Spoilers Ahead! As the second part of my Fear Street special feature, I had the opportunity to catch up with Julia Rehwald, who played Kate in 1994 and Lizzie in 1666. It's not often that actors have the opportunity to continue in a franchise even after their character dies, but that's exactly what Julia Rehwald did and we discussed all the hard work that went into Kate's very memorable death scene, along with preparing for the roles, and her love of horror movies:
How did you first get involved with the Fear Street trilogy and what made you want to take on the role of Kate?
Julia Rehwald: I first found out about the project through Leigh Janiak, because I was involved with a pilot that she directed before she did Fear Street. She ended up having me send a self-tape audition to submit for the roles of Kate and Lizzie. I sent that in and a month or two later, we had an in-person session.
Leigh and [casting director] Carmen Cuba came to New York to see some East Coast actors and we workshopped some scenes in the room. That was the journey to get there and then they told me that I booked it. Leigh just had me read just for Kate from the beginning and it's exactly the type of character that I would want to write for myself.
Then, they sent over the scripts to read and I remember reading through all of them in one day on my phone. I didn't have my laptop with me, so my eyes were hurting and the screen was so small, but once I started reading the script, it was really hard to stop.
Prior to getting involved with the movies, had you read any of the Fear Street or Goosebumps books?
Julia Rehwald: I didn't pick up any of the books for prep. We did look at the art style of the covers to kind of get a vibe for what they wanted to do for the movies, but I had read Fear Street before as a kid. I don't think I ever read any Goosebumps, but I jumped straight into Fear Street when I was probably the age where I should have been reading Goosebumps instead. I was obsessed with the books as a kid and I also love watching scary movies.
What are some of your favorite horror movies? What did you watch to prepare for the role?
Julia Rehwald: I'm a big fan of the whole Scream franchise, so I did re-watch Scream. Leigh told us to re-watch The Goonies, so I did that because I always love to re-watch [that film]. I also watched another favorite of mine, I Know What You Did Last Summer. Those are the ones that I watched in preparation for 1994, specifically, and I watched The Witch to get the time period vibe for 1666. That's one of my favorite recent horror movies, and Jennifer's Body too. It’s the best!
These movies do a good job of paying homage to horror movies that have come before, while still doing enough of their own thing. What was your experience filming 1994? It seems like the movies are a mix of both fun and terror.
Julia Rehwald: It's really interesting filming a scary movie because, there was nothing that would actually scare you on yet. You have to know that when the sound and the editing comes in, that the final product is going to look scary to the audience, but we don't get to experience that. So I can see the bad guy coming, and the audience hears sound, but there's no actual sound. You just have to do the cue and look at the spot that you're supposed to look at off camera.
Your character's death in 1994 was probably the biggest surprise for me. Up until that point, you’re not necessarily sure how safe the movie is going to play it when it comes to the main characters, and then Kate dies in the most shocking, gruesome, and memorable way.
Julia Rehwald: We did the whole thing all in one day. It was a lot of mental prep and then knowing which beats I wanted to hit in the script. That whole sequence is so physical and emotional. In the moment that I was doing it with Noah, who is our amazing stunt guy that played Skull Mask, it was like I was really there.
We had one chance to get the face dunk in the cake right, and there's only one shot of the flame throwing because they didn't want to do that more than they had to, since it was actual flame. The rest of the day, the makeup team was focused on making sure the cake and the frosting on my face was in the right spot, and that the frosting colors were correct. And then the other half of the makeup team was focused on reapplying blood.
Then, we finally got to do the last bit when he slams me down on the table. I think we only did it a few times and then those were the takes that they ended up using in the movie. They put me through the actual bread slicer, but without the blades in it for the shot. And then you can see him [Skull Mask] pushing cake through, and then they also had a prosthetic dummy that they made of me.
I watched them put the dummy through the machine with the blades in so they could have that shot from above, and then they also put in a bunch of CGI effects afterwards. So it's kind of cool to see the different pieces separately, and then see them all used on top of each other for the actual scene.
Even for me, who was very intimately, physically there, it's hard for me to figure out when it's actually me, and then when it's the effects. It all is very seamlessly done.
It’s not often that a character is killed off in a horror movie and comes back, but you return in 1666!
Julia Rehwald: I knew that there were two separate characters, but I didn't know the correlation or the exact breakdown of what these two would be. It wasn't until I got the script after I booked it, that I was able to figure out that I'm Kate in one, and then Lizzie in the third movie. And then from then on, I knew what the whole deal was.
Creating such a cohesive, fun, and scary trilogy of movies was no easy feat. Having worked on two of the Fear Street movies with Leigh Janiak, what makes her such a great director?
Julia Rehwald: What made Fear Street so impactful and effective was that we knew what Leigh wanted to do, and she knew the story she wanted to tell, and how she wanted to tell it. She wasn't willing to compromise the integrity of that story. She made sure she was present every step of the way to make sure that the end product was exactly how she envisioned it. So she had her hands on in every aspect of the filmmaking process for all three movies. The amount of work, dedication, and love that she put into the trilogy is exactly why it's as successful as it is.
From an actor's standpoint, she was so collaborative and we never felt intimidated or scared to ask questions, or to say we were confused. There was very open communication and she really valued what each cast member brought to the table. It made us feel like we were in a safe space to really explore our character, and our relationships with the other characters. We all just ended up having such a good vibe on set and everyone trusted each other. That trust really stemmed from Leigh, and the way that she led these projects.
The Fear Street trilogy is now available on Netflix! Don't forget to check out my in-depth interview with Kiana Madeira!