Watch below a new interview with Boyd Holbrook for That Hashtag Show in which he talked about The Cursed, the inspiration behind the film, and how he had to convince writer/director Sean Ellis that he could be British. We also posted some screencaptures from the interview on our photo gallery:
In an interview for Watch or Pass, Boyd Holbrook talks about how he got involved in The Cursed, what working with the stellar cast was like and how he got a call from Shaquille O’Neal but didn’t believe it was him. Watch it below and check out screencaptures from the interview on our gallery:
Watch an interview Boyd Holbrook gave to JoBlo on doing The Cursed, how he nailed his British accent and more:(more…)
Speaking with Slash Film, Boyd Holbrook talks about his love for horror movies, the preparation for his role and a sad update on his feature The Thirst:
A mysterious, bloodthirsty creature (or several) haunts a European village, stirring up a wave of panic as townspeople are picked off one by one and leading to the widespread assumption that they must be cursed. That’s not just the general premise behind director Sean Ellis’ latest horror film, “The Cursed,” releasing in theaters today, it’s also the loose inspiration behind the film, rooted in real-world history in 1760s France and a prime example of folklore that taps into the sort of primal fears which attracted actor Boyd Holbrook to “The Cursed” in the first place.
The “Narcos,” “Logan,” and “The Predator” actor portrays John McBride, a pathologist initially shrouded in mystery who’s sent to the English countryside to investigate reports of animal attacks on young children. His arrival is made necessary by the ruinous choices of landowner Seamus Laurent (Alistair Petrie), who instigates a coldblooded massacre of an indigenous Roma community for refusing to rescind their claim on what he deems to be his land. By the time remorseless mercenaries subdue the Roma elder (Pascale Becouze) and sentence her to the cruelest death, the fate of Seamus’ settlers is already sealed. She ensures that 30 pieces of silver, melted down and fashioned into a set of fang-tipped teeth, are buried with her, and sets off a curse that brings about supernatural retribution in the form of werewolves — the likes of which even horror junkies have never seen before.
“The Cursed” originally debuted during 2021’s Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews, though under a different title (“Eight For Silver”) and with some slight changes from the theatrical cut. Holbrook’s character ends up wearing several different (metaphorical) hats throughout the film, entering the picture first as a prototypical ‘mysterious stranger comes to town,’ proving himself to be a skilled scientist, slowing doling out hints of a tragic past, and even getting into the thick of the action later on.
I had the opportunity to speak with Holbrook about his eclectic career that spans underrated supporting roles (“A Walk Among the Tombstones”) to exciting high-profile projects still on the horizon (“The Sandman,” “Indiana Jones 5”), the preparation that went into his performance in “The Cursed,” and the eeriness of acting in a film that features a pandemic in the background. And yes, the rumors are true: he’s a big f***ing fan of horror films, too.
‘I’m a big f***ing fan of horror films’
Is there any one thing you look for in a script that draws you to these projects, or are you just constantly looking for something new?
You know what, I’ve not really done a lot of this by some grand mastermind plan. I wish I was that smart, but turns out, it’s just how life has sort of bounced me off one wall to another wall, into these projects with these characters. I think for me, being an actor is just investigating something that’s really foreign to me: a different person’s life that I really get a lot of satisfaction and joy out of, just sympathizing to a level of their existence, and how their life is. I’m just fascinated with that…
I think it’s more challenging, too. For example, a lot of Brits are playing Americans, but no Americans are playing Brits … Working with [director Sean Ellis], and Kelly [Reilly], and Alistair [Petrie], was something that I hadn’t had a chance to do yet, so that’s what I wanted to explore in this. And I’m a big f***ing fan of horror films, that’s fun.
Do you want to be known as a character actor, as a chameleon or jack-of-all-trades who can handle anything that a director can throw your way?
Yeah, I love how everything can accumulate into something like that. It has to be a character that has a great arc, and the story has to be all there. But then, stuff I do look for is, where’s the character’s voice? Where does that function out of? The cosmetics, that’s really a lot of play that you can get to do, and sort of mask work, so to say, and really just function out of a different place. Depending on how big the budget is [laughs], you can go a little further, or if it’s an indie film, it’s just pretty raw. So yeah, I’m really interested in that, actually.
‘Take a classic folklore and add a new bite to it’
Your character in “The Cursed,” John McBride, he’s almost several different characters in one. These qualities, that range on display, is that what helped draw you to this character specifically?
Yeah, I’m really fascinated about any time period before 1895, when things weren’t so luxurious as they are now. A more pioneering, revolutionary people who had to deal with so many restraints and just actual living. There’s something romantic about that for me, and the masculinity and the femininity to strive through those times, so that was really interesting for me. And then also, the folklore that this is based on, which is the Beast of Gévaudan, which is from 1768 to 1773, I think, where about 80 people died in this region in France, and that’s documented. So, that was pretty interesting to take a classic folklore and add a new bite to it [laughs].
Now, how do you prepare for a role like this? Did you do research into what kind of medical information was available in the 19th century?
