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Felicia Day on why 'Pooka Lives' is the fun horror flick we need right now
Hulu horror anthology series Into the Dark has kept to tradition with its second season — until now. After celebrating holidays ranging from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas, we've finally got the long-awaited sequel to Season 1's "Pooka," which officially debuts on the streaming service today.
"Pooka Lives" tells the story of a group of reconnected friends who decide to create their own version of a creepypasta revolving around Pooka that eventually goes viral online — and leads to the toy manifesting as a much more dangerous, murderous version of itself. Featuring a cast of veritable genre faves like Malcolm Barrett (Timeless), Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Eureka), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Jonah Ray (Mystery Science Theater 3000), and Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer,Supernatural), "Pooka Lives" is the humorous horror follow-up definitely worth watching while you're quarantining at home.
Ahead of the film's release on Hulu today, April 3, SYFY FANGRRLS had the chance to speak with Day by phone, where she shared thoughts on what drew her to the project, how her new role as a mom inspired her performance, which Internet legend she wishes was real, and what she's currently FANGRRLing over right now.
How are you?
How are you?
I'm good. Hanging in there.
I know. I mean, nobody can say, "It's perfect. Life is perfect right now." We all have clean closets. It's all fine.
Exactly. We're doing our best.
I actually love that this film strikes such a different tone from the first Pooka episode. Was there anything that appealed to you about the idea of doing a sequel, even if it maybe was a little less connected to the original story?
What I like is that it is tangentially related. It's really just the character of Pooka that's a carryover. It doesn't have the sort of psychological horror of the first, but it's more my vibe of the things that I love to do, and certainly feels like an extended sort of Supernatural episode to me. Which I think is awesome, because that's exactly what I would watch on my off-time anyway. But it also has that sort of Scooby Gang kind of dynamic that Buffy had. You have a lot of friends who are against these crazy stakes, and I love that dynamic. It really is exactly in my wheelhouse as a fan and as a performer.
So I hope that in this crazy time when a lot of us are confined to our houses, and maybe don't want to be so grim, and none of us really want to be scared right now because we're already scared, I think the vibe of this one is perfect. It's a bunch of people on a crazy adventure, and like you said, it doesn't take itself too seriously.
It's so funny that you name-dropped both Buffy and Supernatural, because I was very much reminded of those "Monster of the Week" episodes while watching this. Do you feel like you have more of a preference for doing horror projects that have that element of humor in them, or would you ever be interested in doing a straight horror flick?
I certainly would be open to it. It isn't something that I've pursued aggressively myself. I'm always the sort of comedic relief in a drama piece. But at the same time, I think it would be a really interesting challenge. This particular movie is the first time I played a mom, and as a new mom myself, it's actually opened up a whole new world. Because mom parts are usually not very interesting, just quite frankly, because they're written by guys and they always become only supporting roles.
And what I love about this character is she has her own point of view that's super strong. You can tell right away who she was in the past, who she is now, but she's still a good mom. I love that vibe, and the tone is really hard to match. And we worked really hard to make every single character here, no matter what their background or what they look like, to be equal in the friendship.
It's just all in the role. Is it interesting? Is it challenging? Is it something that ... I mean, I don't know about the ones that are so horrific, because I don't know if I'd even watch those.
Since you became a mom, do you think that that's impacted the way you look at the certain roles that you might be drawn to? Did that affect your approach to this character specifically?
Yeah, whenever you do have a child, your whole worldview in life is shattered, and you have to take the pieces of yourself above the ground in a sense. It is a constant struggle for me to let go of things that I don't have time for that used to define me. What do I retain going forward? And it also makes you prioritize in a way that's pretty ruthless. What is the core essence of who I am, and how does it need to change, or what do I let go of? I certainly can't say that it's an easy thing to navigate. I don't know if other people have an easier time. I've been very challenged in it as a public figure, and of course as a person just in real life.
But I will say that every mom I know is much more interesting than all moms on TV that I see. And a lot of writers who are not women, especially, just kind of slap "mom" on there, and the mom just services everybody else's world. And I'm sure there are women out there who readily adopt that or unconsciously adopt that, but I personally know a ton of moms who are incredible crafters. They have incredible careers. They have incredible hobbies, and they're super-interesting people. That's what I think every person should see in those characters, because women don't just become in service to other people when they have a child.
It's important to portray women as they are, not how a cliche is sort of is thrust upon them. And I've turned down a lot of roles who are mothers in the past because I'm like, "There's nothing here that's interesting." But this is one where really I was like, "Oh, this is an interesting character, and she's a good mom. I love this."
I love that the story partly revolves around a group of friends that are reconnecting from back in high school, when they were all pretty tight. But now this circumstance with Malcolm's character has brought them all back together. And there are a lot of different personalities in the friend group. So out of everybody, which character would you say you're most like in your real-life friend group?
Oh, wow. That's interesting, because my best friend is the person who wrote the script, Ryan Copple. I think that Molly is a little more stable than me in real life. But you're right. Knowing that these people were friends as kids, you could tell that there was a lot of digging into that, who they were in high school and who they hung out with, and honestly are not that different than who they were in high school. They just have a lot more life experience and responsibilities on their shoulders.
Another aspect of this that I was really into is the whole concept of internet virality and the way that these legends or myths just take off. Is there an internet myth that you've ever heard that you kind of wish really existed?
I wish every internet cat was really sentient. Every famous internet cat. Like there's that yellow cat that plays the piano that everybody uses. Sort of, you remember that from back in the day. It was like one of the OG memes. Keyboard Cat. If Keyboard Cat really was a sentient, brilliant composer, that would be kind of interesting. Cats are smarter than we know. They just won't let on.
What are you FANGRRLing over right now?
I have two. I just finished the book The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, and I just am so in love with her writing. I usually skim books, but this one, it took me two weeks to read because I just wanted to read every word and absorb it into my skin. So I highly recommend that book. Then I'm obsessed with my Instant Pot, because in quarantine there's nothing better than making a huge pot of beans and eating it for three days in a row. Or making oatmeal, or cooking a whole chicken. So, I'm obsessed. [With] every person, I'm like, "You've got to get an Instant Pot. This is a game-changer."
This interview has been edited and condensed. Pooka Lives is now streaming on Hulu.