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Karen Gillan Talks ‘Oculus’ and Why She’s Always Wanted to Star in a Horror Movie

It is a weird distinction that the impossibly perky and polite Karen Gillan is the star of the scariest movie of the year, ‘Oculus‘. In the film, she plays a young woman determined to crack – both literally and figuratively – the mystery behind an evil mirror that has haunted her family. Her red hair pulled back in a ponytail (which bounces hypnotically to and fro as if it were itself possessed) that’s as tight as her personality.

In person, she’s a sprightly, Scottish lass full of cheer; her effervescence almost contagious. Gone is the tightly-wound pony tail and in its place a short, pixie cut, still growing back from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘ buzz cut.

Last month, I had dinner with Gillan in Austin, Texas before walking across the street for the ‘Oculus’ midnight premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. It was dark and rainy; perfect for a scary movie. And, ‘Oculus’ is very much a scary movie. With only four real characters, the film very much feels like a one-act play, led by Gillan, who at one point delivers a tense 13-minute monologue, shot all in one take. So much of the movie’s success rides on her shoulders and, while in person she couldn’t be more different than her character, Gillan delivers a commanding performance. She needs to be at once tenacious and vulnerable; believable, yet completely suspect.

The next day after the film’s premiere, a bright and sunny Texas morning, Gillan and I reconnected to discuss her star-making turn in ‘Oculus’ and her upcoming introduction to the Marvel universe. Here’s Part One of our interview and make sure to check back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!

‘Oculus’ opens in theaters on April 11.

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