit of a strange man wanting an immediate consultation will mark the beginning of the macabre misadventures of the family.
In order to make the fear and sadness, but also the complicity and solidarity of the Harpers more believable, the trio of actors got to know each other during a few outings. “Our family dynamic was created naturally, because we immediately got on well in addition to discovering common interests, says Sophie Thatcher. Like me, Vivien loves music and likes to write. She is so bright and mature for her age. We really became sisters. »
Although the ordeal of grief is at the heart of the story, Rob Savage’s feature (Host, Dashcam) remains a film with a big, nightmarish monster. Sophie Thatcher therefore had to navigate between despondency and dread; related feelings, but which are not expressed in the same way.
“Since you can’t specifically tap into a character-like background, you have to draw on very different personal experiences, use your imagination, and find the right mindset,” she explains. I focused on my breathing, on the present moment. Music also helps me a lot to get me where I want to be because it makes certain emotions more accessible. »
But sometimes it takes a little more. “For some takes, my fear has to be in the floor from the start. The director was doing stuff to surprise me like making weird sounds or throwing books, which instantly caused mad fear. »