This weekend, Kevin Greutert’s Southern gothic supernatural tale Jessabelle arrives in limited theaters and on VOD and to mark the occasion, Daily Dead recently spoke to the film’s up-and-coming star Sarah Snook about her experiences working on the project and heard more on her next role in The Spierig Brothers’ Predestination, which arrives in theaters this January.

Thanks so much for taking time to speak with me today, Sarah. I really enjoyed your work in Jessabelle and thought you brought so much to the role.

Sarah Snook: Thank you so much- this was such a great experience for me.

It really shows in the film that you guys put a lot of heart into this. Can you start off by talking about what initially drew you to Jessabelle and what felt right- to you- about taking on this role?

Sarah Snook: For me, it all started with Jessie’s story. I don’t have much horror experience myself since those kinds of films actually leave me terrified so I didn’t really know what to expect. I just really enjoyed how the story was very character-driven and that it played around with these ideas of identity and being haunted by your family’s secrets. I thought that was all wonderful.

Something else I also realized is that when I was reading the script, it kept pulling me in deeper and deeper. I realized that about three-fourths of the way through I needed to know how Jessie’s story ended so regardless of how much it was freaking me out to read it, I just could not put down the script.

Was Jessabelle an appealing character for you because she isn’t like many of the female protagonists we see these days in the horror genre?

Sarah Snook: Absolutely; that could be said for female characters in any other film genre as well. There’s a lot to her and a lot that she’s forced to deal with, all very suddenly, and that was really interesting to me. I know the horror genre can be known for using stereotypical characters- and most of the time, that’s a lot of fun- but I always gravitate towards good characters that I think can connect with audiences and have something to say as well.

How was it collaborating with Kevin on Jessabelle? Did you guys get a lot of prep time before shooting?

Sarah Snook: Working with Kevin was really wonderful; I really love him and we got along great. The first time we ever met was really quick so I didn’t necessarily think I had the role right away but he called me shortly after then and told me I was going to be Jessie  and I couldn’t believe it. Everything moved really fast on Jessabelle too- I think I flew out the following Monday to North Carolina to start working and it was all a whirlwind.

But Kevin has such a respect for the craft of filmmaking, and for horror movies in general too, so I knew this story was going to be in good hands.

There was a lot that was required of you for this role- both physically and mentally- and especially because for most of the film, you’re character is confined to a wheelchair. How did you prepare for that going into Jessabelle and did you feel a lot of pressure considering that the film spends almost all its time with your character?

Sarah Snook:  I did have to do some mental preparation in some ways but I think most of what I had to really work on was being able work within the confines of the wheelchair because there’s a lot you don’t really think about until you’re stuck in that chair for hours. Blocking was different and I had to adjust my performance a lot because I had to react to so many different things from this finite space. And that was a big challenge.

And I don’t think it really hit me until the day before we started shooting that I was going to be in practically every scene of Jessabelle.  That gave me a bit of a panic attack actually (laughs) just because I wasn’t sure about how I was going to pull it all off. But I have a really good friend who is a huge horror fan and I think the best thing I learned from her was to approach everything with a sense of wonder and let the script do the rest and that really helped.

You have another genre-related project on the horizon, Predestination, with The Spierig Brothers. I’m a big fan of Daybreakers so I’m looking forward to this- are you able to tell us a little bit about that film?

Sarah Snook: Sure! Predestination is this really cool sci-fi drama/thriller that has some time travel elements to it so I think fans are going to really enjoy it. It’s very different, very unusual and I had a blast working with The Spierig’s and with Ethan (Hawke) too.  I can’t say too much about my character but I play a male and female character and there’s of course a lot more going on there than I can really say right now. But I am excited for fans to see it- we had a great time making it.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.