Ever since the success of the Saw franchise, horror movies about playing games to save your life has almost oversaturated the genre. Because of this, it’s always refreshing to find a movie that brings a little bit something different to the table. This is why I really enjoyed Sean McNamara’s new horror flick Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders. With a twist ending, fun traps, and some witty dialogue, Dangerous Game kept me entertained the entire time. To celebrate the film’s release, I chatted with star Jon Voight and director Sean about what intrigued them about the script, preparing to shoot, horror movies, and more!
PopHorror: I watched Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders this morning.
Jon Voight: And you survived it!
PopHorror: I did! And it was intense, let me tell you. I was on the edge of my seat, so I’m super excited to speak with you both.
Jon Voight: Well, that is great!
PopHorror: My first question is for both of you. What intrigued you about the script and made you want to be a part of it?
Jon Voight: Well for me, the very first time, I was repulsed by it and scared to death to do it. Then my producing partner, Steven Paul, and my friend who was going to direct it, Sean McNamara, sat me down. I looked into Sean’s eyes, and I saw his vision, and I said, “Now I’m really scared.” I said, “I’ll do it.” And that’s how I came to that decision. And when you see Sean’s face, you’ll see what I mean. You can’t get away from this energy in his eyes. He just draws you in with his eyes, and that’s how it happened. I’m going to turn this over to Sean now and you’ll see, you’ll see his face. Okay Sean, take it!
Sean McNamara: When I read the script-
Jon Voight: Now he’s pretending he’s a normal human being! This is very disturbing.
Sean McNamara: It is disturbing! Steven said it was a family film, so I started reading this thing thinking it was a family film, and then I was like, “Uh oh! What? What?!” It was just so intriguing. I have a little team and we all read it together, and we’re all kind of like… It’s not the normal family film that I’m used to doing, but it was so intriguing what happened in this family. I really relate to when families get together for that reunion. They don’t really want to be at the birthday party that they’re doing out of respect. Man, do they not want to see the cousins and the brothers and the sisters, and yet they do it anyway. And then to amp that up to the extreme of what could happen. Because we’ve all been at those ones where some words are exchanged or there’s some intensity, but this was one just went completely awry, and this is what I think is fantastic about this script.
PopHorror: It redefines the phrase, “family film,” that is for sure.
Jon Voight: That’s exactly right!
PopHorror: I’m going to a family wedding next weekend, so hopefully all goes as planned.
Jon Voight: Oh gosh, Tiffany. Hopefully it turns out better than the film!
PopHorror: Thank you, me too! Jon, was there anything that you were adamant about bringing to your character? What did you draw upon to bring your character to life?
Jon Voight: Well, I do a lot of work, Tiffany. I really kind of do a lot of meditating on different things. Once I’m focused on it, I keep my mind open, and I know I’m going to get different kinds of influences and discoveries because my mind is focused on that character. And I, piece by piece, put that character together, you see? Then when I get to the set, I work with the other actors and let the character go his way. At some point, you just become the character, and you let the character think and respond. So, I do a lot of work. They have all these acting books. They’re all good. Any one of those books will tell you something. When you get down to it, you have to just trust and go, and be the character, and listen and talk to the other characters. Now we have an ensemble cast that’s very special here, and we became a family actually. That’s what happens in film. But these characters came alive with each of these people. They were very well cast and they’re very talented people, and we had a lot of fun going to the set every day to do this work.
PopHorror: The cast was amazing. Sean, was there anything you were adamant about keeping in the film, no matter what?
Sean McNamara: It’s interesting that you ask that question because I haven’t done a film exactly like this, but I would say, “What if we tried this?” Thinking that somebody for sure would say, “Oh no, this would never work in a film like that.” And nobody did it. They were like, “Oh, yeah. Okay. And what if we did this?” And I was just like playing with everybody and then I was like, “Oh my gosh. They’re going to let us go with this!” It was really fun to figure out how we were going to execute those ideas that we hadn’t seen before. Everything pretty much made it. We took the script and what was there, and just amplified it a lot so it’s much more jump-scares and shocking scenes.
PopHorror: I appreciate you referencing that this is not your usual type of movie because I am a huge fan of Raise Your Voice, and this is totally different.
Sean McNamara: Oh! It’s just how they solve their issues is a little different in this one.
PopHorror: Jon, what was the most challenging thing about your role? Was there anything specifically that you had to prepare for?
Jon Voight: The character is a mystery, and we have to keep him a mystery. That was one of the difficulties. I couldn’t tip my hand easily. And he’s a deceptive guy.
Jon Voight: That was one of the things that we just had to be careful of in the telling of the tale. Once I got into the piece, it was the energy of all of us together responding to each other, responding off all these other energies of the ensemble that made the piece come alive. I knew who I was, and I developed these things, but then I had to deal with these other people and see how I guided the ship. So, whatever they came up with I had to respond to it in a way that was appropriate to keep my intentions clear. Anyway, I don’t want to give away too much on who my character is. That’s some of the thoughts that I put into it. And this ensemble, I really was happy with this group of people. They’re wonderful people, and they’re very talented and right for their parts. I got to work with Will Sasso, who’s a very interesting fellow because he’s a comedy actor generally, but a very good dramatic actor as well. A great force in the piece. And then Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who’s like a velvet sword or something. Such intense energy immediately. He’s an actor that I’ve wanted to work with, and I was not disappointed. He’s really quite wonderful to work with, and he’s very generous. Each of these people is very generous, very open. And then we have the girls in the piece. Each one of the girls is a revelation, each one of them. Then of course we have Megan Charpentier [Livie Betts]. I think we’re going to see a lot from her. She’s quite interesting. They’re really talented folks, and we got along. That’s how we did it.
PopHorror: That’s awesome. I love seeing an actor who’s known for their comedic side do something like horror, or something dramatic. I love that.
Jon Voight: It’s powerful. He’s a powerful guy, anyway. It was wonderful to see that.
PopHorror: Just one last question for you both today. What is your favorite scary movie?
Sean McNamara: Well, I have a lot. But The Exorcist still frightens the hell out of me. If it comes on at night and I’m alone in a hotel watching, I grab the remote and try to shut the thing off. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family where exorcisms are real, and the second I saw it when I was 12 or 13 when it first came out, it still goes right to my heart and scares the hell out of me. So, I try to avoid that movie at all costs.
Jon Voight: Yeah, very good. I’m not going to say anything because I was never scared of any movie in my life.
Thank you so much, Jon and Sean, for taking the time to speak with us. Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders is in select theaters and on digital today!