Psychological Horror THE NIGHT HOUSE is directed by David Bruckner (V/H/S) and centers on a widow named Beth (Rebecca Hall) who suddenly loses husband. She is forced to deal with the aftermath of this but through haunting visions, soon uncovers that he might not have been the person she thought he was, and must come to terms with this reality. The Film premieres at Fantasia 2021 after receiving raves out of it’s premiere at Sundance 2020.
Our Amanda Gilmore had the privilege of attending a virtual junket with the star of THE NIGHT HOUSE, English Actress, Producer, Writer and Director Rebecca Hall. The multi-faceted star has gained recognition in films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona, garnering her an Oscar nomination, but she also has entertained the masses with a role in The Town, Iron Man, Godzilla vs. Kong and just this year at Sundance won wide acclaim for her directorial debut, Passing.
Hall is asked what drew her to the role of Beth.
Hall: I was intrigued and perhaps naively-seduced about the idea of doing a film that was basically me. I enjoyed it enormously and I think the challenge was intriguing when I read it. I also really liked the character. The turning point for me when I was reading the Script was that there’s so much mystery around her like the scene with the parent (who confronts Beth, a teacher, about her son’s grade) which essentially is an exposition scene, but I felt it was really about the character because it was so brittle and weirdly funny. I really liked the toughness and strangeness about her I liked having, and from that scene onwards is where I thought ‘I wanna do it!’.
Hall finds herself acting all alone in much of the Films and is asked just how challenging this is.
Hall: I knew it was going to be challenging going into it. I thought, I’ve never done this before, I’ll give this a go! I don’t think I even guessed how challenging it could be. This is the thing you realize as an Actor, that you derive a lot of energy and generate creative ideas from the people you’re working with. It’s a bit like you’re at a party and someone comes in who’s got a lot of charisma, and suddenly the party gets really great and you’re bouncing off the energy. This is like being at a party with no guests and you still have to make the party good.
Hall comments on working in the Horror genre.
Hall: You know it’s a funny thing, I didn’t embark on my career thinking I’m gonna do lots of genre. As it often turns out, there’s actually more extreme parts in genre and Horror and I’m kinda a sucker for signing-up for something that’s gonna use me, is gonna be really tough and gonna put me through it. Don’t ask me why, but I am and often there’s just more to do in these sorts of films as an Actor that feels scary in where your ability can go and if you can pull it off. I like to go for something gutsy. And also I think there’s a huge opportunity for genre to tackle not-genre subjects like death and those large existential questions of life. Some things we find difficult to talk about as people sometimes can be more fruitfully addressed if they are dealt with indirectly, and genre has a way of dealing with this in a way that’s not really head-on. Sometimes it can be more rewarding than a Drama that deals with them straight-on.
Late in the Film Hall‘s abilities really are put to the test in a scene where Beth has a romantic moment with the spirit of her deceased husband. She talks about the challenges of filming this scene.
Hall: The honest answer is that it was kinda funny. We were doing a lot of things on the fly, getting shots. It was a quick shoot and the sorta tough things about independent filmmaking. And when it came to doing that scene, we sorta talked about the scene, but it wasn’t like someone was choreographing it. The initial idea of me having this interaction-slash-romantic encounter with an invisible person was essentially just me improvising it, which was fairly embarrassing. I realized very quickly I was gonna look silly and I knew that everyone would laugh at me and just got on with it. After a while it felt strangely liberating. It was unlike anything I’ve ever done before.
Hall in her career has starred in both large-budget blockbusters and also smaller Indie films. She tells us about the experience doing both.
Hall: There’s definitely things about each one that I appreciate. On a small independent film you’re always pressured on time, you’re always being pushed around, it’s always incredibly stressful, you don’t have time to sit down and relax. And if you do just that you’d go crazy. I do feel there’s a sense of camaraderie and I guess a sort of team spirit that happens on those films and you often yield very creative results.
On the big ones, it’s lovely coming in to find a cup of tea and a blanket. And you have the room to ask ‘How can I help, how can I do more on this?’. But I appreciate the scale of those ones, the scale of resources are appropriate.
It’s really difficult to make films on a tiny budget in 20 days. I feel bad for Filmmakers because it has happened shouldn’t mean it should continue to happen. And sometimes there’s a little more room for creativity. And sometimes on the big ones, there’s too much room for creativity and sometimes there’s wasted resources. So I think it’s a combination of the two that there’s a sweet spot.
Searchlight Pictures release THE NIGHT HOUSE August 20, 2021.