Later tonight, Octavia Spencer is bringing the party to theaters everywhere with Ma, but before it’s time to tap that keg, we have one final interview with co-star Corey Fogelmanis from the recent press day for Ma. During our conversation, Fogelmanis (who plays one of the main teens who gets wrapped up in Ma’s twisted endeavors) talked about taking the leap from Disney programming to psychological horror with Ma, his experiences working with his fellow co-stars, and the impact that Spencer had on everyone during production.
Look for Ma in theaters later tonight!
What was the initial appeal of Ma and how did you then get into the mindset of what Andy's role is in all of this and where he fits in with this dynamic between these kids and Ma?
Corey Fogelmanis: The initial appeal, to be quite honest, coming out of a Disney show, I've been really adamant about doing projects that allow me to challenge myself in ways that I wasn't challenged then and that help me grow and help me or just allow me to stretch myself and show different parts of myself in my work. So this script was so much of that. I was really excited for personal career reasons, but then also the script was so fantastic and even the idea of working with Tate and Octavia was so exciting. There wasn't really anything not to be excited about. I'm super happy with how it turned out.
And then in terms of my character, Andy, he’s a super sweet guy. I like to say that he's the designated driver of the group, and I feel like that says a lot about who he is. He follows the rules and he loves his friends and tries to do the right thing. It takes an interesting turn when Octavia's character takes a turn, so slowly over the course of the movie, it becomes very odd and off-putting and from an actor's standpoint, that was very exciting to me. So I do hope people enjoy that.
Can you talk about the influence of having somebody like Octavia around and leading the charge on Ma? I know you've been working in the industry for a long time, but I think Octavia brings a certain energy to this project.
Corey Fogelmanis: Yes. So much, honestly. I can't imagine having done this without her. We shot this so quickly. We had 25 days, I think, which feels like a lot of time, but there's so much that happens and watching it back I'm like, "Wow, I can't believe we did that." We didn't have a lot of time and so we really had to go into every day so focused so we could get everything we needed and still have time to play and have fun. Octavia was really great at that. I think we've been saying that she was the most perfect captain of our ship that we could have asked for because she really came into each day asking, being very communicative, saying, "This is what I need from you guys today." Or, "I was watching the dailies last night and let's have a little more of this."
She was really looking out for all of us in the film. I think that's part of what makes it so great, because she was so committed and she really helped elevate us and bring us to the next level. She was wonderful, and I'm so grateful that we got to work on this together.
Did you enjoy heading to Mississippi for the shoot and bonding with your cast members then?
Corey Fogelmanis: Oh, yeah. We shot this in the middle of rural Mississippi, so we had a lot of free time and not much else to do. So we did end up spending a lot of time together, which I think was super beneficial. But then at the same time, a lot of the characters, I feel like we each brought a lot of ourselves to that. Because we had such good chemistry in our chemistry reads and all of that stuff, we were able to bring a lot of our real-life friendships onto set. A lot of that fun that we are having in the film is real and genuine, and I'm so excited to have had this experience because it's going to be so much fun to look back on.
How was it working with Tate as a director? Was he really hands-on with you guys or did he step back and let you guys breathe a little bit?
Corey Fogelmanis: Tate was actually really willing to let us trust our instincts, which I thought was really cool. As a teenager, having a director that respects your insight and what you have to say about certain things is not something you have all the time. Tate was 100 percent there with us. He did step back and let us figure it out and bring ourselves to it. But then of course, if there was something that wasn't working he would step in and tell us exactly what we needed to hear. But Tate was so awesome in that respect. I think so much of the tone and everything that comes out in the movie and what makes me so proud of it was Tate's vision. So I'm really grateful that I got to work with him.
I know we're getting close on time, but something else that roots this story is the blossoming relationship between Andy and Maggie, and you and Diana [Silvers] were really great together. Did you enjoy collaborating with her on Ma?
Corey Fogelmanis: Diana and I did our chemistry read together with Octavia. We talked for maybe three or four minutes before and we just clicked. And that just continued on once we got to Mississippi. We spent a lot of time together. The first week of the shoot was just Diana and I. The rest of the kids hadn't shown up yet. So, we got to spend a lot of time and explore Natchez. There's so much history there and she loves that stuff, so it was really cool to have that time set out for us to get so comfortable, because I really do feel like it matters and it does affect the performance.
Check HERE to catch up on our previous coverage of Ma, including Heather Wixson's review and her interviews with Tate Taylor, Juliette Lewis, and Diana Silvers!