Name: Megan Suri

Notable past credits: Suri stars in the popular Mindy Kaling-created Netflix show “Never Have I Ever,” and recently appeared in an episode of Peacock’s anthology series “Poker Face.”

SXSW project: Suri leads the horror film “It Lives Inside,” produced by the same team behind “Get Out,” as a high schooler trying to fit in while grappling with her cultural heritage. The film incorporates elements of an Indian folk story as Suri’s character faces the release of a demonic spirit after her friend goes missing.

“I’m so excited that we’re getting a horror movie based around an Indian American teenager,” said Suri, who’s primed for a major breakout moment. “That to me is such a huge deal. And being that I’m a huge horror nut myself, that was a dream come true,” she added. “It’s through the tribulations of life that you start to learn that there is power in embracing where you come from, and there’s power in showcasing that.” 

Megan Suri

Megan Suri

Roger Kisby/WWD

The significance of a SXSW premiere: “There are so many amazing movies that have gotten their footing from this [festival]. And QC, who are behind this movie, are such a perfect example of that. They did ‘Get Out’ here, and ‘Get Out’ became a cult classic,” Suri said. “It’s very humbling — and also to showcase for brown people that our stories matter, and that with hard work and diligence, we too can be here and be recognized amongst all these incredible other films. We deserve to be here.”

Instantly hitting it off with writer-director Bishal Dutta: “We both have such similar experiences,” said the 23-year-old actress. “He was born in India; I was born in the U.S., but I lived in India for two and a half years. So I understand going to a place and then coming back and having to acclimate into what you think is the way that you’re supposed to be,” she added. “At that age [high school], no one wants to be the standout. You want to figure out how to assimilate and just be regular. Especially coming from a cultural background such as being Indian or whatever you may be, it’s challenging, and the easiest thing to do is suppress what makes you unique. And so I think we both had that similarity of meshing with the crowd in order to just get by.”

Horror as an underappreciated genre: “There’s a level of artistry that it takes as an actor, as a writer, as a producer, as a cinematographer, always around bringing something to life that’s so far beyond actual reality. And to have that stick with people I think takes a special touch,” she said. “‘It Lives Inside’ is a perfect example of that where, yes, you do have those jump scares but ultimately the horror isn’t reliant upon this demonic entity. It’s really the horror of the shame and the embarrassment and the running away from who you are, which I think is so common amongst everyone: this self hatred or deep insecurity. That hits on every level for a lot of people.”

Her post-premiere plan: “Since we’re already gonna be up — it’s a midnight movie — and I brought my cowboy boots, we’re maybe gonna go line dancing,” she said. “I don’t plan on sleeping tonight. I feel like if I’m already here and I’m leaving tomorrow, I might as well make the most of it. And Austin [Texas] apparently stays up late, too.” 

What’s next: Suri stars in an upcoming film adaptation of high school rom-com “The Kiss List,” and is readying herself for the fourth and final season of Netflix series “Never Have I Ever.” “It’s high school. It’s gotta end at some point. So that’s gonna be really exciting,” she said. “But other than that, I’m ready to get back into the grind and figure out where my next project is.” 

Megan Suri

Megan Suri

Roger Kisby/WWD

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