RadioFree.com: How did your experience of working with writer/director Mike Flanagan on Oculus segue into a reunion on Ouija?
ANNALISE: Well, I worked with Mike on Oculus when I was 13. Then I got to work with him again on this project, which was super cool. It was about three years later. And I know that isn't really, objectively speaking, a long time, but I feel like I had changed a lot as a person. And mentally, I was in a different place. And I was also a junior in high school, so having to do school and balance this job where I was working [long] days was so difficult. And having this cast and having Mike there, especially, was a great experience for me because I felt super supported.
To what extent were you able to collaborate with Mike in developing your character Lina?
Well, he had written it so well that I really didn't have a lot of questions. And Lina is someone who is super relatable, because she's dealing with regular schoolgirl things, like falling in love and experiencing that first love, and then also having to deal with super crazy, chaotic things. Which hopefully, for everyone, is not a supernatural "sister being possessed" situation. [laughs] But we did develop the character together, but not in a way that changed the storyline at all. Because it was already there, I didn't really have to ask questions.
Your bio has traditionally mentioned that you have a black belt in taekwondo. Does that type of training help during the filming of more physical scenes?
For sure. And I also do ballet, and I've started up krav maga recently...I think there's definitely a physical aspect of it that, as an actor, you have to be prepared for, especially when you're doing your own stunts. So it's important to be well versed in different physical activities. [laughs]
How would you characterize your relationship with the horror genre?
I like scary movies! I mean, one of my favorites is The Babadook. But I also like The Witch, which isn't really a horror film, it's more like a thriller. And just getting to watch those movies and experience a different side of horror, where the film actually has substance...Like Ouija, it's not your typical horror film. It's not "stupid teenagers go out and smoke pot or drink and then one of them dies, and it's like, 'It's a monster!'" You get attached to these characters. And I think that's the scariest part of it, because these are real people, they're relatable people. And that's scary.
You've talked about the importance of education...Are there plans for college in your immediate future, or will you be focusing on acting instead?
Well, I'm definitely planning on going to college right now. And I'm taking those steps, I'm applying, I'm testing. And right now, I'm balancing [work and school]--you know, I missed school today to do ten hours of press. Which is difficult, because when you miss days at a time, you're expected to come back to school [having] gotten the notes and everything. And I'm a senior in high school right now, so there's a lot of responsibility there. And education is super important to me, so I do definitely want to go to college. Not necessarily for acting, but I want to major in foreign language and minor in the classics or art history, something along those lines. But when I do go to college, I want it to be something where I can commit my full time to it, so I may take a break for a year or two, or maybe just keep coming back each semester. But I don't want to stop acting, either...
I'm glad to hear that, because you've been doing great work.
Thank you! Maybe I'll do theatre because I want to go to school in the UK.
[nonchalantly] Just do it all! Study abroad while you continue to crank out top-notch peformances...!
I'll try. [laughs] Thank you!