Interview: Iain De Caestecker | IN FEAR

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Officially released tomorrow, In Fear is the latest project from director Jeremy Lovering, best known for his work in TV world. Starring Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert and Allen Leech, the tension-filled thriller is a well-rounded picture that bodes well for the director. Here, Starburst got the chance to chat with star De Caestecker about his time on the movie, not to mention a certain little TV show by the name of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in which he plays Agent Leo Fitz.

Starburst: For those readers unfamiliar, how would you summarise your new film, In Fear?

Iain De Caestecker: It’s a story kind of set around Tom [De Caestecker] and Lucy [Englet], who are this young couple who’ve gone away to Ireland for a trip and they’re in the very early stage of their relationship. They don’t actually know each other that well and they’re kind of just good friends at this point, then Tom decides to surprise her and book a hotel for a night, which is kind of presumptuous. As they’re travelling through these country roads and it’s getting darker and darker, it’s like a maze of country roads, and things start to happen to them. As things start to happen, they start to begin questioning each other and what’s going on. Things become more and more terrifying and they become more and more lost. It’s a psychological thriller.

Is it set in actual real-time?

Actually, yeah. It’s all kind of set over one day and one night, so it’s pretty much set in real-time.

How did you end up involved in the project?

I met Jeremy [Lovering, the director] for a couple of meetings. Alice was in Australia, so I Skyped with her, and we did an audition over Skype. After that, we just went into rehearsals and started shooting. With two weeks of rehearsals, we did a five or six week shoot.

Audition over Skype? How was that then?

I wouldn’t advise it – there was a bit of a time-lapse. The good thing was, I could tell that this was going to be a really cool experience, doing a movie with her… but it’s definitely not the best way to conduct an audition.

In Fear has been described as a home invasion-type movie, but set in a car. What movies would you compare it to in terms of the tone and feel?

It’s kind of got elements of something like Funny Games, and it’s definitely got a British, European feel to it. It’s also very natural, so I suppose it’s got an element of a Ken Loach film, where we tried to make it feel as real as possible. We wanted it to be like that. We didn’t want it to be like one of those movies where you’re saying, “Why didn’t you do that? Why didn’t you just run out of the house?” We wanted to make sure that these people were actually stuck in the situation, that there was nothing that they could do. That was an important feature of it.

Along with The Fades, in terms of darker, more sinister projects, this is one of your first. Is the horror and thriller route something you’re looking to get involved in a bit more?

I don’t like to think too much of genre or medium. It’s just about if it’s a character that I really get or an important story. Also, I’m not at the stage where I can just pick and choose. It’s also about working with directors and other actors. It wasn’t really a foresight to work in horror, but it is something that I’ve always been really interested in.

And how was the shoot for In Fear?

It was quite emotionally tasking, especially at the latter stage. We filmed it chronologically, so we were coming in every day and starting off where we left off, and often that was in a pretty dark place or an intense place. Aside from that, because of the nature of the way we did it – we didn’t really have a script – I didn’t give myself as much of a hard time about going over scripts at night. I could kind of just relax at night, which was the best thing; just clear my head at night, leave it behind, then come in the next day with energy. Also, the people, Jeremy, Alice, Allen, Ireland… we had the most fun. Everyone got on really well, which is one of the great things to come from that as well.

You’ve been making quite a name for yourself with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. How great an experience is it to be involved in that Marvel world?

It’s really cool! It’s a really cool thing. It’s kind of strange at the same time, and there’s a part of it that is daunting as it is such an amazing world that’s created around them. It’s always an incredibly exciting thing – we still get excited about things on set all the time, when we find out new things or some new gadget for us to use. It’s really nice, and everyone’s been so welcoming as well, giving it a family atmosphere.

One of the keys to the show is your relationship with Elizabeth Henstridge’s Agent Simmons. How natural was that?

We’re all a really close group and we’re all coming into this at the same point, level-headed. And Clark [Gregg, Agent Coulson] is kind of the leader of the show, so he sets the tone for the atmosphere on set. It’s professional but we also have a lot of fun. I suppose with Fitz and Simmons, they did come in together so they’re very close; kind of like brother and sister. We get on really well, but the writers and producers have also done a really great job.

Is there anything particularly insightful you can give us on what may be happening with Fitz in the future or is that all a bit hush-hush?

I couldn’t really say. We find out from week-to-week, so we’re not that much further ahead. The cool thing about it is, with this season, is Fitz and his courage, coming out there a bit more, putting himself in situations where he doesn’t feel comfortable. So that’s been really interesting. I’m not exactly sure what’s coming up next but there’s a lot of cool stuff to come.

Were you much of a comic book fan as a kid?

Definitely. My brother was a bit more than I was, but I was definitely into them. I now read a lot of comics and I really get into them; they’re so amazing. There’s some amazing stories out there, really engrossing. And now it’s part of your job.

Do you ever see the characters from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. progressing to the big screen at all?

I have no idea. We would probably find that out the same time as you. Right now, we’re so busy with the show that it really does take over. It’s a very long shoot. It kind of becomes your whole life. But yeah, we’re definitely within the Marvel Universe, which means anything is possible with that kind of thing. It all connects together.

Other than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., what else is lined up for you right now?

I try not to think too far ahead. We still have a few more episodes to shoot of S.H.I.E.L.D., and then I’ll see what happens after that. We still don’t know whether we’re doing Season 2 or not, and we should find that out this month or something, so I’m looking forward to that.

A lot of your work has been on TV. Do you see yourself actively looking for more movie roles in the future or, given how big TV shows have become in recent years, do you prefer the TV format?

It’s not really about the medium, for me. It’s just about what it is and whether it’s something new to try out and explore. They both have their plusses and minuses. The great thing about TV is that you get to expand your character over a much longer period of time and really let it breathe out. Something like this [In Fear] is very different to something that you’d do on TV and it’s very free, we got to do anything. So there’s definitely differences between the two, but it’s more just about what the project is more specifically than what the medium is.

In terms of projects and genres, is there anything out there that you’ve not touched upon but would like to give a go?

I dunno, actually. I like being surprised by things. I also don’t have the luxury to be too choosey – I still have to audition for things that I really want to do. I suppose, I’ve always had a list in my head of people that I’d want to work with, and some of those I’ve got to work with. I just want to hopefully be a part of things that I would like to see personally and work with people who are passionate about it, talented and inspiring to be around.

IN FEAR is released on DVD and Blu-ray March 10th.

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