ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Resurrection star Tim Roth about his new thriller, which he stars in alongside Rebecca Hall. Directed by Andrew Semans, it is out in theaters on July 29 with an on demand and digital release on August 5.
“Margaret’s life is in order. She is capable, disciplined, and successful. Soon, her teenage daughter, who Margaret raised by herself, will be going off to a fine university, just as Margaret had hoped. Everything is under control,” says the synopsis. “That is, until David returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret’s past.”
Tyler Treese: Can you speak to Rebecca Hall as a scene partner and being able to work off of her?
Tim Roth: Every take that we did had life to it, and she’s a remarkable actor — real acting chops, extraordinary. Also, she has this wicked sense of humor. When we were doing takes, sometimes it was hard not to laugh, you know? So because of what she was bringing to it as well, it was, at times, hard not to step out of the moment and just look at her with your jaw dropped. I found her to be incredible. I’m trying to think of a good example … scenes where we’re sitting opposite each other, and every time she arrived to play the scene, you’re never quite sure what she’s bringing and you have to keep an open mind as an actor.
Don’t just do the same thing over and over again, react to what you are being given, play off what she’s playing. And so there was an extraordinary array of talent on display — just with this one person. You have to be ready to play with an actor like that. I think she’s phenomenal.
I loved your performance as well. You have this interesting element of your character where you really play up his narcissism. He clearly sees himself as the good guy, but you don’t go over the top, it’s very subdued, and that makes it more chilling. How’d you hone in on that element of David, and make sure that he sees himself as the good guy?
When we first discussed it with me and Andrew [Semans, director of Resurrection], it was very much [that] I didn’t want to play him in a particularly obvious way. And so, so the idea of him being a good man, the idea of him being there to help, the idea of him being worried, “why is she behaving this way?” And all of that stuff, I found to be much more chilling. The notion of somebody like that, I found to be much more chilling — and Andrew was very much on board with that.
So that’s what we gave her, that’s what brought to the table for her to play off in the scenes that we had. And then turning it — from the beginning of the sentence to the end of the sentence — you turn from being a gentle, worried friend to being the monster. You can try and do that across one sentence, if you like, in a matter of seconds. The audience might be more intrigued and get more of a kick out of a character that was like that, rather than it being one thing all the way through.
Without going into spoilers, the ending of this film is quite absurd and wild in a really fun way. What was your reaction when you read the script and saw what was gonna happen?
Well, we came to shoot that towards the end of shooting, we all knew what was coming … but no, we thought we knew what was coming. Andrew knew what was coming. So in a way you put it out of your mind until it happens. [It was] exhausting for Rebecca, more so than it was for me. But yeah, it was tough. It’s, emotionally, a tough one, but we did laugh a lot.
You worked great with Andrew on this film, what impressed you the most about his style of directing?
The way that he works is just it is quiet conversation. You’d never know this was his first or second film or whatever. We would just gently discuss what we thought, as actors, and what he wanted as a director, reach decisions, and then act on them. It was very, very mature. He never came across as a neophyte. He was very much the professional. [It] felt like he had a lot more experience than he actually had. I find that quite often with new filmmakers. I like that experience too.
There are some thematic similarities with your directorial debut, The War Zone, which I thought was so brilliant. Are we ever going to see you in the director’s chair again?
No, I’m done. I’m done with it. No. That was something that I did … No, I think I’m done with that stuff. It was, it was something I had to get off. I’ve been told so many times by other directors, “go direct your own film, stay out of my hair.” So I did, and I got it done, and then I moved on.
You’ve had such an amazing acting career and so many great films with Quentin Tarantino in particular. This is the 30th anniversary for Reservoir Dogs. Can I get your reflection on that legacy and how satisfying it is to see it really stand the test of time?
It’s a strange one. We all kind of felt it when we were making it. It’s not one of those ones where, when you look back, you go, “wow, that film, huh? Look what it did.” We knew when we were making it, even before we started shooting, as the actors started to hang with each other [and] meet up. Everyone thought,” oh, this is something special. This guy is going to have a long, distinguished career.” We didn’t necessarily think it would be this powerful, but we definitely thought “this guy’s fantastic.” This work, this writing … the way he was on set afterward, the directing — the way he directs his actors … it was extraordinary.
So we knew it was coming, but obviously, no one can predict that kind of success, that kind of impact. To be there at the beginning is an incredible feeling, you know? For all of us involved. Steve Buscemi, the same. Harvey [Keitel], all these guys, Mike [Madsen] … it’s quite an extraordinary moment.
Last year saw your big MCU return as Abomination and fans were excited that he got a makeover. So what’d you think about his new look?
The “new” look … it’s so funny, because when I saw it, it was like, “oh,” because it’s closer to the actual comic books. It’s closer to how he was. Originally he was underwater. He could breathe underwater, he had gills. All of that stuff was [a] very interesting mix of monster and human. I thought that was fascinating. It was something we didn’t put into the first movie. So the makeover is, I don’t know if it’s changed from the recent film [Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings] to the She-Hulk, it may have even evolved a little bit from there. I’m not sure. I’m not sure what they’ve done. They’re still working on it.
Were you surprised that fans were so excited to see you back after over a decade?
I was quite flattered. I thought it was really nice, you know? When they asked me if I would consider coming back and playing that role, I was like, “Yeah!” I did it for my kids. It’s the reason I did it at the beginning, and [it’s] still the same. I told them about it and they went, “Oh, you’re doing this.” Okay, I’m doing this. That happens quite often. It happened with Resurrection. My son read the script and said, “You’re doing this.” Okay. And I had no say in the matter. I’m so glad I did. I took his advice.
He has great taste.
That’s what I think too! So I’m very intrigued by it. I don’t normally watch stuff, but I did watch the trailer, because my kids said to me, “You’ve got to watch this trailer. It’s a great trailer.” So I watched the Marvel trailer. I loved the woman that was playing the lead in it. She’s extraordinary. Mark Ruffalo is hilarious too. So we had a lot of fun.