As far as directorial debuts go, Ari Aster’s Hereditary was one hell of a way to put himself on the map. The uncompromising supernatural and psychological horror was the subject of widespread acclaim from both audiences and critics, earning back its $10 million production budget eight times over at the box office and instantly establishing Aster as one of the genre’s outstanding new talents.
The ensemble cast was also superb across the board, and it wouldn’t be hyperbolic to say that Toni Collette’s turn as Annie Graham is one of the single greatest lead performances that’s ever been seen in a horror film. The actress may have taken most of the plaudits, but it was Alex Wolff who anchored the entire narrative as Peter, who found himself caught in the middle of everything that went down.
The youngster’s work was even more impressive when you consider he’d only recently turned 19 when cameras started rolling on Hereditary in February 2017, and in a new interview Wolff admitted that the intense nature of both the story and the shoot had a severe emotional impact.
“I’ll tell you that movie did about as much damage to me as a movie can do. It really affected me. It’s very hard because as an actor, you really don’t want to sound pretentious or self-serious or like anything is too serious. Because we have a cushy job in a lot of ways, but this, emotionally, it was one of those tough ones, it was one of those ones that really did some gymnastics on my emotional well-being.”
Wolff was no stranger to intense roles before he even got to Hereditary having played Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Peter Berg’s Patriots Day, and it must have been incredibly jarring for the star on a professional level to move straight from light and breezy blockbuster Jumanji: Welcome to the Junge into Aster’s modern horror classic, which put him through the wringer in more ways than one.
He came out fine on the other side, though, as Wolff continues to cement his reputation as a fast-rising talent, while he can currently be seen in both M. Night Shyamalan’s box office topping thriller Old and Nicolas Cage’s moving drama Pig.