It's been a helluva week for Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat. The two heretofore unknown actors have, thanks to the performance of a little movie called Paranormal Activity this past weekend, just been catapulted to nationwide fame. But with all the attention they're receiving, and all the requests for their time, they still found a few minutes to sit down and chat with us today in New York. Read on to find out how the two (pictured above, to the left of director Oren Peli) helped craft the scariest movie of the year, learn what they think about those sequel rumors, and discover what deleted scenes are likely to surface on the film's DVD release.
So how does it feel to have the number one film in the country?
Featherton: It's unbelievable. A whirwind.
Sloat: And I'm number one on Hollywood.com I've seen! [Laughs.]
Featherton: It's so overwhelming, but in a really good way. We're so excited and so thankful and didn't expect anything like this to happen. But we so believed in the project, and for it be received as well as it has been is such an amazing thing.
Sloat: And it started back in the day with you guys and Bloody Disgusting and Dread Central and all the really great online support we got from all the hardcore horror fans. So thank you and all the guys at FEARnet for sure!
Our pleasure. It's a great film and we're happy to cover it. Can you talk a little bit about the process you went through as actors in making this film? Apparently there was a good deal of improvisation involved.
Sloat: It was entirely improv. Every single line of dialogue that you see in the film was just off the cuff and came out of the moment. We just kind of turned the camera on. Oren had a really good idea of where we were going and what we were doing.
Featherston: But at the same time he was really open to hearing our input and what we had to say about things. We became a really solid working team.
Sloat: A well-oiled machine. [Laughs.]
Featherston: We were all throwing in our ideas. With Oren's very distinct vision and our totally improv dialogue that's what we ended up with.
Could you talk about the process you went through in preparing for the film? How did the two of you work out your performances together before the camera started rolling?
Featherston: The funny thing is that the callback is when we met for the first time. Oren basically said, "Micah, this is Katie. Katie, this is Micah." We immediately, after knowing each other for less than thirty seconds, had to go into how we met and how we came together. And that's where our back story came from – that initial callback. We just kind of built it from there.
Sloat: It wasn't like a traditional role where you get the script and you can do script analysis and you can make acting choices and you have a character arc – all these things that you would typically do for a normal film. Because Oren did not tell us what the ending was or what the next scene was we were going to shoot.
Featherston: At least in the beginning. As the filming went on…
Featherston: Yeah, as it went on he began to trust us more and we would have to do scenes out of sequence. But in the initial shoot, starting off, we really didn't know what was going to happen. I think that aided the performances a lot.
Were the two of you horror fans prior to working on this film?
Featherston: Oh sure. I love scary movies. I love the idea of being scared. It doesn't happen as frequently as I would like, but seeing a scary movie is really fun.
Sloat: I don't think there's anything that's as visceral as getting totally freaked out by a horror film. And I think all the horror fans really know that, and that's why there are such big fans, and such great fans. I don't know of another genre that has hardcore fans like horror has.
Featherston: That's true.
There's been speculation that the studio may want to proceed with a sequel. Have you guys heard anything about that?
Sloat: Why don't you tell us? [Laughs.]
Featherston: Yeah. [Laughs.] We haven't actually heard anything. But we've been asked about it. We must be out of the loop. Because they're not telling us these things. I don't know. If something like that happened then that would be an exciting idea, but we haven't heard anything.
If there were to be any sort of sequel – Katie, without revealing too much, there's something of an opportunity for your character to return. Would you be at all interested in reprising your role?
I don't know. I haven't really gotten that far to tell you the truth. And this is such a whirlwind. I feel like people are only just now able to see this movie and love it… I haven't left this project yet, so I haven't even thought about another Paranormal Activity. That's too far ahead for me to grasp right now. [Laughs.]
What are you guys looking at doing next? Have you had any time with all the press you've been doing for this film?
Sloat: We've gotten a lot of opportunities from this movie. We signed recently with agents and we've been having meetings all over town, reading scripts. It's really too early in the process of all that stuff to give you the specific concrete details, but I will say keep a lookout. Because we're coming. [Laughs.] And follow us on Twitter, because we'll keep everyone updated.
Featherston: Yeah. We just recently started Twitter accounts to say hi to fans and thank them and everything. That's been a really cool way to connect with people.
Katie, you're appearing in another thriller called Walking Distance. Can you talk about your role in that film?
Featherston: Yeah, I have a really small part in that film. A friend of mine was a producer on it and asked me to come out and be a part of it, which was fun. I literally shot for a day. I play a main character's girlfriend that you see in the beginning and then later on in the movie. She isn't a part of the scary, freaky stuff in the movie. She's in the more normal world, so I don't know about all the crazy stuff that happens in the film. I haven't seen it yet. But it should be a good time.
Can you guys talk a little bit about working with Oren Peli? You touched on your collaboration. But since he seems to have an air of mystery that stems from the fact he doesn't do many interviews could you shed some light on your collaboration and his working methods?
Sloat: Effects wise – and this is one of the most impressive things about Oren – he's an effects genius. He does stuff with things you could buy at the local hardware that you probably couldn't replicate with CGI in any convincing way. Every single thing you see in the movie with the exception of one shot is completely filmed on camera. It's happening in the room. So it's all real. As far as working with him goes…
Featherston: He's an amazing guy to work with. He really listens to us. He knew what he wanted. He had a clear vision, and he really wanted to know how we felt. He wanted us to be invested in the project just as he was. So as an actor it doesn't get any better than working with a director who really cares about you as a collaborator.
Sloat: And to be able to give the input that we put into the movie and to wear all those different hats – the cameraman, the cinematographer, the actor – and for Oren to not only welcome all those contributions but to fully embrace them, and recognize that they're a part of the film, was the best creative environment that you could ask for as an actor.
The film's ending was changed from the cut that played festivals to the final theatrical cut. Can you guy comment on scenes that aren't in the theatrical version that we may see on a DVD?
Sloat: I think the alternate endings are the things to look out for. There's a couple of alternate endings that did make festival cuts at certain points, and there's also a couple of endings that have never been seen. I think people are gonna like all that stuff.
Featherston: Yeah, it'll be a fun thing for people to experience – all the different endings that we experienced when we were filming them.
In real life, what are your greatest fears?
Featherston: The real life fear is loneliness, or being alone, but the scary-movie kind of fear is what's behind that door, or what's around the corner, or what can't you really see.
Thanks guys. Have a great Halloween.
Featherston. You too!