GORE IN THE STORE
OLIVER JACKSON-COHEN IS THE INVISIBLE MAN
You saw him in ‘The Haunting of Hill House’, director Mike Flanagan’s acclaimed Netflix series and now London-born Oliver Jackson-Cohen plays the very nasty Adrian Griffin in Leigh Whannell’s hit Blumhouse horror THE INVISIBLE MAN. Though the actor only appears in a handful of scenes, what he wasn’t allowed to say on the recent press tour was he acted off camera for star Elisabeth Moss so she could have a key dramatic focus and even donned a SFX green screen suit for the title role. No matter, we had a fun conversation talking about all things invisible and beyond.
FRIGHTFEST: Was playing Adrian a strange role because you are in the first few scenes and then the last ones?
OLIVER JACKSON-COHEN: I know! I got to go to sleep for a couple of hours, and then they woke me up and went, right, we're ready for you! A lot of people have asked me why did I want to be a part of a movie where I’m not really seen. It genuinely never occurred to me. I just thought it was such a brilliantly written script. The fact that Leigh took this property, superbly updated it, making it about domestic abuse and gas lighting was just great. I just thought it was such a genius premise that it didn't really matter to me how much I was actually on screen. The interesting thing is that we still had to tackle the important issues no matter how little you see the character. He's a very prominent menace even though he's invisible.
FF: Why is Adrian so controlling over Cecilia, what’s the psychology behind his obsession?
OJC: It’s because she doesn't really want anything from him. That's why he's so desperate to control her. I saw this interview with a psychologist who is a specialist in narcissists and narcissistic personality disorder. She said something that I thought was fascinating: if you leave a narcissist it hurts them to a point that they need utter revenge because they cannot believe that you would actually do that. It's this rage, this need and desire for revenge that I think kind of spurs him on. It's the fact that he needs to control every single thing. He can't control what he feels so he needs to control everything else.
FF: Did you discuss those salient issues with Elisabeth Moss?
OJC: Of course. We spent three weeks in rehearsals Lizzie, Leigh and I talking about the dynamics and about what the reality of these people would be like and what had previously happened in their relationships. And so even though you don't get to see them much together, it wasn't like a walk in the park, I mean we still felt a certain amount of responsibility to tell the story as honestly as possible, because unfortunately, stalking and domestic abuse are still hugely prevalent in the world. Lizzie had concerns and was very specific that we all needed to be on the same page. We talked about how many times Cecilia would have tried to leave before. Why she stayed with him for over three years. What was it about Adrian that she loved in the first place? Those questions were fundamental to the foundations of the movie and the inherent drama. It is quite extraordinary. I mean it's not just women. It's men as well. But it's strong, really strong, intelligent people. One interview I came across was with this woman who'd come out of a horrific relationship and she stated she was in it for about four years and she left countless times. But every single time she would try to leave he would cry and she would see him as a little boy to mother. He knew exactly what he was doing, what buttons to push. This is what we discussed. It's intelligent people with empathy that are stuck in these awful relationships. It's never stupid people. It was fascinating. I was kind of unaware of how rife a problem it truly is. So it was an enthralling character study even though he's invisible.