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Julia Stiles Reflects On Playing Opposite Isabelle Fuhrman's Terrifying Character In Orphan: First Kill - Exclusive

While Julia Stiles has given memorable performances in romantic comedies likeĀ "Ten Things I Hate About You," action thrillers like "The Bourne Identity" saga, and the dramas "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Hustlers," the actor has rarely ventured into horror territory. Now, 16 years after her first big turn in the genre in the 2006 remake of "The Omen," Stiles is back in horror movie mode in "Orphan: First Kill," the long-awaited prequel to the unnerving cult classic "Orphan."

Released in 2009, "Orphan" follows the harrowing plight of Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), a grown woman who poses as a young Russian orphan and terrorizes her adoptive family. In "Orphan: First Kill," much of Esther's backstory examined in the original film comes to light. Unlike the twist revealed about Esther's true age in "Orphan," the prequel establishes at the start that her real name is Leena Klammer, a violent 33-year-old woman who escapes from an Estonian asylum.

Afflicted with a rare hormonal disorder, Leena uses her proportional dwarfism to her advantage and poses as Esther, the long-lost daughter of wealthy couple Tricia and Allen Albright (Stiles and Rossif Sutherland) who was thought to be kidnapped years before. As Esther is welcomed back into the Albright household, the "girl" immediately begins to raise red flags with the couple and their teenage son, Gunnar (Matthew Finlan), forcing Tricia to protect her family by any means necessary.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of "Orphan: First Kill" was finding a way of convincing its audience that Fuhrman, who was 12 years old when "Orphan" was released, could play the child once more as a grown adult. Already stunned by Fuhrman's performance in the first "Orphan" movie, Stiles said she was mesmerized by how her co-star slipped back into her role from 13 years ago.

Stiles says Fuhrman's performance went beyond making her look shorter

In an exclusive interview, Julia Stiles and Isabelle Fuhrman took Looper behind the scenes of "Orphan: First Kill" to share some of the secrets of how the film was brought to life. Remarkably, Fuhrman pointed out, she became Esther again not via the wonders of digital de-aging, but through creative camera tricks including forced perspective, as well as the use of two young body doubles. Crafty creative methods aside, Stiles admitted she was taken aback by just how effortless it was for Fuhrman to reprise her terrifyingly manipulative character.

"It blew my mind. It really did. I would sit there on set watching her work and go, 'Oh, my God.' It's not just about making her look shorter or tricks of the camera to make her look tinier," Stiles told Looper. "It was that her voice and her mannerisms felt like she was a child and the movie hinges on that because she has to trick everybody around her, but it worked really well."

While Fuhrman utilized various practical means to make her look the height of the supposedly 9-year-old Esther, Stiles said she had to wear lifts to increase the differences in their heights. "I wish I had worn stilts! That would've been less humiliating than wearing these leather thigh-high boots with platforms that kept getting bigger. We call them 'the Gene Simmons boots,'" Stiles said with a laugh, referring to the platformed look of the legendary KISS bassist.

Directed by William Brent Bell, "Orphan: First Kill" is playing in select theaters and streaming exclusively on Paramount+.