Sophia Takal creates tension that’s fun to watch in New Year New You

2 of 2

Beneath the Surface

Into The Dark — “New Year, New You” – In the era of Òself-careÓ mania, a group of millennial friends gather for a girlsÕ night reunion on New YearÕs Eve to reconnect and reminiscence. But as they begin to rehash old memories and revisit an old party game of ÒNever, Have I Ever,Ó gripes and secrets theyÕve been harboring manifest in nefarious and surprising ways. Alexis (Suki Waterhouse), Danielle (Carly Chaikin), Kayla (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), and Chloe (Melissa Bergland), shown. (Photo by: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP/Hulu)

1428 Elm: Yeah. Definitely. And another cool thing that goes with that is the number of scenes that start or end with looking in mirrors. Alexis and Danielle stare at themselves in mirrors and do the same things. It’s like you’re telling us they’re reflections of the same character.

ST: Yeah. The whole idea behind New Year New You is that Alexis kind of does become Danielle in a way. So, in that sense they are really similar. But there’s also this idea for me that social media breeds narcissism. We’re constantly putting ourselves out there to be judged, to be seen, and to be validated. We’re becoming so self-obsessed that looking into the mirror reflects that judgment and narcissism back at them.

1428 Elm: Another bit of subtext was when everyone starts singing TLC’s Unpretty. The lyrics basically explain Alexis’ plot. Was that something that was built into the script?

ST: The script said something like they start singing some pop song from their childhood. And then the producers brought me a bunch of options and TLC’s Unpretty was one of them. I was a little nervous about it. Like, is this too much on the nose? Or is this purposeful and funny? So we decided to take the plunge and go for it. It’s such a fun, recognizable song. And it does speak to the themes of the movie. And it’s kind of this idea I have about self-care and self-love culture that has all these ideas of empowerment. But ultimately, all you’re doing is reflecting what you think you need to do in order to feel valuable. And that’s not helpful. It’s damaging.

1428 Elm: It was perfect. As soon as I heard it, I started cracking up. But, in a good way.

ST: No. That’s good! It’s supposed to be funny. I hope that’s evident.

1428 Elm: There were several moments that broke the tension without slowing the momentum. That doesn’t always happen. I appreciated it.

ST: Good.

1428 Elm: With all of that tension, I was wondering if it was difficult to keep things light on set.

ST: No. It really wasn’t. For the scenes that were really acting intensive, I tried to keep everything calm and quiet so that the actors could focus. All of the stunt work and acting scared stuff is pretty technical. And everyone was really good at just turning it on and off. In general, it was a real upbeat set. And it was a quick shoot. It was only fifteen days. There wasn’t even time for a lot of tension on set because everything was happening so fast.

1428 Elm: What can we expect to see next from you?

ST: I hope to continue to make female driven movies, whether they’re traditional horror, thriller, or even romantic comedy. I just want to keep making movies about issues that women deal with. And reflect on conflicts that I perceive in our society, like obsession with social media and trophy culture in the case of this movie. I have a bunch of stuff I’m working on, but nothing that I can really talk about, yet.

1428 Elm: Well, at the end of the movie, we see Alexis’ YouTube page. One of the videos on the playlist is titled Sophia and Larry’s Sunbathing Tips. Have you decide to become a self-help guru?

ST: [Laughs] That’s just a picture we threw in at the end.

1428 Elm: I hope you do keep making movies like this that reflect on issues in a thoughtful way. I think it’s a really good example of how to do it and still be entertaining. I’ve seen it three times and I enjoy it more each time I see it. 

ST: Good! Thank, you so much! That’s awesome.

Related Story. Into the Dark’s New Year New You: Secrets and lies are the best party favors. light

Thanks to Sophia Takal for spending some time with us! I can’t wait to see what she does next. Blumhouse’s Into the Dark: New Year New You is currently streaming on Hulu.

Will you be streaming New Year New You? Let’s discuss in the comments!