Horror film brings back old fears
Lights Out actress Teresa Palmer on her fear of the dark and motherhood and
Teresa Palmer has never made such a strong connection with a role before.
In horror movie Lights Out, which opens here tomorrow, the Australian actress plays a woman who was haunted as a child by an unknown terror that comes out in the dark.
Now, it is her little brother's (Gabriel Bateman) turn to be threatened.
Palmer told M over the phone from her home in Adelaide that her childhood fear helped her relate to her character Rebecca.
"I was very terrified of the dark when I was young," said the 30-year-old.
"I couldn't sleep without the lights on. I think the fear only went away when I was about 13."
Filming Lights Out brought back the fear. Palmer said she kept a night light on throughout the shoot.
"When I thought I could manage sleeping in the dark, I watched the (finished) film, and had to turn the lights on again."
Married to US actor Mark Webber since 2013, Palmer is mum to stepson Isaac, seven, from Webber's previous marriage.
They also have a two-year-old son, Bodhi, together and are expecting another boy in November, which explained why Palmer "totally" related to the motherly side of Rebecca.
Her protective instinct came naturally and she "genuinely gravitated" towards co-star Bateman, 11, who would go over to her house and play with Isaac.
Palmer, who splits her time between Los Angeles and Adelaide, said the "fear of losing your family was very real and personal".
"That is every parent's worst nightmare, isn't it? My worst fear is that something will happened to my kids, to see them suffer."
Palmer broke out with 2010's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and playing a kick-ass alien in I Am Number Four in 2011 helped put her on the map. She also co-starred with Nicholas Hoult in 2013 sleeper hit Warm Bodies.
Being a mother is Palmer's "number one job".
She said: "I haven't been away from Bohdi since he was born. I'd bring him along when I work. I've been very present in his life and I'm his main caregiver.
"I love a big family, and want to have at least four or five children... it used to be six.
"I would love to have a girl down the road, just to even out the playing field."
Palmer said: "It's fulfilling to be able to share tips and problems with fellow parents.
"Acting is something I'm very passionate about, but it's not all fulfilling.
"I'm constantly pushing myself. I don't like to stay in a comfort zone if I want to grow deeper in my craft."