Getting actors to reveal information about their upcoming projects is always a difficult task. But when you're talking to 'Paranormal Activity' star Katie Featherston, whose role in the forthcoming follow-up 'Paranormal Activity 2' is shrouded in mystery, the process seems nearly impossible -- and even as a dutiful reporter, you don't want to ruin the movie for fans, even if she does happen to disclose a juicy detail or two. Thankfully, the actress' own discreet descriptions of the follow-up were just provocative enough to whet viewer appetites without spoiling the scares they will soon be experiencing firsthand.
"It's the next chapter," Featherston said to Moviefone. "I know two things that I think are important. One, it stays to the core of the first movie – it's improvisational, authentic, it's grounded in reality, it's a movie that sort of lets your own imagination scare you. But also, it's the next chapter, so it's going to kick it up a notch, and I think it's going to be really effective, and I'm excited for people to see it."
The 'Paranormal Activity' actress was on hand Wednesday night at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles, where Paramount hosted a midnight screening of the sequel for fans -- many of whom were lined up before 4PM that afternoon. In between impromptu autograph sessions, camera phone photo-ops and random encounters with passersby, Featherston talked about how much she appreciated all of the love she received from the first film's many admirers.
"Horror fans are really dedicated – and they're really loyal," she observed. "I think that's because if they get something that they like, if they get a good scare, then they want more. It's sort of like if you hear a good band that you like, then you always love that band. It's so nice to have people respond to the movie that way and to have fans respond to me that way. When I meet people at Starbucks or wherever, I'm always thankful and excited when they come up and say hi, because I'm so glad that they liked the movie and enjoyed it."
Featherston confessed that after the first film's runaway success, she was unprepared to wax poetic about supernatural phenomena, at least as any kind of expert. "Every once in a while I'll get someone who will talk to me about their situation," she said. "I kindly try to let them know that I was in fact just acting, and though my character does have the same name as me, it is just a character and that I can't actually help them with their situation. But most people get it – most people know that it's just a movie, and you get sucked in while you watch it, but outside of that, I'm just an actor."
Even without the presence of Featherston, however, the crowd outside the Cinerama Dome was at fever pitch. By 6PM, some 400 fans were lined up on Sunset Boulevard, waiting to get inside to see the film. Los Angeles' storied food trucks brought trays of decadently designed cheeseburgers and handed them out to the people in line. At one point, a young woman stopped traffic in her car to snap a picture of the proceedings with her cell phone, although I'm fairly certain the best shot she got was one of my butt.
But even with music pumping at a deafening volume and barricades that made those waiting look a bit like caged animals, everyone there was patient and respectful, spirits were high, and the tone of the evening was one of fun and celebration.
Following our earnest but ineffective efforts to cajole some of the secrets of 'Paranormal Activity 2' out of Featherston, we joined the actress as she visited with some of the fans and answered some of their burning questions. Karla Carrillo of Sylmar, CA, asked the actress if she suffered from any nightmares after shooting either of the movies. "I definitely had nightmares while I was filming it," she said. "I know Micah and I would scare ourselves and freak ourselves out, and we would spend so much time in a scared state of mind that it definitely seeped into our sleeping time. But once it was over, it was like, OK, back to regular life."
Joey Rasich of Covina, CA, vaguely echoed Carillo's question with his own, asking whether the first film still scares Featherston even though she went through the whole process of making it. "Sure!" she confessed. "I think the first time I watched it, it was a two and a half hour movie, so we were like, Oren, we've got to cut this – it's too long. But eventually, he'd edit and we'd watch it and stuff, and definitely [I got scared]. I tried to watch it once by myself, but I couldn't; I was at home, in the dark, and I was like, no!"
Carillo followed up with a much more important question -- namely, how real was the romance between Featherston and her 'Paranormal' co-star Micah Sloat? "Ooh, that's a good question," Featherston cooed. "We do love each other dearly, not romantically, although we do have good chemistry. But we have a real love-hate relationship – sometimes I think he's the most charming, wonderful man ever, and other times I want to just hit him upside the head, and I know he feels exactly the same way about me."
"So I would give anything to work with him again, but I don't think he and I will be walking down the aisle any time soon," she explained.
As Featherston autographed a copy of the first film for Los Feliz, CA, resident Paul Atreides, he asked how much he should expect to enjoy 'Paranormal Activity 2.' "I think you're going to freakin' love it," she said confidently. Pausing, she continued, "I mean, that's probably going to be quoted somewhere, but I'm excited." Meanwhile, Kory Davis, who came all of the way from Baton Rouge, LA, wondered just how difficult it is for Featherston to keep details about the movies under wraps, at least until the film opens on Friday.
"Incredibly hard," she conceded, "especially when people ask questions that you literally can't say anything to or answer at all."
After signing a few more autographs, Featherston retired to the Cinerama Dome lobby to get ready for her introduction of 'Paranormal Activity 2.' As we parted ways, I asked her one final question in the hopes of garnering even a small detail about the movie: How does it feel to be in the unusual position of being both a scream queen and a movie monster? Predictably, she avoided any specifics, but she personally enjoyed the idea that she got to be on both sides of horror movies' most essential relationship. "It's pretty unique," she said. "I've never heard it put that way, but I like it."
"It's kind of the best of both worlds," she said. "I get to be the damsel in distress and the bad guy, all in one. I never thought of it like that, but I'm going to go with that!"
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