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In early 2022, Sophie Thatcher was everywhere. The Chicago native broke out as teenager Natalie Yellow Jacketsthe hottest new cable show at the time, and led directly to a recurring role on Boba Fett’s book. It was also the talk of Twitter since it reminded so many people of Juliette Lewis, ca Natural born killerswith whom he shared a role Yellow Jackets. Well, the creative team behind 21 Laps and 20th Century’s The boogeyman he took notice and offered Thatcher her first lead role in a studio film.
“I haven’t had to go through so many processes and have to prove my worth again and always just prepare for rejection, which is totally part of the job and part of life. So it was very refreshing to have people who believed in me and trusted me,” Thatcher says The Hollywood Reporter.
In Rob Savage’s The boogeyman, Thatcher and Vivien Lyra Blair play the grieving Harper sisters, who are quickly preyed upon by a monster that seeks such vulnerability. Finally, Thatcher’s Star Wars the experience would have been helpful in forging a sibling bond with 10-year-old Blair, who had just emerged from her top-secret role as young Princess Leia in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
“He told me little secrets because (Obi-Wan Kenobi). “It’s a strange and crazy world to be in, and while she was in a very different part of the Star Wars universe, that was our first point of connection.”
Thatcher has spoken DAY in support of The boogeyman shortly before Yellow Jackets‘ season 2 finale, and so his comments take on a whole new meaning now that the fiery finale has aired.
“Oh, the cabin set… There are so many memories, and honestly, the first time I walked into it, I was like, ‘I’d rent this as an Airbnb,’” recalls Thatcher. “So it’s really nice, just aesthetically… but that place is haunted. Towards the end, I thought, “It’s haunted.” Too many things have happened. We have to move forward.’”
In a season that has gotten progressively darker, Thatcher singles out one great scene in particular that has cost her the most sleep.
“It was the fantasy of eating the baby (in Yellow Jacketssixth episode). Everything was so gory and so morbid, and darkness was creeping into our normal lives, which wasn’t fun, especially when you’re trying to sleep. But that’s what happens when you work on a show like that,” Thatcher says.
Below, during a recent chat with DAYThatcher also discusses how he related to her black man feeling of isolation of the character.
WELL, Shawn Levi he told me last year that they singled you out in response to Yellow Jackets. So, this was the first time you felt the effect of Yellow Jacketswhat about career?
Decidedly. I mean, the fact that this was the first time in my life… I had a few offers where I had to meet the director first, but for someone to have that trust in me was something very new. I haven’t had to go through so many trials and having to prove myself again and only ever prepare for rejection, which is totally part of the job and part of life. So it was very nice to have people who believed in me and trusted me.
To ask the obvious, were you ecstatic when you learned of the brilliant test screenings and subsequent move to theaters?
Yes, this movie has to be theatrical and I think people have to experience it in theaters with other people just to have that energy in the room. It’s also so well shot that it has to be on a big screen, and going to the theater and seeing it is a more immersive experience. You can’t hit pause. You have to watch this movie for an hour and forty minutes and put yourself in Sadie’s perspective. So I think most horror movies should be in theaters.
I’m ashamed to be one of the hundreds of people asking this today, but did you and Vivien Lyra Blair bond during your galactic adventures in Manhattan Beach? (Writer’s note: Boba Fett’s book AND Obi-Wan Kenobi were both filmed at Manhattan Beach Studios.)
(He laughs.) Yes, Manhattan Beach! Aww, yeah, that was our first (bond). He told me little secrets because (Obi-Wan Kenobi) wasn’t out yet, so I felt very special that he trusted me and told me about playing Princess Leia. It’s a strange and crazy world to be in, and while she was in a very different part of the Star Wars universe, that was our first point of connection. It was she who trusted me and told me all these secrets.
Was that your second connection point when he swept your leg and knocked you to the ground?
