April 16, 2020 Interview – Addy Miller
At 20 years old, Actress Addy Miller has spent more than half her life in entertainment. Making her splash onto TV sets across America, a decade ago, as the “Teddy Bear Girl Walker” in the massive hit-series The Walking Dead, Miller would go on to build herself an impressive and eclectic resume that features roles in films ranging from 2008’s The Secret Life of Bees to 2015’s Dark Places, as well as spots in series like Nashville.
For 2020, Miller tackles the lead role in the Horror offering Behind You, which arrives to VOD on Friday, April 17th. A film that uses the Bloody Mary mythos as its foundation, and will ruin mirrors for you forever, Behind You sees the talented actress portraying Olivia, a big sister who must protect herself and her beloved younger sibling, Claire, against an unseen evil. In honor of the film’s release, Miller sat down to talk about her career, The Walking Dead, acting alongside Elizabeth Birkner, creepy moments on set, and much more.
Cryptic Rock – Addy, you have been acting for over 12 years now, so clearly you got your start in entertainment very young. As you get older and start to discover more about yourself, what inspires you to continue acting?
Addy Miller – It’s so crazy that it’s been 12 years! It really doesn’t feel like it has been that long at all. The thing about the entertainment industry is that it is constantly changing. It is a very fast-paced industry that you are always on your toes and presented with something new every single day. I could never ever get bored of it! Additionally, I am only 20 years old, so this lifestyle is all I’ve ever really known since it has taken up over half my life. When I was 8 years old, I fell in love with this lifestyle and decided to keep pursuing it, and I keep going because I am still that bright-eyed 8-year-old girl who dreams big. Also, 12 is my lucky number, and it’s my 12th year, so who knows what 2020 will bring!
Cryptic Rock – That’s wonderful! Here’s hoping 2020 is magical for you. You already have a wonderful acting resume, including a pivotal spot in The Walking Dead series. How does it feel to have fans of the series referring to you as a Horror icon?
Addy Miller – First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to review my resume. I could describe the feeling in one word: surreal. I was young when I filmed The Walking Dead, so I had no idea what to expect. I also knew very little about the show except it had a comic fanbase. It was the first time I would be on a TV series, which is why I auditioned in the first place—for the experience.
It wasn’t until I was on set filming that I found out my scene was the opening scene. After that episode aired, the show blew up. Within two weeks from airing, I was on an airplane going to a comic convention. Since then, I have been to many spanning across the globe and meeting the best fans out there; it’s all just so amazing. I know I only played a small part on the show, but I am so, so, so thankful to have gotten that opportunity.
Cryptic Rock – Clearly you were destined to be at that audition! Do you have a favorite memory of your time on set for The Walking Dead?
Addy Miller – I actually have quite a few. Okay, so keep in mind, I was a little 10-year-old at the time. One of my favorite parts of filming was doing my own stunts. In the scene, after I got shot, there is an overhead view of me falling onto my back as the little teddy bear rolls out of frame. In order for that to happen, I had to fling my little body off of a ladder onto a stack of green-screen mats. It was the most fun I’ve had on set!
Another favorite memory I have was working alongside Frank Darabont, the director. He was so easy to work with and really took care of me throughout the shoot that day. One thing you might not know about Darabont is that he can be a very excited person. So, whenever I would get the shot he wants/likes, he would start cheering and jump out of his director’s chair. It was a confidence booster.
Cryptic Rock – That’s wonderful that your first experiences were so positive and affirming. Now, obviously we are here to discuss your latest film, Behind You. A creepy Horror movie that plays off the “Bloody Mary” urban legend, what was it that drew you to the film?
Addy Miller – I am a person that gets scared very easily. Despite having a history in the Horror genre, I just do not do scary. But, when I got my hands on Behind You, I knew I had to go for it.
First of all, I really loved the mirror aspect of the film. It allowed for a lot of imagination and creativity on set. In reality, I actually go out of my way at night to not look in the mirrors in my house. So this film was actually very relatable for me, and has since worsened my fear of mirrors at night. Second of all, I could relate to my character, Olivia. She is the epitome of the older sibling. Olivia can be quite bossy over her sister, but she would also do anything to protect her. I can really identify with this because I am the oldest sibling in my family and I am very protective of them.
Cryptic Rock – Olivia is very much a wonderful older sister, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Firstly, had you heard about the myth of “Bloody Mary” before doing the film?
Addy Miller – Yes! I am terrified of it! Whenever the power goes out from a storm at home, my younger siblings almost always want to participate in it, and I’ve always been way too chicken to do the ritual. So, I cannot confirm or deny whether it is a myth or not, and I probably will never know.
Cryptic Rock – That’s probably for the best. Summoning Bloody Mary is not something you want to discover is actually possible! (Laughs) So, as we were saying, your character Olivia is a wonderful sister who is doing her best to take care of her little sister in a very tough situation—and that’s before they even arrive at Aunt Beth’s house. What was your biggest challenge in bringing Olivia to life?
