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Imaginary Cast Details Never Ever Practical Set & More

The Imaginary cast details the Never Ever practical set, reveals how they formed a strong bond, jump scares, and more, in this exclusive interview.

Imaginary is very much a gateway horror film in that it leans heavily into its PG-13 rating so that younger audiences can experience horror in a fun and thrilling way. Don’t let that fool you though, there are still some jump scares and on edge moments.

Imaginary Synopsis: When Jessica (DeWanda Wise) moves back into her childhood home with her family, her youngest step daughter Alice (Pyper Braun) develops an eerie attachment to a stuffed bear named Chauncey she finds in the basement. Alice starts playing games with Chauncey that begin playful and become increasingly sinister. As Alice’s behavior becomes more and more concerning, Jessica intervenes only to realize Chauncey is much more than the stuffed toy bear she believed him to be.

We caught up with Imaginary stars DeWanda Wise, Taegen Burns, and Pyper Braun about their new film. They reveal what it was that drew them to want to be a part of Imaginary, what it was like stepping onto the Never Ever set, and how they formed a real chemistry while shooting. Pyper Braun also confesses she got to keep a Chauncey Bear… and she used it to scare others while on set.

DeWanda Wise, Taegen Burns, & Pyper Braun Talk Imaginary

Imaginary movie review

DeWanda Wise as Jessica in Imaginary. Photo Credit: Parrish Lewis

Tessa Smith: I had so much fun with this movie. I’m calling it a gateway horror film. I’d love to know what made you want to be a part of it.

DeWanda Wise: It’s so funny, the reaction to the PG-13 rating, and people having certain feelings about it, because when I was growing up there were horror movies that were okay for me to see that did not traumatize me or leave me adverse to the genre. And those movies are important. I think it was also surprising because this movie starring two phenomenal, young actresses. So I was like, context clues people? Do you think we’re really out here trying to traumatize young children to make a movie? No, no, we’re not.

Tessa Smith: You, Pyper, and Taegen have great chemistry. Were you able to spend a lot of time together before filming to form that bond?

DeWanda Wise: We didn’t spend a lot of time before filming, but as you can see, you spend a lot of time filming. Kids only have a certain amount of time on set to begin with. And I, in a leadership position, and being an executive producer on this film, something that was very important to me was not only making sure that we came away with something that we were all proud of, and was special, but also that they had a really good experience. They’re young, but their experience and both of them already have accumulated hard set environments, which is wild to me. So it was really, really important to me that they had a good time, that they felt taken care of, that they were able to advocate for themselves, that they felt safe to communicate what they did or did not like, and it was really an honor to be in the position to do that. 

Tessa Smith: I have to talk to you about the Never Ever, because that set is incredible!

DeWanda Wise: It’s an extraordinary set by our set designer, her name is Megan Rogers. A lot of women behind the scenes and on camera in this movie. Even the paint dripping from the top windows, above the door, the level of details on that set. I’m just really grateful that our Director of Photography was able to really capture it. Because to experience it, both as an actor and as a creative was just like, it was breathtaking. It was absolutely awe inspiring. 

Tessa Smith: I was going to say, walking on to the set, did that help you get into the mindset?

DeWanda Wise: Oh, you’re there immediately. You’re there immediately. You go, Oh, I am in my nightmares. First of all, I am lost. We were all legitimately lost. There’s forty-six doors. I’m not even kidding you. We would play a game that was essentially like, Where does this door go? Are we off set yet? It was so wild. It was a maze. 

Tessa Smith: I love that this is fun for kids, fun for adults. But I love that it also throws in, maybe you should deal with your childhood trauma. Can you talk about that?

DeWanda Wise: YES! Because people like they’re like, Oh, what are you afraid of? I’m like, facing my own demons. That is it for adults. At the heart of this movie, it’s like, sometimes the scariest thing you can do is face your stuff. Often, the scariest thing you can do is face your stuff. You know what I mean? And for Jessica, she had to before she can go on to being the mother that she wanted to be in our story. I’m so glad you picked up on that. Made my whole soul happy.

Imaginary movie review

Pyper Braun as Alice in Imaginary. Photo Credit: Parrish Lewis

Tessa Smith: I had so much fun with Imaginary, was it a lot of fun on set too?

Pyper Braun: It was really fun on set. And it was both our first horror movie, which made it even more fun too. The special effects and Monster costumes.

Tessa Smith: What was it about this movie that made you want to be a part of it?

Taegen Burns: When I first read the script, it was the character Taylor. I was so drawn to her and how complex she is. But then also the movie. I feel like it’s got all of these great twists that happen. And also all of these great jump scares that when you read them, you don’t necessarily see them. Also the storyline of the family and what they go through together and how they come together at the end. 

Pyper Braun: For me, I got the audition. My mom told me it was a horror movie and I was like, It’s a horror movie? Let’s do it! I’ve wanted to be in a horror movie since I was very little. And I’ve always loved Halloween and creepy things. If I don’t get it, that’s okay. 

Tessa Smith: That’s such a great attitude to have. You’re both incredible in the film. I have two daughters and your chemistry as sisters is very believable. Did you get to spend a lot of time together to create that chemistry?

Pyper Braun: We did actually. A couple times after set, there were these fast food restaurants right across the street. And we would be like, do you want to go to Chick-fil-A for dinner? Sure. Let’s go. And then we go back to the hotel and we play games. I found out [Taegen] is very competitive. She would go at it.

Taegen Burns: I want to win. I have three brothers, I have to. 

Pyper Braun: And I’ve got two older ones, so if you don’t win, you don’t win.

Tessa Smith: I have to ask you guys about the Never Ever set because it’s insane. What was it like walking on to that set?

Taegen Burns: It was amazing. When we first walked on and filmed in it, it helps so much because it’s just amazing. It’s so detailed, and it was so well done. So getting to film in that and not just have some plain green screen was definitely super helpful.

Pyper Braun: I actually never walked through the never ever set on camera. I did get to walk through while it was being built, and the day I wrapped I got to walk through it. 

Tessa Smith: What was it like coming up with that Chauncey voice Pyper?

Pyper Braun: I mean, there was no ventriloquism to it. I actually can’t really talk about that, but it was really exciting. And every time I have a scene just with me and Chauncey, there’s always someone reading Chauncey’s lines to me.

Tessa Smith: Were you able to keep a Chauncey Bear?

Pyper Braun: I didn’t get to keep the real one, but I did get to keep the mock up version of Chauncey, which our director Jeff Wadlow gave to me. I hid him around set every day to scare people, and that actually did work.

Journey in to the Never Ever when Imaginary hits theaters on March 8th.

NEXT: M3gan Review: Move Over Chucky, There’s A New Doll In Town

Imaginary movie poster

About Imaginary

From Blumhouse, the genre-defining masterminds behind FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S and M3GAN, comes an original horror that taps into the innocence of imaginary friends – and begs the question: Are they really figments of childhood imagination or is something more terrifying lying just beneath?

When Jessica (DeWanda Wise) moves back into her childhood home with her family, her youngest step daughter Alice (Pyper Braun) develops an eerie attachment to a stuffed bear named Chauncey she finds in the basement. Alice starts playing games with Chauncey that begin playful and become increasingly sinister.

As Alice’s behavior becomes more and more concerning, Jessica intervenes only to realize Chauncey is much more than the stuffed toy bear she believed him to be.

Imaginary hits theaters on March 8th.