The pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on the theatrical industry, but the success of A Quiet Place Part II and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It has shown that audiences are more than willing to turn up in their droves to be scared out of their seats.
The Ritual director David Bruckner’s latest effort The Night House will be looking to capitalize on that desire people have to be terrified when it comes to theaters this Friday. Anchored by an incredible leading performance from Rebecca Hall, the story follows a recently widowed teacher staying at the titular abode, who begins to experience haunting visions that tie her late husband to a supernatural mystery she can barely even begin to imagine.
We Got This Covered recently had the chance to speak to Hall for an exclusive chat where we discussed why she was drawn to The Night House, how she feels about her role as Beth, the performative whiplash jumping from a big budget blockbuster like Godzilla vs. Kong straight into a character-driven chiller and much more, which you can check out below.
You must be thrilled knowing that The Night House is finally coming to theaters, over eighteen months since the premiere at last year’s Sundance?
Rebecca Hall: Yeah, definitely! I mean, it has been eighteen months but it also feels like, you know, it was the last thing I saw in a cinema at Sundance when we were selling it, and now things are slowly, maybe, kind of opening back up again. So, we can just erase the last eighteen months, I suppose is what I’m saying! But yeah, I am very excited, I’m very excited.
The Night House is the sort of slow burning chamber piece we don’t really see anymore, was the balance between old school atmosphere and modern mystery one of the big selling points for you? Because there’s classic elements, but the mythology is so unique.
Rebecca Hall: Absolutely. No, no, you’ve put it really well. Well, I thought it was a return to a classic haunted house movie that I enjoy, but it was also a really fresh take on it, with a lot of inversions of existing tropes and expectations. And I really, really loved the central character, I loved her.
She’s so willing to be frightened, willing to be haunted, which I think is a really unusual idea in this genre, because there’s arguably one thing scarier than a woman being terrorized alone, and that’s one who wants it. And I think that makes her incredibly reckless to watch, and you’ve got no idea what she’s going to do when she’s at a really low ebb. She’s brittle, and she’s funny, and she’s angry, so she’s a caution to watch.
Did you find it easy or difficult to get into the mindset moving from the big budgets and green screens of Godzilla vs. Kong into such an intense character piece where the majority of the focus was on you and your performance?
Rebecca Hall: It’s a lot of pressure. You know, I think those other movies with the green screens and the monsters, we know why people watch those movies! And I know what my job is in those movies, and I don’t feel the pressure in the same way. And it’s enjoyable to sort of have the pressure off for a minute. But, I really crave stuff that I don’t know that I’m going to be able to pull off, like that is for better or worse the driving force in my career, and I like stuff that’s going to be incredibly hard. And this is definitely one of them.
Was it hard to get into the mindset? Yes and no. It was written very well, and I think that I took a bit of a gamble on this one and I didn’t prepare very much, and I decided that actually she’s an impulsive character, maybe I should just approach this impulsively. And just to basic, basic but often very effective, acting, which is ‘believe what the scene is’ and have no idea what I’m going to do until they call action and see what happens, and I relish that it was sometimes ridiculous and sometimes great.
It’s shaping up to be quite a year for you in 2021. You’ve had your big box office hit in Godzilla vs. Kong, your tour de force performance in The Night House and your feature directorial debut Passing is coming later this year [the literary adaptation will stream exclusively on Netflix], so you must be happy to be bouncing back in a big way after the effects of the pandemic?
Rebecca Hall: Of course I am! It’s completely fluked. It’s accidental. None of this stuff was meant to come out all at the same time, but it’s sort of great that it has, you know? It’s going to be an interesting few months, I think. Tiring!
That concludes our interview with Rebecca Hall. The Night House is coming to theaters this Friday, August 20th, and you can check out our review here.