In the latest Blumhouse Productions film, Unfriended, Heather Sossaman plays Laura Barns, a popular high school girl who commits suicide after an embarrassing video of her at a party gets around. A year later, a group of friends gather together online for a conversation on Skype, but they soon find that they have an uninvited guest who has access to Laura’s Facebook account. From there everything goes haywire, as the teens try to discover who, or what, is terrorizing them.
At the recent LA press day for the film, I had the chance to sit down with Heather and discuss her role here. We spoke about how involved she was in the production, how Laura’s death was filmed in several different ways, and making the transition from being a child actor to an adult one.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
How involved were you in the making of the movie? We only see you in a few scenes, but I imagine your involvement in it was a lot more intense.
Heather Sossaman: Yeah, it was. It’s kind of funny even seeing it. The character really evolved, which I’m not sure a lot of people know. When I was first brought on, this Laura was a much smaller role and there was no talk of whether or not she was trying to be or not be the ghost or the villain. She’s just kind of a bitch who did something dumb at a party.
Over the last year and a half since we shot the film, it’s really evolved. I committed suicide in seven different ways and ultimately we went with a gunshot. I’ve done reshoot after reshoot after reshoot while coming up with a different way or a better way. The reason why it’s gone so far is because they (the filmmakers) are such perfectionists, they really wanted everything to be so incredibly real. I think that that all played really well. Even though you don’t see me as much as the other characters in the film, you definitely feel a presence there.
Your character’s death at the movie’s beginning is very unnerving because it looks and feels so real, but you still shot seven other deaths anyway?
Heather Sossaman: We tried everything. Anyway that could possibly happen to somebody, they experimented with. We wanted to go with the most real way and what made the most sense for this particular character. That was kind of a running joke every time we went to do reshoots; how am I going to die today? There was always something very different. The original version was Laura hanging herself, which was not my favorite thing to film. It was actually really painful and scary. The gunshot was probably the easiest one and I think it’s the one that also played the best and was the most disturbing and shocking.
Tell us more about the hanging scene.
Heather Sossaman: It was very scary. Obviously there was like a stunt coordinator and somebody on set for safety and all that stuff, but it’s really unnerving to dive into a character who is going through something that mentally heavy. It’s not just a horror movie. There was some really heavy subject matter, so to play a character in that dark of a state of mind was very different and kind of difficult to have to go through it so many different times for so many different reshoots. But I’m really happy with the way it turned out. The way it turned out was awesome.