The psychological thriller John and the Hole are coming-of-age psychological thrillers. It’s a lot, and it is unsettling.
This adaptation of a short story was shown at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. It centers on John, a boy who digs a hole for his family.
Pascual Sisto directs John C. Hall as his father. The actor was on hand to talk about the dark drama in John’s childlike dreams, his life in the hole and the return to Dexter Morgan as Dexter in Showtime’s 10-episode series revival.
Simon Thompson: It made me think about what it was like being an adult for the first time since I was a child.
Michael C. Hall:It’s so powerful to think about that question, and recall the speculative wonder that you experienced as a child. I find it interesting to think about this movie, but also to recall how I used wonder, “What is it like to not have to go school every day?” How do they live? What do people do with their spare time? They don’t seem to be able to explain to one another or to themselves exactly what happened. Sometimes I feel exactly the same when trying to discuss the film.
Thompson: This made me see that being a grown-up can feel lonely and dull.
Hall:Yes. That’s what I believe is the most important part of his story, and his realization that life wasn’t as it seemed. It is a hard work.
Thompson: It’s very simple. The script is very simple and concise. Was that helpful or difficult?
Hall:It’s not like you are putting together an oil painting. In certain ways it feels more like something like a line drawing. It’s much easier to work with Pascual Sisto if you have a talented director like that. He tells the story visually and doesn’t need you to speak so loud. It was an enjoyable experience for me to be able to participate in something like this. As you all know, independent movies can take up to a year for me to read the book. It was the vividness of the story that first attracted me to it. This is a testimony to the high quality of the writing.
ThompsonIt’s all about being simple and lean. Although you were not actually in a pit in the ground, it was made for you by a stage. The space was very constrained and contained. How realistic was it to film those scenes? What proportion of dialogue did you put on paper versus the dialog that was created in the room?
Hall:The script was nearly complete. Certain changes were made and some ad-libs occurred. We had moments when Pascual would give commands to Pascual, such as, “Say something” or “Say something.” This was an interesting line, and it may have been contrary to what you might expect from him at that time. It would be easy to believe that he’d shout, “Save us.” But, for the most parts, the script was written. Our days were spent shooting in the hole. We managed to escape, evidently. To allow for cameras or the director’s entry and exit, you could lift up the walls. This box allowed us to surrender to the feeling of it all. It was shot in sequence so that we got progressively more dirty. It was very nice to get covered with dirt when we arrived at work. It was sweet and gave you an instant kick if you got some of it in your mouth. You didn’t feel at home until you got in the hole. This was because that was where your body and emotions made the most sense.
Thompson: At times, it felt like an act on stage.
Hall:It didn’t feel theatrical to me in terms of how it was set up and captured. Although it was intimate, I did not think much about this aspect. It had a theatrical feeling because it was so long spent in a set that could be made in a theatre.
Thompson: Did it feel like a relief? You would be starting the journey back towards Dexter at this point. This is a completely different method of writing and performing . It was a good start to your return.
Hall:There are many things I have done that were very different from what they appear to be. One of those things is this movie. It’s an odd coincidence that the majority of the movie was shot in Lincoln, Massachusetts. There’s only one New England Studios stage nearby, so the entire film was made on that stage. I also ended up filming everything in Dexter’s cabin in the new season. It was a short week that I spent on a film independent shoot that would lead to six months of work on the same stages. What are you doing?DexterIt’s great to perform anything without being obliged to share your inner monologue with the audience. It is nice to be able to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself. John is the most notable character in this story. I believe that all of them are telling very different stories and keeping their thoughts to each other.
Thompson: Since we are talking about Dexter I thought it would be appropriate to end there. It has been an overwhelming positive experience to see the excitement build for the new season. What do you think about these reactions? How does it feel to be surrounded by people who are so warm and welcoming?
Hall:It’s gratifying, thanksgiving, and a relief. It was clear that the ending of season one was confusing. It was a good thing that the sense of being confused didn’t turn people off to the possibility of discovering what happened to him.
John and the Hole are now in theaters and available on VOD.Publited Sat, 07 August 2021 at 23:29.21 +0000