Chris Messina on ‘The Boogeyman’ film’s focus on family

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In a major deviation from the Stephen King short story of the same name, much of the new movie The Boogeyman focuses on the effect the titular monster is having on the two grieving daughters of Will Sawyer, a therapist who recently became a widower.

In fact, the original story doesn’t include the characters on which the movie focuses: Sophie Thatcher‘s teen Sadie and her younger sister, Sawyer, played by Vivien Lyra Blair.

Chris Messina, who plays Will Thatcher, tells ABC Audio that adding them was a good move by screenwriters Scott Beck, Bryan Woods and Mark Heyman.

“Yeah, I thought it was super smart,” the Air actor says. “Because obviously you could take that short and do many different things, and the fact that they did what they did, I thought really worked.”

Having the supernatural presence preying on his character, as well as his young daughters, helps sell the scares, according to director Rob Savage.

Messina explains the filmmaker really wanted the trio to bond before the cameras rolled. “We had, I think about a two-week rehearsal process where we got to hang out. We went to the aquarium, we went bowling, we ate pizza. By the time we got this set, we were really a tight-knit group. We were our own little family and we had so much trust in each other.”

Like a proud dad, he calls his onscreen kids “awesome,” adding, “I mean, they’re great actresses, really kind souls.”  

The Boogeyman is now in theaters.

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