Ken-With an interview of director Vaughn Stein (TERMINAL) for his new psychological thriller, INHERITANCE. This is the first of two interviews for this flick.
The second piece is an interview with Simon Pegg.
INHERITANCE is about what Archer Monroe (Patrick Warburton) left behind. Thirty million to his oldest, William Monroe (Chace Crawford). Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins) gets one million, setting back women’s rights another few years. However, she does also get a zip file that her brother didn’t. That’s where her real inheritance lies. All the clues lead her to an underground bunker on her parent’s land and the things her father left behind for her to tend to.
The movie is quite a lot of fun and will keep you absorbed. Most of the movie’s run, keeping you on your toes, displaying a unique vision the director handles sublimely. The lighting, color and writing feel natural, through the twist stuffed plot. Using Simon Pegg in this fashion is an undeniably daring choice for the director Vaugh Stein. He’s paid off with the best acting I’ve ever seen from Mr. Pegg.
While I can’t call this one a masterpiece, it’s quite skilled at revealing the mystery underneath it all. We are thrown so many twists and nothing feels like it’s jerking you around. While I do think the ending feels slapped on, the rest of film kept me impressed. Really pushing what I felt was occurring, to the edge of a cliff and pushing my expectations down among the tide splashed rocks.
Without further ado, Vaugh Stein.
Freddy Beans: Hey Vaughn, how are you doing today?
Vaughn: Not too bad Fred. How are you?
FB: Hanging in there. Though largely stuck indoors nowadays.
Can you give a brief synopsis of INHERITANCE for our readers?
VS: It’s a psychological thriller set in New York, revolving around a young D.A. named Lauren Monroe. Lauren comes from a sort of old money family. She’s fiercely independent and she’s stepped away from the family and gone out on her own. Her father tragically dies in the beginning of the film and she’s left a dark secret in his will. That’s her inheritance.
FB: That’s perfect man. No need to dip into spoilers.
VS: I’m just impressed I remembered all that without dipping into my notes. (Laughs)
FB: (Laughs) It’s your movie, you’ll need this knowledge!
What made you want to direct this story on the big screen?
VS: It was my agent Jordan who said, “You’ve got to read this.” I was transfixed by it. I sort of fell in love with it the first time I laid eyes on it. It’s so rare to find a script that’s a high stakes thriller but also a simple, elegant, dark, fairy tale. It’s a movie about skeleton’s in the closet or in this case monster’s in the basement. It’s an interesting look at dynasty or legacy, of family secrets, and people feeling they’re better than the law because they come from wealth and privilege. I found that really intoxicating. I think the writer, Matt Kennedy, did an amazing job with the script.
FB: It’s an excellent movie. I had a great time with it.
I found it really intriguing you used Simon Pegg so against type. He’s mysterious, creepy and sympathetic all at once. Tell me about the decision to cast him as Morgan Warner?
VS: From the first time I read the script, I had this weird idea of Simon in the role. Having just worked with him on my first film TERMINAL, I was astonished at how well he tapped into different facets and his abilities as an actor that I’d never seen before. He’s clearly a world class comedy genius but he has a natural ability and incredible discipline as an actor. The transformation he went through to undertake this role. He’s a trim guy but he burned off something like 14 kilos. We talked a lot about his being incarcerated and creating this prison body silhouette. The idea of someone who exercised manically and obsessively every day. I love watching actors defy expectations by doing roles you don’t naturally want to see them in. Simon is a good friend and I love working with him. He did such an amazing thing with his character.
FB: Yeah. He absolutely killed it. The entire movie really hinges on his performance. It’s impressive work. To have the foresight to believe he could play that part, is impressive Vaughn.
Same thought. What drew you to Lilly Collins for Lauren Monroe or are you just a Phil Collins fan, like the rest of us? (Laughs)
VS: (Laughs) That’s the best interview question I’ve received today. I’ve been following her really closely for a while now. I watched TO THE BONE a few years ago. It profoundly upset me. I never thought I’d see her do anything like that. She was astonishing in it. She’s amazing because she has this simple poise and grace, the old movie star feel about her, yet she’s so amazingly open at the same time. She really throws out vanity as a performer and commits to the emotion and intensity of the scene. Lauren is a tricky role, really. On one hand she’s living this altruistic life. Her public persona is a confident haughty district attorney trying one of the biggest cases in their history. Her private life though is falling apart. Her family crumbling around her and she’s got an incredibly dark secret sort of lurking in a bunker in her parent’s garden. Its secret could sort of unravel everything. I’m grateful for what she did and how committed she was to the role.
FB: I agree. She really has to play all over the place and she does a fantastic job.
What lessons learned from your 2018 film TERMINAL did you apply to this film?
VS: I knew I wanted to do something different. TERMINAL had a very specific tone and aesthetic that we brought to a unique and existential world. I wanted something more grounded in the real. As someone who loves classic thrillers, it spoke to me. I love those great ensembles. Both of these films I’ve had incredible casts to work with. I love to work with color and design to communicate with an audience, using cinematography and camera language. It’s a conventional thriller in many ways but we wanted to push the dark emotion and psychological dangers that they’re sort of facing. We tried to create this sort of dark fairy tale within.
FB: What was your experience like, working with Michael Myers?
VS: He’s a dream. The guy is a legend. He’s so dedicated and disciplined. He’s the most amazing person to have a drink with and just hear the stories about the things he’s done. He’s a hero of mine. One of the best things I’ve achieved in my career was to work with him.
FB: Can you tell us anything about your next film EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE?
VS: It’s a psychological thriller, set in the pacific northwest. It’s about a bereaved psychologist and his family, haunted by tragedy. Then a stranger calls and sort of turns everything on its head. It’s a great script. It has Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Sam Claflin, Veronica Ferres, and India Eisley, another great ensemble. We just finished post-production on it. Hopefully it will be around sooner rather than later.
FB: Thanks for everything and good luck in the future Vaughn.
VS: Thank you so much Fred. Lovely to speak with you too!
Stay safe out there everyone!
Freddy Beans (AKA: Ken Lewis)