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Midnight Mass’ star Kate Siegel spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL about Erin’s stunning finale monologue, her last act of heroism, and that haunting episode 5 scream. Spoilers ahead!

Midnight Mass is the latest television masterpiece from Mike Flanagan. The 7-episode series is a tour de force that explores faith, fanaticism, forgiveness, and hope. The final episode of Midnight Mass begins in the midst of chaos as the vampire parishioners destroyed Crockett Island. Erin, Sarah, Sheriff Hassan, Warren, and Leeza come together to try and protect the rest of the world by keeping Crockett Island’s vampires from leaving. In the end, Erin is attacked by the Angel and dies as the sun comes up.

As Erin is dying, she gives a beautiful monologue in her mind and reveals to Riley what she thinks happens after death. Kate Siegel opened up to HollywoodLife about that unforgettable speech, filming that final scene with the Angel, and Riley’s death in episode 5.

“It’s a truly intimate moment, and I’m glad it resonated with people. I was raised Jewish, and the phrase ‘I am that I am’ is a big freaking deal,” Kate told HollywoodLife.

“That’s a phrase. Judaism deals a lot with questions and the power of words and the power of questioning. When I received the script, I’m reading this going, ‘Oh my, God, this is incredible. Oh my, God, this is incredible.’ I get to that line, and I just felt deep terror because I was like, ‘How will I say that? How will I get myself to a place where it feels authentic and not egotistical to say that?’ Because I wanted to do the speech service. And like most things with Erin, it was a question of stripping away and stripping away my preconceived notions, stripping away my overly flourishing acting choices, stripping away any desire to pretend to be something. And I had an incredible gift in Zach Gilford that day because he was present. That face and that level of talent, that calm, honest talent. He doesn’t suffer, I think, from the storm of insecurity that I carry around with me. Much like Erin, when I was lost, I would just look at Zach and he was there listening and being present and being trustworthy. I tried to dive further into that and get as much out of my way as I could.”

One of the most haunting but empowering scenes is when Erin is attacked by the Angel. As he drinks her blood and sucks the life from her, Erin takes a knife and cuts his wings, preventing him from flying off Crockett Island. Kate explained how that scene was filmed and opened up about Erin taking her trauma and turning “it into steel.”

“That scene was shot in two sections. There was the attack that was shot on location in Langley, and then there were the wings and the monologue, which were shot on stages,” Kate revealed. “They do that huge crane move, and you can’t do a huge crane move unless you can control the weather and the wind around you. I had all these plans for what would happen when that when Quinton [Boisclair] would jump on me — Quinton plays the Angel — and attack me. I had a whole thing set up and physical motions that I wanted to do. And then when it happened, all I could see I saw red. I went into deep panic, a deep animal panic of, oh my, God. Get this man off of me. This huge man is grabbing me, and I’m held down on the ground. I was not expecting that at all. I guess you can call it trauma-lite because I was in a safe environment. He wasn’t hurting me. Everyone there was protecting me, and there was nothing assault in the whiff of it, but it brought something up in me. So when I was preparing to do the second half of that scene, I thought about all the women I know who have been through something like that and how they are the strongest, most capable people I meet. They are the ones that are able to turn their trauma into truth. They’re able to turn their trauma into strength. When he was on top of me for the second section, when I’m cutting his wings, I was thinking about that and thinking about the life Erin led and when she had to clip the wings of those doves. Erin is a great example of someone who took trauma and turned it into steel. I wanted to be there for Erin in that moment, and I wanted to take my traumas that — I haven’t been through what Aaron’s been through — but take the trauma and let everybody know that it’s okay to accept your trauma and turn it to steel.”

Every episode of Midnight Mass is exceptionally strong, but episode 5 is the one you won’t be able to forget. Riley sacrifices himself in front of Erin to make her understand what’s really happening on Crockett Island. Riley and Erin row out into the middle of the water, and Erin screams as she watches Riley burn when the sun rises. Erin’s blood-curdling scream continues as the credits roll.

“That was such a challenge because, as you can imagine, there wasn’t anything in front of me,” Kate told HollywoodLife. “You can’t actually set Zach Gilford on fire in order to make a performance happen. So that’s one of those rare things where, as an actor, you find yourself doing the type of research that could get you arrested. Like, googling how long will it take to burn a human body? What does burning flesh smell like? [Looking up] cremation videos because I just wanted to know. I figured the emotion will be there. I wanted to know the facts so I could create a real sense of make-believe, and the thing that stuck with me and stuck with Mike Flanagan when we talked about it was how long that would take. So we the audience get to see the moment his skin catches on fire, but the amount of time that would take to turn a healthy human male into a pile of ash is an infinite, unbelievable amount of time. And on some level, Erin never leaves that boat because that’s one of those things that you see and you can never unsee. She spends at least the next episode completely in shock. It’s not until they’re handing out the cups in the church that you kind of see Erin wake up again. It’s like, “No, no, we can’t do this.” Because it’s just too much, and it needed that level of trauma. One of the ways that Mike is a genius is letting that scream extend over the credits of episode 5 gives you a sense of how long it would have taken.”

