Screaming Was the Hardest Part of Filming “It Lives Inside,” According to Megan Suri
Megan Suri was permitted to conduct this interview amid the actors’ strike through Neon’s interim agreement with SAG-AFTRA.
Megan Suri is a big horror fan, so when the chance to star in the new film “It Lives Inside” came, it felt preordained. “I grew up watching [the genre],” she tells POPSUGAR. She instantly connected with movies like “The Collector” and “Paranormal Activity.”
“I’m just a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. And I love feeling fear,” she admits. Horror movies, Suri says, can elicit emotions from an audience like no other: “That’s what’s exciting to me, especially when you go and watch it in a theater and you’re surrounded by that universal energy.”
In “It Lives Inside,” Suri plays Sam, an Indian American high schooler who’s running from her family’s culture – and her former best friend Tamira (Mohana Krishnan). But Tamira is being tormented by a demonic spirit called a Pishach, and Sam must embrace her culture to help save her friend.
“All the horror movies that I grew up watching, I never really saw someone that looks like me,” Suri says. “So when this came my way, it really felt like I’d manifested it in a crazy cosmic way.” After she met writer and director Bishal Dutta, “It was just so apparent that I needed to so badly be a part of this project in any shape or form,” she says.
But when it came to actually filming the movie, one thing gave Suri more stress than anything else: screaming. “How do you practice that?” she says. “You can’t practice that at home without people calling the cops on you, so the first time I ever screamed was on set, and it was so vulnerable. But so cathartic.” On days where she knew she was filming screaming scenes, she was always more stressed. She remembers thinking: Oh my god, I have to scream today. I have to scream today, and it has to be a blood-curdling scream. I don’t know if I can do that.
Suri admits she had “no technique” for screaming, and by the time she was done with takes, she would “almost pass out.” She was less stressed toward the end of the movie though, when she did some of her own stunts and got to be in more of an “action element.”
The movie places a particular spotlight on Indian food, and Suri admits she related to Sam because when she was younger, she was embarrassed by Indian food. “You never wanted to take your Indian food to school because you didn’t want to smell, or it looks weird,” she says. “But I remember having a moment when I became an adult and learning about people loving Indian food and how much joy that brought me as someone that was usually embarrassed to take that to school, even though that’s all I ate when I came home.” Suri is glad not only to bring Indian American representation to horror, but also to see how the film has resonated with audiences of all kinds. (She got to watch the movie with a big crowd when it premiered at SXSW in March.)
Of course, Suri is only allowed to talk to POPSUGAR because Neon, which is distributing the film, has an interim agreement with SAG-AFTRA, which is currently on strike. Suri says that the strike has driven home the importance of “solidarity” for her. “I’ve been doing this for over a decade,” she says. “I have not been a series regular, I’ve not done the roles that are paying substantial amounts up until now, so I feel like I understand what it means to be in the ground and to be fighting for roles that otherwise wouldn’t be there.”
“During this time, it’s more important than ever to fight for the person that isn’t on the A-list or and getting these huge checks,” she adds. “I truly hope that this comes to a solution soon. I know that we all want to go back to work.”
“It Lives Inside” is in theaters Sept. 22.