The ‘90s camp classic Leprechaun got a serious modern day reboot from WWE Studios and director Zach Lipovsky. WWE Superstar Hornswoggle (Dylan Postl) plays the leprechaun who’s not making jokes about his gold anymore. The film opened in theaters and VOD in August and is now available on Blu-ray, alone or in a set of all seven Leprechaun films.
Stephanie Bennett plays the heroine who battles the leprechaun until the end. On a trip to Ireland, Sophie (Bennett) and her friends find themselves abandoned in an old town by the locals, when the leprechaun attacks. We got to speak with Bennett by phone to discuss her Scream Queen role in Leprechaun: Origins.
Nuke the Fridge: Is Leprechaun: Origins a really big break for you?
Stephanie Bennett: Yeah, definitely. It’s been the first time I’ve ever had a main character role in a movie, so it was really awesome for me. It was really exciting when I found out I booked it.
Nuke: Was it a really competitive audition for the role of Sophie?
Stephanie Bennett: Actually, I didn’t go in originally for it at all and at the very last minute, I was asked to go in and I found out they auditioned a lot of girls for it. So I was excited that I got it.
Nuke: How it come to you at the last minute like that?
Stephanie Bennett: Well, I just didn’t go in for it originally and then at the very last minute I guess they changed their mind on what they were looking for for the role, so I ended up going in. I got the audition really late the night before and then just found out right away that I got it basically as soon as I did the audition, so it was really cool.
Nuke: Was scream queen something you always wanted to be as an actor?
Stephanie Bennett: Yeah, I know it’s definitely a great way to start out. I’ve had a lot of really awesome fans come from Grave Encounters which is the first horror movie I did. And then now from Leprechaun, I’ve had some people messaging me on Twitter. It’s been really cool. It’s a good start and it’s definitely been a ton of fun filming horror movies so I’d love to do more for sure.
Nuke: Is it also significant to you that in horror movies women can be very strong and save the day in the end?
Stephanie Bennett: Absolutely. Something that I loved about my character in Leprechaun is that she was a leader from the start and I really liked how strong she was. She basically overcame everything so that was awesome for me. It was really cool for me.
Nuke: Was it hard to pretend that Canada was Ireland?
Stephanie Bennett: [Laughs] Yes, actually, it really was because Ireland is somewhere I’ve always really wanted to go. I’m actually going in a couple months for the first time, so to pretend that Vancouver was Ireland was kind of sad. I was really hoping I was actually there and wishing I was actually there. It was still really cool because they did a great job with the scenic shots and everything.
Nuke: How much of the truck chase towards the end were you involved with yourself?
Stephanie Bennett: Obviously the shots inside the truck when you can see it’s me, but the part where his hand goes through the glass and shatters the glass, that was not me. They had to have a stunt person in there for that. Then all the driving and everything pretty much was the stunt person when the car was going fast. When I was just pulling out, I was able to do it but they didn’t want to take any chances, so a lot of that was a stunt when you could see the car in wider shots, but when we were closer in I got to be there.
Nuke: Did you get to meet Dylan Postl as Dylan, or did he stay in makeup and character the whole time?
Stephanie Bennett: Oh no, I got to hang out with Dylan a lot and it was awesome. He’s super cool. The cast got together, the four of us and Dylan all hung out. He’s a really down to earth guy and it’s too bad that we live so far [apart] because we all want to hang out with him again. He’s super cool. But then on set you’d see him and for most of the day he’d be in his prosthetics, so you could see his head because he didn’t have the head on all the time, and then walking around in his prosthetic suit.
Nuke: While he was wearing it, could he not talk?
Stephanie Bennett: He could. We could barely hear him though because it took a lot for them to get him in that suit, lots of makeup. It took forever. There were a lot of layers so it was hard to hear him when he was talking in there, but he was really good while he was acting as Leprechaun, he made all these creepy noises and stuff. It really added to it so he was really awesome at his role.
Nuke: What was your background in acting and training?
