Reinventing a popular monster myth is central to Sean Ellis’ new horror film “Eight for Silver.” In this adaptation, the creature feature points a jagged mirror back to humanity and establishes itself on Hammer’s sturdy gothic foundations. The film’s stars, Boyd Holbrook and Kelly Reilly, recently spoke to The Playlist about the Sundance selection as well as the major projects in their future.
It doesn’t hurt to be familiar with the genre when signing on to a film like this. Both leads have their own experiences with horror cinema. Reilly is no stranger to working amongst the genre; still, it’s something she’s carefully focused on when choosing roles. “I found myself doing several of these genre movies. I did this film ‘Eden Lake,‘ which was an indie horror film with Michael Fassbender; it was an unexpectedly huge hit. Ever since then, I’ve been approaching a lot. I’m wary of them. They’re difficult to get right.” For Holbrook, being a part of this project signaled a return to films and themes he enjoys away from work. “We’d watch horror films…” the actor said of his experiences with quintessential titles. When asked about his favorites, Holbrook responded instantly with “Hereditary” among other choices.
Whatever their differences on scarier fare, it was not hard for either actor to find themselves intrigued and totally sold on director Sean Ellis’ vision. Both were well aware of what Ellis was capable of, with years of commercial experience before venturing into feature film work. “I had seen [Ellis’] photography and films,” Holbrook said. Reilly also knew what the project’s director could do with every aspect of genre storytelling. “I loved the mood and the way his films looked. He told me the outline of the story, this gothic fairytale. I was like, I’m in almost before I read the script.”
Humans may be a compelling part of the story, but audiences are inevitably invested in the looming monster. Werewolves have long held a certain shape, size, and even level of bodily fur that seems to go back far longer than Lon Cheney Jr.’s infamous creation. Holbrook let out a charming laugh when questioned about his supernatural co-stars, “We had a puppet…” The on-set presence seems to have given the actor a visual cue for one of the film’s most shocking reveals. He was adamant that it was the actress, Amelia Crouch, who really made the scene memorable. Reilly had her own experiences with the CGI/practical effects hybrid:
“It verges on the ridiculous at some point. When you’re working with an animatronic wolf, you have to be thinking; ‘God helps me, is this going to work?’ There is so much with any artistic endeavor you’re unsure this is going to work. So, that’s the trust you have to put into the people you are working with. There were a couple of different endings as well. We did a couple of weeks of extra shooting last year. There are moments when you have to suspend your imagination and have a bit of a laugh about it; you see the actual thing, and it looks so good. It looks so realistic and terrifying, and that was the point, so I’m glad we committed to it. You are literally acting; it was bonkers in its own way. Sean kept saying, trust me, trust me, we’re not going to embarrass you if you’re wrestling around with this thing.”
The film also promises to bring in those familiar with these well-respected leads. At the time of Holbrook’s interview, it was just announced that he’d be a part of Netflix’s “Sandman” series. “We’ve already filmed some of it,” the actor said. As to whether he’s read his fair share of graphic novels or comics, Holbrook was candid. “No, not really…but I suppose everyone comes in contact with comics these days.” The leading man is also keen to create content by himself as well as among the company of friends. “Funny you should ask,” he responded when asked about opportunities for personal projects. A film with friend B.J. Novak, “Vengeance,” is currently in post-production. Written and directed by Novak, the horror thriller casts Holbrook as the lead in the twisting story of a loved one’s disappearance.
Meanwhile, Reilly is a part of the popular Paramount Network series “Yellowstone.” The top performer on cable and streaming left fans with a major cliffhanger. She’s keen not to spoil the surprise of how it all works out. “I cannot say a word. I’m not allowed. If I said anything, I’d give something away. I can’t even with my friends. Season four has been shot. I know it’s going to be extraordinary,” Reilly said. “You’ll enjoy it. Trust me, for the diehard ‘Yellowstone‘ fans, it’s going to be pretty epic.”