If you’ve lost sleep at night over the hit Netflix thriller The Haunting of Hill House, now available to own on Blu-ray and DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment, you are not alone. Actress Carla Gugino, who plays ghost mother Olivia Crain, told In Touch exclusively that the spooky role and complicated scenes brought the 48-year-old and everyone in the cast to the top of their game. Some may recognize Carla from the hit movie franchise Spy Kids as mom Ingrid Cortez — a very different, but equally demanding part. Although to Carla, the differences in the maternal roles go much deeper than their genres of horror versus action.

Carla Gugino Haunting of Hill House Different Than Spy Kids

“The obvious [difference] is that one was a mother who was a spy, and the other is a mother who is susceptible to ghosts, and to this particular house, so there was a whole different journey there,” she said to In Touch while comparing the two parts. “What’s funny is when I played the mom in Spy Kids, I was 27 years old, which was at least 10 years too young for the role. So I’m probably much more of the right age now to play that role to have been a spy for 10 years and then had kids and all of that stuff.”

Despite being a little too young to play a senior spy and mother of two, she says she learned a lot from the experience. “It kind of taught me the fact that if you commit to something fully, and you tell a story, people will believe you. And that’s one of the great things about being able to transform to other characters.”

She adds that since her days on Spy Kids, she’s had more experience parenting, thus helping prepare her for her role in The Haunting of Hill House. Although both projects are very different, they both feature young performers. “I was fortunate to work with amazing child actors on both of those projects and that makes a huge difference,” she said, adding, “I love the Spy Kids movies.”

Carla Gugino Haunting of Hill House Different Than Spy Kids
Steve Dietl/Netflix

Her role as Olivia takes the term “tiger mom” to a new level, as her character won’t be happy until her family has gone to the dark side with her so she can keep them “untouched from the horrors of the world.” She added that Olivia’s “particular perspective” is questionable, but an ideal that many mothers hold.

Viewers may remember that Olivia didn’t get her way in the season finale when all her son Luke opted out of staying with his mother. “I think at that moment, Olivia recognizes that she hasn’t gotten him,” Carla explained. “You know her dream is to have them all living together in the house. She’s really actually just looking at him, saying goodbye and realizing for now, she’s not going to get him there. Whether she may eventually is another story. But at this moment, she has another member of her family then she had before. So you know, she’s in process. She has her daughter and her husband, but not her son yet.”

It’s pretty doubtful that Juni and Carmen Cortez will join the ghosts over at Hill House, but hey, you never know!

Carla Gugino Haunting of Hill House Different Than Spy Kids
Paramount Entertainment

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