She added, “When you click play next and episode 6 starts with Erin and the boat and you see her again, you have a sense of what she’s gone through. It was just very hard on the day because there’s nothing to look at. So I did my research, and then at a certain point, you just let it rip. Again, it’s a leap of faith, right? I’m going to start pretending this is happening, and I guess we’ll see what happens. If this one isn’t good, we’ll do the next take.” Midnight Mass is currently streaming on Netflix.

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This post discusses major spoilers and plot points from all seven episodes of Midnight Mass.

For a spooky slow-burn, Midnight Mass sure wrapped things up in a blaze of glory. After Father Paul (Hamish Linklater)—a de-aged Monsignor Pruitt, as he confesses—introduces his parish to the supposed “Angel Of God” and asks them to literally give up their mortal lives in communion, things get bloody fast, and the priest acknowledges he’s made a huge mistake. The finale sees the pious Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan) leading the vampiric converted as they plan to spread “the good word” off-island and leave the unfaithful for dead. Meanwhile, Erin Greene (Kate Siegel) and the rest of the survivors attempt to stop the contagion from reaching the mainland, burning the boats except for the canoe on which teens Warren (Igby Rigney) and Leeza (Annarrah Cymone) can paddle out to safety. In her last moments, Erin slashes the Angel’s wings, and the residents of Crockett Island realize they must accept their fate as the sun begins to rise.

It’s a climax fraught with emotion, but one that brings Midnight Mass to a closing grace note of quiet sanguinity. To help unpack it all, The A.V. Club spoke with series stars Siegel, Linklater, Sloyan, and Zach Gilford, who first takes us back to episode five, when “prodigal son” Riley Flynn makes a shocking sacrifice.

Riley and Erin’s final sacrifices
“When I got the job and signed on, I knew I was only in six of seven episodes,” Gilford shares, “so I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m assuming I die.’” While his assumption was correct, Gilford admits he was still completely blown away by Riley’s final act of redemption, in which he takes Erin out to sea and shares what happened to him at the community center—and then forces her to witness his own fiery death, knowing it was the only way to convince her of the danger threatening the rest of Crockett Island.

“[Riley] walks through much of his life, much of the show, thinking he’s a piece of shit. And then [Erin] gives him a little light in his life where it’s like, ‘Oh, maybe I deserve some morsel of happiness,’ Gilford says. ” When Riley realizes what he’s become after the Angel’s attack, he decides to sacrifice himself to save “the one person he truly cares about.”

“It is one of my favorite moments of the whole show,” Gilford says. “Within this supernatural show—with all this crazy weirdness—it’s the most real moment. If you saw someone burning alive in front of you, that’s what it would be: You, screaming… with no music, no nothing. And it’s so terrifying.”

Siegel agrees, and reveals that the rowboat conversations were shot on her first day working with Gilford. Despite being newly acquainted, the actors committed to the emotional intensity of the scene: “There was safety in the sense that we knew that we were going to go there with each other.” Siegel was so wowed by Gilford’s delivery of Riley’s goodbye that it was easy for her to access that combination of grief and terror. “All of the the bullshit fell away,” she says, “and there was an instinct to me like, ‘I don’t want this guy to die!’”

Riley’s death might make for a devastating cliffhanger, but it also sets the stage for the final act of Midnight Mass—one where the story’s true heroes and villains come into focus. “What I always felt about that moment, is that it’s a brilliant bait-and-switch,” Siegel says. As soon as she returns to the island, Erin is our de facto protagonist, and she gradually finds a small group of allies in Dr. Sarah Gunning (Annabeth Gish), the doctor’s miraculously younger mother (Alex Essoe), and Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli).

“[Flanagan] makes you think that the show is about two white male leads, and then it ends up being Bev and Erin versus each other—in the end, you’re left with [these] women, your Muslim sheriff, your lesbian doctor, and the old woman,” Siegel says.

