Michael C Hall is a busy man. Next month, he returns to his most famous role, serial killer Dexter, in a reboot of the award-winning drama. Before that he stars in John and The Hole, an indie thriller about a family held captive in a bunker by their teenage son. Hall talks getting his hands dirty for the new film, working with first-time directors, and bringing back his inner psycho.
What first drew you to John and The Hole?
I loved how spare it was, how it had what felt like a magical realist influence. I was compelled by the story of the central character and the family surrounding him. It felt like a timely story with a premise that reflects a lot of unnameable disenchantment we all feel.
Is it different working with a first-time director?
I had a unique level of trust given that it was his first feature film, but from the first time I spoke with him I had such a sense of how intimately he knew this story, and how clear he was. It’s just a feeling that ‘ok, we’re in good hands, he knows what he’s doing, he knows what he wants’. We’re free to just take care of our characters.
How was shooting?
We shot the stuff in the hole sequentially, so it would get dirtier and dirtier and dirtier every morning, and it was only when I got into the hole that I felt like anything made sense. I started to crave it, in part because the dirt was made out of some combination of ground up coffee beans and chocolate so whenever we got it in our mouths it was a treat.
How did you prepare?
When you make films like this, you meet one day and then the next you’re an instant family. In the case of this film, the script is spare, and there are subtextual things that are happening. More often than not, those things were not said because characters were keeping things to themselves. The script had a magic to it, in that it allowed for that space and Pascual certainly didn’t shy away from that.
Tell us about the return of Dexter…
I’ve done stage productions that I took a break from and then were remounted in a different place, but that’s not the same. I suppose the good thing about it was that as much time had passed for the character as had passed for me. They just turned the cameras back on and almost a decade had gone by. The schedule was very demanding and once we were up and running there really wasn’t much time to think about how strange it felt. I had no trouble remembering that reflex: he was still in there!
John and The Hole is in cinemas and On Demand now