'Chapelwaite' Star Emily Hampshire Shares Her Close Call With A Vampire [Interview]

The premiere for the new EPIX series Chapelwaite, based on the Stephen King short story "Jerusalem's Lot," is just around the corner on August 22, 2021. The series tells the story of Captain Charles Boone, who relocates his family to his ancestral home in Maine after the death of his wife at sea. Boone hires a local woman, Rebecca Morgan (Emily Hampshire) to help him with the children and the huge family manor, but she soon discovers the house has more secrets than cobwebs.

Hampshire, best known to audiences for her hilarious work on Schitt's Creek prior to leaping into horror, joined me for a phone chat to talk about her character, her experiences filming the series, and one terrifying vampire encounter. 

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Tell me a little bit about your character, Rebecca Morgan. Where did you draw inspiration for her? Because she's kind of unusual for her time and place.

Yeah. So, she is definitely a modern woman, very much ahead of her time, and she was specifically based on a Stephen King short story called "Jerusalem's Lot", and she does not appear in that. She's a new addition. I don't think Stephen King needs any help with adding anything to his writing, but I do think Rebecca was a great addition to this story because to have that gothic horror trope of the governess, that she is doing this in the guise of being a governess to write this story. I think it's just so new and cool and I like to think of it like Stephen King likes to put writers in his stuff usually. And so, I think that basically Rebecca is Stephen King in the 1850s as a woman, a smart woman.

Are you a big Stephen King fan? Have you read other works of his before?

Well, what is actually really crazy is that... So, when this project came to me, I had just sold my own show that I'm a writer on for the first time, and I was reading this book by Stephen King called On Writing. So, it wasn't one of his horror books. It was a book about writing. And then this script comes to me, that offer to play Rebecca, who is a writer, and it was is just so crazy to me that this happened.

That is serendipitous. How does it feel to be a part of the big Stephen King universe, to join this incredible world that he's created?

Oh my God. It's a big check in the old bucket list. And also, I feel like I got the best part of that world that could ever happen, to work with Adrien Brody, to work in gothic horror world, which I think is so beautiful, and just to do something set in the 1850s, but still Stephen King. It checks all the boxes for me.

How was it filming on location in Nova Scotia? Did that help you get into sort of a period setting?

I mean, really when you're in the middle of [the set] it felt like you were in the past. Also, just looking at Adrien's face was a great link to the past. He came out of the womb looking old-timey. So, it was really easy to believe. Also Nova Scotia is somewhere quite nostalgic to me, it's where I filmed my first-ever series as a teen. I lived there for like three years.

Did you have any really freaky scenes or days on set? I know horror movies and shows tends to be quote on quote cursed, but did you have anything spooky go down?

Oh, yes. So the Chapelwaite interiors of the house were a studio set, but the exteriors were played by a real house, and that real house was really haunted. There's this big plaque that says all the histories everyone who lived in that house, and it's so tragic, everyone that ever lived in that house died horribly. And basically, I think they were really pissed off about it, because you'd just be in there and a door would slam, and... it was 100% haunted.

Wow. That is scary. So, did you get to interact much with any of the vampires? And how do you feel about that? Are you scared of vampires at all?

I'm glad you asked. So, you're the one who brought up vampires, so if it's a spoiler, your fault.

Fair.

So, when I signed on I read the short story that it was based on, 'cause you know, I'm a professional. I did my research and then I read the first episode. Episode four I'm on set, it's this dark set, and I looked to my left and there's this vampire. And I didn't know that there were vampires in this show [at that point]. So just imagine you are on set, in the real world, and there's this vampire sitting there, this isn't a Robert Pattinson vampire, but a real f***ing terrifying vampire, walking towards me. So that was scary.

Is there anything that you really want folks to know about this series before they watch it? 

Well, honestly... I get it, there's a million streaming things. I can say this, the ten episodes of this show are worth subscribing to EPIX. Even if this was the only thing, even though I think they have some other amazing shows, if this is the only thing you subscribe to EPIX for, it's worth it. I remember when Schitt's Creek was on Pop and no one knew what that was. Remember when Mad Men was on AMC and no one knew what that was? These can have great shows before we know about them. Five stars, do recommend.