Nighthouse star Rebecca Hall on how to kiss a ghost

Rebecca Hall talks about improvising a romantic encounter with a spirit for ‘The Night House’.

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By Mary Beth McAndrews · Published August 18, 2021

Participation in the discourse is a column three times a week, where we dig into who says what about new releases and upcoming projects. Today we share Rebecca Hall’s experience of becoming intimate with a ghost and improvising her own stunts in The Night House.


In director David Bruckner‘s The night house, Rebecca Hall plays Beth, a grieving widow who tries to collect the pieces after her husband’s suicide.

She spends her days aimlessly wandering in their lake house, stuck in a dissociative state imbued with despair. But as the days go by, she begins to have strange visions and ghostly encounters. As she searches for answers, she learns a shocking truth about her husband and their home.

Hall’s performance is the center of the film with her heartbreaking portrayal of Beth. This is not just a ghost story, but a story about a woman’s lonely experience with grief. During a recent press conference promoting the thriller, Hall said she expected the role to be challenging yet fulfilling:

“I thought, ‘Well, I’ve never done that before, I want to try it.’ I don’t think I even guessed appropriately how challenging that would be. ”

She further explained that actors work best when collaborating with another artist in space. “There’s a kind of weird thing that you’re not quite aware of as an actor: You get a lot of energy and perseverance and even generate creative ideas from the people you work with,” she said.

“It’s a bit like if you were at a party and someone comes in who has a lot of charisma and suddenly the party gets pretty good. You are about to jump off that energy. This was a bit like being at a party without guests, but you still have to make the party good, which is just exhausting. ”

The most challenging scene in The night house: when Rebecca Hall makes a ghost. When she put her hands in the air, as if grabbing her lover’s head, she thought, “Is that right, or does it look like I’m just ten years old in the schoolyard, pretending to make clothes with myself?”

Joking aside, she explained the process behind such a scene and what it took to make it believable. She did not have anyone acting towards her, so the pressure to sell the moment lay right on her shoulders. And yet she said the whole sequence was fun to shoot.

“It was not like anyone was choreographing it,” she revealed. “The first idea that I had this interaction-oblique-romantic encounter with an invisible presence was essentially just me improvising it, which was pretty embarrassing.”

But, she added, as soon as she got into a groove: “It got strangely liberating. It felt like I was doing some kind of intuitive dance or something that did not look like anything I have ever done as an actor. And it’s nice to use his physique in that regard. ”

The physical was what Hall ultimately loved so much about doing The night house. It allowed her to portray extreme emotions, not only through dialogue, but also with her entire body. “The physical stuff was really entertaining for me because it was not something I had really done before,” she admitted.

“So it was really fun trying to convey quite extreme emotions physically and throw myself out and do all that kind of thing, whether it was very carefully organized with a stunt team or essentially improvised by me.”

You can see Rebecca Hall’s performance in The night house when it opens in theaters on Friday, August 20th.

Related topics: Entering the Discourse

Mary Beth McAndrews thinks the found footage is good and will fight you if you say otherwise. When she’s not writing, she’s looking for Mothman with her two cats. Follow her on Twitter @mbmcandrews. (She her)

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