Tarot 2024 Movie Cast Members Talk 'Eerily Accurate' Card Readings & Film's 'Terrifying' Monsters (Exclusive)

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Tarot, Jacob Batalon

The cast of Sony Pictures' upcoming horror movie Tarot talked all about filming with the project's many terrifying monsters and their personal experiences with "eerily accurate" card readings.

The movie follows a close ground of friends who, after messing around with an old tarot deck in a rental home, start coming face-to-face with their fates as read to them by the deck.

As more fates start coming to life, and people meet their ends, it is up to the survivors to figure out how to stop death from claiming them too.

The Terrifying Monsters of Tarot Its Unique Filming Experience

In an exclusive interview with The Direct’s Russ Milheim, Tarot cast members Jacob Batalon and Humberly Gonzalez spoke about the movie’s many monsters, their personal experience with readings, and more.

When asked if he had any experience with Tarot cards before the film, Jacob Batalon, who plays Paxton in the film, admitted that "they tried teaching [him]," but he "didn’t want to mess with the supernatural like that:"

"Not too much. I think the girls on the cast definitely were really into it. They tried teaching me about Tarot. But I didn't want to mess with the supernatural like that. You know, I feel like everything in my life is going really well. I don't want to fuck it up. So, I think I tried not to do anything on purpose."

"I started getting readings maybe a couple of years ago," Gonzalez, who portrays Madeline, added, noting how "they’ve always been eerily accurate:"

"I only recently started learning about [Tarot] cards. Because there are angel cards, animal cards, and tarot cards, but I started getting readings maybe a few years ago. And to be honest, they've always been very, eerily accurate. So I believe it."

Tarot decks come in all different shapes and sizes, with plenty of theming options available. If choosing personal decks, Batalon revealed that he would probably lean into something with "Pokémon vibes," while Gonzalez would want "something to do with the galaxy:"

The movie is based on a 1992 book called Horrorscope, written by Nicholas Adams. For fans of the original, Gonzalez revealed that while the movie is "an adaptation," the actress called this film "a new iteration of it:"

"I wasn't familiar with the book. I know that it's an adaptation of it, and I think the creators just kind of took inspiration from it and made a brand-new thing. But I love that it's based on something. And now we've created kind of a new iteration of it."

The filming experience for Tarot was unique, according to the cast, as production took place in Serbia. This resulted in the cast and crew getting very close to one another throughout the shoot.

"It was really fun to adventure together," Gonzalez recalled, adding that the cast "really gelled together right away:"

"Yes. So we were in Belgrade, Serbia, which already that's so far removed from anything that we all know. Most of us live in North America. So it allows you to bond quite quickly because we do not know anybody there. It's a completely different language and culture. So it was really fun to adventure together, honestly. And the cast, we really gelled together right away. And especially with ensembles, you have to feel the banter, and you feel it right away when the movie starts."

The actress reiterated how, "right from the start," she knew they could "feel that sense of a group of friends who’ve been friends for a long time:"

"The first shot that you see is literally all of us hanging out, just sharing stories, making fun of each other, and laughing. And I remember that day, specifically, it was late at night. And you could have been rolling the entire time because we kept improvising, throwing things, and kind of bantering with each other. So, right from the start, I think you feel that sense of a group of friends who've been friends for a long time, even though we had just met and were in a completely foreign place."

Jacob Batalon recalled how he worked out with co-stars Aidan Bradley and Wolfgang Novogratz "basically every day" and that the relationships between his other cast members "sort of organically came together:"

"You know, Aidan [Bradley] and I worked out together basically every day, and so did Wolfgang [Novogratz]. The girls went out with each other all the time. And we constantly had cast dinners and stuff like that. So I think that our relationships all sort of organically came together. But I also think all of us being in a far-off Eastern European place really made us band together and be close because we were kind of the only ones there. And I think that probably helped the experience a lot."

The actor then brought up a funny story when he tried to use a Google Translator once, which did not go as expected:

"Everyone in Serbia was really great. I tried to use a Google Translator once. I was looking for some food, and it translated to like, 'Do you have any horse penis?' The guy was like, 'No, sir. We don't serve that here.' So it was definitely an experience, but it was so fun."

The movie itself is quite the scary ride, as it brings to life a variety of terrifying monsters who feature on the cards of a haunted Tarot deck.

Gonzalez noted how, visually, "it’s almost like a fantasy watching it" and that "it was terrifying" watching the monsters on set:

"Honestly, I think visually, it's almost like a fantasy watching it. I love that when the cards come to life, they have practical effects. We had real people who were like contortionists and knew how to scare you in real life. Even watching them when we were on set was terrifying. So, it really comes through the screen alongside the editing and the sound design. You have an incredible script that comes together. I felt uneasy the entire time. I think the suspense is built through all of these elements visually and hearing how the music plays it out."

