You’ve seen it. And if you haven’t, you’ve been avoiding it. There’s no shame in being afraid because it’s really scary! When the trailer for Annabelle: Creation pops up, you switch the channel, fast forward, close your browser tab, or just close your eyes and stick your fingers in your ears… especially if it’s late at night. With the eerie setting and all the jump scares in the trailer, this one looks like it’s going to be a nerve-rattling thrill ride of intense terror!
“You remember Annabelle? She’s that super scary doll that wreaked havoc in the first movie?” Lou Lou Safran asked. “Well, this is the story of how she was created and how she came to be the monster we all know.”
Lou Lou has a spark inside her that is so contagious, you just can’t help but feel incredibly uplifted when talking to her. She’s a radiant light who is bright, funny, extremely outgoing, and dazzlingly talented. Entertaining Options caught up with the young actor via phone when she was in Australia with her parents, Peter and Natalia Safran. Her dad was there working on a “really big [but secret] project.”
“It’s pouring rain here right now,” Lou Lou informed. “They even said there might be thunderstorms. I like thunder a lot and I love the rain! It’s been raining for the past three days.”
In Annabelle: Creation, Lou Lou plays Tierney, one of six orphaned girls who has to move into a creepy farmhouse located in the middle of nowhere when the orphanage closes down.
“We immediately realize there was something weird about the house and there was something odd about the older couple who live there, too,” Lou Lou told Entertaining Options. “Then, we found this doll locked up in the closet… and that’s when everything started going terribly wrong!”
Lou Lou is not a fan of scary movies. Previously, she was in a film called The Choice, which was based on a book by Nicholas Sparks.
“I am terrified of scary movies. Even if I watch something vaguely spooky, I dream about it for ages. But I want to see this one because I worked on it. I saw all of it come together, so I think I’ll be okay… I hope!”
“One of my favorite things about the movie was how the make-up could transform normal humans into horrifying demons. Even though you knew they weren’t going to do anything to you, it was kind of scary being around demons all the time.”
“I’m in the movie with five other girls and we all became great friends. We would whisper around the set in-between takes, ‘Hey, do you want to have lunch in my room today?’ All the girls and Stephanie Sigman (Spectre), who played Sister Charlotte, would sit in a room together and have lunch. We’d all be laughing so hard because Stephanie would be wearing a full-on nun outfit and we’d just be talking about silly, little things. It was pretty funny. We actually still get together for lunch sometimes. And for my birthday, we all had a sleepover together at my house. It’s a bond that will hopefully last forever.”
Although she was surrounded by friends on set and that helped keep her brave during filming, Lou Lou did admit to temporarily locking all her cute little dolls and stuffed animals in the closet after shooting because Annabelle was such a frightening creature. However, Lou Lou also expressed a genuine appreciation of the craftsmanship involved in creating such an intricately designed doll, which revealed a remarkable level of maturity.
“I’ve been told I’m an old soul,” she mentioned.
Another area where Lou Lou seems older than her 11 years is in her musical tastes. Her favorite band is the Arctic Monkeys.
“My mom shows me all these great bands, but she doesn’t force me to like anything, obviously. I love my mom’s tastes, so I just latch on to the music she listens to,” Lou Lou explained. “I started playing piano about a year ago and I love the Arctic Monkeys and Alex Turner… Anything by Alex Turner! The Last Shadow Puppets. I’m a fanatic, I play Arctic Monkey songs all day long on my piano.”
“Recently, I got a ukulele, too,” she added. “I learned a SpongeBob song. I like playing music because it’s stress relieving, not that I usually have stress, but if I do, strumming on the ukulele just makes me feel better.”
Besides music, Lou Lou enjoys reading. She recently finished the entire Harry Potter series and is currently working on the Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke.
“I also love swimming, tennis, and old Hollywood,” she enthused.
“Old Hollywood?” Entertaining Options queried.
“I love those actors and they had such sweet, charming little films back then,” she replied. “I’m not saying we don’t have sweet ,charming little films now, but they were just super cute. And I never have to look away from the screen, I can watch the whole film,” she laughed. “I mean Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, Audrey Hepburn, I love them all. Yes, it’s an obsession I have. They were all so talented. They sang, they danced, and they acted. They did everything.”
Because of Lou Lou’s hectic schedule, the one discipline she hasn’t had time to fully pursue yet is dancing.
“I hope to get more into dancing at some point, but right now, there’s just not enough time. I travel with my family and I go to school — I’m going to school in Australia right now — so there’s just no time for me to do dancing. Besides, piano is more important to me.”
Getting back to Annabelle: Creation, Entertaining Options asked Lou Lou how she landed the role of Tierney.
“I got a little snippet of the script. I read it and acted scenes out on video. Then I sent the video to the casting director,” she recounted. “After that, I did a wardrobe test to see if I fit into the clothes and if I was right for the look — they were beautiful vintage clothes made out of old fabric from the 1950s! A couple of months later, I met the director [David F. Sandberg – Lights Out] and my co-stars, and that’s when I found out I was in the film.”
Rather than scare herself by viewing Sandberg’s terrifying shorts (“Lights Out,” “Attic Panic,” “Coffer,” “Pictured,” “Closet Space,” “Not So Fast,” “Cam Closer,” etc.), to familiarize herself with his work, Lou Lou decided to watch David’s “making of/behind the scenes” videos on his YouTube ponysmasher account.
“David Sandberg is a fantastic director,” Lou Lou gushed. “It was so easy to act with him because he just gave you one simple little direction, he’d say one thing and you immediately knew what to do. He made everything so perfect!”
Embracing David’s penchant for divulging little tidbits of movie magic, Lou Lou offered up some behind-the-scenes trivia about Annabelle: Creation.
“We were shooting on the Warner Bros. lot, on one of the historic stages where some of the best productions ever were made (Charge of the Light Brigade, Gremlins, My Fair Lady). Every day, just walking among the stages and reading the plaques that listed all the famous classic titles that were filmed there, was a privilege and an exciting adventure in itself.”
“The set was incredible! The wallpaper… the furniture… it was real 1950s furniture. Every time I walked onto the set, I felt like a little girl being scared to death in the 1950s! The set was designed by Jennifer Spence [Production Designer] and the clothes were designed by Leah Butler [Costume Designer]. Everything was just so fantastic!”
Any closing comments about the movie?
“Just brace yourself,” she advised.
Before Lou Lou hung up, she grabbed her ukulele and launched into a flawless version of SpongeBob’s “The F.U.N. Song” complete with all three verses.
Annabelle: Creation opens Friday, August 11 in theaters everywhere.
Special thanks to Lou Lou for providing the behind-the-scenes photos and captions!