Lulu Wilson is already a horror veteran at the age of just 14, but it’s the Johnny Depp-starring 1990s classic Edward Scissorhands that really scares her.
Wilson has terrified audiences in films like Ouija: Origin of Evil and Annabelle: Creation, as well as Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House.
She made her horror debut at the age of eight in Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us from Evil, but that doesn’t mean she’s immune to scary cinema.
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“I have two older sisters, who tended to show me things too young,” Wilson told Yahoo Movies UK while promoting her new movie Becky.
“My older sister was babysitting me and she showed me Edward Scissorhands, which isn’t a terrifying movie, but I was so young and scarred for life.
“That and Gremlins, which is so random because now I’m totally desensitised to everything.
“But I called him Paper Scissorhands and I was scared that he was living in my parents’ bathroom and it was a whole thing.”
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In Becky, helmed by Bushwick directing duo Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, Wilson plays the title character as she fights off a group of neo-Nazis who have invaded her home and taken family members hostage.
They’re led by the brutal Dominick, played by Kevin James in a very against-type dark performance, who is prepared to kill just about anybody in order to find a key he believes to be hidden in the home.
Read the full interview with Lulu Wilson below, in which we discuss her horror history, her return to work in a pandemic world and making a scary movie with Paul Blart: Mall Cop...
Watch the trailer for Becky:
Yahoo Movies UK: I was trying to think of an intelligent first question, but really I just want to ask whether you got to keep that fox hat?
Lulu Wilson: I did! Usually I have to beg for props and be like “please, please, this would mean so much to me”, but I have it all in a little room at home. I have like a puppet version of Diego [one of the dog characters], I have those awesome sunglasses that I wear while I’m being angsty in the car and I have the fox hat.
Obviously, this is a grim and violent movie for much of its running time. Was that fun, or was it difficult to do?
I was really nervous because I thought it was going to be difficult. But running was the only action part that I didn’t really enjoy, because running is not my thing. My first day was a really big action scene. It was stabbing Kevin James’s eye out, which was a really great way to sort of throw myself into it. I was incredibly nervous but, after that, I realised this was really fun and interesting.
I ask that question to a lot of people and directors tend to say it’s really fun, but actors say it’s awful being covered in fake blood and stuff.
The blood is a little gross. It’s kind of sticky and like, eugh, but it’s worth it.
Horror and darker material like this is what you’ve done a lot in your career so far. What makes you gravitate towards that kind of material?
Gee, I don’t know. It’s really fun, obviously. I know that I’m really interested in watching horror myself and action and gore and things like that. So I think it’s really fun working with like-minded people and experiencing that feeling of knowing that everybody filming it and working on it loves what they’re doing. It’s just a great experience.
Also, that action is really fun. Even though watching is not quite fun because maybe you’re on the edge of your seat. But doing it is incredible.
Obviously when you first started doing horror, you were very young. Were you into those movies even then? Were you even able to watch them?
I didn’t watch them when I was that young, but I have an older sister and my dad used to watch those horror movies all the time. So I was around it, even though I wasn’t actively participating. I think that, originally, I just sort of fell into it and I was like that little, scary girl.
That monologue you do about strangling in Ouija: Origin of Evil is something I still think about.
Yeah, that was such a great monologue. I remember doing that in the table read and being like ‘wow, this is gonna be fun’.
Going forward, do you want to stay in the horror world?
I’d like to branch out, you know, and do maybe some coming-of-age films because I’m a teenager now, which is crazy. Maybe some comedy, because I also enjoy watching comedy. But horror will always have a special place in my heart.
It’s interesting you mention comedy because, obviously, Kevin James is very much from that world.
Exactly! And whenever I explain to people that I was in a horrifying movie with Kevin James, they’re like ‘no, no...’ and I’m like ‘yes, I was!’ He was the nicest guy, but watching him work and be this terrifying white supremacist neo-Nazi was terrifying. It was terrifying. He was amazing.
People are like: “You were in a horror movie with Paul Blart, Mall Cop?”
Was he able to give you any pointers in your career, because he is obviously so experienced?
Actually, I didn’t do many scenes with him because the whole thing is that he’s chasing me and I’m wanting to kill him.
