It’s a start of a remarkable journey of friendship in the horror genre.
Actress Brooke Markham stars as Isabella, one of the protagonist’s best friends in Friend Request, who is haunted by some Internet demonic spirit.
The film stars Alyicia Debnam-Cary (Fear the Walking Dead), William Moseley (Chronicles of Narnia), Connor Paolo (Gossip Girl), Sean Marquette (The Goldbergs), Brit Morgan (Riverdale, Supergirl), and featuring Liesl Ahlers as the demon.
LRM had an exclusive phone interview with Brook Markham about her experiences on the set of Friend Request and making it her first movie. We discussed about the horror genre, prosthetics and makeup and screaming so much like she is a genuine scream queen.
A lot of our conversation contained spoilers, so we saved this interview to be published after the movie premiered. 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: Tell us on how you were approached and why you were attracted to this film Friend Request?
Brooke Markham: It’s funny. We’ve shot this movie about four years ago now. Honestly, it really fell into my lap. I just graduated from drama school. I went to a drama school in London called LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art). I was a recent graduate of that place and since I was American—I did these American showcases. Tannis (Vallely), the casting director, saw me at one of these showcases and called me in. I think I went in for about three different times with the director.
Honestly, it was my first American audition. I thought it would’ve been cool to be called in for a film out here and I wound up booking it. It really fell into my lap and I went with the flow. I just happened. I wound up getting cast.
In my background, I’ve been a huge horror fan. I grew up with my brother, sister and my whole family—especially with my older brother—we always make a point to take me to the new horror films at the movie theater we have here in town. We’re from a really, really small town in Oregon. Now that’s kind of our thing. We would watch horror movies together.
So I’ve always been a big fan. When I knew it was a horror film, I was really excited. I liked the genre. I wanted to be a huge part of the genre, because I’m a huge fan of it. It really drew me to the movie, because it was a fun, horror film.
LRM: Wow. You sound like you’re a horror aficionado.
Brooke Markham: Yes. Well, I don’t know about that. [Laughs] I don’t know if I’m a horror aficionado, but I do love the 80s horror films. The first Nightmare on Elm Street was legitimately the first movie I remembered seeing. I was a child and it was really crazy. It wasn’t a Disney film or anything.
I’m pretty sure that my older brother and sister that they were playing it. It was Nightmare on Elm Street. I remembered seeing that at eight-years-old. Or maybe I was even younger than that, which is kind of insane.
LRM: [Laughs] So Friend Request is definitely a dream come true for you since it’s in the horror genre.
Brooke Markham: It’s my first film I’ve ever did four years ago. I’ve done a lot of other things since then, of course. I think, as an actor, the first film or the first gig you ever booked is a dream come true. So, “Yeah, I want to pay you to do this.” Obviously, it’s not about the money.
The first film you ever booked is a dream come true. It’s your first job. In meaning, it’s the first job being to be your dream job. It actually happened so it was really cool. It was great.
LRM: How did you want to approach your character for this movie since it’s your very, very first role on the big screen? It must to say the least—terrifying.
Brooke Markham: It was a little bit intimidating since I’m from theater. I’ve done professional theater for years. Obviously, I’ve trained at drama school. Acting wasn’t new to me. I definitely knew on how to act. But, being on a bigger set—that’s all new to me. I was just thrown into the wolves. [Laughs]
So how did I approach the character? To me, it’s really hard to approach any character in my experience. I just try to find the truth behind the character. She’s a girl who loves her friends. The film revolves a lot about friendship. It’s the friendship, especially with the three girls. I just approached it from that angle. I didn’t really have to put anything extra on it. I just wanted to see on how I could bring to it in a natural way.
There are characters that’ll be close to you or be authentic on who you are. There are also extraordinary characters that you must use different elements—like different physicality for the character. I felt like, Isabelle, is so close on who I am that it wasn’t a stretch to create a different character. I just related her to myself and who I was in the situations she was put in.
LRM: Well, I’ve seen the film. You screamed quite a lot. Can you call yourself a Scream Queen now?
Brooke Markham: [Laughs] I mean…..I haven’t thought of that. So, Gig, if you say I’m a scream queen—then I’m going to say it. I love it! [Laughs] That’s so funny. Sure. I’ll be a scream queen.
LRM: Your screams in your scenes certainly gave me goosebumps. That’s for sure. I can still see those images of you on the big screen in my mind right now.
