From Matilda to Abigail, Alisha Weir's terrifying transformation into Dracula's daughter

The young Irish actor has gone from charming schoolgirl to deadly vampire ballerina

Watch: How Alisha Weir went from Matilda to Abigail

Alisha Weir has had a more varied career than most adults. Two years ago, aged 12, the young Irish actor played the adorable lead in Matilda: The Musical. Now, she returns to our screens in a role that couldn’t be more different: as the murderous vampiric Abigail.

Originally envisioned as a remake of Dracula’s Daughter, the movie — titled Abigail — centres on a group of mercenaries who kidnap the young girl and use her as a bargaining chip to extort money from her mysterious father. Of course, things quickly go wrong, as Abigail unveils herself to be a blood-sucking ballerina.

For Weir, the experience became truly real when she saw herself in full makeup was a strange experience.

“It definitely was a shock when I saw it all pieced together,” she tells Yahoo UK. “I had seen just the teeth and just the tutu, but one day, we got to put the teeth, the eyes, the makeup, we were doing a test to see what it looked like with the full outfit on, and when I first looked in the mirror, I wasn't scared but I was shocked because I looked very different.

Irish star Alisha Weir has gone from adorable Matilda to deadly Abigail. (Netflix/Universal)
Irish star Alisha Weir has gone from adorable Matilda to deadly Abigail. (Netflix/Universal)

“The teeth really make Abigail. Her spiky teeth. It was strange at the start, and I had to get used to it, but by the end, I was so used to all the blood and the tutu and everything. It was just normal transforming myself into this crazy character.

“But when my friends saw the trailer, they were all shocked. I was getting messages like, ‘I don't think I could see you the same, Alicia, you look so different.’”

Watch a trailer for Abigail

Before Weir landed the role, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Scream VI, Ready or Not) were unsure they would be able to find someone young and capable enough to play Abigail.

“We had a lot of nerves about casting that role,” says Bettinelli-Olpin. “Then our casting director was like, ‘Hey, you guys should watch Matilda.’ We watched Matilda and we're pretty blown away.

Alisha Weir as Abigail in Abigail, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett. (Universal Pictures)
Alisha Weir as 'vampire ballerina' Abigail. (Universal Pictures)

“We met her on Zoom, and she was so nice as a human, which is always the first thing, we just want good people to work with.

“Then her audition was so good, and so gripping and scary that all of us started texting each other saying, ‘Oh, we found Abigail, she’s got to play Abigail.’

“The first day on set she showed up and we still have those nerves because we haven't actually been on set with her [in person] yet. One take later and we were like, ‘Oh, great. We don't have to do anything.’

“She's directing the movie,” laughs Gillett. “[And with Matilda] a double feature. Great double feature.”

Abigail is in UK cinemas from 19 April.

Read more: Horror movies