Teresa Palmer tapped into childhood fear for 'Lights Out'

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Teresa Palmer says she tapped into a part of herself that was scared of the dark as a child for her new horror movie, "Lights Out."

"I remember I had a touch-lamp next to my bed and I would tap it on the brightest light, and I remember my mom would always come in and she was like, 'That's too bright to sleep, we've got to put it on the dimmer one,' and I was like, 'OK, goodnight, mom.' And then (push the button) right back up to the bright one. I was just petrified."

In "Lights Out," now in theaters, Palmer plays a young woman who has distanced herself from her family because of trauma she experienced growing up, but is drawn back in when her younger brother begins to experience the same things she went through.

Palmer says playing out the emotional scenes sometimes took its physical toll on the set where she had migraines for three days.

One thing that's funny in retrospect, she says, is the woman who plays an evil spirit in the film is actually "the sweetest" in real life.

"I know her actually. She was my stunt double in 'I Am Number 4.' Her name's Alicia Vela-Bailey and she's this incredible stunt woman and a contortionist and she's very thin and lean and the way she can move her body was really abnormal. I've never seen anyone being able to move their body like that, so she just made it so scary, and then in the suit (costume), she'd be talking about her wedding dress and she's so excited and in a few weeks she's getting married," she said with a laugh.

Palmer was also quick to bond with her young co-star, Gabriel Bateman, who plays her brother.

"I would always check with him and make sure, 'Are you doing OK? How are you feeling? Should we take a break?'"

The 30-year-old actress, who is expecting her second son with actor, writer, director Mark Webber later this year, says she's always had a connection with kids.

"I've always been so fond of children. I remember when I was 10, all my little friends were the 6-year-old little girls and boys at school that I'd take under my wing and take to the playground. I've always been very maternal in that sense but it's just been heightened now that I'm actually a mother."

After appearing in nine films since 2014, Palmer says she's planning a "year of no." When she resumes working, she looks forward to taking her children to the set.

"I have the luxury of being able to work and being a mama because Hollywood is really embracing working moms these days, so I can bring my son everywhere. He's traveled to every film set. I haven't spent a day away from him. Every day he's with me. It's nice you have so much downtime as an actor that you're in your trailer with your family, you go and shoot for a little bit and then you're back with your family again."


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