Alex Essoe is a rising star in Hollywood with critically acclaimed films under her belt such as Starry Eyes and horror films like Tales from Halloween. In her latest film, Midnighters (you can read our review here), Alex plays Lindsey who starts out having a fun New Year’s Eve only to watch it descend into something dark and terrifying.
Alex took a few minutes to sit down with us and discuss Midnighters.
PopHorror: Thanks for talking with us, Alex! You’re becoming quite the big deal these days!
Alex Essoe: Oh, my God! (laughs) God willing! Thank you!
PopHorror: So in Midnighters, you go through a LOT in that movie. Was there any special preparation you had to do in order to put yourself through all that?
Alex Essoe: Oh, my gosh, it was like I was two different people. It required a lot, especially since Lindsey isn’t exactly what meets the eye. I had several conversations with Julius [Ramsey] about Lindsey about who she is and what she wants. There is a lot of moving parts to her personality and she hides almost all of them. It was such a challenge to play a character who has such a complex inner life, yet they don’t show very much. That’s a lot of what drew me to her, but it was so much fun.
A lot of her mousy, doormat behavior is dishonest, and that’s not who she is or what she feels. I think that is why she embraces the dark parts of herself so willingly. There is no inner struggle once things go downhill. She is just like, “Okay, this is who I am now, no hiding it anymore.”
You see a few little hints of that when she has that run in with Richard. From there she just has the ultimate permission to unload the darkest parts of her psyche. She doesn’t really love her husband, she doesn’t like her life, she doesn’t like her sister. It’s interesting to me how people with such repressed passive aggressive personalities when things come to a boiling point, you have no idea how it’s going to manifest. And with her, it just comes out in this laser-like coldness. It was just so much fun. I wish I could go back and do it again.
PopHorror: When you’re interacting with your castmates and you have to do terrible things to each other, is that something you can jump right into when the director yells, “Action!”? Or is there a mindset or some kind of tension that goes on between takes?
Alex Essoe: It depends on the nature of what you’re stepping into. I think in the case of Lindsey… if it’s something she was really struggling against I think there would naturally be an air of tension in between takes. That being said, I’m not one of those actors who has to stay in character 24/7. I don’t see the merits in behaving like my characters with everyone who approaches me. I’m not a big believer in the method thing. I think a lot of it is self-indulgent and unhealthy.
Not to mention, I love every person I was working with on set. So I would never subject them to my character. Now, if we’re about to film and I’m trying to get into a zone, I may just tell someone, “Hey, I’m sorry I’m trying to focus here. It’s nothing personal.” But in the end, we’re making art not saving lives, so it’s all in fun.
PopHorror: It almost felt like Lindsey had this little inner sociopath who was waiting to get out.
Alex Essoe: Oh, yes. And Richard basically gives her permission to let loose and just let that out. And once it comes out, it all comes out. That’s where she finds her empowerment. At first, she looks to her boss and her husband to justify her existence, but there is this moment where she just says, I’m done with that person and I’m tired of being that person. That’s where she finds herself.
PopHorror: It definitely shows. What would you like fans to know or expect as they go into the film?
Alex Essoe: The film is sort of a Hitchcockian thriller aspect to it. Very dark, gritty and visually dramatic film. I am just really in love with this film. The performances all knock it out of the park. Ward Horton is just terrifying to work with, and I mean that in a good way! With those icy blue eyes, I was just terrified. Dylan McTee who played my husband did an amazing job. Perla Haney-Jardine was such a cool and interesting person. I just couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with.
PopHorror: That’s always good to hear. What projects do you have coming up?
Alex Essoe: So, I have a movie coming out next year called The Drone, it is directed by Jordan Rubin who directed Zombeavers. The Drone is a funny but serious movie. I don’t want to say too much but it’s really funny.
I have another film coming out called The Maestro which is a period piece in the fifties about a composer and his protégé. So, I’m really excited for that one. I know there are more things, but that is all that really comes to mind right now.
PopHorror: Thank you, Alex, once again, for taking the time with us! Midnighters is making its world premiere at the LA Film Festival on 19th which is the theatrical debut of director Julius Ramsay. Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with him as well.