The First Omen star says creepy Apple TV+ series Servant helped prepare her for horror prequel – and reveals which scene she found the most disturbing as a viewer

Nell Tiger Free in The First Omen
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Warning! This article contains spoilers for The First Omen. If you've yet to see the film, and don't want to know anything that happens, turn back now.

The First Omen star Nell Tiger Free reckons she could never have done the horror prequel without having done creepy Apple TV+ series Servant first. 

"I think everything was kind of a natural progression, and things I did on that show lend themselves to this film, for sure," she tells GamesRadar+. "I learned so much from it."

Servant, which saw her play a religious young woman who comes between a wealthy Philadelphian couple after they hire her to look after their lifelike baby doll, and The First Omen, which invents a backstory for The Omen antagonist Damien Thorn, are very different plot-wise. Yet both demanded a lot from Free during filming, as they are thrust into fictional worlds full of mystery, tension, and dread. 

For a 15, The First Omen is surprisingly violent, too, which is something that shocked Free when she watched the film back for the first time. Set in 1971, it follows Margaret, a twenty-something novice who moves from the US to Italy to begin a new life of Catholic servitude. Soon after her arrival, though, she finds herself unknowingly unraveling a wicked plot to bring about the Antichrist. 

You don't need to have seen many horror movies before to deduce that Margaret is a very important cog in that conspiracy and before long, she makes a horrifying discovery: she's pregnant, and the infant is likely the devil's spawn.

Nell Tiger Free as Margaret in The First Omen

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

"When we saw it finished, I think it's that scene where they're performing the caesarean on me," Free confesses, referencing a scene towards the end of the film. "It's a difficult watch and I think it would have been more difficult for me to watch if it had been somebody else and not me in there, because I obviously know what's going on in my head the whole time. But that scene is so visceral and it’s really tough to sit through. It was definitely the scene that surprised me the most because I was so all over the place while shooting it that you don't actually really take into account what it's going to look like when that's all done, and it's wild."

"I haven't actually watched the movie because, no disrespect, but I never watch anything I'm in," her co-star Bill Nighy, who plays the morally bankrupt Cardinal Lawrence, interjects. "But I remember one scene where it was my job to vomit blood and die, basically, and it's a big clean-up every time. During one take, Nell moved differently in a new, inspired way – I was supposed to vomit somewhere near her, like her stomach or something – and she moved and suddenly I vomited blood all over her face."

"It was brilliant! I loved it," laughs Free, as Nighy continues: "I thought, 'Well, there goes the rest of the morning because she'll have four hours in makeup now and it's all my fault. Then Arkasha [Stevenson], the director, came around the back of the monitor and just whispered, 'That was incredible', and Nell was just beaming at me. I was like, 'Oh right, these people are weird… and actually quite serious about this whole thing.'"

The First Omen is in cinemas now. For more, check out our list of the best horror movies of all time, or our guide to the most exciting upcoming horror movies heading our way. 

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.