MUR­DER CY­CLE RE­TURNS

NOW COL­LEGE STU­DENT TREE IS STUCK IN A PAR­AL­LEL UNI­VERSE

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | SCREENLIFE - WORDS: SEAN NA CRONIN

When Is­rael Brous­sard talks about ex­plor­ing new di­men­sions in the se­quel to Happy Death Day, he’s not be­ing fig­u­ra­tive.

The Amer­i­can ac­tor re­turns along­side Jes­sica Rothe, Ruby Mo­dine, Rachel Matthews and Phi Vu in di­rec­tor Christo­pher Lan­don’s Happy Death Day 2U.

De­scribed as Ground­hog Day meets Scream, the Blum­house-pro­duced hor­ror com­edy cen­tres on col­lege stu­dent Theresa “Tree’’ Gelb­man (Rothe), who must re­live the day of her mur­der over and over again in a loop that only ends when she dis­cov­ers her killer’s iden­tity.

The new film ex­pands on the con­cept of the orig­i­nal. This time, Tree’s not the only one trapped in a time loop and dis­cov­er­ing an­other di­men­sion of re­al­ity in which her life is eerily dif­fer­ent.

“Hon­estly I was a lit­tle wor­ried (be­cause) it’s hard to do a se­quel,” Brous­sard says. “I didn’t know where you could take it af­ter the first one. When I read the script it was a lit­tle kooky and wacky but if any­one could tackle it I knew it was Chris.

“He re­ally made a se­cond one that re­spects the whole con­cept of Happy Death Day but takes it and turns it into a com­pletely dif­fer­ent movie.

“We had a bet­ter idea of what movie it would be be­cause we had the first one as a blue­print. Then when we got on set and started film­ing, it all fell into place nat­u­rally. It was about try­ing to re­spect what di­men­sion and what day we were in.”

Brous­sard, a na­tive of Mis­sis­sippi, got his big break in Sofia Cop­pola’s crime film The Bling Ring (2013) and went on to star in the drama Per­fect High (2015), the thriller H8RZ (2015) and the com­edy Good Kids (2016) be­fore land­ing his role in Happy Death Day.

His char­ac­ter Carter is a class­mate and love in­ter­est for Tree.

But just as they’re fig­ur­ing out their re­la­tion­ship sta­tus in one di­men­sion, it’s a lit­tle more com­pli­cated in the other.

“We def­i­nitely wanted more emo­tional depth in this one,” he says. “Carter was a bit of a moral com­pass in the first one, but more of a good guy just try­ing to help.

“In this one he’s see­ing some­body he cares about do­ing some­thing that just doesn’t feel right. He’s not the kind of guy to just let that slide.

“I like the fact that he stands up for him­self and for Tree when he feels like she’s about to make a stupid de­ci­sion.

“There’s def­i­nitely an at­trac­tion in this other di­men­sion be­tween the two of them, and play­ing around with that en­ergy was a lot of fun.”

Brous­sard jumped at the chance to work with pro­ducer Ja­son Blum and the team be­hind Get Out, In­sid­i­ous and Split.

“I’d been au­di­tion­ing for a few of their projects for a cou­ple of years ... so when I got this I was very happy and grate­ful,” he says.

“They’re a very re­spect­ful com­pany; I think that’s im­por­tant these days.

“They give a lot of free­dom to their direc­tors and ac­tors.”

But sur­pris­ingly, he’s not a hor­ror fan. “I would never sit there by my­self watch­ing Si­lence of the Lambs; that not me. I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to all that but the in­ter­est­ing thing about mak­ing scary-type films is it puts my mind at ease. I can go ‘OK it’s a movie’.

“It’s fun watch­ing my mum watch these movies. She’s not good in scary movies and when she saw the first one she couldn’t han­dle it. I’ve been telling her this one is not as scary. It will trip her up and make her cry – that’s what we’re aim­ing for.” Happy Death Day 2U is in cine­mas now.

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