5 Questions with Laura Barns… Heather Sossaman of Unfriended
There was a great opportunity to chat with Heather Sossaman, who plays Laura Barns in the film Unfriended, which is truly an immersive cinematic experience. Since the film takes place entirely on a computer screen, and much of the action is over Skype, we decided that the only way to speak with Sossaman was via Skype as well.
Despite having slightly less mastery of the app than her character, Sossaman was extremely generous with her answers. She revealed that many Easter eggs exist within the film, “There’s miniature appearances from the writers and director and their Facebook profile”, and said something really fascinating, which is that “The Internet is a very scary place, even without demons”.
You filmed a while back, with a different title?
Yeah, it was a different title, different expectations, where it’s come since then has been totally shocking for all of us, which is cool.
You got involved over Skype, right?
It is right, which is just so ironic to the movie. You can see how the producers came up with the concept, as they’re international so this is just kind of how they work. But they were already well into filming when they reached out to me about Laura Barns. Obviously you’ve seen the movie so you know what Laura does, and my manager said (raises voice high) “there’s just one little thing about the role”. (Drops voice) “that you might want to think about”, and she tells me what happens to Laura in the party video, and I was like “Oh, God!”
It felt questionable?
You definitely have to do questionable things as an actor, and this one was at the top of my threshold but it’s really cool and I’m glad I did.
How many different ways did you appear in the film?
My extra shoot days were mainly ADR, like doing the 911 call. I came in on some of the extra shoot days to take photos with Shelley (Hennig) and the rest of the cast, to establish that Laura was in fact friends with them. Oh, and that very last video where she calls them “the c word”, (here Sossaman mimed making a letter “C” with her hand).
That was actually added in at the very last minute and shot just a couple of months ago, just so you could really get Laura, because the kids talk a lot about her, but just until you could see what kind of girl she was, they wanted it to be kind of elusive, but at the same time, just let you get that feel. That was actually one of the most fun ones to shoot, because I was like “this girl!” and you can see the date on it, it’s the 10th and she ends up committing suicide on the 12th, so you see the struggle of even she’s really hurting, she’s not a nice person so there’s a battle within herself.
What has the response been like?
This is my first big theatrical release film, so when they first aired the trailer on MTV, I was like “oh, neat”. But within seconds, people were finding us, and we were trending on Twitter. And for me, I had to jump on my Instagram and delete some pictures because everybody was screenshotting things of me, and it was just so weird. Like this little role I took almost two years ago, when I took this, I never thought it would turn into this. It’s been cool, but a little overwhelming, too.
Unfriended is in theatres now.