Gabrielle Stone is known by most as Scream Queen Dee Wallace’s daughter, but she’s already busy making name for herself in the horror community. In her new movie, SPEAK NO EVIL, Stone plays Anna, a young mother whose daughter is tormented by demonic activity that clings to their family. I was lucky enough to chat with the rising star about her exciting new work. In the interview, we talk about her upcoming thriller, her mother’s lessons, and what exactly it is about possessed children that audiences still fear to this day.
Your mother, obviously, is Dee Wallace, who has been in a number of popular horror films. Did she spark your interest in the genre, or was that something that you developed on your own?
You know, I get asked that a lot, and I love the horror genre, you know, it’s always fun to scream and cry and get bloody and all the crazy stuff that we do in that genre. I wouldn’t say that because of the stuff she’s done that I’m more drawn towards it, it’s just been kind of what I’ve fallen into thus far in my career. But I would love to do comedy one day, and I love drama, and that genre as well, so, I wouldn’t say that it was because of her, but I have definitely fallen into it.
Is there a lesson that she has taught you about acting, or just about life in general that has helped you?
Oh God, um, I’ve learned so much about my mom, just as a human being, but as far as acting, just to be truthful and not to act (laughs). I trained with her for like three years at her acting studio when she had it, and the biggest lesson I learned was to just not try and act, to just be yourself and be real. That has served me most in my career, I would say. And then, I mean, as a person, just to, you know, to love life, and have fun, no matter what you’re doing, as long as you love doing it, then that’s what’s going to make you happy.
That’s great. Has she seen your new movie yet?
She hasn’t! She’s seen a clip from it that I got to put on my reel, but she hasn’t seen the whole thing yet. I haven’t even seen the whole thing yet. I’ve seen like the very, very rushed version of it. The first time she’ll see it will actually be at the L.A. premiere on May 30th.
In the movie, SPEAK NO EVIL, you play Anna, who is a single mother that fights to protect her daughter from the demonically possessed children in her town. Why is this town in particular so affected by demonic possession?
I don’t know if it’s necessarily the town, I think it’s more the me as the Anna and my daughter that were targeted. But basically, my daughter goes missing and then the rest of the children go missing shortly after, and the town kind of blames me because my daughter went first and I kind of have a bad reputation (laughs) going around in town, so. It’s more targeted towards Anna and her daughter as opposed to the town specifically, because it’s just another random, small town.
Why are Anna and her daughter targeted?
Well, I can’t really say too much without giving away all of the plot points, but it’s definitely because of past events that Anna’s dealt with in her life., and it’s important the way that she goes about handling it; that changes her as a person.
How did you prepare for this role as Anna? Did you do any research on possession?
It was my first time playing a role as a mother, so that was new for me, obviously. I’m twenty-four, but in the film I’m you know, twenty-six, twenty-seven, so I had her in the film when I was much younger. I did some research as far as being a young mom, and stuff like that. I connected with the character very much, like how real she was, and how much a struggle in her life she has, and the adversity that she has to overcome, so, it wasn’t really hard for me to connect with the character to prepare for it, it was mostly just getting into the role of being a mom and having to put someone else’s life before my own was what I focused on the most as far as preparation.
Were there any films that influenced this film that have dealt with possession?
As far as what it takes after? Like if there’s a model film that it took after?
Yeah, like was THE EXORCIST a big influence? Or any films like that? Or were there any?
That would be a better…I’d have to ask the director about that. I know that he wrote it being a fan of the genre and I’m sure every possession film has some influence from THE EXORCIST (laughs), that’s where it all began. Which is why I took to the script so much because even though it is in the possession horror genre, it’s very artistic, and it’s very character driven and plot based, so it has a lot of in depth story lines, as opposed to just, like, the horror and possession stuff. It’s got a lot more to it than that, so, I think that’s really what sets it apart from the other films that are in the same category.
Why do you think it’s normally children that are possessed?
Besides the fact that it’s completely freaky to see a child in that state, because it kind of tugs on your heart strings more. You want to be able to take care of them and keep them safe so if they’re going through a demonic possession then that takes it to a whole other level of intensity. I think it is also because of their innocence, it makes it feel more unfair that it’s happening to them, as opposed to as if it were an adult, that might have done bad things in their life, or gone through stuff that could have altered it, but when it’s a child, it’s so much different to see someone go through that on screen and it really brings up the intensity of the film I think.
I read that there’s going to be some comic books that will act as a prequel to the movie. What will audiences gain by reading these comic books?
I’ve haven’t gotten to read them yet, but as far as I know, it’s a prequel to the film, so it gives you an insight into what happens before, and why this is happening to Anna and her daughter. The comic book is really awesome. Well Chris Heck did it and, I’ll read it in a couple of weeks when I get it in Arizona, but I’ve heard it’s awesome. The comic cons are just going to eat it up. I’m excited to read it.
That’s great! Well, I can’t wait to see the movie, it looks really good.
Yeah, it was a lot of fun shooting for, and I think people are really going to enjoy it. It’s a good take on a category and genre that people really love.
Are there any scary stories from set?
Um, I wouldn’t say scary stories, but there were definitely, you know, we had some creepy crawly wranglers on set. We were shooting in the desert in Arizona so it’s, you know, snakes and biters, and scorpions, and all that fun stuff that we don’t really have to deal with out in L.A. (laughs). So, not really scary stories, there wasn’t anything spooky that happened on set that I was aware of, at least, they could be keeping me in the dark (laughs). But the biggest thing that we had to deal with was definitely the elements, as far as like, the heat, and the wind, definitely got our butts beat up a little bit on that shoot.
So you said the world premiere is going to be in L.A. on May 30th?
That’s the L.A. premiere screening that they’re doing, the world premiere is actually in Arizona, and that’s on the 24th.
And they’re also releasing the comic books in Arizona?
Yeah, they’re releasing the comic books at the Arizona Comic Con, so it’s that weekend as well, that’s when the comic books will be released, and then they’re taking us on a big tour, so we’re doing Arizona, and then L.A., and then West Virginia, and the Niagara Falls Comic Con. So we’re all over the place (laughs).
Well I hope it reaches Texas, because I would love to see it.
I hope so too! They’re doing a couple of different distribution deals right now, but, I do know that it will eventually be released worldwide on liveplay.tv which is their new live streaming site that they’ll be launching with the premiere of SPEAK NO EVIL but it does have a limited theatrical release, so they’re just deciding how they’re going to go about doing both of those.
Cool! Well do you have any other upcoming films that you would like to discuss?
I do! I’m going to be back in Arizona in the beginning of June to shoot a feature film, an indie called GRIEF, directed by Kevin Phipps, and I’m excited about that. It’s more of a psychological drama. And then I will be in the Poconos in September, and I’m shooting a film called ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD, and that’s with Billy Zane and my mom, Dee Wallace.
Oh wow. What’s that about?
It’s a zombie film, but it’s a very different type of film because it’s such an over saturated genre, that the writer/director Harrison Smith really wanted to make it something that is different, that zombie fans can really love, but that wasn’t like everything else that kept coming out. So, it’s a very different, and character juicy type of zombie film (laughs).
Will you and your mom be playing characters that are related, or are you going to be on opposite sides of the fence?
We’re not, I think, actually, we’re only on set together one day, and it’s a very small scene where I don’t even think we’re actually interacting, but I play her son’s girlfriend.
Oh, ok. She had to act like she doesn’t approve (laughs). Cool, well thank you so much for the interview, I really appreciate it.
Yeah of course! I appreciate talking to you, it’s been great.