Most spectators first met actor Kiernan Shipka during his stint on the famous AMC series Mad Men, but after the series ended, she would continue to venture into areas that allowed for much more ambitious concepts than those seen in the drama. Thanks for starring in the Oz Perkins horror movie The girl in the black coat, followed by her getting the coveted role of Sabrina Spellman in Netflix The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Shipka has gained a passionate following, many of whom appreciate her for the spooky stories she helps bring to life. His latest project, the “podcast film” To treat, sees Shipka continue to pursue terrifying stories, which are available today wherever you get your podcasts.
From C13Features, written by Nathan Ballingrud, in partnership with Babak Anvari and Lucan Toh from Two & Two Pictures, and co-produced with Best Case Studios, To treat tells the story of a seemingly perfect American town on a Halloween night when its idyllic image is threatened by its buried evil past and its terrifying pact with the Piper, the town’s sinister outcast. Shipka plays protagonist and narrator Allie West, a teenage girl struggling with issues beyond her years while struggling to fit in. But when she discovers the powerful hold of the mysterious Piper over the city, she and her younger brother realize that they are the ones who can save their community before it rot at the hands of the Piper.
ComicBook.com caught up with Shipka to talk about her love for Halloween, the best way to listen To treat, and her upcoming return as Sabrina Spellman for Riverdale.
ComicBook.com: First of all, in case you haven’t heard it today, The girl in the black coat [is great].
Kiernan Shipka: Oh, the first time I hear it today. Thank you.
I’m happy to be the first. It’s so good.
I really appreciate it. I’m glad people have seen it over the years. It’s very cool because it was such a labor of love and you feel like you want to do things as an artist that last and, I have to say, every time someone tells me to. talking, and it’s been six years, it makes me feel like I’m doing what I want to do. It’s good.
And, hey, I have a Blu-ray one. I’m not even waiting for it to appear on Netflix.
Certainly not. I don’t even have a Blu-ray.
You can borrow mine whenever you want.
It’s incredible. I’ll send you my address.
Whether it be To treat, whether it be Sabrina, Blackcoat Girl, you have all of these genre projects, so I know some fans probably think you like Halloween. Do you love Halloween as much as your fans might think?
It’s funny because I never wanted to do a lot of genre. It was never a conscious decision. I think I’m always looking for projects that speak to me at higher levels and resonate with me. At the end of the day, I think the common thread running through all of the projects I do is that at the core there is a protagonist or character who is relatable and has depth. And, a couple of times it turned out to be a horror movie or something heavy like Sabrina. I think, on the one hand, I’ve never really looked for it, but there’s also such an exciting nature to the high-quality stuff that’s gender-based as well. I think some of my favorite movies are horror movies and that’s because at a basic level they’re nifty and they’re interesting and the characters are interesting.
Then on top of that you have strong feelings and heightened emotion and I think cinema and art are meant to evoke emotion. Evoking not only any emotion, but fear, is such a mission that I love. So all that to say, no, I never really felt like, “Oh, that’s something I’m necessarily doing,” but I will never say anything either. ‘fun and scary.
Well, speaking of something fun and scary …
Oh, let’s talk. Segue. Perfect sequence here.
Thanks for the setup. To treat marks a slightly different foray for you. It’s not that you’ve never done a voiceover before, because you’ve done it, but it’s a whole different beast. This is a podcast feature film. What really made you say about this concept and this story, âI’m not entirely familiar with this, but I’ll dive into itâ?
A feature-length podcast is quite an original concept. I read the script and really loved the script and read it like I would read any script for a movie, but deep in my head I had this idea that it wouldn’t be a movie is actually going to be an audio experience. Which, first of all, I think is super cool because it gets people into their own imaginations. It’s like reading a book, if you will, or just listening to a story, a ghost story, a bedtime story, whatever it is. Letting people go to their imaginations is not only interesting, but I think it makes things scarier. I thought it really worked for the project. Also, the fact that high quality content can be created efficiently, I did my part in five days, is really exciting.
I think that the fact that cool stories and clever stories can be brought into people’s homes, cars or workplaces or everyday walks in less time is exciting. I think people want, and we should be able to offer them, as much cool and interesting content and storytelling as possible. I would like that. The appeal was therefore everywhere in this project. Nothing about it was a red flag. It was all like, “Oh wait, that makes things 10 times cooler.”
I think in the days of podcasts people just think of podcasts and it’s like, “Oh, here’s that thing I’ll be listening to at the gym or doing laundry or driving” or whatever. whatever else. Is it something that you really think you have to commit to, turn off the lights, maybe light a candle or a Jack-o’-lantern, or do you think it’s just as rewarding for someone who is can? -be a more casual listener?
I think the great thing about it is that it can go both ways. I can certainly imagine a long drive and it being very entertaining. I can imagine going for a walk and having it in my ears as you watch the leaves fall and smell the cold air. There is increased experience to this. I think you could clean your house and listen to it and that would be really fun, but the ritual of lighting a candle and dimming the lights is also very exciting. I think I would equate it most closely to your favorite songs. You can totally listen to it in the background, but it’s a different experience if you sit down and actually sit down with it. So obviously I would rely on the recommendation that people really sit down with it and listen to it. But if you don’t necessarily have the time or the place to do it, you aren’t left out of the listening experience at all.
I know there has been some super exciting news recently about a certain Miss Spellman going through a certain TV show. I knew it was gonna happen, did it end Sabrina Part 4 is a little easier for you, namely, “Okay, I say goodbye to Sabrina for now, but I can play her on Riverdale shortly,”?
Oh, I didn’t know I was coming back. Well also, when we shot part 4, we didn’t know it was the last. So I got no warning. I roll with the punches, but I love Sabrina so much that every time I play her I’m there.
And you play Sabrina five more years now because Riverdale is in the future …
You’re going to have to wait and see.
OK. Broken. You got me.
I can’t tell you that. I think there is a trailer. I think this trailer just came out for Riverdale.
Okay, and I was wondering what it was like playing Sabrina like an older version of the last time we saw her.
I don’t think it’s a question of young or old. I think it was a matter of … It was really interesting for me to get back into her shoes because I hadn’t been her for two years. I was surprised at how quickly she got over it. It was like riding a bike and you never know that sort of thing. I had never played with someone and then not, then I went back and did it again. So it was a novelty for me. I didn’t know how it was going to work, and I was just like, “Oh, that fits like a glove.” And it was a lot of fun.
To treat is available now wherever you get your podcasts.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter.