We recently covered the news that at least part of Insidious Chapter 2 will be taking place in the past, and multiple actors have been hired to play younger versions of characters from Insidious. Lindsay Seim took on the the role of young Elise Rainier (Lin Shay's character), and I had a chance to learn about the horror movie that traumatized her as a child, preparing for the role, and working with James Wan.
Had you seen Insidious before taking on the role of a young Elise Rainier?
Lindsay Seim: I did. I'm a little bit of a chicken when it comes to horror films and tend to cover my eyes a lot. I did have friends who knew all about James and Leigh and they took me to see it.
Have you always been scared of all horror movies or was there a specific movie that traumatized you as a child?
Lindsay Seim: That's exactly it. Of course, I can watch them now from a technical aspect and see how it was fun to shoot. However, when I was four years old, my parents went out to dinner and the babysitter snuck her friends into our house. They watched Poltergeist and I had been on a steady diet of things like My Little Pony and Sesame Street. The movie absolutely traumatized me because I didn't know what was real. I've definitely seen the classics, like The Exorcist, The Shining, and Psycho, but they all scare the crap out of me. [Laughs]
It's interesting that you mention Poltergeist, because a lot of horror fans saw parallels between that movie and Insidious.
Lindsay Seim: It is very ironic and I did think about it a little bit. I tried to block out the movie, but I thought about it the first day on set. Everything comes full circle.
How did you get the role of Elise Rainier? Was this something you had to audition for?
Lindsay Seim: It was a pretty quick turnaround for me on this project. I got a call and a couple of days later, I went in to read. I was excited because this was a good solid role with amazing material. I felt that I really had a chance to sink my teeth into this. Just under a week later, I got the call to get fittings done, they chopped six inches off my hair, and away I went. Three days later I was on the set, so it was really quick for me.
You're playing a younger version of Lin Shaye's character from the first movie. Did you spend a lot of time watching her role in Insidious? Did you have a chance to meet with her before filming?
Lindsay Seim: The first thing I did was get the movie and really just focus on Lin's segments specifically. It's a great honor and challenge to embody another character, especially Lin who is so well respected and played a great character. I wanted to honor what she did and got to meet with Lin briefly. She was the sweetest and we got to sit down for a while and talk. I was really conscious to not do an impression of her, but keep her presence in mind to inform what I did. I'd close my mind and imagine her character in the scenes. I play a version that is a bit more green and young in my career as a medium, but she was the backbone for me and I hope that shines through.
What was your experience working with James Wan on-set?
Lindsay Seim: I had a huge amount of respect for him, going into it. I knew that he had this incredible eye for detail, but what I realized watching him work, is that he brings a lot of elegance to the craft. He made me appreciate what it takes to make a uniquely scary film. The details are all in his head and it seems like he knows exactly how he wants to do everything. He's said before that if the audience can see the scene, they can't be scared and that's why his films are incredible.
This crew in particular had worked on multiple films back-to-back, so watching them work together was kind of like dancing because they know each other so well and can anticipate each other. Everyone was so polite and it was a great experience to observe everything going on around me.
A number of actors joining this sequel are playing younger versions of the characters from the first movie. Without going into spoilers, is your scene an isolated flashback or does the movie call back to the past regularly?
Lindsay Seim: I would say that the flashback aspect is definitely well-incorporated into the storyline. I can't say anything else without giving anything away. I don't want to say too much.
Do you have any interesting stories from your time on the set?
Lindsay Seim: We shot a large part in a house that was built in the 1800's and it was the real deal. I felt like I was in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and it was freezing in the house. It was really odd to walk into this darkly lit house because it was warm outside, but everyone was walking around in coats and gloves. The house was terrifying, but everything was so awesome and I was so excited.
I was also little shocked that they chopped my hair off. Instead of putting me in a wig, they chopped it into a sexy mullet [laughs], but honestly they could have said that they'd dye my hair purple and I would have said: "Let's do it!"
Now that you have your first horror movie out of the way, are you interested in taking on other horror roles that may be offered to you?
Lindsay Seim: As an actor, horror movies are the most fun, because you really feel it and it's almost like playing as a kid. With that being said, I like the fact that my character was interesting and unexpected in a horror movie. I feel like I haven't fulfilled my covered-in-blood part of a horror movie, so of course, it would be a blast and I'd love to sign up for a bunch more after this.
There are dozens of horror conventions each year. Is that something you're interested in taking part in after fans get a chance to see you in Insidious Chapter 2?
Lindsay Seim: Of course! I have a lot of respect for the horror community and I'm sort of excited to be considered a part of it. The fans or so loyal and knowledgeable, and I'm excited to see how they react to this. I'd be there in a heartbeat!
I'd like to thank Lindsay for taking the time to chat with me, and we'll be following up with her after the release of Insidious Chapter 2 to discuss her role in the movie. I convinced Lindsay to join Twitter, so make sure to follow her at @LinzoSeim for updates on upcoming projects and Insidious Chapter 2.