Abigail star Alisha Weir on preparing to play a child vampire

Teenage actress Alisha Weir has spoken about the duality of playing a “sweet, innocent girl” who is also a bloodthirsty vampire in her new horror film Abigail.

The Dublin-born actress, best known for her starring role in the big screen version of Matilda The Musical, plays the 12-year daughter of a powerful underworld figure who is kidnapped by a group of would-be criminals.

However, as they hold her for ransom in an isolated mansion, their plan unravels as they discover her true identity.

Talking about the contrast between this film and Matilda, Weir, 14, told the PA news agency: “Abigail has two sides, and you see those two sides in the film.

“I really focused on those two sides because at the start of the film, you want people to believe that she’s this sweet, innocent girl.

European premiere of Wicked Little Letters – London
Alisha Weir is best known for her role in the musical film of Matilda (Ian West/PA)

“If you go into the cinema knowing nothing and haven’t seen who Abigail really is, I wanted to focus on tricking people, because that is what Abigail trying to do, she’s trying to trick the people who have kidnapped her.

“I was trying to really focus in on that other side of her to make people believe that this was a sweet, innocent girl, but also to remember who she really was.”

The film was shot on location in Ireland, at Glenmaroon House outside of Dublin, the former residence of brewing scion Arthur Guinness, and the cast have raved about the experience they had there.

Big Little Lies star Kathryn Newton said: “Ireland is my favourite place in the world. And the best food, best sausage rolls, best crew.

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Kathryn Newton (Ian West/PA)

“I work with the same crew from Little Women (the TV mini series) on Abigail and it’s just a beautiful place too, the people were really nice. And I hope I get to work there again.”

Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens added: “We had an incredible time there and I would say second that with the crews.

“I’ve worked there a couple of times and just incredible crew. Fantastic sense of humour off set, which really, really kind of lent itself to this movie.

Three Empire Awards – London
Dan Stevens (Matt Crossick/PA)

“Matt and Tyler, (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett), the filmmakers, have a great sense of humour and it was definitely matched by the sense of humour of the crew. And what a beautiful country.”

Abigail is released in UK cinemas on April 19.