Addy Miller – Reading the script, I knew I could emotionally handle this role, and looked forward to the challenge of bringing her to life. However, in my past Horror genre films, I’m usually the scary one, so I hadn’t had much experience being the frightened character. The role was also much more physically challenging than I realized. I underestimated the amounts of stunts, running, and screaming that was necessary to bring the role to life. It was a great learning experience for me!
Cryptic Rock – You do a phenomenal job in the role. Olivia is a loving big sister to little Claire Bear, and Elizabeth Birkner does a wonderful job of delivering her role. What was it like working side-by-side with her and portraying sisters?
Addy Miller – Before I answer that question, I just want to point out how there are a lot of firsts within this film. It was my first leading lady, Andrew Mecham’s first film as a director, and Elizabeth Birkner’s first film. That being said, you would not be able to tell that she hadn’t been on a film set before. Elizabeth was such a little professional on set and put so much effort into every one of her scenes. She definitely inspired and pushed me into doing my best in every scene, too.
Being around Elizabeth also felt like being around a sister. We’d make time to hang out every moment we could to film little videos, dance, spend way too much time in craft services, and yes, even mess with each other when the other was having a close-up. There is one scene in the film that I watched and I honestly did not remember getting a single serious take just because Liz was on the other side of the camera making goofy faces at me—of course, I got her back during her close-up. I miss her so, so much and I really hope to work with her again soon.
Cryptic Rock – She is also a very talented actress and your on-screen chemistry feels very organic. As the ‘big sister,’ did you give Elizabeth any advice on set?
Addy Miller – As I said before, this was Elizabeth’s first film, so I recall telling her about various jobs/rituals on set as they would come up. It was really cool seeing someone who had never been on an active set before, because she reminded me a lot about myself on my first feature film. I know I told her about how each set can be different and she adapted really well to the environment. Other than that, Liz really did not need advice when it came to performance because she has a lot of experience in theater. That really showed on set because her acting was phenomenal!
Cryptic Rock – You’re both amazing in your roles and it’s still hard to believe that this was Liz’s very first film. To get spooky for a moment, was there anything eerie or creepy that happened during or after the filming of the movie?
Addy Miller – What people may not realize is that this film shot almost entirely at night. Call time to start filming was between 5- 7:00 PM and we’d wrap about 12 hours later. So, of course, you’re bound to get creeped out when you’re in this creepy, old house, in the dark, at 4:00 AM.
I can recall one situation that creeped out both Elizabeth and me. To give you some context, while filming I was staying in a private apartment attached to someone’s house that was directly across the street from set. So one night, while we had a break, Liz and I go to the apartment to cook up some microwave dinners and hang out until we are needed back on set. Well, while we were there, we thought we heard noises either right outside the apartment or in the apartment. Instead of investigating, we hid in the kitchen and would not move at all. We both felt as though we were being watched and it was very unsettling. So, I texted a crew member to come over, check it out, and escort us back to set. Everything was fine, I just think that we were being delusional and paranoid. In our defense, it was about 3:00 AM and we were filming a scary movie!
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) We all get spooked sometimes, though. It happens. Outside of making movies and TV series, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Addy Miller – Right now, I am actually in college full time. I am pursuing a degree in Public Relations, which really takes up a lot of my time. I always knew growing up I wanted to have the full college experience. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made, I am having the time of my life! Outside of the film industry, I really try to have a normal life. If I have free time, I really enjoy traveling to different parts of the world and immersing into various cultures. Visiting other countries is quickly becoming a hobby of mine.
Cryptic Rock – That’s wonderful that you’re in college and continuing your education. What’s next for you in 2020?
Addy Miller – I thought I had 2020 all figured out, but with the coronavirus going around it is all just a big question mark right now. I really hope that I get to go back to my school (NC State University in Raleigh, NC), keep attending comic cons for meet and greets, and travel. I guess all I can say right now is “Stay Tuned….” and follow me on social media to find out where I end up next.
Cryptic Rock – Fingers crossed that the virus departs this world very soon and everyone stays healthy. Last question. Do you have any favorite Horror and/or Sci-Fi movies?
Addy Miller – What a great question! I may be easily scared of Horror films, but that doesn’t stop me from watching them. The Horror films that have scared me the most are James Wan films, like The Conjuring (2013). Something about the paranormal really gets to me. I also really like films that make you think, such as Hereditary (2018), Us (2019), and Get Out (2017). As long as I have somebody to watch the film with me, then I can power through them!
Sci-Fi wise, I’m just going to give you a very popular answer and say that I’ve been keeping up with the Star Wars series. I feel like I watch a lot of Sci-Fi movies because they are favorites of my two little brothers. Right now, I am looking forward to when the new Avatar film is released.
Feature photo credit: Andy Lam