Chemistry is everything. Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson, the young stars of “Annabelle: The Creation,” have it in spades.
They play orphans who are desperate to stay in the same home – even if that home is haunted by a blood-thirsty satan doll. The film’s central focus is their friendship and the – to put it lightly – strain put on it by the horrors found in their new house. Through scare after scare, though, their onscreen chemistry stays electric. Bateman plays Janice, a polio-stricken optimist who really wants this new home to work out. She’s constantly teased by her fellow orphans yet never totally loses hope that things will turn around. Bateman brings a heartbreaking mix of melancholy and resolve that makes you root for her even as things take a decidedly dark turn. Wilson plays Linda, the funniest and most relatable of the bunch. She’s creative and cunning and practically pops on screen with her big eyed stare and quick wit. We interviewed them ahead of the movie’s release to talk about how teamwork makes the scream work.
Talitha your character really transforms as the movie progresses. How fun was it to play different roles in the same character?
T: It was really fun because they’re polar opposites. With most things, I book I’m one character throughout the whole thing, whereas this one I really transformed. I got to play this really sweet and innocent character, then switch to this evil character who wanted to kill everyone in the orphanage.
Lulu this isn’t your first horror movie. You’re an old pro at this point. When you walk on set is still terrifying? Or is it no big deal?
L: Well I really don’t get scared, but it’s never like ‘oh it’s nothing.’ Cause that doll is really creepy. And knowing in the back of my head that the Annabelle doll was a real doll, and that the doll actually got possessed, kind of terrifies me. But I try to get past it when I’m on set.
Did both of you study the classic horror franchises, because at this point The Conjuring and Annabelle are massive franchises.
L: I watched all of The Conjuring movies and the first Annabelle. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies myself, so I just take from each role that I like and each movie and kind of add that kind of style to my own style and into my character.
T: I’d actually watched a lot of the horror movies beforehand. What really helped me prepare for the role was I found out my character had polio two weeks before we started shooting. So I walked around with a cane to figure out how I was going to play her. Because I didn’t want it to come across on screen like she just got polio, because obviously she’s had it for a while. So I wanted to get use to that idea.
Lulu I found a lot of people in my aisle really rooting for you, screaming “Linda!” Are you super tough in real life?
L: I guess, I don’t even know. The only thing I draw the line at is roller coasters. Those kind of freak me out. But anything else I guess I would say I was brave. I do get kind of freaked out if people jump out at me, cause then I have the instinct to punch them in the face. And like, knock them out.
There was a lot of rapport between the two of you. Did you do anything to build that rapport on set?
T: I think from the get go we really clicked and got each other. And we knew we were going to be really good friends from when we first met.
Do you have any plans to work in horror in the future?
T: I hope so. I hope to be blessed to work again in another horror movie. It would be incredible. This one was definitely a great first experience because Annabelle: The Creation is huge.
Is it scary seeing yourself in a different context? There’s a certain scene where you look particularly scary.
T: I don’t want to spoil anything, but it was weird watching the film with all these VFX and the music. It’s weird seeing your face on the big screen and seeing people reacting to you.
The film hits theaters this Friday!