Ahead of the Season 2 Premiere of AMC’s NOS4A2, I spoke with Mattea Conforti who plays Millie on the show.
How did you get into acting? Why did you want to pursue it?
I got into acting on a total whim. I actually started out as a competitive dancer. I absolutely loved to dance and perform on stage, (I still do), so I went to an open call for the Broadway musical, Matilda. I never had any formal acting or vocal training at that point, so I had zero expectations. About six months after I went on that open call, I was asked to come back to audition for the role of Matilda, and a few weeks later, I had landed the role! From there, I continued to audition for all types of projects – theater, TV and movies.
What can you tell us about your character in Season 2 and how she has evolved from Season 1?
Millie Manx is quite a dynamic character, and you see her different sides evolve as Season 2 plays out. In the first season, Millie’s subplot was more one dimensional. Yes, she’s a scary and threatening demon child, but there is also another side to Millie that emerges in Season 2. She is extremely devoted to her father, eager to please him, and to keep him safe. In Season 2, Millie also becomes more self-aware, more curious about the world around her, and she develops a willingness to take risks that she may not have taken in Season 1.
Will we learn more about her backstory?
Without giving anything away any spoilers for the season, I can say that the viewers will definitely learn about Millie and Charlie’s backstories. I’m really happy that the viewers get to see Millie in this new light. It definitely brings more dimension to her character.
How did you prepare for the role?
When I auditioned or the role of Millie Manx, I had never heard of the NOS4A2 book. I didn’t even know how to pronounce the name of the show! I think I was most drawn to Millie because I realized that she is not just a horror character, and when I started to read the scripts, I saw that there is so much more to Millie Manx. She’s fiercely devoted to her father, Charlie Manx. She is also brave, curious and very smart.
I drew a lot of my preparation for this role from my first experience in the horror genre, which was in the move The Super, where I played Rose Lodge, opposite Val Kilmer. Rose is similar to Millie in many ways, including her devotion to her father, her strength and determination, her curiosity and of course, her scary nature. This role definitely helped me understand part of Millie’s character. I’m very grateful that the writers and producers have given Millie the opportunity to grow this season, and to show the viewers just how much depth there is to her character.
What was working with the cast like? Do you have any special moments from filming you can share?
Working with this cast is truly a gift. Everyone is so talented, and I really have learned a lot just by watching them at work. We have a lot of fun both on and off the set. It’s always extra fun when Ashleigh and Zachary bring their dogs to set, and I get to play with the pups! Probably my most memorable moment from filming occurred during this season, so I can’t go into too much detail. However, I can say that it was a very exciting scene for me to shoot, and everyone was pumped about it. We celebrated when I got it done (in only 2 takes!)
What is the makeup like? It looks very creepy on screen.
The makeup is just as creepy in person! It takes about a half hour or so to get into makeup. Our talented makeup artist, Joel Harlow, airbrushes the makeup on my face, neck and hands. Some of the more intricate details are then hand-painted on. Joel always makes it a lot of fun to get into my Demon Millie look. He even likes to tease me and play, Do You Wanna Build a Snowman, my vocals from the Frozen Broadway soundtrack while I’m in the chair.
Is Christmasland filmed on a set or on location? It’s a fantastic visual.
Christmasland is actually a mix of both. In the first season, Christmasland was on location. However, this season, Christmasland was filmed inside a huge armory building. There is tons of fake snow everywhere, and the physical structures are both scary and dream-like at the same time. We use a huge green screen curtain that wraps around the entire space to create the special effects in post-production. We definitely have a lot of fun running around Christmasland and making it the terrifying place you see on TV.
Voicing young Elsa must have been a thrill. What was that like?
Voicing Young Elsa was absolutely a dream come true. I still can’t believe it sometimes when I actually stop to think about it! Disney has always been so great to me, from my experience originating the role of Young Anna in Frozen, the Broadway Musical, to playing Young Elsa in Frozen II. It’s crazy to think that I’ve played both princesses! I love the fact that they are both so different, but their love for each other is what binds them together.
Gareth is the mastermind behind the popular pop media site Skewed and Reviewed. He lives in Arizona with his wife Em McBride.