Sophie Grace stars as Kaitlyn in Terror in the Woods, a new Lifetime Original Movie, inspired by true events. Sophie recently had a chance to chat about her first major role, her character and the significant impact mental health plays in the disturbing story based on the real-life Slender Man case.
SB: You play Kaitlyn in the upcoming TV film Terror in the Woods. Tell us a little bit about the film and your character.
SG: Well Terror in the Woods is a story inspired by true events and it’s about two girls who attack their best friend as a sacrifice to a creepy internet character called the Suzerain and I’m the attacker. Kaitlyn seems like a normal 12-year-old girl, but it turns out that she has a mental illness called schizophrenia which makes it hard for her to sort between fantasy and reality. What makes it really sad is that she really believes that she was doing the right thing and that it’s based on true events.
SB: This is your first major role. What was the experience like?
SG: It was so amazing! Everybody was so supportive and happy for me and super nice. I loved it! I was so nervous going into an audition like that, but they were all really nice. They all helped me out and here’s a funny story. I was wearing glasses because the original character wore glasses and they broke and they (the crew) even fixed them! They were really nice people and I’m grateful for that experience.
SB: So, it was almost like a family atmosphere even though you were doing a horror film.
SB: Considering Terror in the Woods’ subject matter were there any scenes that were difficult for you and the young cast to get through?
SG: In the stabbing scene we were all really nervous and just had to realize that this was all pretend. But for me I really had to bring in the anger that Kaitlyn must have had and really focus on what was about to happen. I just remember being so nervous about it but also, I guess excited because it was my first time doing something crazy like this. It was a really good experience.
SG: Yeah. I remember my co-stars and I, we are all best friends and will be forever, but usually we are laughing and having fun on set. But before that scene and a few other really intense scenes we were all sitting down really thinking about what our characters are about to do and go through. I remember thinking I’m the bad guy, but I think I’m the good guy. That was a little difficult to play because me knowing my character is the bad guy but she not knowing that she’s the bad guy was a little challenging, but it was really, really fun because I like characters with depth.
SB: Mental health plays a large role in Terror in the Woods. What sort of pressures do young people face that might push someone to act out the way your character and her friend Rachel do in the film? Can you give us some insight into what Kaitlyn might have been facing that contributed to her schizophrenia and the way she acted out against her friend?
SG: Well her father had schizophrenia, so I guess Kaitlyn was born with a little bit of it inside of her. It just started getting bigger and bigger and when she met Rachel I guess her schizophrenia began to rub off on her a little bit and it was shared.
SG: A lot of research. You can never get away from school (laughs). I would creep myself out with scary online videos about the monsters that contributed to the Suzerain. There’s also a really touching novel called, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg and its about a young woman struggling with schizophrenia. It really helped me to think like Kaitlyn and really understand what she was going through.
SB: Outside of acting what are some of your hobbies?
SG: Well I live at the beach, so I love surfing and hanging out with my family and friends. Acting is my passion and my dream so that’s what I spend most of my time doing.
SB: I also read that you like horseback riding.
SG: Yes! I love horses and horseback riding.
SB: When you have a love of horses you also have a love of other living things. That must have impacted you when you had to do your scenes where you were injuring your friend.
SG: Yeah that was really hard because I’m one of those people who are like all things should live forever. It was really hard to do this to someone even though it is pretend and that was when I was thinking that it’s all fake. It was pretty intense.
SG: I would definitely love to continue acting, hopefully in a comedy with Jennifer Aniston.
SB: We’ll put the word out!
SG: Right now, I’m really happy talking about this movie and I can’t wait for people to see it.
Terror in the Woods, a Lifetime original movie premieres Sunday, October 14, 8 PM EST.