CS Interview: Lin Shaye talks new horror venture The Call
Just in time for the film’s debut in select theaters, ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with horror genre icon Lin Shaye (Insidious franchise) to discuss her role in her latest film The Call, in which she stars alongside fellow genre vet Tobin Bell (Saw franchise).
With starring roles in the horror genre going back to 1982’s Alone in the Dark, Shaye is no stranger to the world of terror but in looking at The Call, she found her interest in joining the film came from its “old-fashioned” story with “a really great twist to it” and getting to reunite with the man behind the camera.
“As well as the script, it’s also always the people and Timothy Woodward, who I did The Final Wish with, he agreed to direct it and I was really excited to work with him again,” Shaye brightly expressed. “Patrick Stibbs was the writer and these were very open-minded people in terms of creativity and team effort, so I love working with people who listen to me, I’ve ended up having a pretty big mouth as I got older [laughs]. If something doesn’t work or I feel it needs this or that and I feel uncomfortable, I bring up my ideas and I love people that collaborate, so that was actually as much of an issue that made me want to work with the script as the script itself, I was really happy working with these people. I think it’s a terrific story, we really played around with how much witchcraft it really was and how much it was about being damaged, which was more appealing to me. I find the metaphysical, sometimes, a cop out in stories, I’m much more interested in the human element and finding this woman’s heart, who she was and what bullying can do to a person was a really interesting thing to me. I wanted to amplify that, if possible, throughout the story and I think we did, so it was really a fun project to work on.”
In looking at her work getting to the heart of her character and the creative challenges that came with it, Shaye found that it was this attempt to blend the more grounded nature of her character and her plight with some of the witchcraft elements that come from her situation.
“She took to heart the hatred in the town and so finding the mix of what that would be of not just hocus pocus stuff, but is really about an adventure into the heart of darkness really, which doesn’t necessarily have to be metaphysical, but you know the story itself has many metaphysical aspects to it,” Shaye explained. “But there’s all those answers in it that we don’t know, all the questions we don’t have answers to, I felt that finding the mix of that and how it led us to the horror that she becomes and the she can bestow on others was just a fascinating theme and a challenge, keeping it both real and metaphysical.”
In her nearly 40-year career as a scream queen, Shaye has mostly been seen on the protagonist side of stories and when it came to confronting her villainous side in this film, she found that the collaborative nature of the set and the crew really helped her tap into an important side of the job.
“You mean what was it like being on the opposite end of Elise,” Shaye poked with a laugh. “It was fun, one of the best things about acting and the most fun is you get to examine, in a safe way, your own demons and that kind of volatility and hostility that she embraces finally is really fun to be able to vent in a safe way.”
Not only did The Call allow her to tap into a mostly unseen side of her for audiences, but it also gave the 76-year-old star a chance to work with fellow genre icon Tobin Bell and in looking at her time working together on the film, she recalls it was “such a treat.”
“I would joke that Tobin and I had the same godparents in Leigh Whannell and James Wan,” Shaye chuckled. “We had never met and I was always a fan of his because I think his work is beautiful, he’s a wonderful actor and has that great beautiful face. We didn’t really have that much chit-chatting, it was very immediate warmth and appreciation and respect and he’s a wonderful actor. He kind of works in the same way I do and there was a real quietude to being off set, we didn’t ever really sit around and bullshit, we met each other, we embraced each other, both with a hug and also with a ‘It’s really great to meet you,’ he knew my work as well as I knew his, it was a real treat. The fans will love it, the scenes we have together are really beautiful. That also makes the pain stronger because you care about both of us, I think immediately.”
Aside from the various chills and thrills the film throws to audiences, Shaye hopes that viewers can really see and dive into its themes of “misunderstanding and hatred” as they leave their local drive-in theaters.
“The kids are nasty, they’re not bad kids, they have their own issues that we find out over the course of the film, which is what I think is so incredible about Edith is she takes their worst fears and shows them themselves and through that defends herself,” Shaye described. “It’s like saying, ‘You can’t hurt other people and not expect to get hurt yourself.’ That’s, maybe in a weird way, the theme of the movie, they don’t get away from the abuse that they bestow upon this person and this family and they have to pay for it and so be careful what you, be careful during the pandemic how you speak to people. It’s important to be kind, maybe that’s the one-liner, it’s important to be kind.”
With the nation still mostly shut down, the film is coming to audiences this week at select drive-ins nationwide and Shaye is thoroughly excited at the prospect of the old-school release method, believing it to be “the best place to see this movie, period.”
“There’s something about that feel, there’s an old-fashioned feel to it that is bigger than life and to be able to sit in your car and cuddle with somebody with a mask on is probably a great way to see this movie,” Shaye expressed. “I’m sure it’ll be great when it’s on VOD and all those other formats, but there’s something about seeing this movie on screen that there’s nothing like it, they’re built for that and they’re made for that and I think it would be a real treat to see this with someone that you’re eating popcorn in your car with.”
Four Friends. One Phone Call. 60 Seconds to Stay Alive. 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 Shaye and Bell alongside Chester Rushing (Stranger Things), Erin Sanders (Big Time Rush) and Judd Lormand (SEAL Team).
“Pairing Tobin and Lin, or Saw’s Jigsaw and Insidious’ Elise Rainier as they’re known to horror fans around the world, brings so much terror to the screen,” Emmy-nominated director Timothy Woodward Jr, said in a statement. “Their chemistry is undeniable, and the power of their scenes splinters off, creating this dark, macabre world these characters are forced to survive in.”
Directed by Woodward Jr., The Call was written by Patrick Stibbs and produced by Final Destination creator Jeffrey Reddick, Stibbs, Zebulun Huling, Gina Rugolo and Randy J. Goodwin. Executive Producers include Nicolas Chartier, Jonathan Deckter, Matthew Helderman, Joe Listhaus, Drew Ryce, James Shavick, Kirk Shaw and Luke Taylor. Co Producers include James Cullen Bressack and Chaysen Beacham.