ComingSoon editor-in-chief Tyler Treese spoke Resurrection director Andrew Semans on the thriller, which stars Tim Roth and Rebecca Hall. It’s out in theaters on July 29, with an on demand and digital release on August 5. Shudder will be the exclusive streaming home in November 2022.
“Margaret’s life is in order. She is bright, disciplined and successful. Soon her teenage daughter, whom Margaret has raised alone, will go to a fine university, just as Margaret had hoped. Everything is under control,” the synopsis reads. that is, until David returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret’s past.”
Tyler Treese: This is your second feature after 2012’s Nancy, Please. What were the biggest lessons you learned from the first foray that you could apply here?
Andrew Semans: Sometimes I feel like I didn’t learn any lessons and had to relearn everything about this new movie. I think what I learned more than anything on my first film is the importance of time management. When you make a low-budget independent film, I mean Resurrection had a bigger budget than that Nancy, thank you. But when you’re making a low-budget, independent film, time is just so of the essence, and make good use of it. The limited time you have both in pre-production and in production is so important because it’s…I mean, time is everything. Finding time to do what you need to do is everything, and I don’t know if I learned good time management, but I learned the importance of trying to prepare for a narrow window in which you can do your work.
Rebecca Hall gives such a great performance in this movie. When casting for the role of Margaret, what really stood out about Rebecca and made it clear that she was the right actress for this role?
Well, I’m a huge fan. So that was first and foremost. I just think she’s an absolutely brilliant actress. I think she is as good as any actor working today. So just the fact that she’s so brilliant was obviously a big consideration. And one thing that I really loved about Rebecca for this role in particular is that Rebecca just, no matter what she plays, she brings this burning sense of intelligence, probably because she’s such an intelligent person, to every role she plays . , and she finds a way, in whatever she does, to bring a sense of dignity to her characters. You can’t help but respect her, you can’t help but admire her, she’s formidable in everything she does. And I think that was something that we absolutely did in this character and something that she delivered.
Tyler Treese: There’s a long monologue in the film that works well, and it’s a pretty confident choice. We don’t see very many monologues, maybe it’s due to a declining attention span, but talk me through the choice of that and the filming of that scene.
Yes. The choice of it, I was really excited about the idea. I love monologues in movies. It’s something you don’t see very often. You see it in the theater all the time, but long monologues just don’t happen very much in movies. I think people worry that an audience is going to get bored or that it’s not cinematic or something, but I feel like when they work, it’s just something that I just enjoy immensely. So I just love the idea of revealing this character’s backstory instead of in little pieces integrated throughout, but in this one big wave, and that was something that’s very scary because when you have seven or eight minutes, uninterrupted single – take a monologue in a movie. If it doesn’t work, the movie is dead. I mean, there’s no getting over it.
So it was something that was scary at first, but after working with Rebecca for the first day or two, it was clear that she was so brilliant and in such command of this material that by the time we got to shoot it, I think everyone was pretty sure she would make it. And we were absolutely right. She came in, we did it twice, she did it twice, and both takes were brilliant. And that was that. So I feel like it was a gambit that paid off.
Rebecca’s character goes through a lot of stress in the film and you do a really good job of portraying a sense of paranoia throughout. Can you tell me about your choices to try to portray it and capture it through different camera angles?
Yes, it was difficult. That was always something we tried to balance because the way we shot the film was in a very minimal, stripped back style. And we wanted to maintain a sense of naturalism, even finality in the world of the film because it takes place in these very generic environments and apartments and department stores and offices and hotel rooms. And we wanted it to retain the feeling of a kind of mundane, very familiar world. But at the same time, we wanted to imbue that world with a sense of paranoia, a sense of menace and a sense of menace. So it was just always this balancing act where we thought, well, how can we introduce that sense of paranoia and make it stealthy in a way that feels subtle that doesn’t knock the audience over the head. So it was just a million little decisions to try to push it in that direction but not go overboard. It’s something that we really allowed ourselves a lot of freedom with the sound design, that the sound design in this film is much more expressive and much more subjective than the photographic approach, which feels more “objective.” There was no grand plan. It was just about trying to figure out in a given moment how we can maintain the things we want to maintain and suggest a sense of increasing threat.
Tim Roth is also phenomenal in the film. Can you talk about his achievements and just bring out the ghostly nature of him?
Yeah, I think the thing that Tim wanted to do, and I wanted to do, was that he liked the idea that people who are evil, people who are malignant narcissists or manipulators, sociopaths, people , who do really bad things, hardly ever imagine themselves. as evil. They think they are the heroes. They think they are the protagonists of their own stories. And generally believe they are doing the right thing. How they get there is always very different from person to person, but he didn’t necessarily want to play this character as a bad guy.
He felt that this character was a kind of protagonist in his own story. He was the romantic hero. He felt he was doing the right thing for Margaret, the right thing for himself. So he wanted to play it, not as someone who necessarily oozed menace, but as someone who felt like they were doing the right thing, he wanted to play the guy as a normal person, and he felt like it would be more frightening and feel more. truthful and I agreed and that’s how he did it. So he’s someone who’s kind of a low-key villain through a lot of the movie, but I think that makes it more effective. I think that makes it scary.
You’ve shown a real knack for psychological thrillers. What is it about this genre that you find so exciting?
I really do not know. Maybe it’s just because I’m a timid person by nature [laughs], or a paranoid person by nature, but I just love thrillers. I love horror movies and it’s just a space where I feel most confident and free to work in this space. I’m not sure exactly why, but I’ve had my most creative success in this genre space, but why exactly, I’m not entirely sure.
Without giving anything away, this story is very dark and explores some real serious trauma throughout. What led to that? What exactly inspired this story, and was this kind of trauma always at the root of the core idea?
Yes. I mean, early on it started with me being interested in telling a story about parental fear, just basic fear about having a child, and fear of not being able to keep your child safe and wanting to protect them. And just these natural, basic elemental anxieties that any parent would experience. And that was the starting point. But when I was trying to work out a story and work out a character, these other themes of manipulation, coercion, trauma abuse, trauma, bonding, gaslighting started to significantly affect the story because of an experience I had, or rather, an experience that a friend had, as I observed. A friend of mine was engaged in a relationship that was with a very toxic person who was very unhealthy and very scary. And it was something that I observed firsthand and I was fascinated by and very afraid of. In my efforts to understand that relationship and the psychology of both victim and victim and really in an attempt to help her as best I could. what I learned about that situation found its way into the script, really started to change the direction of the script, and obviously became a very prominent part of the story.
A decade passed between the release of this and Nancy, Please. Of course, it’s a minor miracle that any film gets made, but how often do you want to direct?
I don’t want to wait another decade. I mean, it wasn’t by design. It’s hard to make a movie. And listen if Nancy, thank you had set the world on fire and I became a really hot director after that, that would have changed things, but it didn’t. Nancy, thank you was a pretty obscure movie and it’s just…it’s very hard to get movies made and it was something that just took a long time. And no, I hope that the next time I make a movie, I hope there’s not a nine-year wait or whatever it was, but it wasn’t a choice I made.