In writer/director Ander Patterson’s debut film, THE VAST OF NIGHT, two high school students discover a strange audio frequency that takes them on a journey that could change the course of the future forever.
Starring in the film is actor Jake Horowitz. Between acting in off-Broadway productions such as David Cromer’s Our Town as well as the upcoming horror films Castle Freak and Agnes, this multi-talented actor is quickly making a name for himself in our beloved genre and rightfully so.
For the release of THE VAST OF NIGHT, we had the opportunity to interview Jake Horowitz. During our chat, Jake discussed everything from the research he did into 50’s disc jockeys to his thoughts on the existence of extraterrestrial life.
Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Jake. To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about your character?
Jake Horowitz: Everett is a radio disc jockey in the late 1950s in a small town in New Mexico. He thinks of himself as a small-town celebrity and he has a friend in Fay Crocker (Sierra McCormick), the switch-board operator. Together they sort of follow these potential breadcrumbs that might lead to some extraterrestrial experience.
As you mentioned, the film takes place during the 50s. What type of research did you do for your role as a radio DJ as well as for that time period?
Jake Horowitz: The main research I did was actually on YouTube for radio DJ’s personas as well as the way they talked [back then]. There was so much material there to listen to and look at. I also looked at Rock and Roll history – [at that time] the music was new and it was exciting. Imagining these sort of sounds that are so integrated into our music now, but not at that time, was really helpful. Then there was a reel-to-reel recorder that [producers] Andrew, Adam, and Melissa got in my hotel room while I was there. Being able to play around with that and really get a feel for Everett’s day-to-day routine, what he was actually getting his hands on in a radio studio, was just so helpful and so fun.
You worked closely alongside Sierra McCormick on this film – what was that experience like and did you have much time to prepare together prior to filming?
Jake Horowitz: Luckily, one of our producers Andrew [Patterson] brought us down a week before shooting to rehearse which is like the biggest gift that any actor could ask for because it really makes it all the more fun. Everyone is on the same page, you trust everyone, you have the same idea of who these characters are and what the scenes mean in their journey. In that time, me and Sierra just hit it off and we became friends. This relationship that they had on-screen was really easy to slide into because of how much we got along. We shot the whole movie overnight, so it already allowed for this sort of weird bond. Everybody is up from 9pm to 8am so you’re already bonded to people in that way (laughs).
That perfectly times up with my next question. Were there any challenges you faced while filming? I’m sure working overnights wasn’t initially easy to do.
Jake Horowitz: The overnight were weirdly… I’m a night owl naturally. I have a way harder time waking up at like 5 or 6 in the morning to get to set – with natural light the days really start that early. It was weirdly easy to slip into the biological clock of it but I would say that there were some times when you are fighting the sun at like 5 in the morning and there’s a lot of pressure especially if there’s a complicated camera move that’s happening. As an actor, you don’t have to do that much but the simple thing you have to do you really can’t mess it up. All of this work of lighting the forest or the street that took hours and hours and hours, all you have to do is walk or say a couple of lines, the pressure is really on. That pressure is exciting though (laughs).
When it came to filming, was there a favorite scene you did or one that you were excited to see on the big screen?
Jake Horowitz: Yeah, totally, the last scene, which I won’t talk too much about, was so fun. The sort of tricks and the way that we pull off the last scene – I had a great time shooting and loved how it came out. Also, walking and talking with Sierra, seeing the beginning of these two kids friendship, I just had a great time. When you are shooting, things come at the right time and that came at the beginning of Week 2. We really sort of had a feel for the characters and the world, things were just happening really smoothly. I had a great with that part of it.
My last question for you is what are your thoughts on the existence of another life out there in the vast cosmos?
Jake Horowitz: Great question! I hope that everybody asks themselves that question after they finish this movie. I would say I totally believe that they are there because I want to be on the side of people who, when they [extraterrestrials] come I can be like, “I was always a believer, please don’t hurt me”. Then they will take all the people who didn’t believe in some spaceship and send them into some very bad planets and I’m going to be invited to the VIP section. They’ll be like, “Oh, you believed, you’re okay, you’re cool with us.” (laughs).
For more on THE VAST OF NIGHT, check out our review here. THE VAST OF NIGHT Is now available to watch on Prime Video.