Original Blair Witch Actress Has One Big Regret

With a new sequel out, the original actors, creators talk about their experience
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2016 9:58 AM CDT
Original Blair Witch Actress Has One Big Regret
Heather Donahue turns the camera on herself during a scene in 'The Blair Witch Project.'   (AP Photo/Artisan Entertainment, file)

A sequel to the iconic Blair Witch Project of 1999 is opening Friday—the reviews aren't that great—which prompts Emalie Marthe at Broadly to interview the actors and creators from the original about the experience. As becomes clear, it has not been overwhelmingly positive for all. It's "something you have to live with, like a tumor or a tattoo on your face," says actress Heather Donahue. She recalls how her mom was besieged with sympathy cards from people who genuinely believed Donahue and fellow improv actors Joshua Leonard and Michael C. Williams were actually killed by a witch in the woods. And how people would approach her on the street "telling me that they wished I was dead." Donahue's biggest regret is using her real name in the film, a calculated move at the time to give it an authentic feel. Other tidbits:

  • Dan Myrick, co-writer and director: "Over time, we ramped back their food supply a little bit. (It was an eight-day shoot.) We never starved them or anything, but we made it so they were sort of grumpy at the end."
  • Eduardo Sanchez, co-writer and director: "We didn't know [Donahue's final monologue] was going to be such a crazy iconic moment in our movie. ... At that point, Heather pretty much knew she was going to die, and then she went out and delivered this crazy, brilliant performance.'"
  • Leonard: "I was probably too stoned to be scared."
Click for the full interview, which provides details on the famous viral marketing campaign, perhaps the first of its kind, that helped the film earn $250 million but then triggered a ferocious backlash. (More The Blair Witch Project stories.)

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