There’s an enduring myth surrounding kids who appear in horror films. How did Tobe Hooper shield Heather O’Rourke from the horrors everywhere during the production of “Poltergeist”, William Friedkin with Linda Blair or Stanley Kubrick with Danny Lloyd (Kubrick apparently became determined to protect Lloyd from the scariest content – even in the scene of Wendy shouting ‘how could you’ at Jack as she backs away, she’s holding a dummy)?
It seems no such protection was needed for Talitha Bateman, who plays the disabled Janice in Annabelle: Creation.
As the 15 year old actress tells Moviehole.net from the LA set of the sequel to the 2014 hit, she isn’t bothered by horror – to the extent that she even liked “Annabelle Creation” director David F Sandberg’s breakout debut “Lights Out”. Now there’s a creepy kid…
Tell us who Janice is and how she fits into the story.
My character had polio and has to wear a leg brace and walk with a cane so most of the time she’s limping and she can barely walk, she can’t run at all. The other girls kind of make fun of her for that so she’s really sad most of the time. But she has her friend Linda (played by co-star Lulu Wilson), who is kind of her little bubble of joy, that’s what cheers her up most times.
What did you enjoy most about working on “Annabelle: Creation”?
The stunts! I love doing stunts. I’ve done some stunts in the chairlift that goes up the stairs. I did some where I flew up in the air, they were really fun. It was cool to watch the stunt double do it first to make sure it was safe, but we did it twice more.
Did you have some fun scenes with the creepy doll?
Yeah, that’s been really cool. I shot the one in the dollhouse where I find Annabelle in the closet behind the secret door with all the bible pages. That was actually freaking me out a little bit. We also shot one in the bedroom where Linda comes in and the Annabelle doll turns her head and looks at her. Also very creepy.
How long have you been acting?
Two and a half years. Not too long.
Do you want to do it for you job when you’re older?
I do. Definitely.
What do you like about it?
You know how musicians get to touch people with their music with a really good song? I like that some actors can do that with a good plotline, with a good story.
Did you watch any horror movie to get ready for this role?
I just kind of prepare right before action! But no, I just watched the first “Annabelle”.
Are you a horror fan?
Things like this don’t really scare me, not as much as real cases, those are creepy. But I like some horror movies. I watched Lights Out, that was cool.
Were there any moments on the set where you were really scared of something, or was it always fun?
It was always really fun for me! Right before I went into the harness I got a little scared, which isn’t normal for me because I’m kind of a daredevil.
But it’s not scary on the set when you’re actually filming?
No. They have a ton of people around and everybody is looking out for me making sure I’m okay between every take. Everybody is really nice and kind on the set, so it’s not easy to be scared other than when I have to be.
What kind of director was David F Sandberg on set?
David is really cool to work with because he’s so new to all this, he’s used to just doing it in his apartment with his wife. So it’s really cool to work with him because he would literally be in the scenes. I’ve never worked with someone who was in the shot.
In the dollhouse scene I was talking about, he was right behind the dollhouse while we were shooting with his own personal monitor, so every time they said ‘cut’, he would just pop his head up and give me an instruction.
Sometimes directors remove themselves from the process.
And that can be good too because it will give me a moment to get into character. But it’s really nice to have him right there to tell me how he thinks I should be or if it was a good take. Some directors I’ve worked with are very controlling and that can help too with my character cause I understand how they want it to be. But David just gives me freedom as an actor and I really like that.
You’re doing well in genre films like this and “The Fifth Wave”. What do you like about them?
“The Fifth Wave” was really cool because I got to carry a gun and I got to wear all this army gear. That was fun because I was pretty much just running around shooting people.