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The First Omen cast spooked by crucifix that spontaneously 'snapped in half' on set

Nell Tiger Free says the religious symbol broke after filming a highly-charged scene

Watch: The First Omen say a crucifix broke after a possession scene

Nell Tiger Free was midway through filming a scene for The First Omen, the upcoming prequel to Richard Donner’s classic antichrist horror, when something spooked her.

The 24-year-old – best known for leading M. Night Shyamalan’s series Servant and playing Myrcella Baratheon in Game of Thrones – was acting opposite Ralph Ineson, also a Game of Thrones alumni, when, out of nowhere, his necklace broke in two.

“Ralph plays Father Brennan and he had this crucifix on,” she tells Yahoo UK. “We had just done a possession scene so tensions were high. And I was just locked in a gaze at his necklace, at this crucifix, and, I promise you, it just snapped in half.

“This crucifix just fell off of his neck. And the two of us were like, ‘What?!’ And because emotions were running high, we genuinely thought we had just seen a ghost.”

Ralph Ineson's Father Brennan was wearing the crucifix when it suddenly broke on the set of The First Omen. (20th Century Studios)
Ralph Ineson's Father Brennan was wearing the crucifix when it suddenly broke on the set of The First Omen. (20th Century Studios)

In The First Omen, Free plays a Catholic nun who sees terrifying visions of the devil that may or may not be true. She travels to Rome where she’s taken under the wing of Bill Nighy’s Cardinal Lawrence, who offers some protection from her demons.

Nighy has a history with frighting films, having appeared in the Underworld series and comedy-horror classic Shaun of the Dead, and was luckier than Free on The First Omen, avoiding any real-life scares – though that may have been because of his socks.

Bill Nighy's Cardinal Lawrence wearing his finery in The First Omen. (20th Century Studios)
Bill Nighy's Cardinal Lawrence wearing his finery in The First Omen. (20th Century Studios)

“I was wearing holy socks,” he says. “Everything I was wearing was sanctioned by the church. I went to the Vatican tailor, I was measured and dressed by the Vatican teams, which would have made my grandmother very happy.”


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While Nighy may have not been frightened on set, he’s hoping that The First Omen leaves an impression on anyone watching.

“[Another journalist] came in earlier and said that the film had traumatised her and that's pretty much what we're looking for,” he says. “People pay their money — they don't want to come out [of the cinema] un-traumatised.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 26: (L-R) Bill Nighy and Nell Tiger Free attend The First Omen - Premiere at Regency Village Theatre on March 26, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for 20th Century Studios)
Bill Nighy and Nell Tiger Free star together in the horror prequel. (Getty Images for 20th Century Studios)

“It can be fun, when you play these scenes,” he continues. I mean, it gets really daft as well as harrowing. It’s also preposterous. And therefore, in between [filming scenes], it can be very, very funny. And often it's a case of keeping a straight face.

“I’ve played a vampire on a few cases, which involves a lot of hissing, which is just daft. But it's good fun. And often, as soon as somebody says cut, the crew fall apart laughing because they've been trying to keep a straight face for the whole time.”

The First Omen is in UK cinemas from April 5. Watch a trailer below.