Lin Shaye is a versatile actress who has done various genres of films. However, today, she is known primarily for her roles in horror films. Many will know her in the iconic role of paranormal expert Elise Rainier in the Insidious film series. Shaye’s latest role is that of Allie, a small-town home owner who may have a dark secret in the film Abattoir, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. The film comes to theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on December 9.
World Film Geek had a fun conversation with Lin about the film as well as what it is like to be an actor with some lessons imbued. So sit back and enjoy.
First of all, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to talk about Abattoir.
Thank you so much.
What attracted you to Abattoir?
The story and Darren [Lynn Bousman, the film’s creator and director]. Darren Bousman is someone I really respect and enjoy being around. He gave me the script and I thought it was a really fascinating take on a genre subject, and I loved the character. I loved Allie from the minute I read about her. We would joke around on the set calling the film Allietoir instead of Abattoir (laughs). But it is a very powerful character for me, very unusual, and someone I wanted to investigate.
I told him, “Whenever you got, whenever got it, let me know and I’m there”. The film went through several incarnates because it was supposed to have gone into production twice. But they were canceled for various reasons. I was really happy when it was a real go.
I got to see the film and you were one of the driving forces in the film, bringing some charm to your role. How would you describe your character of Allie?
Well, thank you! She is weird (laughs). She is troubled, weird, trying to cope with personal issues, and issues that were distorted into her. The distortion and trying to put things in perspective and also recognizing and accepting where love is for her. That’s a pretty good description if I say so myself (laughs).
What was it like working with the cast as well as director Darren Lynn Bousman on the film?
The cast was great. Jessica [Lowndes, who plays protagonist Julia] and Joe [Anderson, who plays detective Gavin] were very interesting people as well as actors and characters.
Darren is great! He’s a real team player, very open to letting people express whatever your questions may be, or opinions, he will want to talk about them. The ultimate goal is to tell your story and I loved that he listen to any suggestions any of us had to make the story stronger, or more understandable in any way.
Because sometimes as an actor, I have a fairly good grip at this point in my career. I look at my IMDb and I go, “When did I do all this? (laughs) I have a lot of experience. So I’ve learned to trust my own instincts and if something doesn’t feel right, you know especially when you are a young actor, you kind of sit on it. If you’re on a television show, you have to sit on it. I don’t mean to degrade television, but it’s a different process. And you’re on a time frame, and all that. And especially in filmmaking, if you feel something , you really need to speak up, and it’s quite a journey because you have to learn when is the right time to speak up. Because if you offer a suggestion at the wrong time, it shuts down because people can’t hear you.
I call filmmaking a team sport. There’s so many aspect and elements, and you know actors are so self-involved. I would be like, “Should I be wearing the shoes with the heels?” (laughs) You were able to question that and Darren’s worried about the producers, going “We got just five minutes to get the scene with the thing, the gaffer can’t get the tape up and the thing is wrong. We got the wrong lens”. So when people are thinking like that, you can’t get an answer. When you have a great and really important thing that has to do with you and the character and story, look for the appropriate moment and boldly get it out there because Darren is one of these guys who will totally listen to everything around him. And I was very grateful that he listened to a lot of my suggestions and I listened to all of his obviously. It;s fun when it comes together.
You are known for your roles in horror films today, notably the Insidious series. Yet you have done other genres of films. The first movie I actually saw you in was There’s Something About Mary. Do you have a preferred genre to work in, because you do have a great sense of versatility in your roles?
Awww thank you again for the nice comment. I think the story and character are more important than genre. I love storytelling and I love creating people. I love comedy. I haven’t done comedy in a while. I recently did some TV stuff. I did a project with Billy Ray Cyrus, Trucker Mother (laughs) and one for the Country Music Channel just this past year called Steal the King. It was really fun to go back to (in country style accent) “Hi! How are you?” (laughs) and I played this trucker with a fat suit so it was great and I loved that. I had so much fun. I love doing comedy.
And I also love investigating, and I’ve realized I have very good timing, and I’m not saying that from a snotty point of view (laughs). It’s like you got rhythm and I have a feel for that which I’m grateful for. And I do love comedy. You know, I think all life is about timing on many respects to make a broader statement. So comedy is definitely fun, but investigating the truth of tragedy and sadness and loss, like in Insidious, and it is very gratifying and educational.
I’ve learned so much, and even from doing these interviews, I learn so much about myself. I learn that I talk a lot (laughs).
There’s nothing wrong with that.
(Laughs) Well I hope not, because otherwise they would hang up on me. But you learn a lot about yourself and that’s very valuable. It’s all about my life. Okay, not totally, but maybe about 90% of it (laughs). So I’m better to go ahead and get it right.
Finally, what is coming up for you in terms of films and do you have a message for the fans?
I don’t have anything at the moment. We just recently finished Insidious: Chapter Four, and I’ve had little offers, but they weren’t for me. I’m not as hungry to go get any role like I used to be. I used to be the Yes person. Before, it would come out of somebody’s mouth and I didn’t have to read it, didn’t have to know what they were paying me and I have gotten past that (laughs). I want to tell a good story, I want to tell a character.
I don’t want to play the “retirement grandma” because I don’t think I’m ever going to play that. I don’t care if I’m 114 (laughs), I’m not doing that. I’m not interested in that. And it’s not like there are not a lot of nice people in a retirement home, it’s just not for me. I have a very cynical side to me and besides, I’ve discovered I can be not so nice, it’s always you can be so nice for so long. I’m also respectable so I’ve learned those things about myself so they are the characters I want to play.
My lesson, or message to the fans is do what you love, don’t give up. Tell the truth with respect. Give everything you got because of the things that are important to you. Don’t hold back. And this is a cliché, but try to make every moment count. Don’t wallow in the wrong stuff because life changes as you get older and you need to make your memories count. That means make your present count. Because your present is your past and future.
Abattoir comes out in theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on December 9th. Thank you so much Lin for taking the time to talk about the film and I hope fans will enjoy it as much as I did.
Thank you so much. I had such a good time working on it and you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great journey and something different than what you’re going to expect. That’s the best part. It has a lot of unexpected things and it’s totally engaging. Go to the movies! Go see Abattoir!
A Special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR for making this interview possible and to Lin Shaye for talking about the film. Check out Abattoir when it comes out in theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on December 9 from Momentum Pictures.