Lara Vosburgh’s Inner Demons

The Israeli-American TV actress discusses her first movie role.

Photo by Guy Kushi and Yariv Fein.

In the new horror film Inner Demons, the Israeli-American actress Lara Vosburgh plays Carson, a young woman who trades a metaphorical demon (her heroin addiction) for an actual one (she becomes possessed, Linda Blair-style, by the devil). Vosburgh, who is a TV star in Israel but relatively unknown in Hollywood, paid visits to N.A. and A.A. meetings all over Los Angeles to prepare for her first film. As far as addiction roles go, this is fairly standard. What she didn’t expect was that her director, Seth Grossman, would instruct her to study YouTube videos of hyenas in the wild in order to create the physicality of demonic possession. “We really did that,” says Vosburgh, laughing. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know if that is typical. I didn’t have a chance to ask Linda Blair if she tracked hyenas in nature.”

Shot in a found-footage style on the set of a fictional TV series called “Step Inside Recovery,” the film starts out as a drama, with Carson as an addict struggling through withdrawal. “I had to be very secluded emotionally,” Vosburgh recalls. “I tried not to talk to people on set or when I went home.” What made that actorly isolation especially difficult was that at the time they were shooting the film, in 2012, there was an escalation of violence in Israel, where Vosburgh lives with her mother. “On some level, I felt guilty,” she admits.

Although she has a tendency to begin sentences with “Wow…,” Vosburgh is a serious-minded young actress, whose other great passion is Arab-Israeli relations. She’s developing a website to promote cultural diplomacy, and her goal is to play an Arab character onscreen. She has been studying Arabic, both at the University of Tel Aviv, and on her own. “When Israeli actresses come to Hollywood, usually their dream is to play these all-American roles where they speak perfect English,” Vosburgh explains. “My wish is for the vice-versa. I want to play Middle Eastern people.”