June 6, 2015

Lin Shaye Nerds Out About Insidious: Chapter 3

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Over the past thirty something years, Lin Shaye has become a familiar face to cinema fans around the world, instantly recognized for her amazing work in the film industry. With such an outstanding resume, Shaye really has done it all, and time and time again demonstrates her ability to carry a role on the big screen. Most notably, she has appeared in countless genre flicks over the years, including ‘The Signal’, ‘Snakes On A Plane’, ‘2001 Maniacs’, ‘Contagion’, ‘Critters’, ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’,  and thats just to name a few. Shaye will once again return to The Further in The supernatural thriller Insidious: Chapter 3, (hitting theaters June 5,2015). Her hard work in the horror industry and impact on the genre was acknowledged by Fangoria as they recently honored her with the title of “The Godmother of Horror” at this years Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia.

We recently had a chance to catch up with the lovely Lin Shaye to discuss her career and upcoming projects. Check out interview as we get all sorts of nerdy with the “Godmother of Horror” herself!

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What can you tell us about the story behind Insidious: Chapter 3?
Lin Shaye: It is truly an origin story. It is beautifully written and beautifully rich. We meet Elise at a very different place in her life than you see her in the first Insidious. I was delighted because the story is much more soulful and richer than even I would have come up with thinking of the background. Generally as an actress, I always try to come up with a background story even if it’s not given because it helps me greatly as an actress to perform the character in full. When we meet her, she is at a very dark place in her life and the character was filled out in such a loving and meaningful way.

Did you find yourself facing any challenges during the making of this film?
Lin Shaye: There’s always challenges! (laughs) The challenge is getting there! To work out the scenes and the challenges of an actor are very different than what people would expect. The scenes never go as you would imagine because you have so many element involved. One of the biggest challenges was that it was a very emotional role for me and to be able to marry my emotions with the technical stuff was sometimes very difficult.

What do you think will make the third chapter in the Insidious franchise stand out from the previous 2 films?
Lin Shaye: This is the scariest of the films by far. It is going to scare people in ways they are not expecting because of the emotionality and the depth. People are going to be caught off guard by the way they feel. It’s really an exciting film.

Does shooting a film that deals in such dark subject matter effect your head space and way of thinking even after they call after “Cut!!”?
Lin Shaye: Yes, it is. I like to say your body doesn’t know you are pretending. The physicality of the film and actually the physical place we shot in, as in the beginning of the film we are in a real house, but most of the film is shot on stage in this dark, dank, giant box of layers and lights with these big guys and really tiny corridors and they also used a lot of theatrical smoke to create the atmosphere. It was cold and you couldn’t see anything, so being in that environment and the film having quite an emotional curve to the story, you would go home and be miserable (laughs). Like I said, your body doesn’t know you are pretending, so you put yourself through that 12-13 hours a day, you go home and kind of fall asleep and then get there first thing the next morning and it is really quite an altered state. It’s fun because you know there’s that part of your brain going ‘this is just pretend’ and I think they are paying me (laughs) You kind of put the reality back into the story, so you can balance it out a little bit. You’ve got to be able to draw that line for yourself and as an actor you can’t always control how emotional you get and how crazy the character becomes, but you still have to have the tiny speck of yourself that goes ‘I can come back when I need to’ even if you are still in an emotional state. It’s a little bit of both, you can get lost in the feeling and the emotionality and physicality and at the same time there’s my dog when I go home, so it’s all good (laughs).


