Famous Hollywood actress Sissy Spacek took on the role of Carrie White in a surprisingly dark way during Brian De Palma’s 1976 production. Carrie. The Texas star knew she was a fit for the role and proved De Palma wrong when he initially rejected her. Stephen King’s adaptation has gone down in history as one of the horror genre’s most iconic films, and much of it has to do with Spacek’s acting turns.
Carrie was both a commercial and critical success, earning a spot as one of the most influential horror films ever made by various reputable magazine publications, including Empire’s 500 best movies of all time. It received a pseudo-sequel and two reboots, a 2002 TV movie and a 2013 movie starring Chloe Grace Moretz. Facing actresses like Melanie Griffith and Betsy Slade for Carrie White, Sissy Spacek decided to show up to her audition without brushing her teeth, with Vaseline in her hair and an unwashed face. The trick that convinced Brian De Palma to cast her as Carrie kicked off a model acting method she would use during production to elevate the film’s gruesome effects.
There are famous cases of method acting in Hollywood which seem to have little bearing on the overall strength of the respective movie. Jared Leto sadly gave his co-stars condoms and Margot Robbie a live rat while filming Suicide Squad, however, his performance was criticized, to the same degree as the film. However, Sissy Spacek’s method acting on De Palma’s set Carrie worked instead to reinforce the best parts of the film. Most notably, Spacek slept for three days in the bloody robe of by Carrie classic ball final. Norma Watson actress PJ Soles spoke about the trailer Spacek asked MGM to set up behind the filming studio as a place to crash for continuity. Spacek reportedly explained his reasoning to Soles. “It must match, I want it to go well” (Going through Vulture). That little choice Spacek made to improve the look and feel of the classic Carrie The outfit contributed to the prom scene’s influence on pop culture and horror, but it wasn’t the only valuable trick she used during filming.
Sissy Spacek’s method of action made Carrie a horror classic
Sissy Spacek’s performance as Carrie was celebrated for her inspiring fear and sympathy, earning her six Oscar nominations, and much of her memorable acting is likely tied to the methods she used off-screen to successfully flesh out his character. Spacek isolated herself from the cast to maximize the dehumanizing distance between Carrie White and her bullies. Soles also affirmed this in her interview with Vulture when she noted that the couple had only started to get along during the last week of filming, when Spacek’s MGM trailer was decorated with a religious setting and that she studied biblical illustrations closely. Spacek deepened his connection to Carrie White by studying how people in the story reacted while being stoned for heresy, which helped his chilling body language around his religiously abusive mother seem all the more real. The combination of these tricks during production and his empathy for the character of Carrie White helped Sissy Spacek secure his performance in Carrie was both grounded and exceptional.
Over the years, Sissy Spacek transitioned to starring mostly in TV series rather than feature films, but the legacy of Carrie lives on in pop culture. The acting method she customized to ace her audition and make Carrie White as dynamic as possible ensured the lasting impact of this Stephen King adaptation. If Spacek hadn’t used these dark tricks while filming Carrieit may not have become the timeless classic that audiences now know.
Next: Carrie: Stephen King’s Biggest Difference Between The Book And The Movie
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