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Smile Director Parker Finn Reveals The Secrets To Smile's Ghoulish Grins - Exclusive Interview

Just in time for Halloween season, Paramount Pictures is bringing a brand new (and particularly frightening) horror movie to theaters with "Smile." Written and directed by Parker Finn, the film sees therapist Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) come into the crosshairs of a mysterious and deadly entity. The being in question haunts its victims with visions and smiling threats until, in so many cases, its victim dies terribly. Rose has to understand the thing in question to save her own skin before it's far too late. 

Once "Smile" starts the scares, it's easily one of the most frightening films in recent memory, full of haunting imagery that's sure to stick in audiences' minds. We sat down to chat about the film and its mysteries with director Parker Finn. In the interview, Finn revealed that performers' smiles were a relevant factor in the casting process (though not the way you may have expected), that the movie is full of Easter eggs for the eagle-eyed fan, and more.

The smiles needed to be human performances, not special effects

The first question I wanted to ask you is about this film's creepy smiles. There are obviously so many eerie smiles in the film — you must have had a creepy smile casting call. What was the audition process like, and did that play a part?

It was really important that we nailed those smiles, because they were always going to be human performances. We didn't want to use any special effects or anything on the smiles themselves, but to keep them in that uncanny real-performance-based version. The audition process was very much about who could nail what the scene required but also do the smile at the same time. I'm so excited about where we landed with the cast.

I love the visible lack of CGI — I thought that actually made it much more menacing.

I agree.

Were there any smiles built into the film's production or its cinematography? Any on-screen Easter eggs?

Maybe. Did you catch some?

I caught some!

We wanted to pepper them in where we could. Sometimes they're there to catch your eye at first glance. There's other ones that on a second or third viewing, people might pick up on that they didn't catch the first time. 

A sequel would need to be something unexpected

I also wanted to talk about that moment where Rose comes across someone whose husband drew dozens of creepy Smile-entity drawings. What was the process of making those like?

That room is peppered with a lot of imagery. Some we pulled from real art that exists out in the world, from history. [It] is wild how much of that kind of stuff there is out there. Others were done by some of our art team on the film, and some of the charcoals that we focus on were by this incredible artist named Don Nase. He read the script and basically absolutely nailed the execution on those, and he infused them with a very busy, nervous mind that the character who was meant to have drawn them would've had.

I thought they added a lot. I imagine "Smile" is going to do well at the Box Office. Do you already have sequel ideas, and can you say anything about them?

I'm really excited to see how audiences respond to "Smile." We'll see ... but there's so much fun that could be had with "Smile." As a filmmaker, I never want to retread or repeat myself in any obvious way. If there was more to be done with "Smile," I'd want to make sure that it was something unexpected that would have a lot of surprises up its sleeves.

"Smile" is now playing in theaters.

This interview was edited for clarity.