U.S. Release Date: 1/22/16
As Maggie Greene – the survivor of a zombie apocalypse in AMC’s The Walking Dead – Lauren Cohan has gotten nice and bloody killing countless zombies, known as “walkers,” but the actress originally wanted her new movie project to be sweet, relaxing and romantic.
Things changed, however, when she discovered The Boy – a horror chiller from William Brent Bell – the director of 2012’s demonic possession pic The Devil Inside. Cohan quickly became hooked on the story about Greta Evans – an American lady who journeys to England expecting to be a nanny for an eight year old boy.
“I was terrified and exhilarated throughout and that’s exactly how I felt as we filmed it,” says Cohan, who took on the character. “Greta goes on a monumental journey, which was so appealing to me.”
Upon arriving at her new home, located in a remote English village, Greta promptly discovers that her new job comes with a very creepy and strange twist. Her employers, Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle) want her to look after a life size doll, named Brahms, that they treat like a child. Some twenty years earlier, they lost their son under very tragic circumstances. So when the Heelshires go on vacation, Greta gets some alone time with Brahms.
“This set-up is the last thing she expected,” Cohan adds. “But by the time she realizes her employers want her to take care of a doll, she figures they’re paying her all this money just to play along, so why not? But the situation is not exactly what it seems. When strange things begin to happen, it totally unnerves her. It gets super spooky, and I hope the audience will be as scared watching it as I was reading it.”
Bell says Cohan, whose character is in every scene, is ripe for the role.
“Lauren never faltered, even in the most ridiculously intense scenes. She was willing to do 20 takes if that was what I needed.”
Cohan says that she and Bell were in agreement about Greta’s eventual willingness to accept Brahms as a living child.
“The private moments between the two of them are really quite moving and emotional. That brought the character to life, which is important because he is the title character in the film.”
As for Brahms’ look, the filmmakers deliberately skipped a rehash of Chucky – the killer doll of the Child’s Play movies – and based the creation on Jett Klyne, the young actor cast as the child who appears in photos and paintings preserved by his parents.
“Jett was the embodiment of what we wanted,” says Bell. “He is this adorable little boy, but no matter how beautiful and how sweet he is, he can make you believe he could turn bad in a moment.”
Responsible for dreaming up the doll is Todd Masters, a special effects creator, whose creations appear in TV’s True Blood and Vampire Diaries, we well features such as Robocop and Underworld: Awakening.
“Brahms has a key role in the movie,” says Masters who devised the doll’s expression, eye color, skin texture and hair. “The other actors were cast for specific reasons and it was the same for him. We came up with an organic, realistic design that appears believable as a real kid in some shots, but is very much a doll in others.”
Four shooting versions of the doll are featured in the movie. A large version, created for positioning purposes, is seen whenever the doll appears human, while remaining versions come in different sizes and weights.
“Sometimes he’s posable, sometimes he’s floppy. Sometimes he weighs very little so it’s easy to carry him. Other times the body’s very heavy so he can sit up.”
Meanwhile, Norton, who loves a good thriller, says The Boy is about, love, fear and consequences.
“It’s an ingenious and very scary tale of unconditional love gone wrong,” the actor notes. “These parents love their child so much that they will do anything to safeguard his memory. They’ve never quite come to terms with their loss. People deal with grief in different ways and the Heelshires invent another character in their lives in order to retain their sanity. They hire a lovely young woman to look after their child so they can go away on holiday and that’s basically the story. But of course, as in most really good thrillers, nothing is what it seems.”
Director: William Brent Bell
Stars: Lauren Cohan, Jim Norton, Diane Hardcastle, Rupert Evans Ben Robson and James Russell
Screenwriter: Stacey Menear
Producers: Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, Jim Wedaa, Roy Lee and Matt Berenson
Image Info: Photo: David Bukach © 2015 STX Productions, LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: All information in this article, including quotes, is sourced from The Boy’s press materials. © 2015 STX Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved