In Annabelle: Creation – which details the history of the demon-hosting doll named Annabelle first seen in The Conjuring – we see it terrorising a bunch of orphaned girls.
One of those little girls is Janice, whom the evil entity sees as easy prey since she wears a leg brace after suffering from polio.
American Talitha Bateman portrays Janice effectively in the film – ensuring the audience goes on the horrific ride with her character every step of the way.
In an e-mail interview, Bateman said this about her character: “I wanted people to feel for her. (While) I wanted to reflect that vulnerability in her personality, I also gave her a layer of toughness.”
Admittedly, Janice makes some bad decisions that get her entangled in Annabelle’s creepy web. To get into that right mind-set, Bateman thought of Janice “like Alice in an unlikely Wonderland, ‘curiouser and curiouser’.”
The actress, who turns 16 on Sept 4, has always wanted to try her hands in the horror genre.
She elaborated: “I think it’s a challenge to let yourself feel terror when you are pulling that emotion from your mind without any outside force.”
Bateman, who has eight siblings and most of them are actors, is not the only one in her family who has starred in a horror flick. Her younger brother, Gabriel, was last seen in Lights Out, which was directed by Annabelle: Creation director, David F. Sandberg.
When asked if Gabriel gave her any advice beforehand about working with Sandberg, she replied: “We joke about his audition process and who (the director) likes better. We both think (Sandberg) is a gifted director. He knows exactly what he’s looking for and we are both happy that, for these projects, he looked for us.”
Some of Bateman’s previous works include guest starring in drama series Hart Of Dixie and sitcom Stuck In The Middle, and appearing in the films The 5th Wave and Nine Lives.
Next up for the actress is sci-fi thriller Geostorm (out on Oct 19), in which she plays the daughter of Gerard Butler’s character.
While she is busy with various acting projects, Bateman hasn’t abandoned her studies.
“School is a priority,” she explained. “I want to be involved in films as long as I can but I also want to keep all doors open. So I hit the books just like everyone else.”
1. What was most challenging about filming Annabelle: Creation?
As an actor, the biggest challenge was the same as it is for any role. Making her real – taking a one-dimensional character and giving her purpose and having her react to these really horrible things that are happening to her. Creating fear from dust.
2. What is your biggest takeaway from the experience?
So many takeaways! I think because David is such a hands-on director, I found myself exploring his decisions and thinking about what choices I would make as a director. So I guess it made me want to direct one day.
3. You are also in Geostorm. What can you tell us about your character and working with Gerard Butler?
Hannah loves her dad. But he’s a risk taker and it makes her worry about him. I think Hannah is also a lot like him so she knows that he is stubborn and going to do what he thinks he has to do.
(Butler) is such a sweet, kind man. In between scenes, he would sit in his chair next to mine and just chat about life.
4. You come from a family of artists. What roles do they play in your acting career?
My family is very supportive of exploring artistic paths. We encourage, advise and critic each other. We are constantly collaborating. I have a feeling we will be doing projects together in this industry beyond acting.
5. Having started acting when you were just 11, how do you think it has shaped you as a person? And what do you hope to achieve in the long run?
It was really a natural extension of my unconventional upbringing. We have been creating and performing our own chapters and stories for as long as I remember. Now I’m just doing that on a bigger scale.
There are so many people I want to work with. So many roles I want to play. It’s hard waiting for the right project and passing on things because there is always that side of you just waiting to hear “Action!”