Being haunted by a certain Internet demon is no funny business.
Sean Marquette stars in the horror film Friend Request as one of the group of friends being hunted by some kind of demon lurking on social media.
The film stars Alyicia Debnam-Cary (Fear the Walking Dead), William Moseley (Chronicles of Narnia), Connor Paolo (Gossip Girl), Brook Markham (Foursome), Brit Morgan (Riverdale, Supergirl), and featuring Liesl Ahlers as the demon.
LRM had an exclusive phone interview with Sean Marquette late last week about his experiences on the set of Friend Request. We discussed about the cool prosthetics they created, filming his important stunt elevator scene and being scared in a dark hallway.
A lof of our conversation contained spoilers, so we saved this interview to be published after the weekend. It is highly recommended for true fans to watch the film before reading this interview.
Friend Request is currently playing nationwide in theaters.
Read our interview transcript below.
LRM: I wanted to remark that I was so mad that you gave me a jump scare. I had to slam my fists into the armrest of my chair.
Sean Marquette: [Laughs] Thank you so much. Even after filming it and seen the rough copy of it in a theater, it was the same thing for me and I knew on what was going to happen. I really enjoy when movies do that.
LRM: So tell my on why you were attracted and how you were approached for this project?
Sean Marquette: Good question. It’s typical. My agent called that I got something for a cool feature film. It’ll be shooting in South Africa and it has a German production. So take a look at the script.
When I read it, I just really fell in love with my character. He’s really silly, kind of fun and casual. I thought I could play that character really well. Even if you don’t like the script, you always want to go in and meet with casting just in case. You’ll just never know on what the script can turned up being. I went in to meet with the director and casting—we had a really good audition. It was really great. They were wonderful to work with. They let me be a little silly.
In one of the scenes in the film, I was running through the hallways and screaming. When we were in the audition room, you’re just against the blank wall and there’s a camera. It’s not like you’re on set. It’s a little bit difficult to get there.
I just remembered telling them, “Look. I grew up with two brothers.” Whenever someone hides in a closet or pretends not to be home by hiding behind a wall to scare me, typically the reactions from someone who gets scared is quite funny. It’s really bizarre and with the noises you make.
In the audition, they let me be silly when I had to be scared. I knew from that moment on that, “Man, I’m going to really enjoy doing that project.” And it was a blast!
LRM: So you’re really typically easily, easily scared yourself?
Sean Marquette: So easily, easily scared. It’s horrible. I have two older brothers who bullied me with fear tactics. I just got wrecked on a lot. [Laughs]
LRM: Talk about your transformation in this film. You must’ve sat in that makeup chair for quite some time to get the look of that character correctly.
Sean Marquette: Yeah, it was a really interesting experience. After I was cast, the first thing I had to do is to be in Los Angeles for a special effects studio. They had to make a full cast of my face so they can build the prosthetic. It was probably the most difficult part. They put silicone plaster on your whole face. It covered my head and covered my eyes. I was breathing through straws in my nose with all this plaster for about six hours.
Months later, after they made a cast of my head and the prosthetics, it took about four to five hours to put it on. It did cover my nose and most of my face. But, I grew up doing this stuff and I love sitting in the makeup chair. It’s really relaxing. They do spoil you. I sat in a chair that’s fully reclined. It was a really amazing experience.
For me, most of the fun was with the giant eye contacts when we were wearing to look possessed. Our eyes would be quite blue and yellowish. These contacts were full eyeball contacts. They’re irritating and quite odd when you put them on. I don’t wear contacts since I got good vision. Typically, I don’t get used to stuff like that. I just loved that part. Whenever I had those contacts on, I felt like I was a demon. It was so awesome.
LRM: So you really felt like a different person before and after that makeup effects, right?
Sean Marquette: Yeah, it was a lot easier to bang your head into an elevator wall and pretend to be possessed. It makes things more believable inside when you see it from the outside.
Your vision is also skewed. It really does feel like you’re possessed. It leaves you a little bit of tunnel vision. It was a crazy thing I had to do. It was amazing.
LRM: Since you had to sit in that makeup chair for hours, what is your go-to thing to do while you’re on that chair? Do you read magazines? Surf the Net? Look at your social media? What do you like to do?
Sean Marquette: I’m an audiobook kind of a guy and also a TED Talks guy. We had wifi on where we were. Typically, we would be playing music or listen to some really awesome Ted Talks. Then just chitchat on the weird stuff we’re listening to.
I’m a big sci-fi nerd. I love all the scientists they bring in on TED Talks. I love all those crazy stuff.
LRM: Oh, really? Out of curiosity, what is the best TED Talks you heard so far? What subject?
Sean Marquette: I’m really interested in the stuff that Elon Musk had been doing with his company Tesla. One of my favorite TED Talks is with his forty-minute presentation on his company, his future of the company, and the things he’s working on.
