Thursday, June 1, 2023

‘The Boogeyman’ Actor Chris Messina on Bringing Stephen King’s Short Story to Life [Interview]

The Boogeyman, directed by Rob Savage (Host) with a screenplay by Scott Beck & Bryan Woods (A Quiet Place65) and Mark Heyman (Black Swan), draws from Stephen King‘s 1973 short story of the same title.

Stephen King’s short takes place in a psychiatrist’s office and sees Dr. Harper engaged with patient Lester Billings in a haunting session that unpacks the mysterious deaths of Lester’s three children. Feature film The Boogeyman uses the short story as the inciting event that brings the malevolent entity that plagued Billings’ home into Dr. Harper’s.

In the film, Chris Messina (Birds of PreyDevil) assumes the role of Dr. Will Harper, a psychiatrist struggling to help his family through their collective grief, when Lester Billings (David Dastmalchian) arrives at his home office for aid. This pivotal introductory scene establishes Will Harper, the lore, and its ties to King’s source material.

Ahead of the film’s release, Bloody Disgusting spoke with The Boogeyman star Chris Messina about the juggling act of this early scene and what drew him to the production.

That was such a super important scene because it’s the short story, and there was a lot of pressure in wanting to get it right,” Messina explains. “I remember thinking doing that scene, well, one, how great David was and how haunted he was. But I wanted it not to be so unbelievable that this guy, me, would let this stranger into his office that was clearly distraught. The only way I could get around that was almost seeing myself in him, seeing grief in him. He’s a therapist, and his job is to help people. The combo of that; I hoped the audience would get behind letting this stranger into his house.”

David Dastmalchian

David Dastmalchian as Lester in 20th Century Studios’ THE BOOGEYMAN. Photo by Patti Perret. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Messina’s character attempts to shield his daughters from his own grief, which meant the actor had the task of portraying a character who internalizes his emotions. 

Messina explains how he prepared, “Rob and I talked about the movie Ordinary People in our first conversation, which is obviously a fantastic film. I watched it again and again, and I read the book. In a way, Will is a combo of all those three characters, the mom, the dad, and Timothy Hutton’s character, in the fact that he’s pushing through it, trying to pretend he’s okay. He’s collapsing at the same time, not being able to move forward. And then, like Timothy Hutton, almost completely stuck. I would take aspects of those three characters and find ways to steal and bring them into this movie.

“It was interesting to play a therapist that is pretty good at his job but wasn’t able to bring that into his own life. I questioned that, but then found from other therapists that they say that’s very common; that we can be good with other people’s problems but not our own.”

The actor shared what about this project drew him in and, when asked if he’s a horror fan, cited a need for humanity in his horror. 

“Initially Stephen King, and to be a part of that kind of legacy was a great honor,” Messina stated of his interest in The Boogeyman. “Then, ultimately, Rob saying you can’t have jump scares without the caring of the people, the humanity. Those two things combined felt like this was the right one to try. I like psychological horror. I don’t like a bloodbath. It’s not where I tend to want to go at the end of the day to see, but I appreciate the genre and the craftsmanship in all of that. It’s just as an audience member, as much as I loved Dracula, the Werewolf, and monsters as a kid, I like to know that the characters and their humanity are often what’s in their way.”

The Boogeyman releases in theaters on June 2, 2023.

The Boogeyman glowing eyes poster


The post ‘The Boogeyman’ Actor Chris Messina on Bringing Stephen King’s Short Story to Life [Interview] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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