Annabeth Gish

Posted: December 7, 2011
I got invited to a conference call for an interview with Annabeth Gish, star of the upcoming Bag of Bones miniseries. I’m not sure how many other journalists there where but I would guess about 10. We all got to ask three questions each and Annabeth answered them all for us. It seemed that most of the people there had thought of asking the same questions and didn’t have that many backups but all in all it turned out to be a pretty nice chat. Annabeth was very patient with us all and a phone line that didn’t always wanted the same as the rest of us.

She started with telling us that what draw her to the part of Jo, even though she isn’t in the movie that much, was both the chance to work with Mick Garris and that the story was by Stephen King. Annabeth and Mick worked together on Desperation some years ago and that was a great experience for her. Playing Jo was pretty physical though. She had to sit several hours applying prosthetics that transferred her to ghost Jo. There is also a scene where she is under Mike’s bed and while shooting that scene she realized that it had been some time since she was under a bed and it was quite physical to do.

Annabeth also tells us that she started to read Stephen King after she did Desperation and now she has his book On Writing on her bedside table. It will have to wait though since she’s currently reading Lisey’s Story. However, she hadn’t read Bag of Bones before getting the part of Jo and she didn’t read it until after she had read the script for the miniseries. She then realized that the miniseries doesn’t follow the book 100%. Jo’s death is different and the economy of the film prevents them to follow the book exactly. However, she feels that Matt Venne (the screenwriter) has captured the extent of the universe that’s in the book. The essence of the book is there and for those who haven’t read the book she thinks that Pierce Brosnan’s return to television will draw viewers to the miniseries. It’s also not just a horror movie or a mystery movie, or a thriller. It’s all of them. The viewers will be a little scared, have a few tears, freak out and fall in love with these characters. Annabeth says she is drawn to horror but not for horror’s sake. It’s more about real drama and real mystery and Bag of Bones is about three love affairs, solving a mystery and a rape.

King’s book was a huge success but she didn’t feel any pressure to do it. That was more Micks and the scriptwriter’s thing. They where the once who created the miniseries and after all the actors and actresses just did what they were told to do.

Over the years there have been many Stephen King projects brought to film. What does she think makes King’s book so filmable? “It’s because he always has character at the heart of his horror. There is always a real human struggle within these kinds of extravagant horrific circumstances. It’s really just reality hold out to its most dramatic stake. So really what I think Stephen King does so masterfully is the human element and he does love. He’s really an expert of writing of love. That’s probably why all his horror is so good.”

Annabeth continues by saying that Mick is an exquisite filmmaker and that combined with his feel for horror makes her trust anything he did. Everything was onboard, the set was effective and Halifax was a murky mysterious landscape even though it wasn’t Maine. But it was harder this time compared to filming Desperation since in many scenes in Bag of Bones she’s just a memory or a flashback. She and Mick talked about it and how they in a short amount of time could convey the feelings they needed and how they should do it without words. She hung out in Jo’s studio to get in the right mode for some scenes and she also mentions the Dark Score Stories website and that we can get more info about Jo there.

Annabeth and Pierce had really great chemistry on set and they got to know each other a bit when they did the photo’s for the Dark Score Stories website and that contributed to the chemistry. She’s also certain that the fact that Pierce is a true professional and what he brought to the set really contributed to the feel and chemistry in the scenes. Also, due to the nature of her role she didn’t get a chance to work with anyone in the cast besides Pierce.

Up till now I had only listen in on what the other participants had asked but now all of a sudden it was my time and I started by asking her how she got the part in Bag of Bones, if she had to audition or if she was offered it. “I didn’t audition. I got a script and I said yes” she answers. Pretty easy but then I can totally see why Mick wanted her.

I then ask her if it was different to work with Mick this second time, now that they know each other and without a doubt she says “Yes”. She goes on saying that when you know someone and all the niceness you always do when you try to get to know someone is out of the way you feel really comfortable with each other. She trusts Mick totally and knows that what he suggests work.

One scene that stood out to me was the scene where Jo dies and I ask her if it was a hard scene to do, both because she has to wear a lot of makeup and the fact that it’s a very emotional scene?

The answer is yes, on both levels. She says it was a very short scene but also very difficult to shoot. It was raining and it was cold in Halifax that day and it was a very emotional scene but it also shows a lot of Pierce commitment. He just went for it and brought his grief to life. It was very emotional.

With that the interview was over and we all thank Annabeth for her time. I really enjoyed talking to her and to me she felt very down to earth and normal. Thanks Annabeth for the nice chat.