At the time, in which we were filming this movie years ago, I don’t think it’s something I was listening to. I’m not sure. Now that’s probably the one I listen to the most. I love to hear him speak about the future of Tesla.
His theory on artificial intelligence is quite interesting. It’s brilliant to see what the world can come up with. He’s the forefront of that with a billion dollar company. He took a big leap by selling electric cars when the market didn’t want them. It’s all cool stuff.
LRM: I’ll have to check it out myself. Now for that elevator scene, how many times you had to bang yourself into that wall?
Sean Marquette: We did for hours. The wall, itself, they tried to make it as comfortable as possible. The prosthetic is quite sturdy and padded. Man, we did it for a good three to four hours. We must’ve done it over a hundred times.
I had a stunt coordinator on set who showed me on how best to fake it. I can definitely say that a week after that day—I had a sore neck and headaches. It’s just the whipping motion of moving your head back and forth even if you’re not quite colliding with the wall. After a few takes, you’re like, “Man, my neck is killing me.”
LRM: Oh, wow. You literally did collide with the wall. So it’s not a pretend soft hit.
Sean Marquette: Oh, yes! Sometimes you’ll get babied as an actor. They’ll say, “We don’t want you to hit too hard against the wall. We don’t want you to get hurt.” I’m like, “No, man! We’re shooting a movie. I’m selling this in. I’m selling this out.” I totally smashed my head against that wall. I did broke it a couple of times and they had to re-fix it. They had to shove the panel back in that elevator.
It looked awesome in some of our closeup takes. It’s so funny when you see it in the film—it doesn’t quite last for that long on what footage they used. We shot hours of footage for that.
I even remembered that we had a really cool rehearsal day when we went to a stunt studio. They showed me some really large pads and really soft materials. They taught me on how to mimic striking your head against the wall without incurring any damage. That was really fun, because I got to meet some cool South African stunt guys. It was certainly awesome.
LRM: Looks like Simon [Verhoeven] put you through a lot for this film. What do you suppose was the most difficult challenge for yourself?
Sean Marquette: Oh, gosh. Good question. I think the most difficult thing, with Simon’s help, was with the cell phone shots. There was a few shots of me going through a dark hallway with only a cell phone. There was only the flash guiding the light of the shot. That was a lot of work with staying scared for hours on end. It’s about breathing differently and feeling afraid.
You’re also trying to keep your hand in a certain position so that the camera can track you. It’ll look proper on the shot. It’s one thing for you to lift your cell phone right now and turn on the flashlight to look at something. You have to hold it in a certain position for the camera to track you. As you walk into a room, you have to hit certain beats on where the camera has to look. Then it has to have a reaction shot on you as you get scared.
All of that is really quite intricate. It’s probably the most difficult process. It’s also the most enjoyable, because it’s a challenge I’ve never done before. I also felt like I was a part of the camera crew by working together to develop the shot. It was a lot of fun.
Simon had a lot of trust in an actor for me to do that kind of stuff. We kept a lot of that in the movie, which was great.
LRM: Are you a fan of horror movies yourself? You’re a sci-fi guy, but do you like scary movies?
Sean Marquette: I do like scary movies! I’ve had seen It and I did see mother! over the weekend. I thought it was going to be a thriller and it turned out quite different than that. I typically get out to see all the scary movies that I can.
All my buddies are huge movie buffs. A couple of my friends have tattoos all over themselves of movies like Freddie, Jason and Michael Myers. I always do see horror movies.
LRM: Do you use social media a lot? Are you a popular person on the Internet?
Sean Marquette: No, not really. I’m not a SnapChat guy. I’m not an Instagram guy. I’ve been trying to get into it lately, because it does matter for your acting profile now. You need a social media following. So I’m really going to get into it now.
You can follow me @seanmarquette on Twitter, Instagram and even on SnapChat. I haven’t been using it quite as much. Right now, my time is being used to do some standup. I want to put that on social media so people can hear my stories and my jokes.
LRM: Awesome. To wrap it up, could you talk about your future projects?
Sean Marquette: Besides Friend Request, I’m also on The Goldbergs. I’ve been working on that for a couple of seasons ago. I get to work on the season with them and I play a really fun character on that show. For anybody who likes television and comedy, check out The Goldbergs.
Otherwise, follow me on social media. Come check out locally when I’m around doing standup. I’ve been doing it two or three times a week and I’m having a lot of fun.
LRM: And real fast with this quick question, did you get to keep any souvenirs from the set? Did you keep the contacts or the prosthetics?
Sean Marquette: I did. I do have a full sculpture of my own face on my dresser in my bedroom. For that plaster I sat through for hours, I did get a copy of that they made. I had the weirdest experience with the first time I saw it, it just felt really strange to look at a cast of myself. Yeah, most definitely strange.
LRM: Awesome. Sean, it’s been a pleasure having this talk with you. This is great. Thank you very much.
Sean Marquette: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Friend Request is currently playing in theaters nationwide.
Source: LRM Exclusive