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  • Rev Horror

Milly Sanders Interview (Actress, Screwdriver)


The Horror Revolution: Hey, thanks so much for agreeing to chat with us! First off, what's your favorite horror movie? What movie scared you the most?


Milly Sanders: I mean… this is my all-time favorite question. Horror is my favorite genre, so where do I even begin? For my favorite movie — I’m going to go with The Orphanage. I always love a big spooky house, creepy children’s games, and a heartwarming ending — and I guess maybe some would argue that “heartwarming” doesn’t apply, but I stand by it! 

 

For the movie that scared me the most, I have to go with Children of the Corn. I was 9 at the time, and the only one of my sisters “brave enough” to watch the movie with my big brother after nightfall. We were staying at a lake house in the middle of nowhere and the only form of entertainment were board games and an old VCR. John Franklin’s performance as Isaac, and the idea that children could kill their parents — shook me to my pre-adolescent core.


THR: Screwdriver was fantastic, and I feel it largely owed its success as a film to the performance of its three leads. What drew your interest in the project?


MS: First the truth - any well written, paying gig will draw my attention. Ha! But what really hooked me into Screwdriver was how well-crafted it was. Early on, I think right before the callbacks (or maybe even as early as the first audition) we received the full script from director Cairo Smith. Getting more than just the audition scene is kinda rare in my experience, but it’s such a great gift! Knowing the full story allows an actor to understand the broader context of their character, their development, and how they fit into the overarching narrative. I loved the weird, culty, brainwashing aspect of Screwdriver. And how all the characters seemed so… I’m lookin for the right word here….  satisfied? fulfilled? completed? by the story’s climax. And of course, I thought the character of Melissa was just fantastic. She was intelligent, complex and a little bizarre. She also had some fabulously meaty scenes which are always a true delight for an actor! 


THR: What inspired your performance as Melissa? Were there any life experiences, or people that you know, that helped you to get in character? 


MS: Very soon after I got the role, my husband and I were watching Mommie Dearest and I was like — oh, heck yeah — this is pure inspiration right here! I imagine Melissa would have probably watched that movie and made a very calculated decision to use some of Faye Dunaway’s gestures and intonations to Mommie-indoctrinate Emily.


THR: I really dug the relationship between your character and her husband, and I thought that you and Charlie Farrell really came together to make a complete unit. How much of an acting performance depends on the performances of your costars?


MS: Oh thank you for asking this, because I just want to go on and on about my fabulous co-stars. Charlie Farrell, and AnnaClare Hicks were such a delight to work with!

 

Charlie is not only a sensational actor, but he's also absolutely hilarious. He has a gift for making everyone feel at ease, both on and off set. I know that some folks prefer to keep their on-screen and off-screen dynamics the same, but that's not my style. Charlie and I had this loaded, chilly dynamic on-screen, but off-screen, it was warm, supportive, and filled with total camaraderie. I do my best work when I feel comfortable and supported and that was absolutely the dynamic on this set.

 

AnnaClare is such a smart, talented, and generous actor. I just adore her. Being part of a team where everyone is not only a gem of a person but also brings their A-game is a rare and wonderful thing. Both AnnaClare and Charlie are the best kind of actors — fabulous people when the camera isn't rolling and incredibly talented, in-the-moment actors when the director yells “Action.” For me, giving a great performance absolutely hinges on your costars. And stepping onto that set was true joy. I never knew exactly where the scene was going to go, but with my fellow actors and our fabulous director, Cairo, I could always trust it would be somewhere magical. 


THR: You've done a good bit of writing and producing as well. Do you have a role in the film production process that you prefer?


MS: Acting is amazing! It’s this incredible place where words come alive and collaboration thrives. And sometimes, when you’re a witness to —  or universe willing —  a part of, incredible acting, it’s like you can almost SEE the crackle of energy. There’s nothing like it. It’s probably the closest to experiencing magic as I’ll ever get. 

 

But I also adore writing. I mean, I get to create something from nothing. I can literally make anything happen when I’m writing. How crazy is that? It’s the one time in life where I can be completely in control. It’s such a powerful medium. 

 

With producing, there’s a different kind of satisfaction. I love how structured it is.  How clear-cut. There’s a set shoot date. A list of activities that need to be accomplished, and I can just check them off one by one until I get to the end. With writing, the idea of being “finished” is so amorphous. There’s always another draft you can do, another piece of dialogue to tweak and it gets a bit maddening. And even if you do get a piece of writing finished, what then? Will anyone other than your friend, agent, or writing partner read it? See it? Acknowledge its existence? Who knows. But if you produce something. Boom. There’s a product you can share. It’s not in a drawer or a final draft file, it’s out there on Instagram or Youtube, or Netflix. People you’ve never heard of from a demographic you never even considered can discover it and connect with it. That’s incredible to me. 


THR: What inspired you to want to be an actress? Were there any particular films or roles that made you know that this is what you wanted to do?


MS: When I was a kid, I wasn’t much of a talker. I came from a big, loving, southern family — two brothers and three sisters, but there was this “Don’t speak until spoken to,” mentality. My parents tried to lay down the law. They were like, “We are in charge and kids should remain silent.” Now my sisters and brothers, were like, “Yeah right!” They never bought into that. I don’t even know if my parents bought into that, but I was always stressed about it. Wondering… Is it OK if I say something? Or should I remain silent? Probably safer to stay silent. Right? I loved acting because — this is so simplistic — but it was because I got to speak. In plays it was so clear. Characters spoke at a predetermined time and said predetermined things. It was literally written in a book. No mystery. You talked, and people clapped. It was great! And somewhere along the way I realized how magical acting was, how you could create worlds and impact audiences. I was hooked. 


THR: If you could work with anyone in the industry, alive or dead, who would it be and why?


MS: Mike Flanagan! As a devoted fan of horror, I've been consistently impressed by his contributions to the genre, particularly in horror television. What stands out for me is his knack for assembling incredibly talented casts and fostering a sense of collaboration. The fact that he frequently works with the same individuals speaks volumes about the trust and synergy he cultivates on set. He also provides actors with such incredible material! I mean, he gives long, juicy monologues to practically every member of the cast. Long monologues? In TV? Hellz yeah! To have the chance to work in a genre I'm passionate about, under the guidance of a director known for his exceptional writing and direction, alongside a talented ensemble cast, and with a strong emphasis on collaboration — that's the kind of creative environment I love being part of.


THR: What's next for you? Are there any exciting upcoming roles that you're excited to talk about? 


MS: I always have something brewing! Over on my YouTube channel, Sinisisters.com, our latest horror comedy short, The Scariest Gif of all Time, premiered on Halloween, and the feedback has been fantastic. I’m also working on a spooky, low-budget period piece—a project I've been eager to bring to life, that’s kind of a mix of Jane Austen and Tim Burton (a genre I like to call Sweet Creep) Beyond that, my passion for audiobooks, particularly in the horror genre, is leading me to explore opportunities in that realm. And with the conclusion of the SAG strike, I'm anticipating and excited about new prospects in film and television.



THR: Finally, do mermaids have live babies or lay eggs?


MS: Now, that's a question that sparks the imagination! OK. In the undersea world I’m envisioning, mermaids produce something akin to colorful clams, probably in a kangaroo like pouch. When the clams are fully formed, she takes them out. Fast forward a few days, the clams open and voila! You’ve got the tiniest, most adorable mercreatures you ever did see!


THR: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us, Screwdriver was outstanding! I look forward to seeing more of your work!

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