Much of the Dark Skies promotional campaign has focussed on stars Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton. But the horror film has another key player, J.K. Simmons (Juno, Burn After Reading, Jennifer’s Body) plays Edwin Pollard, an “expert” on the phenomena that the Barrett family is experiencing. Simmons is one of my favorite performers, so I jumped at the chance to speak with him.
In the supernatural thriller directed by Scott Charles Stewart “Follows a young family living in the suburbs. As husband and wife Daniel and Lacey Barret witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barret family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacey take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family.”
I play a guy who has a lot of knowledge about otherworldly forces. By the time Josh Hamilton and Keri Russell’s characters come to me they’re having this strange nightmare that they don’t understand and I’m just trying to help shed light on what they’re going through. Though to most other people I might seem like a little bit of an oddball.
Were you familiar with the Alien Abduction genre before taking this on?
I’ve never frankly been drawn to any genre really, in and of itself. I always look for a compelling story and a character that I find interesting. I found it in this case. And it’s always nice to work with actors whose work I appreciate, like Keri and Josh.
What was it like establishing the dynamic with them? Did you have rehearsal time?
No, we didn’t have any except for the usual rehearsal time on set. I didn’t get to be involved any earlier than that. But, again, if the story is well constructed, it’s not necessary. I guess the short answer is, “no.”
When you were reading the script was there anything that popped out as a challenge or anything that gave you a sense of trepidation?
There was nothing particularly daunting. When I read anything there are two things that either happen or don’t. I either find it to be a compelling story, or not. And the second thing is if there’s a character I find a way to connect with, one that finds an organic way to connect with me – now I’m getting all mystical and actor-y. But this film spoke to me, it made sense to me.
How was it working with Scott Stewart on this?
It was great. I honestly don’t particularly pay attention to show business, so if it’s not somebody that I know directly – a friend of a friend – I’m unfamiliar with them. And I was unfamiliar with Scott before this. But he was seasoned enough and professional and knew exactly what he wanted. And he also had a youthful energy to him, this is his project from the ground up. It was nice to be on a film where the guy holding the reigns was the creator.