Justin Cook chats with actress Storm Reid about her film The Invisible Man, the future of her character on Euphoria and more…
In hindsight, we should all be grateful that we were able to get, at least, one truly great theatrically-released horror film this year before movie theaters were shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic. Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man reinvented an iconic Universal Pictures property, grounding the actions of its titular terrorizer in a strikingly timely story about gaslighting and society’s inability to take women’s suffering seriously.
Elisabeth Moss’s remarkable performance, cinematographer Stefan Duscio’s clever camera tricks, and Whannell’s crafty directorial decisions made the movie both a crowd-pleasing and technically impressive treat, but at the film’s core is an underlying humanity that often gets lost in modern studio horror movies. Helping bring that humanity to the screen was 16-year-old Storm Reid, who delivers an assured and likable performance as Sydney, the daughter of a childhood friend of Moss’s Cecilia. After Cecilia moves in with the family, she and Sydney develop a sister-like bond that adds another layer of depth to the film’s unfoldings, even heightening the stakes.
The Invisible Man is currently available on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, so viewers can let their paranoia seep in and try to guess where in the frame the Invisible Man is hiding while watching the movie in the comfort of their own homes. In conjunction with the film’s release, Flickering Myth spoke to Storm Reid about her role in the film, building chemistry with her co-stars, taking direction from Whannell, and even what audience members can expect from her Euphoria character in season 2.
First off, what’s it like not only being in a great film this year but also being in one of the last movies to be released into theaters [in 2020]?
I mean, it’s amazing. I feel like The Invisible Man did great while it was in theaters and people really responded to it. And I’m glad that we were able to create a project that was like we reimagined the classic monster, but we just added, of course, the current things that are going on in the world right now, like gaslighting and things that women are going through. And I strive to be a part of purposeful products. And I feel like this is a great intersection of being a horror film and being a genre piece, but also talking or trying to have a progressive conversation.
So when you initially got the script for this project, what was your first impression of it, and what initially drew you to take the role?
I was blown away by the script. Leigh did such an amazing job writing it and what caught my attention was I loved that I was on the edge of my seat, but I also quickly recognized that he wanted it to be more than just a horror film. He was trying to say something about gaslighting and what women go through and just the toxic masculinity within the world, I knew that he was trying to say something. So that really caught my attention. And then, I mean, I was scared. So I was all in once we have a conversation about the script.
Yeah, absolutely. And there’s a lot of really great moments of horror and terror in this movie, which we could expect. But on top of that, one of my favorite scenes is the ladder scene, which is light and funny. And your dynamic with Elisabeth and Aldis feels so real and lived in, how did you go about building that very natural dynamic with both those actors?
Yes. I think we made it a point that we all made a connection before we started filming. So we all had a cast dinner at the Sydney Opera House because we filmed it in Australia. So we started our bond there and then Aldis and I went to lunch quite a few times and Lizzie and I spent some time together just talking on set and getting to know each other. So I think it was all about just getting to know each other before we got on set. So it wouldn’t be awkward and we kind of felt like we knew each other.
I think one of the scariest parts of this movie for me is the idea of losing autonomy over yourself and not being in control. Like not being able to be in control of what other people perceive as your own actions. But I think this idea is really well exemplified in the scene with you and Elisabeth Moss where The Invisible Man hits your character and we’re led to believe Cecilia did it, can you speak about what it was like shooting that scene and the emotion you had to access in that moment?
I had to be very physical in that scene, but also I had to be very emotional, like you mentioned, and it’s hard to do so, because of course, nothing was really hitting me thankfully, but to put myself in Sydney’s shoes and Cecilia as a person that she truly loves and kind of looks to as a mother figure for her to think that she has hurt her in any type of way, of course really breaks her heart. So I had to really step into that mode, but again, do the stunt as well and try to execute that as best into my ability. So it was a little challenging, but I think Leigh did a great job of directing that scene and Lizzie was very patient with me and I was very patient with her and her coverage. So I think it played out very well.
Yeah, that scene’s heartbreaking and infuriating. It’s a great scene.
You mentioned before how when you were hit, there’s nothing really hitting you and I read that your fight sequence at the end. It’s not like there was a stand in or someone in costume that was fighting against you. You were just fighting with thin air. Is it difficult making that look realistic? And how’d you go about doing that?
Yeah, absolutely. It’s a real challenge as an actress because of course you want to be believable and with being believable, you have to be very emotional, because that was an emotional scene. I think anybody would be emotional in those circumstances, but again, I had to be very physical and like you said, fight with thin air. So it took me a minute to get in the groove of how I would feel in the situation, but also listen to what the stunt people are telling me and kind of grapple with myself and act like I was being tortured. But I think once I got my head wrapped around the idea of it, it was pretty easy to do.
I feel like Leigh Whannell has become as prominent a name in horror as just about any other modern filmmaker. So what did you take away from working with him? Did he impart any memorable horror genre wisdom onto you or anything?
I just love that he is, of course, great at what he does we already know that, but through everything that he’s doing, he’s very serious about his job, which I admire, but also he brings some levity to the set and he’s a huge jokester and he loves to laugh. So even though he’s very serious about what he does and he knows what he wants, he’s also fun. And I admire that because I know that there can be some people that really care about what they’re doing, but they’re also just not enjoying being on set, and he enjoyed talking to his actors and really making the film. And I feel like that’s what made the film feel so real and how audience members know that we put our love into it because I felt like we all just felt like a family.
That’s another thing, so when you were in some of those more psychologically terrifying scenes on set, can you talk about some of the levity on set that kind of balance that out?
I think that goes back to our bond that we made and our connection that we had with each other. And even though we were filming these super-duper scary scenes, when Leigh would call cut, we would go back to laughing and talking about food and fashion and culture and the things that are going on in the world right now and have super-duper intelligent conversations. So I think having that balance is what really made the movie so well, because we had passion about what we were doing and we knew what we wanted, but we also felt good while we were doing it.
Between this, and then you did Don’t Let Go, last year, is horror something that you want to do more of in the future? Is that a genre that you’d like to kind of frequently come back to?
Yeah, of course. I mean, I really tried to choose my projects, not based on the genre, but if they have a purpose behind them and if they have a meaning within the message and if they inspire me and inspire audiences, it doesn’t matter what genre it is. I just, again, try to have progressive conversations with each project that I choose to be a part of. And of course, horror is something that I’d love to do because it’s super-duper fun.
I know that filming is delayed currently on Euphoria, but I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, I need something to hold me over until I see it again, because I love the show. So can you give a hint of what we can expect from Gia in season two?
I can’t give away too much, but you’ll definitely see her more. She’s getting her own storyline and she’s really becoming a character, if that makes sense. She’s not just kind of in the foreground or the shadows this season. So I’m thankful for that. And I can’t wait to explore where she goes.
Many thanks to Storm Reid for taking the time for this interview.
The Invisible Man is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD, as well as Digital from Universal Studios Home Entertainment!