When young marrieds Jeff (Dylan McTee) and Lindsey (Alex Essoe) accidentally hit a man with their car, they put him in the backseat and go home to avoid the consequences… but of course that doesn’t work because they’ve brought the consequences home with them! Essoe, who rose to genre fame in Starry Eyes, sat down with us to chat about playing Lindsey in Midnighters (review).
Dread Central: You must be offered tons of horror movies and dark dramas. What made you choose Midnighters in particular?
Alex Essoe: Well, it was a combination of two things. I love the character, she struck me as such a Rubik’s cube when I first read the script; and two, the opportunity to work with Julius Ramsay, who has directed some of my favorite “Walking Dead” episodes.
DC: What did you think when you first read the script? And what was your audition like?
AE: When I first auditioned for the part I didn’t have the script, [so] I hadn’t read it yet. I think it was the first scene after the party, when I’m talking with my husband. In instances like that I think it’s, especially if you don’t have all the information, it’s important to just make something up. Make a choice, go balls out, just so they know you can commit to a choice, even if it’s not the right one, even if it’s not one with all the information. I think that’s what it is, more than anything. Again, when I read who was making the movie I was like ‘Ok, I have to really make some choices here, leave it all on the wall.’ I’m really glad they appreciated that.
DC: Do you enjoy exploring the darker side of the human condition?
AE: There’s a quote from Anton Newcombe, the front man for the band The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and his philosophy is ‘Keep music evil,’ which I completely agree with. I think what that means is, it keeps music honest and I really feel that way when I’m choosing roles. I want to do something where I get to explore a new facet of, it sounds so awful when I say this, new dark corners of the human psyche. It would be very easy to play the girlfriend, the mother, the bank teller, whatever, but there’s a certain honesty and freedom that I feel comes with these sort of darker roles and projects, because a lot of them have these very original story lines to them. There’s less rules, there’s not a specific sector that they’re trying to reach, there’s this real exploratory element to it. That really draws me to it, and it’s something I’ll always do, I love it so much.
DC: What did you find specifically intriguing about Lindsey?
AE: Well, Julius [Ramsay, director] and I would have hour long conversations about her. There is something about her that is very hard to pin down, and I think she is the type of character who likes it that way. She’s very reserved, very secretive, she doesn’t express her feelings, she’s not good at setting boundaries with people and she kind of walks this fine line between where she comes from and who she is. I feel with a character like that, who is constantly trying to deny their history, it sets itself in these very dark ways and you see that, there’s sort of a little switch that goes off with her and she decides to embrace this darker side, because she’s surrounded by darkness. It’s not like Sarah in Starry Eyes, who is crazy already; I don’t want to offend anybody, but she has serious problems already that are very evident, to look at her and listen to her, but Lindsey is trying so hard to be this good citizen, with this life that she always thought she wanted, but she ends up repressing a lot of these things and so when it finally comes out, I don’t know, there’s something very passive, passive-aggressive. Those things are interesting but I found very challenging, which I like, which is great, I like torturing myself over a character because sometimes that is what you have to do in order to honor them. I didn’t want people to not see that inner life of her, even though she’s very quiet and mousy and kind of lets people walk all over her. I still think about her sometimes. She was she so secretive, that she even evaded me.
DC: Horror fans will no doubt enjoy Midnighters, but would you categorize it as straight-ahead ‘horror’ or not?
AE: I wouldn’t call this a true horror movie. One thing I really liked was the style and the editing of it. The film looks beautiful and it has this real sort of gritty, 90s, psycho drama feel to it. It feels almost like a Mike Leigh film, or something like that. There’s a movie from 1992 called The Cement Garden, and Charlotte Gainsbourg is in it, and oh my god, it’s so excellent; it reminded me a lot of Midnighters.
Midnighters stars Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes), Perla Haney Jardine (Dark Water), Dylan McTee, Ward Horton (Annabelle), and Joseph Lee Anderson. It was written by Alston Ramsay. Julius Ramsay directs.
The film will be available in theaters and on VOD/Digital HD on March 2, 2018.
New Year’s Eve, a married couple hits a stranger walking on a dark forest road. In a panic, they take the body home so as to sober up before turning themselves in. But they soon discover that the man wasn’t dead after all – that he was in fact armed and already on his way to their house. As the family is thrust into a deepening mystery, they discover that no one is who they seem – including each other.