Australian actress Emily Wiseman is taking the horror genre by storm in her latest role as ‘Claire’ in the highly-anticipated film, The Offering. Starring alongside Nick Blood and Paul Kaye, the film is set to give audiences the chills this January.
Wiseman is no stranger to the horror genre, having made her feature film debut in the 2018 supernatural thriller, Winchester, alongside Dame Helen Mirren and directed by the Spierig Brothers. And she’s not slowing down anytime soon, with upcoming appearances in The Pitch and Saving Grace.
But it’s not just her work in the horror genre that has us hooked. The Aussie actress has made a name for herself on television, with standout performances in the Channel Nine Network’s remake of ‘Seachange’, Stan’s ‘The Gloaming’ and ‘Eden’, and her critically acclaimed role in the award-winning feature film Celeste. With her undeniable talent and fearless approach to taking on challenging roles, we can’t wait to see what’s next for this rising star. Keep your eyes peeled for more of Emily Wiseman in the future.
Head below to hear more from the rising star…
Hey Emily, how are you doing?
Really well, thank you. The sun is finally out again so that always helps.
Let’s start at the very beginning, how did you first get into acting?
It really just started out as a way to make sense of my own psychology growing up.
I discovered drama class in high school because It was a place where I could escape into worlds where I felt I belonged. The characters I played were exploring the same complicated questions and ideas about life as I was and their emotions seemed to be as extreme as the ones I was grappling with but didn’t have the words or life experience to articulate. It wasn’t until later that I realised it could actually be a career.
Did growing up in Australia influence you professionally?
Maybe from the point of view that growing up in Australia felt so far away from where I wanted to be, and that feeling of wanting to be there as quickly as possible encouraged a certain fearlessness and intense determination in me, I think.
What’s most important to you when getting into character? How do you find a way to connect with the material?
I like to understand a character from a psychological point of view first and then explore how that psychology might affect their external world. But the way I get myself into each role is always different. I use everything and anything. A texture, a colour, a gesture. For example, for Claire, I had a very specific place on my stomach that I would hold during certain moments of filming, and that would take me right to where she was at any given moment. Music is also pivotal for me. I am very intentional with the music I listen to, even on a day-to-day basis because it really affects me.
Congratulations on the release of The Offering! How are you feeling now that the project is finally out?
Amazing! There is nothing more rewarding than having a film finally meet the world. It takes a huge amount of blood sweat and tears to bring a project to fruition. In this case, The Offering was in development 7 years prior to shooting, so it’s a great feeling having it released because you know exactly what it took to get here, and then for it to be so well received, is the icing on the cake.
We shot right in the middle of COVID, so it was an extremely fast turnaround. Within 4 days of hearing I booked the role, I was on a flight to Bulgaria and straight into shooting. There wasn’t much time to overthink things, which was a blessing. We just got straight to work.
Talk to us about the casting process, what initially drew you to the role of Claire?
I loved that The Offering, at its core, is a story of family, love, loss, and survival. It’s a culturally rich film that explores an often misunderstood community with compassion and understanding and opens the door for a much larger conversation. And my character Claire is very much a vehicle for that conversation. She is an outsider when we meet her for the first time. She is entering a world that is completely foreign to her and trying to navigate it with as much grace and compassion as her limited experience will allow. She really becomes the audience’s eyes in this way and as she is learning, so is the audience.
Would you say horror is your favourite genre to work in? What was filming like?
I personally can’t watch horror… “Wallace and Gromit” scared me growing up. That’s how much of a scaredy cat I am. So it was really interesting filming a horror and luckily a different experience to watching one.
But from an actor’s perspective, horror is great because you have the opportunity to really exercise your skills. You are working with high stakes and emotionality, action and stunts, as well as the story. The challenge of horror is ensuring you are executing the technical aspects of the genre, as well as honouring the truth of the circumstances. It’s really exciting from that perspective!
What was it like working alongside Nick Blood and Paul Kaye?
So much fun! Besides the fact that they are both hilarious! They’re also true masters of the craft. They always brought something new and fresh to each take and so working off them was always such a thrill.
The Offering isn’t the first time you have graced the big screen, do you have a particular favourite past project? If so, what was it and why?
Filming “Winchester” with the Spierig Brothers. I love a great period piece! But also having the opportunity to work on a film with Dame Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, and Sarah Snook was a truly transformative experience. I remember Helen Mirren saying to the Spierig brothers one day “You don’t have to worry about me, I will always be on time and I will always be ready.” That moment definitely stuck with me.
Tell us about the first time you watched The Offering, were you happy with the way it turned out?
Yes! I was terrified and I even knew what was about to happen. “The Offering” is exhilarating, for sure. It’s this intense combination of action, horror, Jewish folklore, and then at its core, a family drama.
What is it like watching yourself on-screen? Do you enjoy it?
No, no, it’s extremely uncomfortable. It’s a pretty unnatural thing to watch yourself in such detail and, as actors, we do it all the time. I do like to take the opportunity to learn from each performance but there is a fine line between that and unnecessarily picking yourself apart.
How do you want to be viewed as an actor?
For me, it’s less about how I want to be viewed and more about what I want people to feel. It is my desire that people feel understood when they see my work. That they walk away a little more themselves, a little richer for the experience and perhaps with a wider worldview.
Do you have any specific idols?
I do and all for different reasons. Judy Dench, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Belle Hooks just to name a few.
Is there a specific character trope you have not yet embodied that you would like to explore?
Yes, cast me in any epic fantasy or SCI-FI adventure. When I was young, my dad would read Harry Potter to me before going to bed, so I think that inadvertently inspired my excitement for the genre.
What do you like to do in your free time? What does a day-in-the-life look like for you?
I like doing simple things. I’m very much introverted. But a good book, great company, and delicious food to connect over sounds like an ideal day.
And finally, what’s one fact about you that we wouldn’t be able to find in a press release?
During COVID I began my second bachelor’s degree, majoring in Global Politics, and minoring in Sociology.