[Interview] Casey Hartnett Talks Facing Art the Clown in ‘Terrifier 2’

Art the Clown is back in the highly anticipated, ultra blood soaked sequel Terrifier 2 (read our review here), which is making history in theaters right now with unprecedented success for an unrated independent film, and Casey Hartnett is at the center of possibly the most unforgettable scene (of many), so we were excited to talk to Casey this week about the challenges of shooting such an intense and demanding sequence sure to make everyone’s top 10 lists for decades to come, and much more in our exclusive new interview.

I curious if writer/director Damien Leone gave Hartnett any kind of heads up that she would be at the center of what would likely be the most talked about scene in the film and one to rival the already infamous hacksaw scene in the first Terrifier movie, Casey confirmed that he did give her fair warning ahead of time. She tells HDN, “My final callback, it wasn’t even my scene, but it was when another character was screaming and being attacked, so he just wanted to see where I could go with it. Then he was like, ‘We’re going to amp it up,’ and he gave me one of the scenes form Cape Fear. And then he was like, Shelley Duval in The Shining but times a thousand. But yeah, he did mention that it would be the equivalent of what the hacksaw scene was in the first movie. So I was like, alright, here we go. 

“I hadn’t read that scene, I don’t think he had sent me a full script before he offered it, because was keeping everything so private. So when I finally read it, I was like, oh my God, this is wild. And then when the mom comes home, it’s just like, oh God. But I was really excited. I don’t know, I was excited to go there, because I had never really done a slasher before. So it was really fun to experience that and to really have all those effects and everything. But yeah, he did warn me.” 

While Allie’s ultimate encounter with Art is the part that will stay in viewers’ heads, it was the scene when Allie discovers the killer in her kitchen, wearing her mom’s apron, that proved to be the most emotionally draining for Casey to shoot. She recalls, “The house scene, I remember when I was creeping down the stairs, seeing him, in shock, and then running up the stairs, when we were filming that – After we filmed that, I just started crying. I was feeling so much, and when you’re emotionally prepping for your death, I just started crying. And I calmed myself down. And Amy Russ, who plays my mom, was there, and she’s an acting coach too, so she was helping me calm down a bit on set too, which was really sweet.”

On her ultimate encounter with Art the Clown, Casey said, “That moment was about pure screaming and desperation, and trying to get out of there. It was much more intense physically. But the preparation for that – you go into these thoughts of, ‘I’m about to die’, and it’s – acting is crazy. But the thing is there’s always this awareness that it’s not actually happening and it’s not real, and that’s why I say thank goodness David’s not a method actor. Who knows what would have happened if someone playing a serial were a natural method actor. That would scare me. But it was nice, because in between takes it was like, okay let’s calm down, let’s check in. David and Damien were just like, ‘You good? We’re good?’ Yep, everything’s fine. We’re safe. 

“So there’s this element of knowing it’s not actually happening, but then you’ve done the prep of, okay this is the scary moment now and we’re just going to desperately try to get out and just scream. It was just a lot of screaming, of course. (laughs) So yeah, you kind of go to these places, but the great thing about working with people you feel safe with is knowing that you can go in and out of it, and you’ll be okay. 

She later adds, “It was a ride, but it was a lot of fun. As wild as it was, a lot of people ask me, ‘Is it scary to do horror films?’ I think it would only be scary if you were working with scary people, if you were working in an environment where you didn’t feel safe. But I never felt that, and I was never scared of David… I felt like I was in a safe environment to go to these places emotionally, and that we would all come out just fine.” 

We discuss much more about Allie’s less intense trick or treating encounter with Art, working with Lauren LaVera as Sienna, and more in our fun and relaxed conversation.

We also of course talked about celebrating Halloween itself, and learned that Casey’s earliest acting experience goes back to creating scary plays as a kid on Halloween for family and friends, foreshadowing her work in one of the most anticipated horror movies of the year.

You can watch our full exclusive video interview with Casey Hartnett below. (SPOILER WARNING)

Terrifier 2 is now playing in theaters and will stream on Screambox later this month.

Watch our exclusive new interview with Casey’s costar, Lauren LaVera, here.

Watch our exclusive new interview with Art the Clown himself, David Howard Thornton, here.

[See all of our Terrifier 2 coverage here.]

For more Halloween news, follow @HalloweenDaily.

Matt Artz

Founded Halloween Daily News in 2012 and the Halloween International Film Festival in 2016. Professional writer/journalist/photographer since 2000.