If you’ve ever seen a movie or TV show about Hollywood, chances are you know what a typical audition looks like. An actor gets called into a room where they must perform and try to impress a group that usually includes the project’s director, producers, and casting director. This wasn’t how things worked behind the scenes of the new horror movie Unfriended, however. Instead, the film – which is entirely set on a single computer screen – took a bit of inspiration from its stylistic approach, and not only had performers audition through webcams, but also set groups of them up in chats to test and see how well they could play off one another.
I learned this interesting bit of trivia about Unfriended when I recently had the chance to interview stars Jacob Wysocki and Courtney Halverson, who play friends Ken Smith and Val Rommel, respectively, in the new horror film. Curious how the audition process for the movie was reflective of the project itself, I asked the two actors about the path towards getting their roles, and they explained the unique approach. You can watch a clip from our Skype chat below (with the film’s villain haunting our conversation, no less!)
So how did Jacob Wysocki and Courtney Halverson approach their auditions that allowed them to stand out against all of the actors they were grouped with? Well, Wysocki entirely credits his own personal lovability – modestly referring to himself as America’s Treasure - while Halverson pretty much took the complete opposite approach: she channeled the bitchiest, ballsiest personality that she could locate within herself. Whatever they were doing, it obviously worked, as they would eventually find themselves starring opposite Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm, and Will Peltz in the new movie.
Directed by Levan Gabriadze, Unfriended follows a group of friends who gather together for an innocent night of Skyping, but wind up experiencing unpredictable horrors. It turns out that the night in question is the one year anniversary of the death of Laura Barns - a classmate who committed suicide after being shamed in a party video and bullied mercilessly online – and she wants some revenge. The haunting begins innocently enough, with just a strange blue box appearing in the Skype window labeled "billie227," but it gets far more involved from there.
Unfriended arrives in theaters tomorrow, April 17th.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.