I'll Take Your Dead

Toronto After Dark Interview: Cast of ‘I’ll Take Your Dead’

Kelly McNeelyFilm Festival, Indie Horror, Interviews, NewsLeave a Comment

Kelly: That segues into my next question pretty well, actually. Ava, your character in I’ll Take Your Dead has this interesting relationship with the ghosts that are in the house. It’s kind of like you’re fascinated, but also terrified at the same time. So speaking of things that fascinate and scare you at the same time, what stories or scary ideas – monsters, etc – really affected you when you were younger or throughout your life. Ava: I can talk about what I’m scared of right now [laughs] Jess: What are you still scared of? Ava: The normal thing. I’m scared of ghosts in my room. Shut my closet every night, look inside, anything in there? Nope, ok shut the door. And then sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and think that my sweater at the end of my bed is a person, and I’m looking at it like [squinting] Kelly: That’s always terrifying. Ava: And then it’s “Oh! That’s my sweater” [laughs] Kelly: I have a sweater that I hang on my door, and I’ve woken up at like 3 o’clock in the morning and thought it’s someone standing in my doorway. There’s that 5 seconds of terror until you go “Oh! Yeah I’m ok.” Ava: [laughs] Yeah! You’re lying there squinting at it. Jess: Yeah, ghosts, I think, still. Especially when I go visit my family in Portugal. A lot of those homes are really old and there are so many stories. My aunts love to tell stories of “this relative died in this room!” [all laugh] “this relative saw that relative’s ghost in this room!”. I constantly hear those stories. I had a bit of a freaky experience recently, actually, with my niece. I had seen a psychic a couple of years ago, and she told me that this woman on my mother’s side who passed away was trying to communicate with me, and her name was Rosa. Which is a common-ish name, but I didn’t know any Rosas in our family. So I called my mom after and asked if there was a woman in our family named Rosa who died, and she said “yeah, that’s your great grandmother”. I didn’t know her name. I went to Portugal shortly after that and told some of my relatives and they started telling me stories about Rosa. Like, she was a healer, and people called her a Bruja – which is like a witch. When I was there recently, my niece and I were in that house – my grandmother’s house – and we were sitting in a room which I found out Rosa had died in. My niece and I were talking or playing a game or something, and she just got kind of stiff and straightened up. I asked her what was going on, and she said she didn’t know, she just felt like… she didn’t know that someone had died in there. It was so odd, it was almost like she saw a ghost – she didn’t say she saw a ghost, she said that she didn’t know why but she felt really weird, she felt sick. I just watched it happen, it was so freaky. And she’s just a little kid, so she didn’t know the story. Ava: Oooh, chills. Aidan: Jeez! I have none. Nothing freaks me out. Kelly: Fearless! [laughs] Aidan: No, I had this one thing where someone told me a long time ago that if you’re walking towards a mirror at night, and you look in the mirror you can see whoever’s going to kill you or who you’re going to marry or something like that… something behind you. Jess: Yeah! Bloody Mary. Aidan: So whenever I’m walking around anywhere where there’s mirrors, if I see a mirror I always avert my eyes. I don’t want to see anything! I don’t want to get freaked out if I can avoid it. So I just close my eyes and go to bed. So that’s the freakiest thing I can divulge to you.

via Black Fawn Films

Kelly: What do you hope or think audiences will take away from I’ll Take Your Dead? Aidan: There’s a lot of elements in this film that you don’t expect in a horror film, or even in a suspense-thriller film. There are a lot of different types of experiences you get when watching it. There are horror aspects, there are suspense and thriller aspects, there’s a family element that develops and gets richer as the film goes on. There are a lot of touching moments, a lot of beautiful things that you don’t expect. Ava: A lot of people – with the trailer – they’ll say, “Gloria, she’s so evil!”. But no! Actually no. And when I think about the film, I think of it as a coming-of-age film as well as a thriller. With something that makes your heart happy, but also keeps you at the edge of your seat. Jess: I remember during filming, I just loved the end of the film. I thought it was such a badass move in the end. I don’t want to say any more than that, but also, yes, exactly what Ava said. There’s this whole family element that goes down. People that you would never think would ever have a conversation end up finding each other and connecting. Kelly: I really like that aspect of it, that there’s that connection that builds in unexpected places, and how that develops and shapes each character in turn. Ava:  It’s such a unique storyline, too. It was really fun to play around with it, and really think about it. Kelly: There was a lot to unpack, as an actor. Ava: For sure! Yeah. Jess: Absolutely. And we got so many injuries! Aidan: I know, all you! Jess: Just like, “where are we at in the script? How many times have I been shot?”. That was fun to play with. And also to play half the film tied up in a bed. I had bruises on my wrist! Because there’s lots of – Aidan: That was all the struggling. I kept telling you not to, I’d say “don’t struggle”, but she didn’t listen.

via Black Fawn Films

Kelly: So what’s next for you, if there’s anything you want to or can share on the horizon? Ava: A DC movie called Shazam is coming out, and I was very lucky to be a part of it. And it was actually shooting at the same time as this! So I was talking with everyone and we were all so excited, it was very exciting! I’m super excited to see how it turns out. Kelly: It looks like so much fun! Ava: Yes! I’m very blessed to be part of it [laughs] Jess: Aww! I remember her practicing her script. We stayed at the same apartment in Orillia and after set, she’d be practicing all her lines. [to Ava] You had so much. Ava: It was a lot. Jess: I was like, “how is she doing it?”. Like, to be 13 again… [laughs] Ava: It was a lot, but once again, it was fun! [laughs] Jess: I’m actually filming another horror movie right now. It’s called Larry, it’s directed by Jacob Chase. It’s really cool. It stars Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr. I think it’s going to be cool. Aidan: I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you. [laughs] No, I’ve got some stuff, but I’ve signed like 6 or 7 NDAs… Jess: Did you really? Aidan: No, I made that part up [laughs] Jess: Oh my god, that’s such a good actor! [laughs]   I’ll Take Your Dead premiered at the Calgary Film Festival and played as part of Toronto After Dark’s 2018 programming.
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Kelly is a tea drinking, craft making, machete wielding screen junkie who lives in Canada with a collection of horror movies, which she is a little obsessed with. Check out her Creepy Crafter videos or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @kellsmcnells