I got the audition off a website called LA Casting which is one of the only resources young actors have when they’re first starting out and don’t have any representation.
I submitted myself and went to a tiny theatre in West Hollywood.
There were girls going in ahead of me and coming out shaking their heads and seeming frustrated and I had do idea what was going on in there. I went in and sat down.
Usually in an audition you hand them your headshot and they ask you certain questions and that kind of thing.
In this case I walked in and sat down and Oren, the director, said to me, “Why is your house haunted?”
I just immediately jumped into it and started telling him why my house was haunted and I was just making it up and creating it as I went, and that’s how the audition went.
We just sort of talked back and forth and improvised and then he was like, “Oh thank you so much.” And I left and that was the beginning.
Later on we had call-backs and that’s when I met Micah for the first time and it was the same thing. He said, “Tell me about when you guys met.”
And Micah and I started talking about our trip to Europe how we were both students and we had gotten into each other... and of course none of that was real.
We had just met right then in the room, you know. But we clicked.
We shot the first film in seven days.
We went and filmed a few extra endings afterwards, there were a few extra days tacked on but the majority of the movie was filmed over seven days.
I remember we filmed the movie’s first scene first, but other than that we didn’t shoot chronologically.
I think Oren would have loved it if we could have filmed chronologically but we didn’t really know what the chronology of the movie was going to be so we had to be creative and keep trying things.
Improvisation is the most fun process. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had acting, that’s for sure.
It was incredibly creative and especially on the first one, when it was just the three of us.
Oren knew what he wanted and he knew where he needed to go but he was so open to hearing our ideas and we really did create something.
We filmed so much, we’d film something that didn’t work and we’d toss it and keep going so there was always this fluidity in filming.
That process actually stayed throughout the sequels as well.
The Paranormal Activity team are really good at keeping that creative flowing process going so that we’re always thinking of ideas and shooting.
Because it’s such a small crew and a family atmosphere, even on the sequels, it’s easier to do.
I’ll never forget the moment I found out Steven Spielberg had seen our movie.
I’d just parked my car in my garage and I was walking in and Oren called and I was getting mail out of a mail-box and he said, “Well, Steven Spielberg saw the movie and he was so scared by it. He loved it.”
And I just sat down in front of the elevator and was like, “Really? Is this happening?”
Lord. I will never forget that. I had my mail next to me on my bag and I’m just sitting in front of the elevator talking to Oren going, “Tell me you’re not joking. This is unbelievable.”
We ended up having three different endings and the process was such that we always were thinking of something, filming it, seeing if it would work, filming something else… So it was exciting.
We ended up with an ending that’s more effective, an ending we knew would really excite the audience.
And of course it was inspired by the notes that Steven Spielberg was giving.
That’s not too bad to know that you’re taking notes from Steven Spielberg. I was all right with that. It was really fun.
The first time I watched it with an audience was terrifying because I had no idea whether they were going to like it.
And then it was fascinating. I love the film, but I've seen it so many times it’s not particularly scary for me.
So to hear people scream and to see ballplayer guys cowering in their seats, was an incredible feeling.
Even the smallest things got a reaction, things I hadn’t even noticed before.
Sometimes there would be the tiniest little shadow, or there would just be an extra moment of silence that didn’t even faze me, but the tension created in the room was so palpable that people were reacting to that!
To see people respond that strongly was just so neat. It’s so fun that people were enjoying it. It was really joyous.
Paranormal Activity 2
We still did huge improvisation on the second one. I would say we had more outlines than scripts.
When I came in to shoot Paranormal Activity 2 , I had more of an idea of what as going on, but they still had that vibe where if someone thought of something and it was suitable for the film then we would do that.
The creative atmosphere was still there, which was great because that’s what makes the movies work.
That ability to keep thinking and keep filming and keep filming and let the best ideas come through is so important.
Obviously, I was in the second film less, so I when I saw the finished film, I found myself getting scared at the parts I hadn’t seen yet.
There was so much of it that I wasn’t there for, so that was really fun.
And it was the same for the third one.
Paranormal Activity 3
It was great to watch a younger version of a character I helped create, because she’s so good. Chloe’s so sweet.
We met on set. We bonded really quickly.
I was braiding her hair one day, and I told her this and it’s true: If there’s anyone that should have played a younger version of a role that I originated then it’s her because she’s just such a dear.
It was fun to see what she did with it and what she took from the information that was already out in the world about the character but she also made it her own. It was really interesting.
I think it’s a really cool balance between really honouring what we created in the beginning and adding onto it in a way that’s really interesting.
The third one creates more questions that hopefully an audience will want to see answered and really deepens the story and the characters themselves.
I feel like, “Oh man. I really want to know about this now.”
I really want to find out what happens next. I think it’s exciting.
Paranormal Activity 4
I know that it comes out October 14 here in the States and I would love to be a part of it so we’ll see how that all happens, but nothing’s definite on my end yet. Fingers crossed.
I think it’s really important to me and to everyone on the team that we continue to make really intelligent, quality Paranormal activity movies.
We’re all pretty committed to that. It would be easier to just hurl something out there but I don’t think anyone would do that.
I’m touched that people consider me a horror icon, but I just feel like me.
I just feel like me and I feel so blessed and thankful to be a part of these movies with these people.
The rest of it feels separate to me, like I’m observing it all happening but it’s not really happening.
We had a midnight screening when my mum was in Texas and she went to see it. Afterwards, my mum saw a girl crying in the bathroom.
The girl was so scared and said, “I’m so terrified” and my mum was like, “It’s just a movie. That girl’s my daughter.”
She said, “No, no, it’s real. It happened. It’s terrifying.”
And my mum actually had to pull out a picture of me that was in her purse and show the girl and say, “No really. You don’t have to be this terrified.”
I’ve yet to have an encounter with a fan that wasn’t positive.
Everyone is always so nice and excited.
Either I’m easy to talk to or they feel like they know me because there’s normally a feeling of friendship with people.
I get great fan mail and I always respond to all my fan mail and twitter and Facebook.
I just have so much great interaction with fans. It’s so nice that people appreciate what we’re doing. I’m thankful that they’re sticking around to watch the movies.
Paranormal Activity 3 is released on DVD and Blu-ray Triple Play on Monday