Award-winning filmmaker Trey Edward Shults follows his incredible debut feature Krisha with It Comes At Night, a horror film following a man (Joel Edgerton) as he learns that the evil stalking his family home may be only a prelude to horrors that come from within. Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, the tenuous domestic order he has established with his wife and son is put to the ultimate test with the arrival of a desperate young family seeking refuge. Despite the best intentions of both families, paranoia and mistrust boil over as the horrors outside creep ever-closer, awakening something hidden and monstrous within him as he learns that the protection of his family comes at the cost of his soul.
We chatted with Carmen to talk her role in the film and jumping into the horror world.
The film hits theaters today!
Carmen: Hey OJ.
EBONY: I saw your movie, it’s really creepy.
Carmen: That’s one way of describing it. Yeah, it is pretty naughty.
EBONY: What was your first reaction to the script?
Carmen: To the script? I thought it was ambitious. I thought it was ambitious, I thought it was just really brave in its minimalism, in its willingness to treat an audience with enough respect that they didn’t need to know all the answers to enjoy the film. I think it’s a really brave writer that recognizes that skill set and then applies it to it. The temptation is to add exposition to add an explanation to make things clearer, to make sure the audience knows exactly what they should be thinking next and so on. And I think when somebody comes out, and says, “You know what? I know you guys can figure out how to take this on.” Don’t make it about our situation then I think there are other ways of getting to an audience without even a mention.
EBONY: And you’ve been taking so much up lately with your films, how do you pick which roles that you do?
Carmen: If that was a complicated woman that would say that every single catch on stage being part of the definition and then I like mixing it up, I like to keep stretching myself, trying to pick different genres, different styles, different exceptions and I just really pick from the heart and the head a little bit you know, I’ve been consciously [inaudible 00:02:42] by the fact that in order to have a broader range of materials I can choose from, I have to make sure that there’s some kind of box office relevance in my name. That’s just the way it is these days, that’s just how we’re living. So yeah I think that how I make choices. Little bit of-
EBONY: You and Joel have such great chemistry on screen. Talk about working with him and how you guys worked together.
Carmen: Oh how did we work together? How was it? Oh it was amazing. We come onto a job like this part of the lure is the level of the actors that you get to work with and I didn’t want to be the best person on set, I didn’t want to be the person that everyone else go, “Aww, I get to work with Carmen today!” Yeah, I’m like, “No.” I want to be this person. I want to go, “Aww, I get to work with Joel today!” Yeah I think he’s exactly the kind of actor I respond to best where he’s self-conscious enough that you just feel like you’re watching have some real sense of naturalism. But it’s also outside of telegraphics that you really … He can be playing anybody, he could do anything.
EBONY: You are so right, he really does transform that one.
Carmen: Yeah I love doing that myself, as much as I can and I appreciate when I see another actor. So it’s very lucky to have made this with him.
EBONY: Young Calvin, he raved about how you guys treated him on set as an equal. Talk about working with him and what he brought to the set.
Carmen: Calvin brought useful unawareness of how things were meant to work at times, which is great initially to be around, when you get to a certain point in your career where you feel like you’ve learnt enough tricks to always look and seem fresh enough but you know in yourself that you’re not really, maybe, as fresh as you maybe were 10 years previously say. But he brought that, he brought a lot of curiosity, a lot of good questions, he brought a lot of great performing and he’s an actor that the more I think about what he does what he can do how he looks the more I realize that there are some people that are going to be watching in the near years to come as an American, as a young handicapped individual.
EBONY: A lot of the film takes place in one house. Talk about what that element brings to the film as opposed to filming on a bunch of different sets.
Carmen: Well you certainly get to know your location pretty well, so if you’re gonna portray a family that lives in that house that’s a good thing because always more affectionately that you really do know that case intimately. And then there’s also the fact that being in the warehouse with the people all day, with the director, with the script writer, with the AT, with the PA’s, the everybody, then that space can start getting kind of claustrophobic and sweaty and smelly and oppressive and so they’re all codes that make perfect sense to keep hold of and to bring to the movie.
EBONY: I love Trey as a director. Talk about working with him on this project and collaborating with him.
Carmen: Trey is really wonderful. He’s very quiet but has only youthful and truly relevant things to say when he needs to say them. A lot of confidence to have that kind of approach directing and inviting to say, “If anyone has an idea that would just make for better piece of filmmaking.” He was always open to it.
EBONY: Yeah, no, I just have one more. Lastly, what do you want people to take away when they see this film?
Carmen: Nightmares. They will take away nightmares and paranoia’s sometimes in the future. Hopefully, they’ll just take away the willingness to really consider what areas and what ways they may create paranoia’s themselves and self-destruct as a result and that they can avoid it. If you see the movie, I think one of the things that’s very surprisingly that’s it’s really up there … The horror is truly of their own making.
EBONY: Amazing. Thank you so much, Carmen.
Carmen: Thank you. Bye!
Photo Credit: A24