Quibi has only been part of the streaming service landscape for a week now, and it's already added some pretty unexpected programming to the fray. One of the newest series to hit the service - which provides "quick bites" of content in ten minutes or less - is the horror anthology series 50 States of Fright. Each episode of the series tracks an urban legend from different corners of the United States, with the help of an all-star cast in front of and behind the camera. Among that list is Emily Hampshire, a fan-favorite actress best known for her work on Schitt's Creek and 12 Monkeys. Hampshire plays a role in the "Scared Stiff" chapter of the series, which also stars It: Chapter Two's James Ransone and revolves around a mysterious taxidermied creature in Oregon.
In celebration of 50 States of Fright's debut, we got to chat with Hampshire about her work on the series, and her relationship to the overall horror world. In the process, we spoke about how she's keeping busy during the current coronavirus pandemic, the recent series finale of Schitt's Creek, and why she would love to play a Marvel superhero.
ComicBook.com: How are you doing at the moment? Because obviously, things are kind of crazy and unprecedented right now.
Emily Hampshire: It's definitely an unprecedented time. I mostly feel guilty because when my good friends have checked in on me, their texts are usually like, "I'm sure you're great, you've been practicing for this all your life." Because I'm definitely a homebody. In elementary school, I think all my report cards said, "Emily plays well alone." So I've been doing very well until maybe this week. Now, I've started to look out my window and see restaurants I want to go to. But I've been keeping myself very busy. I've started doing this talk show called Hump Day with Hampshire to benefit The Actors Fund. So I've been keeping myself super busy with that.
That's awesome! As someone who works from home, I totally get what you mean. I went out for a walk this morning and it was revolutionary.
I know, it's weird. I've been outside for just around the block too, and it's so weird because-- don't you forget what day it is? I always think it's a Sunday. Time is different in quarantine. It's such a whole other world. It's just a strange thing that we're all going through the same crazy experience at the same time, but we're having a different experience of it. Everybody has their own way they're feeling about things in quarantine, which is so interesting. Obviously, nobody wants this to be happening, but it's definitely there's been a lot of silver linings I could see, like a social experiment.
50 States of Fright
What drew you to 50 States of Fright? Because it feels like such an interesting project all around.
It's an anthology series. It's produced by Sam Raimi, which was definitely something that drew me to it. He's a legend in the horror world. I also love anthologies. I think I may be the perfect audience search for Quibi, because I'm a very bite-size kind of person. I can't actually watch long things. The most I can watch is a little episode of Forensic Files, and anything longer than that is too much. So this seemed like the coolest thing, especially the new platform of it. And then when I read the script, the story, my episode is called "Scared Stiff", and it's about this taxidermy urban legend. Not only is it about taxidermy, but it's also about a Yeti that gets taxidermied.
I don't know if you follow me on Instagram. But if you do ever, you will notice that I have an abominable snowman, a Yeti. He's seven-year-old, some people say it's a stuffed animal, I disagree. When I read this story, my agent and manager, who have known me forever, were like, "You have to do this, it's about a Yeti. Bumble will be so excited." Bumble is my abominable snowman. So it was just perfect. I was so excited and also I liked that it was darkly funny. There are comedic aspects of this episode in the horror genre of it all. It was just something that I thought was really cool.
That's amazing. You mentioned the Sam Raimi of it all, and his impact in the horror world. Are you a horror fan?
I've become a horror fan since it started to be those, there's been a lot of character-based horror movies recently. Like A Quiet Place, and what was that one recently? When they were in the house and that girl and she gets her head cut off --
Yes! I can't believe I described by "girl in the house gets her head cut off", and you knew what I was talking about. I love you.
As soon as you said that... I haven't even seen the movie, but I've seen that scene. And it's stuck with me because it's just so effective and so creepy.
Those kinds of horror movies really get to me. I don't so much get scared of monsters, except when I watch some of these [50 States of Fright] episodes, definitely, they got me. So I've come into that. Mostly though, if I'm being honest, I'm very into Forensic Files, Dateline, and murder documentaries. I come at my horror from reality, which is just terrible. This, I was excited. I like artsy horror and this was such a cool thing to be a part of. Because I also like dark comedy and I just thought my episode was very much in a genre that I like.
I want to know more about your Yeti obsession, because like you said, that feels perfectly suited for this episode. Where did that stem from?
Well, I don't know if you have seen the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Claymation Christmas special?
It's with the elf who wants to be a dentist. There is the abominable snowman, Bumble, in it, and he has a toothache and they think he's really a mean guy. But he just has a toothache and that's why he's so mad. One day, years ago, someone got me - there was a special edition Build-a-Bear Yeti - and that they got me and stuffed it with lots of love. And I have had that Bumble ever since, and he travels with me and people recognize him from the movie. He's very famous and has just been my travel partner forever.
Recently, for the first time in his life, he got cleaned because of this pandemic. He took his first spin in the washing machine. It was traumatic for me, but ultimately he has been feeling like his best self walking around the house. I don't know, it's like he's wearing this new outfit or something. You can see that experience of his on my Instagram.
So, I've been pretty Yeti obsessed. And then when my agent and manager read this they were like, "This is crazy. Because not only is it about a Yeti and taxidermy, there's a baby Yeti and it's stuffed!" I couldn't believe this came my way.
What are you most excited to see audiences respond to with 50 States of Fright as a whole?
What I responded to first was how amazing it looks. The thing about this platform is that it's meant to be viewed on your phone, which you would think would be a lower quality thing, but it's not. It's so beautifully shot.
