The cast of Netflix’s “In the Shadow of the Moon” were in attendance at the Fantastic Fest premiere on Saturday, September 21, including Boyd Holbrook, Michael C. Hall and Cleopatra Coleman.
In 1988, Philadelphia police officer Thomas Lockhart (Holbrook), hungry to become a detective, begins tracking a serial killer who mysteriously resurfaces every nine years. But when the killer’s crimes begin to defy all scientific explanation, Lock’s obsession with finding the truth threatens to destroy his career, his family and possibly his sanity. Michael C. Hall plays Holt and Cleopatra Coleman stars as Rya.
We had a chance to speak with Boyd, Michael and Cleopatra during Fantastic Fest. Read the full interview below.
What was it about the story and each of your characters that made you want to join the film?
Boyd: I got in because I wanted to work with these amazing people. Jim had this bonkers idea of doing all these chapters and it was ambitious, and the characters are actually pretty rooted in solid reality. I just had a kid and it had a very close-to-home kind of feeling.
Cleopatra: The script was so great. I was actually in Bali in the middle of the jungle when I read it, and it completely transported me to Philadelphia in 1988. I was like ‘Oh my God, this is a good script.’ And it just felt really topical and really interesting and genre-bending, new and fresh and challenging. Jim’s obviously amazing and these guys. [Boyd Holbrook and Michael C. Hall]
Michael: The chance to work with Jim again for me was a big part of it. And the fact that it’s a movie that is kind of high concept but also manages to really — within just a few pages — establish some real characters and relationships and to be able to take them through a few decades is a unique challenge.
This film has the time travel element but it’s grounded in reality. What are some of your favorite films dealing with time travel?
Boyd: “Back to the Future.” That was the hoverboard. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Cleopatra: Where’s the hoverboard? Why don’t we have it yet? I’d thought we’d have one by now.
Boyd: You would think.
Boyd: Well, that’s a whole other conversation. Electromagnetic levitation, anything’s possible.
Cleopatra: I like “Luther” because it’s similar in that it’s grounded in human stories as well as being fantastical. I like that one a lot.
Boyd: I think our film, Jim’s film, handles it really well. You’re a good hour in before you start figuring out anything. It’s more of an intimate story.
Cleopatra: It’s like the pace of a noir.
What was it like playing a character that spans 27 years and becomes beardy and scraggly?
Michael: You did get a little beardy.
Boyd: It got a little rough there. Take a back. There’s a lot of actor bait and so many things to do and a lot going on. And then a lot not going on. It was a really fun challenge and was like a marathon of a schedule. Everyone was rushing to do their jobs like the art department and the makeup department. You know, bouncing eveyone back and forth, it was just a pretty big feat that they accomplished.
Can you talk about what it was working with Jim?
Boyd: I wanted to with with Jim because Michael had made an amazing film with him. “Cold in July” is a little indy classic and it’s awesome. Jim on set is — just, you couldn’t get a better environment. And he has a great way of directing and making your performance better. That’s what you want.
Cleopatra: Yeah, he’s super enthusiastic and kind but he’s also a really good leader and he knows what he’s doing. He’s really talented.
Michael: He’s got a remarkable sort of vocabulary of film language. You would expect someone who is as good as he is to probably be kind of a monster for some. But he’s like the nicest guy ever and creates an environment on set that’s simultaneously really relaxed and also really focused. It’s sort of a magic trick.
What was it like working with Boyd since a lot of your scenes are popping in every nine years?
Boyd: How was it for you? [Laughs]
Cleopatra: It was great. He’s a really generous actor. There was not a single false moment at any point. It always feels good when that happens because it sets you up to do good work. And we had to go there, man. We ran the gamut because for a lot of the movie there’s a lot of different emotions that we got to play together, which was great.
Boyd: Without giving too much away, I think if you look at all of the characters in the film, the relationships have pretty big tracking arcs. Everyone has their sort of arc of what they experience with each other.
The film kind of leaves off where there could be a continuation. Could there be another one?
Boyd: Is that true though? Is it possible?
Michael: Well, watching it this time I did feel, I don’t know if I can answer specifically without giving too much away, but when it ended I did sort of see a story that was about to start between the two of you.
Cleopatra: Hard to talk about, but yeah, totally. There could be more. Why not?
What was it like watching it with an audience last night?
Boyd: I felt like it played really good.
Michael: I saw it once before but it was a very sort of rough version months ago.
Cleopatra: It was great. This is my third time watching it, and every time I watch it I notice something new. It’s really layered and re-watchable, which is awesome.
How does it feel being here in Austin at Fantastic Fest with this film?
Cleopatra: It’s great. I love it.
Boyd: Austin is cool. I love Austin.
Michael: It’s a festival that seems to be maybe branching out or expanding sort of the scope of the kind of movies they show. It’s cool to be included in something where the people who are coming feel like real fans.
Boyd: Yeah, good vibes last night.
Would you like to add anything else on why people should press play on Netflix?
Cleopatra: Watch it. Don’t read too much about it. Just watch is what I’d say.
Michael: I’ve seen it two times and it seems to me like it could well be a movie that people want to watch it and then watch again. So watch it twice. Yeah, at least twice.