Actor Brea Grant is no stranger to horror tropes. As a famed final girl to starring in Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II” and fan-favorite “Dexter,” Grant now takes the story into her own hands by writing the dark comedy slasher satire, “Lucky.” The film was slated to premiere at SXSW, and hosted its international debut at Fantasia before screening during the virtual Nightstream Festival.
Lucky centers on May (Brea Grant), a suburban woman who is stalked every night by a threatening masked man. May has to convince bumbling cops, a disbelieving partner, and flimsy social workers that she is actually in danger. Eventually, May is left to combat the mysterious man nightly.
While the film uses dark humor, Lucky moves beyond satire to reveal an all-too-true lingering threat: women have to fight against a lingering male gaze every day. Screenwriter and star Brea Grant opens up about the real-life inspiration behind the story, systemic violence against women, and what she hopes audiences will take away from the empowered slasher film.
The Knockturnal: Lucky is such an incredible film, and really plays on gender roles within the horror genre. What inspired writing the story for you?
Brea Grant: The story came from a personal experience of mine I was working through and the general feeling that any time I spoke to a woman, there is a shared feeling and experience of lack of safety and violence. I wanted to speak to the way violence against women is systematic and the system set up to fight it is really lacking. The world is still not a safe place for women and I wanted to take that and push it to a point of absurdity. Anyone who has seen the movie immediately gets the satirical nature but also doesn’t see it as so absurd. It ends up feeling very real.
The Knockturnal: The “final girl” trope is challenged in Lucky, and the story really feels current after #MeToo with a recurring male stalker. How long were you working on the script?
Brea Grant: I started the script almost five years ago so before the #MeToo movement but the #MeToo movement definitely helped the script get energy. I think that moment opened up many people’s eyes, including movie financiers and producers. I think a lot of people, specifically men, were shocked by the female experience that they heard, and now when they read or see a script like Lucky, they have at the very least a shared language for understanding what we are trying to say, even if they may not have a shared experience.
The Knockturnal: How was working with director Natasha Kermani? Why did you choose to collaborate with her?
Brea Grant: She’s great. I’m a big fan of [Kermani’s debut film, Imitation Girl] and I knew Natasha could bring a cool, interesting vision and aesthetic to Lucky. It’s a tough film because it is so weird and yet so specific and she really nailed it. I think we are a great team. She always treated me as a collaborator but allowed me space to work on my acting, as it was a pretty big role to take on.
The Knockturnal: What message do you hope the audience will take away?
Brea Grant: I want people to think about everything in the film and how complicated it is. We are telling one specific story of one specific woman. But violence comes in many forms. It should make you laugh at times and also make you think. It’s okay to get a little angry at what is happening to May but also to get angry with May herself for the actions she chooses to take. I didn’t want this to be prescriptive. I didn’t want May to be the superhero of the movie. I wanted her to be the flawed heroine who has been taught to live a certain kind of life and has a lot of trouble changing, in spite the insanity she sees going on around her.
The Knockturnal: You are the go-to queen of horror. When did you decide to pursue the genre, and what do you love about it?
Brea Grant: I got lucky (haha, Lucky) early in my career and got cast in Heroes, Dexter, and Halloween II (2009). Between those three things, I was able to continue down the genre path because many more genre films came my way but I also started to choose those more. I love working in horror because it’s what I personally like to consume as a viewer. Horror and genre can allow us to explore themes without them being so obvious. You don’t have to hit the nail on the head and instead can make big allegorical films like Lucky and larger audiences will be drawn to them and hopefully, take something away from them.
The Knockturnal: In addition to Lucky, you also premiered your directorial debut 12 Hour Shift at Fantasia. What’s next for you in 2021?
Brea Grant: Lucky doesn’t come out until 2021 on Shudder so hopefully people will check it out then. I’m also in a film called The Stylist that is playing festivals right now, and I expect that will be out next year too. After that, I’m not sure. I’m doing some television directing and some more writing. We’ll see!
“Lucky” will be released on Shudder in 2021.