While Vera Farmiga got a fully-developed role as the adoptive mother of Esther in “Orphan,” Julia Stiles realized it would be tough to step into the role of the matriarch in the prequel and have her character’s presence be just as important as Isabelle Fuhrman’s character. Once she read the script for “Orphan: First Kill,” though, it became clear to the actor that writers David Coggeshall, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, and Alex Mace (who penned the original “Orphan”) wanted to write something that made Tricia pivotal to narrative.
“A lot of times in a horror film or a scary film, [for some characters], the story doesn’t really do them justice,” Stiles told Looper in an exclusive interview. “This film is way more sophisticated and more fun than your average horror movie … Unless you’re playing the villain or unless you’re playing the main character, the other roles can usually be like you’re playing a character that’s in distress all the time. I was so excited when I read the script for ‘Orphan: First Kill’ where there’s this major twist that is very surprising.”
The twist is so intricate, Stiles added, that she was fooled by how the story unfolded. “I didn’t see it coming, but it’s also delicious — because Tricia, the character that I play, is in some ways like Esther, and she has met her match,” Stiles observed. “We’re in on the secret, so we’re looking at Esther like, ‘How much longer is she going to get away with this [charade of playing a kid]?’ and we’re waiting for Tricia to figure it out. But it’s a really fun part, and there’s definitely more to her than meets the eye.”
“Orphan: First Kill” is playing in select theaters and streaming exclusively on Paramount+.