Hey folks! Barbarella here after watching SON, a film that manages to captivate with its atmospheric visuals and display of primal parental instincts. Written and directed by Ivan Kavanaugh, SON comes out today in Theaters and On Demand and Digital. I loved a lot about SON and had the opportunity to briefly chat with Andi Matichak, whom you may have seen in 2018’s HALLOWEEN. In SON she plays the mother of a boy who suddenly contracts a mysterious illness.
I'm going to start with a question that was asked in the film. If you had eight arms, what would you do with the extra ones?
“I would put them on display and call myself the spider lady.”
So you'd join a carnival, basically.
“Exactly. You embrace what you've got. You don't hide it.”
Right, exactly. What was your initial reaction to SON when you read the script?
“I loved that at the core of it, it is just about a mother who's doing the best she can with the resources and the knowledge that she has. And it's just really a love letter from a mother to a son.”
I heard that you're not a huge horror fan. Yet, I imagine since doing HALLOWEEN you've probably gotten a ton of horror scripts. How has reading horror scripts affected your views on it, and are you becoming more of a horror fan?
“Prior to HALLOWEEN, it wasn't that I wasn't a horror fan; it's that I was too terrified to watch them. After booking HALLOWEEN and being a part of that community and this genre, yeah, I've fallen deeply in love with it, and in large part because the horror community is just such a spectacular group of people who is so passionate about the genre. It's a really special thing to be a part of. Watching horror movies with a group of people in a theater is one of my favorite experiences that I am now brave enough to face, having made enough of them.”
I was going to ask how easily do you get scared? It sounds like not so much anymore.
“Yeah. I mean, I still am... I still haven't seen a lot of horror movies because there are some that are just too scary. I can't watch the trailer because if I watch the trailer, then I'll be like, "Mm-mm (negative), can't do it." If I go in blind, a lot of the times, I'll be able to manage a little bit easier. But, yeah, I mean, it's a fun experience. And after making them and being a part of the process of it, you kind of just learn so much about the genre and about the way things are filmed that it just becomes very fun to watch. Also, it is very thrilling being along for the ride and being scared and freaked out in a very safe environment. The world already is quite scary so it's nice to have that happen in a group. There's safety in numbers and also just in the fantasy world of it.”
You give a really intense performance in SON. How do you get to that place mentally and emotionally so you could effectively become Laura? And then how do you return from that place after the camera stops rolling?
“I think that the biggest thing I focused on while filming SON was always, always, always being very connected to my son, to David. Laura's connection to him is imperative for the movie to stand, and it took a lot of pressure off of me, as an actor, to try to emulate things or push things along, because at the end of the day, she's just a mother reacting to these events that are unfolding before her, and she's doing everything she can to protect her son. And it's quite simple if you pare it down that way.
“On top of that, working with an actor like Luke David Blumm, who plays my son, he's just such an incredible talent, and he's such a fun human being. He has so much fun making movies and horror. It's his favorite genre, and him working on this was like a dream come true in so many ways. He was so excited about all of the blood and practicing his creepy crawl for days before, and that brought a lot of levity. I mean, at the end of the day, he is able to dive in and out of the depth and the darkness of these scenes very quickly, and we have a similar approach in that way, where breaking that in between takes is honestly helpful for levity, and it also adds to finding new moments in each take. I was fortunate I had a scene partner who was able to kind of dive in and out and also help pull me out when I was a little too far in. In between takes, we were able to joke around and just have a blast and really be two people and then just trust that the story was there to pull us back in the second the camera started rolling again. And it was.”
Would you share a story from the set that would best illustrate your experience working with Luke?
“So many. He and I just had so much fun together. There's not really one scene that popped out in particular because I feel like each scene was just such a blast, and we spent so much time together. I think the scenes that were the most fun were scenes that were largely improvised, and we were able to just kind of be ourselves, in every regard. I think that at the beginning of the movie, when you see Laura and David and their relationship, that's really similar to how Luke and I are in life.
“The scene in the car and when they're racing to the car and when she's taking him to school is really just kind of how our rapport was naturally. And then at the carnival later on in the film, it was such a nice scene to add some levity to the movie. You kind of needed it before things really kicked up again. They were able to have kind of one last beautiful moment of joy and fun and have their old times be back before they have to face the reality of what's happening.”
Would you share a story from the set that would illustrate your experience working with Ivan, the director?
“Ivan was so much fun to work with because he had such a specific vision for the movie, while at the same time trusting the people that he hired, both as actors and department heads, to do their jobs and to bring what they brought to the table. It was an extremely collaborative environment. I also trusted Ivan tremendously, and if he said, "We got it," we got it. And he had a really good gauge for performance and for what it is that he's looking for to tell the story that it was very easy to trust him because he was so clear and specific, and that made my job a lot easier.”
Do you remember your dreams? And if so, what kind of dreams did you have while working on this?
“I don't recall any dreams I had while filming. I think I was just too tired to dream. The film is, in so many regards, very dreamy. And there are many dream sequences that happen and flashbacks that almost take the form of Laura dreaming. One of the things that I found really interesting in the script was how many times she fell asleep and what would happen immediately following when she fell asleep. And then it makes you think, "Is this whole thing a dream? What is happening here?" And it just made it very interesting to approach the movie because there were so many different ways to do it and to buy into what's happening here.”
How did working on SON impact your ideas of motherhood, or did it?
“I am very fortunate to have a mother who is pretty unbelievable and would do absolutely anything for me. I always kind of hoped that I would be able to emulate my own mother as a mother one day. I think that one of the things that I loved so much about being on set with a kid for such an extended period of time, and one of the things that caught me off guard, was you have so many fun and crazy moments and moments where you're running around and goofing off and just having a ball, but there are also so many intimate moments that are really quiet and filled with learning and experiencing the world around you that can make you feel any which sort of way. Experiencing all of those moments with Luke as a human being on set was pretty spectacular, and it made me really excited to be a mother in a lot of ways.”
Andi Matichak can be seen now in SON, also starring Luke David Blumm and Emile Hirsch.