Why Doctor Sleep’s Rebecca Ferguson Loved Doing Scenes With The Movie’s Young Actors

Rebecca Ferguson notices Abra in Doctor Sleep

In Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep, Rebecca Ferguson’s Rose The Hat isn’t a big fan of children. Well, actually, she is, but only in the sense that she likes to slowly torture and eat them. It’s thrilling and horrifying to watch play out on the big screen as she targets multiple young people – including Kyliegh Curran’s Abra Stone – and it’s scary enough to make you wonder what the actress was like around the kids on set.

As it turns out, the answer may surprise you. I asked Rebecca Ferguson about that particular aspect of the Doctor Sleep filmmaking process at the movie’s recent Los Angeles press day, and she explained that it was something she actually really loved. You can watch her response – and also Kyliegh Curran talk about her time working opposite her – by clicking play on the video below!

W.C. Fields has long been attributed with the saying "Never work with animals or children," but Rebecca Ferguson’s opinion on the matter couldn’t swing in a more opposite direction. Discussing her experience working with the movie’s young actors, she noted that there is something that you get from the interaction that is not only more authentic in the grander scheme, but gave her the ability the improve her own work. Said the actress,

I have to say working with children, because they haven't yet developed that need to... there's a self-centeredness in us grown-ups. We want to achieve something, and we need people to think something of us, et cetera. We always keep on working for other people, and actually having that purity of real acting, that's what I get from children acting. Because my acting needs to be as real as possible to give them the possibility to react. Right? And I can see when I'm not being good because it's transfiguring through their acting as well.

It’s a particularly interesting philosophy to think about in the context of Rose The Hat’s relationship with all of the young characters in the movie, as there is a specific charged energy in every interaction. It starts with a display of sweetness with a touch of seduction, but at the end of the day she doesn’t see children – specifically children that possess what Dan Torrance refers to as “the shining” – as anything other than food. When she’s ready to feast, she gets sinister real quick.

This ability to switch personalities was something that was actually specifically observed by Kyliegh Curran on set – especially when they would casually be talking, and then the cameras would start rolling. As the young actress noted, it kind of freaked her out to a certain extent:

She's incredibly talented. I just want to break off a piece of her talent steal it for my own. She's terrifying! She's so good at playing terrifying. When we were talking, sometimes she'd switch to Rose, and I'd get very scared. Like, 'Where did Miss Rebecca go? Oh no. Oh dear.'

Funny enough, this exact complement was mirrored by Rebecca Ferguson when talking about her time working with Kyliegh Curran. As you can see watching the video above, Curran is an energetic, happy young girl, but when it came time to switch into character-mode she has a totally different attitude. Said Ferguson.

These children were beyond par. We would be laughing and [Kyliegh Curran]'d be dancing because she's a musical. She's an artist. And then she would just close off, and there would come this filter of pure horror and heat. And I'd think, 'Oh my gosh, where did this come from?'

There is really some spectacular back-and-forth between Rose The Hat and Abra Stone featured in Doctor Sleep – and now is the time for you to experience it for yourself. The film is arriving in theaters everywhere tonight, so be sure to check it out, and then head back here for a wonderful spread of spoiler-centric content that we have prepared for you!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

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.