If you’re a geek or a horror fan, you probably already know the name Katee Sackhoff pretty well. She’s been in everything from Halloween: Resurrection and White Noise 2: The Light to Nip/Tuck and 24, but the talented young actress really made her name as “Starbuck” on the critically acclaimed reboot of Battlestar Galactica. Well, you’re about to see a whole lot more of Sackhoff as she stars in the upcoming Riddick, alongside Vin Diesel and Karl Urban, and A&E’s western drama Longmire.
With her latest film, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, set to hit theaters this Friday, FEARnet sat down with Sackhoff to discuss her latest film, real life ghosts, and “that guy from Jaws.”
I really enjoyed your performance in the film. How did you land the role of Joyce?
My fiancé actually produced the movie, so I knew about the movie four or five years ago. When they were casting, they asked if I would do it and I said, “I don’t know if I really want to do a movie for my fiancé’s company. I’ve managed to get this far on my own and I really don’t want people to think that I’m taking handouts or that I’ve slept my way to the top.” And Scott [Niemeyer, her fiancé] said, “Well, my dear, that’s no problem because you’ve only slept your way to the middle.” [Laughs] Everyone had a sense of humor about it, so I was just waiting to see who else they cast to see if I could fit in with everyone. Once everyone else was cast, I told them that I would do it.
So this was all the way back when Ti West was still attached to direct.
Yeah, I’ve known of this for a while because Scott and I have been together for almost eight years. We were in Mexico about six or seven years ago and he told me that we had to watch these documentaries [A Haunting in Connecticut and A Haunting in Georgia]. He put them in and I had nightmares for the entire time that we were in Mexico. I was like, “This is really unfair that you put this in right now. I’m supposed to be on vacation.” [Laughs]
Did you end up going back to watch the Discovery channel series A Haunting… after that?
I watched the two that they did movies of, but it was a series too, right?
Yes. They just brought it back this year as well.
I didn’t know that. I should know that.
Well, you were aware of the original and you knew about the real-life story at least.
Yeah, for sure. That’s how I originally knew of it and then they had done The Haunting in Connecticut first.
The film takes the “based on a true story” concept and blows it up to a whole new level, but it does it in an entertaining way. How important was it for you to find the grounded, real story in there to latch onto?
It was actually quite important. The most important thing, for me, was that you had this family dynamic going on, and I wanted those relationships to be honest and real. I think that having my character be as problematic as she is in certain areas of her life, it made those relationships easier, in a sense, to figure out how they would play because I think everyone has that family member that you just wish would grow up. I think that was an easy thing to find, but it’s always important, especially in a horror movie or genre film, to find the realism in it because you’ll lose an audience so quickly if you don’t. We really wanted to do the family justice and make them happy because it, ultimately, happened to them. There’s creative license, of course, though.
Do you believe in ghosts and the supernatural?
It’s so funny that you bring that up because I was just talking to my mom about this today. The answer is, I didn’t until recently. We’ve moved into this new house and I, twice now, have seen something and it scared the shit out of me so much that I’ve actually woken up Scott and said, “This is not okay. I’m not being overdramatic and I’m not making this up.” So I talked to my mom about it and she said, “It’s really a pity that you can’t talk to people about this because they think you’re crazy.”
I would love to dismiss what I’ve been seeing in this house as my imagination because then it wouldn’t be so scary. I would love to just think that I’m crazy. That would make it a lot easier.
So what did you experience?
Nothing. It’s just standing there. It’s happened twice now and it’s terrifying. My mom said, “If it was someone else, I would say that they’re full of shit, but this is so unlike you to say something like this.” So, I don’t know. Maybe it is the power of suggestion. I have no idea, but all I know is that I keep waking Scott up terrified because there is something in the room.
So we might see you on Celebrity Ghost Stories at some point?
Aw hell no. Can you imagine? [Laughs] I was actually reading these web sites because now I’m trying to figure out how to make this thing leave and all the websites say, “Whatever you do, do not bring out a Ouija board because it’s really, really, really bad.” They all say that next time it happens, I need to just get the courage to say, “I’m sorry. I cannot help you. Please go.” Can you imagine me sitting up in the middle of the night saying that? Scott would be like, “What the hell are you doing?” [Laughs]
Everyone I tell about this asks me what they look like and I always say, “Steampunk.” Everyone is like, “What the hell is Steampunk?” And I’m thinking, “That’s right! I live in a sci-fi world. Of course I know what Steampunk is.”
You guys filmed this down in the sweaty south. How was it down in Baton Rouge filming the movie?
We did. I love Louisiana. I really do, but I wish that it were the sweaty south. Instead, it was the winter cold south and, for anyone who doesn’t think that the south is cold, it was snowing. It was really cold and we dealt with a lot of rain and horrible bugs. That is something from the south that you just can’t get rid of. That shoot was interesting.
No supernatural experiences on the set though?
No, I didn’t believe in ghosts then! [Laughs] Now I’m haunted by two of them in my house!
