Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan play divorced parents in The Possession and the pair sat down with Movie Fanatic recently to share some scary set happenings and their marveling at the young actress, Natasha Calis, who portrays the possessed child of the title.
As seen in this The Possession clip, Em is a young girl that has her soul taken over by a demon emanating from an old Jewish box (a Dibbuk) that the family finds at a yard sale.
The film is based on a true story and now the box is buried deep underground in Missouri. But, its presence was clearly felt on the set.
Movie Fanatic: We understand that some strange things happened on The Possession set. Do share!
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: [Laughs] I’ve never seen a 5K light explode in the middle of key scenes and this happened three or four times. All of our props -- the Dibbuk box included -- were put into storage in Vancouver. After we wrapped filming, the storage unit burned to the ground. It wasn’t arson. It wasn’t an electric fire. It started from within. That’s all I’m gonna say.
Movie Fanatic: Kyra, are you a skeptic or believer?
Kyra Sedgwick: We know very little about how the human body works, so who am I to say there aren’t supernatural beings lurking around. I certainly think there are spirits around. I can sense when I walk into an older house whether there’s good vibes there, unhappy, unsettled ghosts there… I truly am a believer and not a skeptic.
Movie Fanatic: Jeffrey, in the film your character does research to try to determine what is happening to his daughter by watching YouTube videos and the like. Did you do the same to ready for the film?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Ole (Bornedal, director) was kind enough to send me some video of exorcisms, which scared the crap out of me, I’m not gonna lie. Maybe I walked away from that movie maybe less of a skeptic than I was going into it.
Movie Fanatic: The actual exorcism scene is absolutely terrifying and unlike any we’ve seen on screen. That had to be completely draining…
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Shooting that scene, it was me, Kyra and Matisyahu carrying Natasha and putting her on the table. Normally then you'd get a "cut." So we put her on the table and Ole let it go on for like seven minutes and the raw emotion of everyone’s performance -- it was a complete out-of-body experience. It shut down our whole crew, everyone was in tears.
Kyra Sedgwick: The thing which was great about that day was that Ole took us all aside beforehand and said, “When we go and cross the road, the exorcism road, there are going to be clichés all over the sidewalk. They’re going to try and jump on us and we have to say no.” [Laughs] He was using clichés like he characterized it like a little demon animal. It did call us to do something better and to bring our best self.
Movie Fanatic: One of the great surprises of The Possession is the performance of rapper Matisyahu. Sure, he’s a deeply religious Jew and that helped with the part of leading the exorcism, but what did you take away from working with the hip-hop star?
Kyra Sedgwick: How good is he, right? Isn’t he great?
Jeffrey Morgan: Which, by the way, Ole knew that Matis was the guy from the get-go and Lionsgate was like, “He’s a rapper!” And Ole felt, "This is my guy." Matis came in and blew the doors off the thing.
Movie Fanatic: Heard so much about this audition tape that Natasha did to get the part in The Possession, where she had your director in tears. Did you see it?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: This audition is why I did the movie. I remember talking to Ole being like, “I don’t know, man. How are you going to find this person? I don’t know that she’s out there.” Ole sent me her audition on DVD. I watched it and I picked up the phone and I was like, “Yeah that’s it. She’s it. You hire her and I’m in the movie.”
Movie Fanatic: Lastly, Jeff, you play a basketball coach. At one point you sink a slew of jump shots in a row. How real was that and are you truly a basketball fan?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I played high school and college basketball. I was an avid player at one point, but it’s been about 10 years. It didn’t take long. That was one roll of the camera, my friend [laughs]. I was on fire.