With Paramount’s new horror feature “Smile” still burning up the Box Office charts alongside an eerie but clever viral marketing campaign, the film has filled our hearts and our nightmares with miles and miles of creepy smiles. The grinning visage of many of the film’s characters are scattered throughout both the trailers and (of course) the film itself, all connected to the deadly supernatural happenings that protagonist Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) experiences throughout the movie.
With so many members of the film’s cast sporting terrifying smiles, it would seem that having a creepy smile would have had to be a part of the casting proceedings. On the other hand, as the fateful protagonist of a terrifying movie, Dr. Rose Cotter does a lot more screaming than smiling. In the audition, what was required of the film’s talented lead, Sosie Bacon?
In a new exclusive interview with Looper, Bacon reveals that her audition never involved showcasing those pearly whites. It’s a little ironic that the lead of a horror film centered on smiling never had to show her own, but the actress goes into detail about the surprising reason she was very glad for that orthodontic omission.
Inside Sosie Bacon’s smile-free audition
Getting the part of Rose first involved what almost every social interaction required over the last few years: Zoom. Bacon explains that the process began with “a Zoom meeting with [writer and director] Parker [Finn]” that was actually not an audition. Rather than a standard audition process, Finn digitally met with Bacon, and concluded knowing (in Bacon’s words) “”She can definitely accomplish this.”” She loved the overall process, explaining that the audition-free simplicity of it all was “kind of nice,” and she and Finn proceeded to have “a lot of follow-up conversations” about the role and the project.
At the time, Bacon was choosing between “Smile” and a second project, but choosing to embody Dr. Rose was a no-brainer. “I wanted to take on this one because it was such a hefty role with so much history sprinkled in between,” she says, “and the relationships were super specific.” That level of detailed backstory in such an otherworldly narrative made it, in the actress’ words, “a really cool thing for me to sink my teeth into.”
On the topic of teeth, Bacon clarifies that “I did not audition my smile” for the grin-centric new horror outing. As it turns out, that may have been a blessing according to the actress, who felt that she didn’t have the kind of alarmingly toothiness that would make for a great horror grin. “My smile’s a bit too across and not enough up,” she explains. “I think that was good that I didn’t show it.” Smiles or not, she absolutely rocked the role of Dr. Rose Cotter, and the rest is horror history.
“Smile” is now playing exclusively in theaters.