Fans of American Horror Story know that Taissa Farmiga has no problem fighting ghosts, witches, and zombies. In The Final Girls, her character gets tossed into the middle of a slasher movie and takes on a machete-wielding masked killer in a horror comedy that's one of my favorite genre movies of the year. Recently, I caught up with Taissa to find out how she got involved in the movie, preparing for her big fight scenes, and what's next:
You're no stranger to the horror genre with your work on American Horror Story. What made you say "yes" to The Final Girls?
Taissa Farmiga: I read it and I liked the script, but I was like, "I just did American Horror Story, I don't know." The movie is kind of weird, and if you didn't nail it, if you didn't get it 100% perfect a certain way, then it could've turned out not as good.
Then I took a meeting with the director [Todd Strauss-Schulson]. As soon as I met Todd... he was incredible and I understood his vision. He's prepared, and he knew what he wanted. He's decisive, and that was so enticing. His personality fit. He's a little bit of a weirdo, and that's perfect. I like weirdos.
It seems like there was a lot of improvisation on set. How much was improv versus what was in the original script?
Taissa Farmiga: Every day on set, Todd already had a bunch of outlines for everybody. Usually, it was the comedy beats, but sometimes when Thomas [Middleditch] and Adam [DeVine] were in a scene together, stuff comes to them so quickly, so he let them riff, and then you'd have a great scene there. It was mostly with the comedy beats that Todd gave some of the actors some freedom.
Are you a fan of slasher movies? Did you watch any to prepare yourself for The Final Girls?
Taissa Farmiga: I can't just watch a horror movie and leave it at that. The scary parts just stick with me. It kind of infiltrates my brain and sometimes I can't sleep at night, so usually I don't go and voluntarily watch one. I did watch Scream before my audition for The Final Girls because I heard Todd talking about it. I watched it at 3:00am and it was terrifying, but it put me in a good mood, and I nailed the audition.
You go from a character that's unsure of herself to this girl who can kick ass. Was there a lot of training to get you ready for your big fight?
Taissa Farmiga: Yeah, they started pretty early on. They had me meet up with the stunt coordinator, and they just gave me the machete. They would let me take it home and just swing it around and practice and get comfortable with it. For weeks after lunch I would just go and swing it around. It was fun. It was cool, because I had some practice from American Horror Story: Coven. I had this chainsaw scene that was fun...
Yes, that scene in Coven was definitely a highlight of the season.
Taissa Farmiga: Yeah, right? It was so fun to go back and do another big moment like that and prepare for it. We did a bunch of night shoots, and it's like, 4:00am, and you've got to push yourself physically and be there. It was hard work, but it paid off. It looks so dope onscreen.
[SPOILER - Highlight text below to read] The movie sets itself up for a sequel. Are you interested in coming back? Have you talked with Todd about a sequel?
Taissa Farmiga: I would totally be down. I had such a blast on set. It felt like a family. I know a lot people in a lot of movies say that, but this cast was just so good. I would totally come back... to have another experience with these guys would be amazing.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. With The Final Girls all wrapped up, what projects do you have coming up? Planing for a return to American Horror Story?
Taissa Farmiga: I don't know about American Horror Story, but I am doing a TV show called Wicked City right now for ABC. It's this detective story that deals with serial killers. My character is a 21-year-old reporter who gets herself caught up in a web and we've got some blood and guts on that.