Kyliegh Curran attends the LA premiere of "Doctor Sleep" at the Regency Theatre Westwood on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles. Picture: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Kyliegh Curran attends the LA premiere of "Doctor Sleep" at the Regency Theatre Westwood on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles. Picture: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Kyliegh Curran gets Hollywood talking for role in 'Doctor Sleep'

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Nov 29, 2019

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She reminds me of a young Thandie Newton. Brimming with passion and excitement, Kyliegh Curran held her own alongside industry heavyweights in Mike Flanagan’s horror, Doctor Sleep.  

And her performance has been noticed. In fact, she is clearly well on her way to having her pick of roles in Hollywood. Of course, it is a journey. While she has taken those crucial first steps, she is still a teenager. There is much to do before planting those feet firmly in the world of showbiz.

Besides, she’s  in the fact that she landed her first movie. 

On how it came about, she shares, “The first audition felt quite rushed. I got back from summer camp and I immediately had to send it in. I wasn’t off-book and I wasn’t very confident in the tape—but then, I got a callback, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to try my best on this’. So, we spent two days working on the character with my acting coach. It was a little vague. 

"We didn’t know the film at first, because they changed the names Abra to Luna and Dan to Ben. We took as much as we could from what we had and sent it in. I had a lot of confidence in that. Then, I got a read with Ewan. I didn’t really know who he was at first, and my brother said, ‘Kyliegh, that’s Obi-Wan’.

“I was nervous that I wouldn’t do well, but when I walked in, I felt comfortable with everyone. I felt confident in how I did. A few days later, I was in class, and my mom actually worked in my school at the time - she knocked on the door. The teacher said, ‘Your mom’s outside’. I go, ‘Uh-oh’. I walk out and she told me that I got it! We were trying to stay quiet - we were jumping around, sort of whisper-screaming. My classmates were pressing their faces against the windows, like, ‘What’s she doing?’ It was one of the most exciting days of my life.”

Cast as Abra Stone, her character has “the shining” and Rose the Hat, the villain played by Rebecca Ferguson, wants to relieve her of it. 

Expanding on her character, Curran reveals, “She is a strong but innocent young girl, and I feel she’s genuinely good. She’ll lay down her life for someone she doesn’t even know. She’s very outspoken. She doesn’t want to hide her shine - she’s not like Danny (Ewan McGregor) - she is open about it. She’s okay with using it to save people. She doesn’t see it as some sort of power, like a burden. For her, it’s like a magic trick. It’s like, she’s a magician and she’s got like this cool special trick she knows.”

While it is easy to get caught up with the razzle-dazzle of being in the industry - with Macaulay Culkin and Lindsay Lohan being cautionary tales - Curran is grounded by her supportive family.

And her on-screen parents are just as loving. 

She admits, “They are scared of it, I think. They’re kind of taken aback whenever she uses it, so she tries not to. I think that puts a dent in the relationship with her parents. I think, when she finds Dan, he sort of fills that hole in her heart, because she’s keeping her parents at a distance, so they won’t react badly to her and her shine. She calls him Uncle Danny, because of the connection she feels.”

Kyliegh Curran attends the LA premiere of "Doctor Sleep" at the Regency Theatre Westwood on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles. Picture: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Reflecting on her character’s bond with Danny, she says, “When she’s younger, her radio mind kind of picks up on his station. They start talking, on the chalkboard, like she’s his pen pal. Since he’s the only one she knows who shines, she seeks him out. Her intuition tells her that he’s the one, he’s good.”

Of course, with good comes evil. She adds, “Rose and the True Knot are seeking out immortality. And they do it by kidnapping children and inhaling their shine, their essence. They call it steam. Abra picks up on their station when they’re going after a little boy. 

"That’s what really disturbs her enough to challenge these people and seek out Dan. I think she senses that he’s been through something kind of like this - his experiences from the Overlook. She senses he’s been through that trauma and he’ll be able to help her take them down.”

When quizzed about sharing the spotlight with such heavyweights, she smiles, “Ewan’s amazing. He is the absolute best. I’ve learned so much from working with him. He’s so sweet, and he makes me feel comfortable and calm. I don’t feel stressed when I’m working with him. I could say the same about Mr Mike, who is awesome. He knew everyone on set and was very sweet. He wasn’t at all - how do I say it? -hardcore. He was gentle. Everyone has just been so kind and amazing.”

Ahead of the shoot, she attempted to read the Stephen King novel that the movie is based on. She didn’t get past half of it as it was “too disturbing”. But she did catch The Shining. 

In summing up the entire experience, she admits, “It was kind of a delayed reaction. I didn’t really believe it most of the way through, until my mom, right after filming, said, ‘Kyliegh, this is all really happening’. I got to see the film at a screening… I think I did pretty well. I don’t like watching my audition tapes. But, I’m okay with the film. I’m very critical of myself, but this time, I allowed myself a little bit of happy.”

This new kid on the block is very promising. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

Doctor Sleep is currently showing on the big screen, nationwide. 

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