March is a month that a lot of people associate with St. Patrick’s Day mainly due to the influx of people who like to pretend they are Irish so as to celebrate the holiday with copious amounts of alcohol (side note: you don’t have to pretend to be Irish to do that). However, there is another holiday that people seem to forget, or rather gloss over; one in which debts are supposed to be settled. That’s why, for the month of March, Blumhouse/Hulu released their newest Into the Dark episode, TREEHOUSE, which centers on the theme of coming face-to-face with the consequences of one’s actions in celebration of the Ides of March.
For the release of the episode, I had the chance to chat with actor Jimmi Simpson about his role and the context of his character’s fate in regards to the Ides of March. During our talk, we discussed everything from the social implication of the film’s themes, the #MeToo movement, and Jimmi’s love for the horror genre. Read on to learn why you should beware the Ides of March…
Hi Jimmi, thank you so much for speaking with me today! To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about TREEHOUSE and your character Peter Rake?
Jimmi Simpson: TREEHOUSE is a thriller about what it takes to wake up a closed and spoiled mind. Peter is a man who’s allowed his privilege to replace his soul. It’s a condition I’ve seen a lot, men so blinded by their own status that they forget (or never learn) what’s right and wrong.
How did you get involved with TREEHOUSE? Was it because of James Roday’s involvement because this is not the first time you’ve worked with him.
JS: Yes, James is my close friend and we’ve worked together so many times. He pitched this idea to me years ago and knew I’d be there for him when it got set up.
There’s a lot to unpack in TREEHOUSE. As a fan of social horror, this film is immensely relevant right now on a social and political scale, especially with the #MeToo movement. By taking on a role like Peter Rake, where there seems to be a disconnect between how he perceives his actions versus how those around him see his actions, what were you hoping to convey?
JS: My goal with Peter was to illustrate how easily this type of man can move through the world despite their destructive nature. Men have been given permission to be both confident and clueless. It’s bullshit. But I also wanted to address that these men don’t always come off as monsters at first glance. They may seem boyish or charming, that’s why they’re able to continue a life of abusive behavior.
As someone who has experienced assault and bullying, and has spoken out about it to only then have lies spread, this film really hit me hard and was at times difficult to watch. With that said, I think the topic was handled incredibly well. Why was it important for you to be in this episode with a topic that is considered controversial?
JS: It was important to me because the prime directive in my moral code is fairness. Everyone deserves an equal shot. Out of all the imbalances of power in this world, the subjugation of women is the most universal and historic. The way men have held on to this archaic and unhelpful divide throughout the human experience really embarrasses me. I’d like to be a voice of dissent and reason any time possible.
To lighten the mood a bit, I love that you’ve embraced the horror/sci-fi genre since the beginning of your career. What it is about this genre that you enjoy? Have you always been a fan of horror?
JS: I love horror, especially 80s practical effects movies. I’d save all my allowance just to get a Fangoria a few times a year. I love a TREEHOUSE style thriller as well, but Friday the 13th is my sweet spot. Or any variation of the ‘something bad is gonna happen… wait for it… waaaait… OOOH SHIT that was SO BAD… then safety’. It’s like a solid rollercoaster if done right.
Last but not least, what would you, personally, like people to take away from this film?
JS: I want young boys to see this film and become aware that their selfish action will have inhumane consequences.
Into the Dark’s TREEHOUSE is now available to stream exclusively on Hulu.