Doctor Sleep introduces a terrifying archnemesis in the form of Rose The Hat, who feeds off physic children along with her demonic tribe known as The Knot. Rebecca Ferguson plays the villainess in the sequel to The Shining, which opens on November 8th, and her layered performance elevates the material. The actress spoke with Screen Rant about her character’s backstory, and what elements of Stephen King’s writing struck her most.
First of all, congratulations on the film. So amazing; it had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. Rose is such a compelling character, who is complexly layered but really direct. Can you talk to me about balancing her more emotional side with her more brutal/dangerous side?
Rebecca Ferguson: I love how you said that. Her… active evilness. I think it came quite naturally. I don't like using the word “organic,” but it came very fluidly when I read the script and also the book. You realize that when someone carries love – she cherishes her people, she takes care of her clan, and she needs to feed them.
And when the necessity is there, and the victim isn't really seen as a human being for them; it's food, you know? That's where the separation [is seen]. Because – I don't know how you would interpret it, but – my idea was that you actually care for Rose, and you care for the people. You love Grandpa Flick, and you kind of understand them, and yet the brutality is so overwhelming. But it’s a necessity.
Yes, it is. We get a lot of hints of Rose’s history. When you were playing her, what did you have in mind with her history? Even if it’s something you may have created yourself while playing her.
Rebecca Ferguson: I had many discussions with my dialect coach and Mike. Also reading Mr. King's book, finding out her age and where she comes from is more in the dialogue between two people; when they describe the fall of the Roman Empire or the Gladiators, etc.
So, I kind of locate her back to 700 years old, where the regular America for us today didn't exist. It would be the Irish leading through Europe. And usually back in the day, they'd be running away from something. So, there's a ferocity; there's something in our history that… It's fun. You just want to take whatever you can on this little trip to America.
It's amazing. Also amazing is the kids in this. Kyliegh is wonderful. But if I had kids, I don't think I'd ever let you around them because you are terrifying. Do you approach that differently, when you're acting with kids in such a dark film?
Yeah. Jacob [Tremblay], wow. That performance was amazing. What did you find most unnerving about The Shining or Doctor Sleep? Or both, actually.
Rebecca Ferguson: I think something that really stayed with me from The Shining is how every environment becomes – that’s something that Stephen King does very well – every environment becomes its own character. There's something in the loneliness of, obviously, the Overlook Hotel; the Overlook Hotel itself becoming somewhat of a character. And I think that Mike has made that homage to the film.
I haven't really seen the final cut of this, but my hope is that there's some kind of solitude; that calm stillness that creates the suspense, and then things come from it.
I can't wait for you to see the final cut, because it's brilliant.
- Doctor Sleep (2019) release date: Nov 08, 2019