(Photo by FilmMagic

The Boy Behind the Door Star Kristin Bauer van Straten Talks Shudder’s Horror Pic

(Photo by FilmMagic)

Before you read this interview, you should really check out The Boy Behind the Door on Shudder. Seriously. It was impossible to talk to actress Kristin Bauer van Straten without revealing a major plot point in the film. Go ahead, watch the movie. We will wait. All caught up? Good.

In The Boy Behind the Door, a pair of kids are kidnapped and taken to a mansion in the middle of nowhere. One of the boys is taken into the house, chained up, and left to be used and abused by a man who paid a lot of money for the chance. The other boy is left to die in the trunk of a car. He escapes, and sets about rescuing his best friend, the eponymous boy behind the door. Kristin Bauer van Straten caught us up on her new role in this decidedly dark film.

Alyse Wax: So tell me a little bit about your role in The Boy Behind the Door.

Kristin Bauer van Straten: I guess there’s no way to do that without a spoiler alert, but basically, I try to kill these kids for 90 minutes. Yeah. Which is, it is kind of a spoiler beause there is a reveal that it’s me at one point, but once again I’m a psychotic killer and enjoying the hell out of it.

So what was it about the role that drew you to it?

Really it was Justin Powell and David Charbonier, the directors, because my agents called me and said, look, we know they are fairly young and it’s a lower-budget movie, but they just raved about these guys. They said they’re very talented and they told me about the work they’ve been doing and they just convinced me that these, I’m going to call them kids because I’m older than they are, but that these kids were up and coming incredibly talented people. Then I met with them and there’s just no way to deny them. They’re just incredibly sweet and lovely and creative.

So when you were on set with them, did working with them live up to your expectations?

It did. It’s a really daunting thing to take on a movie. Also, we had quite a bit of stuff to shoot in each day and they work as a team, which I had never been with co-directors before. They worked so beautifully together and they found the best locations and the best cast to fill out the group and these kids that I worked with were incredible. It’s a bizarre thing to find young kids where you can put in this kind of intense situation doing night shooting. I mean, I’m literally wrestling this child. He’s climbing on my back. I’m swinging that to them and axes and I’m shooting him. It’s crazy what I did with this poor kid. It was a great experience.

I was gonna ask about working with kids, especially in such a dark film. Was it difficult? Were there any sort of precautions or anything that had to be taken to look out for their wellbeing or were they like super into it?

They were super into it and their parents are there and I just apologized to their parents before and after the scenes. Being on the set is such a great collaborative experience. It’s really my favorite, one of my favorite things to do. I’ve tortured and killed so many people over the year and really we’d go for it between action and cut, and then mainly we’re laughing and hanging out, talking about basketball or whatever. It’s actually more fun than people can imagine when they’re watching the movie. I mean, that’s, our job is to make our fun terrify people. I never ceased to be amazed at how different the experience is of doing something and then watching something.

Working with kids, were they like pranksters or anything in between scenes?

No. They’re more just little adults. It was interesting. They kind of didn’t hang with each other, but they were probably in school and things like that, but they were more well behaved than me and Stephen Moyer were on True Blood. They were just really more professional than I was. I see that it’s the beginning of their careers and so they’re more diligent and serious. But I don’t know, I was wondering if they were like really short 20 year olds, but they weren’t.

Did they teach you anything to keep you in line? Or were you the troublemaker then on this set?

I would’ve loved to be the troublemaker, but their parents are great. I tried to behave and I think one of the harder emotions to access as an actor because it’s so awful is fear. What we’re used to feeling anger and sadness. But as a human being fear is just one of the worst things to ever encounter. I remember an acting teacher telling me that right off the bat fear is hard and these kids did such a good job going for it when they would see me coming and whatever that scenario or that scene was in. We were out in the middle of the night, like the craziest location. That’s another fun thing, we shot this in LA and I’ve been lucky enough to shoot a lot of things in LA, and the locations that we go to I’ve lived here for 30 years and would never ever know these places existed.

This was a house, a mansion, that was abandoned on the top of this hill. Surrounded by dirt and oil wells. It’s so weird because you go through Baldwin park and then literally you take a left at this beautiful park and go up this hill to a chain-link fence, where we had a guard who would let people in and let us in. Then you drive on the dirt road, nothing for what feels like ever, and then you get to an abandoned mansion. We were in the thing all night, and it’s abandoned. I was barefoot in this house, and my feet would be black by the end of the night. In the basement scenes we did, when I was hiding around the corner waiting to hear action, I’m like, “Oh, that’s rat shit.” There was no way to possibly clean this house, and you wouldn’t want to remove the dirt in a movie like this, but there was just no way to make this a house that hasn’t been sitting there for over a hundred years.

Wow. I would’ve never have been guessed that it was shot in Los Angeles.

Right? It’s incredible. It was a house by a very rich family, of course. They put oil wells everywhere, and at a certain point, I don’t know if they went broke or there was a family dispute, they just left the house. Somehow it’s still there and you can rent it.

Your character being a woman is a surprise or a twist in the film. I guess you knew going in that you were going to be the “bad guy.”

I did not know how they were going to reveal that. So one thing that happened was that they shot a lot of that. A lot of the stuff where you don’t see me, you just see a figure, with someone else and before I was there, and then when I showed up, they did that hairstyle on me, to hide that I have long hair basically. I was like, that’s weird hairstyle. I really questioned it. Then ultimately went all right, it’s your movie and she reminded me a bit of the hairstyle on the grandma in Psycho, when he was really the grandma. It’s like this is really a grandma hairdo. But then when I saw the movie, it made sense and it did make it more creepy and it did work. I do think that it is kind of a surprise that it’s me, who’s the killer.


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