Keri Russell & Scott Cooper Interview: Antlers | Screen Rant

Keri Russell stars in Scott Cooper's latest movie, Antlers, a folkloric horror tale set in the Pacific Northwest. When Julia (Russell) moves back to her hometown to live with her brother Paul (Jesse Plemmons), she notices one of her students isn't doing well. Her student, Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas) is hiding a supernatural creature in his home and before she knows it she will have to face a monster and her own demons to save Lucas' life.

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Screen Rant spoke to Keri Russell and Scott Cooper about Antlers, including how the actress brought her dance background to the set and what it was like for Cooper to direct his first horror movie.

Screen Rant: Scott, this is your first horror feature that you've directed. What that was like for you jumping into this horror folklore world and did you find it more or less challenging than your previous work?

Scott Cooper: All films are challenging. I haven't made it easy for myself because the genres in which I've made films - the gangster genre, then western, and now horror - the best films ever made exist in those. So invariably, you're compared to Scorsese and Coppola, or John Ford, and Eastwood or Leone. Now, in horror, it's Argento or Friedkin's Exorcist or Kubrick's work.

That's a challenge, trying to tell a story in a genre that has been so well expressed [in film]. But also, I think that the great danger is in doing safe work, so I don't mind being compared because quite frankly, I could not care less. I just want to make films that I want to see on a Friday night. And I want to see films that explore the human condition.

And Guillermo del Toro approached me and said, "Your last three films have been horror films and nobody knows it. Would you consider directing a horror film?" And I said I would I love this genre. And off we went.

Keri, you get this big fight scene with the monster and it got pretty intense. I know, you're no stranger to getting physical on set, because Elizabeth Jennings from The Americans knew how to kick some serious butt. What was it like getting into that big monster moment?

Keri Russell: It's so fun. In a way, the only training I have in life is dance. And it always comes in handy. I would say, even for the horror movie there's a lot of Steadicam and tracking that we were doing cinematically. And all of that dance stuff, it is so physical, because it's a very physical thing working with a camera operator and moving within their space.

There's a lot of physicality in this horror movie. It's a little less verbal and a little more physical. And I find that the dance training comes in handy with all of that because it's the same language that I learned.

They always joke, "don't work with kids and don't work with animals." But you crafted such a great relationship with the character of Lucas played by Jeremy Thomas. How did you build that on set with him?

Keri Russell: Well, he's such a special guy anyway. You can tell, just the way he looks, he's so unique. He's so different than anyone else. And he feels different - his whole energy for his age.

I just showed up and let him be. He's so watchful and weary in his nature, so if anything, I was just trying to be kind of steady and calm to lure him in just a little bit. But you know, he was amazing. He's the movie. All you have to do is watch him. He sold so much of it, just being who he is.

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