Actress, song writer, and high-fashion model Natalia Safran recently chatted with Wicked Horror regarding her role as The Bride in the lastest installment of the Annabelle series, Annabelle Comes Home (you can watch the trailer here). Landing roles in films such as The Wedding Planner, Over Her Dead Body, Hours, and Aquaman, while also displaying her vocal talents in the Nicholas Sparks film The Choice, it’s apparent that Ms. Safran has had a varied and successful career on the silver screen.
We asked Natalia about her inspiration and influences concerning her preparation for her most chilling role to date. Read on for the full exchange.
WH: What makes the Bride stand out as a potential future horror icon when compared to the monsters, demons, and madmen of the past?
Natalia Safran: We are talking an ultra-demon and an epic combination of innocence and depravity: the ultimate bridezilla! What could be scarier? The Bride cuts a striking figure: what looks to be angelic and pure is dark and evil to the core. She appears as the most ethereal apparition with a long white veil, blonde hair, and a gorgeous flowing white wedding gown. She’s like a dream, but in the Conjuring Universe evil takes on the most unlikely forms. As her possession takes hold of each victim, the Bride’s snow, white dress becomes drenched in the blood of young grooms and the tears of innocent brides turned murderesses. I hear the devil himself has her portrait on his wall, if that’s not the ultimate endorsement! So that’s it, the cat’s out of the bag, the Bride’s out of the artifact room and there’s no stopping her. Brides, grooms, humans and demons, she’ll take them all and all you can do is watch (devilish laugh).
WH: Did you draw inspiration from any other sources when preparing for your role as the Bride in Annabelle Comes Home?
Natalia Safran: I actually drew quite a bit of inspiration from an animated character, Tim Burton’s the corpse bride. I have always loved that movie and found her a really moving figure – so sad, lost and not really aware of who she has become. The Bride doesn’t think she’s being blood curdling. She’s lost in the dark sliver of space, in between worlds that her past has brought her to, trying to get out. There’s an insatiable hunger inside that soul she must try to satisfy, a longing so consuming she falls victim to it herself, or she just really likes carving knives and hates weddings! Norbie, our brilliant stunt coordinator on the movie, helped me figure out her walk which was tough to crack at first. It’s not easy to walk like an uber determined she-demon. Once I found the head crook, I knew I was ready. Our director, Gary Dauberman, set the stage so perfectly that between the great lighting, smoke, and awesome scene set ups it was easy to find myself ‘inside’ the character.
WH: As a songwriter who has multiple pieces appearing in various films, do you find the music and soundtrack of a film are just as important to the mood as the actors and scenes?
Natalia Safran: I find music to be an integral part of a film, just as much as all of its other elements. In some movies it plays an enormous part and in others it’s more of a background, but it is always something I notice right away, and when done right, it deepens my experience of a film in a huge way. I grew up in the Polish film clubs watching anything I could get my eyes on and it was evident to me from the start that music had a most immediate way into our hearts. Whether the audience realizes it or not, it helps lead them on an emotional journey the filmmaker has intended for them, and sometimes far beyond that, because nobody can really control where the music will take you.
WH: The Conjuring extended universe is filled with many ghosts and ghouls, how do you feel the Bride fits among her paranormal peers?
Natalia Safran: She fits right in and makes herself at home! To play a character this intriguing in a filmic universe so rich and beautiful is a gigantic thrill and the Bride definitely does the Conjuring monster family justice. She is terrifying, mysterious, and commanding – something all of the Conjuring creatures have in common, which I’m sure is part of the reason behind its huge success. Just wait until you find out the Bride’s back story… hopefully the audience won’t have to wait too long.
WH: Final question, did anything creepy or unexplainable happen on set? Do you have a personal ghost story?
Natalia Safran: Something creepy was constantly with us on the set – the Annabelle doll! Always watching you from her perch in between scenes. She was a constant presence while we were shooting and I swear she really watches with those creepy, big eyes of hers! But seriously, there is a reason we have a priest come to the set to bless it on the first shoot day of every Conjuring Universe movie. There are too many unexplained creepy stories to tell, and if I started to tell them now I would not be able to fall asleep tonight, guaranteed.
Annabelle Comes Home will be released on DVD and Blu-ray October 8th.