20th Century Fox
Neither Dr. Spock nor "Pregnancy for Dummies" ever covered the hellish baby troubles Zach (Zach Gilford) and Samantha (Allison Miller) McCall experience in "Devil's Due." Shortly after returning from their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, Sam discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant. As Sam begins to display strange behaviour and bizarre symptoms, the newlyweds become convinced that something unholy is growing inside of her.
Currently filming "The Purge 2," Gilford jumped on the phone with Moviefone Canada to talk about demonic babies, found footage and his next projects.
Moviefone Canada: The horror genre has a passionate fanbase. Do you scare easily?
Zach Gilford: I'm very jumpy. I'm not scared of ghosts or murderers, but I'm very oblivious to things. If someone walks in the room and I didn't hear them, I'll jump and be like, "Ahhhh!" My wife makes fun of me all the time.
"Devil's Due" has been compared to "Rosemary's Baby." Was that something that immediately struck you?
Yeah, completely. I had just seen "Rosemary's Baby" about two months before I got to read the "Devil's Due" script. I was like, "Wait a minute. This is a modern-day version of 'Rosemary's Baby.'"
The movie follows Sam's ominous pregnancy. Does she have the worst case of morning sickness or what?
Yeah, pretty much. It goes kind of "Exorcist"-style. I think she has one of the worst pregnancies you'll ever see. She slowly starts acting not herself. The baby, or whatever is going on in her, takes over. At the beginning of the movie, it's clear Sam is a vegetarian and then she starts eating raw meat. Or, in a confused state, she wanders out of the house and gets into trouble. These bouts of rage will happen and sometimes she won't even remember them.
Can you talk about the challenges of filming the found-footage element and acting at the same time?
It's a little difficult, but it's also kind of fun. I felt bad for Allison because I'd be filming and she'd be acting her heart out. I couldn't be totally with her and looking her in the eyes because I had to make sure I was capturing what she was doing on camera. Otherwise, I'd be filming her knees or the wall and all that acting would have been for nothing.
In what ways does this sinister chain of events affect Sam and Zach's relationship?
It's weird. In a way, it brings them closer together. Throughout the movie, Zach never blames her. He thinks this is just something outside of her control and he just wants to take care of her, like a new husband should. Sam doesn't push Zach away either. She leans into him. It makes the story even sadder because they started as this happy young couple and they get closer and closer, but there's really nothing they can do.
Does that mean Zach isn't proactive about saving his wife?
I don't think it's until the very end that they figure out what's happening. I think Zach tries to be proactive, but he's doing it in the wrong way because he doesn't really know what's going on. He just knows something is wrong, so he's doing what he can. It's just misfired attempts. Unfortunately, it's too little, too late.
The quartet Radio Silence directed this movie. Are four heads really better than one?
In a lot of ways, they are. They definitely work without ego. They are really tight. They work seamlessly together. They would talk things out, but there was never an argument. They have rules that are like, "If it's three against one, one person just has to shut up. If it's two against two, they have to arm wrestle." There was never time wasted on discussion or arguing. Even though they all worked on all the parts of the movie, they definitely each have their own niche. When I first got there, I was like, "What? There are four different directors?" Within a day, I was like, "Oh, this is easy." They are great and fun to work with.
Your wife, Kiele Sanchez, has made a couple of spooky flicks. Did she give you any advice on playing in that heightened environment?
No, she didn't. It's funny. I didn't even think about that. No, we don't give each other too many tips. We let each other do our own thing. A lot of times when you're working, you're out of town. If you want to audition for something, you can't go and meet people, so you have to make a tape. It's really awkward because you don't want to step on the other person's toes. You don't want to give them too many notes because everyone has different ideas on how it should be done. It's funny because at all costs, we avoid making tapes together. We don't want to frustrate the other person.
How does this kind of horror movie differ from the one you are currently filming, "The Purge 2"?
Horror has such a huge umbrella. There are slasher films. There are alien abductions, possession movies and psychological thrillers. "The Purge" does fall under the horror label, but it's such a different one. It's this crazy messed-up concept. "What would happen if you lived in a world where this went down?" It's scary. It's a cool way to build a franchise because the sequel has nothing to do with the first one, except for the concept. The first "Purge" took place in this high-class suburb and how those families deal with it. This one takes place in the city where no one has any sort of security system. Everybody is just trying to survive in this war zone.
Could there be a "Devil's Due 2"?
I don't know. They could do it in the same way where it happens to another couple or it could follow us in the aftermath of what's happened. We really tried to take this concept of pregnancy possession and make it as real as possible. We kept saying, "If this was real life, what would happen?" It made me much more into it than just going for the scares. I really liked "The Last Exorcism," but then there's a second one. "Why? That was the last exorcism. You said it in the title. Why are you making another one?" It felt forced. I don't know. It could work. I think they would have to go with a new story or another couple.
Lots of "Friday Night Lights" TV fans keep clamouring for a feature film. What are your feelings on that ever happening?
I think very slim. The whole beauty of that show was how authentic it felt. There's just no real good story that could be told that could bring all these characters back together, that have gone their own ways. It would feel very forced.
"Devil's Due" is now playing in theatres.