Emma Tammi Discusses ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ and the Fan Excitement

While at New York Comic Con, I had the opportunity to chat with Emma Tammi, who directed and co-wrote Five Nights at Freddy’s. The movie, which is based on the terrifying horror game phenomenon, will hit theaters and begin streaming on Peacock this Friday. So can you survive five nights?

We discussed the FNAF fans, working with the animatronics, and more! Keep reading for everything the director shared about this special project.

Photo Credit: Patti Perret/Universal Pictures

The film follows Mike (Josh Hutcherson) a troubled young man caring for his 10-year-old sister Abby (Piper Rubio), and haunted by the unsolved disappearance of his younger brother more than a decade before. Recently fired and desperate for work so that he can keep custody of Abby, Mike agrees to take a position as a night security guard at an abandoned theme restaurant: Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. But Mike soon discovers that nothing at Freddy’s is what it seems. With the aid of Vanessa, a local police officer (Elizabeth Lail), Mike’s nights at Freddy’s will lead him into unexplainable encounters with the supernatural and drag him into the black heart of an unspeakable nightmare.

I’m so excited about Five Nights at Freddy’s, it’s one of my most anticipated movies of the year. What has it been like to see the fan response so far? I mean, the reactions on social media have been incredible, there’s such excitement around it. How does that make you feel? I know it must have felt like your baby throughout the filmmaking process and now you’re finally getting to share the film with the world.
Emma Tammi:
Yeah, I mean, you’re right. It’s always a wild experience to put anything out into the world that you’ve been working on in a bubble for so long. But with this one, it’s really incredibly special to see the reactions even just from the trailers and glimpses of the animatronics. For us, we were lucky enough to have some FNAF Youtubers come visit the set, and their response to that and watching the shoot was huge. So it’s a whole other level of fulfillment and I really feel like if the fans love the film then we’ll have done our job and it means everything, their excitement means everything.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 12: Emma Tammi attends Universal Pictures Presents A Special Blumfest Panel At New York Comic Con at Jacob Javits Center on October 12, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bonnie Biess/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

Is there anything specific that you learned while working on this film that you hadn’t experienced before, whether you feel like it taught you something new for your future work or just stands out to you as challenging?
Oh yeah, so much. I mean, certainly working with puppets and animatronics, that was my first time doing that and it was incredible. I love collaborating with actors and this felt like a whole other level of collaborating with performers that I just adored and hope to do more of in the future. Then, adapting IP that’s really important to an audience was new to me and collaborating specifically with Scott on this one to make sure that we were towing that line of getting the lore right and getting the amount of it right mixed with the new elements of the movie. That was a whole new collaboration for me too, so that was really awesome.

I was telling Jason Blum that I was in my glory with the cast. I mean, you have Josh Hutcherson and Matthew Lillard– there are just a ton of fantastic casting choices and I’m curious for you, is there someone that surprised you with how they embodied the character and brought them to life on screen? I know that’s probably hard because everyone is amazing.
Yeah, I mean, I think seeing their interactions with the animatronics was something that really blew me away because it was this live thing happening that was, in some ways I think, taking the cast by surprise as well. They were really having very real reactions to what was happening in front of them and [that] was one of the reasons why we wanted to build the animatronics practically and not build them in post with CGI. So that was really, really incredible to see our human cast interact with our animatronic cast.