While Erin, too, falls victim to a gruesome attack from the Angel, a sense of peace washes over her in her final moments as she reflects on one of her last conversations with Riley. “What I loved about [that flashback] is that it sort of marries her two earlier monologues about clipping the wings of the dove with her mom, and what happened to her baby,” reflects Siegel. “And it was a sense that Erin—because she is, and continues to be throughout, a moderate Catholic—doesn’t turn on her religion. She doesn’t give up on God. Religion saved her life, and supported her through the darkest times, so she comes out it with clear eyes and a full heart.” Joking reference to Gilford’s Friday Night Lights tenure aside, Siegel was floored by the way Erin’s story came full circle, all while underscoring Midnight Mass’s ultimately optimistic take on the affirming power of spirituality.

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The Midnight Mass ensemble may all be part of the “Flana-family,” but that doesn’t mean they all share the same approach to their work.

Mike Flanagan’s new Netflix series stars Zach Gilford as Riley Flynn. After serving a prison sentence for taking someone’s life while driving drunk, Riley must return to his hometown – the tiny, isolated community on Crockett Island. Riley struggles to manage his guilt over the incident and the current lack of prospects in his life, but finds solace in his high school sweetheart, Erin (Kate Siegel). Erin also made it off Crockett at a point, but returned to build a life for herself and her baby-on-the-way there.

The pair share one hugely emotional scene after the next, all moments that feel as though they require two very engaged scene partners, even when the heavy dialogue falls to one or the other. While chatting for Midnight Mass’ big debut, I asked Gilford and Siegel what they valued most in each other as scene partners. Siegel immediately jumped in to highlight:

“Zach and I work in very different ways. I am very, very upfront with my insecurities. I’m very theater girl. I’m very cerebral. And Zach is very, ‘Pay me, I’m gonna show up and say the words that are written on the page.’ And so I would sometimes get in my head and turn to Zach for affirmation that, ‘Art is the most important thing …,’ and Zach would be like, ‘Just say the words, Kate. Just be here. You’re fine, you’re fine, you’re fine.’ And I think without that, those days would have been a lot longer.”

Gilford took it from there, further emphasizing their different approaches to their work and also how much he appreciated Siegel being an active listener in their scenes together: “I think what Kate brings to every scene and made the scenes, I don’t want to say easy to do, but she listens. It just makes you feel like someone’s listening to you when you’re going on and on about death or about whatever, and it makes you want to listen to them as well. And she’s just so present. And so yeah, we have very different styles. I know she would have a backstory for every piece of clothing she was wearing. She’d be like, ‘What about your sweater?’ I’d be like, ‘I don’t know. It was in my trailer. They told me to put it on so I guess this is what Riley wears.’”

Gilford also took a moment to look back on his experience auditioning for Midnight Mass and how instrumental Siegel’s support was during that process: “All you can ask for in a scene partner is to listen to you and to be there, and she really was. And she did that for me — I really am forever grateful because I had to do a chemistry read with her. She already had the part, I was trying to win the part. She claims that the part was ‘mine to lose,’ which may or may not be true.’ … But I’ve had chemistry reads with people where you’re like, ‘Dude, you already have this job.’ So she was so giving from that moment when we were strangers.”


Actress Kate Siegel shares why she loves starring in thriller and horror projects, and talks about her new Netflix series “Midnight Mass.”

This segment aired on the KTLA 5 Morning News on Sept. 27, 2021.


Midnight Mass dropped on Netflix this weekend, and it marks the third horror series by Mike Flanagan to hit the streaming service. Midnight Mass features many familiar faces from The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, including Flanagan’s wife, Kate Siegel. The actor has been featured in most of her husband’s projects, including Oculus, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Gerald’s Game. In fact, some of those films have a surprising connection to Midnight Mass. Siegel stars in Hush as a writer who is the author of a book titled Midnight Mass. The book is also seen in the lake house belonging to Carla Gugino’s character, another frequent Flanagan collaborator, in Gerald’s Game. Recently, Siegel spoke with Pop Culturist about the connection between Midnight Mass and Hush.

“The first time I heard about Midnight Mass was when we were making Hush. Because it was a low-budget movie, we needed a story that Maddie, the main character could write- she’s an author in the story. We needed a book that wouldn’t cost us any money. We didn’t have to buy the rights to anything. Mike was like, ‘Oh, I have this now-defunct idea for a novel called Midnight Mass. I have three chapters written. We can use that so we can use those pages, and we can use that story,” Siegel explained.

She continued, “We used it. If you look, there’s a screengrab in Hush where you’re looking at Maddie’s computer screen and it says, ‘The red and blue lights of the cop car twinkle off the Jesus fish.; That’s the first shot of Midnight Mass, which is, for those of you who haven’t read anything about it, a series about a small fishing community on an island that is very insular, and they have closed ranks. Then, a young priest arrives at the church and miracles begin to happen.”

