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.