I was even going to ask you later, “If you ever did happen to see a ghost, who do you wish it would be?” [Laughs]
Honestly, I wish I could pick the ghost and be like, “Lucille Ball!” Something that would be interesting or funny; a ghost that would just say, “I just want to entertain you. I just want to make you laugh since you can’t sleep right now.” Not a ghost that’s just staring at me like he’s going to cut my head off.
You get to work alongside some really great people in this movie, but the one that I think I’m most impressed by is little Emily. She’s like this great mix of Chloe Moretz and Abigail Breslin.
Exactly! She’s such a sweet little girl. I’ve actually worked with a lot of little kids in this business and she is, by far, the most adult that I’ve ever worked with and the youngest. I think she was six or seven when we did this movie. It was crazy. She was such a little kid and just had conversations like you’d have with an adult. She’s such a really, really sweet girl, and growing up beautifully. We did interviews together and she cracked me up. She just keeps talking. She kept making me laugh in all the interviews.
One of the most interesting aspects of the movie is the contentious relationship between the sisters. You and Abigail work really well together.
I met Abigail for the first time when we were shooting and I think we bonded over a bottle of wine. She’s a great girl. She’s really talented and really fun to work with. The subtlety of her performance is really nice and it lends this balance. On the first day of shooting, the realism and the subtlety was in everyone’s performance and I was like, “Well, by golly, Joyce is going to be over the top and crazy.” So I decided to make Joyce as over the top as possible. It actually explained why Abigail’s character was so withdrawn at times because she has this sister that’s just insane, loud, obnoxious, bright, and colorful. It totally makes sense that, as a sister, you would go in the opposite direction.
You mentioned earlier about the bugs and you do get to work with a lot of creepy crawlies in the film. Does any of that stuff bother you? You got really close with it at one point in the film.
It doesn’t bother me. That stuff, for me, is the easiest to work with. I grew up in a small town, kind of in the middle of nowhere, and it was not uncommon for us to be out digging in the dirt. I think I ate my first worm when I was three years old. I cut it up with my little tea set and actually ate the worm. After that, I think everything becomes fair game.
Certain things scare the crap out of me. I’m not good with sharks. If I had to do that movie Open Water, I would have freaked the hell out. But bugs don’t bother me.
This might even be a better question for your fiancé, but maybe you know. Gold Circle Films announced back in 2010 that they were going to make The Haunting in New York? Do you know if they’re still moving forward with that and, if so, what’s your suggestion for the title of that one?
[Laughs] Umm… Yeah. My suggestion would be to call it The Haunting in New York. [Laughs]
Phew. Thank you!
[Laughs] You know, you do what you can creatively and sometimes things are out of the hands of the producers and the actors. Sometimes the higher powers at the studio get a hold of something and decide that it’ll be better if you do it one way and then, all of a sudden, you’re making The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia.
Now with 100% less Connecticut! [Laughs]
[Laughs] Yeah, it’s a very interesting thing. I’ve just told people that the ghosts are vacationing in Georgia.
After watching the film, though, I’m glad to see that it overcomes the silliness of the title.
Yeah, I hope so. [Laughs]
You’re in the upcoming Riddick film so I have to ask you to come clean: Who is more badass in person: Vin Diesel or Karl Urban?
Oh my God! Honestly, I can’t answer the question because, sadly, I never got to work with Karl Urban. I was so pissed off. I mean, Vin is pretty badass. I think there are ten or twelve guys in this movie, though, that are all incredibly badass in their own way.
Karl Urban and I keep circling the pot around each other and at some point we’re both going to fall in at the same movie and actually get to work together. We came so close on Dredd and then Riddick. We were like ships in the night on planes. I think our planes literally passed each other in the air. And I love me some Karl Urban. I think that he’s a pretty awesome guy.
You’ve talked before about your love of all things Star Trek. Do you think you’d be a little star struck working with Karl since he’s in that universe now?
Probably not. It’s so funny because the first time that I worked with Richard Dreyfuss, I was twenty-one years old and I walked into the room to have a reading and audition with him. The producer actually said to me, in front of Richard, “Are you nervous?” So I said, “Why would I be nervous? It’s the guy from Jaws.” [Laughs] I don’t know. I try to bring everything back to my level because, that way, I’m able to do my job a little bit better.
I guess there are certain people that are intimidating. For instance, had I gotten to meet Judi Dench – Dame Judi Dench – I probably would have peed my pants.
Are we going to see you on another episode of The Big Bang Theory at some point?
From your mouth to God’s ears! That’s all about Chuck Lorre and I love that man so much. He keeps bouncing stuff back and forth with me about other projects and nothing has really worked out with timing, but the one thing that I said to him was, “If you come back with another ‘Big Bang…’ I’ll fly in from wherever I am and make time for it.” I love that show. I love the entire cast. I think they’re incredibly talented and that all the writers and Bill [Prady] and Chuck are just incredibly talented.
The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia hits theaters this Friday, February 1.