It’s been a horrifying year for Abigail Breslin. And not in the way you might imagine.
The actress, who first charmed us all with her “Super Freak”-y skills in Little Miss Sunshine and has grown up oh so much since then in movies like August: Osage County, is having quite a moment within the horror community. This summer, she starred in the genre twist, Final Girl. And now she’s co-headlining Scream Queens, the new Ryan Murphy series about fatally fab sorority girls (think Sorority Row had a totally not PC baby with Heathers and Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis were there to birth it) slashing its way on to schedules starting this Tuesday. And, as Cinefilles found out when speaking with her at the Rogers Media upfronts this summer, she might be taking an even more frightening turn as the year goes on and she releases her first book (!!) and shops her first screenplay (!!!!).
Read our full Q&A with Breslin below for scoop on her next foray into film, what it’s like to bring Chanel No. 5 to life (hint: it, unlike the item that shares its name, doesn’t stink) and her favourite small screen queens.
What can you tell me about your character on Scream Queens?
Abigail Breslin: Chanel No. 5 is the most unique character I’ve ever played and totally different than anything I’ve ever done. Like, total opposite.
I think she’s one of the strangest [characters] in the show. Just because … you’ll see. It’s so hard because I want to tell you, but she’s just a really interesting new thing for me to do and she’s one of Emma Roberts’ character’s minions. She’s kind of one of the wingmen. She’s really fun to play. Like, super fun to play.
What was it like playing against this cast of incredible women? You’ve got Jamie Lee Curtis, who just must be exceptional. And then Emma Roberts, who is her own powerhouse. And Lea Michele, who is kind of playing against character too.
AB: It’s insane. The cast is all incredible. One of my favourite things about the show is just working with all these amazing actors.
People say, ‘Is it hard on set with all these girls?’ I’m like, ‘No. Why would it be?’ We all get along and everybody’s standing back and just watching each other’s scenes because we just love watching them and we’re like ‘Yeah!’ Everybody’s just doing an amazing job and then we all just sit around and talk about boys!
Are you a fan of slasher movies? Do you watch them?
AB: Yes! I actually watch them to go to bed, to fall asleep. It calms me down and makes me feel good inside. [Laughs]
It’s a weirdly homey feeling.
AB: Yeah. I just always loved horror movies.
Okay, I don’t watch slashers to fall asleep to–that would be a bit cray, a little bit worrisome–but I do love horror movies like a good Exorcism of Emily Rose, Insidious, something like that.
So more ghostly possession stuff?
AB: Yeah! That’s more of a bedtime feel. I can get down with that. [Laughs]
That’s still pretty disturbing before bed.
AB: But what I like to think is I’m better off than her right now. She’s rolling around on the floor. I’ve got my cat, my David’s Tea. I’m just chilling.
Who’s your favourite scream queen from the past? Is the easy answer Jamie Lee Curtis?
AB: Yeah I gotta say Jamie! She kills it. She kills the game. Like, is there another? She is her own being. And she’s also just a really cool person.
Have you watched the original Halloween movies?
AB: Yes. It was one of the first horror movies I ever saw. It was my brother’s and … god, it was terrifying.
And she’s really badass in it!
AB: She is badass! I was like, ‘Damn, she kills it!’ And she’s badass on the show too, so it’s perfect.
Is there another woman in the industry you’re admiring right now?
AB: Amy Schumer I’m kind of obsessed with right now. I think she’s just hilarious.
What specifically do you love about her?
AB: Just that she’s open about everything in her comedy. She just talks about everything and doesn’t hold back and totally owns everything that she does. I think that’s dope. I think if you really own who you are, then nobody can touch you. She just really seems to know who she is.
Do you have a favourite skit of hers?
AB: You know, the first time I saw her was on Ellen. She was talking about how in L.A. her arms register as legs.And she was talking about this app that’s like Tinder, but for food and she got a really good scone. Like, girl, I feel that.
My friend and I tweeted at her and were like, ‘Hey, like we kinda wanna be your friend, so can we make it happen?’ And then she actually followed me and I DM’d her. But sometimes I get a little too aggressive. I’m like a mouse. You give me a bite of cheese and I will ask for a cracker, you know?
You’re coming out with your first book soon [October 6]! What can you tease about it?
AB: It’s basically about being a teenager and figuring out life. Just stories about friends and guys and how not to flirt and why not to stalk your ex on Facebook. Just stuff like that. It’s really fun and I just finished it. I can now change my editor’s name in my phone from ‘Death’ to something else, so it’s good! [Laughs]
Do you think this will be a catalyst for you writing more?
AB: Yeah! I mean, I’ve always loved writing and I’ve always wanted to keep writing.
I’ve written a screenplay and I wrote the book and I’m actually just finishing my album right now. Writing is definitely something that’s really important to me. I’ve been doing my blog for three years, which is why I got a call being like, ‘Hey, if you ever want to write a book….’
I’ve always wanted to write, but this is a really cool way to get into it. I’m shocked that it’s happening.
You said you have a screenplay that you wrote. What’s the status of it? Is it being shopped around?
AB: Yeah. It’s just getting together right now. I can’t say too much about it. I probably shouldn’t have said anything!
Can you tell me what genre it is?
AB: Like a mixture of a bunch of things?
It’s a film, though?
Would you ever want to write for TV? Have you thought about that?
AB: Yeah! I mean, I would. Baby steps.
Anything else you want to tease about Scream Queens before I let you go?
AB: I’m trying to make this a thing because me and Billie, who is on the show, coined the term ‘hysterifying.’ I’m trying to get that into the marketing plan. I also want the official hashtag for the show to be #YASSQUEEN. So I’m just trying to ease my way into marketing for Fox. That’s all I have thus far, just those two things. But if they want to hire me on, I can do it.
I will support this on Twitter.
AB: Thank you so much. I actually said this to someone in New York, like the head of marketing. [I said], ‘I’ve got this idea. I don’t want to upstage you, so I’m telling you in private. You can totally say it was your idea.’ She was just like, ‘Okay. Yeah. Thank you.’
Well, good luck with that and the show.
AB: Thank you! I’m so excited.
It’s actually like a dream show for me cause I’m a slasher movie girl, but I also love really girly stuff, so I feel like it’s a perfect melding of my worlds.
AB: Okay, you’re gonna be obsessed. You’re gonna DIE.
It kind of looks like Heathers, but with more murder?
AB: A lot of people are saying it’s like Heathers. I think it’s like really scary Mean Girls, but even meaner.
Scream Queens premieres Tuesday, September 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on City in Canada, and 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT on Fox in the States.