July 4th, Independence Day, the day in which Americans are meant to celebrate their freedom. However, with the current administration and the crisis at the border, many of us have found ourselves feeling less than patriotic when the freedom of so many immigrants hang in the balance.

This brings us to director Gigi Saul Guerrero‘s CULTURE SHOCK, the latest episode in Hulu/Blumhouse’s Into the Dark Series, a monthly horror anthology that celebrates different holidays. In CULTURE SHOCK, a young Mexican woman who is in the pursuit of the American Dream crosses the border illegally into the United States, only to find herself in an American nightmare.

For the release of the latest installment, I had the chance to speak with actor Shawn Ashmore. No stranger to the horror/thriller genre, Shawn and I spoke about his role as Thomas, his character’s transformation, and what it was like working so closely with director Gigi Saul Guerrero

Hi Shawn, it’s such a pleasure to speak with you today! To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about your character, Thomas? 

Shawn Ashmore: Thomas is the mayor of the idyllic town that Marisol finds herself in after crossing the border.

What was it about the role of Thomas that interested you in playing the character?

Shawn Ashmore: Thomas is a man with many sides. Playing this character was almost like playing two separate roles. The challenge was making both sides of him feel connected to each other.

Shawn Ashmore as Thomas in CULTURE SHOCK

Your character has quite an interesting arc. Without giving away too much, can you touch upon that? 

Shawn Ashmore: My goal with Thomas was not to make him a good guy or a bad guy, just a person that is in a situation where he has a change of heart. It was challenging to make him do such a 180 with his thinking but [director] Gigi [Saul Guerrero] and I talked about making that believable from the beginning. Both of us worked hard to achieve his arc. I’m hopeful we pulled it off.

You most certainly did! Speaking of Gigi, she does a great job of capturing the horrific nature of what is going on in our country in regards to border control. What was it like working so closely with her on this film? 

Shawn Ashmore: One of the major selling points of the movie for me was having Gigi tell the story. She was passionate and knowledgable and I felt like she knew these characters and culture in a way that would come across on screen. As with most of the best directors I’ve worked with, she knows what she wants. It sounds simple but you don’t always get a director with a strong sense of what they are trying to tell the audience. Gigi does.

Last but not least, should we be keeping our eyes out for any upcoming projects you are working on? Will we see you again in the horror/thriller genre soon? 

Shawn Ashmore: I’m in a brand new video game from Supermassive called MAN OF MEDAN, a film called ANDERSON FALLS, and an untitled movie I just finished shooting a few weeks ago. I’ll always come back to horror. It’s some of my favorite work.

For more on CULTURE SHOCK, check out our review here. CULTURE SHOCK is now available to stream on Hulu.

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Shannon McGrew

Founder/Editor-in-Chief at Nightmarish Conjurings
Shannon is the Founder of Nightmarish Conjurings and a lover of all things horror and haunt related. When she's not obsessively collecting all things "Trick 'R Treat" related, or trying to convince everyone that "Hereditary" is one of the greatest horror films ever made, you can find her designing interiors for commercial restaurants. An avid haunt fan, Shannon spends the entire year visiting haunts and immersive experiences throughout the Southern California area and hopes to one day design her own haunted attraction.
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