[Article] NO EXIT - The Complexity of Darby
Courtesy 20th Century Studios
In NO EXIT, the latest thriller from director Damien Power (Killing Ground), a young woman named Darby finds herself en route to a family emergency, but is stranded by a blizzard and forced to find shelter at a highway rest area with a group of strangers. When she stumbles across an abducted girl in a van in the parking lot, it sets her on a terrifying life-or-death struggle to discover who among them is the kidnapper.

Recently, Nightmarish Conjurings took part in the global press conference for the release of NO EXIT, which featured Damien Power as well as actors Havana Rose Liu, David Rysdahl, Danny Ramirez, Dale Dickey, and Dennis Haysbert. During the conference, Power and Liu spoke about everything from staying faithful to the source material to bringing the complexities of Darby to life.

Based on Taylor Adams’s novel of the same now, Power found himself gravitating to the unraveling mystery of NO EXIT. When speaking on if he needed to bring in outside creativity and inspiration to the story, Power stated:

“Well, I think the script that I read was already quite faithful to the novel. There are a few elements that I thought we could take from the novel, though. As a novel, it had a great character-driven plot, it’s got high-stakes, it’s got these surprising twists and turns, this incredible, hostile setting, and this great ticking clock with the girl in the van. And all that was already in the script that I read. But yes, I can see why people read it and thought this would make a great movie.”

Havana Rose Liu as Darby in NO EXIT l Courtesy 20th Century Studios. © 2022

Taking on the lead character of Darby, an addict trying to get back on the straight and narrow, Liu went on to discuss the character’s range of emotions and the depth of intensity that she had to go through:

“I fell in love with Darby right away. I use this thing called ‘The 36 Questions to Fall in Love’ in order to find my character. I’m untrained so generally, I’m just throwing pasta at the wall and seeing what sticks. With Darby, I barely even had to think. It just felt like it was flowing right from me. I found her to be gritty and bold and charming and also tortured and also very vulnerable in a way that I don’t think we always see heroic characters holding on to throughout the course of the film, not to give anything away. I think for me, it was just the best, most complex, nuanced character I could have asked to play, given that so many of her faults really are her strengths, and vice versa. And I think playing around with that duality was just something that made me feel so alive every day. And I thank Damien every night before bed for giving me the role.”

At the center of the film is a mystery waiting to be solved. As truths are revealed a bigger storm can be seen on the horizon, both literally and figuratively. When discussing how he made sure that each character in the room had their moment, Power explained:

“This is not a film about a character or characters who go on a journey and grow and change. It’s really a film about how true character is revealed under pressure. And that applies to every single character in that room. The audience is trying to work out who is the kidnapper so Darby’s trying to ask, ‘Who are you?’ and the film asks that question of the characters all the time. Who are you when this happens? Who are you now? Who are you when the pressure’s really on? I think that’s a very human experience. For me, I think the film is in some ways about how desperate people sometimes do terrible things. And I think all of those characters are, in their own way, desperate. I think that’s what brings a level of light and shade to all the characters.”

Find the killer, learn the truth in NO EXIT, now streaming exclusively on Hulu.

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