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‘The First Omen’ Exclusive Interview: Nell Tiger Free

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Nell Tiger Free Talks 'The First Omen'.

Nell Tiger Free Talks ‘The First Omen’.

‘The First Omen,’ which opens in theaters on April 5th is the sixth film in the franchise and acts as a prequel to 1976’s ‘The Omen.’

The new movie stars Nell Tiger Free (‘Servant’), Maria Caballero (‘Olvido’), Ralph Ineson (‘The Creator’), Sônia Braga (‘Shotgun Wedding’), Bill Nighy (‘Living’), and Charles Dance (‘The Golden Child’), and was directed by Arkasha Stevenson (‘Legion’).

Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Nell Tiger Free in-person about her work on ‘The First Omen,’ her first reaction to the screenplay, being an ‘Omen’ fan, her character’s strange history, preparing for the role, working with Bill Nighy, and collaborating with director Arkasha Stevenson on set.

Related Article: Nell Tiger Free to Lead ‘The Omen’ Prequel ‘First Omen’

Nell Tiger Free as Margaret in 20th Century Studios' 'The First Omen'.

Nell Tiger Free as Margaret in 20th Century Studios’ ‘The First Omen’. Photo by Moris Puccio. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Moviefone: To begin with, what was your first reaction to the screenplay and were you an ‘Omen’ fan before you signed on for the project?

Nell Tiger Free: Big time. I love ‘The Omen.’ I love horror. I love all things weird and wonderful, and so getting to do this movie has been a real dream for me, honestly. It’s like all my favorite things combined, so I feel very lucky to be a part of this. When I read the original script, I remember almost looking at it initially from a fan’s point of view, not something that I was reading for potential work. It was more just like, what are they going to do with the prequel to ‘The Omen’? This was before I was signed on. I read the script and I remember reading it and going, okay, that’s great. That’s a really good idea. I just thought it was a great idea and a great expansion on the universe, “The Omen-Verse.” It just felt like it worked. Then I was like, I really hope they let me do this movie. I was really excited by it. As an actress and as a fan, thumbs up, I would say. That was my first initial reaction.

Nell Tiger Free as Margaret in 20th Century Studios' 'The First Omen'.

Nell Tiger Free as Margaret in 20th Century Studios’ ‘The First Omen’. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

MF: Can you talk about the strange visions that haunted your character as a child and how that still affects her as an adult?

MF: Yeah, absolutely. I think when we first meet Margaret, it’s all sunny, sweet and lovely, and that is true to a degree and that’s what you see on the surface. But Margaret’s deeply troubled from the opening frame. When she’s seeing Rome, she’s so mesmerized because she’s never been away from where she lives. She’s grown up there and she doesn’t know where she comes from or who she is. She grew up in an orphanage and she was very mistreated as a young child. Those things plague her and trouble her. She spent her entire childhood and adult life having people tell her that what she’s seeing isn’t real and to constantly question her reality and to constantly question herself. What’s so lovely is that at some point, she decides to stop listening and listen to herself instead. That was a very fun moment and fun arc to play.

Director Arkasha Stevenson and Nell Tiger Free as Margaret on the set of 20th Century Studios' 'The First Omen.'

(L to R) Director Arkasha Stevenson and Nell Tiger Free as Margaret on the set of 20th Century Studios’ ‘The First Omen.’ Photo by Moris Puccio. © 2024 All Rights Reserved.

MF: Was this an emotionally difficult or physically exhausting role to play?

NTF: Yeah, very much so it was. Physically, it was exhausting, but in such a rewarding, lovely way. I love being pushed like that. I love being challenged. Those days were my favorite days. The days where I’m doing the most intense, crazy stuff, those are the days I was most looking forward to. Emotionally, you can’t help what happens after. You can’t really help what happens before. You can only focus on what’s going on during. And during, if it feels real, then you push it and you just go for it and you let it run. You let over you. If you can’t stop crying, great, keep it going. I love that too. I’m a weirdo. The worst time it looks like I’m having on screen, the best time I’m having in my heart in real life.

Bill Nighy as Lawrence in 20th Century Studios' 'The First Omen'.

Bill Nighy as Lawrence in 20th Century Studios’ ‘The First Omen’. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

MF: Can you talk about Margaret’s history with Cardinal Lawrence, why she trusts him, and working with Bill Nighy?

NTF: It wasn’t hard to act like I trusted Bill Nighy because I trust him with my life, honestly. Sometimes I think if I got arrested, he’d be my first phone call. I think he’d just know what to do. I don’t know. I mean, that relationship is so nuanced, I think, between the two of them, even right up until the last moments. There’s never a clear, wrong or right thing that happens, and I think there is genuine real love between the two of them. He’s very much a father figure for Margaret, and I think he sees her very much as a child, as a daughter figure, and the love between them is very real and its real right up until the end. Unfortunately, there are some sinister things behind it, but it’s a real relationship and that’s why it’s so heartbreaking when we see the building blocks start to come down.

Director Arkasha Stevenson and Nell Tiger Free as Margaret on the set of 20th Century Studios' 'The First Omen'.

(L to R) Director Arkasha Stevenson and Nell Tiger Free as Margaret on the set of 20th Century Studios’ ‘The First Omen’. Photo by Moris Puccio. © 2024 All Rights Reserved.

MF: Finally, can you talk about collaborating with director Arkasha Stevenson on set?

NTF: The movie is Arkasha. It was everything. The whole universe was just infinitely better with Arkasha in it. I mean, having her there was everything to me. It was so important. I think with this subject matter and the content and weird stuff that I had to do, we really had to trust each other. I really had to trust her, and I did straight away within the first 10 seconds of meeting her. She just got more wonderful as the days went by and her directorial style is so hands-on and so respectful. She values every opinion and every thought that you have. It’s not like, okay, do one for you and do one for me, take-wise, which happens all the time where you’re at odds with what you think it should be. She’s always collaborative every time. She’s also just the loveliest person in the world, so it was a real dream. It was a real gift.

“Create something to fear.”

R1 hr 59 minApr 5th, 2024

Showtimes & Tickets

When a young American woman is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church, she encounters a darkness that causes her to question her own faith and uncovers… Read the Plot

What is the Plot of ‘The First Omen’?

The plot follows an American woman (Nell Tiger Free) sent to work at a church in Rome who uncovers a sinister conspiracy to bring about the birth of the Antichrist.

Who is in the Cast of ‘The First Omen’?

  • Nell Tiger Free as Margaret Daino
  • Sônia Braga as Sister Silvia
  • Ralph Ineson as Father Brennan
  • Bill Nighy as Cardinal Lawrence
  • Tawfeek Barhom as Father Gabriel
  • Maria Caballero as Luz Valez
  • Nicole Sorace as Carlita Skianna
Sonia Braga as Silvia and Nell Tiger Free as Margaret in 20th Century Studios' 'The First Omen'.

(L to R) Sonia Braga as Silvia and Nell Tiger Free as Margaret in 20th Century Studios’ ‘The First Omen’. Photo by Moris Puccio. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Other Movies Similar to ‘The First Omen’:

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