In 2013, a new doll was introduced to haunt our dreams when she made her debut in The Conjuring. (So long, Chuckie!) It’s the ladies’ turn, so enter Annabelle. It’s hard to deny the creepiness of the Raggedy Ann doll and the legends that come with it. As a result, dolls have been portrayed as the antagonist in many horror movies. We don’t blame you for being scared of them.
This year, Annabelle: Creation—which explores Annabelle’s exact origin—will be wrapping up our summer blockbuster movie line-up. Actress Talitha Bateman stars as an orphan named Janice who moves into an orphanage where, of course, Annabelle lives. As you can already imagine, orphanages are never a safe place when it comes to horror movies. We had a chance to chat with the lead actress about her career as an actor, what it was like on set, and where she hopes to see herself in the future.
Cliché: Being in a family of other fellow actors and being one of eight siblings, was it a natural instinct to follow the path of pursuing a career in acting? How did it come about for you?
Talitha Bateman: I grew up in a very creative and artistic family, so it makes sense that some of us are actors now. Nearly all of my family is actively involved in the arts. When we were younger, my siblings and I would perform plays for our parents. We’d write scripts and pull together costumes from our closets. That’s kind of how it all started.
When you first started acting, what was your number one dream role? Is it still the same today?
One of my goals when I first started was to star in a horror movie. And now that I filmed Annabelle: Creation, I can check that off my list! I have so many roles I would love to play. I like complicated characters. I would love to play a bit of a daredevil or someone with a deep and compelling backstory. With each project, I take a bit of the character and leave a bit of myself. I recently finished a supporting role in a blockbuster film Geostorm and watching all the effects was awesome. There are just so many avenues to explore. I can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon.
Now that you’ve had a few gigs under your belt, how do you go about choosing what roles you want to audition for?
I don’t exactly choose. I have a whole team of people who join the discussion. They submit me for certain roles that they think I might be interested in and we talk about it throughout the process. I have a great team of people supporting me.
Just watching the Annabelle trailer gives me shivers. What was it like being on the set of one of today’s well-known scary movies? Were you ever scared after wrapping up a day of shooting?
No. I never really got scared on set because I knew it was very safe. There were always so many people around me who were looking out for me. But when I started filming a scene, I was scared because I was in character, and I had to feel the fear Janice felt.
How did the role come about for you in the first place?
I didn’t know a lot about Janice during the audition process. They were very “hush hush” about it and they didn’t give me much to go on. When I booked it and read the script, I figured out who she was and how I was going to play her, which ended up being completely different from how I was originally playing her during the audition process. I think David F. Sandberg, as a director, has tremendous insight into whether an actor can bring what he needs. His audition process is quite unique.
What was your biggest takeaway from playing the lead role in a film?
It was hard. I was working Monday through Friday for a month straight. Even though it was difficult, it was also a blast because I had Stephanie and all of the girls to hang out with. Our dressing rooms were right next to each other, so we’d all eat lunch together the days we were all there.
My favorite genre would probably have to be drama. Not only to film, but also to watch. I like films that make people think.
If you had a chance to star in an upcoming remake of any classic horror movie, what movie would it be and what character would you like to play?
It would have to be The Sixth Sense. I love that movie! It is horror in the truest sense. And I would want to play Cole, even though he’s a boy. Haley Joel [Osment] gave one of the best child performances ever.
You’ve taken on many different roles in your career so far. Has there been a genre or role that you’ve been drawn to the most that you’d like to pursue more of?
My favorite genre would probably have to be drama. Not only to film, but also to watch. I like films that make people think. I have a supporting role in the upcoming movie Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and I know this movie will start a lot of conversations.
I also read you’re a fan of Vera Farmiga. If given the chance to work alongside her, what kind of movie would it be and what roles would you two play?
I would be happy playing a guest star in Bates Motel, just as long as I’d get to meet her.
When you’re not acting, what can we find you doing?
I love hiking, archery, martial arts, basically anything active, or outdoors. But I also love reading. Give me a good book and I’ll be happy anywhere.
Where do you hope to see your career five years from now?
I have no clue. In five years, I could be anywhere, doing anything. I’m happy where I am right now. I’m doing what I love and I’m having fun with it.
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Talitha Bateman On Her Role in ‘Annabelle: Creation’: Photographer: Michael Becker; Stylist: Sarah Kinsumba; Makeup: Grace Phillips; Hair: Steven Mason