Actor Josh Hamilton has been making his living working on stage, film and television for decades. He continues to fill up his resume with an eclectic number of movies, the latest addition being Scott Stewart‘s film Dark Skies. We got a chance to speak with the actor about his attraction to the project, working with the likes of Keri Russell and the bond of family.
You’ve dealt with a lot of directors throughout your film and television career, what was it particularly about Scott Stewart’s directing style that really worked for you?
Josh Hamilton: I’ve seen Scott [Stewart's] other films which are so impressive visually with all the effects which makes sense with his own effects background. He also had the bonus of having Paul Bettany in both of those movies who is just an amazing actor. I was hopeful that he was a good actor’s director too and he hit all of my expectations. So few directors are actually comfortable talking to actors at all because actors are crazy but he knew exactly how to. He really taught us about how he didn’t want to make a horror film or a genre film, he just wanted to create a movie that was a much smaller, more personal family drama that happened to have these horrifying, thrilling elements to it.
He didn’t want us to be as aware of that as the audience because we were just a family dealing with things, like any family does, whether it’s fear that there are very real for everyone. There’s the fear of being out of work, not being able to pay the mortgage, all the stress that puts on the parents, the fighting, the fears of the children that the parents are breaking out, the fear of the parents that the children are hanging out with with the wrong crowd that they can’t control. Ultimately I think that’s what scary movies deal with on a much more, a grander scale but ultimately it’s the fear of the unknown, fear of not being able to control things.
And then you’re part of a couple, with Keri Russell playing your other half in the film. Was it fun playing the more skeptic of the two?
Josh Hamilton: In real life I’m probably a little bit more prone to believe in things. Yeah, they’re strange events, but there are a lot of strange events that happen everywhere everyday. Your first thought is uh oh, that weird thing happened that must be some cosmic dark force. [laughs] But you’re lying automatically but in an effort to control things you have to think pretty practically. The security system must be malfunctioning. It’s not your first thought. You’d think oh wow, it must be something supernatural. It wasn’t like that at all.
I think for most people it’d be a very slow, difficult process of believing that its something that they have no control whatsoever. The desire to control things are so strong in people, especially when you’re dealing with family.
Speaking about the family, did you guys have a little bit of a rehearsal time so you could get to know the other parts of your movie family?
Josh Hamilton: We did! Keri and I both have two children so we mostly talked about our kids which is sort of perfect and it made the fear of losing our movie children that much easier. And in terms of Dakota [Goyo] and Kandan [Rockett], we did have a little rehearsal and they were luckily both incredibly endearing, great kids so it was not difficult conjuring up feelings and to care about them.
I was going to ask I kind of got a little bit of a Poltergeist feeling when it came to Dark Skies with the whole family aspect. When you first got the script, did it remind you anything of that or was it the concept of the family that lured you in?
Josh Hamilton: I think in some ways that was a template that we referred to every once in awhile when it comes to a real family kind of stick together and deal with these outside forces. I haven’t seen the movie for decades so I didn’t have a strong impression of it in my head. We talked about to immerse ourselves in the watching of scary movies but we didn’t do it because [Scott Stewart] didn’t want any horror acting, which I thought was neat. In some ways its a lot more challenging acting in a scary movie because it’s usually you acting to reacting to something that isn’t actually there. There isn’t really a shortage of fears to tap into in our own heads.
What do you hope that audiences are able to take from Dark Skies the most?
Josh Hamilton: I hope the audiences are completely freaked out in a really cathartic way. That there’s a real sense of unease and to the point of where they walk out they feel that they’re scared, they want to go home and hug their loved ones a little bit more, but they also feel good. They lie awake and think about whether or not there really are things out there.
Dark Skies is out in theaters now.