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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

‘The Black Phone’ Actors Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw Are Excited to Star in a Scary Horror Movie [Interview]

Ethan Hawke‘s decisive turn as child-killer The Grabber in Scott Derrickson‘s The Black Phone may terrorize audiences, but Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw bring the emotional center.

The young actors play siblings Finney and Gwen, whose strong bond remains vital when separated after Finney gets kidnapped and trapped inside the Grabber’s basement.

Ahead of The Black Phone‘s theatrical release on June 24, 2022, Bloody Disgusting spoke with Thames and McGraw about their scene-stealing performances, getting into character, and a love of horror.

Derrickson’s latest marks the feature debut for Thames, which makes the emotional and physical toll of Finney’s arc more impressive.

When asked about the physicality of his role, Mason Thames answered, “Oh, it was super fun. I have a ballet background, so I think I take direction pretty well. All that was just super fun to me: all the stunts and stuff. What Finney goes through is so horrible, but behind the scenes, it was fun to shoot. But some of the emotional scenes were definitely tough.

“I‘m not going to spoil anything, but I remember I had to go to a really dark place to get there, but it was super fun afterward.”

Mason Thames Black Phone

(from left) The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) and Finney Shaw (Mason Thames) in The Black Phone, directed by Scott Derrickson.

Not even Hawke’s terrifying portrayal of the Grabber could dampen Thames’ excitement. The young actor explains, “I mean, just working with Ethan is so incredible. An actor of his caliber, he’s so good at what he does, and he’s the nicest person ever. Seeing how he snaps into the Grabber is something that I will never forget. It is so special to me, and it was so much fun working with him. I remember the second day I worked with him, it was in the basement, and he had the mask on. He said the creepiest line ever. And I tried not to smile because I knew how good he was delivering the line. Scott [Derrickson] had to tell me to stop smiling. He had to tell me that a lot because I was so excited.

Whereas Finney is the more reserved of the siblings, Gwen is the firecracker. McGraw’s portrayal of the character results in scenes of side-splitting levity and heart-wrenching sadness.

One crowd-pleasing moment sees Gwen mouthing off to adults in a particularly satisfying and humorous way. McGraw knew she was onto something with her performance right away.

Well, when we were filming that scene after each take, everyone started laughing and when we saw it. Mason and I saw it privately in the theater and started laughing. I’m pretty sure Scott said that was one of his favorite scenes because she does rip them a new one. I think it is one of my favorite scenes, too, because it’s super funny.”

(from left) Terrence Shaw (Jeremy Davies), Detective Wright (E. Roger Mitchell), Gwen Shaw (Madeleine McGraw) and Detective Miller (Troy Rudeseal) in The Black Phone, directed by Scott Derrickson.

Madeleine McGraw also gave insight into her headspace when filming the emotionally charged scene that caught scene partner Jeremy Davies off guard. “Scott told me when we were about to do the first take of that, he said, ‘Do what you think that Gwen would do.’ So, I felt the character, which helped because I could relate to her. Well, I could relate to her in a lot of ways, but I just thought, ‘what would I do in that situation?’ I think it turned out great on camera. I’m so glad that a lot of people are enjoying it.”

Both actors had a blast working on the film, but McGraw found watching it to be a much scarier experience. She explains, “It was way scary. I wasn’t even scared when we were filming. Even though we know what’s going to happen, we still get scared. I love horror things. I love that scared feeling like when your heart drops. I was so excited to get to do this, and I was so happy that I got to do it because my mom doesn’t let me watch a lot of scary things. So, I knew she would have to let me watch it since I was in it.”

For Mason Thames, starring in The Black Phone created a distinctly unique memory for him and his father. He shared his personal experience seeing his film on the big screen. “Something me and my dad do together is we always go to the movies. I got to see it in my local theater, which meant so much to me because I’ve been there since I was 10; we’d go there every weekend. And I got to see it there with my family, which was super special. My dad was crying the whole time. I knew the jump scares were coming, but they still scared me every time.”

The post ‘The Black Phone’ Actors Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw Are Excited to Star in a Scary Horror Movie [Interview] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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