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Most home invasions have to do with taking people’s
property, but the villains of IN THEIR SKIN are after something more. The film,
originally titled REPLICAS (see review here),
arrives in theaters this Friday, and its creators and cast discuss it below.
IN THEIR SKIN stars DIARY OF THE DEAD’s Joshua Close,
HELLBOY’s Selma Blair and TRICK ’R TREAT’s Quinn Lord as a grieving family
recovering at their remote vacation house, and James D’Arcy (soon to be seen as
Anthony Perkins in HITCHCOCK), PENNY DREADFUL’s Rachel Miner and Alex Ferris as
a neighboring brood who drop by with what seem like friendly intentions that
soon prove sinister. At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, where the movie had
its world premiere, Fango got to sit down with director Jeremy Power Regimbal,
making his feature debut after helming commercials and music videos, Close, who
also scripted, Miner and Lord for a lively discussion.
FANGORIA: Josh, how did you make the transition from acting
to screenwriting, and team up Jeremy for this film?
JOSHUA CLOSE: Well, my brother Justin Close, who also
produced the film, and Jeremy and myself have been collaborating on music videos
for the past five or six years. So we all decided that we were going to take a
road trip from Vancouver to LA and come up with a movie concept, and IN THEIR
SKIN was what we came up with. Once we got to LA, I wrote the script.
FANG: Are you guys fans of the home-invasion/thriller genre?
JEREMY POWER REGIMBAL: I really like thrillers or mysteries
in general. I definitely wouldn’t say that I prefer home-invasion movies by any
means. It just happened that that’s where the story led us.
RACHEL MINER: One of the things I enjoy about this film is,
it doesn’t necessarily fit into that category too much. Obviously, there is a
home invasion, but on the other hand, there are a lot of other characters
involved and so forth. To me, that’s a make-break.
FANG: An it’s not an invasion in the violent sense; the
Sakowskis worm their way into the Hugheses’ home. Was that a conscious choice,
to go against the grain of this kind of film?
CLOSE: Definitely. We knew we were going to make a thriller
within the confines of a house, and we wanted it to be similar to films that
inspired us, like WITH A FRIEND LIKE HARRY…, FUNNY GAMES, obviously, and THE
STRANGERS. But we wanted to add that humanity to both sides, so it wasn’t
simply a slasher film.
MINER: And in that respect, when there is violence, it
really impacts. It’s fun watching the movie with an audience, because at those
moments where something violent does happen, people are jumping and yelping and
things like that, as opposed to getting numb to it because it’s constant throughout
the film. And I think audiences are getting savvy at this point; genre
audiences, especially, know exactly what’s going to happen next, so you have to
change up the paradigm and try new things.
FANG: It’s startling when the Hughes’ son is the first to be threatened,
because you don’t typically see children put in too much peril in this kind of
CLOSE: That scene was actually improvised, wasn’t it? [Laughter from the group]
QUINN LORD: Yeah, they stuck me in the room with someone who
wandered on set with a knife… “Yeah, that should be a scene.”
FANG: Were any of the scenes scary for you to do?
LORD: No, not at all.
CLOSE: No? You’re a lot tougher than all of us.
LORD: I love being held at knifepoint! [Laughter]
FANG: Josh, in terms of writing a character for yourself, some
people would be inclined to write themselves the villain’s role, which is more
CLOSE: It’s such a cool role, isn’t it? [Laughter] After I
saw it, I was like, “Damn!” I didn’t write Mark for myself, actually. I just
wrote the script for us to collaborate on, and I wasn’t going to be in it until
about three weeks before shooting. Everyone was starting to come together, and
I was like, “You know, I really want to play the part.”
FANG: Rachel, this is a very different part for you. I must
admit, I didn’t recognize you in the early portions of the film.
MINER: I try to change things up as much as possible. The
exciting thing about acting is getting to change and inhabit different people,
and get inside their heads.
FANG: There’s great tension in the dinner-table scene; it’s
clear something’s wrong with your and D’Arcy’s characters, but it takes a while
for that to come out. Was it difficult to project a sense of being sinister
without being too overt?
MINER: This was actually one of those things where a part is
so well-written, it’s not hard to figure out what to do. That scene was a case
where everything just fell together naturally. So much of my character was just
about reacting to what was going on. I didn’t plan anything ahead, so I wasn’t
worried about how it was going to come off—was I going to seem weird or evil or
whatever. I just was in her head as she’s constantly trying to make everything
OK, and do what Bobby wants, and copy what the Hugheses are doing. It was
almost like a game of “Simon says.”
REGIMBAL: Jane is so innocent and genuinely interested in
them. You aren’t really trying to intimidate, and for me that’s what’s so
creepy; you’re just so interested, and don’t understand why they’re getting
FANG: Was playing Jane emotionally challenging?
