For anyone in the geeky, nerdy sphere, actress Felicia Day is a bit of an icon. Arguably considered one of the key members of the geek god pantheon, Felicia has made her mark. From the time she played Vi on the hit TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to her role as Charlie Bradbury on Supernatural to creating, writing, all-of-the-aboving the original web series The Guild (which our managing editor gives a giant stamp of approval for your viewing pleasure), it is no wonder why we have a lot of love for her. Now she is stepping into the role of Molly in POOKA LIVES!, the latest installment of Hulu and Blumhouse’s horror anthology series, Into the Dark.
For the recent release of Into the Dark’s POOKA LIVES!, I had the chance to talk to Felicia Day. During our conversation, we discussed everything from starring in and executive producing POOKA LIVES!, working alongside friends, and if she would do the #PookaChallenge.
Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Felicia! I’m excited to talk about your role as Molly in POOKA LIVES! For those not familiar, can you tell us a little bit about who Molly is?
Felicia Day: Molly is a mom but she’s a cool mom, she’s into all this new-age stuff and she’s kind of the center of this friend group that comes back together when Malcolm Barrett’s character, Derrick, comes back to his hometown. It’s really an awesome story and I think it’s strangely appropriate for right now. The tone of the movie is really a light and fun comedy/horror so anybody that likes Supernatural will love this, no one is going to be scared out of their mind, it’s just a fun romp. The fact that we are all in our houses, connecting with our friends a lot more, it really gives us the strength that our friendships will get us through hard times and the internet can be good and bad, in a sense. I feel like it’s kind of crazy timing that we didn’t even know [was going to happen].
Besides starring in the film, you are also an executive producer. What was it about this project that drew you in?
Felicia Day: My friend Ryan Copple is the writer and he pitched the show and [Blumhouse/Hulu] loved the concept for Into the Dark. He then asked me if I would do it because he had already written a part for me (laughs). I read it and was like, “Oh, I have to do this!” because not only is the character really fun but it’s totally my vibe, the movie is totally my vibe. Plus, I was able to have input in a way that I normally have in my web stuff. I was able to give input on casting and the script development and the editing – just even having a voice in that, in any of those processes, is so rewarding and kind of what I want to do with my career anyway. It was a perfect storm of awesomeness that I enjoyed every second of.
When it came to embodying Molly I’m assuming you had the freedom to mold the character?
Felicia Day: Yeah, absolutely! Ryan is kind of my work wife, he ran my company, he’s been my best friend probably for 10 years so he knows my ins and outs and kind of tailored this character for me already. In terms of bringing out her voice, I was always pushing to make sure all the characters were evenly matched, that all the female characters and male characters have as much presence and characterization. Ryan is a really good writer so he was able to infuse that in all the characters and make an ensemble in which you really root for everybody.
I definitely noticed that all the characters seemed to have an equal footing and viewers got to see the strength that these female characters possessed, instead of them just being relegated to the background.
Felicia Day: I’ve done a lot of drama roles and I’ve always been privileged to work with characters who have such agency and are totally on equal footing. I don’t think that happens a lot in a lot of things, especially when playing a mom. This is a mom character that reflects the mom’s I know. Mom’s are not boring, they are not just in service for other characters. This is the first time I’ve played a mom, it’s the first time I’ve seen a character in the genre that I love that has been offered a sense of empowerment and equal fun, so you’re totally right, it’s great in that way.
Jonah Ray plays your husband in POOKA LIVES! and what I loved about you two was that even though your characters were opposite personalities the chemistry worked really well. How was that experience?
Felicia Day: I’ve known Jonah for a long time and I knew he was perfect for the role and everybody agreed, which was such a relief (laughs). Almost everybody on set I was friends with before and I was just so delighted to be on set with them, it was a joy. That’s literally the joy of my life and what I try to do in all my web work. Jonah and I had a lot of chemistry, we are really good friends, and being able to have that dynamic – we played a lot together on MST3K where we were more antagonist so being able to be slight antagonists here, but also people who love each other underneath that, was really fun.
Knowing that most of you were friends prior, it makes sense that there would be so much genuine chemistry throughout the entire cast.
Felicia Day: Director Alejandro Brugués really emphasized that. He was like, the thing that’s going to make or break this movie is us being believable as childhood friends. So really working on the roots of our relationship, knowing each other as kids, working on the backstory, coming up with all that or drawing it out of the material. Having seen so many iterations of the script, I knew a lot of the backstory that the writer had in mind. When we were doing those actor work sessions, I would throw out stuff that didn’t make it into the script but I knew would enhance understanding our backstory. It was just a really great back and forth, creating relationships that we still have offline.
Let’s talk about the creature itself – how was it interacting with Pooka and which iteration was your favorite?
Felicia Day: My friend Alex Ward plays Pooka. He’s so funny and so talented, he’s like the next Doug Jones/Andy Serkis. He was so fun because he had to be in all these different kinds of Pooka outfits and it’s so funny cause the most uncomfortable one was the one that you would think would be the most fun – the mascot one. The mobility and breathing were the hardest in those – people don’t appreciate people who do creature acting. It is so difficult, you have to be so patient, and you’re really on the verge of passing out constantly. You have to be taken out of the suit just for safety all the time. You know you are holding everything up but you can’t risk passing out. What they do is admirable and I just feel like they are under-appreciated. It was fun to see the different iterations of Pooka as he gets creepier and creepier. In terms of my favorite Pooka, I don’t want to give anything away, but the middle one that has a funny outfit on over the Pooka made me laugh quite a bit. I’m always for the goofy, I’m not a hardcore horror fan but the creepy one was amazing. For me, I’m always going to do the one that’s most ridiculous.
Lastly, if you came across the creepypasta asking you to do the #PookaChallenge, would you?
Felicia Day: 100% no! My mom was very superstitious and even the idea of walking under a ladder is just like, well I’ll die (laughs). When I spill salt I always throw it over my left shoulder. For some reason, that’s ingrained in me, that that sort of luck is there – so there’s no way I would do it. No way, absolutely none.