Arts & Entertainment

Freaky's Uriah Shelton on Horror Movies, Working With Vince Vaughn, and More

The actor shares what it's like to work with director Chris Landon and Blumhouse Productions.
IMAGE PRISCILLA MASTRODOMENICO
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We spoke with the actor about working with Vince Vaughn (and that scene), horror movies (surprisingly, romantic comedies, too), and more.

ESQUIRE: What was your first impression of the script?

Uriah Shelton: I absolutely loved the script when I first read it. Michael Kennedy and Chris Landon (our writers) did a bang-up job. I'd never done a horror movie before, and since there are so many bad horror movies out there... the opportunity to be a part of a great one was a rarity. I knew that Blumhouse and Chris Landon were absolute masters of horror, so I had complete confidence in their ability to perfectly execute the script.

The story is crazy and good in many ways. But, what was it about the role itself that got you interested?

Not going to lie, it was the thought of getting to work with who was attached to the project. Working with Chris Landon and Katheryn Newton alone would have been more than enough to get me to sign on. But, adding Vince Vaughn into the mix? Sold. I've been such a massive fan of his ever since I was a little kid, so being able to not only work with him, but work with him in such a consistent capacity was a huge selling point to me. Besides that, the character was a blast to play. And, being one of the final characters to survive?! Come on, that's just too cool for a first horror experience.

Photo by PRISCILLA MASTRODOMENICO.
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What was it like working closely with Vince Vaughn?

This is the kind of thing I became an actor for. To work with and learn from the people that made me love movies so much. It's always a bit nerve-wracking meeting someone who's in the upper echelon of your industry; partly because you want to perform well around them and be able to keep up with the pros, but also because of the whole "never meet your heroes" adage (they're liable to disappoint you). He was the opposite of a disappointment. He was incredibly friendly and supportive and went out of his way to make people feel comfortable on set. For someone of his caliber to be so easy to work with and get along with was a blessing.

How did you feel about the initial response to the trailer?

Thrilled! No matter what you do, there's always going to be haters and naysayers, that's just life. But the overwhelming majority of people responded so positively. Having that kind of response to something you and your coworkers worked so hard on is the ultimate validation. It was even better when people actually got to see the movie.

Photo by PRISCILLA MASTRODOMENICO.
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What did you look forward to seeing most once the film wrapped?

People's reaction to the car scene between Vince Vaughn and me. It was completely outside of both of our comfort zones, but oddly enough, those are the moments as an actor you look forward to the most. That's where you really prove yourself. Most people can play a situation they're comfortable in naturally, but being able to effectively pull off something completely different from situations you've been exposed to is where you really want to shine. And I'm so happy with the result. He was an incredible scene partner, and the whole thing plays beautifully.

How should people get ready for Freaky?

You can stay at home! We had our theatrical release already, but we're now on-demand as of the fourth of December. I wouldn't recommend having the kids around for the viewing as it does get quite gory, so put those little suckers to bed if you've got them. Then, kick back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Photo by PRISCILLA MASTRODOMENICO.
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Growing up, were you into horror movies?

Yes and no. I've seen some great horror movies, and I've seen some truly awful ones. There's a balance between tension and suspense that so often is missed and lands me as the viewer just feeling bored. You're just waiting and waiting for something to happen, and you end up getting disengaged from the movie and characters. And staying engaged in a horror movie is vital; you have to care what happens to the characters. Some movies find that balance though, and it makes for incredibly entertaining projects. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is definitely one of my favorites and to be honest, now Freaky is too. I'm so lucky to be a part of a movie that navigates that balance so well and entertainingly. Especially this being my first one. I can't thank everyone involved enough for bringing me into it.

What are you looking to do in the future?

I'd love to do a Freaky sequel, that's for sure. As long as we have our team from this one on board, I know it would be a blast. As far as other projects, I'm really open to it. I've worked really hard to develop skill sets in multiple genres and areas so being able to further explore action, drama, suspense, comedy, war, science fiction, etc. is all on the list. The only thing I'm not too interested in doing are romantic comedies. I've never been a huge fan of cheesy, mushy romance movies unless properly executed. It would probably take a helluva script to get me to do a romantic comedy. Otherwise, I'm keeping my opportunities open. I love what I do, so I just want to do more of it.

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Watch the trailer for Freaky below.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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