Misha Osherovich Talks Subverting Horror Movie Tropes in Freaky
Misha Osherovich Isn't Your Typical Gay Best Friend in 'Freaky'
The actor chats with PRIDE about switching up expectations of horror films in Universal's latest slasher-comedy.
Misha Osherovich is helping subvert tropes in the body-swapping horror-comedy Freaky.
Starring Vince Vaughn as a crazed serial killer named The Butcher and Kathryn Newton as innocent, introverted high schooler Millie, Freaky tells the story of a murderer on the loose as he terrorizes a typical, small American town. But after a freak accident (or intentional curse??) finds the two in each other's bodies, Millie awakens as The Butcher and has 24 hours to switch back before the curse becomes permanent.
Osherovich plays Josh, Millie's gay best friend. "He's really gay in the best way possible," the nonbinary actor tells PRIDE. "Josh is unapologetic, he's incredibly outspoken, and he plays a central role in fighting the butcher in the storyline."
Josh and Millie's other best friend Nyla (played by Celeste O'Connor) subvert the usual fate that awaits the "token" characters in horror films. "You're Black, I'm gay, you're so dead," Josh screams at one point in the film as they run from The Butcher. "That literally is a commentary on what happens in horror films to minority characters," points out Osherovich.
No spoilers here, but both characters play a central role in the plot. Osherovich says the writers, Chris Landon and Michael Kennedy, were intentional in "writing a queer character that they endowed with all this extra power."
And there's a particularly queer moment in the film not involving Josh. Millie is crushing on a boy named Booker (Uriah Shelton) and even when she's in The Butcher's six-foot-something body, their mutual attraction and flirtations persist, a thrilling chemistry to watch between the two cisgender, male actors.
"That moment was talked about on set since day one," says Osherovich, who snuck onto set on their off day to watch the moment play out between Vince Vaughn and Uriah Shelton. Landon simply "wanted the love story to not be inhibited by a body swap."
"It's just about identity, it's about romance," says Osherovich on why the moment works so well. "[The actors] weirdly knew the position they were in and said 'I'm in' and that opened brought authenticity to the scene."
Hopefully, Freaky marks an upswing in LGBTQ+ representation in horror. "Queerness, in general, is, of course not new, but it's new in terms of being expressed in nuance," Osherovich reflects. "Horror as a genre is inherently queer."
They reflect on some of their favorite movies like Hereditary, Midsommar, and Jennifer's Body. "Horror has this nack for talking about society without showing society how it actually is because it's heightened," they say.
We, along with Osherovich, can't wait to see more queer stories. "I personally want to write, create, and act all over the genre map when it comes to mental health," they explain excitedly. No official news yet, but "the train has begun moving" on that journey.