Being Rebecca: A Conversation With Gracie Gillam For Brandon Christensen’s SUPERHOST
From the acclaimed director of Z and Still/Born Brandon Christensen comes his latest horror Superhost. This Shudder Original gets its UK Blu-ray debut from Acorn Media International on 4 April 2022 and will also be available on DVD and digital. It’s one hell of a trip we advise you to watch.
Pack your bags and get ready for a fun-filled horror ride with travel vloggers Teddy (Osric Chau – The Flash, Supernatural and Claire (Sara Canning – Z, A Series of Unfortunate Events). Like and subscribe to their Superhost channel and share their adventures.
We join the Superhost influencer couple as they embark on their latest video review, and they’re hoping this is the one that can earn them more subscribers. A house in the woods could be the perfect opportunity to create new content and attract new followers. But is there more than meets the eye with Rebecca (Gracie Gillam – Scream Queens, Z Nation) their host with the most…?
Slowly they begin to realise that something isn’t quite right with Rebecca, and as they start to investigate, they discover more than they bargained for. It’s not just a five-star review she’s after, there’s something far more sinister at play… could it be toast for the Superhosts?
Look out for horror favourite Barbara Crampton in a bloody brilliant cameo in this wickedly fun feature – and DON’T FORGET TO LIKE AND SURVIVE.
American actress, singer and dancer who boasts a successful career across film and television. TV series include The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural. Scream Queens and Austin and Ally. Her films include the Disney Channel Teen Beach Movie 1 & 2 along with Fright Night, Tales of Halloween, Some Kind of Hate, Dark Summer and now takes the critically acclaimed lead as Rebecca in Superhost.
In our interview, Gracie tells The Fan Carpet‘s Marc Jason Ali how she got started in the industry, how she relates to Rebecca, stepping behind the camera and what she hopes for the future of Superhost…
Marc Jason Ali: So it’s a pleasure to speak to you today, Grace, how are you?
Gracie Gillam: I’m really good. How are you?
Marc Jason Ali: Yeah, I’m doing well. Thank you.
So if we go back to the beginning, was there a defining moment for you to get into the industry?
Gracie Gillam: Yeah, I feel like there is a there’s a couple, I mean, I decided I wanted to do acting with my life watching the HBO mini series of Angels in America.
But then I’m doing Grease in high school, and I was playing Rizzo and an agent from Hollywood came and was like, ‘Hey, kid, here’s my card, move to Hollywood’ But I was set on going to college and then I feel like my real defining moment to getting in Hollywood was after that, contemplating if I was going to get a degree in acting and tried to be on Broadway or if I was going to, like, try doing this Hollywood thing for a year. And I was watching Rachel Takes The Stairs and watching Greta Gerwig’s performance, there’s this moment where she’s in the kitchen and she’s just so f***ing alive. And I just it just hit me and I was like, like, you can’t do that on this stage.
I’m like ‘I want to try that’, this is a kind of acting that I could be really interested in. And I moved out and on my sixth day, I auditioned for Fright Night and then my seventh day I table read for Fright Night.
Wonderful. And now you’re headlining your own film. Superhost. So what was it about Superhost that made you want to join the cast and take on the role of Rebecca?
Gracie Gillam: So first of all, the script was wonderful, and I was like, Oh my gosh, this character is so juicy and the dialogue was great. And then I watched Brandon’s first two films and realised what an honour it was that I was being asked to play a scary thing in a written Christian’s movie and for it to be the first non supernatural thing. And just like knowing that Brandon was such an effective filmmaker and that it was like, almost certainly if I could do my job going to be really scary, and it was just a really fun and exciting challenge to try to be like, I want you to be my next monster. Marc Jason Ali: Awesome. Well, obviously with with every character you have that you play, there’s a certain amount that you have to relate to. Was there anything you related to within Rebecca? Gracie Gillam: Yeah, I think that my my biggest hook into relating to Rebecca was the relationship with social normalcy for Rebecca. She looks at her vase and she doesn’t know what’s the expectation and is trying to survive and trying to conform just for the sake of her own freedom. But like, I guess for me, I usually have a pretty good running tally of how I expect that people are feeling and their expectations of me.
And I just don’t. I don’t I don’t particularly care very much about conforming with other people’s behaviour. Like I’ve noticed a lot of people when in a group like me, like even like body language wise, will be like really fitting together.
And so I guess that was my my first hook into relating to her. And then, yeah, and then I just started reading interviews with people with psychopathy that lead perfectly regular lives. And I was like trying to get into what’s actually going on in her head. And what is it like for your main feeling of emotions to be adrenaline?
Yeah, awesome. You’re fantastic in the lead. You switch seamlessly between between a persona. What was it like working with Brandon and working alongside the legend that is Barbara Crampton as well as Sara and Osric?
Gracie Gillam: Everyone was wonderful, the cast was so wonderful and generous with me, it was obviously an honour to get to work with Barbara and with Sara and Osric, they’re both so wonderful and they’re so talented, but down to Earth and it was just a really fun and collaborative environment which went in between like, you know, between the directing and the cinematography and the acting. It just really felt really like, like collaborative and free. It was really great.
Honestly, it was great, it could have been such a nightmare if not every single person that you just listed was great, but everyone was great.
Awesome. Awesome. Obviously, you’re when you’re filming. It’s such a close knit family unit as it were being that there’s like minimal crew and minimal cast. Do you have any memories from filming that you take with you for the rest of your career?