Brooke Markham: That’s awesome. It’s fun. I remembered long ago that they made me do an improv and I don’t remembered on what the improv was all about. I just remembered it was a big improv and at the end to make sure there was a big scream. I do remember that. They did make me scream during the audition process. That’s so funny. [Laughs]
LRM: Talk to me about sitting in that makeup chair. Tell me about the transformation that they made you go through.
Brooke Markham: Yeah, it was amazing. Our special effect guys are incredible. They’re the best. They’re so good.
I had a prosthetic around my neck in the film, in which she slits her throat. I had a rig. It was a prosthetic that went across my whole neck and attached it that way. There was a tube that they hide around my neck and went along down my back. So I would slit my throat and the blood would come out. I totally remembered that. And if I moved my head back, you can see a cut obviously. That would open up.
I remembered the scene of that I slit my throat and blood does come out—there was a guy out of frame by feet trying to pump blood. We were working together to make that effect happen. So that was fun.
As for sitting in the makeup chair, I think it was about an hour. I know that Liesl, who plays Marina, she was in the makeup chair for a lot longer for turning into the demonic version of Marina.
The toughest thing was the lenses we had to wear. In the film, if you noticed when the characters get possessed and kill themselves, their eyes turn in a shade of blue. We all had different contact lenses we would put in during those moments. I remembered specifically that I had trouble getting those lenses into my eyes. They do put it in for you. That was a bit uncomfortable. For those lenses, they could allow us to wear them for a couple of hours. You have to take them out or else you’ll get nauseous. That never happened to me.
They were a little bit disorienting for those contact lenses. It is so fun. It’s like Halloween every day on set. It’s the best of the best of doing your makeup and putting these crazy prosthetics on you. I loved it. [Laughs] It was so fun. It was great.
We were talking of the way to getting into character—just look into the mirror—you got it.
LRM: Do you recall on how you passed the time in the makeup chair? Do you read magazines? Jump on social media? Chit chat with the makeup artists?
Brooke Markham: Yeah, I’m a bit of a talker. I just remembered chatting most of the time. Or if you’re on set—just relax. You just close your eyes and let them do their thing. While you’re working, sometimes the work can be pretty exhausting. If you’re running around and screaming the whole time, so being in the makeup chair is quite relaxing. Normally, I would just chat with everybody. You become really close with those guys, because you end up spending a lot of time with them.
LRM: Do you use social media yourself? Are you a popular person on the Internet?
Brooke Markham: I don’t know if I’m popular on the Internet by any means. But, I do use social media. [Laughs] I have all social media platforms. The one I definitely use the most is Instagram. I love posting pictures and doing the Instagram stories. I also do have SnapChat and do that sometimes. I do have Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t Tweet that much.
LRM: Well, let me start wrapping things up with you. Could you talk about some of your future projects?
Brooke Markham: Yeah, I can. The most recent project that came out is a pilot on Amazon called A Kid Called Mayonnaise. That pilot came out a few weeks ago. It came out on Amazon—so you should go and you should vote. Amazon does this voting process for the different pilots that come out. The pilots with the most audience appeal and the most votes—Amazon would pick it up for a full season or a full series. That’s my most recent thing of A Kid Called Mayonnaise. It’s up there right now. Go watch that. Go vote. Please give us five stars and leave a comment. It’s a good pilot—not a horror film at all. [Laughs] It’s for young kids. But, I think for the whole family really.
It deal with a lot of issues like connection and loneliness. It’s on what it would be like as an outsider. It’s being an outcast. It’s on how hard it is to make friends. I think everybody, of all ages, could relate to that. You should sit down and watch it with your family.
Besides that, I’m writing and producing myself. I just finished my first short film that I’ve written and produced. We just finished the last stages of post [production] in the past month. So that’s really exciting. That’s called Ember. Right now, we’re just submitting it to different festivals to see it gets picked up. This way people can see it.
Those are my future projects. So exciting.
LRM: That is exciting. That’s pretty awesome. And one more quick question—since this is your first film—did you keep any souvenirs for yourself? Maybe part of the prosthetics or the contact lenses?
Brooke Markham: I didn’t keep the contact lenses. But, I did keep of the sweaters. It’s in the film towards the beginning. It is a sweater that has the American flag on it. I think she wears it in the scene where the girls crowding around the computer to see Marina’s Facebook profile page. I remembered really liking that sweater and I got to keep it. So yeah, I do. [Laughs]
LRM: That’s awesome. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Now you can say that someone called you a Scream Queen.
Brooke Markham: I love it. I would never forget it. So happy that I’ve been officially called a Scream Queen. It’s a dream come true! Thank you so much, Gig.
Friend Request is currently playing in theaters nationwide.
Source: LRM Exclusive