Paranormal Activity 2's Vivis talks about playing the maid Martine, Paranormal Activity 3 and more.
When the Paranormal Activity hit theaters in October 2009, it took the country by storm, raking in a massive $104.7 million at the box office, from just a $15,000 budget, making it one of the most profitable studio movies of all time. Just a year later, Paranormal Activity 2 hit theaters and proved this franchise had staying power, taking in an impressive $84.7 million off a slightly-larger $2.75 million budget. Paranormal Activity 2 also introduced us to a new set of characters, one of whom is Martine, portrayed by VIVIS, a housemaid that has experience with supernatural entities.
Paranormal Activity 2 will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 8 and I recently had the chance to speak with VIVIS on the phone about her experiences working on the sequel. Here's what she had to say.
I was curious about what your experience of seeing the first movie was like and had you ever thought about the possibility of playing a role in the sequel?
VIVIS: You know, I actually did not get a chance to watch the first movie until after I had completely shot Paranormal Activity 2. I did not get to watch the first one. I work two or three jobs constantly. I'm one of those very fortunate actors that is always working, so I'm very busy and I also teach. I heard about the huge roar about it, and I did not get to watch it. I thought, 'Well, I'll get to watch the DVD later on,' and one thing lead to another, I never watched it. When I got a chance to watch this movie, I didn't even know I had been cast for Paranormal Activity 2. I had no idea. They kept us in the dark for a little while. I think that was done on purpose. When it was disclosed, they told us we could not tell anybody that I was even shooting this. Once I knew what I was doing, I had already shot a few scenes. Obviously, it was very realistic. There was a script, but there wasn't a script because the script kept fluctuating and changing and evolving. They kept us on our toes and a little bit in the dark to keep that real feel, so we wouldn't have the hype behind it and we didn't have something to live up to. That made it very comfortable to work under those circumstances. Then when I finally finished shooting and I watched it, I thought, 'Oh my God. Wow. We are in for a ride.'
Yeah, I can see how that would help since you don't have that build-up.
VIVIS: You know, I think that was the best way to do it because, had I known, it would've changed everything entirely, for me. It would have sent me into actor world instead of just real world. That was the feel they wanted and I think we succeeded because it's there. There's a very real feel to it.
We don't get a lot of back story with Martine, but it's clear that she has some experience with demons in the past. Did you craft a back story at all for the character, about her past with these supernatural entities?
VIVIS: Well, Martine has come in contact so she is very much in touch with the spirit world. It's something that she grew up with and it's something she sees constantly. She's very comfortable with all these positive spirits that are everywhere, but, also, she senses there is something evil. It happens immediately. She sees right away that the baby is very special. There's something about this baby, and it's a good baby, but when she sees that picture, that's the very first time. The picture of Katie, when she's a little girl. She senses that there is an aura around that photograph. There's something evil and moves into the house and she knows this, so that's why she tries to take the steps to bless the house. Of course, her powers are not as powerful as this entity that has moved in.
The first movie was shot in Oren Peli's house. Can you talk about the house you shot the sequel in and talk about your overall experience on shooting this, with all these static cameras everywhere?
VIVIS: You know, there were cameras everywhere. We knew this, but you don't even think about it. That became a little disconcerting because, I knew that I was being shot, even though I was doing nothing interesting, but in case they caught something interesting going on. There were some paintings that were very frightening to look at. I know they were very carefully chosen and they don't really focus on any of that. Although, the DVD has some additional footage that shows some of these things. Just looking at that gave you an eerie feeling and that was good because it pushed you in the direction that I needed to go to feel these energies. Being watched, knowing that those cameras are there, gave me the sense that I was always being watched, not necessarily cameras. That was very good for the process, to know that I was being watched all the time.
I believe this started shooting in May and it was in theaters a few months later in October. Was the production rushed at all?
VIVIS: No, in fact, I believe they even shot three different treatments of the movie. It was a little crazy because they kept shooting and reshooting and reshooting. We were improving all the time, which was a lot of fun. For an actor to get to show up on a movie set and get to play, it's pretty unreal. That just does not happen. You show up on the set, you get your lines and deliver your lines, it's all about lighting and camera angles. That's what a film is usually about, camera angles. Of course, the story is very important, but, primarily, you don't get to play. For this, Kip (a.k.a. director Tod Williams just kept it fun and he kept us on our toes all the time. They scared us a few times, which was fun (Laughs).
Paranormal Activity 3 has already been greenlit and set for release in October. Have you had any talks about returning?
VIVIS: Well, unfortunately, that's beyond my control. I would love to say yes, but I have not been informed whether or not I'm involved in that project. I have no idea where they're going with the story. It would be a blast, though, because the story has the potential to go in so many directions.
Exactly. You could really go anywhere you wanted to with this.
VIVIS: Oh yes. Martine still has a lot of tricks up her sleeve.
Finally, this is one of those unique movies that might even be more effective at home, because of the way it is done. What would you like to say to anyone who might not have seen it in theaters about why they should pick up the Blu-ray and DVD on February 8?
VIVIS: You definitely need to pick it up because the extended version has a couple of extra little secrets that you didn't get to see in the theatrical release because of time constraints. It's just more fun. That's the word for it.
Excellent. Well that's about all I have for you, VIVIS:. Thank you so much for your time and I hope to see you in Paranormal Activity 3.
VIVIS: Thank you so much. Great to meet you over the phone, Brian.
You can watch VIVIS: as Martine in Paranormal Activity 2, which will hit the shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on February 8.
Paranormal Activity was released September 25th, 2009 and stars Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs, Amber Armstrong, Ashley Palmer, Crystal Cartwright, Randy McDowell, James Piper. The film is directed by Oren Peli.