Maggie Grace Talks Working With Minka Kelly on Blackwater Lane

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Maggie Grace couldn’t imagine a better costar than Minka Kelly when it came to filming her new film, Blackwater Lane.

“I think playing this very deep, longtime friendship with Minka, she’s absolutely easy to love,” Grace, 40, exclusively told Us Weekly. “She’s so adorable, and I think inherently authentic and vulnerable person. There’s a natural sweetness to her as well as a sort of sorrow and I think that she was perfect for Cass in many ways.”

Based on the New York Times bestselling book by B.A. Paris, Blackwater Lane follows Cass (Kelly), who, after witnessing grisly tragedy on a dangerous country road, is visited by a ghostly presence and begins to question her sanity. As the otherworldly experiences intensify, Cass finds herself driven closer to the brink until she begins to assemble the pieces of a horrific plot against her. Grace portrays Cass’ best friend Rachel, while Dermot Mulroney plays her husband, Matthew. The duo begin to grow concerned for Cass’ sanity as she spirals deeper.

While Grace didn’t know Kelly, 43, before projection on the film began, she told Us that it was easy to “build [a history]” of a longtime friendship with the Friday Night Lights alum as soon as they met. Their rapport, she said, felt natural despite the duo not auditioning together before being cast.

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“I’m glad that everyone had that chemistry,” she quipped, “Because the first time we really met was [when we started shooting] in England.”

Grace noted that she enjoyed all of the actors on the project — even if she couldn’t spend all that much time with them once the cameras stopped rolling.

“It was really fun being with the other actors, but I also had a very young son in tow,” she said with a laugh. “So I wasn’t exactly able to, you know, go out, um, you know, go out for beers after work or anything like that.” (Grace and husband Brent Bushnell share a 4-year-old son whom they welcomed in October 2020.)

While fun was clearly had behind the scenes, Grace and Minka’s characters have a much different experience on screen. Grace, for her part, is no stranger to the thriller/horror genre as she’s starred in projects like Fear of the Walking Dead, Lost, Taken and Faster. Surprisingly, the actress told Us that while she loves to take on darker roles, tuning in to watch them depends on the details.

BlackwaterLane_POSTER_Date (1), Maggie Lane Minka Kelly
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“I really like psychological thrillers [but] can’t handle a whole lot of gore,” she said. “It’s different when you shoot on set. It’s an appreciation of the artistry. There’s just incredible artists involved and to get to see them create these things, layer by layer, and you’re distanced from it in a way. And then when they add everything in CGI and the quick cuts, it’s just different. I can’t do gore, but I like to watch psychological thrillers a lot.”

Luckily for Grace, Blackwater Lake is less about body horror and more about the supernatural world. Grace said ghosts and spirits are something she has a longtime personal history with — even if she isn’t sure she still believes in their existence.

“I don’t think I believe in ghosts as an adult [because] I am a lover of, of science, but I grew up in a really old house by American standards,” she told Us. “It had a cellar that bricked off [into a] tunnel that had a pretty dark history. [So] I believed in ghosts growing up, being in England in this grand house and hearing, every time the wind blew, the creaking and the howling. It definitely makes you question whether you believe in ghosts. It was an interesting place.”

While Grace might not still believe in otherworldly spirits these days, she still “loves” the “mood” of a supernatural thriller — and told Us that their England location is what really helped the story come to life.

“It was inherently a very historical place with a lot of heavy energy and it was gorgeous,” she gushed. “There were literally swans in the pond and weeping willows and a sort of Alice in Wonderland Garden. It was really a wild place to shoot.”

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Grace added that bringing the characters into a foreign country like England also helped the tension build.

“I liked the fish out of water feel and that sense of alienation that Minka’s character has found herself in this life that she doesn’t recognize herself,” she continued. “And [she’s] in a country very far away from her friends and family, sort of marooned, I guess. She’s not sure who she is and how she got there in a way. I think we’ve all had those moments.”

Making Cass an unreliable narrator was also an additional complexity of the film, which Grace thinks viewers will appreciate. “We’re really with one character and n her journey, but we’re not entirely sure what she’s going through,” she explained, “and how much we can depend on her perspective.”

Blackwater Lane is in theaters and digital/on demand now.

With reporting by Sarah Jones

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