[Interview] Boyd Holbrook for THE CURSED
Courtesy LD Entertainment
In the late 1800s, a once-peaceful remote country village is under attack—but by who or what, no one knows.  Villagers spread rumors of a cursed land, supernatural forces, and even demonic creatures, as the disappearances and killings continue.  Pathologist John McBride arrives to investigate the danger, only to discover something much deeper and more sinister than he ever could have imagined.

For the release of Sean Ellis’ THE CURSED, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Shannon McGrew spoke with Boyd Holbrook, where they discussed why he wanted to take on the character of John McBride, getting up close and personal with the werewolf we get to see onscreen in the film, and his love of the horror genre.

Hi Boyd! It’s such a pleasure speaking with you today. When you found out you got the role of John, what was it about the character that interested you the most?

Boyd Holbrook: Well, I hadn’t played a British character yet. I thought that was fun. I was really looking forward to doing something like that, with a filmmaker you can be open with, which is Sean Ellis, who none of this would be possible if he didn’t sit down and write this incredible script and figure out how to make this visually beautiful. Then shortly after speaking with Sean, Kelly [Reilly] and Alistair [Petrie] came on, which I was very aware of their work. When all that comes together, it gets really exciting. Add in that this is gonna be [filmed] in the south of France in some tiny town, there’s nothing to do but make a good movie.

What was it like filming in such a small, isolated town?

Boyd Holbrook: It was great. I think it was in Cognac or near there, and it was before the pandemic. So, everyone was normal. [laughs] We were all normal. But it was great. I had a phenomenal experience making this film.

Circling back to director Sean Ellis, what was it like working alongside him? Were there ways in which he helped you bring the character to life?

Boyd Holbrook: We did a lot of talking beforehand. Usually, directors are heavy-handed with coming out of some sort of acting school or they’re really strong, technically and Sean is extremely masterful in his shooting. He knows exactly what he wants out of the actors. So it’s really not this laborious, how can we crack this character. It’s actually really, really clear and simple and sometimes that’s the best way to go without complicating things and getting in your own way.

Courtesy LD Entertainment

One of my favorite scenes takes place between John and Seamus at a dinner table, where tensions rise quickly between the two men. How was it building up to that moment?

Boyd Holbrook: When you look at the script, it comes down to identifying what are the big scenes and what are the small scenes. It’s almost like a fight where you are meeting someone outside of school. You’re anticipating that. As the days get closer, things start falling more into place. It’s all really about the preparation and when you do the film, it’s just complete immersion for me when we do that. I just really look forward to those days.

Speaking of immersion, we see you get up close and personal with the werewolf. No pun intended, but how was it digging into that scene and working with the practical effects?

Boyd Holbrook: Yeah, we had a full-on animatronic, it was not CGI. It was not like a tennis ball dancing on a stick. It was amazing. I think in-camera there are real effects, and then maybe there’s a little CGI on top of that too to give it more movement or something like that. But that’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like that. So, it was pretty wild.

We’ve seen you in horror films such as this, The Predator, In the Shadow of the Moon, and so forth, but are you personally a fan of the horror genre?

Boyd Holbrook: To be honest, just watching horror films, me and my wife, that’s our little guilty pleasure. There’s something about just the physical emotion and feeling of being scared. There’s just something pleasurable about that. When and how good they can get you and try not to get got. And it’s this game that you play and when it happens, you hate it, but then you’re like, Ooo, nice. I like that. Like, Don’t Breathe, for example, or Hereditary. Stuff like that it’s so good and it takes a really good filmmaker to not just stumble into that by accident. It’s all planned and it takes a really intelligent person to do that. So yeah, hats off to LD Entertainment. And Pete [Shilaimon] and Mickey [Liddell] over there. And then Sean, who they just really let him make his own film. Nowadays, that seems less and less, so I’m really grateful to those guys for that.

I can’t wrap this interview up without asking you the most important question of all, are you a fan of werewolf films and which one is your favorite?

Boyd Holbrook: Yeah, I do. American Werewolf in London has that one transformation that’s just… I think that’s the best one. It’s a great genre and this whole film is based upon folklore in France and The Beast of The Last Werewolf in London or something?

Yes. And I’m totally blanking on if that’s correct. Editor’s Note: It’s An American Werewolf in London.

Boyd Holbrook: There’s one that has a transformation that’s just…

Yeah. It’s that one.

Boyd Holbrook: Like, in the 80s. Yeah, I think that’s the best one. But it’s a great genre and this whole film is based upon folklore in France and The Beast of Gévaudan, which is from the 1760s to 1777. That was all documented for real so there’s something cool to that.

Sean Ellis’ gothic thriller THE CURSED is now in theaters from LD Entertainment. Stay tuned for updates regarding VOD and Digital releases. To learn more about the film, check out our review!

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