Read more: Paul Blart fan-fiction is apparently a thing
But when we did work together, I got those points and tips by watching him — just watching him work and watching how he didn’t have to stay in his terrible, awful character. Off-set, he was just this really nice guy. The minute the cameras cut, he’d be like: ‘Are you okay? Did I scare you? Are you alright?’
Working with actors that are just so genuinely nice, but also so great and professional, is just amazing.
He certainly scared me! You mentioned there that he’s playing a white supremacist and people like that are becoming more prominent in our real world. Was that a sort of edge to the material that you all were intrigued by?
Yes, of course. Just having this little girl defeat these four awful, awful men was amazing and to have that feeling that I am so strong and going to get them. Usually in scripts, I’m the character who’s like possessed or running from all the issues, but Becky is facing everyone head-on.
It doesn’t matter that she’s this little 13-year-old kid, she’s going to avenge the deaths that she’s experienced and she’s going to be the last one standing.
We talk a lot in horror about the idea of the “final girl” and that’s very much where this character sits. Is it exciting as an actor to be part of that tradition with people like Jamie Lee Curtis?
It really is. I was watching some entertainment news the other day and there was this whole segment about the final girl. I was like: ‘I was one of those!’ It’s fun and it’s funny to feel like I’m a part of this.
One of the things that happens in this movie, without spoiling anything, is that some awful things happen to dogs. There are a lot of people who are more worried about things happening to dogs than people.
Honestly, that’s how I am when I’m watching a movie. Like in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I cared about that dog at the end more than anybody else.
I think this was my first time working with dogs and they were huge dogs. Ginormous. I loved them so much. I have a lot of animals at home, but that was a great experience. I was more worried watching the film about the dogs than actually filming it because the finished product feels so much more real.
I love that this is a film where Kevin James runs around with his eyeball hanging out, but people will be more stressed about the dogs.
It’s crazy stuff. We’ve talked about how you’ve been involved in making horror films from such a young age. People talk about how they saw horror films too young and it scarred them. Do you have any of that, or is there a desensitisation having been on the other side of the camera?
I have two older sisters, who tended to show me things too young. My older sister was babysitting me and she showed me Edward Scissorhands, which isn’t a terrifying movie, but I was so young and scarred for life. That and Gremlins, which is so random because now I’m totally desensitised to everything.
But I called him Paper Scissorhands and I was scared that he was living in my parents’ bathroom and it was a whole thing.
You’ve been in this career for a few years now. Do other kids at school think your job is cool?
I don’t know if they think it’s cool. I don’t talk about it that much. But they’re confused about why I’m never at school. I leave for months at a time and then I come back like nothing’s happened.
Do they ever come up to you and say: ‘I saw that Ouija film and you scared me’?
Yes, they do. There were a couple of people that did do that and it always makes me feel a little proud to scare a classmate.
Which projects do you have coming up in the near future?
I have to remember all of the dates. I have a movie called The Glorias, where I play the young Gloria Steinem, which is amazing. That’s coming out pretty soon and it’s a break from the horror genre. I also have an episode of 50 States of Fright on Quibi, which is called 13 Steps to Hell.
That comes out in September and it’s also amazing.
You did Haunting of Hill House with Mike Flanagan and now Bly Manor is coming around. Are you involved at all and are you excited to see it?
I’m not in it, but it looks amazing. I’m so excited. I don’t love watching things that I’m in, but watching [Haunting of Hill House] was so great. It’s weird to say that when I’m in it, but it’s so true and so I’m really excited for the new season.
Read more: Haunting of Bly Manor trailer unveiled
There’s a lot of talk about when actors will be back on sets and when it will be safe. Have you been able to return to work yet?
I’m filming something right now. I can’t say what it is, but I’m in a hotel room and my hair’s brown, so it’s all different. I’m filming for the first time in forever, which is great.
And what’s the experience like, with bubbles and testing?
It’s interesting. I was just tested again today. It’s like a weekly test. It’s not as terrifying as I thought it would be. Flying on a plane, though, was awful. So scary. I’m a germaphobe anyway, so this is like a whole other layer.
Becky is available across digital platforms in the UK now.