Guy Pearce recently caught with FlicksAndBits & while promoting his upcoming horror movie Don't be afraid of the Dark. The movie is based on a 1973 telefilm that Guillermo del Toro refers to as the scariest TV production ever made. Co-written & co-produced by del Toro & directed by Troy Nixey Don't Be Afraid of the Dark focuses on a young girl’s struggle against menacing and terrifying forces. Hit the jump to check it out.
Synopsis: 'Blackwood Manor has new tenants. While architect Alex Hurst (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend, Kim (Katie Holmes), restore their Gothic mansion's period interiors, Alex’s young daughter, Sally (Bailee Madison), neglected by her real mother and brushed aside by the careerist father, can investigate the macabre history and dark corners of the estate. Spurring Sally's investigation are the voices — rasping whispers who call out to her from the basement, who promise her understanding and friendship, who are so very hungry and would like to be set free. When Sally gives in to her curiosity, she opens a gateway into a hellish underworld from which an army of beady-eyed, sharp-clawed monsters emerge, small in size but endless in number: the homunculi.'
What drew you to this project?
Pearce: "I think the script of ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ was something I’d not really ventured into before. There was a very clear-cut story about a father and a daughter, and a girlfriend, really a relationship that was slightly tenuous. So the basic drama of that I found quite appealing. Talking to director Troy Nixey originally about the idea, you got the sense that we wanted to stay as true as we could to that story. From an acting point of view that’s what I was really coming from – I was drawn to that very basic and personal story I suppose. But then obviously this entire thing is within this fantasy-horror world, where creatures exist that this young child sees, that the rest of us don’t, until a certain point in the film. It felt like a bit of an experiment in a way, to take on a film like this. Because it’s not really a genre I’ve ventured into before. But at the same time, the basic drama of the story, it was really well written and well realized, so I could really look at it from a straight acting point of view."
The dynamic between your character and Katie Holmes’ character is key. How was it working with Katie?
Pearce: "Katie is delightful. She’s really just one of the nicest people I’ve ever met (laughs). She makes the experience completely warm and wonderful. She’s a very bright girl, we’ve gotten on really well from the moment we’ve met, since rehearsals. You know, making sure that while the story really revolves around young Sally, played by Bailee, and what she’s experiences, Katie and I have to maintain the integrity of our personal story. That our relationship is being tested because this child has arrived in the house, and my character is really not supporting that arrangement as well as he could be. So our dynamic is really important to maintain. Katie is fantastic at just pinpointing certain aspects of the relationship and making sure they stay true. She’s a lovely girl and really credible worker as well, she’s been an absolute delight I have to say."
How was working with young Bailee?
Pearce: "Bailee is like a little old lady (laughs), she’s sort of nine going on ninety. She’s really really smart, very mature. She has a great sense….I think kids have a great sense of performance anyway – because they’re not inhabited, as one becomes as you get older. So kids automatically have a wonderful imaginations. She’s just got great skills, a great ability to just turn it on. She’s got to carry a lot in this film, she is the film, she’s the drama of the film and how the audience perceives the movie as well. She’s got a remarkable amount of work to do and she’s fantastic at it. She’s really lovely and just really gets on with it. It’s freaky really (laughs), she’s so good."
The house is like another character….
Pearce: "Yeah, the house is a central figure in the film, it was really important to give it absolute weight and credibility. So during our rehearsal process we got to come in and see the sets, start to block out and plan some of the scenes, we’d kindly ask some of the painters and carpenters to stand aside for twenty minutes so we could rehearse things (laughs). That was actually really handy, it’s nice to be able to rehearse on the sets. It was a remarkable set, it really set the mood."
How was it working with the visual effects, imaging these little creatures are there?
Pearce: "It’s really about using our imagination, and using the technology that we have to target things, sort of have a rope tied around your leg……it isn’t really done by a creature, because we couldn’t actually find any real creatures to be in the film (laughs). It’s really just relying on your imagination. They had some models of the creatures so we were constantly reminded of the size of them and what they actually look like – which is quite horrific, they’re quite ugly little things. It’s actually quite fascinating, it’s like there’s another film going on that we’re not quite privy too at the filming stage."