At the young age of 12, actor Winslow Fegley has made quite a name for himself in Hollywood. Having starred as the title character in the critically acclaimed Disney film, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, followed by a supporting role in Jacob Chase’s horror/thriller, Come Play, Fegley finds himself writing scary stories to ward off an evil witch in the YA horror/fantasy film, NIGHTBOOKS.
In NIGHTBOOKS, when Alex (Winslow Fegley), a boy obsessed with scary stories, is trapped by an evil witch (Krysten Ritter) in her magical apartment and must tell a scary story every night to stay alive, he teams up with another prisoner, Yasmin (Lidya Jewett), to find a way to escape.
Recently, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Shannon McGrew had the chance to speak with Winslow Fegley, where they discussed everything from his emotional monologue, his favorite horror films, and more.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, Winslow. To start things off, how excited were you when you found out you got the role of Alex?
Winslow Fegley: I was really happy and excited. When I was auditioning, there were a couple of other things that I was auditioning for at the same time, but this was the one I wanted to get, and then I ended up getting it so it was really awesome.
Since this film is adapted from a book, had you been familiar with the novel prior?
Winslow Fegley: Not before I had gotten the audition, but once I started auditioning, I read the book and I loved it. It’s awesome because it just really goes into depth on really anything you would have a question on. Where does Natasha go to work? How does she do this? And it’s really interesting especially for people who have watched the movie, you would really love the book because it just shows you all those details and really puts you into the story, which is really awesome.
I can’t even begin to imagine how incredible it must have been to interact with all the set pieces from the film, especially during the Night Nursery scenes. What was it like to work in that type of environment?
Winslow Fegley: It was really awesome. I remember [production] building fake plants to put into these sets. I don’t know how they did but they had all these sculptors and they sculpted these amazing plants for this movie. And then they had demon silk, I think is what it’s called. They did this in the library too, for all the cobwebs they did hot glue strands so they would float in the air and it looked so awesome. They had to make it look like a spider made it so they researched spider patterns and it was really crazy. When they executed it, it took them like 12 hours to make each one. And then I would feel so bad like, “Oh my god, I Just ruined your work” [Laughs]. There’s one scene where I have to grab a book and it’s got all those webs on it and they would have to take 30 minutes to reset the book. Other than the dragonfly thing being CGI, all that demon silk in the background, I’m pretty sure that’s all hot glue.
Looking back, do you have a favorite scene in the film?
Winslow Fegley: My favorite thing that I enjoyed filming the most would be all the scenes in the Night Nursery, which was really fun. There were also the catacombs, which is what it was called, with the pink tunnel. That was really fun. It was made out of this sculpted plastic that they molded into this position. It was really cool. You go down there and there’s like all these skulls and there were like hundreds of candles in that room. Every 15 minutes, they had to stop filming and then blow out all of the candles and flush all of the smoke out of the room because it got so smoky in there. Then they would relight them all so. we could start filming again. Then there’s the Hansel and Gretel house. There’s one room and they actually put these giant airbags things in there and they would inflate and deflate so the whole set would shake and I was shaking around in there. It was pretty awesome.
Switching gears a little bit, you give this emotional monologue towards the end of the film. How was it building up to those emotions?
Winslow Fegley: I think on that day, there were 20 pages of stuff that we had to cover and the monologue took up eight pages of it. It was an eight-page monologue that was all me and I remember I was so overwhelmed. I was like, “Oh my God how am I going to complete this?” I was freaking out the night before, and then when I got there Director David Yarovesky totally made me feel fine. I was literally crying cause I was like, I’m never going to memorize all of this, there are 20 pages. But [the director] made me feel great and he made it really easy for me. Then we split that monologue into, I think, two or three days, along with a bunch of other stuff. On the emotional side of it, I don’t have a huge problem with crying. Like, I can cry pretty easily on set for acting. I just put myself in the scene and I just picture myself as the character and the position they’re in. And then, if it makes sense I’ll cry, unless it’s like, oh no, I dropped my ice cream sandwich, then I wouldn’t cry [Laughs].
This is now the second horror-esque film that you’ve been in. With that being said, are you a fan of the genre? Do you have a favorite horror movie?
Winslow Fegley: I actually really do like horror and it’s kind of really cool to play a character that shows that and to be able to express that part of myself in an acting role. When it comes to my favorite horror films, I have a top three. There is this movie called I See You, and it just keeps flipping and changing. It’s so good. Sinister, of course, it’s so good and I love it. It’s really scary. And then IT, of course. I just love it. I used to be obsessed with it. I loved everything about it. I would watch all the trailers, all the behind-the-scenes, everything. I was anticipating this movie coming out months before it was coming out. I was a die-hard fan. I was freaking out. And then I watched the movie in the movie theater and I was so scared. I loved it.
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