Check out our exclusive interview with Obssa Ahmed who plays Victor Pascow in “Pet Semetary” the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s nightmarish stories!
Released in 1983, Pet Sematary is a dark and chilling story of loss and bringing loved ones back to life, with a cost. Following the first adaptation of the book released in 1989, directing duo Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kölsch have brought this classic story back to the big screen, starring Jason Clarke (Louis Creed), Amy Seimetz (Rachel Creed), John Lithgow (Jud Crandall), and Jeté Laurance (Ellie Creed). We were able to speak with Obssa Ahmed, best known for his role in The Expanse and voice acting in Assassin’s Creed: Origins, who plays Victor Pascow, a deceased college student who warns Louis about the burial grounds, and talk about his experience filming and his thoughts on the movie.
The Knockturnal: Can you tell me how familiar you were with the franchise before joining the cast?
Obssa Ahmed: Well I love horror films, I love the unpredictability of the genre and I was familiar with Stephen King growing up. His books were the staple of horror, but I was not familiar with this novel since it was a 1983 novel, and also the other adaptation of the book was in 1989 and that was before I was born. Also, I think this book would have been too scary for me as a young child.
The Knockturnal: Your character in this film doesn’t look so “well”, what was it like working with the makeup team to create that look?
Obssa Ahmed: I spent most of my time on the makeup chair. We had a great special effects team of Adrien, Kathy, Carol, Joe, Vague, and Shane. It took about five hours each time and it wasn’t a pretty sight seeing Victor Pascow at the lunch table. I tried not to traumatize the young children. These two twin boys who play Gage, Lucas and Hugo Lavoie, they were 2 or 3 years old at the time and they didn’t know I was way more terrified than they were seeing them scream.
The Knockturnal: Those kids in the movie are so amazing. What was it like working with them?
Obssa Ahmed: Oh, Jeté Laurence who plays Ellie is a phenomenal actress. I didn’t have much time with her but when I did see the movie I was floored.
The Knockturnal: Jason Clarke is also an amazing actor; can you talk about working with him?
Obssa Ahmed: I spent a lot of time with Jason Clarke, he’s a great actor as well and he was perfect for this role. I remember watching his process before the cameras were rolling. I’d just be quiet, sitting there with the makeup on looking really creepy, just staring at him and seeing how he handled things.
The Knockturnal: In the film, your character gives Jason Clarke’s character some important advice. Who is the person that gives you the best advice in your life?
Obssa Ahmed: The best I’ve gotten in my life is from my father for sure, and my brother.
The Knockturnal: You also have an amazing directing duo. Can you talk about working with those guys as well?
Obssa Ahmed: Oh, it was so great working with the director tandem of Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kölsch. They’re great people and they were able to capture the essence of Stephen King’s novel, yet at the same time put their spin to it and make it much darker, if that’s possible. And they did do it. They are true fans of horror, and you can see it when you talk to them, they are die-hard King fans. They’re also always in sync. I’d be talking to Kevin while on set, and Dennis would be doing something else, and he would tell me something and then he’d leave and Dennis would come and say the exact same thing, so they were always in sync.
The Knockturnal: The movie is incredibly dark and scary, were you ever scared while filming and watching the movie?
Obssa Ahmed: During the filming of the movie, I was terrified of the kids with the makeup effects and their crying, I was terrified of that. I had watched the movie last night at a screening and I knew what was going to happen from reading the script and being in it, but watching it is totally different. I would see it and I’d be terrified and jumping at certain points during the movie, so they got me.
The Knockturnal: What do you think it is about horror that people love the genre so much?
Obssa Ahmed: Well, I always loved horror growing up, I loved the unpredictability of it. It’s not always the cookie-cutter movie or book. With this movie, it’s kind of different, it deals more with the grief and the death and the loss- we also have the gore and the bloodiness and the jump-scares, but this really deals with the loss and grief.
The Knockturnal: Do you think that theme of something so relatable and universal as loss, grief, and death, really hits it more “home” with people?
Obssa Ahmed: Yes, because to just let go is not simple if you lose a family member or if you lose a child. I’m sure you have a loved one and, god-forbid, something happens to them and you have the opportunity to bring them back, even if you know and have had warnings that they won’t come back the same, they’d come back evil, would you take the risk and bring them back, just to say your proper goodbyes?
The Knockturnal: That’s such a tough question because, on the one hand, you want to preserve their memory, but on the other hand, we all yearn for some closure.
Obssa Ahmed: Yeah, and I think a lot of people would think about that, and that’s why this story by Stephen King, directed by the tandem, is so relatable. I went to the screening yesterday and I couldn’t help but think about a friend of mine who I grew up with. His birthday was actually yesterday, April 3, and he passed away a couple of years ago and I couldn’t help but think about that during the movie. I’m sure mostly everyone in the audience has dealt with a loss and you could see it because I was staring at the audience during the movie and you could see it in their eyes and in how they reacted that they could really see themselves in the Creed family.
The Knockturnal: Even the main character, Louis Creed, is so relatable, and that definitely makes the horror so much greater.
Obssa Ahmed: Yes, it does, it’s a family, a normal family that deals with loss, and I’m sure everyone can relate to that.
The Knockturnal: What’s next for you after Pet Sematary?
Obssa Ahmed: What’s next? I can’t say right now, but yeah, I’m looking, I’m looking.
Check out Obssa Ahmed in Pet Sematary in theaters now!