Julian Hilliard interview: Is an eight-year-old the new Prince of Horror?

Photo: Julian Hilliard on the set of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels .. Image Courtesy Arianne Martin
Photo: Julian Hilliard on the set of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels .. Image Courtesy Arianne Martin /

If you watched Netflix’s excellent series The Haunting of Hill House, surely you are familiar with young Julian Hilliard. And if you haven’t watched it, stop what you are doing and watch it NOW.

Julian Hilliard played Nell’s drug-addicted brother Luke as a child, and he was almost immediately christened “Baby Luke” by social media. There’s no doubt about it, he was absolutely adorable, with big brown eyes peering seriously through thick glasses, and I think I said in my Hill House recap that the bowler hat rendered him “an 11 on the cuteness scale of 1-10.”

But, beyond the cute factor, Julian has some serious acting chops. Good, natural kid actors are hard to come by, and he is about as natural as a kid actor can be. Since The Haunting of Hill House, Julian has appeared in the satirical comedy Greener Grass, as well as horror film Color Out of Space (in which he plays Nicolas Cage’s son).

He also has a role in the upcoming Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, and will appear in The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It. Not a bad resume for an eight-year-old, right?

I caught up with Julian last week, and he took time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for me.

1428 Elm: You are best known for your role as young Luke in The Haunting of Hill House, and you’re now appearing with Nicolas Cage in Color Out of Space, as well as playing a recurring role in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. These are all scary movies/series, what is your favorite scary movie or series that you have seen?

Julian Hilliard
Photo: Nicolas Cage and Julian Hilliard on the set of Color Out Of Space.. Image Courtesy Arianne Martin /

Julian Hilliard: I love reading the Goosebumps books and enjoy the movies too.  Except, they’re not really that scary, they’re more adventure filled.  My favorite scary movies are probably A Quiet Place and The Birds.

1428 Elm: Tell me about the characters you are playing in Color Out of Space and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (which premieres on Showtime on April 26).

JH: In Color Out of Space, I play a kid named Jack Gardner. He loves his family and is a very nice boy.  He’s good at entertaining himself and is really interested in the family as well.  When the meteorite hits, he is one of the first affected by it.  Let’s just say, things change.

In Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, I play a boy named Tom Craft.  He’s the son of Linda and Dr. Peter Craft and has a brother named Trevor. We’re still filming and it’s very secretive, so, you’ll have to just watch to find out more.

1428 Elm: Were you ever scared when you were working on these shows, or do you always know that it’s not real?

JH: I always know that it’s not real and it’s never been scary. Before filming, I get to see how the makeup and special effects are done and meet the actors, stunt people, art department, and other crew involved.  Working on a film takes a lot of hard work and you start to get to know each other like a family.  I’ve been lucky to work with people who take the time to explain the process so that I’m prepared and not scared.

Julian Hilliard
Photo: Julian Hilliard stars in Color Out Of Space.. Image Courtesy RLJE and Gustavo Figueiredo /

1428 Elm: What has been your favorite role you have played, and why?

JH: I’ve loved every project I’ve worked on! I’d have to say, The Haunting of Hill House was extra special, because I made so many good friends. I love hanging out with Violet McGraw who played Young Nell and Olive Abercrombie who played Abigail.  Also, Mike Flanagan created such great characters and was a joy to work with.

1428 Elm: How did you get interested in acting?

JH: I didn’t know I could do it at first. I always liked to play pretend and make my own stories and movie trailers with my parents. One day, I got asked if I wanted to audition for a commercial.  I booked that and then had one more audition before Haunting came up. I have been an actor ever since and love doing it. I also like to make my own LEGO movies.

Julian Hilliard
TORONTO, ONTARIO – SEPTEMBER 07: (L-R) Brendan Meyer, Madeleine Arthur, Julian Hilliard, Nicolas Cage, Richard Stanley, Joely Richardson and Elliot Knight attend the “Color Out Of Space” premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival at Ryerson Theatre on September 07, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) /

1428 Elm: If you could appear in any movie old or new, which movie would it be, and what role would you want to play?

JH: Well, I would want to be a main character in Jurassic World that helps save the day. I could be the kid version of Owen. Another would be Spider-Man. I could be Spider-Boy! It would also be cool to be in Back to the Future, and I’d also love to be a voice on Bob’s Burgers. There are too many to pick just one!

1428 Elm: Tell me about your next project if you can. What is coming up next for you?

JH: I’m currently finishing up on Penny Dreadful: City of AngelsConjuring 3 (Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It) comes out in September. I’m one of the leads in that and it is going to be an awesome and blood-curdling film!

1428 Elm: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, I can’t wait to see what you will be doing next!

Next. Women in horror month: Five women who fought back. dark

Are you a fan of young Julian Hilliard? What would you like to see him do next? Tell us in the comments section.