The Night House is currently in theaters and stars Rebecca Hall who gives a gripping performance led by Director David Bruckner. We sat down with Rebecca to discuss the film process.
Official synopsis: Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best she can to keep it together – but then nightmares come. Disturbing visions of a presence in the house calling to her, beckoning her with a ghostly allure.
What drew you to the film?
I think I recognize that there was going to be sort of unusually challenging acting opportunities and I am a sucker for that. I like the stretch and there was a lot I felt like something I haven’t done before. There were a lot of challenges physical and emotional that felt like thy ewer going to be difficult to be pulled of and I was a little frightened that I could pull them off and that’s usually an indication I should do something. I was very, above and beyond anything else, I think I was very seduced by the character. I think she is kind of fascinating. On the page, she was very enigmatic and sort of odd for a horror movie heroine. She doesn’t behave in a particularly nice and cozy way. She’s not a frightened victim who is just screaming a lot. Often, she is very brittle and confrontational and runs towards the danger saying “Come and get me, I’m ready to get scared” which I thought was a really compelling facete, so I liked her a lot.
Haha, yeah there were definitely those moments where your character would do the opposite of what I feel like normally a lot of people would do. Oh, you hear that? Then run in the other direction.
Yeah, which is sort of the fundamental troupe of a horror movie. There is always that moment when you are like “Don’t go in there. Don’t open that door. Run. What are you doing?” but I felt like it was a good justification for her sticking around. She’s got sort of nothing else to lose at some level because she is in a state of shock, so she is totally willing to just find out and go for it and that makes it quite sort of inadvertently frightening to watch because you don’t know what she is going to do.
It’s just you for the majority of the film. How difficult was this during film?
It was really challenging. I’m not going to lie. The best analogy I can come up with is when you are at a party, and it is sort of boring and then someone really charismatic walks in the room and suddenly everyone gets really good. Often acting can be like that. It’s difficult the generate the energy yourself. Sometimes it felt like I was at a party where no one else was going to show up and I was just going to have to keep things going. It was very exhausting honestly. You know, and just the responsibility to maintain my energy and stamina to keep going and just holding the story in my head. Also, not having anyone to commiserate with when things were tough. Usually, you get to have a sit and have a cup of tea with another actor and roll your eyes about something.
What’s the preparation process for a film like this?
I’m a firm believer in just believing what is happening when someone says action. Sometimes it doesn’t need as much preparation as people assume like the capacity to just believe the moment someone says action and just believe what is happening to you is what is happening to you and see what happens. She was such an impulsive character in so many ways it felt almost better to underprepare and surprise myself than it did to imagine everything I was going to do. Quite often, when [David Bruckner] called action I honestly had no idea what I was going to do and I sort of just threw myself into the situation and let it sort of be impulsive. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t, the stuff that worked made it into the movie.
How long was the filming process?
It was very short. Not even 5 weeks. I think it was 23 days maybe. Very short, very intense. Some Overnights.
Is there a genre of film that you gravitate towards more than others?
No, it’s funny, I don’t think of myself as loving a particular genre over another. I think that stories are stories and they take a lot of forms. Sometimes genres has the capacity to metaphorically attack something that’s difficult to attack directly. That’s true with science fiction and all types of genres. I do gravitate towards genre more than I would think given the sort of films I like. I think some of the greatest films that have ever been made are horror, science fiction, and genre. I can think of some copious examples such as The Shinning, Rosemary’s Baby, and the Cat People. There’s a French film called Diabolique, not technically horror but it’s terrifying. These are movies I love.