YouTube Star Inanna Sarkis Had a Sick Burn for Her ‘Seance’ Director Simon Barrett on the Set

Inanna Sarkis has parlayed her YouTube success into an acting career. She starred in Boo 2! A Madea Halloween as well as the After films, and more. Her new movie is Seance, in which she place Alice. Alice is the leader of the mean girls at a boarding school. They also play pranks on the other girls, some of which turn out deadly. Sarkis impressed writer/director Simon Barrett with an insult that told him she was right for the role. 

Inanna Sarkis holds a candle over a bathtub
Inanna Sarkis | RLJE Filmd and Shudder

Barrett spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by phone about Seance. We’ll have more with him this week. Seance is available in theaters, on demand and digital May 21, 2021.

This Inanna Sarkis movie began with a roast

The indie film Seance shot quickly on a low budget so Barrett only had one day of rehearsals with Sarkis and the cast to prepare. He was also already in pre-production on the big budget Face/Off 2 and there was one conflict. 

“One of the funniest disses I’ve ever received, and it was even better because she didn’t intend it as a dis, was during rehearsals,” Barrett said. “I remember at one point I had to take a call about Face/Off 2. I’d scheduled it for lunch and I was like, ‘I gotta go take this call.’” 

Both Inanna Sarkis and Simon Barrett were doing ‘Seance’ as a labor of love

Seance was a passion project for those involved. Face/Off 2 is for Barrett too, but he will earn a studio payday for that. He said as much when he went to take the call.

“I said something to the effect of, ‘After doing this, I actually need to get some work,’” Barrett said. “Because I’d spent the last five years trying to get Seance financed and I was pretty much out of money. I didn’t expect to be paid anything on Seance because it was my first film. I was lucky to be paid anything at all. You end up putting most of your fee back into the budget on a film like that just to get yourself 22 shooting days. It’s a pretty common thing I think. I was pretty much watching my bank account dwindle to nothing so I was just like I have to take this call because I need to work.”

Sarkis’s response was priceless. 

Seance cast sits in the headmistress's office
Top L-R: Ella-Rae Smith, Suki Waterhouse Bottom L-R: Djouliet Amara, Madisen Beaty, Inanna Sarkis and Stephanie Sy | RLJE Films and Shudder

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“Inanna was just like, ‘Oh yeah, after doing this I’ll probably have to pose with a bottle or something,’” Barrett said. “I thought it was a really funny thing to point out that for Inanna she could definitely probably get more money just from posing with a bottle as I could get for writing Face/Off 2.”

She had the attitude ‘Seance’ needed

Alice has a number of lines like that, too. Barrett wasn’t even insulted because it meant he found the right actor.

“She said it in a very casual dis way that I thought was really funny,” Barrett said. “That was basically also why I cast her because she’s capable of really funny disses that you’re just like, ‘Damn, Inanna just burned me so good. That was great.’ She was just like, ‘Yeah, after doing this, I’ll probably have to do an ad or something. I don’t like doing that really.’ I was just like oh my God, that’s such a funny approach to the problem that I’m dealing with.”

Seance mask peers through a crack in the door
A scary mask in Seance | RLJE Films and Shudder

Barrett also appreciated Sarkis’s experience behind the camera when they made Seance together. 

“The best thing about that is that she’s a director,” Barrett said. “I think she honestly probably directs more than she acts because she really puts together a lot of her videos. So she really just understood what we were going for on a scene level. I was able to say this is what the scene is and she could figure out what I was going for from there.”