Intruders: Stars Daniel Bruhl & Pilar Lopez De Ayala Interviewed
Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo explores the mystery of fear in Intruders, which stars Clive Owen and Carice van Houten: In two parallel stories, a girl in Britain and a boy in Spain are haunted by the same mysterious, evil creature. Daniel Brühl plays Father Antonio, a priest who tries to help Owen’s daughter Mia.
Talking about his role in the film, the half-Spanish, half-German actor laughs: “Sooner or later I’d have to play a priest. As a German actor you have to play a Nazi, and I did that, and then I thought, I have to be a priest now.”
While Brühl admits that getting into the role of a priest was difficult, having not attended a Catholic mass since he was 12, he is not a stranger to fear. Spending parts of his childhood in a small town in Catalonia where a vampire was said to have lived, he remembers listening to horror stories and playing chicken in the graveyard of the “vampire’s” castle.
“I loved it,” Brühl explains, “because fear is of course something terrible, but at the same time a good feeling, it wakes you up. I love the feeling of being scared.”
Playing a priest in a horror film, Brühl is naturally aware of the parallels to The Exorcist, the film that sparked his love of the genre. “It was a huge trauma when I first watched it, alone when I was a teenager. I was shit scared, but since that moment I was really intrigued by horror movies.”
Intruders was his first chance to act in a horror film, and Brühl explains what drew him to the project: “It’s like a classic horror movie, working with subtle tones, sometimes quiet. It’s the kind of movie I really enjoy.”
It also struck a personal chord with him, as he recognised the monster from the film, the Hollow Face, as the, “universal monster which every one of us knows from our childhood nightmares and fears.” He explains that when he was a child, “I always had the impression that somebody was intruding, and had entered my private space. I very much liked this idea of Hollow Face. He’s in your room, he’s under your bed.”
Working with director Fresnadillo on the project, Brühl got in touch with his own Spanish heritage. “In the last couple of years, there has been a wave of horror cinema, and it’s a sign of how much quality and talent there is in Spain,” he says. “The centre of cinema has always been Madrid, but now there’s this vibrant film scene in Barcelona. And as a Catalan, I think it’s important.”
Being fluent in Spanish, German and French as well as English, Brühl has had a chance to work in many European countries and experience different styles of movie making. “It’s interesting how diverse every country is,” he says. “I think each country has a special quality for making a certain kind of movie. Spain is very good with horror, the French are good with drama and comedy, and in Germany… we’re not good with comedy, I can’t understand why we shoot so many. It makes me a bit sad, because a couple of years ago there was a very vibrant moment in German cinema, but I think we’ve lost it,” Brühl reflects. “That’s why it’s been a huge luxury for me to work in other countries.”
Intruders is set for DVD release in the UK on 21 May, and Brühl hopes that viewers will appreciate the film’s slow-building suspense. He says, “Maybe people expect something more brutal or horrifying, but I think it’s nice to see that sometimes you don’t need that much action, blood and explosions. If you have a good script, good performances and suspense in the story, sometimes that can be enough.”
Intruders is available on Blu-ray and DVD now
Pilar Lopez De Ayala interview on the next page