Little known fact: Exorcism film The Possession is based on a real item called a "dybbuk box." The box, which imprisons evil spirits, made headlines years ago. But when actors Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Natasha Calis were asked if they wanted to bring the original on set, their reaction was, no thank you. Because it's evil. Maybe.
We sat down with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays the troubled father of the possessed girl, and the demon girl herself Natasha Calis, to talk all things dybbuk box. Here's what they had to say.
So this is based on a true story?
JDM: I'm a skeptic, look I'm not going to lie. That being said, there was some weird goings on on set. Lots of light bulbs exploding. Just overall kind of creepiness... "Don't mock the box," was sort of the mantra that we lived by while we were filming this. And yes loosely based on a true story. There was an LA Times article about a box that was bought on ebay. And then the people who owned the box some scary stuff started happening to them. We've taken some slight creative...
Calis: It's scarier, I mean the events are true.
Did you meet anyone associated with the box?
JDM: No I didn't want to. I like being a skeptic, I didn't want to get scared. It might have freaked me out a little bit too much to be honest. It might have freaked me out a little bit too much. Somebody wanted to bring the box to the set, the real box. I was adamantly against it. If you go and you look at what has happened to people that have had contact with an actual dybbuk box, it's not good stuff. It's not like demons flying around but it's like trees crushing your house, weird rashes. Why risk that?
There are a lot of great exorcism movies out there. Besides the actual box, how else is this movie going to stand out from other possession films?
JDM: It's a little Jewish.
Calis: It has a different feel to it because it's a Danish director and a Danish Director of Photography. So it has a different feel and beautiful scenery.
JDM: They shot the heck out of it, certainly. She's right in the fact that it's going to look a lot richer than a lot of the horror movies that have come out, especially in the last 20 years. But this really is a throwback to The Exorcist, The Omen. A lot of the stuff that we see in the genre now is a lot of found footage, shaky camera. That drives me crazy, that's not the movie I certainly wanted to go in and make. This had a story, the script had a story. It's not just a bunch of jump scares. There's a story, you become invested in the characters, hopefully. In the end, all the elements that Natasha was talking about as far as camera and sets. You mix that with a good story and some really descent actos and a performance from this lady that is really mind blowing. I've never been more impressed with a young actor in all my life. The stuff that she had to do. The chops to be possessed. You wonder where has your life... where do you get this from? For god's sake. It was truly, there were a couple moments that she scared the crap out of me. I was worried about her, I thought she was going to explode.
The Possession hits theaters this weekend.