Hannah Kasulka was never into horror or dark characters and now her life is centered around one of the most iconic ones. Hannah stars in Fox’s television show “The Exorcist”, which takes heavy inspiration from the original 1973 film. Hannah plays Geena Davis’s seemingly picture-perfect daughter “Casey,” but her Jekyll and Hyde behavior eventually reveals that she’s possessed by a demon. Hannah is absolutely terrifying as she psychologically toys with each of the main characters, playing on their deepest fears like a cat playing with its prey. Her large, crystalline blue eyes and angelic features create an eerie contrast with her sinister character. However, in reality, Hannah is just as well intentioned and sweet as she originally came off in the first place. Growing up in a small town in Georgia as a talented girl who loved performing, Hannah decided rather spontaneously that she wanted to pursue a career in acting. She moved to Atlanta where a booming film industry was already taking off and found herself smack dab in the middle of it. She pulled herself up by her own bootstraps, buying books, signing up for a few acting classes, and eventually obtaining an agent. A true Hollywood story unfolded as Hannah booked gig after gig, learning quickly as she went along. Now as she puts a unique spin on her iconic character, Hannah admits that those books she bought were not very useful. Her formula for success was not a formula at all, but rather a combination of hard work, a bit of luck, and rolling with the punches.
Did you go to school for acting or was it something you honed more along the way?
I still don’t know how I did it. It involved a lot of research and some luck. I Googled acting classes and getting an agent—I think Google should get an Oscar. There’s no book for it. Working was a way for me to dip my toe in the water. There are so many good people out there, so you watch and learn, and with every job, you get better. I took some improv classes and tried a bunch of different acting styles. Then you just take a little bit from everywhere and see what works for you. I still run into places where I’m like, ‘I don’t know how to do this’ and I just figure it out. I think the secret is that no one fully knows what they’re doing. They all figure it out along the way.
What are you channeling when you’re playing the role of someone who’s possessed?
So it’s a little dark, but when you’re the bad guy, you don’t think you’re bad. You’re right and the other person’s wrong. It’s good to be crazy, because then you make choices that you never would as a normal person. Like, I never would’ve spit in someone’s face. But that’s the way I think when I’m grounded in what I want and how am I gonna get it as the character.
As you begin to be more recognizable and get more of a platform as an actress, is there anything you’d like to do with that platform?
I love the whole process of storytelling, so I’d like to write and direct. Then there’s this organization in Africa called the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust at dswt.org that helps baby elephants that have been orphaned by poachers and raises them. So that’s a cause that I really like. Help those without a voice, who don’t necessarily have a platform.
Ten years from now, what would be the ideal, dream version of yourself that you would want to see?
I just hope I don’t get jaded by all this. I feel very lucky that I get to live my dream and I can pay my bills doing what I love. I hope everyday that I come to work, I get just as excited as I am now.
TEXT ZEE CHANG
PHOTOGRAPHY MARTINA TOLOT
HAIR DEREK YUEN
MAKEUP BETHANY MCCARTY