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WiHM: An Interview with Lotta Losten

Today for Women in Horror month we have our interview with Lotta Losten - actor, producer and writer - working in some of Hollywood's best horror productions!

From way back with Cam Closer and Lights Out, you’ve worked a great deal in the horror genre. Is there a reason for that – is it a personal favorite?

The boring truth is that I was never really into Horror before David (edit: F Sandberg) and I started making them together. He’s the big horror buff, but I’m a person who is very easily scared so I didn’t watch a lot of them growing up. I’ve always enjoyed suspense and thrillers though, so I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just a bit more picky in what kind of horror I can get into. I always wanted to act though, so the genre didn’t matter to me when we started making the horror shorts. But then I realized how much fun it is to scare other people, what a feeling of power it creates, and since then I’ve watched and loved lots of horror movies. I think I had to enter the world of horror from the film making door to truly appreciate it.

And from the full circle of Lights Out on the big screen and Annabelle Creation, what are the differences that you’ve encountered, leaping between the short and the feature?

Oh, almost everything was different! David and I made the shorts just the two of us in our apartment building- there was no team, just us. I don’t think I can even compare, because when we moved to LA everything was new to us, not just the way we made movies. Every single thing in our life was new so we just had to dive in, treat it as an adventure and hopefully do a good enough job that they let us stay, haha!

Except for the films David and I made, I had only done theater before coming here. My dream was always to be a stage actor, so when we came to LA I felt liked I had to learn everything all over again- and in another language than my own! Acting in movies is very different from acting on stage- for example you don’t get to experience the story and the emotions chronically as they happen, in movies the scenes are often shot in a completely different order. I still feel a little bit like a rookie.

You’ve already worked as a writer (we love Coffer) – do you have any desire to work beyond that behind the, perhaps?

Thank you! The funny things is though, the credits for our shorts on IMDb are very random. We only added director and actor ourselves, so anything else is put there by other people. Making movies two people is always going to be a huge collaboration and since we did all of it together it’s very difficult to put a title to any of it. What was clear though was that David directed and I acted, everything else is so much harder to pinpoint.

If we would do it all over again we would both be producers/writers on all our shorts because we realized the hard way that if there are no credits, Hollywood will not see the partnership as we do. This was nothing we thought about back then (and as a matter of fact we still haven’t updated IMDb after all this time), we had no idea how much the shorts would come to change our lives, we just wanted to make movies together.

Okay, so that was a long sidebar to reach this answer: Yes! I’m producing a bunch of things together with David that I can’t really talk about yet, but one thing I can say is that I will be a producer on Lights Out 2. We’re also working on a script based on another one of our shorts, Pictured. I would love to direct something in the future, but right now my main focus is getting my acting and producing career going, sprinkled with some writing.

Looking at the industry, although changes are always being made do you feel that women –particularly behind the camera – are still heavily underrepresented?

Oh, yes! I’m more often that not the only woman in the room during meetings. It does feel like things are changing, but so very slowly. People work with friends, and friends of friends, and because this world has been run mostly by men it’s going to take some serious work to become more equal. Since coming here we have worked with so many awesome women as we’re building our team of people we like to work with. I see it as a responsibility to do what I can to make the business more inclusive, not just for women, but people of color, differently abled persons and with a variety of body shapes.

And what about in front? Do you feel that once a woman reaches a certain age, Hollywood still has a tendency to push them aside?

Yes, definitely! I think I came to Hollywood at exactly the right time for myself; I feel secure in who I am, and I believe I can take a lot, but in Hollywood’s eyes I’m right at the point when I’m too old for the leading lady, and too young to play the mom. It’s frustrating, but I do see work happening regarding this so I’m hopeful. I for one want to see women of all ages, shapes and sizes in film. Movies should reflect the world, and right now they are not. Every time I see a character in a movie or on tv that doesn’t fit the usual mold I cheer, and the feeling of joy stays with me for a long time after.

The short, Lights Out, pretty much made you a horror icon – I know people that hate horror, but are more than familiar with it, due to its viral popularity. How does it make you feel – are you recognized? And most importantly – as you have personally affected the way I turn off my lights – has it affected you?

Yeah, it’s really crazy to think about! We created something huge without planning to. We do get recognized sometimes, and it’s always for our short films- which surprises people- but they have been seen by way more people than any of our features so it makes sense to us.

We think about it quite often, how strange and amazing it is that our little short was spread all over the world in such a short time, but it’s still so hard to grasp. When I start to wrap my head around how many people have seen me, it kinda freaks me out a little.

Lights Out has affected almost every aspect of my life, but luckily it has not made me more scared to turn off the lights, haha!

On that note, starring in such effective horror – do you check yourself on a day to day basis?Do you ever ‘flashback’?

We see our lives as before and after Lights Out. It was truly a life changing moment.
It’s strange how fast things become normal though; our life here in LA feels quite normal now, but we left everything in Sweden and had to start over completely here, so it feels like we’ve been living two lives.

We know that Shazam! is forthcoming (awesome congrats!), but what do you have next on the roster? 

Thank you! We have a whole bunch of exciting things coming up, but nothing I can really talk about yet. We hope to make another horror movie soon, we want to make something smaller together, and it seems like we might venture into TV too, but I’ll have to get back on the specifics once there are any, haha!

Congratulations on the forthcoming events, Lotta, and thank you so much for finding the time to join us!

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