Well, really, for me, I hadn’t played a Brit before, so it was about a month of drilling dialect stuff. I worked with my great and dear friend, Gerry Grinnell, he’s my voice coach, so we just beat that in. And on top of that, just getting old manuals of autopsies and anything. I mean, it was pretty primal stuff back then. Again, just the rawness of all that was just really present in the work, I think.
Since you mentioned autopsies, I do have to ask you how filming went for the autopsy scene. Was all that practical effects? How was it, filming that?
I won’t give much away of the film, but there’s one scene in particular where we’re doing a bit of an autopsy scene of some sort [laughs]. I was really mystified and mesmerized of actually what was happening, of how they got to pull that off with special effects and just the reality of it, and the surrealness of it all was pretty astonishing.
Were you able to improvise a lot on set, or was it mostly a case of what was in the script is what you got?
What was pretty much in the script was what you got. Sean would change things along as we went on, but it was, pretty much, I’d say about 90%. And I prefer it that way. Making a lot of choices all the time I think maybe works for more comedy-driven stuff, more loose. But since this is a horror film at the core of it, you need that technicality to build that tension, and to be making random choices on the fly doesn’t really fit for that kind of filmmaking.
In this movie, there’s a cholera epidemic going on, and looking back on it, that’s kind of scarily relevant. Did you catch yourself going, “Wow, this movie was a little more prescient than I even thought it was,” while filming?
Well, yeah, we were reminded of how history repeats itself in different forms, and how everything can just really be changed by a disease, and modern medicine, of how that can all shape and just set the function of things. Yeah, it was interesting to see that, and also surreal [laughs], and I don’t think anybody’s enjoyed the last two years too much.
I know you have a feature in the works that you’ve actually written the script for, or are in the process of writing. Do you have any updates on that?
You talking about “The Thirst”?
“The Thirst,” yep.
Yeah, “The Thirst,” unfortunately, it’s really hard to do both things, produce, and direct, and write. I think it’s like a different puzzle, and then acting is also a different puzzle. I’ve put that on the back burner, long story short [laughs]. I just really want to focus on acting, I’m in search of a perfect performance, and I’m just trying not to split my time, and it’s just really mastering and do one thing well. Really well [laughs].
He also talked about Indiana Jones 5 and working with James Mangold again, losing a bet and a small incident with McDonalds:
There were a couple of pieces of unfinished business I had to bring up with Boyd Holbrook before getting into his new film, Sean Ellis’s The Cursed – a stylized, yet gnarly 19th-century werewolf movie that premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival to strong reviews (back when it was titled Eight for Silver). The last time I spoke to Holbrook he was promoting Logan, and Holbrook was so confident of Logan’s upcoming success (he was right to be optimistic), he was trying to bet anyone that Logan would make more money than Deadpool, a movie Holbrook liked a lot, but also targeted as a movie he wanted to beat because it, too, was a rated-R superhero movie. In the end, Logan did incredibly well, but still made about $150 million less than Deadpool so I was curious how many $5 bets he lost.
Also, while trying ot make a point, Holbrook took a shot at McDonald’s. Basically his point was people eat McDonald’s once then never eat it again. Now, due to no other information than the continued existence of McDonald’s, this can’t possibly be true. After that interview published, I received a handwritten letter from a publicist at McDonald’s thanking me for defending them against Boyd Holbrook (I didn’t really so much “defend” them as much as just point out people do eat their food; I, too, have had McDonald’s more than once) and also included some sort of elaborate Happy Meal looking collectible that I only saved, for five years now, and through a move, for this moment to show Boyd Holbrook what he had done. And that, who knows, maybe The Cursed could have had a Happy Meal tie in, including bloody werewolves for the kids, but now that would never happen.
Holbrook is also in Indiana Jones 5, directed by his Logan director, James Mangold. The plot of Indiana Jones 5 is so secret we still don’t even know who Holbrook is playing. But the question today is, would Holbrook risk another $5 on the future of its box office?
The last time I spoke to you, you tried to bet me and anyone else who would listen that Logan would make more money than Deadpool. Logan made $619 million, and Deadpool made $782 million. But your publicist wouldn’t let me take the bet because she was worried you were going to lose $5 to about 500 people…
That’s okay. I mean, 500 times $5…
Yeah, $2,500 … I feel you could probably swing that.
Well, yeah. Maybe. It depends on what it is. But hey, hats off to Ryan Reynolds. He’s doing great things.
Now you’re making a face like Logan underperformed or something, this beloved movie that everyone saw.
No, it overperformed, but a bet’s a bet.
Also last time you made a crack about how no one eats McDonald’s twice. Now, I didn’t defend McDonald’s, but mentioned I think people do seem to eat it more than once. After that published I received a letter in the mail from McDonald’s thanking me for defending them against Boyd Holbrook and it came with this fancy Happy Meal display I saved just for this moment to show you.
Wow. Don’t tell me it’s…
Yeah, the Hamburglar is in here.
That’s awesome. Well, damn. Do I have a hit out on my head from McD’s? I hope not. I was just playing, guys. I was just playing.
You cost yourself a sponsorship that day. You could be the face of McDonald’s.
I was really gunning for a lifetime supply of apple turnovers. By the way, are one of my favorite things and my guilty pleasure.
Just in general or their version of it?
