Actor Tom Hughes Talks His New Film Shepherd, The Horror Film Genre, And More

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Well, we see your character really getting into that paranoia. It’s such an evocative journey, I think, to try to convey. I would love to know where you got the inspiration to really prepare for this kind of decline into chaos.

Well, I mean, listen, for every part that you research, and there would be people that I would kind of ask questions. And try to figure out how physically things like that would manifest, because basically a big part of communicating with the audience, the thing that they’re going to be able to achieve, is the physicality of the character. I didn’t have much time. I literally had about three weeks. So a lot of it came down to once you kind of had those touchpoints. When I was there, a lot of you go back to the script, obviously. Russell was great. Eric isn’t Russell, and Russell isn’t Eric, but I think in writing the story – I know Russell mentioned it, so I don’t think he’ll mind me for mention it – I think there are some things he might have put in there, it might have resonated with him on some level or he might be referencing. It was a very important thing to do correctly.

But also, if I’m being really honest, the real thing that drove me to try to put my body through as much as I could, what I felt Eric’s body was going to go through. I had checked into a hotel miles away from the crew, and there was only me staying there –

Wow.

– on the island. I tried to experience this isolation as much as possible to see how it would affect you. I’m very sociable normally, so obviously it’s going to have an impact. And then nature, if I’m being honest. I tried to immerse myself in the power of nature on this island. In fact, if you’re someone trying to find your identity, if you feel like you’ve lost yourself, which Eric certainly does. In fact, if you’re trying to find your reflection in nature, there’s something about it, nature is the most wonderfully uplifting thing, but it can also be quite oppressive.

Absolutely.

That isolation, the power of being in nature as well, really influenced Eric’s pace, I think.

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