For the release of the horror/thriller MIDNIGHTERS, Shannon had the chance to speak with actor Ward Horton where they discussed everything from what it was like to play a deranged character, working closely with actress Alex Essoe, and what he loves about the horror genre.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Ward, thank you so much for speaking with us today! To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about your character, Smith, in MIDNIGHTERS?
Ward Horton: Smith is cut from a different cloth, which is one of the things that attracted me to this project right from the start. I don’t usually get to play this type of guy so for me, creatively, it was really exciting. Smith’s a guy who has orchestrated a chain of events that have gone awry and he has to fix it. He thinks he’s walking into a situation that he’s going to be able to handle with ease but the script gets flipped on him and it doesn’t turn out how he would like. He’s a little bit deranged, he has a bit of a masochist mentality I would say, so basically nothing like me which was really, really fun to explore and I had a blast doing it.
Nightmarish Conjurings: You mentioned that Smith’s personality was one of the reasons you were attracted to the script. What else made you want to be part of the film?
WH: I think the script in general was solid and I was quite impressed with that and of course getting to play this character. Not until I sat with Julius (the director) did I realize that this could be something really special. I think him and I hit it off really well and on-set we could be honest with each other about everything; my work, where things were going in the film, etc. He was open to suggestions and I think as an actor having the chance to work on a project like this you feel like you have a little bit more of a voice and can collaborate a little bit more than you might be able to on a bigger project. That was very interesting to me and a reason to continually want to go back and do independent films throughout my career because you get that opportunity and you feel more like a part of the team. Those were the things that really excited me about the film.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Your character is definitely one of my favorite parts about the film and you seemed to have had so much fun bring him to life. Were there any challenges you faced?
WH: Yeah, I think because he’s so different from me coming up with a backstory to justify my actions and not judge my character was a little bit more difficult just because he is so deranged. A lot of the characters I have played have been a little bit closer to who I am and that makes it a little bit easier, not as much fun, but a little bit easier. Also, the physicality of the character posed a challenge but I was really excited by that because I’m a physical, active person. I really wanted to be able to do all my own stunts so I took some chances and they allowed me to do a lot of those stunts which were somewhat dangerous. It was very, very thrilling but at the same time it can take a lot out of you physically, but I was up to that challenge, it was fun.
Nightmarish Conjurings: You worked closely with actress Alex Essoe in this film, what was that experience like?
WH: She’s great, she’s a gamer to, totally game to do all the physical stuff that her role required as well. We were able to go tit-fo-tat on a lot of the physical aspects but then just emotionally she gives you a ton. It’s funny, the scenes that her and I had together, either I’m gagged and she’s the only one that can speak, or she’s gagged and I’m the only one who can speak, so a lot of the acting is done through the eyes (of the person gagged) and their expressions. That was definitely something new that I hadn’t done before, but she can give you so much emotionally through her eyes that it makes it very, very easy – you’re almost speaking with her without a voice coming at you. She’s a very talented actress and I really enjoyed that experience working with her.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Prior to MIDNIGHTERS you were in ANNABELLE. What is it about the horror genre that keeps bringing you back?
WH: ANNABELLE was the complete opposite for me in that I played more of the protagonist and everything was happening to my wife in the film. I was just kind of the husband that is dealing with the wife who is experiencing all of this paranormal type activity. What I love about the horror genre is that it has such an intense fan base and I didn’t know that until I did ANNABELLE. I really didn’t realize how passionate the fans of the horror genre are and through this experience I’ve had the chance to know that a little bit more and that’s been quite fun and exciting for me.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Last, but certainly not least, are you working on any projects that we should be keeping our eyes out for?
WH: My team and I are figuring out what’s going to happen next. I’ve really enjoyed the experiences of independent film and I hope that as my career moves forward I will always have the opportunity to come back and do projects like MIDNIGHTERS because it really is collaborative, exciting, and fun.
MIDNIGHTERS is now available in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD.