Being that Isabelle Fuhrman was a child when she first played Esther, she clearly approached the role from a much different angle as an adult, even though the trajectory of the character was similar. “My vantage point as a child when I was approaching the movie was really different than now. I had a whole team of people that helped create Esther for me and with me,” Fuhrman recalled for Looper in an exclusive interview. “As a kid, it was about doing the best I could to bring this vision to life that was in the script. It was the first movie I ever did, and working on your first film … It’s not necessarily that you can’t say certain things, but it’s more that you don’t know.”
She admitted she was “treading softly” as an actor in the first “Orphan” because it was her first introduction to a movie set. “You don’t know how much freedom you have in your character and what you can play with. Also, everyone had a very specific idea of who Esther was the first time around, so a lot of the work that I did on the character was with the dialect. ‘What is she feeling in this moment?’ It was coming from a place of trying to understand Esther’s emotional place.”
Remarkably, Fuhrman’s 9-year-old look was recreated not through a de-aging process, but with camera tricks like using forced perspectives and a pair of body doubles. The actor also took basic measures to make herself look shorter than her co-stars. “Julia [Stiles] wore super tall boots, and I squatted a lot when we were filming scenes,” Fuhrman said. “There was a little butt dolly thing that I would use to walk on this little chair.”
“Orphan: First Kill” is playing in select theaters and streaming exclusively on Paramount+.