Carly Pope is known as an icon from her time playing Sam McPherson on the WB series Popular.

She’s premiering in Neil Blomkamp's new horror film Demonic on Friday, August 20th. It’s the first film Neil has done in six years, and the two have worked together before.

TV Fanatic got the chance to chat with her about her new movie and rise to fame working on Popular.

Hi Carly. Thanks for chatting with me. You’re known as an ICON from the WB series Popular. What was your favorite part of that series?

WOW. That is a very kind, very kind label to receive. Sam hated labels! Truly, though, I’m honored.

That show was groundbreaking in so many ways, and I love that so many people still love and remember it (when it’s not even streaming). I loved the blend of heart and humor in the show. We had amazing writers and directors, starting with Ryan Murphy. It was a total smorgasbord, and that was SO fun to play.

Personally, the table reads were my favorite as they were an opportunity to hear- sometimes for the first time- what the next wild ride would look like. Plus, it was a time where we would all just come together.

For a show that was built on the conceit of divisiveness, it was a beautiful counterpoint of togetherness and community. Every moment working within the walls of that set was a dream. I’m forever grateful for it. Our costume designer, Lou Eyrich, also knocked it out of the park.

It looked like you had so much fun with Leslie Bibb. Was it as much fun as it looked?

Leslie was my sis then, is my sis now. She took me under her wing and showed me the ropes.

I was a fish-outta-water coming into that show, and she graciously helped me find my footing, especially with the press and publicity. I was a ball of nerves and had a hard time being a celebrity suddenly as an 18/19yr old from Canada.

Leslie was patient, caring, and utterly guiding through it all. She’s one of the funniest people I know, so that always helped diffuse things in the very best of ways. She’s a gorgeous loving friend. I feel very lucky we got smashed together so many moons ago.

You reunited with Leslie Bibb while working on the film The Lost Husband. What was it like working with her again after all those years?

It was a very swift YES, OF COURSE. Leslie reached out about this movie she was going to be producing and starring in and asked if I wanted to come to play for a day. I was working on a film called The Mental State in Syracuse at the time- which was a very dark, very bleak film.

I bought The Lost Husband book, devoured it in one delicious sitting, and hopped on a plane to Austin for a few days over Halloween to shoot our sequence.

It was a blast. Georgia, Josh, Vicky- our director- and Les, just a great time in one of my favorite cities having a nice little comedic interlude from the sads up in NY.

You’ve had several roles in TV and film since then. What were some of your most memorable experiences?

One of the most profound shows for me was a pilot for NBC in 2009 called Day One. It was directed by the incredible Alex Graves, who gave me such wisdom as an actor during the audition for the show, which then just kept on giving throughout the entire month of shooting.

It’s a lesson I still incorporate today and has been so instrumental in helping me soothe anxieties and relax into the work.

I also met my now-husband at the audition for Day One, plus four of my close friends (including my bestie Julie Gonzalo) worked on the show, too.

It was a show that was picked up straight away and then changed form into many different potential incarnations, only to be eventually dropped entirely after about a year in limbo.

Let’s talk about the upcoming horror film Demonic. What can you tell me about the film and your role in it?

Demonic is about Carly, who gets recruited by a new technology company to connect with her estranged (and comatose) mother, allowing her to enter her mother’s locked-in state.

Carl” has a severed relationship with her mother due to violent events from her mother’s past so she’s very reluctant to engage, but also has so many unanswered questions, and this provides a chance for her to find answers.

As she does, the mysteries of the past start to unravel, and the horrors start to unlock, and Carly and her mother are forced to face them all again. It’s not a dream; it’s not quite a reality. It’s through and through demonic. I play, you guessed it, Carly.

You’ve worked with Neill Blomkamp before on Elysium. Do you enjoy doing films with him?

I love working with Neill. I got to know him a lot better doing a series of his shorts for his OATS Studios banner, which allowed greater insight into his creative process, his collaborative nature, and his desire just to make content that’s unfettered by the restrictions of a studio system.

When Demonic was broached, I knew it would be like a long-form version of that Oats experience, so I was really stoked to have the opportunity to dive more deeply into teamwork with him.

What was it like shooting this film three-dimensionally to capture the true effects of facing your demons in a comatose state?

The technology is called Volumetric Capture, and it was an entirely wild experience. I’d worked with Neill on a short film called Adam: The Prophet that used motion capture and a form of facial capture, which, to date, was the hardest process I’d ever experienced.

Doing the sequences we did in Vol Cap blew the facial cap experience out of the water in terms of challenge. But it was so cool, too. Basically, over 250 cameras are set up in a round, and they “capture” every angle of you so that you can be rendered into a 360-degree geometrical object.

We also had a smaller “cage” of cameras set up to capture close-up detail of our faces. We were dressed and made up to picture, captured, and then our geometrical shape is dropped into the real environments we were modeled by a process like photogrammetry.

Neill had shown me some examples of what the process would be like, but it was still such an unusual adventure.

As for the story, Carly enters these environments alone before finding her mother within, so the notion of disconnect and discordance that I was feeling as the actor really actually worked to set the tone for those particular scenes.

What were some of your favorite memories from working on this set?

We shot at least half of the movie in the interior of British Columbia in what’s known as The Okanagan. More specifically, we shot in Penticton and Naramata in The Okanagan, which are beautiful and summery orchard towns that remind me of my childhood.

I hadn’t been to the region for quite a while, so having the opportunity to spend some time in such a nostalgic part of my home province was insanely lovely.

Also, Terry Chen, who plays Daniel, and Kandyse McClure, who plays Sam, are two dear friends that I haven’t worked with nearly enough- doing this kind of indie filmmaking with them felt super lucky, comfy, and kindred.

What digital platforms is the movie releasing on?

To the best of my knowledge, you can find Demonic on all of these, streaming August 20th: IFC Center, Youtube, AppleTV, Amazon Prime Video, Xfinity, Spectrum, Google Play, Vudu, and DirecTV.




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