As art student Skye, Aimee Teegarden finds herself caught up in the deadly curse of The Tape in Paramount Pictures' Rings. The inevitable meeting between Skye and Samara is one of my favorite scenes from the film, so I was excited to speak with Teegarden about smashing screens in that intense scene, working with Johnny Galecki, and what creeped her out the most on set.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today about Rings. I really enjoyed your character [Skye] in particular.
Aimee Teegarden: It was such a fun role—she [Skye] was so much fun to play. My dad was there [at the screening] with me last night and he was like, “Wow, you were really angry, weren’t you?”
Skye shares many scenes with Gabe, and it’s great to see Johnny Galecki play this totally different role than people know him as. What was it like working with Johnny in that capacity?
Aimee Teegarden: I had never met Johnny before we started production, and then he texted me—I think I got up there a couple of days before he did—he texted me and was like, “Hey, do you want to grab a drink and get to know each other?” and that kind of thing, and we just hit it off. He is such a sweetheart and so wonderful and giving and gracious and such a true professional, and so gifted. It was such a fun project to be on because of Johnny.
I feel like Skye makes his [Galecki’s] character a better person because she seems to change his mindset in the movie. Do you think there was a romantic element between her character and Gabe, that there was some true romance there?
Aimee Teegarden: There could have been something a little more between them, and I think there’s some stuff that happens off-screen between the two of them. I do think she kind of gets him to come to his senses and actually feel some kind of empathy for what he created, and bring him back to Earth. It was a really fun thing to dive into.
My favorite scene of the entire movie is your scene with Samara in the apartment. It was really fun to watch that with an audience and see them react to the intensity of that scene, watching you rip the TV off the wall and face Samara—can you talk about shooting that scene with Bonnie [Morgan], who plays Samara?
Aimee Teegarden: It was so much fun and super exhausting. I broke at least three TVs. At first, they were like, “Oh, we’re not sure if you should do the stunt,” and I was like, “Oh no, I got it, I’m fine, I’m totally cool, let’s do this.” And so that was actually me and it was such a fun thing to do—all the laptops I broke, throwing them and breaking them. And then Bonnie crawling out underneath the TV frame—she goes through like nine hours of makeup for all of the prosthetics. And it’s freaky, it is so freaky in real life.
[Spoiler Warning] And mixed with that was my dummy. I did the life-cast for that dummy and she’s so freaky. I did everything—it was teeth, my hands, and my feet, and seeing my dummy sitting there—it wouldn’t register to anybody else, but seeing her hands, I was like, “Those are my hands.” I could pick those hands out. It was so creepy and weird. [End of spoiler.]
We shot it over a couple of days and there was lots of screaming and lots of bumping into things and falling over, but it was such a cool thing to do—screaming and throwing Julia [played by Matilda Lutz] against the wall, it was great.
Do you have a favorite moment from working on the film? When you look back, what stands out to you about the experience?
Aimee Teegarden: Probably shooting that scene [with Samara]. Skye is very much in control in that scene, where she’s luring her lamb into the lion’s den, and to have that not go as she plans leads to the unraveling of it all—going through her different stages of disbelief and anger and trying to fight it and manipulate the situation. It was very fun and exhausting, and I definitely ended up with some bruises afterwards, but that was a really fun thing to be able to do.
It seems like Javier [Gutiérrez], the director, really took the time focusing on the characters themselves and then incorporating the horror. What was it like to work with Javier on the film and what did he bring to the table that you really enjoyed.
Aimee Teegarden: Javier’s great. He’s had such a colorful life, too, and so being able to really talk about the characters and where they are and storyboard the whole thing, and talk about where they are in the arc, was such a great experience throughout the project. And to really be able to communicate where we are and what’s going on emotionally and physically with these characters was so helpful.
Were you a fan of the Ring franchise before coming on board Rings?
Aimee Teegarden: I was a kid when it came out, and I remember a bunch of my friends went to see it, and it was a freaky thing for months afterwards anytime the phone would ring. It was so iconic at that time and so interactive—you really carried it home with you. I was glad they were going to do a new installment and this opportunity came up, and I was like, “Yeah, I think that would be super fun.” In my own personal time, horror films freak me out too much, so I tend to steer clear of watching horror films on my own, but it was a great experience.
You’re no stranger to the genre. You’ve been in Scream 4 and Beneath the Darkness and films like that. Do you enjoy working in this genre in particular, do you try to incorporate a horror project every now and then?
Aimee Teegarden: My philosophy with my career is mostly to just mix it up with a little bit of everything in moderation. And that’s what makes my job so great, is that I get to constantly do different things, put on different hats, be different people, and mixing up the genre really lends itself to that.
It looks like you have some exciting projects on tap. Is there anything on deck that you can tease?
Aimee Teegarden: I have a film that’s going to be in the Miami Film Festival in March that’s called A Change of Heart. And I’m coming back to do another episode of The Ranch on Netflix this season, which is actually where I am right now, we’re taping tonight. So that’s what’s happening right now.
In case you missed it, check out our interview with Bonnie Morgan, who plays Samara in Paramount Pictures' Rings, which is now playing in theaters.