Child stars tend to scare us. But not 13-year-old Daveigh Chase. Yeah, she played Samara Morgan, the undead brat who crawled out of the TV screen to scare her victims to death in The Ring. And sure, she was named Best Villain at last year's MTV Movie Awards — beating out Colin Farrell, Mike Myers, Willem Dafoe and Daniel Day-Lewis for her golden popcorn trophy. But Chase hasn't let the goodies she gets for being bad go to her head.
She's a good kid, but maybe too well trained. The young actress has been taught courtesy and politeness, which is nice. Yet, whenever this TV Guide Online reporter asks a tough question, there's a moment of silence as she, I suspect, checks with an adult on her end for an appropriate response.
Case in point: Critics have trashed Fox's Oliver Beene, including our own Matt Roush, who calls the show "cartoonish and crudely unpleasant." Since the show's producers have done some retooling, I sweetly ask Chase — who plays brainy Joyce — how she thinks the show is different now. Click. I'm on hold. "The writing's tighter and they're developing the characters a little more," she responds. "My character was pretty one-dimensional, unfortunately. They're still focusing on developing the [Beene] family."
Poor kid. Fortunately, our whole chat isn't a ventriloquist routine. Chase — who's lent her voice to Lilo and Stitch and Spirited Away — happily says she's still making her Lilo TV show and straight-to-DVD movies for Disney. She'll also do The Ring 2 (due out this November) though she's sworn to secrecy about its plot.
It's amusing to note that Chase seems as baffled by Samara's supernatural antics as Ring audiences were. For example, how did Samara imprint her mysterious evil messages on VHS tapes? The character was sealed up in that well back in the '70s! "Didn't some people have VCRs?" asks Chase, who was born in 1990. "They were just really expensive, right?"
Can't resist just one more cheeky question: If she was stuck in the well, who made those spooky phone calls, warning people who'd viewed the tape that they would die in seven days? Did Samara have a cell phone down there or what? "She uses her mind!" Chase says with a giggle. "'Cause she's telekinetic and stuff. She never really dies. Her mind is still... It's hard to explain."
Does it matter if we can't answer those nagging questions? Probably not. "People love it," Chase says. "They're freaked out, like, 'Oh, my gosh, you scared the bleepin' bleep outta me!'" Phew. Now she sounds more like her age.