I just remember that as a kid it was just this staple. You had me, McDonald’s.
You’ve turned a corner on that particular franchise.
I guess I have to, yeah. A lot of lessons were learned today.
Okay so this movie used to be called Eight for Silver. And now it’s The Cursed, which it’s probably a better title? I’m just used to the other one.
Yeah, me too. I mean, I get it. I was reading a lot of the comments and a lot of people enjoyed Eight for Silver. It is original, what it is to the film, and I also get it for marketing’s sake and what is this movie about? It could be that, which is fine. I even had a friend, he had a film. It was called Weirdo, which is such a great title. Of course, to spare him some ramifications because if McDonald’s is coming after me now and Ryan Reynolds, I won’t tell the name of what it was changed to, but yeah. It happens. It happens.
So see, if you hadn’t said what you said, kids could have gone to McDonald’s this week and gotten Happy Meals with werewolves in them in support of The Cursed.
Wow. Wow. All is lost. You know what they say, be nice to the people on the way up, because they’re the same people on the way down.
It’s such a good pairing. Get kids out there interested in gnarly horror really early on.
Yeah. Eight and up, seems appropriate.
This movie is pretty gnarly.
Yeah. I’m a big fan of, personally, I love watching horror films. There’s nothing better than getting a scare from a movie. And Sean’s an amazing director, and the film is really gorgeous and stunning, and it’s got that art-house feel to it. And I got to go all over the south of France. It was creepy and just kind of haunting out there in these vineyards. You just have this fog that looms over anyways.
What do you like about horror?
There’s something about it. It doesn’t matter if they’re great or if they’re bad or if they’re whatever. It’s just something about that anticipation. Because I don’t particularly like being scared in my life either, but I do like to double down when I’m watching a horror film and just kind of let this in.
Do you like the actual scary stuff? Or more the Friday the 13ths or Nightmare on Elm Street type movies that are fun?
Oh man, when I was growing up, Freddy Krueger, Jason, Friday the 13th, Halloweens, those three films were at the apex of horror films. So yeah, I’ve always enjoyed … “love/hate relationship” I guess is maybe the way to say it because you love the feeling off getting scared, but you hate the anticipation of the feeling of that.
I don’t know if you know this, but Jason and Freddy, they fought.
It’s like Alien vs. Predator type of epic battle.
We need more of those types of movies.
Yeah. Put the main bosses against each other.
You’re in the new Indiana Jones movie. They’re being very secretive about it. But I have one Indiana Jones question. Are you going to bet $5 it makes more than Deadpool?
You don’t have to do it with me, anyone out there can take this bet.
No, listen. Listen. I don’t have it in for Ryan Reynolds…
You made it clear. You like that Deadpool a lot. It was a spirited competition. In fun, you wanted to beat it.
Yeah, exactly. It was a spirited competition. I think this Indiana Jones film is going to be kick-ass.
Oh, I can’t wait.
I can’t wait for it either. I’ve seen a lot of it.
Yeah. I’ve been doing it for nine months. But yeah. It’s badass. I don’t think it’s any secret that Jim Mangold is directing it.
The Logan director himself.
Exactly. And he’s an amazing guy to work with.
It seems like a good choice for you to be in multiple movies of his.
Absolutely. Absolutely. Jim has a way to just draw an amazing performance out of every actor he works with, and I think he’s very suited for this one. Logan, and obviously Ford v Ferrari, all the action stuff. I think you’re going to see all that kind of bottlenecking for Indiana Jones. We’re on literally our last week, week and a half of filming.
And so I’m just trying to enjoy the last bit of it.
It’s always great talking to you, and I can’t wait to find out what the good folks at McDonald’s have to say to me this time.
Hey, tell them let’s squash it, man. Let’s squash it. I want to do some apple turnovers. I’ll work the food line. Put me in the window.
They’ll be happy to hear that. They finally won you over.
Come on. Put me in.
In an interview for Looper, he also talked about working with Yellowstone’s Kelly Reilly, The Sandman and Indiana Jones 5:(more…)
One year after its premiere at 2021 Sundance Film Festival, The Cursed, previously called Eight for Silver, is finally getting a theatrical release (on February 18, according to Jacob Yakob from LD Entertainment, which is self-distributing it). Watch the official trailer below:
Check out screencaptures from the trailer on our photo gallery:
Eight for Silver had its premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival last January and the reception has been good so far, currently ranking at 75% (Fresh) on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer.
Read what the critics have to say about the horror film and Boyd’s performance as John McBride:
Holbrook is no stranger to genre films, channeling the same charisma he showcased in Logan and The Predator while layering in the sort of brooding intensity that made him so watchable during the first two seasons of Narcos.
Total Film (3/5 stars)
Part of Ellis’ evocative success is in his casting; Petrie, Holbrook and Kelly Reilly (as the torn wife of Laurent) are unexpected deployment and bring a certain gravitas to proceedings […] and while Holbrook’s usual drawling swagger is tempered, his dexterity with a gun and latent family sorrow leans into the Narcos persona that made him a star.
Holbrook (Two/One) is a solid presence, although the American actor never quite fits into this so-called French fold either.