Exclusive clip: The Babadook director on casting a child as a lead

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Apr 10, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT

After creeping its way through movie theaters and streaming platforms, The Babadook is nearly ready to terrify audiences on DVD and Blu-ray.

Available to own next week, The Babadook emerged as one of the most-talked-about horror films in recent history, and topped numerous best-of lists in 2014 (The Exorcist director William Friedkin said it scared the hell out of him). Written and directed by Jennifer Kent, the Australian movie is, on its surface, a story about a grief-stricken single mother and her troubled young son who are terrorized by a picture-book bogeyman.

In an exclusive clip from the home entertainment release, Kent talks about casting 6-year-old Noah Wiseman in the lead role of Sam. As part of a larger interview conducted before the film was edited, Kent says Noah is an innocent 6, with a "pure" quality that translated beautifully into Sam.

An actor herself, Kent said she would take Noah through scenes and act them out with him before handing things over to the young performer. 

"Directing a 6-year-old is like trying to get mercury to form into a straight line; every day was terrifying but it has really paid off." 

The Babadook is available from Scream Factory, in partnership with IFC Midnight, on April 14, 2015, as a Special Edition Blu-ray, housed in a striking limited-run pop-up package and loaded with bonus features; the film is also available in standard Blu-ray and on DVD.