And the stories are these, I love this aspect of these bite-sized stories that you can just get in under 10 minutes and have some quick entertainment like that. You don't have to -- I know this is a personal thing, this might be the wrong thing to say about this, but I'm afraid of commitment. So anthologies really work for me. I even find binging now overwhelming, because I don't want to start something. I know I'm different from most people that love this stuff, but I don't want to start anything that is going to require hours of my life. I'm really excited about that. But also, it's cool. It's 50 States of Fright from Sam Raimi. I'm so proud to be a part of something like this.
I totally get what you mean about binge-watching because I'm the exact same way. People will be like, "Oh did you see the new Netflix show? I watched the whole 13 episode season." And I'm like. "Wait, slow down. No." I can maybe get through an episode or two in one sitting, and then I need to take a break away from it and then maybe come back.
Yes! I don't understand it. I have friends -- Dan Levy, who is the creator and showrunner and star of Schitt's Creek. He's a busy guy, but he's constantly telling me about these series he's watched and I'm like, "How, when did you find the time to do that?" I can't find the time to actually make something that didn't come in a box, food-wise. It's just too much for me, but I guess I am impressed that people can do that.
But I feel like I'm going to feel really successful with Quibi because I feel like a failure of my entertainment industry by not watching any scripted television. And so for this to be something where I can be like, "I watched the whole anthology series of 50 States of Fright. Did you see it?" And it'll be the greatest thing ever, because I did the whole thing.
You mentioned Schitt's Creek. I have to ask about the series ending because it's obviously very bittersweet. What has it been like to see the series embraced by so many, and have this community around it?
It's changed my life, and not in a way that most series, it changes your life in a monetary way. It definitely didn't do that. We shot in Canada, we made Canadian dollars. It changed my life in the same way, I think, of people's lives who fell in love with this show, in that it was this kind of kind comedy. This show has this huge heart, that doesn't sacrifice its humor at all for it. It's really funny, but it also, you leave it feeling like you love these characters, and they love each other, and they're good to each other. I know that springs from the top. From the beginning, Dan had a mandate that there will be no homophobia in Schitt's Creek, and the town will never be the butt of the joke, or the townspeople. That created this world of Schitt's Creek [being] such a safe space that I think people want to go live in for half an hour.
I think, obviously, none of us want to be going through this pandemic right now, but there's something serendipitous about this ending during this time. Because so many people have told us, we get a lot of DMs saying, 'Schitt's helped me through my chemo.' or 'Schitt's helped me come out to my family because we all watch it together.' And during this time, I think people are either quarantined with their family or they're alone, and I think it's creating this environment where you can bond with families that are different generations. Or if you're alone, Schitt's has been a chosen family to a lot of people. I just like that it's wrapping up during this time in a special way for people right now.
That is so beautifully said. I'm bi, so I totally get what you said about the queer representation and the comforting aspect of it. You guys just do such a great job.
I was so impressed with Dan that he leads by example, in a way. I would've thought most shows, if they wanted to show a queer relationship and it being normalized, they'd show some townspeople gay-bashing and then they learn their lesson. But no, it's so much smarter to just have it exist and then you see that it's just love, and the town's not different for it. And actually, nobody misses homophobia there.
Even you saying you're bi -- when I started this show, I remember the first season, there was this episode where Dan described his character's pansexuality through this wine metaphor. I remember at the time, I didn't know what pansexuality was and I didn't understand it. I was like, "Man, I don't get it. What's the third wine?" Cut to five years later, and I'm definitely pan. I would've thought I'm the most open-minded person. I've been in the entertainment industry, which is filled with people of mostly nontraditional relationships and on all parts of the gender spectrum, but I didn't know. It's just expanded my mind in a way that I didn't even think was possible. So I'm really proud to be part of something that does that for a lot of people.
I wanted to ask about a project that you have coming up, Chapelwaite. I'm very excited to see that, especially with the Stephen King of it all. Is there anything you can tease about it?
It's based on the short story by Stephen King that was, it's like the prequel to Salem's Lot. I'm just so excited about it, because I love wearing corsets. It is set in 1850, and to go from Stevie's plaids to this out of her time, educated woman in 1850 wearing corsets, is the most exciting thing ever. I love it. Except it's been postponed, of course. I was on my way to shoot that when the world started ending, when the apocalypse happened. I can't wait for that to start.
And it's with Adrien Brody. And the producer Donald De Line, he's the loveliest in the world. And it actually reminds me of Jeffrey Katzenberg, who's behind Quibi. It's really rare, but there's certain people who are these massive producers who are the most lovely, real, genuine people. Jeffrey Katzenberg's like that. I got an email from him the other day saying, "Congratulations on the launch of this thing." And I'm like, "It's your thing!"
I like being part of a film scene where the person at the top is a really good person. I guess that's come from Dan working on Schitt's and stuff. It's made me just want to work with people like that, so it's hard to go back.
About a year ago, you replied to a fan on Twitter who wanted you to play Spider-Woman, and you seemed very on board with the idea. Honestly, I think you'd be a really awesome choice for that character. Is that something that you would want to do, or is there another comic book or genre role that you would love to play?
I would love to do that. I didn't know where that came from, but wherever it came from, I agree and I like it. I would be just good at it. I would be so into that.
The only other one I can think of is -- I'd be very into playing She-Hulk. I know that's happening, I've been hearing something about that. I didn't realize that -- I looked up the comic book and I didn't realize she was such a... You think of She-Hulk and muscles and stuff, but the person who's behind it is just such a cool character. So that, or I'd just love to play a comic book character. I think that would be the coolest thing.0comments
New episodes of 50 States of Fright are released Mondays through Fridays on Quibi.