CS Interview: Andi Matichak on Son and Love of Horror Subgenres
As the chiller continues to rack up positive reviews from critics, ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with on-the-rise star Andi Matichak (Halloween) to discuss her latest work in the horror genre Son and her love for returning to the world of horror thanks to its various subgenres.
ComingSoon.net: So Son is a really thematically interesting film and it’s got some great scares as well. But what about the project really drew you to it?
Andi Matichak: One of the things that drew me the most to the project was the group of collaborators that it had. Ivan Kavanagh is an incredible storyteller and someone I really was excited to work with, as well as his producing partner, AnneMarie Naughton and Rene Bastian and Louis Tisné, between the group of producers we had. You know, they have pretty eclectic films that are on their resumes and so working with them to bring something like this to life felt really exciting to me.
CS: So what was it like for you then, getting to the heart of Laura for the film?
AM: The thing that I tried to focus on the most, which luckily enough, it came quite naturally, was just the relationship that she has with David and the relationship that I built with Luke David Blumm, who plays my son, who’s absolutely unbelievable in the movie, much less in anything he does. He’s going to have an unbelievable career, was just that we became really good friends. And in order for this movie to kind of stand and work, you have to have that connection and that chemistry. And luckily enough, I think that we did.
CS: Well, you answered my next question then with that. [Laughs} What was it then like building the chemistry with Emile?
AM: You know, Emile is such a pro. He’s been doing this for so long and he has so much experience working with so many different people and so many different directors. He’s incredible versed in his approach and it was so much fun working with him. Every take was wildly different than the last and while still keeping in mind with the structure of the story and still getting from point A to point B so each take could’ve been viable, you know? It was just really, really fun working with him and I really looked forward to my scenes with him, although I didn’t have too many. I wish I had more just because working with him was so refreshing, being an actor who is so game for switching it up and just kind of going with what is happening in the present moment and is pretty fun and unbelievable.
CS: So since you described some of the filmmaking process on this one as kind of going with the moment and the large collaboration effort, would you say that there was any sort of improvisations on your part, allotted by Ivan?
AM: You know, especially working with Luke, the thing that was so much fun is he wanted to capture our relationship as it kind of was also in life. So you know, a lot of the times he would just kind of let us talk our way into scenes and just be kind of already in a place as we’re hanging out as friends, but then all of a sudden we just pop directly into the scene in a pretty organic way. And again, like as long as you follow the structure of the story and you get yourself from point A to point B and certain things happen, and he was pretty open to if something felt not right on the tongue or you know, you wanted to switch it up in order to get a new reaction or kind of dive into a new angle of the scene, he was super open to that, which was really freeing as an actor.
CS: What would you say then were some of your biggest creative challenges coming into this film?
AM: Hmm. I mean, without giving away any spoilers, I would say that difficult thing was finding nuances in Laura while keeping her a reliable narrator in the genre of psychological thriller and horror. I mean, you always want to risk the audience being a step ahead, and it felt very important to all of us to try to keep the audience along with us on the journey as opposed to a step ahead of us. So that was something that was quite difficult and that we spent a lot of time trying to achieve.
CS: Gotcha, okay. There also seemed to be a real physicality to the role, especially in the earlier parts of the film. What was it like exploring those elements alongside the sort of psychological elements?
AM: You know, I grew up an athlete, and using my body and my work has always been really helpful for me to just feel as grounded and connected as possible. And I love physical challenges, of course, running around with a 10 year old or an eight year old, Luke’s 10 in real life and it’s not like running with a 10 year old kid is the easiest task, but it does add a lot to the movie, and it does kind of put you in a different mindset as well. So I love, you know, the challenges of filming this movie just from the standpoint of, yes, the psychological and mental and emotional strain and challenges that you have. But the physical I find just as important to the story.
CS: So then we’ve seen you in the horror genre a few times before this and we’re getting ready to see you in more in the future. So what is it that you find about the genre that really keeps drawing you back to it?
AM: Hmm. You know, I think that one of the things that’s really interesting about horror is that there is so many sub genres inside the genre of horror and there are so many different avenues you can go down and different ways of telling stories and different types of stories you can tell that are really fascinating to me. You can have very nuanced films that are very different one to the next, and I mean, I would say Son is wildly different than Halloween and Halloween is wildly different than Son. And even the second Halloween is wildly different than the first one, you know? So it’s a lot of fun doing these movies. Also, on top of that, just the horror community is a pretty spectacular group of people and I’ve been pretty special to be involved with them.
CS: For many in the horror community, a lot of them are seeing you go from Halloween to this, so essentially seeing you go from a high schooler to being a young mother. What was it like for you as an actor to sort of make that transition in character?
AM: You know, I think it was a nice film to transition with, the biggest reason being you see Laura at 17 and you also see her at 25 with an eight year old kid. I think that juxtaposition position of seeing her as a child, pretty much, who’s pregnant to then being a mom, who’s a pretty good mom, but she’s still figuring it out. I mean, she’s still a kid herself in a lot of regards. It felt like a really good transition of a film, and of course, it’s nice to play a role that has a lot of depth and is a mother and it was just really exciting for me to kind of dive into both arenas in the same movie.
After a mysterious group of individuals breaks into Laura’s home and attempts to steal her eight-year-old son, David, the two of them flee town in search of safety. Breaut soon after the failed kidnapping, David becomes extremely ill, suffering from increasingly sporadic psychosis and convulsions. Following her maternal instincts to save him, Laura commits unspeakable acts to keep him alive but soon, she must decide how far she is willing to go to save her son.
Alongside Matichak, the cast for the film includes Emile Hirsch (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Luke David Blumm (The King of Staten Island), Cranston Johnson (Hap and Leonard), Blaine Maye (Dirt), J. Robert Spencer (Grave of the Fireflies) and Rocco Sisto (Donnie Brasco).
Son, which is written and directed by Ivan Kavanaugh, is now available in select theaters and on digital platforms and VOD!