In the thrilling eight-episode anthology series, JUST BEYOND, based on the graphic novels by R.L. Stine, comes the astonishing and thought-provoking stories of a reality just beyond the one we know. Each episode of JUST BEYOND introduces viewers to a new cast of characters who must go on a surprising journey of self-discovery in a supernatural world of witches, aliens, ghosts, and parallel universes.
Recently, Nightmarish Conjurings had the chance to speak with Megan Stott, who plays Olivia, a teenager dealing with the divorce of her parents, and the appearance of a masked creature in Episode 4 – My Monster; Jy Prishkulnik who plays Luna, a proud witch who visits her cousin Fiona, who is hiding from her own witchy identity in Episode 3 – Which Witch; and Gabriel Bateman, who plays 14-year-old Jack who finds himself on a remote trip with his best friend where they must fight for their lives against their parents in Episode 2 – Parents Are From Mars, Kids Are From Venus.
During our chat, we discussed everything from tackling their individual characters, how previous experiences on horror projects helped shape their approach but also contrasted against the family fare in this series, and wrapped with what the gang wants people to take away from their characters and JUST BEYOND as a whole.
To kick things off, what did each of you enjoy most about the characters you played?
Megan Stott: For me, it would probably be the scary monster, and behind the scenes was also probably my favorite part. The acting was definitely fun but there are definitely some moments where I couldn’t feel as serious because I knew who was who and there were so many people around. So it’s definitely like the funny moments for me and being able to see the backstage. That was probably the most fun for me.
Jy Prishkulnik: The most exciting part about playing Luna was totally the wardrobe, hair, and makeup. I got to be a completely different person, which, you know, we get to do for every role, but it’s not so often that you get to wear a spiky white wig and purple contacts and these long talon-like nails. I loved dressing up like Luna and fully embodying her with a British accent as well. It was a complete transformation.
Gabriel Bateman: I think the most exciting part about playing Jack was bringing him to life in general and trying to make him believable and feel like a real teenager. I also think the most exciting part about filming was the cast and the crew and everyone I worked with, especially the cast. Everyone was so funny. I was surrounded by so many hilarious comedians so I could never keep a straight face on set. I laughed so many times, I think it probably ruined like 30% of our takes because I kept breaking character and laughing. That was probably the most fun part for me.
Gabriel and Jy – you’ve both done horror projects in the past. How did those experiences help to inform your characters for this project?
Jy Prishkulnik: That’s a good question. In the horror that I’ve done previously, I would say that it’s more geared towards an older audience, so they were really leaning into the scary aspects. Also in those, I was the one being scared as opposed to JUST BEYOND where I am the one scaring. I would say that it falls more into the spooky kind of genre, so I really leaned more into the mystery and the mystique of the character. I think having previous experiences in horror definitely helped me be informed about the genre. With this being Disney and a more child-geared project, I think I got to lean more into the fun and fantastical elements.
Gabriel Bateman: Yeah, I would agree. I think there are parts of it that are definitely still horror, but it’s pretty different because I think, in all of the horrors I’ve done before there’s always a very life-threatening element to it where it’s like a genuine fear of potentially dying or at least a very serious injury. But with this, that’s not really as much of a thing. It’s kind of more of a fear of not knowing who’s around you and almost feeling betrayed and lied to. So it’s less of a genuine terror and kind of more like confusion and trying to understand what’s happening and trying to understand who your parents are and how you relate to them.
As for you Megan, you encounter what I think is the creepiest character in the series. What was it like when you first saw the creature?
Megan Stott: It was definitely very interesting because I knew who was underneath it, but at the same time it was creepy because of the setting and how we did the setup and the first scene with him. It was definitely like, I’ve never seen something like this before. It was definitely something new to me and I’ve never done horror so I definitely had to research and get into that genre, especially the spookiness. So for me, it was definitely different and exciting. I did break character multiple times b/c of the scare monster [Laughs].
There are so many important themes that are tackled within JUST BEYOND, everything from bullying to peer pressure to mental health. When it comes to the characters you play, is there anything you hope people take away from them?
Megan Stott: I hope they take away that we might be struggling with mental health and we might be struggling with our personal lives but at the same time, we have to find that confidence in ourselves and what we say and what we do and the friends we make. Some people might not have that confidence and confidence is what trajects you into being happy or being confident in what you do and having that strength inside of you.
Jy Prishkulnik: And going off of that confidence, I hope people take from my episode that they feel empowered to find what is different about them, whether it’s from their heritage or their individuality or their upbringing. I hope that they let it shine and share it with others because I think that’s how we learn more about ourselves as humans and the communities around us.
Gabriel Bateman: I think a common theme in almost all of the episodes is that a lot of the problems originate from a lack of communication, which I think is a big thing. I think a lot of, at least in my episode, could have been solved if the characters had just talked to each other about how they were feeling and what they were scared of rather than bottling it up and keeping it inside and trying to deal with it themselves. That’s when things really started to get scary when Jack and his friends didn’t really talk to anyone. I hope that people are more open to communication and talking to their parents or whoever about what bothers them and what they’re scared of.
All episodes of JUST BEYOND are now available to stream, exclusively on Disney+.
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