In the making of a horror film, one can totally excuse an actor for being frightened on set, as some filmmakers work hard to create a spooky atmosphere that can help inform the performances. In the case of Mackenzie Davis in the making of THE TURNING, however, the actress experienced a fear a bit more complicated than just that. Rather than being freaked out by a loud sound or people quietly sneaking around, she went as far as to feel a full mind-body disconnect while filming one particular shot.
There is a scene in THE TURNING where Mackenzie Davis’ character, Kate, attempts a sort of rescue mission in a pool. While you can’t really tell while watching the film, it was apparently freezing cold outside the night the scene was shot on-location in Ireland. The sequence required multiple takes — and Davis going in and out of the pool. As she recently described to CinemaBlend in an interview, her body got to a point where it decided to stop taking the brain’s commands:
"I wasn't terrified on set. The swimming thing really scared me in a different way. There was a point where it was like the middle of winter, and they tried to heat the pool, but that didn't work that well, and I had to get in the water again and again and again. And I remember on, like, the fourth or fifth time being about to jump in the water to start the scene, and my body just wouldn't let me."
Putting oneself in Mackenzie Davis’ shoes here, it’s easy to immediately understand her perspective and sympathize. There’s a reason people don’t go swimming in winter, and that particularly goes for swimming in outdoor pools that aren’t fully heated. You have to give Davis credit for doing not just one dive into the cold water, but apparently as many as four or five.
In reflection, Mackenzie Davis seemed to consider the whole situation more fascinating than scarring, but also made it clear that it wasn’t a circumstance she would immediately be excited to revisit:
"I kept having this sort of... I don't know, it was really interesting, where my mind was pushing me forward, but my body wouldn't let me go in the water anymore. And that's a type of fear!"
The hope is that audiences will experience a more general kind of fear watching the finished film, and moviegoers will have that chance very soon. THE TURNING arrives in theatres on January 24.