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“I had to learn how to be scared” — Freya Allan Talks Baghead

4 min read
Freya Allan in Baghead

New year, new — and Baghead is kicking off 2024 with a bang. Iris (Freya Allan) is estranged from her widower father (Peter Mullan). After his death, she inherits a pub with a 400-year-old she-devil locked up in the basement… as one normally does. In this case, her face is concealed by an old sack, nicknamed “Baghead.” FILMHOUNDS spoke to lead actress and star of The Witcher Freya Allan about this new horror icon that we'll love to be scared by.


How did you first discover this script? 

My agents sent the script and the short film which I read and watched and then had a chat with Alberto the director and then they offered me the role!


Wow, that was simple! So what attracted you to the role?

I was at first largely attracted to Studiocanal as they are a great bunch of producers but also there was an interesting backstory that could be created for Iris and her background. Also although there is a supernatural element, it is modern, and I've been in the land of fantasy for so long that it made a nice change.


What sort of preparation did you do for the role of Iris?

Alberto and I had a lot of conversations about her background and looking at the foster care system. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and documentaries and spoke with people about loss and grief. I spent some time figuring out what she'd been through before we even met her in the film.


Was the role organic or did you stick to the script? Was there room for collaboration?

We stuck to the script most of the time but we were still able to have conversations around adapting certain things. There were so many plot points to reach and cover that it wasn't reality the place for improv.


Did you bring any influences to Iris from other characters and/or films?

It was more real people from documentaries that I drew from rather than any fictional characters. I'm inspired by everything I watch but I don't tend to consciously channel that into my work, it's more likely to be people I meet or watch in interviews. I get distracted talking to people sometimes as I'm watching them so intently.


And how much of Freya is in Iris?

Everything you bring to any character no matter how different they are is always going to have a bit of you. But on a surface level, the main thing is art. I love art too. It's my favourite thing aside from acting. I think almost all of us can relate to her wanting to find a purpose also. She's trying to figure out her future and where to go. I thought a lot about how much I love my family and that she hasn't really had that.


What was the most fun aspect of being on this set/playing this character and what was the most challenging?

The most fun was definitely how close me, Jeremy, and Ruby got and I made other friends as well, my cast PA Keema became a close friend. We had fun, we were exploring a new town together and it meant we'd already bonded and it was lovely. Most challenging was surrendering to the genre. By that I mean I am used to diving very much into a character and sometimes when you are making something supernatural what your character does doesn't feel instinctively right and can cause some blurred lines which I'm not used to. I also had to learn how to be scared which seems like an easy thing but you can't be expected to just go into a scene cold and play scared. You have to pump your body up, get your heart racing, etc. and it was really handy learning how to do that and take it forward to other jobs.


What did you think the first time you saw Baghead the creature, were you scared at all?

It was hard because of the logistics on the set. The first time when we saw her creeping towards us, there wasn't that much space and the staircase was literally right behind us and I just kept focusing on that. It made me not feel like I was really trapped! But I learned to lean in on the connection between Iris and this creature. It wasn't actually scary per se, but there were a couple of times when the creature came really close to me and I was like, oh my god. But we also saw her before wandering around the set with a cappuccino…


Where can we see you next?

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes — out May 10th. I'm very critical when I watch films and I really enjoyed it. Go see it when it's out!

Baghead is in cinemas now.