When Rebecca Hall first sat down with writer-director Andrew Semans about possibly starring in his horror thriller Resurrection, she was upfront with him about her main concern: “I don’t really know how you’re going to pull this off.”
The film stars Hall as Margaret, a successful pharmaceutical executive and mother to an independent daughter (Grace Kaufman). Her life is stable and secure until a man from her past named David (Roth) shows up to remind her of their shared history. Soon, we learn of a completely bizarre secret between them — and it’s something that absolutely no one in the audience will see coming. (Semans himself told us the setup is “outlandish.”)
The question for Hall was how Semans planned to keep the audience connected with the film.
“When I sat down with him about the possibility of being it, I was like, ‘I don’t really know how you’re going to pull this off. So I’d like to know if you have an idea about how to.’ And his answer was…. ‘A lot of the movie has to be really grounded in reality.’ I thought that was an excellent answer,” Hall told MovieMaker in an interview you can watch above.
“The idea of not making it a sort of heightened horror movie, but setting it much more in the genre of psychological thriller and then letting anything that is different happen in a way that you don’t see coming — I thought was a very smart way to make it work. Also he just seemed to know that the outlandish nature was it’s strong point.”
Without spoiling anything, Hall notes that the film examines “people gaslighting and being in a cult of one.” It’s a very real experience, but the movie doesn’t offer “a neat message about it,” she notes:”Instead, it’s an emotional experience of that.”
Hall is sure of this much about people who see the film: “Whether they like it or not, they’re not gonna forget about it. … It’s gonna spark enormous conversation.”
The film hinges on a seven-minute monologue about 40 minutes in, during which Hall’s character delivers an uninterrupted monologue explaining her simultaneously horrifying and ludicrous history with Roth’s. The entire crew knew the shot could make for an excruciatingly long day — but Hall ended up nailing it in two takes.
It was her job, she explains.
“I’m very sympathetic to independent movies that don’t have a lot of money and have a very short amount of time to shoot something, so I knew that there wouldn’t be a lot of time for that scene,” she says. “Because there wouldn’t be a lot of time for any of the scenes. So if I was going to do anything useful as an actor, I had to show up on Day One with everything learned really well. I had to know this text inside out. … I was prepped. I had learned that speech very well.”
We also talk at length with Hall about several other subjects, including returning to acting after making her writing and directing debut with last year’s Passing, an experience she has described in detail for MovieMaker.
Resurrection, from IFC Films, is now in theaters and will be available on-demand August 5th. Shudder will be the exclusive streaming home in November.
Main image: Rebecca Hall in Resurrection.