"Knock at the Cabin" Star Kristen Cui on Working with Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge and M. Night Shyamalan

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After enjoying a string of hits like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs, M. Night Shyamalan's fans have learned to wait in anticipation for a plot twist that will warp everything they’ve seen up until that moment. Shyamalan's latest, Knock at the Cabin from Universal Pictures, follows husbands Eric and Andrew and their daughter Wen, who are visited by four strangers who claim that the end of the world is upon them and the family must sacrifice one of their own to prevent it from happening. Is this the bizarre mindgame of a doomsday cult, or is the apocalypse really here? Making her feature film debut is young actress Kristen Cui, who stars as Wen. She recently sat down with MediaVillage to talk about her experience working on the film starring opposite Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge.

Working alongside Groff and Aldridge as her on-screen dads, Cui shared that the two actors "really helped me sink into Wen by using their own emotions to guide me." This proved particularly helpful for her given the highly panicked and emotional state that the actors were in for most of the film. "I really liked when we fully set the emotion into focus on our roles deeply act out [the story] and sink into it," she said.

Cui also shared that the biggest challenge for her was tackling the amount of dialogue she had as she was is in nearly every scene of the film, save for a few flashback scenes. "Memorization was the hardest for me," she admitted. "I hadn’t had to memorize so many lines before. But learned a system called 'splitting' [that helped me] break down the script."

Apart from the aforementioned flashbacks, the majority of the film takes place in the titular cabin and emotions ran high nearly the entire time. When it came to her performance and working with the prolific director, who also co-wrote the screenplay which was in turn based on the book The Cabin at End of the World by Paul G. Tremblay, Cui shared, "M. Night always said 'think the thoughts,' which I didn't understand at first, but it helps you sink into the character deeper. It made everything easier."

When asked about when she knew she wanted to become a professional actor, the nine-year-old actress had this to say: “I was always interested in acting but I wasn’t sure if I wanted it as a hobby. But when I acted in my first scene [in this film], I thought, 'The fun is already beginning. This is what I want to do.'" Looking ahead, Cui added that she hopes to delve more into fantasy as well as comedy. "Magic is something that you can't really experience in everyday life, so I'd love to be in a fantasy or magic movie," she explained. "I'm really interested in comedies because they’re my favorite thing to watch."

Closing our interview with simple yet wise words, Cui advices young actors who may want to be in her shoes: Believe in your dreams.

Knock at the Cabin is now playing in theaters.

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