As Netflix prepares to unveil its R-rated Southern gothic film ‘The Devil All the Time’ starring British actors Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson on September 16, we break down all the crazy Marvel connections behind the scenes, and why this grim and depraved psychological thriller has everyone talking.
What is ‘The Devil All the Time’ about?
Based on the 2011 debut novel of the same name by author Donald Ray Pollock, ‘The Devil All the Time’ is a hugely violent gothic thriller not fit for the faint of heart. In fact, some movie critics have already taken issue with the Netflix adaptation’s gratuitous violence, so consider yourself warned.
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The twisted novel is set in post-Second World War Southern Ohio, in the small town of Knockemstiff. Willard Russell (Bill Skarsgard) turns to prayer to save his dying wife Charlotte (Haley Bennett); later, Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) interacts with a wicked group of people — a serial killing couple, a false preacher and crooked officer.
This isn’t Antonio Campos’ first disturbing project on Netflix
The 37-year-old director is behind five episodes of the twisted series ‘The Sinner’, starring Jessica Biel. The show, originally a miniseries before it was commissioned for a second season, earned two Golden Globe nominations and an Emmy nod. Campos also directed an episode of the gruesome Marvel series ‘The Punisher’.
Fans were shaken by Robert Pattinson’s accent
One of the only outliers to all the Marvel connections behind ‘The Devil All the Time’ is Pattinson, the star DC’s of upcoming film ‘Batman’ (2021).
Here he plays Reverend Preston Teagardin, and the ‘Twilight’ star delivered such a spookily spot-on Southern American accent that some fans questioned whether it was even him speaking in the trailer.
For Campos, watching the future caped crusader at work was equally surprising.
“There are certain performances where it almost feels like a possession, and I think this is one of those performances,” Campos told Vanity Fair. “He likes to tease you. I had a sense of what he was doing and we had talked a lot about the character, but the Teagardin that came out when we started shooting – that was the first time I saw Teagardin.”
He said that some of Pattinson’s craziest takes ended up on the cutting room floor.
“You have to trust the person’s going to do something good and be comfortable letting go of some of your control as a director. That’s very much how I approached Rob. There are takes that are absolutely insane and don’t make it into the movie. Rob would just go.”
Tom Holland plays a morally grey character
Though Holland plays the hero Arvin Russell, his character is willing to sacrifice human life along the way. The role was out of Holland’s comfort zone.
“I’ve got to say I was really nervous and scared coming on set for the first time because I didn’t know if I had it in me to play this type of character,” Holland said. “He is a really complicated character and it is very dark, and I had to go to places mentally that I didn’t know I could go to or don’t think I ever want to go to again.”
Campos had nothing but praise for the young British actor, who broke out from obscurity into superstardom as Spider-Man.
“Tom is a very sweet person and a very generous actor, but he’s willing to go wherever he needs to go emotionally for the character,” Campos told Entertainment Weekly. “He wanted to go where he had to go. Tom’s electric. He’s sort of sitting there doing nothing and is immensely watchable.”
Jake Gyllenhaal is part of the film — as a producer
It comes as no surprise that Holland is the star of ‘The Devil all the Time’, considering the movie’s producer is his buddy Gyllenhaal, who starred across from Holland in ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’, which crossed $1 billion (Dh3.7 billion) at the box office. Gyllenhaal played Mysterio in the Marvel film.
Gyllenhaal has long been attracted to darker roles, from ‘Donnie Darko’ to ‘Zodiac’, making him the perfect person to back a project such as this one. The actor has been producing films that he also stars in for a few years now, including ‘Nightcrawler’ (2014). But he only recently started producing films he doesn’t appear in.
The film reunites Holland with another Marvel actor...
Sebastian Stan, best known for his role as Bucky Barnes — aka the Winter Soldier — in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, joins Holland and co as a corrupt sheriff, Lee Bodicker.
“This was a very different role for me to jump into in terms of the world, which was so different from how I grew up or what I knew,” Stan said. “Even just in terms of the character, the challenge for me was the physicality aspect of it and really trying to go for something new that I hadn’t tried. That’s where the director comes in, the vision they have and how specific they are. He knew very specifically where to go with this thing and with this guy.”
...but Sebastian Stan actually replaces Chris Evans in the film
Yup, that’s right. Stan, aka Barnes, came in to replace Evans, who plays his buddy Captain America. The Marvel connections are seemingly endless here. In February of 2019, Evans dropped out due to scheduling conflicts; he had committed to projects such as ‘Infinite’ and the Apple series ‘Defending Jacob’. But, Stan stepped up to the plate.
Bill Skarsgard plays Holland’s dad
It would be scientifically impossible for Bill Skarsgard (‘IT’) to be Tom Holland’s dad in real life, since the 30-year-old actor is only six years his elder. But, in the film, Skarsgard takes on the role of Willard Russell, Arvin Russell’s father. That’s because in the film, we first meet Arvin as a 9-year-old boy, played by Michael Banks Repeta (‘Lovecraft Country’).
Don’t miss it!
‘The Devil All the Time’ releases on Netflix on September 16.