Gracie Gillam: I mean, yeah, definitely it was honestly just it was just irregular for the crew to be so small and it was it was kind of wonderful for the crew to be so intimate when the film that we were making was so intimate.
Yeah, I don’t know, I guess, like the day working with Barbara. Was great, like I feel like lining up the shot with the knife hilt over and over again, and like Barbara being all covered in blood and like just like being all like deadpan in the face and Brandon being the person who was actually going to do all of that beautiful creating of the digital effects, like knowing exactly where the knife needed to go.
That isn’t always the case when you’re doing visual effects and the director is the doing it and knows exactly what he needs and you know where we’re shooting and there’s all these beetles everywhere during the day, and it’s really stressful because it keeps interrupting takes. But then also, like the director is the person who’s like, got edited out of these beetles.
Yeah, that’s got to be pretty fun. He wears a lot of hats. So, you know, being an actress and singer. Are there any other aspects of the film industry that you’d like to pursue?
Gracie Gillam: Oh yeah. I’m very interested in directing and I’ve been writing for for a long while. I feel like a lot of what draws me to this industry is it’s wanting to create movies, and I love being the director, it’s completely different.
I’m doing pre-production of something I’m attached to as a director right now. And it’s just it’s really wonderful to feel like you get you get to arrange all of the aspects and really, like, relate to all of the characters and as you’re planning and rewriting and it’s really fun. I like the element of being just one like one part of it, like I equate it to you’re not the painter as an actor, but you are the paint like you kind of get to decide what colour paint you are. And, you know, type of paint wise is like if they want acrylic paint like they’re not going to hire a watercolour.
Right! So with the popularity of streaming services like Disney Plus, Netflix and Shudder, Superhost is doing pretty well and Shudder at the moment, what you think the future of cinema is?
Gracie Gillam: Oh, I’m so excited, honestly, my first interview today was with somebody named Cat, who, like her daughter, is three years old and is editing together footage of herself looking sad, like, Oh my god, I am so excited about this new era where people get to create things like you can make a good looking thing if you have a smartphone. I am so excited to see where it goes. I don’t think it’s like interactive theatre experiences.
I think probably movie theatres I’m hoping will like transition into more than just a movie like we’re doing, like interactive eating experiences. Kind of like Drafthouse does, I went to a Goodfellas one recently that was really exciting.
So I hope we’re doing like more immersive screenings of things that are popular. I hope that that’s where we go, and we don’t just lose theatres. I don’t want to lose theatres, but I hope that like things just become less and less regular format. I don’t see why everything has to be either twenty two or forty five minutes long. I’m really excited about streaming and I love the diversity of projects that it allows for. There’s so much more point and there’s so many more point of views and so many more niche projects, and I love that there’s space for it the way that there didn’t used to be. And people lament like, there’s never going to be another show like Friends that everybody watches, and it’s like, Well, that’s OK.
Yeah, well, we got Bridgerton now.
Gracie Gillam: Yeah. And now I guess we’re getting these breakout streamables that everybody does watch and talk about for a while.
Yeah, like The Witcher, Halo’s just started, and I’m sure that’s going to be popular because it’s based on the games. Yeah. So what are you hoping audiences will take away from Superhost when they get to see it?
Gracie Gillam: I think that this movie has a lot to say about the ways in which we are vulnerable on the internet, but mostly I think it has a lot to say about the way that we interact online and the falseness of it and the intrinsic psychopathy of talking and not knowing how people are going to respond because you’re sort of shouting and performing into the void.
I hope that people who watch this movie, view somebody exuberantly asking somebody to like, and subscribe without being like ‘is that person a murdering psychopath.’
Where can we find one line to keep up with everything you’re doing?
Gracie Gillam: Yeah. On Instagram, I’m at Gracie Gillam, I don’t even know what my Twitter handle is anymore. I made a TikTok I guess it’s called Gracie Gillam Time.
Okay, cool. You mentioned that you’re stepping behind the camera with your next projects. Are you allowed to say anything about that or is it all hush hush?
Gracie Gillam: It’s not interview ready yet.
OK, so so we’re working with Brandon on his on on his first film, that’s not supernatural. Is that a collaboration that you that you can see yourself doing again, like working Brandon again?
Gracie Gillam: They’re really scary. Yeah, I would love to work with Brandon again, and I would love to play this character again. And yeah, it was great. I would, I don’t know. I would like to be scary, and I really like playing villains. I want to play, especially to play the villain with Brandon again would be really fun.
Yeah. So looking to the future, what does the future hold for Superhost?
Gracie Gillam: What does the future holds for Superhost? Yeah. Oh, I guess I’ve never thought about that before.
Do you see a sequel, a prequel or like a story that runs concurrently with it?
Gracie Gillam: I mean, like personally, I have a really rich relationship with Rebecca’s back story. I have sat and thought about lots of, you know, where do all the rings come from? One of those back stories.
Like she definitely is from South Carolina. We know that because she says that too many times when I think, you know, yeah, a prequel would be really cool. I think she is somebody who was raised in isolation by one parent, but she eventually kills and then has been on the run looking to replace that relationship since. OK. Prequel, is what I’m saying.
Well, let’s hope you get your wish, because it’s wonderful!
Gracie Gillam: Thanks for watching it. I’m going to. That was great, guys, thank you.
Awesome, well thank you so much for talking to me today Gracie, congratulations with the film and I look forward to whatever you do next.
Gracie Gillam: Thank you so much.
Superhost is available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital from 4 April from Acorn Media International