What were some of the differences between working the first time director Leigh Whannell on this film versus horror guru James Wan on the previous two films?
Lin Shaye: They had different styles and I think Leigh, having never directed before, well, he took to it like a duck to water. Both of the guys are so tremendously gifted. Between the two of them, James is more of the cineophile of the two, he’s the visionary, in terms of actual visuals. He just never really got into character very much. When I got cast, he trusted that me, Patrick Wilson, Rose Bryne and Barbara Hershey and Ty to do our thing and I would say ‘hey, I’ve got an idea here’ and he’d love that. If he needed something particular for a scene and there was a line that I came up with that was really funny he would say ‘that’s a great line, but we really can’t use it because I’m cutting to this or building to that’. He really knew how to build the scenes to create tension. Now, Leigh, who is a performer, as well as, a director/writer, is a more emotional guy. They are both equally emotional, but I think Leigh because he’s a performer, his approach was more emotional and he would sometimes even act out stuff for me. It was hard a little bit because I wasn’t used to that and I was so clear about what I wanted, but I said ‘hey, you know the character better than anyone, because you wrote her’ and often he would give me some little pieces of information of his imagination that were fabulous because I would incorporate it into the character, which I hadn’t even thought of before. There were times when it would work against me a little bit, but not in a negative way, but it just surprised me that he would be discussing that part of character before a scene. Ultimately, we were a fabulous team. Equally they both got great performances out of the actors with two different approaches. This is the scariest of the three films without a doubt! It’s scary on levels you are going to be very surprised about and that’s partly Leigh too, because he wrote that and knew how to build the emotionality in this story that is a little bit different than the others.

What is your opinion on the use of CGI versus old-school effects in horror films?
Lin Shaye: I’m all for the old-school. I think with CGI, as fabulous as it can be, you always know you are watching CGI. Just because I am old-school, it doesn’t really take me in, it takes me a bit further out. I know that James made a conscious decision when we were doing the first one that he wanted a dark space with a lantern end of story and it lets the audience create the demons in the minds. I think that is part of the success of the series, is that there is no CGI. As far as I know they are not using it in this one either. These are just practical effects that are done with darkness, lighting, smoke and just the character acting. Often what you don’t see is scarier by watching the person react. A lot of people’s favorite scene in the first one is when I look up at the fan in that very first scene and I see the demon for the very first time. We shot that the second day of shooting and James said ‘you are going to look up at the fan and you’re going to see something’ and I thought ‘okay …’ so, I look up at the fan and what I saw was a spinning fan with the light, but I made it up .. what exactly I was looking at and there was no dialogue written. I started mumbling this thing, sort of what flew in my head was the picture that was on the boys wall which was of the demon, so I kind of started this inner dialogue and I heard James say from behind the camera say ‘he has hooves’ and it became a truly scary moment for a lot of people. There was no CGI, no anything, except a spinning fan and James Wan mumbling to me and me being hopefully a good actor (laughs). The fear is on my face, not on what you are seeing, so I am definitely old-school about all of that. I think what you don’t see is a lot scarier than what you do see because then each person defines what’s scary.

What personally scares you?
Lin Shaye: I think loss is a big one. Losing the things of comfort. Being confined, like being closed in somewhere where I can’t get out is a scary one for me. And people scare me (laughs) bad people scare me, but I like to believe, as Elise does, that what you put forward is what you get back. I really do believe in energy. That is a real thing and we know that is a real thing and I think that to put out your best energy is always a positive thing both for you and the people around you. That also alleviates fear. On whether whether she prefers horror over comedy acting roles Lin Shaye: I love them both. I love every genre. I like to consider myself a storyteller, so anything that’s a good story, that’s got a big heart, and heart meaning not necessarily sweet, but that’s got a center about something important and that has great characters and good people is what I’m attracted to and it can be any genre. I love the horror genre. I love comedy. I love drama. I love action. I truly love it all. But if it’s not a good story, no matter the genre, it’s not fun. I love acting and I love my life, so I’m a happy girl.

Are you excited for Insidious: Chapter 3? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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About the Author

Sean McAloon
I am a Philadelphia based journalist, who is obsessed with movies and television. I is also a comic book enthusiast , although i can't keep up with everything. I like to spend my free time trying to working on short films. I currently work as an editor for and, focusing on entertainment news, interviews and public relations. I studied business management & marketing at Goldey Beacom College.



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