I Know What You Did Last Summer: Madison Iseman Teases More Bloody Mayhem
I Know What You Did Last Summer star Madison Iseman speaks with CBR about playing twins, what makes a memorable death, the killer’s identity and more.
I Know What You Did Last Summer has found new life on Amazon Prime. The suspenseful TV series, loosely based on Lois Duncan’s 1973 novel and the 1997 slasher film of the same name, takes place on the night five teens hit someone with their car. Panicking and unsure of what to do, they dump the body and attempt to move on. A year later, when Alison — one of the quintet — returns home after being away at school, an unknown assailant begins stalking and slaughtering them one by one.
Madison Iseman portrays Alison and Lennon, identical twin sisters harboring a dark secret that’s bound to get them killed. Iseman (Jumanji, Annabelle Comes Home) recently spoke with CBR about the horror genre, playing twins, what makes a memorable death, the killer’s identity and the possibility of more Jumanji and Annabelle.
CBR: Obviously, this isn’t your first rodeo when it comes to horror. What do you love about the genre?
Madison Iseman: My favorite thing is there are no rules. You can really have free range to create and do what you want and make whatever decisions you want to. That freedom has always fueled me. It’s also fun. It’s my favorite to watch. It’s my favorite to do. I’ve always gravitated towards it,
The film I Know What You Did Last Summer premiered back in 1997. How did it land on your radar and why has it stood the test of time?
I was in diapers when it came out. I watched it for the first time when I was 11 or 13. I’ve always been a fan of all scary movies. It’s so classic and iconic. When I first saw the title, I Know What You Did Last Summer, in my email, I was instantly like, “Oh my God. They are making another one. Holy crap.”
I jumped in. I read the pilot. It was such a fresh take on it. The twists that we get to experience blew my mind. But, also, the opportunity to get to play twins is such a rare moment in someone’s career. It was something where I wanted to jump in and take a stab at, no pun intended.
Many believed you would be assuming the role of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Julie James. Were you under the same assumption?
I always knew it was going to be completely different, which I was excited about. Like our showrunner said so perfectly, the book is of its time. The movie is of its time. We’re really able to take what was so great about the original and start in the same way, take it from there and do something completely fresh and new, which is always exciting for me. We kind of did the same thing with Jumanji. It’s totally new, but still keeping all the same charm that people love so much in the first place.
Considering you play identical twins, how did you approach instilling them with their own voice and identity?
It was hard. The only time you really see them in the beginning is at this grad night. They are basically wearing the same outfit. In a perfect world, I would have loved to be able to individualize them through clothing and hairstyle. There’s so much identity that comes physically.
It was definitely a bit of a challenge. It was getting to know them separate from each other, but also who they were together as sisters. You see them so often together. And physically, too, it was almost like putting on a new pair of shoes. Lennon is so confident and walks in a room and owns it. There’s a whole different way you carry your body. And with Allison, it’s the complete opposite. She’s reserved and contained. Those physical attributions definitely helped me as far as switching back and forth.
Once all the murder and mayhem begins to take place, how do you feel Alison/Lennon process the events? Do they have a fight or flight response?
Before the show, yes. But because of certain circumstances, Lennon doesn’t have that ability. She’s forced to sit there and figure it out, which is something she’s never wanted to do. As soon as this accident happened the first time, she left. She went off to school. She said, “I’m done. I don’t want anything to do with it. I’ll deal with this when I get back.” That’s kind of what happens. She comes back and very much has to deal with it. She would love to run away, but knows she can’t. That’s a very heavy weight for her to carry.
This is an extremely close-knit group of friends. How worried should audiences be about their safety?
Nobody is safe. One person dies in almost every episode. Nobody is safe. The great thing about the show is yes, it’s about a bunch of kids running away for their lives. But, also, everyone is guilty of something. There’s not one person in the show who is innocent. Every single episode, more and more secrets are revealed, which carries the show all the way to the end and getting new information of what actually happened on this grad night. It’s interesting as viewer because you are constantly being mislead from every direction.
The Sarah Michelle Gellar chase scene in the original certainly stands out in the slasher genre. What makes a memorable death for you and was there one in the show that really stuck with you?
It’s all about the build-up. It’s all about the slow crawl. The creepy start. It’s walking down the hallway and the camera is with you. It’s a five-minute long take of you walking down this moody hallway, staring at things and it’s silent. That’s always what makes a good kill. A good payoff is the build.
We have a lot of those. That’s one of the things that we did in Annabelle, too. There’s that eight-minute long walk of me walking through the house. It’s the prefect equation for the perfect scare. I can’t even tell you my favorite kill because it’s a spoiler, but I will say it’s gruesome, it’s bloody and everything anybody could want.
Were you surprised at how graphic the murders were?
No, I wasn’t surprised. I’m always wanting more. As a viewer, we’ve seen so much. Creators are always having to find ways to reinvent and make things more interesting or make them different. I think they do a great job of coming up with these unique deaths that are still exciting and surprising for people who have seen so many slashers.
There’s the whodunit element of the show. Did they tell you upfront who the killer is and what was your reaction when you found out?
We read the first four episodes before we got to Hawaii. From day one, we were all collectively trying to find out who it could possibly be. It became a game on set, making bets and trying to figure it out, and we were all wrong. It’s such a good payoff. This one makes your jaw drop through the floor. At least, it did for all of us.
If you get a second season, do you feel there is more story to tell with Lennon/Alison?
You have no idea if I’ll make it to the end. Our showrunner is so fantastic at coming up with storylines. There’s a world that they can take this story from. It’s hard when you’ve only seen so much or haven’t seen any. They are creative geniuses, so I’m sure they will take it somewhere if they want to — and who knows who will be there…
Looking forward to other projects, what is the update on Jumanji 3?
I think we would all love to do another one. They have not said anything to us. The pandemic didn’t help in that way. It was such a great moment in my life. I love those people so much. I would want nothing more than to jump into Bethany’s shoes again. But hopefully, fingers crossed. It depends on the theaters and what they look like after all of this.
Would you be up for more Annabelle, too?
Hell yeah. Absolutely I would. I always tell Gary Dauberman, “Hey, we should do a Ferryman spinoff.” That would be rad.