Maybe it's our array of terrifying animals or the backdrop of our rugged outback, our bush ranger anti-heroes or our isolated locus, but Aussies sure know how to make a truly terrifying horror film. When brothers Dani and Michael Philippou (of the YouTube duo RackaRacka) debuted their latest horror feature Talk To Me earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, what ensued was a bidding war that ended up with A24 victorious.
A24 have not only been at the top of the horror movie game as of late (hello Hereditary and Midsommar), but revolutionised the genre. What was once considered a B-grade canon of work, never quite accepted with the kind of critical success or award-show honours that action flicks and dramas had long-enjoyed, has now become one of the industry's biggest-selling genres. Talk To Me is already garnering much critical acclaim in the first few days of its cinematic release, and its two stars – Sophie Wilde and Zoe Terakes – are taking it all in their stride.
Wilde and Terakes sat down with RUSSH to discuss their latest film together, and dish about their favourite horror films, the challenges of the genre, and what drew them to the project and to each other.
What drew you both to the film?
Sophie Wilde: I think the script. The script was just like so amazing and interesting. And I think it was reading that last scene, and i was like: "Slay! Yes! I want to do this".
Zoe Terakes: The boys drew me to it. I think once I'd spoken to them and seen how jazzed they were about making it – their energy is just so infectious and you're just kind of like "Oh, you really want to make this? I really want to make it really bad too!" You know? It really rubbed off on me.
Are you guys big horror film buffs?
SW: I actually can't watch horror films. Like, at all. But you know making one is actually quite fun. I feel like it de-mystifies that process a little bit. Maybe I could watch a horror film now.
ZT: I love horror films, but would watch them and then need like, a friend to sleep in my bed. But now I don't need that! Growth [laughs].
Do you have a favourite horror film then?
ZT: I have the one that fucked me up the most, which was this weird movie called Rest Stop. I watched it in Year 8 and it traumatised me, and I can't pee at a rest stop now. I can't. I will not do it. I think it's the scariest movie I've ever seen.
What were the biggest challenges in each of your respective roles in this film?
SW: Oh my god [laughs]. It was a lot. It's quite an intense role and definitely requires a lot of you physically and emotionally – which is actually very exciting as an actor to have the opportunity to have a character that has that much range. But you know, that definitely is challenging. It was a lot of me sitting in the corner, listening to Death Grips. That was my main 'in' to those kind of emotional beats.
ZT: It was a pretty big fucking gig for Soph! [both laugh] For me, I just got to be a big bully! It was pretty extraordinary watching Soph. And also with the possessions, because they're quite, like, embarrassing. I had to do one, which was just in the montage for a bit, but it's really vulnerable because, the crazier you are the better, but it's really scary to be crazy in front of a room full of people. Watching Soph lead the way for everyone was pretty cool.
SW: Love you!
ZT: Love you!
Did you find that it was easy to draw up on that emotion when you needed to?
SW: For the possessions it was kind of easy, because there's something kind of liberating about not having to be confined to naturalism. It's so heightened, that there's something kind of easy about it.
ZT: And playing something so far away from yourself. I was playing a grieving Spanish woman in my possession. I just let rip!
SW: And they fucking SLAYED that scene.
What was the best part of working with Danny and Michael Philippou on this project?
ZT: Uno! [both laugh]
SW: And that's all we're gonna reveal about that!
ZT: They are so extraordinary! They are such incredible minds. I'm just so obsessed with them. There's nothing like, boy genius about them. They are so humble and kind of don't know their own brilliance, but are just cranking out the most extraordinary work in a way that's just never self aware.
SW: Their energy on set is infectious, and exactly what was needed especially when you're doing these really intense roles – to have them cheering you on from the sidelines. It was so special. They really feel like family.
ZT: They're like our annoying brothers! [both laugh]
Did either of you know them prior to this experience? Or was this your first introduction?
SW: I feel like I knew of RackaRacka. Like, I feel like I've watched some of their YouTube videos when I was in Year 7. But I wasn't a RackaRacka stan.
ZT: I didn't even know what it was until we got to Adelaide, and then I binge-watched the videos and they're fucked! They are fucked up! Like how did those people make this movie?
SW: They are so brilliant.
What was the best part about working with each other?
ZT: We knew of each other before this.
SW: But this is the first time we've properly hung out.
ZT: Yeah! It was. We just vibed.
ZT: Just like 'You okay babe? You OKAY BABE?'
What else is coming up for both of you?
SW: I've got a Netflix show coming out later in the year, which I'm excited about.
ZT: I've got a Marvel show coming out, but I don't know when. [laughs]
Looking for more A24 goodness? We've rounded up 24 of the best A24 films to binge now!