The new A&E Mick Garris-directed adaptation of Stephen King’s “Bag Of Bones. stars Pierce Brosnan, Melissa George, Annabeth Gish, Anika Noni Jones, Matt Frewer and Jason Priestly.
Recently I had the chance, along with a few other journalists, to hop on the phone with Annabeth Gish (Mystic Pizza, “The X-Files”) for a lengthy chat. Gish, who plays Brosnan’s wife, “Jo”, in the series got candid on a number of topics including her favorite Stephen King book and her belief in the paranormal.
“‘Bag of Bones’ is the story of grief and lost love’s enduring bonds, an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire and a new love haunted by past secrets. Bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, played by Pierce Brosnan, is unable to stop grieving after the sudden death of his wife Jo. A dream inspires him to return to the couple’s lakeside retreat in western Maine where he becomes involved in a custody battle between the daughter of an attractive young widow and the child’s enormously wealthy grandfather, the mysterious ghostly visitations, the ever-escalating nightmares and the realization that his late wife still has something to tell him.”
Hit the jump to check out excerpts from the interview! Why were you compelled to take this role? Especially since you technically die in the first 10 minutes? “Of course every actress wants to be featured throughout to fulfill her storyline, but I felt like the character of Jo was so clearly drawn and her essence is throughout the film. So in that sense she kind of resonates. I also wanted to say yes for several [other] reasons. I’ve worked with Mick Garris [director] before and I adore him, it was another Stephen King project, and I resect him immensely.”
Was there anything physical about “Bag Of Bones” that was tough for you? “Definitely. This project has, oddly enough, been very physically challenging for me in terms of prosthetics. I had to do a four hour makeup job to become the zombie/ghost Jo. That for me became very scary. You get claustrophobic and you have to wear all of this gunk all over your body. That was challenging. And the scene under the bed was challenging, we would be under the bed when we were children but I don’t know when I’ve been under the bed recently. They had to pull me with velocity from under the bed.”
Are you attracted to horror? Specifically Stephen King? “Yes but not horror for horror’s sake. Between the “X-Files” and my two Stephen King projects, it’s not horror for horror sake. It’s not to scare the bejeezus out of everyone, it has to be a story with real drama, real heart and mystery. And I think that’s what kind of delineates this project. It’s not just about zombies. It’s about three love affairs. And solving a mystery. This is about race. It’s about genealogy. It spans the whole [gamut] of things people will be drawn to watch it for.”
Were you a fan of Stephen King’s before the two projects you’ve done” “I [began] reading him after the first one, after “Desperation”. And then a seminal book of his that is on my bedside table is his book ‘On Writing’.”
Is there something that scares you? “Yes. I’m pretty scare-able. It’s probably why I like doing horror because my imagination takes me places. I kind of believe in ghosts, I believe that spirits can exist and wander around. So that scares me. But I feel like the things that really scare me are catastrophic events, like my children, husband, family being harmed. Something like that.”
Have you ever had a paranormal experience? “I have met some ghosts before. Let’s just put it that way. I have danced with a few ghosts.”
You can’t say where or when? “I don’t know how you can. If you’re inviting this world in and you’re open, I don’t know how you can help but be sensitive to it. Maybe it’s just what I’m drawn to. I’m not opposed to believing in it, that’s for sure.”
You mentioned that you didn’t want to choose projects just for the sake of horror. That it was a combination of story, plot and character and other elements that you need. Are there any horror films that off the top of your head you’d consider touchstones of that model? “‘Insidious’ with Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne. It scared the bejeezus out of me but I couldn’t turn it off because it was so intriguing. That’s a recent example that captivated me the whole time. And again because there were so many human, complex issues.”
As someone who has done both TV and Film, with storytelling possibilities in film constricting and possibilities in TV expanding, what’s your take on both mediums as an actress? “I think television is definitely the wild west now. Between the internet and television it’s all going to break wide open. As evidenced by how many film actors are coming to TV it’s kind of the place to be. However, you can’t replicate the experience of going to the movie theater and getting popcorn and watching the big screen. There’s still that experience that you can’t recreate at home. It seems like it’s an expansive time for everything these days and that film will have to expand. It’s all shifting but hopefully expanding overall. Otherwise are people going to stop going to movies? That would be sad.”
The “Bag Of Bones” Two Night Miniseries begins airing Sunday, December 11th 9/8c on A&E.