EoM contributor Thomas Manning recently had the opportunity to submit a few questions in a virtual Q&A with actress Rebecca Hall in anticipation of the upcoming release of the horror drama The Night House, directed by David Bruckner. Hall discusses her lead role as the character Beth, her creative influence on the story, and what it’s like to work on smaller productions like The Night House compared to much larger films like Godzilla vs. Kong.
Thomas Manning: While you were acting alone for a great deal of this film, you also shared some incredible scenes with Sarah Goldberg and Vondie Curtis-Hall. What was it like working with these great talents and adjusting your mindset for these scenes compared to the scenes only featuring you on screen?
Rebecca Hall: It was such a relief. I was so excited every time I got to do scenes with them. Sarah Goldberg and Vondie Curtis-Hall are just so good, and I have so much respect for them. I thought that the relationship between my character and Sarah’s character was pretty refreshing. Honestly, it’s sort of rare in a genre movie or a horror movie that you see a good depiction of female friendship. And also, the fact that there is this underlying theme of people trying to help Beth, I thought was interesting. And Sarah, I love her work, so it was just really fun when we got to do those scenes. There was a lot of meat to get into.
Thomas Manning: You’re no stranger to working on productions of massive scales and magnitudes – like Godzilla vs. Kong – but also much smaller and intimate productions like this film. What’s that contrast like for you as an actress? Do you prefer one over the other, or are there certain things about each level that you appreciate?
Rebecca Hall: There’s definitely things about each one that I appreciate. On a small, independent film, you always hustle for time. And you’re always being pushed around. It’s always incredibly stressful. You never have time to breathe or sit down or relax or any of those things. But I do think that there is a sense of camaraderie and a team spirit that happens on those films that can often yield very creative results. And on the big productions, it’s lovely to constantly be asked if I need a cup of tea and a blanket. But also on those sets, you begin to wonder, “how can I how can I help? What can I do to do more on this set?” So, I appreciate that with the scale of those productions, the resources are appropriate. It’s really difficult to make films on tiny budgets in 20 days or something. And I feel bad for those filmmakers, because the fact that it has happened like that doesn’t mean it should continue to happen. There should be a little bit more room for creativity. And sometimes on the big films, there’s too much room which leads to wasted resources. So, I think a combination of the two somehow is often where you find the sweet spot.
Thomas Manning: I noticed you were credited as an executive producer on this film as well. Did you have any creative influence on the development of the character of Beth or the story in general?
Rebecca Hall: Yeah, I did, actually. I wouldn’t get right up in there and start asking to rewrite things, but I had ideas when I first read the script, and there were things that I wanted to amplify. I was keen to try and push her strength and her dark sense of humor. I thought that that felt very true to life. I didn’t feel like she had to be constantly crying and sad. I felt like it was better that she was angry at this point in this moment of grief, so I definitely pushed for that. And there were there were certain other narrative aspects about the ending that I put in some of my two pennies worth. But that’s true of most projects I think.
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. Against the advice of her friends, she begins digging into her husband’s belongings, yearning for answers. What she finds are secrets both strange and disturbing – a mystery she’s determined to unravel.
In theaters August 20th, 2021.
Thomas Manning is a member of the NCFCA and SEFCA, and also the co-host of the television show and radio program “Meet Me at the Movies.” He has served as a production assistant and voting member on the Film Selection Committee for the Real to Reel Film Festival. He is currently studying film, television, and English at Gardner-Webb University.
Categories: Filmmaker Interviews