Mad about the toy
William Brent Bell tells us about new devil dummy flick, The Boy.
Is there anything eerier than the glassy- eyed gaze of a doll? William Brent Bell, director of The Boy, doesn’t think so. His new film tells the story of Greta, a young woman hired by a couple to look after their child, Brahms. Little does she know that Brahms is made of porcelain, not flesh…
“It’s hard to find films that are unique,” Bell tells Red Alert. “This particular script was. There were so many twists and surprises. And it’s really scary.”
Getting Brahms right was a time- consuming process. “It was definitely challenging. We took weeks to settle on things like his eyes, or the colour of his hair. When he can only sit there the way he looks is all- important. We ended up settling on something that looked very real.”
Finding a Greta who could carry almost every scene of the movie was also crucial. Bell turned to Walking Dead survivor Lauren Cohan. “I wanted the character to be like a raw nerve and Lauren said, ‘ Raw nerve is my middle name!’” He’s also quick to praise Cohan’s commitment to the project. “In the morning she might be doing a scary scene, then after lunch a romantic scene with a guy. But she never faltered once. She never complained.”
Although set in the UK, the producers plumped for Vancouver Island for the 24- day shoot, with a castle near Victoria providing the perfect setting for a film that Bell describes as a mix of the haunted house movie and When A Stranger Calls. “That film has my favourite 15 minutes of any horror. For this I tried to take that element and stretch it out for the whole movie – and then add this porcelain doll...” Might it be the start of a new franchise? “It certainly has that possibility. I hope so…”
The Boy opens on 19 February.
“Time for breakfast, dear.”