It’s possible you haven’t met Saxon Sharbino yet, but that’s sure to change. The beautiful sixteen-year-old is best known for her role as Amelia Robbins in season 2 of Touch with Kiefer Sutherland and as Kendra Bowen in last year’s remake of Poltergeist. This month you can see her in Judd Apatow’s new Netflix series, Love. We were lucky to speak with her and learn about her passion for acting, her thoughts on the Poltergeist curse, how horror movies seem to find her and (gulp!) passing her driver’s test on the third try.
In addition to you, I know your younger siblings Brighton (“Just look at the flowers” Lizzie Samuels, The Walking Dead) and Sawyer are also acting. How did you all get started?
Well, we all started taking acting classes in Texas. We had no idea it would play this big a part in our lives. We started coming out to L.A. for pilot season and then Fox picked me up on a show when I was thirteen. We moved out here in 2013.
No, not at all. (Laughs) They had no idea what to expect until after we were into this.
So you all kind of stumbled into this together and it’s done really well by you.
Thank you. Yeah, I love it and Brighton loves it. It’s what we want to do for the rest of our lives.
I know last year you starred in the remake of Poltergeist. How was it working on a horror film?
I loved working on Poltergeist. It was such a good experience for me. Gil Kenan was the director and he did a fantastic job. It had to be very technical at times. He wanted to do live stunts, live effects. Sometimes it would take three days to film one scene. Gil really did still make it about the acting even when it had to be so technical filming a horror movie. I’d never seen a green screen before, so that was really cool and I love playing roles with high, intense emotion. It was awesome.
Well, you did an amazing job in it. I loved the scene with you in the garage. Very intense.
I’m sure that you’ve heard of the so-called curse that plagued the original Spielberg film? I’m curious to know if you guys had anything strange happen on set?
(Laughs) I actually didn’t know about the curse until after my second day of filming. That was kind of surprising. On set….we definitely had some scary stuff happen. They invited a medium out there. She was super legit and could tell people things, repeat phone call conversations that you had a month ago, word for word. That was really scary. Then one time, when I went back to my hotel room, I was sleeping and I thought I heard someone in the room. I held my breath and there was still breathing. It was in tune with my breathing! It was the scariest moment of my life. I couldn’t sleep.
Oh my God. Well, that leads to my next question. Do you believe in ghosts?
See, I don’t know if I believe in ghosts. I definitely believe in spirits and angels and demons. But ghosts are kind of a gray area for me. I do think there are elements that communicate with us in spirit.
After I watch something scary, I always have to watch something funny, which brings me to Judd Apatow. He’s returning to TV with Netflix’s anti-romcom Love. Are you going to be doing a comedic role in that?
I think I do a comedic role. Yeah, it’s definitely a big jump from Poltergeist, a kinda scary horror movie to a comedy, funny Netflix series. Love is basically about a set school teacher, it’s centered around him, and I’m one of the actor students that he has. I loved working on it. I worked with Iris Apatow and she was amazing. It was definitely a fun set to work on.
So would you want to do more work on comedies then?
I’m open to whatever. I just love acting in general. I like characters. I like being different people. I’d definitely do more horror movies and scary movies and comedic movies and funny TV shows. I just like to work.
I see that you’re starring in the upcoming horror movie, Bedeviled. That’s a remake of a Korean film, right?
I don’t know if it’s a remake…. It’s filmed in the style of a couple of different movies. They say it’s kind of a cross between Her and Stephen King’s It.
What part did you play in it?
I played a character named Alice Gorman. Basically Bedeviled is about Alice and her friends being haunted and hunted by a new type of supernatural force. Abel and Burlee Vang were the directors and writers. They won the Nicholl Fellowship award. They’re amazing. They really did a great job of creating a new type of boogieman.
When can we expect to see that come out?
They have a couple of distribution deals in the works, but it should be out late fall. This year.
What do you like about working in the horror genre?
I’m a good screamer. (Laughs) I like playing intense emotions and intense characters. I really like diving deep into that and so horror movies…there’s definitely a lot of crying and screaming and emotion. But they find me, I don’t seek them out.
Do you like to watch them?
No, I actually don’t like to watch horror movies. It’s very weird. But, like I said, I don’t seek out horror movies. They just kind of find me. I get scared really easily and maybe that’s another reason why I’m in them. But watching horror movies still freaks me out. I’ll think about it for the next week and not be able to sleep.
I’ve heard people say they can act in them, but they don’t want to watch them. Even Jamie Lee Curtis, the Scream Queen, says that.
I understand that you’re sixteen. Did you get your driver’s license this year?
I failed twice! I’m supposed to already have it, but I failed twice. I’m so upset about it. They didn’t even make me go on the freeway and I still…I mean…I’m going back…I’ll take it again.
You’ll nail it. Third time’s a charm, right?
Right! It has to be.
Absolutely, I’ll cross my fingers for you.
Last question, where would you like to see yourself in five years? What would you like to have accomplished?
That’s a great question. I love acting and I love this industry, so I know I’m definitely going to be in this industry in five years. I’m actually working on producing my first project. I’ve optioned a script, because I want to take a more active role in Hollywood. I want to create my own jobs instead of just waiting around for someone to hire me. In five years, hopefully I’ve produced and acted in a few of my own projects and just continue doing what I love.
Look for Saxon Sharbino on Netflix when Love premieres globally on Friday, February 19th.