For actress Lindsay Seim, the feeling she associates with her first horror movie role is one that isn’t often associated with horror movies -- relief.
“As an actor in L.A., you’re always really hustling,” said Seim, a 2004 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. “You’re always trying to get people on your side and on your team. It’s nice to have people interested without a lot of hustle on my part.”
Seim, from Omaha, just finished shooting “Insidious: Chapter 2,” a thriller that seemingly will have a large built-in audience when it’s released on Sept. 20.
It’s the sequel to the 2011 hit, “Insidious,” directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell, who also teamed together to create the wildly successful “Saw” franchise.
“Insidious” was extremely successful on its own. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the horror film about a possessed house that turns out to be about a possessed child raked in about $54 million in the United States, and nearly $100 million total. The modestly budgeted film was called the most profitable movie of 2011. Those who praised the PG-13 film often lauded its efforts to scare audiences in ways that didn’t involve hosing the screen down with blood.
Seim said she’s excited not just because she was cast in a potential franchise, but also because her debut horror turn -- “everybody always does a horror movie at some point” -- has more depth to it than, say, a stereotypical point-and-scream female role.
A wall of nondisclosure agreements prevents her from talking about much of anything regarding “Insidious: Chapter 2,” but Seim plays a younger version of Elise Rainier, the medium who informs the Lambert family that their son astral projected into a demon world in the first “Insidious.”
The present-day Elise is played by actress Lin Shaye, whose other notable horror roles include the teacher in “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and, some might say, Woody Harrelson’s unforgettable landlord in “Kingpin.”
Shaye, Wan, Whannell and the rest of the principal cast members (Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins) from the first film return to write, direct and star in “Insidious: Chapter 2.”
Seim was asked to audition for young Elise right before the film’s one-month shoot was set to begin. Though her cousin traumatized her at a too-young age by showing her “The Shining,” Seim bought a copy of “Insidious” on iTunes and watched it from a technical standpoint, as opposed to how she normally views horror films.
“I hear scary movies more than watch them,” Seim admitted.
From the start, Seim’s experience with “Insidious: Chapter 2” was notably different than many casting and filming experiences in her young career.
When she read for the part, she had a lot to work with.
“Sometimes you get a line,” she said. “You walk in the room, you say your line and that’s it.”
Not the case with “Insidious: Chapter 2.” She had eight pages of super-secret script to work with.
Because it was a sequel with all the feature players and even most of the crew members returning, there was a familial feeling on the set. Shaye spent considerable time with Seim discussing the character that they both play in a way that Seim said helped her avoid doing an imitation of Shaye’s work.
And last week, they celebrated the conclusion of filming with a wrap party at a Glendale, Calif., bowling alley.
For Seim, the conclusion of filming the “Insidious” sequel and 2013 in general mark a paradigm shift in her budding career. She’s headed to Mississippi to shoot an indie film this month and has another project lined up after that. She still has to hustle, but she’s also got something with a solid release date and built-in interest premiering this year.
“This is what you ache and dream and work so hard for and don’t eat dinner,” Seim said. “The fire is even hotter to push to the next thing.”