Prior to the release of the sci-fi thriller, IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON, which debuted exclusively on Netflix September 27, we had the opportunity to speak with some of the cast and crew during the red-carpet World Premiere at 2019’s Fantastic Fest.
As the talent walked down the red carpet, you could feel the excitement in the air. However, what was most notable from everyone we spoke to was how elated they were to have the film World Premiere at Fantastic Fest. “This is great,” stated director Jim Mickle. “I had my first movie, Mulberry Street, premiere here in Austin at SXSW and then Stake Land and We Are Who We Are premiered here at Fantastic Fest, so it’s kind of like a full-circle experience.” Writers Gregory Weidman and Geoffrey Tock also shared Mickle’s sentiment, explaining that they couldn’t be more excited to see this film come to life on the big screen. Furthermore, everyone was thrilled to see the film with an audience. Actress Cleopatra Coleman went on to say, “I’m so excited, especially seeing it with this type of audience, genre-lovers. I just feel like they are going to eat it up and I feel like it’s for them. I’m such a big nerd, I love sci-fi myself so I’m excited to see what people think.”
The film, which centers on a Philadelphia police officer and his lifelong obsession with a mysterious serial killer, has been receiving its fair share of praise from critics and fans. The movie also showcases strong performances from Boyd Holbrook, Cleopatra Coleman, and Michael C. Hall. Holbrook plays Thomas Lockhart, a really ambitious, up-beat cop, who is trying to climb the ranks of his department until one night his life changes forever. When asked if he did any research to get into the mindset of a cop, Holbrook explained, “I hung out with a lot of DA guys and narcs, as well as doing ride alongs with some of the cops. It’s fascinating and you learn a lot about the underbelly of society.” As for the strong Philadelphia accent, Holbrook ventured to Philly to get a taste of the authenticity of the character he was embodying. “I studied the accent,” explained Holbrook. “It’s kind of what always attracts me to [a role] – finding out where the character is from, what he is about, etc. Philadelphia was something I hadn’t tinkered with before so that was fun.”
Not only does Lockhard find himself in deep water as he becomes more and more obsessed, but he also begins to see how detrimental it is to his loved one, even his brother-in-law, Detective Holt. In talking about his character, actor Michael C. Hall described Holt as, “Kind of Lockhart’s boss, at least he unranks him within the police department. He’s kind of a jerk but over the course of the film he kind of softens.” Curious as to what attracted Hall to the role, he explained, “[Holt’s] not in a ton of the movie, but you see him age over the course of 27 years in 9 year increments. I think that was a part of the fun, to make a sketch that is sort of broad in its scope.” Hall, like Holbrook, even got to experience the fun of physical effects in regards to the aging process. “I wore this neck piece for the first part [of the film], which was subtle but it made me look different. [As the film went on], I lost the neck piece. Then my hair got grayer for the next incarnation and then it got even more gray and wrinkles were added to make me look even older.”
Where Lockhart and Holt were more black and white in their character’s initial portrayals, the character of Rya, played by actress Cleopatra Coleman, was the complete opposing. During the red carpet interview, Coleman made sure to not say much about her character, only saying, “I can’t tell you too much but I can tell you she’s on a mission. She’s a very strong woman and I absolutely loved playing her.” What was most impressive about Coleman’s performance, however, were the incredible stunts she took on. When asked about them, and if they were scary to perform, Coleman stated, “Sometimes [the stunts] were very scary. But then afterwards, it’s like a rollercoaster. You’re just like, ‘I want to do that again!’, you just get so excited. You can’t sleep afterwards either, it’s so exhilarating!”
Speaking of roller coasters, the unfolding story of IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON takes viewers on their own crazy ride of twists and turns. When speaking with writers Gregory Weidman and Geoffrey Tock on how the story came about, they explained, “There were two different kinds of genres we were excited about and we realized we couldn’t probably get either of those genres made by themselves. So we smashed them together into one movie, which will make a lot more sense after you see the film.” IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON definitely incorporates aspects seen in genres such as sci-fi, horror, and action, which makes even more sense when you learn the inspiration that Weidman and Tock pulled from. “[David Fincher’s] Zodiac and [writer] Elmord Leonard,” they explained. If that’s not enough to convince you to watch IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON, I don’t know what is. IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON is currently streaming on Netflix and you can read our review here.