We Need to Do Something: Interview with star Sierra McCormick

Sierra McCormick as “Melissa” in Sean King O’Grady’s WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING. Courtesy of IFC Midnight.
Sierra McCormick as “Melissa” in Sean King O’Grady’s WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING. Courtesy of IFC Midnight. /

An unpredictable twist at every turn, We Need to Do Some Thing is terrifying from beginning to end. Anchored by a phenomenal performance from Sierra McCormick, We Need to Do Something is both cathartic and exhilarating. It’s the perfect film to watch for our current predicament due to its timely themes without actually being a “COVID movie” (thank goodness for that).

1428 Elm had the opportunity to chat with We Need to Do Something star Sierra McCormick, who recently appeared in multiple episodes of American Horror Story spinoff American Horror Stories. We chatted with her about the film, her love of the genre, and lots more!

We Need to Do Something: An interview with star Sierra McCormick

1428 Elm: I feel like I’ve been seeing you everywhere from American Horror Stories to We Need to Do Something now! Do you consider yourself a big horror fan?

Sierra McCormick: I always have been since I was a kid. There was actually a period of time when that was all I would watch. Genre and horror at large is something I was always interested in just as a viewer and an audience member.

Recently its become a place where different kinds of stories and voices get amplified, which is interesting because horror doesn’t always have the best reputation with women, minorities and the LGBTQ community, but recently I think its made a huge shift where its actually become a place for those kinds of voices. People are seeing themselves reflected more in horror than other genres.

1428 Elm: I saw on your Instagram that you said this movie is perfect for “horror-loving sapphics,” and I was like, “yes!” I’m bi, too, and I love seeing that in horror movies, especially when those characters don’t immediately die or get tortured. Is that something that attracted you to this project?

Sierra McCormick: Yeah, actually! When I was reading it, it was during the pandemic, and I was itching to work. I felt really antsy being cooped up in my apartment, and I’m sure everyone can relate to that feeling. But when I read the script, I was struck, one, by the nihilistic tone the movie takes—and I’m a big fan of that, I was down for that initially.

Then, once I realized the core of the movie is Amy and Melissa’s relationship, but it’s not this “wink-wink,” and it doesn’t frame it like, “we’re inclusive, but we’re going to kill you off.” It wasn’t framed that way.

It was just this relationship between these two people and their love for each other and their desire to find validation in one another that ends up being the catalyst for some of the events in the movie, but it’s not a negatively framed or titillating thing. That definitely attracted me to the project more so already because I was already interested in all of the cool aspects it had going for it.

We Need to Do Something
Vinessa Shaw as ‘Diane,’ John James Cronin as ‘Bobby,’ Pat Healy as ‘Robert,’ and Sierra McCormick as ‘Melissa’ in Sean King O’Grady’s WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING. Courtesy of IFC Midnight. /

1428 Elm: One of the things I really liked about this movie is that it starts with a conventional idea of a family getting trapped together and trying to escape, and it even feels timely with the lockdown and everything. Do you feel like releasing it now might have a different impact than if it came out a few years ago?

Sierra McCormick: Definitely, I think that people are going to relate, even though the circumstances aren’t exactly the same, because it’s not a COVID movie which I think is a good thing.

I think the nature of what the family is feeling, being trapped in this one area with people you have issues with or there’s family drama or whatever, I think people will be able to relate to that and the claustrophobic anxiety that the film tries to emanate. I think that people can relate to it now more than they would have a few years ago or a few years in the future.

1428 Elm: We Need To Do Something is unique in that it mostly takes place in one location with the same people. What was the experience of filming that like for you?

Sierra McCormick: It kind of went along with COVID. So we’d all had to live in this hotel, essentially, the cast and the crew, so I actually think that it fostered a more family environment because we all got to hang out and sort of trauma bond over the circumstances.

I think the way it had to be shot and how we had to work on it was almost doing what the family in the movie does, living together in these small quarters. I think that had there been a bad apple in the bunch or something, then it might not have been as positive of an experience, but everyone was lovely, the cast was amazing, the crew was amazing, and I loved hanging out with all of them.

1428 Elm: I love that your character in this movie rocks the pink hair and vibrant makeup. Was that in the script already or something you brought to the character?

Sierra McCormick: No, that was something I discussed with Sean [King O’Grady], the director because part of what I love about acting is the dress-up aspect. I love drastically changing my appearance each time I do something. I said, “I dye my hair anyway, so if there is a color you think would be really cool for Melissa let me know!” Besides red, which is what I usually have.

MORE: Q&A: Sealed Room Terror in We Need to Do Something

I was like [crosses fingers], please say a funky color! And they were like, “we think pink would be great,” and I was like, yes, I get to dye my hair pink! Because when you’re an actor, it’s hard because those are specific kinds of colors, and they’re not terribly natural, so having that all the time can be tricky.

But I relished the opportunity to do that for Melissa. And I think it adds to the visual quality of the movie, of seeing her next to Amy these two very opposite but also on the same spectrum people. I also think it made [Melissa] feel more real, like an actual teenage kid who is alt, goth, or punk.

We Need to Do Something
[From left to right] John James Cronin as “Bobby”, Pat Healy as “Robert”, Sierra McCormick as “Melissa” and Vinessa Shaw as “Diane” in Sean King O’Grady’s WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING. Courtesy of IFC Midnight. /

1428 Elm: You’re right. There are so many stunning visuals in this, and I think the hair color adds to that. It’s funny because the relationship between Amy and Melissa reminded me a little of when I was a teenager. I would go to sleepovers, and we would play “Light as a Feather” or mess with Ouija boards. Did you ever do that as a kid or have an experience you couldn’t explain?

Sierra McCormick: No! I’ve always been so open to having some odd, supernatural, unexplainable experience, but it’s never happened to me, so I’m just waiting on that! But I did mess around with Ouija boards a little bit.

However, nothing worth telling ever happened except it did say my future husband’s name would be Freg, as in F-R-E-G. Waiting on Freg to appear. [Laughs] Beyond that, no.

1428 Elm: I’m one of those people who kind of wants it to happen too. I hope you meet Freg someday soon.

Sierra McCormick: Me too! if I ever walk up on the street and meet a person named Freg, I’m going to be like, “well, I need to at least talk to you.”

1428 Elm: Yeah, I feel like I would talk to someone named Freg anyways because they’ve got to have a story. 

Sierra McCormick: Right?

1428 Elm: So last question, what are you most excited for people to see or take away from We Need to Do Something?

Sierra McCormick: I’m excited for people to get some, I don’t think it’s a terribly uplifting movie, but I think what I hope most people get out of it is some catharsis because it relates to the feeling that we’ve all been having the last two years almost, being in lockdown, pandemic, COVID, all that kind of stuff. I hope it can tap into some relatable feeling while people have been trapped with their family members in a small space. So I hope people can get some catharsis out of it.

Next. 18 new horror movies releasing in September. dark

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

We Need to Do Something is out NOW in select theaters and on demand!