Sissy Spacek and Brian de Palma didn’t really agree on what Carrie is about

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Sep 21, 2017

Actor Sissy Spacek says that she loved working for director Brian De Palma on the set of their 1976 horror film Carrie. But it doesn’t mean the two had the same take on the iconic horror character.

According to an interview with Spacek in Coming Soon, De Palma said the film, based on the 1974 Stephen King novel, is about teen angst. But to Spacek, the film is about a girl who wants to be “normal.” Spacek said, “I guess it’s about all those things. …”

For those who don't recall the film, Carrie was a teenage girl struggling for independence under the thumb of an unstable mother. Oh, and Carrie just happens to have some seriously powerful telekinesis.

To turn herself into Carrie for the audition, Spacek put Vaseline in her hair and didn’t brush her teeth. To make herself feel like more of an outsider, Spacek kept herself away from the rest of the cast—which included John Travolta, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, and Betty Buckley.  When I see Carrie, I really do see a film about an outsider. Arguably, Spacek conveyed her sense of what the film was about better than the director himself.

Spacek also offered a different way to see her character. She said, “I believe I gave the character a little bit of hope. I felt that here’s this girl who has all these special powers but she doesn’t care about that, she just wants to be normal and fit in.”

Carrie wasn't the first film in which Spacek and De Palma had worked together. Spacek was a decorator on the set of cult classic Phantom of the Paradise. “So from the get-go Brian didn’t think of me as an actress, he thought of me as a very awful set decorator,” she said.

(Via Coming Soon)