Sissy Spacek Slept in the Famous Bloody Prom Dress For 3 Days While Filming ‘Carrie’

Sissy Spacek is an iconic actor, portraying everyone from a teenager covered in pig’s blood to a coal miner’s daughter. Part of her success comes from her dedication to her roles. Many actors prepare for roles by changing their routines or diets, but Spacek took her role as Carrie to further extremes.

Carrie is a 1976 horror film based on Stephen King‘s titular novel. After Spacek’s phenomenal performance in the box office hit, fans could not imagine another actor as Carrie. However, she was not the first choice for the role. The now-71-year-old had to pull out all the stops during her audition and filming.

Sissy Spacek slept in Carrie’s fake-blood covered prom dress

Sissy Spacek lays waste to the Bates High School Senior Prom as the telekinetic protagonist of the 1976 horror film 'Carrie'
Actor Sissy Spacek destroys the Bates High School Senior Prom in 1976 horror film ‘Carrie’ | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Carrie is a classic horror film that tells the story of a quiet, friendless teenage girl named Carrie White. Her telekinetic powers are revealed after school bullies push her too far during the senior prom. Spacek’s performance in Carrie boosted her career and became one of her most prominent early roles. However, the recognition was well-deserved.

The Texas native was so committed to the role that she slept in the infamous bloody prom dress throughout filming. Vulture reports that Spacek wanted the fake-blood-soaked dress to “look great.” She had a trailer pulled behind MGM Studios so she could sleep in the dress for three days while filming Carrie.

Co-star P.J. Soles even told her how “amazing” she was for wanting “to sleep in that sticky, icky stuff.” Spacek’s response was, “It’s got to match.” The Bloodline matriarch showed another level of dedication in order to maintain continuity with her role in the film.

Spacek’s dedication to the role of Carrie paid off

If sleeping in a fake-blood-covered dress was not extreme enough, Spacek’s dedication to the role of Carrie White started before she was even cast for the lead part. Carrie Director Brian De Palma planned on giving Amy Irving, the nice girl, Sue, from the movie, the lead role in the 1976 film. However, Spacek’s dedication to the role and unique wardrobe choice for her audition tipped the scales in her favor.

It was sheer luck that Spacek auditioned in the first place. It only happened because her husband and Carrie set designer, Jack Fisk, asked De Palma to allow Spacek to read for the part. On her audition day, Spacek ignored good hygiene, showing up in a raggedy blue sailor dress to look the part. She even added Vaseline to her hair to give her an authentic look as one would imagine for Carrie.

Spacek’s hair and makeup crew were ready to “fix” her appearance before auditioning for De Palma. But the young actor would not let them change her intentionally disheveled look. After De Palma witnessed her dedication to the role, he knew she would be the perfect fit for Carrie.

Once cast for the part, Spacek went even further to ensure the cruelty experienced by Carrie looked convincing on screen. Soles, who played Norma in Carrie, told Vulture that Spacek let her co-stars know upfront that she was going to alienate herself from them in order to get in the right mental state. She told them, “I want to feel that alienation. But I really like you and afterward, we’ll party and we’ll have a great time. But don’t take it personally. I just want to let you know I’m doing it on purpose because I want to get into the part.”

‘Carrie’ was the start of Spacek’s long, successful acting career

Spacek’s extreme dedication to playing Carrie earned her worldwide recognition and her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The sci-fi movie was only the beginning for Spacek. She went on to impress fans and critics in Coal Miner’s Daughter, JFK, In the Bedroom, and many TV shows and films.

The award-winning and critically acclaimed actor continues offering believable performances at over 70 years old. She once told Rolling Stone that she would not retire. Fans are excited to see what’s next for the timeless entertainer. 

RELATED: ‘Carrie’: Sissy Spacek Initially Thought Her Character Carrie Was ‘a Loser’