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Sydney Sweeney reveals 'uncomfortable' part about playing 'terrifying' role in horror film Immaculate

The Euphoria star plays young nun Cecilia in her new horror movie

Sydney Sweeney on Opening Night and Sony Pictures Photocall, CinemaCon 2023, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - 24 Apr 2023
6 April 2024
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As one of Hollywood's hottest young stars, Sydney Sweeney has her choice of fashionable gowns as designers clamour to dress her. But the 26-year-old The White Lotus actress's outfit for her latest film is as far away from a red carpet as you can get.

Sydney stars in the psychological horror movie Immaculate as young nun Cecilia, who is invited to stay in a beautiful convent in Italy that harbours awful secrets. And she loved dressing up in the traditional full-length nun's habit.

WATCH: Sydney Sweeney stars as a nun in the horror film Immaculate

"It was a little uncomfortable, but also a lot of fun. I had a little secret pouch inside with candy, and I would have a little snack in the middle of a take. It was great.

"But also, the costumes were incredible. Everything was custom-made. Not one single piece was bought. Everything was actually handmade and very particular."

Although the film is designed to terrify, Sydney relished playing a complex part. "I think one of the most exciting parts of Cecilia is how innocent she is at the beginning, and the journey she goes on. I love how she finds strength in herself that she has no idea she has," she says.

sydney sweeney braless immaculate premiere los angeles© Getty Images
Sydney Sweeney stars in new horror film Immaculate

"It's fun and exciting to play a character who unlocks potential and strength they never knew they had. She's an incredible character and definitely terrifying."

The idea for Immaculate was first mooted ten years ago and a teenage Sydney auditioned for a part. It never went into production, but she could not get the role of Cecilia out of her mind.

"I couldn't stop thinking about it. Every year, I would call my agent and ask them what happened to it, but nothing had. And then ten years later, here we are," she says.

"I'm so happy we brought this story to life and that [director] Michael Mohan, whom I'd worked with on Everything Sucks! and The Voyeurs, could do it."

Sydney Sweeney in Immaculate© Black Bear/Fifty-Fifty Films
Sydney plays a young nun in Immaculate

As well as playing the leading lady, Sydney is also one of the film's producers, a career move she was keen to make. "It's something I have always wanted to do. I love building my characters from the ground up, and producing gives me the chance to do that on a greater scale.

"I find it fascinating," she continues. "There are so many elements and people that have to come together to make a movie work, even before an actor shows up on set. I love being part of that process from the beginning to the end. I want to be a part of everything.

Sydney looked like a bride in her Richard Quinn gown© Michael Buckner
Sydney is a producer on the film

"I learnt so much on Immaculate. I was able to really get to know each department and to understand their time, their value, what they need and how I can help them do a better job.

"Moving forward, I feel I will be able to understand the mechanics of a set so much more. You can't just do it on your own; it's a collaboration."

Italy was an "amazing backdrop" for the film, she adds. "I truly feel as though the locations are characters in their own right.

"Adam Reamer, who helped design and set-decorate everything, is so incredibly talented – he elevated every room. Everything felt lived-in and very haunting. Every little detail was so thought-out."

Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell in Anyone But You
Sydney recently starred alongside Glen Powell in Anyone But You

A fan of classic horror films such as Rosemary's Baby and The Shining, Sydney wanted Immaculate to have a similar energy. "I feel as though now there are a lot of horror movies that are not cinematic and the characters not as strong. I don't know what happened to storytelling in the genre, but it's something I wanted to recapture in this."

Her role in Immaculate came hot on the heels of parts in hit films and TV shows including Anyone But You and Euphoria. Fiercely ambitious, she has wanted to be an actress since she was a young girl, when she was determined to persuade her parents it was a good career choice.

"When I was about 11, I put together a five-year plan to convince my parents to let me audition for this little movie that was shooting in our town. They realised I was serious about what I wanted to do and what my dreams were," she says.

euphoria cast reunion season three zendaya maude apatow hunter schaffer sydney sweeney© Photo: Getty Images
Sydney with her Euphoria co-stars

All those dreams came true and more, as she began to work with huge names almost immediately. One of them, Elisabeth Moss, proved a huge influence.

"One of my first projects was The Handmaid's Tale and Elisabeth definitely inspired me. She taught me so much about the process and the industry. I will always be grateful to her."

Even Sydney can't believe what is happening in her life right now, having received Emmy nominations for both Euphoria and The White Lotus. "I'm still in denial that it happened. I was filming at the time, so I didn't really allow myself time to process it all," she says. "Even when I was at the Emmys, I don't think it hit me. I always have impostor syndrome with that kind of stuff, but it is incredible.

"Olivia from The White Lotus and Cassie from Euphoria mean so much to me as characters. I loved playing them and I love the people I got to work with on both of those sets.

"Having both shows recognised in that way is incredible. It is everything you dream of as an actor."


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