Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.
In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum talks with Robert Patrick and Kristin Bauer van Straten about their new Amazon show, “Lore.” The anthology series is based on the hit podcast of the same name, from creator Aaron Mahnke, which features true horror stories and their origins.
“I was scared when I was making it,” Patrick admits. Bauer van Straten adds, “I was going to say, this one was actually creepy while shooting it, which is so rare.”
Though Patrick and Bauer van Straten don’t appear in the same episode, they each discuss what drew them to the role.
“I thought it was a really novel way to bring the podcast to life, so I wanted to go down to Atlanta and give it a go. It was a great role for me. It was a period piece, 1840s preacher and dabbling in the seance world, so it was interesting,” Patrick explains.
The episode featuring Bauer van Straten centers around a “freaky doll story.”
“I’m mainly very hard to scare, I don’t know how many movies I’ve seen where I’ve actually been scared,” she shares. “But even filming on this, when I’m yanking this doll around and at one point I took a picture of this doll. … I didn’t think this freaky doll was haunted, but all of a sudden, I take a picture of it and that’s one of the things, is that Robert gets mad if you take his picture, and I did delete it. And I thought, ‘Now I’m being weird.'”
To cover their bases, Bauer van Straten says, the director asked Robert the Doll’s permission to film him. “We were all getting in the spirit of the thing,” she laughs.
In Patrick’s episode, he plays a reverend interested in seances.
“This guy dabbles in the world of spiritualism,” Patrick says. “He believes in god, obviously, so he believes in the holy ghost, so it’s kind of like where was spiritualism at the time in the 1840s and the ’50s. This guy is a bit of an outlaw for even dabbling in this.”
He previews: “He actually has a seance and he allows an evil spirit to come into his house and terrorize his new family — his wife and two children.”
The costume alone helps Patrick get into character, he says. “For me, 90% of my acting is literally wardrobe and makeup. The other part is I study the dialogue and I hit the lines, and hopefully say it right. So the performance comes from that. The way I wear my hair, the things I’m wearing, that’s how it always is with me. So it was exciting. All of the sudden I found myself doing a mid-Atlantic accent. It just sort of starts happening.”
Bauer van Straten agrees with the power of attire for taking on period pieces. “I always feel a little bit like I’m 6, that imagination you have when you’re a kid where you can create all of it. For us, we get so much help, we don’t have to create all of it. You have to create your small part. There’s this huge scaffold of support.”
In the vein of the show’s theme, the two opened up about what scares them.
“I thought that I was very zen about ghosts,” Bauer van Straten says. “Intellectually, I think we’re all a spirit in a body, so if there’s a spirit without a body, who cares? I’m not afraid of you guys in this room right now, why would I be afraid of you if you’re not in your body? And then someone said, ‘Yeah, but they’re not playing by the rules.’ Then, three times I encountered something spooky, and I fell apart.”
Patrick admits, “I’m terrified of everything, just like everybody else. The one thing I’m most afraid of is fear itself,” adding, “Outside of a weird experience with a ouija board, I can’t really say I’ve ever seen anything myself.”
Both agreed that should there be a second season, they would happily come back and play another role.
“I think we should perhaps do something together, where we we’re in the same episode, that would be fun,” Patrick said. “There’s no reason they can’t keep bringing us back.”
You can listen to this week’s podcast here: