In an interview with Movieweb, director Daniel Stamm noted that Jacqueline Byers had an uphill battle with him, as she was already in consideration for the role when he joined the film. Stamm elaborated that he was the second director to come on the project, signing on just as pre-production was starting. He then received Byers’ audition tape from the producers, with a note indicating that they would prefer if he chose her for the role. Stamm said that this irked him as he wanted to make his own pick for the part of Sister Ann.
Stamm watched the tape out of obligation but was blown away by the range Byers displayed, realizing she was perfect for the role because she could show strength without seeming invincible. “You need to see she’s terrified because if the protagonist isn’t terrified, the audiences aren’t terrified,” Stamm said. He pointed out that Byers displayed those qualities and then showed that she could also not succumb to the fear, which is a crucial aspect of the character. Stamm went on to admit that the audition tape made him cry.
“Jackie was absolutely incredible,” Stamm said of his star’s performance in the film, while also praising her as “one of the most memorable things about this movie.”