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(Warning: This post contains spoilers through the finale of Netflix’s “Midnight Mass.”)

“Midnight Mass” star Kate Siegel had the privilege of knowing that “bait-and-switch” twist that leads her character, Erin Greene, to become the Netflix limited series’ reluctant heroine very early on in the production process. Credit her close relationship with the show’s creator, Mike Flanagan, who has been working on this project for 10 years and is also her husband.

But that didn’t make the shocking reveal any less epic to her when it came to acting it out — especially because the death of the show’s first protagonist, Erin’s friend Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford), was the first scene shot. And, as viewers who have finished “Midnight Mass” know, the screams that Siegel’s Erin lets out all through the credits of that episode in reaction to her now-vampire friend (thanks to Hamish Linklater’s Father Paul and his Angel, played by Quinton Boisclair) bursting into flames as the the sun comes up on their tiny boat off Crockett Island were pretty bone-curdling to hear, and just as haunting to act out.

“That was my first day of work. Everything in the row boat was on Day 1,” Siegel told TheWrap. “So as you know, we shot this during the peak of the first wave [of COVID-19]. We went back to work right as everything was really intense, we were one of the first productions back up. And what they realized very early on is that with the green screen boat stuff, it was two actors. It was just me and Zach. And we are far away from everybody else. And there’s not a lot of blocking and there’s not a lot of interaction. So they’re like, ‘Let’s start there.’ And we’re like, ‘Great! Great! Let’s start there and do it.’ And for those people who can’t read tone — that was sarcastic.”


[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Midnight Mass Season 1. Don’t read before finishing all 7 episodes!]

By now, you should have devoured Midnight Mass, the new seven-episode thriller from Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House and Bly Manor). That’s not only because we’re about to spill a bunch of stuff about the series, but also because it’s a damn triumph. Horrifying and heartbreaking, insightful and daringly spiritual, the long-gestated project stars Flanagan’s wife Kate Siegel as Erin Greene, one of the residents of the isolated Crockett Island, which is beset by a series of supernatural events coinciding with the sudden arrival of a new priest (Hamish Linklater), and the return of prodigal son Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford, Friday Night Lights).

Across the board, the ensemble is top-notch and the combination of slowly mounting dread, deeply realized characters and unthinkable evil is, well, a mass effect we can’t stop thinking about. We chatted with Siegel about navigating very tricky themes, keeping the show alive in the time of COVID and some of the series’ greatest (a.k.a craziest) moments.

OK, so I’ve tried to pace myself because I really loved it, but I couldn’t stop. I was like consuming more and more. I don’t think anybody’s expecting this.
Kate Siegel: I don’t think so either and that is the best part because you are my first real interview about Midnight Mass. I’m so excited to start these conversations because it’s going to drop into people laps and they don’t know what they’re going to get.

I think there’s definitely going to be some people out there that are going to be angry.
Yes. Oh, we hope so. Come at me, bro. [Laughs]

Your husband, Mike Flanagan, is a former altar boy, grew up Catholic. Same here. I was Altar Boy of the Year at my elementary school. Even got a trophy for it…so there’s like a level of PTSD happening here and I’m like, “This guy is working through some shit here and I am here for it.”
Oh my God, he’s said, “I’m leaving this show behind for my children, so when I’m dead and they ask me things like, ‘What’s good and evil? What happens when we die, Daddy?’” All of these things, he can point to the show and say, “This is everything. This is my feeling.”


I’ve been a massive fan of Kate Siegel’s since 2016’s Hush and that enthusiasm for her talent has only grown since the release of The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor and now Midnight Mass. Given how much I admire her work, it was the ultimate treat to have Siegel on Collider Ladies Night to learn more about how she got started in the industry and how her craft evolved from project to project.

Siegel plays Erin Greene in Midnight Mass. She grew up in the small, isolated community on Crockett Island, but ultimately made the move to the mainland. However, she eventually comes to decide it’s best if she returned to Crockett to build a new life for herself and for her baby-on-the-way there.

During our Collider Ladies Night conversation, Siegel shared a good deal about her earliest inspirations, her experience studying acting at Syracuse University and how she almost switched to a career in international finance before meeting the person who’d wind up changing her life on screen and off, Mike Flanagan. During our chat, I asked Siegel when she first realized that Flanagan brought the best out of her as an actor’s director and she immediately pinpointed the day they met. It was for an audition for a Flanagan film that never wound up being made. She began:

“I met Mike for the first time in an audition setting, and it was nine pages of sides. This was when I was deep in the grind where it was like, I was going out three to four times a week and things were getting close, but nothing was catching on fire and I was in a real athletic mindset where I was like, ‘What do I do to achieve what people want and how do I practice?’ Very linear in my thinking about being what somebody else wanted me to be.”

