By: Kayla Caldwell
Sometimes you have to interview someone, and it's really awkward and feels like pulling teeth. Other times, the talent is funny, kind, and relaxed enough that it feels like you're just chatting with a close friend. Natalie Paul is a great example of the latter.
Hulu and Into the Dark's DELIVERED puts Paul's acting chops on display, and if you want a glimpse at her shining personality, simply read on below. We talk about our love of horror movies, women's representation in movies, and the struggles of being whatever kind of mother you want to.
How did you get involved with DELIVERED? You’ve done your share of creepy/horror projects.
Natalie Paul: Honestly, I read the script, and I was really intrigued by the story. I thought it was a little bit more than your average horror story. It had the psychological aspects to it, too. Getting to know Emma, I just thought it would be a great experience, and I jumped right into it.
I feel like the thriller genre chose me a little bit. I feel like there’s something about it, I guess, that we’re kind of drawn to each other, in a way. The challenge of it all is really intriguing to me, the high stakes, and the test that it presents. I don’t know, I feel like I learn about myself that way, too.
I know I’ve been watching a lot of horror lately, and it has me thinking - why do we turn to horror and thrillers like that?
Natalie Paul: You read my mind. I feel like it lures you in with the gore and the blood and the action, but there’s usually a deeper meaning there, if you’re watching. I think that’s something that I feel like always sort of intrigued me about thriller and horror and suspense. It’s so much more than meets the eye.
For this one, you have a full fake belly, etc. Could you talk a little bit about the physical aspect of this role?
Natalie Paul: Oh, absolutely. It was such a physical challenge, just trying to get into the mindset of a woman who … first of all, it completely shifts your weight, and your relationship to where you fit in your body, and how connected you feel, because there is a human living in there. And then, you know, with everything that happens in the movie - running and screaming and physical aspect of it, it was such an awesome challenge to really get into that and physically transform.
It’s so funny, because I would find myself, off-camera, rubbing the belly. It’s absolutely ridiculous, because it was foam, but there’s something about it that changes your brain or something. It was so cool. I was just so intrigued by the idea of what it means to be a mom.
The story is really about these two women vying for that title in a way, like what it means to be a good mom. Even if you take away all the horror stuff, I know those two types of women. One is like, I want to be the ideal mom, whatever that looks like, and then there’s a mom, whose like, "Look, I’m not sure how this is done, but I’m going to do it my way." That journey was really intriguing to me, physically and mentally.
Did you have any film or character inspirations in mind when you prepared for this role?
Natalie Paul: You know, I watched Misery a little bit, because once we saw what the house is like, the costuming, that was really interesting to me. I think, ultimately, I don’t like to watch a lot of other things, only because it can kind of psyche you out. But that definitely came to mind, for sure.
Well, that is a classic.
Natalie Paul: Yeah, it’s so good, and Tina [Majorino] was just so great at freaking me out and really inhabiting that woman. So it really helped to make the whole story pop.
What was it like on set - were you both very in character the whole time?
Natalie Paul: It depended on the day, because some days were pretty light. Other days we had to go really, really dark. So we would, kind of, try to support each other in that process, as much as possible. And if you needed a moment, we would give each other that space, and be like, “What do you need me to do?” We were just really communicative. Having Emma [Tammi] there, as well, was just super collaborative. It was so open and honest, about everything that we had to do and talk about. It was just a great atmosphere to collaborate in.
Do you like true crime at all?
Natalie Paul: I love true crime! I probably got into it like everybody else did with Serial, the podcast. I was right there on that bandwagon. Why do you ask?
I know there are a few true crime stories of women trying to steal a baby or kidnapping another woman, etc. Those crimes are so jarring because - while anyone getting hurt is devastating - it just seems like the connection between a mom and her baby amplifies everything.
Natalie Paul: Oh, absolutely - Mama Bear! Right? It’s funny, because you would think the opposite. First of all, women aren’t thought of as particularly violent or action-oriented in that way. What I love about this story is you have two women fearlessly going after what they want, both of them, and you know, getting down and dirty and gory with it.
They’re also mothers in their own way. So it’s an added thing that you would never really expect. And I think that’s what’s really fun to watch. That is the intense side of women that we don’t always see. Going for theirs and duking it out - and it’s grounded in something super real, which is that connection to a child.
Yes! And thinking of the scene where Tina is in bed, having contractions, it’s very real for her.
Natalie Paul: Right. It’s like the power of your mind to trick you to believe yourself - for better or worse.
What do you think is the big takeaway from this movie?
Natalie Paul: I hope people have a good time. It’s definitely a horror movie, but I also hope that they take away from it some of the bigger ideas around what it means to be a good mom. It doesn’t necessarily always look and sound like what you think it might.
For the moms out there, because I definitely talked to a lot of moms about it, I feel like that’s what Val learned, is that being a mom isn’t necessarily some ideal, but it’s about what you’re willing to sacrifice and go after, in order to protect and love the baby that you’re carrying. Whatever that looks like for you, as your unique self, is what being a great mom is.
You don’t necessarily usually get that out of a horror movie. It is the Mother’s Day installment.
Yes, and, like you said, showing off the strength of women isn’t bad, either.
Natalie Paul: Exactly! Thank you, I love that this is two female leads going after what they want, fearlessly, unapologetically. It’s a really good fight to watch.
Hulu and Into the Dark's DELIVERED is streaming on Hulu now.