All about that “Abigail” ending cameo: 'He really gave it to us'

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, with producer Chad Villella, explain how they pulled off that surprise appearance.

Warning: This article contains major spoilers from Abigail.

Daddy's home — but in the context of Abigail, that's not really a good thing.

In the blood-soaked vampire ballerina flick (in theaters now) from the makers of Ready or Not and the last two Scream movies, a man named Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito) hires a group of criminals — codenamed Joey (Melissa Barrera), Frank (Dan Stevens), Sammy (Kathryn Newton), Rickles (Will Catlett), Peter (Kevin Durand), and Dean (Angus Cloud) — to kidnap the daughter of an infamous crime boss and keep her at a safe house overnight for retrieval the next morning. The girl, a ballerina in training named Abigail (Alisha Weir), turns out to be a vampire who terrorizes her would-be nappers.

As the ferocious tutu-wearing serial killer picks off the crew one by one, a certain face eludes the audience: Lazar, Abigail's father. We pick up bits and pieces along the way: that he was said to be an urban legend, that he's been described as the Antichrist, that he has a hitman with a particularly violent streak (which turns out to be Abigail herself), and that he's been a neglectful father figure to his demon daughter. Just when you start to question whether this guy actually exists, we get to meet Lazar in the flesh in the very final moments of the film.

<p>Bernard Walsh/Universal Pictures</p> Alisha Weir storms in as the titular vampire ballerina of 'Abigail'

Bernard Walsh/Universal Pictures

Alisha Weir storms in as the titular vampire ballerina of 'Abigail'

Matthew Goode, who previously played a bloodsucker on Sky One series A Discovery of Witches, arrives as Abigail's vampire daddy — who may also be Dracula if his tease of having gone by many names throughout history is any indication. After teaming up with the ballerina to defeat Frank, who turned into a vampire and went nuts, Joey walks away as the sole survivor of the night's slaughter when Abigail steps between her and a hungry Lazar.

"I don't think that we can imagine anybody but Matthew in that role now that he's done it," director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin tells Entertainment Weekly in an interview with his fellow Radio Silence filmmaking team, director Tyler Gillett and producer Chad Villella. "It was just a spectacular day of filming with him. He really gave it to us."

Working with Rich Delia, their casting director from their past three films, the Radio Silence crew ran through every name they could think of to fill that role. Because the cameo wouldn't be shot until the final day of filming, they knew they had some time. "It's such a specific thing to have a character walk into the movie with three minutes left, leave a mark, and then leave, but also not break what came before it, which I think was the real challenge," Gillett says. "But there's also something spectacular and grand about who that person is."

<p>Des Willie / Sundance Now/Sky UK / Courtesy Everett</p> Matthew Goode as Matthew Clairmont in 'A Discovery of Witches'

Des Willie / Sundance Now/Sky UK / Courtesy Everett

Matthew Goode as Matthew Clairmont in 'A Discovery of Witches'

Even more influential than the fact Goode played a vampire before was The Offer. Villella negs Bettinelli-Olpin for his love of that Paramount+ limited series about the creation of The Godfather, starring Goode as Robert Evans, the head of production at Paramount Pictures. "Sorry, I've been telling everybody about The Offer nonstop, and these clowns won't watch it," Bettinelli-Olpin says.

Radio Silence continues to build a reputation for themselves with subversive horror. Ultimately, Goode's role as Lazar feeds into that idea. "The thing that we really loved about Matthew is that he doesn't present as this brute, that there's something really ethereal and graceful about him that is weirdly scarier," Gillett explains. "If you see this character who feels like they're not of this planet to a certain extent, there's something so scary about a character like that who has the power that everyone knows he has in the world of our story."

Bettinelli-Olpin remembers the day Goode came in to shoot his big moment: "He was like, 'So... what's going on here?' He walked in that last day when everything is just covered in blood, and [Barrera] was like, 'Just swing for the fences. They'll rein you back if they need to, but don't worry, we're having fun.'"

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