(He laughs.) That was a scene that felt painfully awkward and pathetic. We had to keep re-shooting it, and I was like, “Wow, a 10-year-old is hitting me right now. I feel really pathetic. (He laughs.) But yes, that was also a good connection point. I was like, “Wow, that’s pretty badass.” Musically, she’s so talented. She is a writer. She has so much going for her, she’s insane. She could go down any path she wants, and it’s really exciting to see someone who is so young, so talented and so full of life and opportunity.
What were you afraid of as a child? What was your version of the Boogeyman?
As a kid, I had these curtains in my room that were very Old English, very old fashioned and sort of Victorian, and they had these elves on them that just horrified me. So I just kept them in my room for two or three days and finally I thought, “They’re stalking me, Mom. You have to shoot them down. So elves are many things, but they’re pretty scary. Dark elves are really scary. (He laughs.)
So how good is that Nilufer Yanya song What plays when Sadie goes back to school? I’ve been playing it on a loop for a while.
I didn’t know what they were going to do there, so I actually tried coming up with some songs based on what I actually put in my AirPods when I was his age in high school. So I thought, “He’d just be listening to My Bloody Valentine.” This is the most isolating type of music, I’m in my own world so I was rooting for that. I really need to check out the soundtrack, because I was so amazed by it and was unable to search for the song after that. But I think it worked perfectly and it’s totally the world he would live in. (Author’s note: Strangely, Nilufer Yanya is heavily influenced by My Bloody Valentine.)
Sadie obviously isn’t having a very normal high school experience at the moment. Did you have a typical high school experience? Or you missed class a lot to go out (Prospect) set with Pedro Pascal?
(He laughs.) I missed many lessons. Half was home schooling and then private school and public school. Early on, I was good at making my core group of friends, and that’s what kept me grounded. And Sadie had it to some extent. But it’s sad when people move forward or move to different stages or let other things get into their head. She therefore she is thrown away to some extent and abandoned twice in her life. But of course I felt isolated like her and somehow removed from people, because I had something outside of school that was always on my mind. I always just focused on acting and music, and it would take all my time. So people sometimes didn’t understand the drive I had and why I missed school and why I took it so seriously. So it felt like a disconnect.
You’ve got enough sample size now to know that, but actors will say the horror filming process borders on comedy or that it can get pretty creepy. Is that true in your experience?
It could definitely go either way. It really depended on the day and how ridiculous the scene was or how much you had to use your imagination. I mean, actually, you’re playing the climax of the movie on a ball (on a stick), and it’s ridiculous. But through this experience I have learned that you just have to put in the effort and I will carry that with me for the rest of my life. No matter what, don’t overthink anything and let your body do it. You can’t be self-conscious or else you can’t go to those places where you have to go to tell the story. And within this film, I learned to break free.
(The following two spoiler questions were asked prior to Yellow Jackets Season 2 finale.)
Well, between Javi’s (Luciano Leroux) death, baby eating fantasy, and Jackie’s (Ella Purnell) party, which scene was the hardest to rinse off, shall we say?
I think it was the fantasy of eating the baby. All these nightmares started piling up towards the end, and then we all started having nightmares towards the end. And it wasn’t even specifically about cannibalism; it was never about that. Everything was so gory and so morbid, and darkness was creeping into our normal lives, which wasn’t fun, especially when you’re trying to sleep. But that’s what happens when you work on a show like that. (He laughs.)
In the fifth episode, you had a very brief present moment with an adult Lottie (Simone Kessell). Were you excited to get off the booth set for a minute?
Oh the cabin set… There are so many memories and honestly the first time I walked into it I was like, “I would rent this as an Airbnb. It’s so beautiful. So it’s really nice, just aesthetically. It’s very Victorian and there’s so much old time stuff you can accept but that place is haunted. Towards the end, I thought, “It’s haunted. Too many things have happened. We have to move forward.” (He laughs.)
The boogeyman will be released in theaters on June 2. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.