THE NEW DRIVE?
DOWNTON’S DAN STEVENS CHECKS IN AS THE GUEST
HAVING TRANSFORMED Step Up’s Sharni Vinson into a boobytrapping, head-blending maniac in You’re Next, director Adam Wingard has pulled another ace from Countercasting Central. For his next trick, The Guest, Wingard will turn Dan Stevens, aka Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey, from Mr. Tea into Mr. T. “I’d just seen the first season of Downton with my dad over Thanksgiving,” says Wingard. “To be honest, he kinda forced me to sit down and watch it. But Dan made a real impression - he had that genteel, handsome-gent vibe perfect for this Southern guy I had in mind. Dan’s very charming and effortlessly likable - crucial qualities if you want your character to infiltrate a family.” That family are the Petersons, who, while mourning the loss of their soldier son, are visited by David, a mysterious stranger who claims to have been with him during his dying moments. “He ends up moving in and helping out each family member,” adds Wingard. “But as the story progresses, you realise his way of solving problems isn’t the most, uh, sane, and David isn’t quite who you think he is.” The result has been dubbed the next Drive, a demented action-horror hybrid of sci-fi, conspiracy thriller and gore-fest, with a twist so head-swivelling it caused an outbreak of the Linda Blairs at Sundance. Yet after You’re Next, Wingard had planned to shoot “a non-stop chase movie in South Korea”, only to see the project collapse. “I was still searching for a story when I put on a double feature of The Terminator and Halloween, and realised both those films encapsulated the kind of movie I wanted to make. I guess the heart of the movie is indebted to (Hitchcock’s) Shadow Of A Doubt, but the tone is this ’80s nostalgia wonderland.” A huge part of which is Steve Moore’s slow-frying synth score. “Steve got so obsessed,” says Wingard. “He ended up hunting down every bit of kit John Carpenter used for theHalloween III soundtrack.”And how about this for a twist? Wingard’s been building a Marvel-style universe on the sly. “In V/H/S/2, the eye experiment is by a military contractor called KPG. In You’re Next, the dad works for the same company. And in The Guest, KPG plays a pivotal role. Nobody’s picked up on it yet. Maybe when they see The Guest…” Wingard pauses. “Or, er, reads this.”
THE GUEST IS OUT THIS SUMMER
- EMPIRE MAGAZINE MAY 2014