Interview: ‘Orphan’ Star Isabelle Fuhrman Talks Shudder Horror Film ‘The Last Thing Mary Saw’

Isabelle Fuhrman in ‘The Last Thing Mary Saw’ | Shudder

We were lucky enough to ask star Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan, Escape Room 2) a few questions about her recently-released Shudder horror film, The Last Thing Mary Saw, the feature debut from writer-director Edoardo Vitaletti. 

In case you still haven’t, be sure to also watch our video interview with Edoardo Vitaletti right HERE.

SR: We enter the story with Eleanor and Mary’s relationship already unfolding and a certain family dynamic already in play. Did you and co-star Stefanie Scott and/or Edoardo work on backstory to fuel performance? 

IF: “Edoardo sent me Babette’s Feast to watch and aside from that we had a few conversations about Eleanor’s family origins and why he felt she had fallen into being a housemaid for this family. We mainly spoke about why Eleanor and PJ’s character [P.J. Sosko plays Theodore, The Guard] stay where they are, and what that fear would be like to live with.

“Luckily, Stefanie and I have known each other for a long time, and I’d been wanting to work with her again FOREVER. We lived with each other during filming which I think really helped us form our relationship in such a deep and comfortable way.”

Stefanie Scott and Isabelle Fuhrman in ‘The Last Thing Mary Saw’ | Shudder

SR: Being his first experience directing a feature, Edoardo told us that you and Stefanie Scott often provided some levity on set and reminded him that making a film can be a fun experience. Do you have recollections of attempting to keep certain moments “lite” while filming gloomy scenes? Do you think it’s important to provide levity on set?

IF: “I have been so lucky that from a young age I have gotten to work with incredible actors like Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, Jennifer Lawrence, to name a few; all incredibly well known, talented and brought levity to set every chance they’re could. By observing them on set, I noticed that when an actor is having a good time the entire environment can shift and become a positive one! Even if you are filming a small movie, you’re exhausted, you’re cold and you are working overtime. When one person has a positive attitude, it is contagious, and while working on dark material I think it is very easy to get sucked into the darkness of the energy you are trying to capture on screen. I find it so important to bring levity in between the moments that the camera is rolling to keep the dark moments on screen fresh, and to keep the morale of the crew high. It also helps me be present as an actor when the cameras are rolling because I am staying present in the day and not getting stuck in my own head.”

SR: Both Eleanor and Mary are put through some horrific situations. Was there any particular scene that you found especially challenging and/or emotional to film?

IF: “The scene where I am kneeling on rice in my corset during the family dinner. So much is going on for Eleanor in that scene and I remember feeling so emotionally drained at the end of the days we shot it. Eleanor was just raped, she is stripped to her underwear (which, during that time period, was especially a hugely degrading situation to be in), she is being physically tortured while being mentally tortured watching the woman she loves being treated so poorly by her own family. All Eleanor wants is to protect Mary, and on top of it all is the anxiety they feel of whether or not their escape plan will work. For me, that was the hardest as an actor to get into. There was so much to have swimming in my mind at once.”

SR: The buzz for Orphan: First Kill is building. Is there a quick tease you can provide for what audiences can expect?

IF: “Expect to be just as shocked as you were with the first film!”

The Last Thing Mary Saw is now streaming on Shudder.

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