Starring in her very first feature film was a tough decision for actress Gabrielle Walsh to make. Raised Catholic, Walsh now calls herself a Christian and a very spiritual person. When the opportunity came to star in a new installment of the Paranormal Activity franchise – a franchise that includes dark, religious themes – Walsh had to do some soul searching.
“I prayed about it,” Walsh told me during an interview to promote the recent DVD/Blu-ray release of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. “I talked to my pastor about it, too. Since this is my first feature film I really wanted to do it, but I wasn’t sure. In the end, I took the opportunity to be a part of it and I don’t regret anything.”
In Marked Ones Walsh, who is originally from Chicago and graduated from Lyons Township High School in 2007, plays Marisol, a Latina teenager whose friend is possessed by a spirit giving him superhuman abilities.
During our interview, Walsh and I talked about how she handled starring in a scary movie since she gets easily creeped out by things, and why she would never mess with black magic in real life.
I know you’re doing some promotional things for the DVD/Blu-ray release with a company that does ghost tours. Have you been on one yet? Is that something you would do?
I haven’t been on one yet! Yeah, I think I would do it. I would just have to prepare myself for it and maybe put my Ghostbusters suit on or something. I think I would need a friend to go with me. It would just be more fun and I would know somebody there has my back if anything was to go down. I need somebody to run after me after I book it out of there.
What were some of the scarier moments for you shooting this film?
You’ll see this in the extended version on the DVD, but we shot in this old Gothic church. We did most of our shooting at night. This church looked like it was right out of Romania or something. It looked like it had been abandoned for years. That made it extra scary. It was pretty intense for me having to walk through that place just to go to the bathroom at 2 a.m.
It sounds like you’re easily creeped out. How did you manage to pull off making a movie like this?
(Laughs) You know, I was so tired after shooting all night that I would just get home and pass out. But I definitely would look in the backseat of my car and turn on all the lights in my house.
What is something that your character Marisol did in the film that you would never do in real life?
Probably play around with black magic. You’ll see one of those scenes on the DVD. We get to play with a black mirror and try to open a portal. That’s probably something I would not try to do. Playing with a Ouija board is another thing I wouldn’t do. I believe whatever energy you put into it, you get back out.
Although you play a Latina character in this film, you are not Latina, correct?
No, I mixed. I am black and Irish. But I grew up with a lot of Mexican friends. I would hang out a lot with them and go to quinceñeras and stuff like that in Chicago. My mom would always tease me and say I wanted to be Mexican. I’ve been an honorary Mexican since I was nine years old!