Alex Wolff Interview – Playing a Kid in Old, Getting to Work with M. Night Shyamalan


M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller Old releases in theaters this Friday, July 23. The film stars Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Alex Wolff, and Thomasin McKenzie as a family whose vacation goes deadly wrong after they wind up on an inescapable beach that causes rapid aging.

“Visionary filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan unveils a chilling, mysterious new thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly … reducing their entire lives into a single day,” reads the official synopsis.

RELATED: Alex Wolff Discusses Pig, Working With Nicolas Cage

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to star Alex Wolff about his role, getting to work with M. Night, and his thoughts on the original graphic novel.

Tyler Treese: Your character has this very childlike quality to him because mentally he’s younger than what you’re portraying him as. How did you make sure you had that childlike quality to them, you know, in your acting?

Alex Wolff: I mean, I watched a lot of cartoons while I was making it and I read a bunch of child psychology books. I tried to just reconnect to that part of myself and then just let it rip.

Getting to work with M. Night, how exciting was it for you? He’s somebody that’s made so many great films over the years.

I feel lucky to even know him or meet him. He’s such a special guy, but I feel especially lucky to work with him on what feels to me as his most personal movie. I felt like I got to be a part of him exercising, some emotional demon in himself and I felt like I feel really lucky to be a part of that.

There’s so many emotional scenes that come with the aging aspect. Your character is dealing with all these scenarios that no kid would be prepared for. Then the parents are also going through marital issues. Can you talk about showing all that emotion and also you throw in a bit of a child-like tantrum in some scenes that really helps bring home the emotion of these moments?

Yeah. I think that being a kid we often think of as just this blissful magical all fairies and rainbows experience of just like, “Oh, I’m a kid,” but I think it’s a really emotional time. Or at least for me it was. It was a constant either elation or just in perpetual despair. That’s how it felt like it was like, “Oh my God, this is the worst moment of my life because it is, ’cause I’ve only been alive for six years.” So I feel like it was really just connecting back to those extremes and it wasn’t that hard. What I really had to do was just, I felt like I had to go under like construction of breaking down these walls. Like, oh, if I start feeling that anger, heat building up in my body, there’s this wall that comes like, it’s almost like a computer server being like, are you sure you want to get this enraged? And you have to be like, yes, and enter your password of yourself. That’s what I feel like getting older HAS done. I had to just get rid of those walls and it’s just, if you feel it, it comes out. I felt like I was the right guy for the job because I’m someone with less walls than maybe some other adults.

I always love hearing about your prep. This is based on a graphic novel named Sandcastle. Did you wind up reading that or did you just stick to the script?

Yeah, I read that before I even read the script. So I had auditioned and then I ordered the book just in case I had gotten a call back or something. So I read it and I fell in love with it and it was amazing. It was wild. I think the movie is more soulful than the book. I love the book, but the book is almost in some places like almost like a little pornographic and kind of weird and wild. And, and I think this movie still keeps those odd, titillating, unique qualities to it, but it, but it grounds in a little bit more of an emotional place.

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