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Ti West's Pearl Started As A Joke Between The Director And Mia Goth

Mia Goth's character of Pearl has already gone on to become iconic in the slasher movie pantheon. The idea of her having her own movie was almost written off as a joke. Goth appeared in the 2022 slasher film "X," about a group of young people who head off to a remote cabin to film an adult movie. The 70s-set film was directed by horror maverick Ti West, who is no stranger to making nostalgic feeling horror films, having previously helmed the '80s-set shocker "The House of the Devil."

In "X," Goth not only plays the film's final girl, Maxine, but also the film's main antagonist, the villainous 80-year-old Pearl. Goth is nearly unrecognizable as the killer since she disappears under some magnificent makeup effects work. Later in 2022, A24 released the prequel film featuring Pearl's tragic origin story. "Pearl" acted as a send-up to 1950s Douglas Sirk-esque melodramas with a psycho twist and was set in the year 1918. Goth co-scripted the prequel with West.

Goth seemed to revel in playing the tragic and villainous character. Near the end of the film, the character Pearl has a seven-minute long monologue that Goth was terrified to film but ended up being a major highlight for the disturbing movie. Even though Goth disappears in the role, the idea of making a Pearl origin story only started as a joke for all those involved.

Pearl was shot back to back with X, despite only starting out as a joke between star and director

The origins of "Pearl" as a film are a lot less complicated than the origins of Pearl the character. In fact, the idea of a prequel film to Ti West's "X" started out as a joke, according to a clip from the bonus features on the "Pearl" Blu-ray. Mia Goth explained how "Pearl" came to be, "When I first signed on to 'X,' Ti and I were talking a lot about Maxine and Pearl and the connection between those two women. Within those conversations, this idea just started to form — somewhat as a joke at first; I guess because we never really believed that this could happen."

While the idea of doing a Pearl prequel started out as a joke, it also was a prep exercise to help the filmmakers and actors understand the character's backstory. Goth added, "Over time, that morphed into a script." Director West also said, "It just sort of bloomed into something ... far more three-dimensional."

The idea bloomed indeed as Goth and West kicked out a script for "Pearl" to film back to back with "X." The response to "X" and the announcement of "Pearl" also led the team to begin work on the upcoming "MaxXxine," which has a brilliant teaser spot but has not been shot yet. While "Pearl" takes place in the 1910s and "X" takes place in the 1970s, "MaxXxine" will put Mia Goth's Maxine character into the wild world of the 1980s. "MaxXxine" gave fans an opportunity to be a part of the horror trilogy before cameras began to roll on the third film.