Kentucky Actress is Star of "Devil's Due"
This story appears courtesy of KY Forward and is written by Vickie Mitchell.
It wasn’t a typical night at the movies when actress Allison Miller, her husband Adam Nee and about 20 friends arrived on the Twentieth Century Fox Studios lot in West Los Angeles Jan. 15 to join an audience set to see the new movie Devil’s Due.
The first full moon of 2014 was on the rise, an eerie coincidence as a film that echoes themes of Rosemary’s Baby prepared for national release today. (Devil’s Due is showing at multiple theaters in Lexington.)
Miller, a former Lexington resident whose parents, John and Margo Miller, are Kentuckians and live in Lexington, stars in the new film. She plays newlywed Samantha McCall in the horror flick, and it is a big role for the petite 28-year-old who spent 10 of her first 11 years in Lexington.
Like Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, Miller plays a young wife who is having, to say the least, a “problem” pregnancy. The movie’s style differs from Roman Polanski’s 1968 film in that viewers see the newlyweds and the pregnancy through “found” footage shot by the couple. Zach Gilford, who starred in Friday Night Lights, plays Zach McCall, Samantha’s husband.
In a telephone interview from her home near L.A., Miller said thatRosemary’s Baby comes up frequently in conversations aboutDevil’s Due.
“There are so many similarities to it [Rosemary’s Baby] but Devil’s Due is not a remake. It is paying homage to the classic movie.”
She classifies Devil’s Due’s style as “horror or thriller, with some humor mixed in.”
As she prepared for this role, Miller didn’t turn to Farrow or other actresses in similar roles for inspiration.
See the trailer for Devil's Due
“I created a back story for my character with the director and figured out where she is coming from. A lot of it is me — my sense of humor and what I would do in these situations. I didn’t look anywhere else for inspiration, other than for what it is like, going through a pregnancy.”
Miller is a newlywed herself, married 18 months. She and Nee have no children, so she quizzed two women on set — one a supervising producer who was pregnant; the other a makeup artist and mother of a 2-month-old. They helped her understand the physical and emotional impacts of pregnancy.
Miller’s acting career got its start in 2006, when she appeared on an episode of the soap opera General Hospital. Since then, much of her best-known work has been in television. After small, one-time roles in popular series Cold Case, CSI: NY and Desperate Housewives, she got recurring roles in a number of series.
Miller was Candice Bergen’s precocious granddaughter in several episodes of ABC‘s Boston Legal. She played another headstrong character, Skye, in the Steven Spielberg-produced, sci-fi drama Terra Nova on Fox. She was in all 12 episodes of the critically acclaimed but short-lived NBC drama Kings, playing royal daughter Michelle Benjamin. Her most recent television role was in Go On, an NBC comedy that starred Matthew Perry as a sports radio personality who becomes part of quirky support group after his wife dies. Miller played Carrie, Perry’s assistant.
Miller grew up in Lexington’s Bell Court and Ashland Park and was a student at Christ the King before her father, journalist John Winn Miller, left his post as city editor of theLexington Herald-Leader to become executive editor of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa.
Allison Miller’s first foray into acting was in Pennsylvania, where she played Grace in a summer camp production of Annie.
She continued acting in high school as the family moved to Tallahassee, Fla., where her father was executive editor and later a vice president of the newspaper there. She later majored in acting at the University of Florida.
Much of Miller’s family is involved in the film industry. Her uncle, Harry B. Miller, a Lexington native, has worked in Hollywood many years. He is a film editor. Her grandfather, the late Harry Miller, a partner in the Lexington law firm Miller, Griffin and Marks, counted a number of movie stars as clients. Her father, now retired from newspaper publishing, is writing scripts and screenplays. “He’s quite good,” his daughter says. He was also a producer of Hitting the Cycle, a movie filmed in Lexington, written by and starring Lexington native Richie Nash.
Her husband, Adam Nee, “writes, directs, creates, acts — he does it all,” she says. Among his recent projects is Drunk History, a series on Comedy Central. He’s also working on an animated show. One of Nee’s brothers is a writer, director and does animation. Another brother recently moved to L.A. to work with Adam.
Miller’s work has covered the genres, but she enjoys comedy most.
“Comedy is probably my favorite because it is so hard.” She marvels at those who are so good at making it seem effortless to be funny. “I like the challenge of that. And, it is nice to go to work and get to laugh like a child.”
But horror films have their fun too.
Miller didn’t shy from watching scary movies as a child and remembers showing one at a sleepover. “My friend had to have her mother come pick her up and take her home.”
She watches horror films a little more gingerly these days though. “When I went to see the Evil Dead remake, I had my ears plugged and my eyes covered.”
The special effects and makeup intrinsic to horror films intrigue Miller, who, as a child, sometimes made her own Halloween costumes. “I tended to go ‘the as-weird-as-possible’ route,” she said. “Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas” was my favorite. I put a lot of labor into sewing and making my own wig when I was 10.”
Acting in horror films has another attraction.
“It was kind of nice to have this character going through something intense and letting all that out,” Miller said. “You could scream, cry, throw things and be crazy and it was all acceptable because the character is supposed to be doing it.”
Photo: Allison Miller, who grew up in Lexington, is the star of Devil’s Due, which she says pays ‘homage to a classic movie,’ Rosemary’s Baby. (Photo by Sue Schneider/MGP Agency)