Two young ladies, Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson, play orphaned girls at the heart of the story of New Line Cinema’s horror-thriller Annabelle: Creation (in Philippine cinemas August 23).
In the film, several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.
Talitha Bateman, who plays Janice, says of her character, “She has a deep sadness to her because the others get to go and play, and they tease her about her polio, even though they do love her. It’s like an older sister teasing, but at the same time Janice is sensitive and it hurts her feelings. Seeing them exploring outside makes her feel slightly envious and depressed. Then she comes in the house and sees the chairlift on the stairs. She’s undecided about it at first, but then the other girls urge her to get on. Once she starts up the stairs, all of the girls clap and cheer for her, and that’s when she feels at home.”
But it’s when Janice takes that ride up the stairs that the seeds of trouble are planted. “She looks toward the dead daughter’s room,” Bateman offers, “and you know how you can feel a good presence? You can also feel a bad presence. And I think Janice feels something eerie because of Annabelle. It’s crazy, because she’s just a doll, but she’s the catalyst for all this evil and there’s so much power in her. People love superheroes and they have power, but they use it for good. It’s the opposite with Annabelle. The demonic spirit that lives inside her uses its power to do horrible things. That’s what scares me about her.”
Lulu Wilson plays the angel-faced Linda, Janice’s best friend among the orphans. Despite being the younger of the two, Linda worries for her friend. “I think she first senses something’s wrong when Janice breaks the rules by going into Bee’s bedroom.” Of course, Linda follows. “She sees the Annabelle doll staring right at her and that really freaks her out.”
Wilson even steered clear of the prop off-camera. “She’s ginormous and her eyes literally follow you like the Mona Lisa’s. If you’re looking at the Annabelle doll, you’re like, ‘Oh, she’s staring at me, I gotta move.’ Then when you’re in another position and you look back at her, she’s still looking at you. And the eyebrows are slanted in a way that it looks like she’s always planning to get you, and it’s really creepy.”
Annabelle: Creation is Wilson’s third horror film, and she credits director David F. Sandberg with one of her best experiences in the genre. “He is a really awesome director,” she says. “Usually when you shoot a scene, you don’t feel like it’s scary until you watch it, with the music and everything. But when I did scenes with David, he made it feel really scary. It was really fun.”