Joelle Goldstein
June 15, 2017 10:00 AM


Twenty years after his breakout role in I Know What You Did Last SummerRyan Phillippe is returning to his horror roots in Wish Upon.

I enjoy a good scare and especially this type of scary movie,” says the 42-year-old actor in a featurette debuted exclusively on PEOPLE. “It reminds me of some of those movies that were around when I came up.”

The thriller tells the story of a father, played by Phillippe, who gifts his daughter, played by Joey King, with a mysterious music box that makes her wishes come true. But, like with most magical wish-givers, there’s a catch — and soon the girl realizes everything has a cost.

While the film reminds Phillippe of his horror pedigree, it also echoes elements of his life now. In the film, he plays the father of 17-year-old Clare Shannon, and in real life, the actor has a 17-year old daughter of his own, Ava Elizabeth, with ex-wife Reese Witherspoon.

He admitted that the nostalgic factor, combined with an opportunity to play a father role, was intriguing to him. “I thought it would kinda be fun for me now, as an adult, to play a parent in a film that was like those that I started my career with,” he says.

Phillippe also has two other kids —  a son, Deacon, 13, also with Witherspoon, and a daughter, Kai, 5, with his ex, Alexis Knapp. Because of Phillippe’s experience as a dad-of-three, the actor had no problem getting into character.

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“What a great dad … he could relate to this,” director John Leonetti explains. “He did such a great job with being very real.”

Phillippe’s young costar, King, 17, also had great things to say about her onscreen father. “He’s the greatest, such a cool fake dad,” King raves. “He’s one of those guys you can just get along with about anything … he’s the best.”

Wish Upon hits theaters on July 14.

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