From director Anthony Byrne, who co-wrote the film with his partner Natalie Dormer, the dramatic thriller In Darkness follows Sofia (played by Dormer), a blind pianist who overhears a struggle in the apartment above hers that leads to the death of her neighbor, Veronique (Emily Ratajkowski). As a result, Sofia finds herself in the presence of Veronique’s father, suspected war criminal Milos Radic (Jan Bijvoet), and she’s drawn into a dangerous world of corruption where everyone is keeping secrets.
At the film’s L.A. press day, Collider got the opportunity to sit down and chat 1-on-1 with actor Ed Skrein (who plays Marc, a mysterious man that keeps crossing paths with Sofia) about why In Darkness appealed to him, the unique intimacy of the project, making the most of a small budget, shooting outside on the street, and the experience of filming a sex scene. He also talked about signing on for Maleficent 2, playing a cyborg in Alita: Battle Angel, and what it was like to write/direct his first short film.
Collider: This is such an interesting movie with very mysterious characters. What were you most excited about, when you read this and learned about who this guy would be?
ED SKREIN: Roles for actors are like American presidents. They’re reactionary. You do one thing, and then you wanna do the opposite, and it swings a lot. It might not be so good for the political system and getting things done, but it’s certainly good for an actor. It’s better for an actor’s dynamic. It was like a dream role, in many ways. To work opposite Natalie [Dormer], and to work with Nat and Ant [Byrne] and enter into this relationship and dynamic was a hugely exciting task and challenge for me. The intimacy of the project was so unique. After gaining some experience in this industry, I’ve realized that I like the feeling of intimacy and closeness and team ethic and camaraderie, and I felt that, from the beginning, with those two. I bought into them, as human beings, as a brand, as writers, and as director and actress. It really was a dream to work with them and to be able to play Marc.
Anthony Byrne and Natalie Dormer have said that they didn’t want anyone but you for the role of Marc.
SKREIN: Yeah, that’s crazy!
Did you know that?
SKREIN: No, of course, I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that they were writing it. That’s what I think is so interesting and exciting about art. There’s someone out there right now, writing something, which they’re going to send to me in six months, six years, 16 years, or whatever. There’s an actor that’s being born now that I’m gonna work with in 15 years. I just love the romantic alchemy of these things. It was fascinating because Ant said to me that he’d seen a photo of me in something, in 2011 or 2012, where he was like, “That’s Marc! I don’t know who that guy is, but that’s Marc!” And then, as my career progressed, he was like, “Oh, that’s that guy! That’s the Marc guy!” That’s amazing! It’s affirming to know that people are thinking of you, even if it started off as just an aesthetic, and then led to them feeling like there was no one else for the role. That’s an amazing feeling.
So, if you hadn’t been available, they would’ve been really screwed.
SKREIN: I would have moved hell and earth to be a part of this. I turned down a lot of stuff, so that I could do this. This moved around a bit, and my agent would phone me and say, “This has come in.” And I was like, “There’s just no two ways about it. Don’t phone me again and ask me about In Darkness. I’m doing it, a million percent.” I’m so glad I did. It’s still one of the most enjoyable experiences that I’ve ever been a part of. When I think back to all of the most enjoyable experiences, they all had that same feeling of a team working towards something, trying their hardest, and trying to punch above their weight. This is a $2 million movie. With Deadpool, we had $59 million, but we were trying to make a $120 million movie. We were trying to compete against The Avengers, and such. With this, we made a $2 million movie, but we’re trying to compete against $10 million, $15 million, $20 million, $40 million and $50 million movies. It’s exactly the type of project that I want to be a part of, in the future, as well.