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Interview: ‘Yellowjackets’ Star Sophie Thatcher Talks ‘The Boogeyman’ and Her Love of Horror

May 29, 2023Ben MK

Whether it's books, movies or television, things that go bump in the night are a staple of the horror genre that have kept readers and audiences entertained for as long as stories have existed. But when it comes to storytellers whose names have become synonymous with such terrifying tales, one man has transcended both the written and visual mediums. With countless bestselling novels like The Shining, It and The Stand, and dozens of film and TV miniseries adaptations to match, Stephen King has solidified his legacy as one of the most prolific writers the genre has ever seen. And now, with The Boogeyman, moviegoers can add one more King adaptation to that lengthy list, as director Rob Savage brings to the screen King's 1973 short story, about a teenager (Yellowjackets' Sophie Thatcher) whose family becomes the target of a malevolent supernatural entity.

I caught up with Sophie Thatcher to chat about The Boogeyman, her love of the horror genre, Yellowjackets and more, as well as to find out about the role music plays in helping her get into character.

The last time we spoke was in 2019 for the sci-fi film Prospect. Since then, you've been in The Book of Boba Fett, Yellowjackets and now The Boogeyman. What has that journey from then to now been like for you?

Thatcher: It's been a lot. Covid happened. [laughs] So I feel hardened, to some extent. I feel like I've just gained confidence as a performer, and allowed myself flexibility — just confidence within my craft and getting more time on-set, and just knowing how it goes a little bit more. And I've been able to do different genres, but still [get to explore] the heightened [worlds of] sci-fi and horror.

In The Boogeyman, you play Sadie Harper. And like Natalie from Yellowjackets, Sadie has been through some trauma and is now in survival mode. What is it about these character archetypes that speaks to you?

Thatcher: I like the darker stories, I like the darker characters. I think there's a lot to play around with. They're so complex and there’s so much to them. And I know that it's immediately going to be a challenge, but that feels the best as an actor. There's also something satisfying in that it feels like a release, emotionally. It feels cathartic. After having a really heavy day just crying and letting everything out, I can go home and be like, "Whoo!"

You mentioned that you're a fan of darker stories, so I take it you're also a fan of the horror genre. What was it about The Boogeyman and what is it about horror in general that appeals to you?

Thatcher: I am [a fan of horror]. I love that you can just be imaginative, and you can go to these dark places that you might not be able to go to in real life. You really get to expand and explore. It can be so artful, and it can explore themes of mental health. It can explore anything, thematically. I think there's so much room within horror.

Do you have some all-time favorite horror films?

Thatcher: Yes. 28 Days Later was my first one that I was obsessed with. Pan's Labyrinth, Audition, I'll say The Shining because, obviously. Lake Mungo, Don't Look Now. There's a lot.

Getting back to The Boogeyman, you're starring opposite Chris Messina and Vivien Lyra Blair. What was it like working with them? And was there a scene that was especially terrifying for you to film?

Thatcher: They're amazing. They are so talented and such great people that immediately it felt like we had established our own family. And I think that's important on any set. The last week that we had, when we're actually going through the final boss fight, was pretty strenuous. It was hard, physically. There were a lot of stunts. And I find it's hardest, as an actor, when it gets really technical. Cuz you really want to stay present, but then you're like, "Oh, but I also have to be careful and hit this mark." And then also doing that with Vivien or her stunt double, and trying to stay present and build that terror, and make it realistic. That's challenging.

I spotted a guitar in Sadie's room in the movie, and of course, you're also a musician in real life. Can you talk a bit about the role music plays in your acting, and your music inspirations?

Thatcher: Inspiration-wise, I grew up with Portishead and Fiona Apple. I like a lot of '90s stuff, which is relevant cuz of Yellowjackets. I'll listen to anything, and I'll listen to any genre. And I feel like it really just informs me going into any character and building that headspace. Not even necessarily what Sadie [in The Boogeyman] would be listening to, but what would get me there, into Sadie's headspace.

Last but not least, what's next for you? Do you think you'll be returning to the Star Wars universe? And what can fans of Yellowjackets expect from your portrayal of Natalie in the show going forward?

Thatcher: [Regarding Star Wars], I do not know. I would love to, but I don't know. There's a shift happening [in the finale of Yellowjackets]. Things keep getting darker, much darker. I have some other projects lined up after this, but nothing official yet. But I just wanna be working. [laughs]

The Boogeyman is in theatres June 2nd.

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