Ethan Hawke rediscovers the childlike joy of ‘pretend play’ as a villain

Ethan Hawke is very scary in Black Phone by Scott Derrickson. Under a more than disturbing mask, he kidnaps then sequesters teenagers in his cellar until he comes across a tough victim whom his young sister endowed with paranormal powers is trying to find.

“It’s impressive not being able to read someone’s facial expressions,” the comedian explains to 20 minutes. The character he embodies only shows his face to attract his prey with a creepy clown disguise. Scott Derrickson, who previously directed the actor in Sinisterrevives the horrifying atmosphere of this harrowing film.

A dose of humanity

The threat that the sadistic killer does not express with his features, he communicates it largely through his voice and body language as he shifts from fake gentleness to real violence. “I rediscovered the childlike joy of pretend play,” says Ethan Hawke. His performance impresses against Mason Thames, charismatic debutant and Madeleine McGraw, seen in The Curse of the White Lady. We don’t want to fall into the clutches of this big bad guy capable of tantrums as staggering as they are deadly.

“He justifies his crimes by the fact that he is suffering and that he wants to hurt people so that they share his pain,” insists Ethan Hawke. The actor has taken care to breathe a dose of humanity into this evil character threatened by the ghosts of those he has killed as well as by the brotherly love that unites the two young heroes. “That’s what I liked about the script,” says Ethan Hawke. There is a heart of gold in this horror film that touched me. Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill made the most of a short story by Joe Hill to emphasize the empathy that audiences feel for the protagonists.

Exorcising your fears

“These types of horrific stories and dangerous characters have always fascinated audiences,” says Ethan Hawke. Whether in macbeth or around a campfire, we like to tell each other scary things. » Black Phone is no exception to this rule by confronting the spectator with his intimate terrors: fear of the dark, of confinement, of pain… Although Ethan Hawke is amazing in bogeyman, he does not see himself persevering in this field. “I’m not naturally drawn to the dark side,” he says. His talent for personifying it would almost make us doubt it.

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