Recently, the horror genre has been experiencing an exciting revival, to the delight of fans. Blumhouse is behind some of the biggest original concepts to hit theaters over the past decade, including Scott Derrickson’s “Sinister” starring Ethan Hawke. The two collaborated again in “Black Phone,” where Hawke explained to CinemaBlend why he likes to scare his young film colleagues so much.
While Ethan Hawke was the hero of Sinister, he appears in the Black Phone as a masked villain known as the Grabber. I had the privilege of talking to Scott Derrickson and his cast before the film’s release, where I asked Hawke about what it was like to terrorize his young colleagues during filming. As you can see in the video, he explained that it was actually a blessing, saying:
I had some nervousness before the set. What would it be like trying to scare this young man and all that? But it might surprise people to find out that it was really fun. Because kids love good horror stories. They like it. “I’ve been locked in a dungeon for a few days” and they get into it. And it’s a little contagious. And the whole game ceases to be pretentious, important, or anything else but a sense of joy. And so on emotions you can play with pleasure.
Talk about a breath of fresh air. While Ethan Hawke was supposed to be a terrorizing presence in a Grabber’s cell, it seems like it actually felt more like a game than a job. And this is because of how excited and enthusiastic his young colleagues in the film are during the filming of “Black Phone”. Obviously, it was fun on set, despite the dark (and sometimes supernatural) material of the film.
The Grabber has various victims throughout the 102-minute viewing of the “Black Phone” (which really flies by unnoticed), but the main character of the film is Finney, played by Mason Thames. He is abducted by Ethan Hawkes’ character, and they participate in various scenes while he is in the killer’s cell. I asked Thames about his experience filming these serious scenes with Ethan Hawke, and he told me:
He’s so incredible, he was the sweetest person in the world. Even after a very difficult scene, a scary scene with him in a mask and with me in the basement, he just talked to everyone on the set in a mask. He’s like a normal person. He’s having a good time, and they’re just afraid for their lives. He’s such an incredible person and I’m so lucky to work with him.
How sweet is it? While the young actors of “Black Phone” had a lot of serious material to deal with, fortunately, it was great to work with Ethan Hawke. And if Mason Thames’ comments are any indication, it was a pleasure to work with the “Boyhood” actor. Even in a creepy Grabber mask.
Reviews of “Black Phone” have been very positive (including my own for CinemaBlend), which marks Scott Derrickson’s triumphant return to the horror genre. The film is currently at 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Ethan Hawke has received a ton of praise for creating his new horror villain.
“Black Phone” is in theaters from June 24. In the meantime, check out the movie’s release dates in 2022 to plan your next movie.