Siegel loved this particular script, so was prepared and eager to do whatever necessary to score the role:

“I really wanted this part and I worked really hard to do it right and be a good girl and get an A+ on this audition. And I went in and I did the nine pages, and he gave me a direction and I do the nine pages again. Generally speaking, with an audition that size, you get about two or three takes. They don’t have an hour to work with you. And we’d finished and I felt the room — the tinders were smoking, but I hadn’t caught anything on fire, and I was really beating myself up in my head and I didn’t want to get out of the chair. I didn’t want to leave because I loved the script so much.”

Turns out, it wasn’t time for Siegel to leave just yet. Flanagan had one more note for her and it’d wind up being a note that would change the game for Siegel going forward: “Mike looked at me and he kinda sat there for a second, and he was like, ‘Can you just do one more?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ And I was waiting for the notes he was gonna give me, and I was preemptively nodding because I was like, ‘I’m a good girl and I will take this note and I will do a good job.’ And he looked at me and he waited until I stopped nodding, and he said, ‘Can you just do one just for you?’ And I was taken aback because I didn’t know what that meant. I had forgotten. And something in me was brave enough to take the amount of time, which felt like an eternity, was probably two minutes, and figure out what it was that I wanted, and my acting changed forever on that day.”

Trust me when I tell you this is one of many moving and inspiring memories Siegel shared on Collider Ladies Night. To hear more, check out our chat in the video at the top of this article or listen to the full conversation uncut in podcast form below. Siegel also revisited working on an epic jump scare in Hill House, explained the evolution of Midnight Mass from novel to Netflix show, and offered up a whole bunch of spoiler-filled information on the final two episodes of the series.

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Kate Siegel became an artist to give a voice to the voiceless. As a child, she turned to stories to articulate the emotions that she felt at any given moment. That purpose has guided her throughout her career as she’s solidified herself as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after scream queens.

This September, Kate stars as Erin Greene in the much-buzzed-about new series, Midnight Mass. Now available on Netflix, Midnight Mass follows an isolated island community that begins to experience miraculous events and frightening omens after the arrival of a charismatic, mysterious young priest.

Pop-Culturalist was lucky enough to speak with Kate about Midnight Mass, how the series tackles fanaticism, and the scene that she’s most excited for fans to see.

P-C: How did you discover your passion for storytelling?
Kate: I was a very sensitive child. I had a lot of emotions that I couldn’t name. My literal vocabulary didn’t expand past things like “sad”, “happy”, “sleepy”, which are the words we teach our children, but I always felt a combination of those. Sometimes I felt sleepy and happy, which we learn is comfort and things like that. Through stories, I was able to say to my mom, “It feels like a big ogre is chasing me,” when I was feeling anxious. It brought me so much relief that I wanted to be part of it and a part of that lineage of storytellers that help people to express themselves.


Actress Kate Siegel has collaborated with director Mike Flanagan for almost a decade now. She appeared in the 2013 Blumhouse-produced Oculus, a terrific supernatural and psychological horror film about the breakdown of a family and the trauma that lingers on years later.

Her first lead role came in 2016 with Hush, which she also co-wrote. It’s a single-location home invasion thriller in which Siegel portraits a character we actually care about: Maddie, a young deaf writer who must endure, while alone in her isolated house, the presence of a killer (John Gallagher Jr.) whose motives and plans aren’t clear.

Siegel also had a starring role in Flanagan’s first Netflix miniseries: the acclaimed The Haunting of Hill House, based on the classic Shirley Jackson novel. Siegel plays the adult version of Theodora, one of the five children of the family that was forever marked by their stay in the haunted titular place.

Flanagan is easily one of the most exciting horror directors working today; by now, his approach to genre storytelling is recognizable. His new seven-episode limited series Midnight Mass, now available on Netflix, also deals with tough, worldly themes – including regret, addiction, faith and death – while strikingly playing with a quintessential horror mythology.

Here Siegel gives life to Erin, a pregnant woman who has returned to her hometown, moving away from an abusive relationship. In the small, secluded Crockett Island, the inexplicable is about to happen.

Screen Anarchy chatted with Siegel about Midnight Mass, her and Flanagan’s evolution, Stephen King’s high praise for their work – not for nothing Flanagan adapted Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep – and much more. You can watch the conversation below.