Flickering Myth sits down with Daniel Zovatto…
It may have been cold and miserable out in Central London, but there is a bright smile on the face of Daniel Zovatto. A very handsome, young actor from Costa Rica, Daniel Zovatto features in It Follows, a new terrifying horror movie from David Robert Mitchell where he plays the concerned neighbour Greg. He pushes his hair back as he greets me when I walk into a meeting room of the fancy Soho Hotel and compliments me on my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt. He looks like he has had a long day of interviews, but the sight of this t-shirt brought him to life.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Yes! I fucking grew up on that shit man,” he tells me excitedly as we shake hands.
We sit down with a cup of coffee and exchange stories of jet lag, something he is still struggling with despite being in England’s capital for the last five days. But even though he appears tired, he talks passionately about the movie, which is out in cinemas this Friday aas well as his love of the genre and his work on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
LO: Thanks for joining us today. To kick things off, tell us a bit about your character.
DZ: Well Greg is the neighbour of Jay, the main character, and there is a history between them from back in the day when they were at high school. And over the last couple of years, they’ve been sort of distant. But he notices one day that she’s kind of going through something and he’s king of confused and concerned. So he goes to help her out and be there for her. But he’s not really a believer of this “it” thing that is following her.
Do you see yourself as the heartthrob of the movie compared to Keir Gilchrist’s dorky best friend?
(laughs) I love Keir, man. It’s so funny to see him play this kind of character, you know this puppy dog eyed character. And it’s funny because he is a hardcore punker. So it’s funny to see that, but I don’t know if I’m the heartthrob. Who knows? Maybe it’s just you who saw that.
Yeah, maybe it was just me!
Totally man. But thank you very much!
We briefly talk about Keir Gilchrist, who he calls a “fucking legend” as well our article on seven actors who could play Marvel’s Spider-Man, of which Kier is one.
How did you get involved with the film?
I got sent the script while I was away, I’m from Costa Rica. And I read it on the aeroplane and I was kind of confused as to what I was reading, so I read it twice just to make sure. And so then I call my team out and I’m like, ‘why am I going for this?’. And then I saw David’s first movie (It Follows director David Robert Mitchell) Myth of the American Sleepover, which is fantastic.
It’s really a great film.
It’s fantastic. So I thought, David plus horror plus the cast we have – this is going to be incredible. And so I said all right, let’s do this.
The script is fantastic and it has some really interesting ideas.
Totally. But it’s kind of hard for me like, cause I read it and I thought, ‘how are they going to pull this off?’. When you read it, it’s so hard to imagine it. But when you have someone like David, you just trust him.
And the reception to the movie has been fantastic.
Better than anyone of us could have hoped for. I will tell you this though. When I was there, I knew we were doing something special. I really did. I got to see it all behind the scenes and I got to see David’s way of working. And it was just unbelievable. He can shoot the simplest of scenes ten times, but because he wants a certain movement, and that’s when you know you’re on something special.
What was it like working with David? Did you give a lot of direction or was it more of a collaboration?
Well, he’s very open to letting you decide certain things about your character, but he’s also there to make sure you character is in line of where he wants to go. He’s very personal and he’s not the kind of guy that’s yelling. He comes to you and he tells you, ‘this is what I think should happen, and he’s just an overall genius, man. I think he’s a visionary and has such a distinct voice.
I described him as a modern day John Carpenter
Oh yeah. And I think It Follows has a lot of homages and the more I speak to press, the more get mentioned to me. And I think there is a lot of John Carpenter and he has a lot of influence in the movie.
When we talk about Maika Monroe, Daniel is nothing but praising of her. It would be an overstatement to say there was a ‘crush’ element involved, but there is clearly a professional love for his co-star. He also corrects my pronunciation when I call her Mee-ka, when it’s actually My-ka. We laugh as I tell him I called her Mee-ka to her face last year during an interview for The Guest.
Maika Monroe is tremendous in the movie, and I thought she was great in The Guest last year.
Oh man The Guest! Loved that.
What was it like working with her?
Oh she’s a great actress and working with her is… you know… great. She gives you so much and she’s so talented. She’s great to work with.
If you could pinpoint a certain thing that you loved about working on this project, what do you think it would be?
I think it’s the relationships that we formed. I think we all became really close. Like I said, it was just such a good energy on set. I think this is, well actually I know it’s the best experience I’ve had. Usually when working on something, there’s someone you don’t get along with and you have to pretend, but here it was so simple.
This is where I saw a real sweet side to Daniel. It Follows was not just a job for him, this was a project where he really fell in love with everything that was going on and the people working on it. This also comes across when he’s talking about his love of acting and what that means to him.