1428 Elm is continuing to cover the YA supernatural drama The Girl in the Woods from Peacock and Crypt TV. In our latest interview, we chatted with star Misha Osherovich, who plays Nolan in the new series. Apart from The Girl in the Woods, Osherovich is probably best known for their role in the hilarious slasher film Freaky, which also starred Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn.
As Nolan, Osherovich gets the chance to play a non-binary character in a world filled with monsters. We chatted with the actor about their role in the series, queer representation, and much more.
Misha Osherovich talks about their role as Nolan in The Girl in the Woods
1428 ELM: What attracted you to the role of Nolan in The Girl in the Woods?
MISHA OSHEROVICH: Well, besides the fact that I’m learning to love horror because the horror community has welcomed me with big open arms, but, I got so excited about how deeply they explore—our writers and directors—these really dense characters.
My character, in particular, has a very intense journey with gender identity. As a non-binary person, that means the world to me, so it was kind of a no-brainer once I read the script and was like, these are real teens dealing with real inner demons as well as, you know, the monsters.
1428 ELM: One of the things I loved about the show is Nolan’s journey as they figure out their gender identity, and it’s not just your character either. The other characters are also figuring out their sexuality. How did that feel to play a character like that, especially within the horror genre?
MISHA: Incredible. It felt incredible. Not often as an actor—sometimes you are just hired a gun, and it’s fun, and it’s a playground, and you get to play pretend for a while and get paid for it, and it’s incredible—but this show has a lot of heart and a lot of truth when it comes to, certainly my own experience with gender identity.
We had an amazing queer writer and showrunner, Casey, who absolutely nailed the intricacies and the messiness of being a young queer person, so I’m thrilled. I’m so honored I get to play in this sandbox for a bit.
1428 ELM: You also got to work with Krysten Ritter, who directed the first half of the season. What was that experience like?
MISHA: Incredible. She is one of those people who I can actually now legitimately gush over because she f**king killed it. She’s an absolute boss. She came in with a vision. She Zoomed with us beforehand and did rehearsals with us, with the mood boards and everything. She got to set, and she made everybody from the actors to our PAs feel important, and like they were doing an amazing job.
By the end of shooting the season and as we graduated into working with Jacob Chase, who was kind of like our monster whisperer for the second half, it was such a family because Krysten set this tone of everybody here has an important job and we have to work together because it was kind of a scrappy team making a show that looks and feels rich but with a pretty small crew and pretty small cast.
1428 ELM: One of the things I’ve enjoyed about this show, too, is that it has this Buffy the Vampire Slayer element, too, with the initial characters becoming this tight-knit group of friends. What was it like working alongside your co-stars Stefanie Scott and Sofia Bryant?
MISHA: Sofia and Stefanie were absolutely incredible, truly the cherry on top of what was an amazing experience. We became a family, but we also had so much respect for each other because these days are long, you know, with Stefanie’s character Carrie constantly in fight training or rehearsals or executing those fight scenes on set.
Tasha’s always running from a monster and screaming and crying, much the same with Nolan, so we had so much respect for each other because we were in it together. It was the battle we wanted to be in together.
1428 ELM: When we started the interview, you said that you’re just getting into horror. Do you consider yourself a fan, or not so much?
MISHA: I don’t know. My first film horror film, Freaky, was a crash course in what horror means to people. What’s been so rewarding about this whole experience and working now more deeply in horror is actually the queer horror community. Much like other parts of the queer community, it’s so welcoming, but also it’s so vibrant.
People feel such passion for the movies and the TV shows that they like. And the horror fans are so real. It’s so satisfying as a performer to hear feedback that what you did and the work that you did resonated so strongly with a group of people, so I’m loving being part of this community and learning about horror and watching horror films. It’s been a really cool journey.
1428 ELM: The difference in this show is you guys are playing with monsters and practical effects, which Crypt TV is known for. Were you thrilled to get to act alongside these creatures?
MISHA: Oh, yeah. It’s another reason why I was so happy that Jacob was our second-half director because again, Jacob is the monster whisperer. Like we had a real contortionist on set, we had real gargoyle-type monsters and these huge guys playing these crazy—it’s in front of you, you are legitimately scared because that thing is scary, and it’s not CGI! [Laughs]
But it also takes craft, and art and the right director to make it feel organic and scary without feeling cheesy, and Jacob nailed it and was so accommodating as we all learned how to work with these practical effects, in the moment. He made sure we all got the best possible shot.
1428 ELM: This show reminded me of some of the weird stories I’ve heard, or read online. There was one I read about people finding staircases in the woods that lead to nowhere. Were there any strange urban legends or stories you grew up hearing?
MISHA: My parents are from Russia, so I grew up in an, arguably, very Russian household, I was born here, but they were born over there. There is one, I think it’s called Baba Yaga. It might be the Jewish-Russian witch tale, so I grew up with a little bit of those.
But my parents are also incredibly practical, and being a young queer artistic kid with an imagination, I was doing s**t in my own head because they were talking to me about, you know, education and textbooks—they’re both scientists—so I used my imagination a lot as a child because I was not fed a lot of mythology.
1428 ELM: What are you most excited for people to see from this show or your character?
MISHA: Both with my character and the show, we, I think, do an incredible job of baking in real, messy, emotionally complex teenagers that are dealing with real s**t and love triangles, and you know, mental health and queerness, all of those things that you want to see in teen shows and sometimes don’t get because they’re just a little too glossy or sometimes overprocessed.
But we really go there. And there is also this crazy monster element that keeps the adventure going, and we end on this crazy cliffhanger and, it’s a wild ride. I’ve so enjoyed working on it, and it’s been amazing to watch the episodes back. I think, and I hope, people appreciate how much heart we’ve put into it.
This interview has been edited for clarity.