By JOSHUA “Prometheus” SCAFIDI
In the fall of 1987, a group of small-town friends must survive the night in the home of a sinister couple after a tragic accident occurs in THE CALL. Needing only to make a single phone call, the request seems horribly ordinary until they realize that this call could change their life…or end it. This simple task quickly spirals into terror as their worst nightmares become reality as they enter the realm of THE CALL. This spine-tingling tale stars horror icons Lin Shaye and Tobin Bell (Saw, Jigsaw), along with Chester Rushing, Erin Sanders, and Judd Lormand. Shaye is best known for her role of Elise Rainier from the worldwide box office hit franchise Insidious. She’s also starred in a variety of horror films including The Grudge, Ouija, The Final Wish, and Showtime’s Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.
We had the opportunity to chat with Lin Shaye about her role in upcoming film THE CALL, as well as her experience working with Tobin Bell. Written by Patrick Stibbs and directed by Timothy Woodward Jr (The Final Wish), THE CALL hits drive-ins and VOD October 2nd! A revenge film at heart with supernatural elements, you can check out the trailer and our conversation below.
Hi Lin, how are you doing?
I’m doing good!
You have a film coming out on October 2nd, THE CALL! What can you tell us, without spoiling too much?
THE CALL is certainly classified as a horror film; it’s pretty gnarly. But it also has some messages, interior messages, about bullying and being mean – and what that can do to another person. As an actor, I always look for the big picture of what the story is about. Maybe that sounds like I’m making too much of a philosophical statement about a little horror film, but I don’t think that’s so.
Tobin and I play husband and wife and I’m a very nice woman. We have a happy marriage, and it gets deteriorated by a group of kids who think they’re just playing a prank. They destroy her – so it’s kind of about destruction, what destruction does to somebody, and what destruction can make someone do to others.
What attracted you to the role?
The script was given to my manager and it was much more dealing with the supernatural. I mean, Edith deals with some really scary stuff in this. She’s been pushed over the brink, as they say. It takes her into some supernatural places, and then takes the kids with her. Without saying too much, it’s kind of a metaphor for what pain can do to somebody and how they can retaliate.
I was interested, thematically, in that – even though it’s kind of a hidden theme within the story. We tried to amplify those elements and it’s still about a woman who’s been done wrong and how that affects her, and then how she retaliates.
Also, when I heard we were going to try and get Tobin Bell I was really excited. I had never met him, and I was looking forward to working with him. Timothy Woodward, the director, I did The Final Wish with him and he’s an extraordinary guy and has an interesting and different personality than you usually come across in a filmmaker and director. Also, I loved the character.
What was it like working with Tobin?
It’s crazy because we both have James Wan and Leigh Whannell as godparents. [Laughing] Not literally, but he did eight films of Saw that James produced and Leigh directed and acted in as well – and James directed, too. I, of course, did Insidious so you would think we would know each other, but we had never met. I was always a fan of his, and we had a really wonderful time working together. He’s an intense and quiet guy, a very beautiful man. He’s got a beautiful face, which he shows on camera, for sure. We had an immediate affection and respect for each other when we met. It was great to work with him.
It’s always good to get along with your co-star.
Totally. No kidding!
So, THE CALL is pretty dark and intense. What did you do to keep it light on set?
It’s funny you know, it takes a long time to shoot a scene, even. You have a lot of downtime. I sort of parcel my time for preparation for the scene, to make sure I’m doing what I need to do to be centered to do the work. Other than that, it’s very chatty. A lot of hanging out and eating peanut M&Ms, kind of chatting through your makeup and through how horrible you look when you look in the mirror. It’s easy to stay lighthearted if you like the people around you, and in this situation everybody was great.
Also, my other co-stars, Chester Rushing and Erin Sanders, they were great. Chester couldn’t have been sweeter. Timothy [Woodward Jr.] works really hard and is wonderful. Everyone had a light-hearted side.
“I’m drawn to story more than a genre. I like smart films that tell you something about something that you don’t always have an answer to.”
If you could sum up the film, describe it for us in one sentence, what would it be?
Oooh… Be careful how you treat people.
I like that, I’ll take it! Now you’ve done a good amount of horror, you must be a fan of the genre…
I am a fan, but that’s not why I do horror films. When you think of genre, you think of drama, horror, and comedy. I’m drawn to story more than a genre. I like smart films that tell you something about something that you don’t always have an answer to. It gives you food for thought to sort of try and answer questions you have about life. I think films are very colorful and have a real possibility to answer questions sometimes. So, I’m drawn to all genres, as long as there’s good characters and a good story.
Now, you have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting, so I’m curious… What is your favorite film, Lin?
My favorite film? Oh boy, that’s a good question. Gee, I could tell you films that have affected me… We were talking about horror, there was a film called Night of the Hunter. It’s an old film. It’s black and white and it’s a beautiful, incredibly scary film with Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters. There are so many fantastic films. Right now, I’m watching The Handmaid’s Tale, and of course, I’m horrified. There’s a horror for ya, wow!
The Joker blew me away, recently. I’m drawn to performances and Joaquin Phoenix is definitely one of my favorite actors ever. Brokeback Mountain is one of my favorites. Those two actors, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. That’s one movie I’ve seen more than once. It’s so beautifully told and heartbreaking.
What’s up next for you? I know you have the reboot of The Grudge coming out. Anything else you want to mention?
I played Ted Bundy’s mother in a little film called American Boogeyman, that will be out probably next year. Ted Bundy is played by Chad Michael Murray. I’m also doing a video game, believe it or not, which I’ve never done before. Motion capture and that whole thing. It’s called The Quarry, and that’ll be out next year, as well. I’m an avatar, so that’s going to be fun.
How’s that been going?
It’s very different. We haven’t shot the scenes yet, but the book for the script is 956 pages. [Laughing] So, I don’t know how it’s going to be, I’ll let you know!
I’ll have to follow up with you!
Will it be on PlayStation and Xbox?
It probably will be because it’s from Digital Domain, which is a really big company. Other than that, I don’t know what’s going to happen next. We’ll have to wait and see if we still have a country next year.
Different times we’re living in, for sure…
Really. Really, really. The theme in THE CALL that I love is “be nice to each other.”
In a world where you can be anything, be kind. I appreciate your time Lin; it’s been a pleasure speaking to you!
Thanks, I really appreciate you. Let’s hope for a better year ahead of us all. Take care.
You too, Lin!
Check out in Lin Shaye in THE CALL, releasing theatrically October 2nd from Cinedigm.