Thomasin McKenzie Talks Old, Its Challenging Filming

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.

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

“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.

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Old  star Thomasin McKenzie about her role, getting to work with M. Night, and the film’s challenging filming due to COVID-19 and hurricanes.

Tyler Treese: Something that really impressed me about the film was that your character, despite aging, retains that childlike quality in your acting. How difficult was it to get that youth into your performance?

Thomasin McKenzie: Thank you. I’m just a very young, goofy kind of person, I suppose. So I think that was just kind of part of me showing through. I feel like Maddox stayed very grounded and kind of present throughout the film. She was one of the few characters who was able to accept what was going on and just kind of roll with the punches a little bit. I guess that kind of presence is something that you see a lot in younger kids where they are not distracted by life’s worries are just kind of being there in the world and taking in what’s going on instead of being absorbed by their phones.

Filming was very complicated. You had hurricane season on top of the pandemic, but you would never know that it was so hectic by watching the film. Can you speak to the difficulty of the shoot and the professionalism of everybody to get through it and stay composed?

Yes, it was. Even before we started filming, I was supposed to be leaving to the Dominican Republic in couple of days, and it got delayed because of hurricane season. One of the sets had been pulled out to sea so they had to rebuild it. There were definitely lots of obstacles with nature and also it was just like constantly raining on and off and working in the heat and in the sand. I find it so tiring running around on sand because you never feel like you’ve got a steady hold on anything. There were definitely a lot of challenges, but I feel like everyone really pulled through and we got it done.

M. Night is such a talented writer and director. How much of a thrill was that for you personally?

It was really good because he is such an iconic director whose movies get referenced often. It was amazing and very surreal. I think every director I’ve worked with so far has brought a different style of directing to films, a different approach. And so I always find it really interesting working with new directors and seeing how they do their job.

I love hearing about prep. This is based on the graphic novel called Sandcastle. Did you read that or do you prefer to just stay to the script?

I did read Sandcastle, which I really, really enjoyed. The script is different from Sandcastle. It’s not exactly the same, so I relied on the script more because that’s the material we were working with. But it was really great to read Sandcastle and get kind of a better idea of each of the characters and try to build the character of Maddox. It’s important to pull from as many resources as you can and if it’s available then I want to be able to use it.

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