Stephanie Bennett: I have been doing it for about three and a half years total. I actually started kind of late but I’ve been training with some independent studios in Vancouver. A studio called The Actor’s Foundry is where I started out with Matthew Harrison, and then worked my way around different coaches and teachers in the city. Most recently I studied at Railtown Actor’s Studio which is more theater but also film based, with a really, really great teacher named Kate Twa. So I’ve done a lot in the city because I knew starting late I needed to really work super hard to get working. So I’ve taken bits of knowledge from each teacher and developed my own way that works for me, but it’s always a process. I think you always need to be training, getting better.
Nuke: What gave you the bug three and a half years ago?
Stephanie Bennett: Well, I grew up a dancer my whole life. I always loved performing. I really loved being able to pretend to be a character and tell a story. Then I just never really bought into it until I was in university and was about to go into a program for four years and thought, “You know what? I’m 20 and I need to either do this now or it’s probably not going to happen.” So I decided to get the ball rolling and the next year, year and a half I was in classes and then just totally fell in love with it and decided I’m going to give this a real shot. Everything started happening since then.
Nuke: Did you switch to acting at the same university?
Stephanie Bennett: No, I didn’t do a theater program or anything like that. I just decided to start studying independently with different teachers in Vancouver and see what worked for me.
Nuke: Were you familiar with the first six Leprechaun movies?
Stephanie Bennett: I was. I knew that that was Jennifer Aniston’s start and I hadn’t had a chance to see all six before I filmed Leprechaun: Origins but I had seen a couple and I knew from talking to Zach that the style was going to be so different, so I watched them and they were great, but they’re definitely completely different from what we were going for in terms of how much darker and edgier ours is. I really enjoyed them but it was cool to do something totally different.
Nuke: Of the originals, did you prefer Leprechaun in Space or Leprechaun in the Hood?
Stephanie Bennett: [Laughs] Uh, Leprechaun in the Hood.
Nuke: Good call. Are you doing a TV show next?
Stephanie Bennett: Yeah, I’ve actually been filming a TV show for the past couple months. It’s called Unreal and it’s with Lifetime. Not horror genre at all. Very different. It’s funny because instead of getting bloody which I usually am and running and chasing monsters, I’ve been in ball gowns and dressed like a princess every day. It’s been a big change from what I’ve been doing but it’s been really cool. That should be coming out in the new year.
Nuke: What is Unreal?
Stephanie Bennett: It’s basically a mock reality show with contestants and it goes behind the scenes with the producers of the show to see how crazy they can get the contestants to be. It’s actually quite dark. The writing is amazing and we’ve got some great actors and directors attached to the project, so it’s going to be cool. I was really excited when I found out I got the part.
Nuke: Did you play Snow White in a film about Beauty and the Beast?
Stephanie Bennett: Yeah, I did actually play Snow White in a project earlier this year called Descendants. That was a movie for Disney Channel and kind of a movie for a younger audience. I got to go in for a couple days and play Snow White, so it was really cool because I’ve always loved Disney and every girl wants to pretend to be a princess at some point. So the fact that I got to do that was really cool for me.
Nuke: Has that been on already?
Stephanie Bennett: It hasn’t aired yet, no. It was a really big production so it’ll probably have a long post time.
Nuke: What are your favorite horror movies?
Stephanie Bennett: You know, I actually think that the Paranormal Activity movies are really good. They really scared me. I like how they opened up that genre of the realistic kinds of things. But if I’m going to go to classics, I would say The Exorcist is my favorite just because it’s the scariest movie I’ve ever seen in my life. The Shining is awesome. I’m actually quite the horror fan. I do really like horror films. I would say The Shining is up there but that is more of a thriller.
Nuke: Did you grow up watching a lot of horror movies?
Stephanie Bennett: I wouldn’t say a lot but my parents let us watch them, so it was not something that was new to me. I got to see quite a bit and I really like the classics. Psycho is another one that’s really cool and I like that. Alfred Hitchcock movies are all really cool.