'The Fall of the House of Usher's Carla Gugino Says She Was 'Absolutely Terrified' To Portray Verna

Mike Flanagan's 'The Fall of the House of Usher' is available to stream on Netflix.

She may have portrayed everyone from Jessie Burlingame, a woman fighting for her life, in 2017's Gerald's Game to haunted family matriarch Olivia Crain in The Haunting of Hill House, but for Carla Gugino, taking on the role of Verna, a harbinger of death, in Mike Flanagan's The Fall of the House of Usher was her most difficult role to date. Discussing the hit Netflix original series in a recent interview with AwardsWatch, the actress opened up about portraying the mysterious figure, admitting that she was "absolutely terrified." Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Fall of the House of Usher.

Asked about her immediate response to reading Verna's character in the scripts for the series, inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Gungio shared that she was just as intrigued by the character as viewers. The actress said that "every time I finished a script, I was dying to get to the next one. But I would have to wait until it was ready and written and ready to be seen. So the suspense every time was pretty fantastic." Gugino noted that as Verna "built, because as you know from the show, she built slowly, and mystery is kept for quite some time. As she built, I got more and more exhilarated reading her. And then by the end, I was just absolutely terrified about how I was going to bring her to life."

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(Photo: EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX)

"I think I was just so interested as an audience; and then I realized, 'Oh, right, it's me that has to actually do this.' Because she drives the narrative in certain ways; in terms of just the deal that is made and the consequences that come from it, I felt a great responsibility in that," she continued. "And also just got down to the work. I think that's the thing: is that the only way into something like this process with Verna, it was such an unusual one. I don't think I'll ever be asked to do something where you get to play this many incarnations of the same character, and one of them includes an ape. It's a pretty unusual opportunity."

Despite her fears, Gugino's portrayal of Verna (an anagram of "raven" and a nod to Poe's The Raven), not only earned rave reviews from critics and fans, with TVGuide describing her portrayal as "one of the year's best horror performances," but also her first-ever major awards show nomination. The actress was nominated for a Critics Choice Award in the Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television category, something that Gugino told AwardsWatch was "a wonderful turn of events."

The Fall of the House of Usher is available to stream on Netflix alongside Flanagan's other works, including the Gugino-starring Gerald's Game, The Haunting of Hill House, and The Haunting of Bly Manor. Midnight Mass, in which Gugino voiced the Judge, and The Midnight Club also stream on the platform.