I did not have an imaginary friend while growing up. Sometimes I feel like I missed out when I hear others’ stories of secret languages and constant companionship. But there are times, like when watching the movie Z, that I feel very okay with not having experienced the kinship of a friend that doesn’t really exist outside of my mind. The imagination can be a wonderful thing, but sometimes, it can also be our worst enemy. That’s where Z comes in. The Shudder original is terrifying, and reminds us just how far our minds can reach.
I was lucky enough to speak with Keegan Connor Tracy, the actress who plays the mother of a young lad whose imaginary friend is quite scary and dangerous, and we talked about those imaginary friends, what she has coming up, and of course horror movies.
PopHorror: I watched Z last night, and loved it. I thought it was really terrifying, so I’m really excited to speak with you today.
Keegan Connor Tracy: Oh, that’s great!
PopHorror: What was it about the movie that intrigued you and made you want to be a part of it?
Keegan Connor Tracy: For sure, it was just the psychological journey that I knew that woman was going to go through. When I saw the script, I could see what I could build, where I could challenge myself, and where it was going to be hard. That was really appealing to me as an actor.
PopHorror: Awesome! Did you have an imaginary friend growing up?
Keegan Connor Tracy: No. Everyone keeps asking me that, and no. Although, my 10-year-old did. They had a whole language that they spoke that remained constant across time, and they lived in a certain land and spoke a certain language. She made a passport for them. It was a whole thing.
PopHorror: That’s really cool. I didn’t have one either, and I feel like I missed out a little bit.
Keegan Connor Tracy: Yeah, really!
PopHorror: You have a very impressive resume, and this is not your first venture into the genre. What is it that draws you to horror?
Keegan Connor Tracy: You know what? I honestly think being an actor who chose to remain in Canada, it has as much to do with just what shoots here as necessarily a choice. I think it’s just the stuff that comes across my desk, really. And then with this one, I really saw the chance to dig my teeth into a role that had a lot of depth to it and really show my chops. That was a no-brainer.
PopHorror: There are a lot of them filmed in Canada. What made you want to be an actor?
Keegan Connor Tracy: I don’t know. I just always wanted to be since I was a little kid. I think sometimes your motives are that you need love in a way that you’re not getting, and I think a lot of actors become actors because of that. I also just really loved to tell stories. I always have. I’ve been a writer, I’ve always been a creator, and this is just an extension of that.
PopHorror: If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Keegan Connor Tracy: Oh, my goodness. There’s so many people I could say. I have always loved Cate Blanchett. I would love to do something with her or PT Anderson. I love the way that he shoots. David Fincher.
PopHorror: I know that COVID has stalled everything, and a lot of things have been put on hold, but do you currently have anything else coming out or anything that you’re working on?
Keegan Connor Tracy: Yeah, I’m working on a feature film that I’m supposed to direct. We were hoping for October. I don’t know if that’s still going to come true. We’re still rewriting and finding financing and all of that. But that’s the plan so far. I have a pilot that I’m out there pitching, and I’m shooting a short film right now, piece by piece as I go along. Just trying to keep my irons in the fire and work towards being a director and find something interesting that’s cool as an actor still.
PopHorror: That’s exciting! And I’ve heard that Canada is starting to reopen gradually right now.
Keegan Connor Tracy: Yes, there’s a lot of people that have been shooting, probably about six weeks up here. There hasn’t been an outbreak. Our cases are really, really low here in Vancouver and British Columbia. Hopefully, that stays as it is, and we can keep in the business of storytelling.
PopHorror: That’s great! I am in Arizona, and we are the complete opposite.
Keegan Connor Tracy: Yes, yes you are. Oh my goodness.
PopHorror: One last question for you, Keegan: What is your favorite scary movie?
Keegan Connor Tracy: For the longest time, I would not watch horror, and I think it coincided with having babies, because I got off at The Ring. That was it for me. That movie scared me so bad that I could never go back. Once I got this film and started to hop on at the genre, it was like, “Oh, this is cool. The fanbase is loyal. I get what they’re doing. I get why they go to these.” And I mean that sincerely. Sitting in the audience watching people watch it, especially those moments where people were scared and the tension built, and then the release and everyone would laugh? I was like, “That’s why they go.”
And that’s why those moments that can feel absurd in a script sometimes, that I tend to balk at as an actor. I see why that’s important now. I’ve been studying to learn for my own horror movie that I’m going to direct. And I have a new appreciation of the genre. I’ve been watching a lot of them lately. Hereditary, I loved. I thought it was so freaky and weird. I loved the Haunting of Hill House so much. Not so much the finale, but I loved the whole season and how it was shot. Beautiful and scary and weird, and all the things.
Thank you so much, Keegan, for taking the time to speak with us today. You can catch Z right now on Shudder and it’s also available on VOD, Digital, DVD, and Blu-ray!