Kate Siegel has become a horror movie staple, starring in films like Hush and Ouija: Origin of Evil. Now, she’s hitting the small screen in The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix.
The actress, 36, spoke to PEOPLE about her new role as Theo, and how she relates to her character who has been traumatized by the ominous events that haunted her family’s home.
“I identify with what it’s like to have things in my childhood that I still carry with me as an adult,” Siegel tells PEOPLE. “I think we can all agree that there are weeks and months in our childhood years that help form who we are as adults. I think that’s what makes Theo so relatable to me and to the audience.”
The series The Haunting of Hill House is based on the 1959 horror novel by Shirley Jackson and is directed by Siegel’s husband Mike Flanagan. The Hush actress stars alongside Michael Huisman from Game of Thrones, Carla Gugino from Spy Kids, Timothy Hutton from How to Get Away With Murder and Elizabeth Reaser from The Twilight Saga.
While many of the book’s characters remain, Siegel says the Netflix version is a modern interpretation of the book.
“The writers took the source material and they threw it up in the air and smashed it and then picked up all these pieces and put it back together to give you a new insight to the haunted house genre,” she says.
The book was adapted into a movie twice before. Starring heavyweights Julie Harris and Claire Bloom, the original film, titled The Haunting, was released in 1963. Siegel says she took inspiration from Bloom, 87, who played Theo in the original film.
“[She] is just an icon. I felt like I had huge shoes to fill,” Siegel explains. “When I got lost in Theo, I would ask myself, ‘What would Claire Bloom do?’ And inevitably it was the right choice.”
Siegel described the show as one made for people who don’t like horror. She described it as a “family drama wrapped in the skin of a thriller.”
And while she continues getting scared on screen, the actress says she has never seen a ghost in real life.
“I really want to, so if you know any, send them my way,” she says with a laugh.
“I’m haunted by memories of experiences I’ve had as a child, as an adult. I walk into rooms and remember infinite experiences there,” she adds. “On some level, I’m haunted all the time.”
October 12, 2018
by Tomas Mier and Christina Dugan