Saturday, April 18, the psychological thriller, “The House Across the Street” will make its Los Angeles debut at the Montalban Theatre. The film stars Eric Roberts, Ethan Embry (Harold & Kumar), Jessica Sonneborn (Alice D, Money Shot), and Alex Rocco (The Godfather II). The film is directed by the award-winning Arthur Luhn, who is also a member of the Deaf community. The LA Beat caught up with the director via Instant Messaging after his sold out screening in Boston.
When I first saw a post about this movie on Facebook, I naturally expected there to be Deaf actors signing. Did you have Deaf people working on the film behind the camera?
Yes, the executive producer Wally Carlson is deaf. I am deaf as well. And the assistant to director was deaf too.
Many scary movies start with the idea of someone moving into a new place, and something not being quite right. What does this say about our culture’s fears? Fear of the unfamiliar? Not fitting in?
Fear of the unknown yes, but basically fear itself and how that shapes or changes our ability to react appropriately. We tend to be more courteous, more considerate when we’re not on edge. But in this film, the main character is always on edge, and that, ironically, drives her over it.
So do we sometimes not know what is really happening vs. her perception, like, say, in The Haunting?
Well it’s a little different in this film. The audience is forced to experience what she is experiencing. There are no clear cut answers. No black and white, only one big gray area. And this movie is an exploration of that. There’s a blurring of realities, between what is actually happening and what is happening in the main character, Amy’s, head
Did your study of ancient fields like Archaeology, Philosophy and Theology influence the film?
Very much so, except the Archeology.
So there is not a surprise mummy popping out?
Nope, lol, Another movie perhaps. [The influence is] Primarily perception of reality, from a Philosophy standpoint. Especially the school of thought that reality is what you perceive it to be.
The opening tag line about what you don’t know can’t hurt you and the main plot remind me of “curiosity killed the cat.” It seems like a lot of people in scary movies get in trouble because they go poking around where they aren’t supposed to go…what do you think? Is it supposed to be a warning to us?
It’s more about what goes on in your head. The knowledge you have and how it dictates your behavior. If Amy didn’t know about what happened, she would have led a normal life. But she chose not to. She chose not to go to bed “at a certain time” like everyone else does. So what is the price of doing that? That’s the question. It’s basically an exploration of the theme that life isn’t about what happens to you, but how you react to it.
So people have to be ready for the consequences of their actions? Because I totally don’t go to bed when everybody else does.
Yes, it’s about consequences, but only the consequences of the choices you make, of how you chose to react. How she chose to react
It sounds a little Hitchcockian. Do you prefer his psychological thrillers to monster movies and ghost stories?
I’m partial to psychological thrillers, yes, because those films are a thinking man’s type of film. Requiring skill.
Did you build the part around Eric Roberts? Because he looks so creepy to me…the high cheekbones.
It was a case of perfect casting. Our producer, Bill McAdams, did a great job of suggesting who should play what.
I agree. Especially the character actor from the Godfather…
Alex Rocco. He is a great guy. Easy to work with.
I have only seen the trailer, but it makes me want to see it.
The Deaf community is excited to see the movie. Will it be open captioned in LA?
And have you been picked up for release? Would it be subtitled in that case?
The film is in distribution
Is there anything I haven’t asked, or other people haven’t asked that you wish we would?
I’ve been asked thousands of questions. So I think the inquiries have been pretty exhaustive
If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be? lol
No idea, lol. Never really thought about that
Well, then I got one original question in. I hope you enjoy your stay in LA.
Hope so too! Thank you for your time
Buy tickets to see The House Across the Street here