“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” isn’t all terror. Actors Andrew Jacobs and Jorge Diaz sit down and discuss the view from behind the handheld cameras

Olivia Sheets

Photo by Olivia Sheets.
Photo by Olivia Sheets.

Demonic entities aren’t the only things that have Andrew Jacobs and Jorge Diaz, the stars of “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” running to and fro. Their current press tour has the actors crisscrossing the country. Before leaving for Houston, FAU’s University Press had a chance to sit in on a roundtable interview with the duo on Jan. 8.

In the new film, the “captured on camera” stylings of the “Paranormal Activity” franchise follow recent high school grads Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz) as they discover the terror of what it truly means to be a “marked one”. Jacobs and Diaz discuss the creepy atmosphere of filming this type of movie and how they squeezed in laughs between takes.

[divider type=”thin”]

Q: Were you guys actually ever scared while filming?

Andrew Jacobs: Scared the way people think? I don’t think so. But, definitely, [there was] a feeling, a weird sense, a weird vibe ‘cause a lot of places we went to in the film…like we go to a botanica [a shop that sells herbs and charms for spiritual purposes] and it’s actually like a real botanica…so there’s definitely a lot of weird vibes ‘cause we go into a room…there’s this really weird room that we go into.

Diaz: Yes! You actually see it in one of the trailers [points to trailer on screen]. That room has an energy to it. It’s so crazy and it really…it’s creepy. So there was space and each space we shot in had its own energy, you know? What I mean…like the basement of our building, this old apartment building in LA, it was actually super run down and had a creepy history to it when they remodeled it and they used it for the movie…but the basement, I doubt anyone’s gone down there in like a really long time, so there we are with our little cameras like ‘ahhh!’ So, in that sense, you could feel like a  presence or a certain energy in a certain space, definitely.

[divider type=”thin”]

Photo by Olivia Sheets.
Photo by Olivia Sheets.

Q: Was there any way Christopher Landon [the director] told you how to hold the camera to capture the action?

Diaz: Oh for sure.

Jacobs: The director of photography, Gonzalo Amat, he’s actually, you know…him and Chris, most of the time, they’ll go to Jorge and be like ‘this is the shot I need’ and of course he’s handling [the camera] because it needs to bring [a certain kind of] energy behind the camera. Because if Gonzalo is handling it and it’s supposed to be a really scary part [where] Jorge is going like “aaah!” you would have to synchronize…

Diaz: You would have to synchronize the camera and my vocals pretty much. But all the stunts were done by Gonzalo, the DP. But all the other stuff, I’m holding i[the camera] and I’m actually doing it and it’s the skill you kind of have to develop. Right? Like, you remind yourself that [there is a] probability that millions of people will go watch this little screen I’m looking at in real life. And I also have to stay in the scene, in the moment, as an actor and then hit certain lines that we have to say to keep the story that [was] written, but also stay in the moment to organically…like to be able to improvise as well.

[divider type=”thin”]

Q: Is it intimidating working with someone like Chris Landon who has an endgame already in his mind for this franchise?

Jacobs: I was intimidated by everybody. This is my first thing ever, really. I’ve never really, you know, done commercials, and this [is] actually like my first thing. So I mean working with everybody who had experience was intimidating. Working with Christopher Landon was an honor ‘cause he was just a really nice guy and he’s great at what he does. And he wasn’t like, you know…he was super real.

Diaz: He’s not an asshole or anything. He made me feel so comfortable from the beginning. He talked to us as, like, as a friend that we’ve had for a long time. [He’d say] ‘this is: da da da da da” or “don’t even worry about it.”

Jacobs: He took us throughout the whole process, very step by step, and [showed] us the way so…

Diaz: a deep trust was built between the actors and [Landon] and really everyone on the crew was super sweet.

[divider type=”thin”]

Q: If any of the events happened to you in real life what would you guys do?

Jacobs: RUN from a lot of things!

Diaz: Actually, to tell you the truth, I think I wouldn’t know what to do. I think that Hector in the movie actually doesn’t know what to do and he literally says that he’s, like, we have no idea what the eff we’re doing, you know what I mean?

Jacobs: (to Daiz) Like what would you do if you were in my position?

Diaz: Like I would try to help you but I…

Jacobs: No, if YOU were getting possessed.

Diaz: Shit, I don’t know! I would…I think…I mean, what happens is it’s almost like fighting the flu. It just happens. Do you just not know what’s happening? I’ve never been possessed. You might not have control over it. You just, it might just happen. It might be a lot more stressful for the people around you, like, inside might just be having a great time.