AFTER making her acting debut in M. Night Shyamalan’s No.1 box-office hit Glass opposite James McAvoy and Bruce Willis, teen actress Diana Silvers stars in Universal Pictures’ new suspense thriller Ma (in Philippine cinemas July 10).
From Blumhouse Productions—the company that has produced such smash hits as Get Out, Split, Glass, Halloween and The Purge franchise — Ma tells the unnerving tale of a mysterious, lonely woman named Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer) who seems harmless at first. Friendly but stern, she offers safe harbor to a group of high-school friends looking to party. But Sue Ann is a woman tormented by demons and trauma from her past, and, unbeknownst to her teen guests, she has a more sinister agenda than anyone suspects.
Silvers plays 15-year-old, Maggie, one of the high-school students befriended by Sue Ann. Maggie has been forced to move to her mom’s Ohio hometown from California because of her parents’ separation. She has a good relationship with her mom, Erica (Juliette Lewis), but like all teenagers, she keeps things from her. Feeling like a stranger in a strange town, Maggie is eager to make friends at her new school and not rock the social boat, so when Haley (McKaley Miller) and the rest of the gang—including Andy (Corey Fogelmanis), who soon becomes Maggie’s boyfriend—task Maggie with stopping Sue Ann outside the liquor store to ask her to buy them alcohol, Maggie complies.
But Maggie’s a bit savvier than her cohorts, and she begins to suspect that something is wrong with Sue Ann long before the rest of her friends do. “Maggie is your typical 15-year-old girl who is trying to find her place in her new school,” Silvers says. “I see her as the moral police; she just wants to do the right thing. It’s interesting to see Maggie evolve throughout the film. She must learn to grow into her own and take charge of her life.”
As Sue Ann’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic and frightening, Maggie will be forced to be brave, in ways she never expected, to save her new friends and herself. “Maggie is living the life Sue Ann always wanted,” Silvers says. “So, Sue Ann hates her, yet is also obsessed with her.”
Roles for teenagers rarely require the kind of broad range and complexity needed for the part of Maggie, but the cast and filmmakers were wowed by Silvers’ abilities and presence.
Spencer believes Silvers is a star in the making. “Diana is a beautiful breath of fresh air and a great discovery,” Spencer says. “She has the same type of freshness that reminds me of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. You want to root for her the minute you see her as Maggie.” Spencer advocated for casting Silvers, despite her relative lack of experience. “It was easy to fight for her to get this role,” Spencer says. “Although she doesn’t have a long resume, she has a lot of talent.”
For Silvers, working with Spencer exceeded even her sky-high expectations. “It was so lovely to work with an actress as brilliant as Octavia,” Silvers says. “She was so welcoming, and she fought for me during my audition process. The way Octavia prepares for her emotional scenes was fun to watch from afar. The way she can turn her acting on and off was amazing. I felt like I was in a school of sorts, learning and absorbing so much from her every day.”