Katey Sagal Interview: Torn Hearts

Madeline Lapreziosa

May 18, 2022

Article taken from Screenrant.

Torn Hearts star Katey Sagal speaks with Screen Rant about the horror film’s core themes, as well as her sense of empathy for her character.

Blumhouse Television and EPIX’s Torn Hearts tells an unsettling tale of an aspiring country music duo who enter their idol’s mansion only to find horror. The illustrious singer known as Harper Dutch mentors and the young singers Jordan and Leigh, though turmoil grows between the pair as they sense that something isn’t right.

Golden Globe-winner Katey Sagal, who has had a long as illustrious career from Married With Children to Sons of Anarchy and Futurama, portrays Harper, while Abby Quinn and Alexxis Lemire play Jordan and Leigh. The film also stars Shiloh Fernandez and Joshua Leonard.

Screen Rant interviewed Sagal on Torn Hearts‘ character dynamics and her ability to empathize with Harper.

Screen Rant: When we meet Harper Dutch, she’s living alone in her mansion and initially reluctant to work with Jordan and Leigh. For you, what changes in her mind that compels her to let them into her home?
Katey Sagal: Well, she’s pretty twisted. They’re huge fans, so she loves the adoration. She’s been living by herself basically for many years. When she hears that they’re a duo — she comes from a famous duo — so, I think she’s compelled to see what they’re doing. She doesn’t have any ulterior motives for letting them in — until later. So, she initially lets them in because they have fangirled her enough.

What was it like getting to play such an ill-intentioned character?
Katey Sagal: It was so much fun. First of all, I’ve never done a horror movie — and it was Blumhouse, so horror kings. I read the script and I thought, “Oh, this would be so much fun. I have never done anything like this,” and southern accent, the whole thing. So, that was really fun and there is some music in it,  which is a main interest of mine, so that was great. I just loved it.

Speaking of the Southern accent, did you find that easy to get into, or did you have to practice a lot?
Katey Sagal: No, I seem to be able to do that one. It was not difficult. My kids and I are funny with accents. We’re always joking around with accents. So, it was a fun one and wasn’t too difficult.

We see Jordan and Leigh at odds, and that’s partially because of Harper. What do you think this movie says about what ambition can do to somebody?
Katey Sagal: That’s really interesting. I have my own personal beliefs about it, but I think the message is that we go to any lengths for it and it’s not always the healthiest choice. The two girls end up throwing each other under the bus in the name of getting famous. It’s so hard to talk about this because I want people to watch the movie. I don’t want them to know what happens. But, it does definitely make the point that we can go too far in the name of fame.

Having led careers as both a musician and an actor, how much did you enjoy getting to return to your musical roots for Torn Hearts?
Katey Sagal: That was very appealing to me, too. I still play music a lot, I have a band, and I still go out and play music. So, it was cool. We sing some in the movie and that was great. The girls were really good singers, so it was fun. It was really fun to combine the two.

This is a film that has so many mysterious twists and turns. Without giving anything away, what surprised you the most when you initially read the script?
Katey Sagal: The big twist, the big turn. I don’t want to say. By the time I got to the end of reading it, I saw where it was going, but I still don’t think I expected such a dramatic ending to it. When you read a script, you know if you want to do it if you want to keep reading it. That was my experience. It was like, “What’s going to happen now? Oh, what’s going to happen now?”

Did you at all empathize with Harper?
Katey Sagal: I empathized enormously. I empathize with any mental illness, and she’s definitely not well, and delusional, and living in the past. It’s a little Sunset Blvd.-ish if anybody’s ever seen that movie where she’s a huge star and she kind of disappears. It’s kind of a statement of what isolation will do to you, of what lack of fame will do to you, what the fall is from when you’ve had it. It thematically touches on a lot of that stuff. For me, personally, I try to work very hard on not defining myself by what I do. These are people — all three of them — that define themselves by what they do.

Going back to Jordan and Leigh’s obsession with Harper, have you ever idolized someone to that extent?
Katey Sagal: Not really. I grew up in Hollywood, I was born here. I learned early on that it’s not all the bells and whistles people put out. I really admire great work, really good artists. But, I don’t think I have — especially not to those lengths.

You mentioned that this was the first horror movie you’ve worked on. After Torn Hearts, would you love to go back into the horror genre?
Katey Sagal: I would do another one, sure. I was fascinated by the way it’s shot in a certain way, which I guess has its own niche, the horror thing. And I loved the team, the EP and the director. It’s just a different approach to telling a story, it was great.

Script developed by Never Enough Design