Pregnancy, even the thought of it, sends chills down my spine. I would be lying if I didn’t say that pregnancy terrifies me just a tad. So when it was announced that Into the Dark‘s Mother’s Day episode, DELIVERED, would focus on a woman who was on the cusp of giving birth, I prepared myself for whatever carnage was to unfold. At the forefront of this tale is Valerie, a soon-to-be mom, played by television and film actress Natalie Paul.
Known for her work in such films as Crown Heights, as well as several TV series including The Deuce, Smash, and The Sinner, Natalie has returned to the thriller genre once again but this time with Blumhouse. For the upcoming release of DELIVERED, I had the opportunity to chat with Natalie where we discussed everything from the challenges she faced wearing a pregnancy suit to what she enjoys about working in the horror/thriller genre.
Hi Natalie, thank you so much for speaking with me today! To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about your character Valerie?
Natalie Paul: Valerie is about to be a first-time mom and she’s just moved to the town that they are in. She’s a little apprehensive about what’s ahead of her at the beginning of the movie and is trying to get into the whole mommy vibe. She meets this girl named Jenna (played by Tina Majorino) at Yoga class and they sort of start this friendship. But of course, because it’s Blumhouse, it goes totally left (laugh).
As you mentioned above, Valerie is about to be a first-time mom so what was it like wearing a pregnancy suit during filming?
Natalie Paul: Well, it was physically really interesting just getting into the physical changes that happen and trying to really get into them as much as possible. The running and the screaming and all the things that come with a horror movie – it was really unique to do that because you have this huge sort of impediment literally attached to you. That was really… it was just a trip, you know? Just trying to run and get up… it was a really cool acting challenge to get into that body and really feel those muscles and emotions the way that she would in that body. It was fun, I hope I sold it!
I noticed that the film had a Misery vibe to it which I’m sure was a massive influence on director Emma Tammi’s approach to this film. That said, what was your experience like working with her?
Natalie Paul: I think there were quite a few influences sort of layered on top of this story that was really fun to draw from. As soon as we did costume fittings I was like, “Oh, I see what’s happening here.” The first time we were in the house it really dawned on me the difference of the types of mothers that these two women [Valerie and Jenna] were. Let’s say we were to take off the lens of horror and everything, I definitely know these two types of women. One who is like, “OMG motherhood – give me all the plush, all the pastels, I want everything soft, warm, and cozy” and then there are other moms who are like, “Look, I’m still me while I’m doing this and I’m going to be a great mom cause I’m going to be myself as I’m being a great mom.” Working with Emma we had all those conversations and I think that was what was so great about the collaboration. It was so open between her, Tina, and I. We would just talk about all the different issues that come up as a woman cause it really is all about that, the sort of “what makes a good mom, what makes a good woman, and who deserves to have that title”. Working with Emma is great, she’s just an amazing person. She’s such an intelligent, thoughtful, diligent director and she led us fearlessly. We had so little time but we made it happen and I think it was because of her vision.
As two soon-to-be moms, you and Tina’s characters have a very interesting dynamic in how you approach motherhood. What was it like working so closely together?
Natalie Paul: Oh, it was awesome! I remember the moment we met cause I walked into the offices and I saw everybody and Tina was to my left. It was like a surprise and we were like HEY, kind of screaming at first cause we knew we were going to do this crazy shit together (laughs). Immediately, we were like “I got you, you got me” and it really stayed that way throughout the shoot because we just had so many compromising situations to be in. So much trust was involved – like when she throws something in my direction or I have to do the same – there was so much physical action going on. We just had this enormous amount of trust. It was a really fun collaboration, she’s just a badass.
You’ve done a lot of work in the thriller/horror genre with roles in The Sinner, Mr. Mercedes, and YOU. What is it about this genre that you enjoy working in?
Natalie Paul: That’s a funny question because I feel like it just chose me (laughs). I think I’m a light, happy person but I guess the genre is like “Nope, you’re full of darkness” (laughs). I think it’s just like, I don’t know, I love the high stakes of it. I love the deeper themes that come up that are kind of like hidden in all of the entertainment, you know? I think sometimes thrillers get a chance to do that a lot because it kind of lures you in with the suspense and the action and the blood, but like there’s this whole other thing going on that really energizes it all. I think I like that dichotomy and just challenging myself. It was a great challenge to get into that role [of Valerie] and go on this journey that this woman goes through. It ends up teaching you a lot about yourself – the physical aspects, the emotional aspects, it’s a test but you come out on top.
For more on INTO THE DARK: DELIVERED, which arrives on Hulu May 8th, check out our review here.