Josh Hamilton (Away We Go, Outsourced) has his work cut out for him in Dark Skies. He plays Daniel Barrett, whose wife (Keri Russell) and kids (Dakota Goyo and Kaden Rockett) – not to mention himself – are being tormented by sinister forces. Hamilton is required to straddle the line between skeptical and protective and it’s something he pulls off well.
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 couldn’t put it down. I don’t know if I’ve read a lot of scary movie scripts. What grabbed me about it is that in a lot of ways it seemed like it could have been a drama, it didn’t have to be a genre film. It seems like a real family and even just their basic fears are really relatable. Being out of work, not being able to provide for your family… alone from the dark malevolent cosmic forces. In a lot of ways it read like a family drama of people struggling and when you add in these intense circumstances it makes it much more extreme.
Are you familiar with this sub genre of horror? Or are you a newcomer?
I’m not incredibly well versed. I feel like I’ve seen as much as your average person has maybe? In some ways I’m personally drawn to being a little bit more of a believer than some dyed-in-the-wool skeptics might be. But it wasn’t hard to relate to my character Daniel in the film who has a much harder time accepting that something might be happening. Ultimately, I think that would be most people’s reaction. They’re not going to wonder if they’re being toyed with by dark forces, they’re going to wonder why their alarm system isn’t working.
What was it like working with Keri [Russell], Dakota [Goyo] and Kadan [Rockett]? Did you guys have rehearsal time to cement that family dynamic?
Yeah we did have a few days of rehearsal actually and Keri and I knew each other a little bit. And we both have children and we pretty much responded to that, which gave us a good shorthand for a film about wanting to protect your children. In terms of the kids, they were both incredibly endearing. It wasn’t hard to generate sympathy and protectiveness for them.
What was it like filming that climactic 15 minute sequence? The rest of the film has a much different pace to it.
That was the point where it revs up into you realizing that it’s not really a family drama. But in a lot of ways it’s not that far fetched. I think a lot of people can relate to the fear of their home being invaded. Whether or not the elements are natural or unnatural, it’s not that difficult to tap into fear. The hard part is trying to keep those fears in check. You can just imagine someone breaking into your house and trying to hurt your children. These are very primal fears.
What was it like working with Scott Stewart as a director? How did he guide you through your arc?
He was very intent on keeping it real and grounded. “No horror movie acting,” is what he said. And by that he just meant nothing over the top. He just wanted it to seem as real as possible. He’s incredibly good at talking to actors, much mores than I would have expected from someone with such a sting background in visual effects.