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Saturday, April 8, 2023

We’re Dying to Hang Out With ‘You’re Killing Me’ Star McKaley Miller

As summer draws near, many high school seniors find themselves faced with the hellish decision of what to do with their lives after graduation amidst the terrifying reality of college applications. Screenwriters Walker Hare and Brad Martocello explore this timeless nightmare for Beth Hanna and Jerren Lauder’s pulse-pounding new horror film You’re Killing Me.

Prep school student Eden (McKaley Miller) attends an elite Heaven or Hell party hoping to secure a letter of recommendation from her friend’s influential father. Her privileged classmate Schroder (Brice Anthony Heller) vows to make Eden work for this letter, however, and his deadly misdeeds plunge her into a hellscape no college admissions board could ever dream up.

Ahead of the shocking film’s release, star McKaley Miller joined Bloody Disgusting’s The Boo Crew to chat about her horror origins, unpredictable on-set vibes, and stunt work with late horror legend Anne Heche. The conversation is enough to convince us that we’d kill to hang out with this up-and-coming actress — even if it means being her +1 to the party from hell.

On Her Horror Origins

Miller is no stranger to horror. She landed her breakout role in the supernatural crime drama The Gates and, along with high profile roles on Disney Channel and CW shows, has starred in genre fare like Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens, the horror anthology series, Into the Dark, and the Blumhouse shocker Ma. In addition to this impressive resume, Miller has been a fan of the genre films from a young age. “My brother, and I used to, when we were way too young–like early middle school, used to spend our entire summers binge watching horror movies. We started with all the old classics and then found all the new ones. We would go down rabbit holes, and watch the most random, obscure scary movies.”

Miller still enjoys scaring herself and often invites friends over for screenings of her favorite film Coraline which she credits with introducing her to all things spooky. She also loves more modern fare, particularly terrifying films like Ari Aster’s Hereditary. Like many genre fans, Miller admits a fondness for watching the shocking movie with people who have never seen it before and getting a kick out of their horrified reactions. When asked why she loves horror Miller says, “There’s something so special about this genre that as an audience member you feel a range of emotions that maybe you forgot you could feel or that it’s just fun to experience again.”

Miller’s extensive time filming horror has actually made her a bigger fan of the genre. The roles are often challenging, but she thrives in the extreme stories and sets. “I love night shoots. I love screaming. I love crying. I love dripping with blood and mud and getting dirty. That is my happy place, which is so insane to say, but I love it. There’s something so cathartic about just immersing yourself into a role like Eden. It’s like therapy.”

On that Killer Party

Though many students would kill for an invite, the party at the heart of You’re Killing Me goes off the rails with the discovery of several dead bodies and mysterious accusations of murder. Despite this drama, Miller remembers an extremely fun shooting environment. The themed bacchanal was filmed entirely on location at a lavish mansion outside of Atlanta. “All the party scenes were inside of that house. In fact, two of my friends came to visit during shooting, and they actually are background extras in that party scene. It was so fun. … We crammed all those people into this house and actually partied and had a good time.”

Hosting the party is the uber popular Schroder, played by Brice Anthony Heller. As a child of immense privilege, this smarmy bad boy seems to know exactly how much power he holds over his classmates and revels in his ability to bend them to his will. While the cinematic Schroder seems like an alpha-male nightmare, Miller swears his arrogant demeanor couldn’t be further from Heller’s real life persona. “I love to see him become Schroder, because Bryce in real life is so nice, so normal and easy to talk to a fun, easy going guy. And then all of a sudden, he switches into Schroder. And you’re like, Oh, you’re gonna you’re gonna kill me. I’m scared of you.”

Heller used this duality to his advantage and brought a sense of unpredictability to the intense character that helped Miller develop her own. “It definitely did spark a new version of Eden, for sure.” When describing a key scene in the movie, Miller remembers being surprised by Heller’s interpretation. “It’s really fun how you can think of something and then you get on the day and you start feeling everybody else’s vibe and energies and how they’re doing it. You’re like, Oh, I didn’t think of it like that. But okay, yeah, I have to do this now because that matches you. So it was a lot of fun to kind of ping pong back and forth with him.”

And speaking of table tennis … Like many high school swarees, the film’s killer party includes a drunken game of beer pong and true to form, Schroder’s version of the contest comes with frighteningly high stakes. Hoping to impress, Eden rests her entire future on a single boozy toss. While her character Eden easily lands the shot, Miller found herself in need of a little cinematic assistance. “It was mortifying the amount of times that they’d be like, “Okay, and do it again, guys. Okay, could you make it this time?” And we’re like, “no [Laughs] They just had to reframe it because we were missing every single shot. So embarrassing. … If you look closely, when I make it in the movie, the ball clearly misses, but we celebrate anyway.” [Laughs]

On Brawling with Anne Heche

More authentic is a climactic battle with horror icon Anne Heche. In her final film, the veteran actress plays a ferocious mother who refuses to let anyone mess with her family. Miller was amazed at the amount of physicality Heche brought to the set along with a determination to film her own stunts. “She was like, “Throw me in there! I want to do it!” She just grabbed the bull by the horns and was like, “What are we doing? Oh, amazing. Let’s go. Let me know if I’m hurting you.” [Laughs] Miller loved working with the late actress who tragically passed away last year. “It was really, really cool to have her as a scene partner and just feel her fierceness, and get to work with her to create these characters together. She is the kindest, most driven, caring person and we all feel very lucky that we were able to spend time with her.”

Heche is not the only cast member Miller became close with on set. Despite meeting just a day before filming began, she immediately gelled with Keyara Milliner who plays her cinematic bestie, Zara. “We got along so well. I think that so much of me and Keyara came through with Eden and Zara.” Apparently on-screen enemies became fast friends behind the scenes as well and the entire cast and crew spent the intense four week shoot developing what Miller describes as a “seamless bond.” After the long and blood-soaked days of filming the cast would unwind together with more low-key activities. “We would film forever and then at the end of the night, Wil (Deusner) who plays Gooch bought a projector and we would hang up a sheet in the hotel room and project movies. We’d play Uno and go down to the local restaurant together. It was like an inseparable four weeks of bonding.”

YOU’RE KILLING ME is available now to buy or rent.

The post We’re Dying to Hang Out With ‘You’re Killing Me’ Star McKaley Miller appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!

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