Hereditary has opened to a massive success at the box office this past weekend and considerable buzz surrounding the scary genre hit. Recently, we spoke with Alex Wolff, who plays the eldest son caught in the madness striking his family. Discussing all things Hereditary, horror, and beyond with the actor.
iHorror: What is your name and the name of your character?
Alex Wolff: Alex Wolff, and Peter Graham is the name of the character.
IH: What was your reaction when you first read the script for Hereditary?
AW: I mean, you know… I was super upset by it. Super visceral. My mom walked in at the end of me reading the script and I screamed out loud and was like “Oh shit!” because it was really scary and I was freaked out because I thought I was alone.
IH: What attracted you to the project?
AW: I’m super into A24. I think that they’re amazing and that was the first thing. Then and I was very moved by the story, then I met Ari [Aster] and was very moved by him as a person and as a combination.
IH: What was it like working with Ari Aster, the director?
AW: Amazing. He’s the best. He’s a genius. He really is. He simultaneously knows exactly how to work with actors and talk to them in a way that’s super respectful and he’s super excited by you being free and being loose and all those things. While at the exact same time he’s an unbelievable person with a camera. I mean, he just moves in such an interesting, unique, disturbing way.
IH: How did you connect with the rest of the cast, acting as a family?
AW: Well, it’s a pretty dysfunctional family so I think we connected better than we do in the film!
IH: How would you define your character, Peter Graham?
AW: I think he is a young man who is trying his hardest to repress all the things that are going on with his family and his life. He’s been put in a situation where something extremely tragic happens and he’s doing his best to cope with it but slowly, his sense of reality and his sense of emotional comfort and stability deteriorates and just falls to pieces.
IH: And how did you prepare for this role?
AW: You know, I just read the script a bunch and I tried to get myself in that spot. In that place of… emotional anarchy and kind fo stayed there for as long as I could.
IH: What do you think is it that makes Hereditary so scary?
AW: Probably that the characters are so well drawn. So three-dimensional and so nuanced. I think it makes it so that when the horror finally does come, you can care about these characters enough that every single thing that happens to them, which happens to be the most disturbing shit in the whole world, every single thing that happens to them feels like it’s happening to your own family or it’s happening to characters you care about and so it really messes with your head.
IH: Personally, do you have any favorite horror movies?
AW: Yeah. Probably my favorite is Rosemary’s Baby. But I see every horror movie, I love European horror movies a lot and not to sound pretentious, but I think some of them are just better. But, like recently I love this movie Goodnight Mommy, and that movie’s amazing. I love The Babadook, The Witch, which A24 also did. It was amazing. I think the original Halloween is pretty amazing. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is great. I love Ti West, who does amazing movies. Like he did this one called The House Of The Devil which might be my favorite of all time and The Sacrament, one of his other movies that is also fantastic. That guy really knows what he’s doing.
IH: Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?
AW: I wrote, directed, and starred in this movie, my first feature called The Cat And The Moon. That’ll, I think come out soon. I have some other movies, too that are coming out. And I had a movie just come out called The House Of Tomorrow. It’s in theaters. And a movie called Stella’s Last Weekend. Got a lot coming up, and Cat And The Moon is probably the one I’m most excited about.
IH: Is there anything you can tell us about the story?
AW: Cat And The Moon‘s about a young man who’s 17 who is forced to go live in New York while his mom is treated at a rehab facility because his dad died awhile ago. While he’s in New York he has to stay with the only person who can take care of him, who is his dad’s old bandmate. While he’s there he meets these kids who take him under their wing and it’s like basically watching a young man sort of be confronted with the reality of his dad’s pretty tragic death and dealing with that through all this stuff going on in his life.
IH: What do you think people’s reactions will be to Hereditary?
AW: Hopefully, they’ll be scared shitless and hopefully they’ll be deeply upset by it and hopefully they will never recover. And I hope they’re upset for the rest of their lives.