I Think We’re Alone Now welcomes us into the apocalypse.
In this story, however, the last man on earth, Del (played by Peter Dinklage), is content in his isolation. He has a daily routine, cleaning his town and burying the dead one by one. It is his very own world until he discovers a young woman, Grace (played by Elle Fanning), and the silence he has grown accustomed to is suddenly shattered. The two oddballs are complete opposites; Del wants nothing to do with the added noise and Grace craves companionship as the human race is due for extinction. The how and why of the apocalypse, however, is not the question the film aims to answer for us. With the end in sight, writer, Mike Makowsky, contemplates on loneliness as a choice. Though we are social by nature, what would happen if the choice to be alone were taken away?
I Think We’re Alone Now is a raw, obscurely dark film in which all eyes and ears are focused on Del and Grace, the unlikeliest of pairs. We are guided by the genius of Emmy nominated, Reed Morano, who plays director and director of photography, while intimately operating the camera herself. Reed captures the chemistry between the two actors, pulling the audience into this quiet world, allowing us to witness the mess, curiosity and love that can exist even when all else is obsolete.
We spoke with Elle, Peter and Reed exclusively on the red carpet at the film’s New York premiere on Thursday evening at Dolby 88 Theater. Check out what they had to say below.
The Knockturnal: You guys have been talking so much about the intimacy of this movie, how small it is and how you are affecting each other on set. Do you feel like every single take is different? Do you feel like there’s a natural progression based on how you feel at every moment?
Elle Fanning: It is, I mean I think that you hope it is. That’s what you try to do. Also, when I’m acting I really try to be really instinctual so I try to go with the spontaneity of it. Especially with a film like this – you don’t have tons of money, and you’re kind of on the run – you’re telling people to turn off the lights in their house and “go back inside!” And we weren’t working on set so to create an apocalyptic environment, literally in upstate New York, in front of stores – I mean that’s a pretty adrenaline rush feeling…And I love that. And Reed…her energy and her passion is just very infectious…and she’s very open to trying new things…It was great and we got to do that because there were only two people in the cast so we really had room for experimentation.
The Knockturnal: And I can imagine working with a female director, DP and camera opp must be so supportive.
Elle Fanning: Very supportive. I mean…the script was so beautifully written but specifically my character of Grace…you know, Mike was saying, ‘I don’t know if I quite know Grace,’ …. So having Reed come along and her being a woman… she really worked with me to figure out who [Grace] was and…it was such a collaboration there. But also it was so inspiring – I’ve never worked with someone who was directing and also camera operating…I never wanna go back…it was such a special experience cause she’s right there with you…and she can tell you anything…you don’t have to cut you don’t have to break the mood…she’s just right there. She’s a genius.
The Knockturnal:I have a question about…[this film] being a non-conventional, apocalyptic story. With all of your work that I’ve seen – Handmaid’s Tale especially – you’re so good at bringing the audience into the tone, into the other world that we know nothing about yet…and yet here, we’re really just paying attention to these characters…and their inner monologues…their emotional lives. How do you strike that balance?
Reed Morano: I think you have to utilize your other tools in your toolbag to bring people along for a ride like sound that envelopes you, music that envelopes you and takes you along for a journey…and hopefully keep the person engaged enough to pay attention cause if you look away for one second you might miss an important performance moment from the actor because you might just think he’s doing a simple task, but really he may give a look that tells a whole story. And I think that’s what’s tricky about telling a story like this with very little dialogue and you’re kind of in one person’s world – is that…Peter’s forte is…and Elle…they have this ability to do this wonderfully nuanced performance and I found all these great moments from them that they gave me…and they tell the story but you have to…let yourself be in it and not expect things of it. You have to let it happen to you and I think people are used to movies…telling them what to think and you have to…observe this movie and sort of be a detective and figure out what you’re supposed to think…and one person might say, “Well I don’t know what’s there,” and another person might say, “this is so profound” …. And what I like about it is it allows you to take whatever you want from it and if it’s your kind of movie then great, and if it’s not then that’s fine too. But I think it’s scary…for me, I find a lot of meaning in it and I like that it didn’t tell me all the time what to think. I had to sort of watch them…and interesting symbolism and themes sort of revealed themselves, even to me.
The Knockturnal: You talk about being in the moment as a DP and a director….you’re saying you sort of feel out what you’re supposed to pay attention to [while shooting]?
Reed Morano: Yeah, I think you have to. I think you have to be aware that anything can happen at any moment and if you are open to it…and I think some people who watch movies…are projecting onto the movie that they what they were hoping it was gonna be instead of being open to an experience they never had before…and when I go on set and show up and I start working with a team and I do a scene….instead of just being stuck in what in my mind I thought how the scene would play out – I let the scene happen to me. And yes of course, I’m manipulating it cause I’m moving the camera where I want to but I’m also being reactive. So when something happens I didn’t know was gonna happen, I’m moving in a different place that I never thought I would go. So I think if more people treated their movie-going experience like that – they would actually get more out of it.
The Knockturnal: You talk a lot about the freedom that you felt on set…the intimacy and the tight-knit group of people that you had…does that help as an actor? The liberation to be free in your movements?
Peter Dinklage: Yeah well it…takes away the sort of quote on quote ‘performance’ of movies, of acting on film cause it’s really one continuous thread that we followed cause Reed was always as close as you are now, “just go get it,” like a whisper. It wouldn’t be like a bullhorn shouting down the block away and you do a take and you have to wait and wait for the report from the director who’s down in video village far away and then you ramp up and do it again – it was just really continuous…nothing was really “action” and “cut.” It was just sort of this one lovely thing…that’s the only way I want to work from now on.
The film is now playing in NY & LA Theaters. It will be playing in select theaters nationwide and available everywhere on-demand on September 21, 2018.