Just how frightening is Lifetime's Haunting Sarah, starring 24's Kim Raver as twin sisters (premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET)? Well, let's just say that the review tape spooked my office VCR into submission. (Meaning I get a new one. Score!) Even so, TVGuide.com scared up enough literate Q's to lob at the actress.
TVGuide.com: How did you prepare to play twins? Bone up on episodes of the Patty Duke Show?
Kim Raver: [Laughs] This all happened pretty fast after I finished [Season 4 of] 24. But I did grab a couple of books on twins, and I tried to rely on my relationship with my sister — we're three years apart — with regards to the competitiveness and that sibling connection that you don't share with anyone else. But there is something unique to twins, and that was amazing to read about. And then I took what I could from the script about who these people, Erica and Heather, are. It was definitely wild playing two separate people in the same film; it reminded me of doing two different plays in regional theater and running from one rehearsal space to the other.
TVGuide.com: How are the sisters different? Is one a book-smart librarian and one a floozy?
Raver: [Laughs] Well, seeing as I played them, I wouldn't label them quite like that. Of course people always say "one's good, one's evil," and twins kind of laugh about getting labeled like that. Erica is a professor of mythology, a real jeans-and-T-shirt woman, and Heather is a pediatrician who's into having the big house and money and what people think of her. But what I thought was interesting is, you'd think the woman into mythology would kind of go to the supernatural first [to explain an eerie event], and that's not the case. Heather, the woman of science who really should be against the supernatural and believing in ghosts, goes there first.
TVGuide.com: Just to bring everyone up to speed, Heather's son is dead... but kinda not.
Raver: He's physically dead, but she believes he's coming back to her.
TVGuide.com: And at Halloween time, no less.
Raver: Of course! That makes it so scary. That's the time spirits come back to haunt us.
TVGuide.com: What's your favorite horror film?
Raver: I can't watch gory, Friday the 13th-type stuff. I'm such a wuss. [Laughs] So I would say The Shining, because it's just terrifying and Jack Nicholson is so good in it. What's scary is when stuff is rooted in reality and you go there believing in it, and then it takes a turn and you're like, "Oh, my god!"
TVGuide.com: In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that, at times, I have poked fun at Audrey's nonstop bawling on 24.
Raver: Well, good! So when I go online afterward, I won't be like, "Why is this guy who just interviewed me making fun of me?!" No, I agree. When you get a script you try to play it different ways, but....
TVGuide.com: To be fair, she had a lot to cry about, with the creepy hubby dying and all.
TVGuide.com: What can you spill about the upcoming season of 24?
Raver: Not a lot....
TVGuide.com: Were you surprised to get asked back?
Raver: Yeah, because as any kind of love interest for Jack Bauer, you've got a bull's-eye on the middle of your forehead, practically.
TVGuide.com: Literally, at times. Ask Teri.
Raver: Yeah, exactly! But it's amazing working with Kiefer Sutherland — an opportunity like that doesn't come along often. He cares so much about the work and is so good at what he does. And he also knows how to have some good laughs on the set between takes, because it is such intense material.
TVGuide.com: Are you working with any of the newcomers — Jean Smart, Sean Astin, Connie Britton...?
Raver: I'm working with Sean Astin, who is also a riot. He's one of the funniest guys I've met, and just so much fun to work with. And he's also so passionate — he comes in there all fired up, so it's great to have him there. [Pause] I'm being very particular with my words because I know at any minute I'll spill the beans about something! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: This is part where you tell me that President Palmer will be back.
Raver: I... don't know!
TVGuide.com: Fine, then. You were on Sesame Street when you were 6. Give me some dirt from that.
Raver: It was like paid preschool for me. I knew where they stored Snuffleupagus, and I would watch him come down from the rafters.... Three guys had to operate that thing, which was really cool.
TVGuide.com: Was it emotionally shattering to discover he wasn't real?
Raver: No, everyone asks me that but I had never watched the show, I was just on it. It wasn't like I was attached to the characters and then had to watch them break apart Big Bird. "Oh, there's a person inside!"
TVGuide.com: Does your son know about your Sesame Street past?
Raver: No, but he really digs Elmo and all the characters on there. It's funny, once he was really missing me when I was shooting so my husband, who happened to be flipping around the channels, said, "Well, there's Mommy right there!" It was a Third Watch rerun! My son was like, "Cool!"
TVGuide.com: Tell me about the film you did, Prisoner.
Raver: I just shot it a couple month ago with Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck). I play his mother, actually, in flashbacks. It's a great, great story, with an amazing cast, including Julian and Elias Koteas, who's unbelievable. We're waiting to find out whether it will go to Sundance or not.
TVGuide.com: So, um.... How much 24 are you doing?
Raver: You'll have to wait and see!