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Orphan: First Kill's Isabelle Fuhrman On Playing The Same Role As A Child And Adult - Exclusive

Although sequels and prequels seem commonplace, the reality is that very few actors actually get a chance to reprise a role. Luckily for "Orphan" star Isabelle Fuhrman, she's finally getting the chance to play the chilling role of Esther again for the first time since 2009, albeit in a complicated way. Fuhrman was 10 when she brought the seemingly 9-year-old orphan girl to life — until it was revealed in the third act that Esther was actually a murderous 33-year-old woman afflicted with a rare condition that stunted her growth and caused proportional dwarfism.

Fast-forward 13 years to the new prequel movie "Orphan: First Kill," Fuhrman is assuming the role once again, but this time, the actor is 25. Instead of being a child actor pretending to be an adult who is pretending to be a child like she did in 2009, Fuhrman is looking at the role of Esther from the other end of the spectrum — she's an adult pretending to be a child who is actually an adult.

No matter the odd circumstances, Fuhrman is just as if not more compelling as Esther in "Orphan: First Kill." The film kicks off just months ahead of the events of "Orphan," and unlike the big twist of the original, we learn at the very beginning that Leena Klammer (Fuhrman) is a violent patient in an insane asylum in Estonia.

After making a bloody escape from the institution, Leena assumes the identity of Esther, a young girl who went missing from the U.S. years before. But once Esther is "reunited" with her mother and father, Tricia and Allen (Julia Stiles and Rossif Sutherland), and her older brother, Gunnar (Matthew Finlan), the tension rises as it becomes apparent that the circumstances of the girl's return aren't all that they seem.

Examining the same role from a different vantage point

Being that Isabelle Fuhrman was a child when she first played Esther, she clearly approached the role from a much different angle as an adult, even though the trajectory of the character was similar. "My vantage point as a child when I was approaching the movie was really different than now. I had a whole team of people that helped create Esther for me and with me," Fuhrman recalled for Looper in an exclusive interview. "As a kid, it was about doing the best I could to bring this vision to life that was in the script. It was the first movie I ever did, and working on your first film ... It's not necessarily that you can't say certain things, but it's more that you don't know."

She admitted she was "treading softly" as an actor in the first "Orphan" because it was her first introduction to a movie set. "You don't know how much freedom you have in your character and what you can play with. Also, everyone had a very specific idea of who Esther was the first time around, so a lot of the work that I did on the character was with the dialect. 'What is she feeling in this moment?' It was coming from a place of trying to understand Esther's emotional place."

Remarkably, Fuhrman's 9-year-old look was recreated not through a de-aging process, but with camera tricks like using forced perspectives and a pair of body doubles. The actor also took basic measures to make herself look shorter than her co-stars. "Julia [Stiles] wore super tall boots, and I squatted a lot when we were filming scenes," Fuhrman said. "There was a little butt dolly thing that I would use to walk on this little chair."

"Orphan: First Kill" is playing in select theaters and streaming exclusively on Paramount+.