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INTERVIEW: Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Isabella Russo On Character Motivation and ‘We Have a Ghost’

The cast of We have a ghost

We Have a Ghost was a draw for a lot of fans because it featured David Harbour as a ghost named Ernest and Anthony Mackie playing a dad trying his best. It’d be easy to be sucked in for those two reasons alone but the joy of the Chris Landon movie comes from its young stars. Kevin (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) is just trying to fit in and figure out who he is when he meets Ernest the ghost and wants to help figure out what happened to him. He’s in love with music, finding the truth about Ernest, and just being a good kid and it makes Kevin a fascinating character to explore this story with.

Getting to talk to Winston, he’s genuinely such a fun actor to talk to about his craft and working on a character that loves rock music and singing to get Ernest to come out. So when I spoke with Winston, I asked about the music element of the film and how that played into his own music knowledge.

“I definitely feel like Kevin has broadened my general knowledge about music because I did not know some of the songs and references prior to starting the film,” he said. “And so I had to work hard at practicing and really studying to make it feel really organic coming out of my mouth. You know, because for him, this is what he listens to all the time. He’s immersed himself into that kind of world and it was very new to me. And so, it’s really great that you, that you saw that how music is really important to him and is a way that he can express himself.”

You can see our full interview here:

The importance of Joy

Friends and love interests in movies often come as side characters. Sometimes, they’re ones we’ve known for the entire movie and we love them as much as the leads but often, they get sidelined for the overall story. What works so well about We Have a Ghost is that the movie makes sure all of its characters have their strong emotions and driving forces. Like Joy.

Played by the incredible Isabella Russo, Joy comes into Kevin’s life and is there for him when everyone else seems to hung up on the ghost in the attack and not how they can help Ernest. Getting to speak with Russo for the movie, I asked them about the little things about Joy that they might have thought of on their own to help flesh out Joy as a character.

“As far as small little head cannons, I made her a playlist of music that I think that she would really love,” Russo said. “There was a lot of Nirvana on there. But as far as her motivations, I think she, and without spoiling a lot of it, she definitely has her reasons. And this adventure, while she’s fully committed to helping Kevin and uncovering this mystery of this ghost that has suddenly appeared, she also has been longing for this kind of escape and adventure from her day-to-day life with her home life and school. And so the moment that this comes up, she’s 100% game to go off on this crazy adventure.”

You can see our full interview here:


We Have a Ghost is on Netflix now and is well worth the watch!

(Featured image: Netflix)

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She/Her. A writer who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.