Up-and-coming filmmaker Edoardo Vitaletti celebrated the world premiere of his debut feature The Last Thing Mary Saw earlier this week, as the film screened as part of the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival. Starring Stefanie Scott, Isabelle Fuhrman, Judith Roberts, and Rory Culkin, The Last Thing Mary Saw is a supernatural drama set in the 19th century that is centered around two young women whose forbidden love threatens to destroy them both once sinister forces at play are revealed.
Daily Dead recently had the opportunity to speak with both Fuhrman and Scott about their involvement with The Last Thing Mary Saw, and the co-stars discussed their initial reactions to the material when coming aboard the project, their experiences collaborating with Vitaletti and each other, the immersive nature of the production itself, and more.
The Last Thing Mary Saw was recently acquired by Shudder and will hit the streaming platform in 2022, so be sure to keep an eye out for it next year.
So great to speak with you today and congratulations on the film. I would love to start at the beginning and talk about what it was about this project that caught your interest. Was there something specific that drew your interest where you knew you wanted to take on these roles?
Stefanie Scott: For me, it was a no-brainer. I had gotten the offer and was sent the script and everything, and the script was fantastic. It was totally thought out and everything about it got me really excited. And then, meeting Edoardo over FaceTime just sealed the deal. He's great, he had an amazing vision, and I'd never read anything like this before. It takes place in 1843, it’s about these two girls who have this connection, and the story speaks for itself.
Isabelle Fuhrman: I thought it was a really fantastic script, too. Like Stefanie said, I similarly had an incredible meeting with Edoardo where I felt like we really aligned in terms of what story we wanted to tell, which is so much a part of when you're picking what projects to work on, because you want to make sure that everyone's on the same page because everyone reads it separately. So it's cool to collaborate and feel like we're all kind of creating something together. And also, I love Stefanie. When I knew that she was going to be working on it, I was like, "I definitely want to work with Stefanie again." We also lived together while we made the movie. We had a great experience, and to make a movie that's so dark and beautiful at the same time and also have a blast is... I mean, how lucky can you get?
I'm glad you mentioned Edoardo, because I wanted to discuss these characters. There’s so much silence that exists between everyone in this film, and I found that fascinating. Was everything already there in the script, or when you all came together did you work on some of the more subtle beats to these characters? What was the collaborative process like while working with him?
Stefanie Scott: Yeah, I think that was his whole point—the silence of the movie. And every moment, from my memory, it was all very thought out. Every beat that these characters shared, almost every beat, everything was in the script. And even though I'm sure there were moments that came about as the day went on, I think a lot of it really was in Edoardo's head from the beginning. We saw it all and had to try and make it come true in some way or another.
Isabelle Fuhrman: His vision was just really clear and the script was really well-written. When you make a movie about 1843, it's not like there's like a lot of room for improv.
Stefanie Scott: Everything was so thought out for the time period that he never existed in. It was really incredible, that whole world he created in those 80 pages.
Isabelle Fuhrman: I remember my first question was, "How did you write this? Like how?" It's cool to see how it evolved through the script from when we were filming it to now seeing the film. I'm really, really proud of it and really proud of us. And Edoardo. He's incredible.
Stefanie Scott: Yeah, he's really great.
I'm curious, when you're on set and you're immersed in this world, and you're wearing the costumes, and you're in this environment that feels removed from present times, how much does that help inform your performance?
Stefanie Scott: I think the costumes and everything really helped a lot. I mean, it was cold, so we had that as well, which helped us feel the discomfort of that time period. And then there was also the house. The house, for me, made me realize how difficult it is to be quiet and sneak around a place like that. Every step you take, you can hear it throughout the entire house, so that really added to the stakes of how much fear these girls must be going through sneaking around in this house that is so silent. This family is plagued by the silence because they don't communicate and you have these two girls that really just love each other and want to be together, and to feel safe together.
The thing that really stuck with me about this story is that, again, this is a movie that takes place hundreds of years ago, and yet there was something so vital and so timely about the story of these two women and their journey here. Was that something conscientious to both of you as you were coming into this project at all? Did you realize just how much this story would resonate with things that are going on in society today?
Stefanie Scott: I mean, it's timeless in a sense when you really think about it. There are aspects of it, questions that are being asked here, that you could ask at any time, which is quite interesting when you really think about it. I feel like Edoardo asks a lot of really interesting questions in the movie about God and what that means, and how the dark and the light are the same thing. He just poses a lot of very interesting questions.
Isabelle Fuhrman: I never really think about that when I choose projects. I really just look at who the character is and what they're going through, and I look at it like a puzzle. Like I said, you meet with the director and you hope you align in terms of what you want to do. You look at the other actors involved and go, "Okay, do I really want to work with these people? Do I really work with these people?"
Whatever movie you're creating, you want to have a good time and you feel like you're making something together and that you're a part of that process. And so it never really becomes a conscious thought to me until after the fact, because also so much changes between a script to filming to the cut of the film. Even the movie as a whole, I feel like, there were parts of the film that they were going to shoot in the summertime, but because of COVID, they couldn't. So the final cut of the movie is very different from how the script read, even though it is still the same story.
And as an actor, you really just want to make sure that you come to set and step in someone's shoes and say something real and be grounded in your performance and be present with the actors that you're working with and have a good time.
Stefanie Scott: Sometimes the themes in it really start to manifest themselves later on, and the time that you have during production imprints itself on it, too.