“We really wanted to make it real and beautiful between these two girls”
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY SHUDDER
In the mood for an atmospheric period film to cosy up on one of these rainy winter nights with? Well, you’re in luck because The Last Thing Mary Saw premieres on Shudder today. Set in New York 1843, Mary (Stefanie Scott) lives with her repressively religious family. Things are bleak, but she manages to find fleeting moments of comfort and happiness in the arms of the family’s maid Eleanor (Isabelle Fuhrman). Their love is forbidden and perceived as an abomination. Mary’s family steps in and the two girls’ safety is put under threat. It’s a slow burn that still manages to keep viewers on the edge of their seats through its use of horror and gothic conventions.
Stefanie Scott is no horror novice. She’s previously starred in the Insidious franchise, Girl In The Basement and Hell House. Despite the restrictive environment and use of silence throughout the film, Stefanie’s performance is compelling and hooks viewers in. I chat with Stefanie over the phone and talk to her about the film, queer narratives and I even get a chance to ask her about Lesbian Jesus AKA Hayley Kiyoko.
What attracted you to this role and film?
I was pretty interested right off the bat. The director Edoardo had sent over the script and the mood board. I just hadn’t seen anything like that ever come across my path. Something that took place in 1843, the really interesting storyline between Mary and Eleanor, along with all the supernatural horror elements and the artistic way he was going to pull it off. I couldn’t say no.
Do you think that there’s been a shift within the genre of horror for representation, both of female characters’ and LGBTQI ones?
Yes. I’ve been acting since I was like twelve. Compared to then – obviously I was going out for much different roles – but I’d say in the last couple of years I’ve noticed an incredibly positive difference. In the different writing and the different representation onscreen and in scripts and the things that people are trying to get made as well.
What was it like working with Isabelle and how did you both go about developing your onscreen chemistry in the restrictive environment you’re having to navigate within the film?
Isabelle and I have been friends for a really long time and we’ve worked together before so we already had a great friendship going into it. I guess the restrictiveness is really easy because we were just trying to pretend that we weren’t having a good time together and enjoying each other’s presence. Obviously it’s a little bit different, there’s a lot of sexual tension and a lot of silence, and they’re going through a lot of very traumatic experiences together. Us developing that chemistry together was super easy just because we’d already known each other for so long. During the filming of the movie we actually lived together, we were together all the time and I totally love her so it was good.
What has the response been like from LGBTQI fans?
I think that they’re stoked, which makes me stoked. That’s definitely something that Isabelle and I kept in mind with our relationship and the relationship of our characters’. We really wanted to make it real and beautiful between these two girls. I hope it reads across the screen.
I won’t be forgiven by the DIVA audience if I don’t ask you this. You’ve previously worked with Hayley Kiyoko quite a few times now. What was that like and do you have any collaborations set up with her for the future?
I’ve been friends with her since I was 17. We did a video together for her song, Girls Like Girls, we did the movie Jem And The Holograms together, and then I did Insidious, which then she became involved with, we just grew really close. She was kind of like an older sister to me. We’ve been working together for a while and have a lot of ideas to hopefully work together again. She is just awesome. She’s got a great vision. This business is really hard. I’m just really impressed with her and all the things that she’s overcome. The opportunities she’s basically made for herself and been really successful at doing so.
What do you hope viewers will take away from the film?
I hope that the viewers are left on the edge of their seats. I know that it’s kind of a slow burn, that’s something that I really appreciated about the movie. I think there’s a poetic aspect to it, due to Edoardo’s writing, that I really appreciated. They’re kept up in this cooped up environment, where they are supposed to be in obedience to God at all times, but the very thing that’s lacking there is the love.
The Last Thing Mary Saw is available to stream on Shudder
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