Anthony Michael Hall (Reacher) spoke to Bleeding Cool about his Netflix action thriller Trigger Warning, Dir Mouly Surya & star Jessica Alba.

Article Summary

  • Anthony Michael Hall discusses joining Netflix’s “Trigger Warning”.
  • The film is directed by Mouly Surya and co-stars Jessica Alba.
  • Hall praises the film’s strong female-led team and crew.
  • He shares insights into the dynamic cast and on-set camaraderie.

Anthony Michael Hall carved an impressive legacy across film and television with a career spanning over four decades since his start as a child actor in the 1979 TV series Jennifer’s Journey. Hall was destined for success since his breakout role as Rusty Griswold in 1983’s Vacation as part of the National Lampoon franchise and emerged as part of the 1980s group of youth actors known as the Brat Pack with memorable roles in Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Weird Science (1985) before being the youngest cast member in Saturday Night Live history. While his stint in the NBC late-night weekly variety series was short-lived, Hall would continue making his presence felt as a character actor with roles on USA’s The Dead Zone, Prime Video’s Bosch: Legacy, and the upcoming season of Reacher. The actor spoke with Bleeding Cool about his latest action thriller, Trigger Warning for Netflix, director Mouly Surya, co-star Jessica Alba, and more. The film follows a skilled Special Forces commando (Alba) who takes ownership of her father’s bar after he suddenly dies and soon finds herself at odds with a violent gang running rampant in her hometown.

Trigger Warning Star Anthony Michael Hall on Why He Believes in Mouly Surya’s “Feminist Revenge Thriller”

Bleeding Cool: What intrigued you about ‘Trigger Warning?’
The filmmaker. I had an opportunity through my great representatives, Mitch Mason and Jason Weinberg, at Jason’s company, Untitled Management. They set up a meeting with Mouly Surya. I watched her film ‘Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts’ (2017), and I was impressed. It’s like her ‘Kill Bill’. It’s powerful, and it’s a beautiful and interesting film. It’s a feminist revenge thriller like [Trigger Warning] but with a different context and story. I was impressed and amazed by her work on that. Mouly couldn’t have been sweeter. She was a kind and grounded lady. She’s from Indonesia and has a family. When I had meetings with directors, I did the same thing with David Gordon Green. I like to get a sense of their vision, what they want to achieve, and what their intent and plans are. [Mouly] and I had a great talk; she was kind enough to bring me on board.

How do you break down the set she ran?
It wasn’t just tourism and “Film is a director’s medium,” as the adage goes, right? We were working for Netflix but had Thunder Road [Films], a solid company. Esther Hornstein and Erica Lee, who run the company, were on set leading the charge. It was all ladies, including Jessica Alba, who was a producer. She is smart and great to work with, and we also had Zoë White, her cinematographer. That’s one dynamic that I always attuned to when I get on the set is I look at the director and the DP, particularly to see their dynamic and how they work in tandem, attack the day, select the shots, and approach the work from a technical standpoint, which informs everybody else’s work and what we’re going to be doing. They worked beautifully together. Zoë shot ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and other great indie work. It was a core group of great women leading the charge who oversaw the project and were great to work with.

How do you break down the dynamic with your cast mates and what they brought to the set? What was it like with Jessica leading the way?

It’s great. I already landed in Santa Fe [New Mexico] when we met. I was in my hotel room, and we all got in to do stunt rehearsals, fittings, and other stuff. As an actor, I love the adventure throughout the process when you’re working in this industry. Looking at collaborations with the costume department or whoever it is. To answer your question about the actors, we met on a Zoom call and in Santa Fe. It’s funny, right? As we all experienced on Covid, it’s like ‘The Brady Bunch’ magnified, right? Instead of nine boxes, ten people could be on the call [laughs].

The idea of a Zoom call is a little awkward, but we jumped into it and read the script together. It was great because then it started to come alive. You see people’s rhythms and what you’re bringing to the table. One of the funny things for me, now that I’m 56 years old, was the first experience where I had work on the set, and I had two grown-ass men playing my sons. It was Jake Weary and Mark Webber, but they were great guys, and they’re my Cain and Abel as my character’s sons, Jesse and Elvis. Jake plays Elvis in different styles with different actors, which is very cool. I like Mark a lot, and he’s also a filmmaker. His wife’s [Teresa Palmer] a great actress. He’s an interesting guy himself with his subtle work, a cool guy. We struck up a friendship and rapport. Jake, I didn’t have too many scenes with, but I love him. I thought he jumped off the screen. We also have Gabriel Basso, a talented young actor, and Tone Bell, a good group that makes it fun. You don’t get to work with all those actors, but the ones I worked with were fantastic.

Anthony Michael Hall (Trigger Warning) spoke with us about the legacy of The Dead Zone TV series and if he would return for a reboot.

One of the most recurring themes in Stephen King’s work is clairvoyance as indicated by some of his most famous works like The Shining and The Stand. Another classic that’s been adapted multiple times is his 1979 novel The Dead Zone, which follows Johnny Smith, who awakens from a coma after several years, discovering he’s gained clairvoyant and precognitive visions triggered by touch. The first adaptation was the 1983 David Cronenberg Paramount horror sci-fi film that starred Christopher WalkenBrooke Adams, and Martin Sheen in the Johnny, Sarah, and Greg roles. Lionsgate developed the 2002 TV series adaptation for USA Network starring Anthony Michael Hall as Johnny, Nicole de Boer as Sarah, and Sean Patrick Flanery as Greg, running for six seasons from 2002-2007. While promoting his Netflix film Trigger Warning, Hall spoke to Bleeding Cool about his legacy on the series and rumors of a potential reboot despite the original series ending without a proper series finale.

The Dead Zone: Anthony Michael Hall on Dead Zone Reboot Rumors and TV Series Legacy

“This came up a couple of days ago [about a possible reboot]. I was sharing with my wife [Lucia Oskerova] that I had read someplace. I’m not sure, but Amazon has picked up and repurposed the show. It’s going to be on Prime Video, and I was delighted. I was excited to hear that. I put a lot of work into it. It was a great experience for me 20 years ago and we did five seasons. I did like 80 episodes, and it was so funny because my wife asked me the same question time, and I’m like, “I’m too old for that,” Hall shared when asked about the possibility of a return.

He continued, “They’ll get a younger-looking guy who can do more [laughs], but I was dumping on myself a couple of days ago. After I found out that, I was like, ‘Maybe I should keep the door open,’ as Sean Connery did for ‘Never Say Never Again’ (1983), right? I’m honored and I’m happy to be working with Amazon. I did ‘Bosch Legacy‘ season two and now ‘Reacher‘ for them. I’m honored to work with them and Skydance, which are both great companies. They give you so many great resources but also great flexibility. They’re cool to work for, both Netflix and Amazon. It’s got to be on Amazon, and I’m excited to read that, but “Never say never.” I don’t know if Johnny Smith could still be doing his thing in his 50s, but why the hell not? Right here. All right.”