The actress compared the hour-and-a-half-long movie to a "roller coaster ride," one that’s great to experience with friends:

"There are a lot of really fun jump scares throughout the film; some are real jump scares, and some are just us, like popping out of nowhere. So it's just like you laugh, and then you're like, 'Okay, I'm safe,' and then boom, it gets you again. So, that uneasiness, it moves fast, and it's quick, you know, the movie is only an hour and a half, and I feel like it goes by so fast, and you're just like on this roller coaster ride, so it's really fun to watch with friends and that's exactly what I'm going to do."

While Gonzalez admitted that "the Hanged Man is really scary" (her character’s fated Tarot card in the film), she thought "the Hermit" might be the scariest of them all:

"So, the Hanged Man is really scary. He is an actual contortionist. He does like circus work and stuff like that, and watching him stretch was even scary. Like him and his regular clothes. I was like, 'I don't know how people bend like that'... honestly, all of them are really scary in their own unique way. I would say the Hermit was really scary, too. That scene was like, late at night, and it's just like a really dark figure from any angle. I was like, 'No, can't look at it.' There were just so many moments. I was like, I know this isn't real, but I'm so scared to go up and be like, 'Hi.'"

Batalon’s Paxton might have been faced with the creepiest of the bunch, a contortionist clown/jester. The actor admitted that having practical creatures on set was "helping [him] with the anxiety and the stress" for his scenes:

"He was great. He's a gymnast, like a contortionist. So he was actually bending his body in those crazy shapes. So it was really awesome. I think it was a challenge in a way to really just be working with something so practical in the way that—well, not harder, but it's actually easier because, with other movies or whatever, you’re usually reacting to a green screen or a ball or something. But to actually have them there was helping me with the anxiety and the stress. And the mask itself is terrifying. The guy who does it is a great, awesome, fun guy, but I can't talk to him when he has the costume. There's just no way."

While Batalon’s Paxton does not have scenes with all the Tarot cards come to life, he was still able to see them all at one point or another while working the production, calling their "creepy factor… insane," even when cameras were not rolling:

"Yeah, I actually saw all of them. And they were all, I mean, again, just like the costume of the prosthetics that they all had on was just so on point… I think the creepy factor was just like; it was insane… It’s scary to walk around the set at nighttime when they're outside… But when all the scary people are having coffee by the truck, and they're all in their costumes, it's just, this is terrifying."

"I’m just really happy with the final product," Batalon told The Direct while also pointing out how impressed he was with directors Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg:

"Anna and Spencer, our directors, [this is] their first time ever directing something, like a big-budget movie. I think they really impressed me a lot with their leadership and what they wanted. And also, just the ingenuity of our set team, crew, and Serbia were all so good and gracious. And just like I had no idea how much fun I was going to have in Serbia. It was actually such a beautiful country and a beautiful time to have. And I'm just really happy with the final product for sure."

For Gonzalez, she was impressed by "how it actually got edited and put together," praising how "the vision for it is really clear:"

"Honestly, because it takes such a long time, like the post-production process, I hadn't seen it until very recently, literally two weeks ago. It impressed me how it actually all got edited and put together. Usually, at the end of a movie, some things get added or taken off. When you add the sound design, music, effects, and editing, It's almost like I had forgotten the whole story until I watched it. It just--I was missing a horror movie like this. You go to the movie theater, and it's so entertaining but well done. The characters and the vision for it are really clear."

The actress reiterated how she is "in awe of the team" behind the movie, going as far as to call Tarot "a classic moving forward:"

“I'm excited for people to have that experience. Like, I really feel like it's going to be so fun. So I was really impressed not saying that I was like, 'Oh no, the movie sucks.'... It's been three months, and we've been shooting for so long. You almost miss pieces, and you don't really know how it all comes together, and reading it off a page is so different than actually watching it. I'm just really in awe of the team. I know they've worked really, really hard, and they curated, I think what's going to be a classic moving forward."

But, if a Tarot 2 was greenlit, would both of them be interested in joining?

Batalon gave a hearty "hell yeah" while noting he "hope[s] that [they] would have the ability to do so:"

"Oh, yeah. Hell yeah. Like, I'm so down for that. That'd be so fun. And also because the ideas are so fresh still that it definitely could be something. I would hope that we have the ability to do so because it's a really fun story."

As for Humberly Gonzalez, she offered up a "heck yes" and exclaimed how it would be great "if [they] got to go to Europe again:"

"Heck yes. Yes. I love the team. I love Anna and Spencer, our directors. And if we got to go to Europe again and shoot a sequel, that would be amazing."

For audiences walking out of the theater after watching Tarot, Gonzalez thinks that the movie could cause people to "want to get their Tarot cards read:"

"But I would say maybe people would want to get their Tarot cards read because it isn't like in the movie, obviously. But I think I've met so many incredible people who do it for a living, and they're really wonderful. They have so much wealth of knowledge on what the cards mean and what it's connected to. And I feel like it'll at least allow that community to blossom and grow, and people will want to be curious about knowing something about their life and their fate."

Tarot hits theaters on Friday, May 3.

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- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.