The horror, the horror

Vet­eran ac­tor fi­nally dips his toe into the scary movie genre

North Bay Nugget - - ENTERTAINMENT - BOB THOMP­SON bthomp­son@post­

LOS AN­GE­LES — af­ter more than 30 years in the act­ing game, anthony LaPaglia re­al­ized he was miss­ing some­thing on his re­sume.

“I had never done a horror film and ac­tu­ally never thought about do­ing one,” says the L.a-based aus­tralian at a down­town L.a. ho­tel suite.

his CV changed when the 58-year-old was of­fered a co-star­ring part in Annabelle: Cre­ation which is the pre­quel to 2014’s Annabelle and the fourth film in

The Con­jur­ing se­ries. In the su­per­nat­u­ral thriller, LaPaglia plays the annabelle doll maker who, along with his wife (Mi­randa otto), tries to re­cover from the sud­den death of their daugh­ter. even­tu­ally, they at­tempt to cope by al­low­ing a nun to trans­form their home into an or­phan­age.

unfortunately, the new oc­cu­pants soon be­come prey for the pos­sessed annabelle.

“It turned out that I re­ally liked the script be­cause it wasn’t all about blood and guts and peo­ple get­ting hacked to death,” the ac­tor notes.

Meet­ing Annabelle: Cre­ation di­rec­tor david F. sand­berg was an­other mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor. sand­berg first got hollywood’s at­ten­tion with his Lights Out short and then the fea­ture length ver­sion of the horror trip last year.

Most crit­ics were im­pressed by the film which earned an im­pres­sive $148.9 mil­lion us at the global box of­fice.

“When I met david I re­ally liked him and when I saw his 21/2 minute ver­sion of Lights Out I thought it was in­cred­i­ble, so I knew stylis­ti­cally he would el­e­vate Annabelle:

Cre­ation,” LaPaglia says. “and I had been do­ing TV for a re­ally long time, and the stu­dios hadn’t been knock­ing down my door to do a film, so I thought this would be a great op­por­tu­nity.”

he also liked the act­ing chal­lenge of por­tray­ing a po­ten­tial di­ver­sion in the nar­ra­tive.

“The thing that I thought I could pull off was this feel­ing that he’s some­how in­volved and that he might be the bad guy, and he keeps float­ing back and forth be­tween the good guy and the other guy,” LaPaglia says.

The part’s lo­gis­ti­cal de­gree of dif­fi­culty kept him in­volved, too, since sand­berg filmed most of the pro­duc­tion out of or­der, “so my per­for­mance is like a jig­saw puz­zle where you have to re­mem­ber where you are each time, and that’s dif­fi­cult when you get older be­cause you for­get.”

Work­ing op­po­site a youth­ful cast, in­clud­ing co-head­lin­ers Talitha Bateman, 15, and Lulu Wil­son, 11, proved to be a less com­pli­cated as­sign­ment for a few rea­sons.

“I have worked with kids be­fore, and I have a 14-year-old daugh­ter, so that part of it was pretty easy for me,” LaPaglia says. “But I also made the de­ci­sion that I was not go­ing to in­ter­act with them off cam­era.

“I wanted them to main­tain that feel­ing of, ‘Who is this guy?’ ”

Born in ade­laide, the jour­ney­man ac­tor has al­ways kept a low profile. he man­aged small parts on some aus­tralian shows and in films dur­ing the 1980s be­fore mov­ing to L.a. in the early 1990s where he con­tin­ued to split his ef­forts be­tween the big and small screens.

From 2002 to 2009 he made his mark por­tray­ing FBI agent Jack Malone on the se­ries With­out a

Trace, and show­ing up on Frasier as daphne’s boozy brother si­mon, which earned him an emmy.

“When I started in the busi­ness they had those medi­umrange movies that I might fit into but now it’s ei­ther re­ally small or those $150 mil­lion movies where I don’t al­ways fit,” says LaPaglia. “and to my own detri­ment, I don’t al­ways have a good pulse on pop cul­ture of the mo­ment and never have.”

Next up are two lim­ited-run shows. LaPaglia plays Mon­treal mob boss Vito riz­zuto in the minis­eries Bad Blood air­ing in the fall on City and FX.

he also co-stars in the aussie show Sun­shine. In it, the ac­tor plays the coach of a su­danese aus­tralian bas­ket­ball phe­nom be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the po­lice.

“some­times, I do some­thing for the qual­ity of the project and some­times I do it for the pay cheque be­cause I have a mort­gage to pay,” LaPaglia says.

“one thing I’ve al­ways prided my­self in is that I have a re­al­is­tic view of where I stand in the busi­ness.”


Anthony LaPaglia in a scene from Annabelle: Cre­ation.

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