From Johnny Depp in A Nightmare on Elm Street to Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, horror films have been a good way for actors to cut their teeth in Hollywood.
The Gallows, opening Friday, features a cast of relatively unknown actors hoping to make their mark, including Cassidy Gifford, the 21-year-old daughter of TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford and former football player Frank Gifford.
Gifford says she’s known since she was a young child that she wanted to perform.
“I did the Three Little Pigs when I was in first grade, and I was the pig with the brick house, so I technically was the smart pig, not to toot my own horn,” she joked in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Gallows is set at a high school where a student died in a horrific accident during a school play in 1993. Twenty years later, the school tries to resurrect the production. The night before the play is to open, a few students break in to trash the set, but find themselves trapped inside the school. The movie is presented like footage recorded by one of the students.
Gifford says the film was largely improvised with the actors playing characters who share their first names.
“They wouldn’t tell us what we were going to shoot until the morning we got there, sometimes the night before if we were lucky, but they would give us the outline and say, ‘These are the points that we want to hit,’” she said. “There were a few things that needed to be said for plot [points] that would come out later in the movie, but ultimately it kind of came down to us kind of playing off one another.”
Made on a small budget, Gifford said getting studio backing and a summer opening makes the film “an underdog story.”
Proud mom Kathie Lee, along with her old friend Kris Jenner, along with daughter Kylie, attended the L.A. school-themed premiere at iconic Hollywood High Tuesday night.
The film’s other stars, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos and Reese Mishler walked the red carpet proudly.
“The whole movie is improv,” Shoos told Variety. “If I had an idea of something that I wanted to do and not tell Reese about, I would just start talking to Reese and he would start reacting in a natural way.”
At the after-party, held at the Roosevelt Hotel, guests were served school cafeteria food like burgers, fries and pizza on a lunch tray. But no hair nets were spotted in the haute crowd.