MINER: I have to say, as much of a rollercoaster as I was
sent on as this character, I didn’t find any of it especially trying. Part of
it was that when you’re working with nice people you enjoy being with, it
doesn’t feel difficult. It just feels like play, even when it’s dark.
REGIMBAL: It was a very comfortable set. Everyone really got
along, so I feel like we were more comfortable going to these weird, dark
places. I can’t really think of something that was the most challenging, to be
CLOSE: It felt more freeing at times than it did
REGIMBAL: Some of the weirdest, craziest scenes felt like
they flowed and happened with the most ease, and on my first film, I was
worried it was going to be the complete opposite. I was approaching some of
those moments going, “Oh my God!” [Laughs]
FANG: Can you talk about working with James D’Arcy?
REGIMBAL: James was great. We had about two weeks ahead of
time to rehearse and workshop the script, and he was very involved and cared
about the film. Right from the first meeting, we knew he was great for the
CLOSE: He made a great contribution, too, because he came in
about a week ahead and we collaborated on the lines. His vision was so
inspiring and dead-on, and he had a lot to do with the creation of Bobby.
MINER: He was awesome to work with. From the first day, he
made me feel so comfortable and we had awesome discussions. He was very
passionate about making it the best film he could, and I was impressed across
the board. And he did the accent really well.
CLOSE: He didn’t drop it! It was great.
REGIMBAL: We shot it in 16 days, and he made a comment early
on that he had to know his lines like this was a play, because we weren’t going
to have time to do 10 or 15 takes. The fact that he pulled the accent off in
that short a time is pretty impressive.
MINER: Especially with the emotional stuff, because I’ve
noticed a lot of times, as an actor and watching actors, that when you get into
emotions and yelling and things like that, that’s when you hear the accent
slip, and he didn’t.
FANG: How about Selma Blair?
LORD: She was very, very nice. I don’t know many other words
to describe her. She was almost like an angel, for a mother.
MINER: She was such a nice human being, which was very
convenient, because I had to be oddly obsessed with her as my character, which
would’ve been harder to do had she been inaccessible. She was very nice, very
open and very welcoming, and made that easy.
REGIMBAL: She’s in so much of the film, and again, with the
tight shooting schedule, she brought a high level of professionalism that
helped us keep moving at that pace. She was willing to do that from the start.
Josh originally met with her and showed her the script, and she was really into
it and was one of the first people to hop on board.
CLOSE: She started to contribute immediately, and the
character started to come to life and come off the page. She was there for the
week of rehearsal as well, just committing from the get-go. Her level of commitment
FANG: How did you approach filming the violence? One scene
that intrigued me is one where the two men are in confrontation in the kitchen
in the background, but the focus is on the two women in the foreground.
REGIMBAL: That for me was the scene when you realize just
how serious Bobby is, because up until then, he could just be really weird.
Before that moment, that’s the big shift, so we wanted to accentuate that. And
one of the weirdest parts about that scene is that Jane is still mimicking and
copying Mary, so we wanted to focus on that. It wasn’t necessarily the rage or
what was going on. I love scenes like that, where the camera’s locked off and
mayhem’s going on everywhere, and you see it, but you can’t really hear it all.
CLOSE: We shot some kitchen stuff, but we found that you and
Selma in the foreground were good enough. Those performances were so compelling
that we didn’t want to leave it.
MINER: I completely agree that it was a really cool
cinematic choice, just locking it off.
REGIMBAL: Yeah, and I’m quite fond of the sound editing
LORD: And the music is excellent.
FANG: Is composer Keith Power any relation?
REGIMBAL: No, though Keith is from Canada as well. He had
worked with our executive producers on another project, and we were lucky to
have someone of his caliber on our film.
FANG: Where did you find your house location, and how much
did it need to be altered for your needs?
REGIMBAL: It’s in Fort Langley, close to Vancouver, but
about an hour into the middle of nowhere. That was one of our biggest
challenges. We were talking about how the house is like a character of its own,
and that was one of the hardest things in that area: to find a Russian
19th-century home. We had a really good production designer [Tink] who would
swap out the odd table or something, but we were lucky in that a lot of the
[decor] was already in there. That was an important thing, because this wasn’t
a huge-budget movie, so to redress an entire mansion would’ve been pretty
MINER: It was an exquisite location. Set design did a great
job, and I loved the pieces you tended to focus on. There’s one thing I love,
the rabbit with the clock—very ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and I was thinking at that
moment, “I’m through the looking glass.”
REGIMBAL: There were lots of little details we added to
accentuate things. We brought in practical lamps, because we wanted to light it
as much of it naturally and with those lamps as we could.
CLOSE: What about the pigeon…?
REGIMBAL: The pigeon was in the house.
CLOSE: And it kept making noises, so we were like, “Let’s
just film it, so whenever we hear it, it’ll make sense.”
REGIMBAL: Every time there was an emotional or hard take,
there was a [hoots, to laughter from the others]. It was the owner’s pigeon, so
we couldn’t get rid of it!
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