Abigail Set Visit: Interview with Giancarlo Esposito, Kevin Durand and more!

While visiting the set of Radio Silence’s Abigail, we got to chat with Kevin Durand and Giancarlo Esposito.

Last Updated on April 9, 2024

abigail cast

For day two of our Abigail set visit coverage, we got to speak with actors Kevin Durand and the legendary Giancarlo Esposito.

Recently, JoBlo was invited to visit the set of Radio Silence’s newest Universal monster movie, Abigail (CHECK OUT KATHRYN NEWTON INTERVIEW HERE), a film best described by the directors as “a heist movie hijacked by a monster movie.”  

Just as the day was ending on day two, we returned to the Glenmaroon House, the massively beautiful set for the vampire film.  Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, and Melissa Barrera welcomed us in as they were getting ready to film their big introduction to the crew, as seen in the brand new trailer.  In this scene, Lambert (played by Giancarlo Esposito) tells a group of the heist the girl they kidnapped is the daughter of a “very wealthy man who is about to be 50 million dollars poorer.”

After filming, we got to sit down with Mr. Durand and Mr. Esposito.  The following is a transcript of the round table interview.

Can you talk a little bit about your role?

KEVIN DURAND: “I play a guy named Peter, who is basically kind of a hired muscle of the crew.  We’ve been hired to kidnap a target and then realize the target is a 12-year-old, and we think, ‘Well, this is too easy,’ and it turns out it’s not as easy as we thought.  Peter’s always a couple of steps behind, partially because there’s a bit of a language barrier.  I’m playing him like he’s from French Canada, like he’s from Montreal, which is my original – my first accent.  So, I’m playing a French-Canadian guy who’s a little bit askew in trying to catch up and is not really okay with his line of work, so he drinks heavily.”

What’s Peter’s relationship with the rest of the crew?

“We kept no relationship.  We’ve never seen each other before.  None of us has any idea who the other is, so we were assembled because of that. “ 

Kathryn (Newton) was talking about how she came up with this three-minute dance number, speaking to how creative the collaboration is with Matt and Tyler.  So, I was curious how that has been with you and if you have also evolved your character working with them.  

“I came up with a 35-minute dance.  And they promised me at the very end they will try to shoot it.  It’s pretty funky.”  He laughs.  “Seriously, there’s a lot of freedom within the world they created.  They have a ton of faith in the people they hire.  For me to say ‘I want to make him French-Canadian,’ because for me it feels more personal, that was cool they were just open for that.  And from scene to scene, beat to beat, we just throw all the shit at the wall and see what sticks.  It’s a real nice collaboration.”

How does Peter react when things get weird?

“He doesn’t want to believe it.  He’s very Catholic.  And the very idea that vampires exist he’s like (in a French-Canadian accent) ‘There no such thing.’  He doesn’t believe it and then he’s being attacked by one.  

Is there a specific element of the film that you are most excited about or anxious to see?

“Well, Alisha is so stunning.  From the table read, I was like (whispering to himself) ‘Oh wow.  I’m probably not that good of an actor.  Shit.  How does she know how to do all this shit already?’ It’s unreal.  She’s really a phenomenal talent.  But I’m really, truly, excited for the entire thing.  When I read the script, I was thinking this is the kind of movie I want to see on a Friday night.”

abigail giancarlo esposito

Next up, Giancarlo Esposito walks in, playfully feeling like he’s being ambushed and joking around with us.  

We would love to know more about your character (Lambert) if you could reveal anything about that.

GIANCARLO ESPOSITO: “Reveal…that’s an interesting question. Look, I’m kind of a take-charge guy who, in this particular film, the big misdirect is that it’s a heist film from the beginning that’s done quite well on the first couple of pages – and they were for me when I read them. And you know, I went, ‘Wow, what a great set piece in the beginning.’  And then I come into the film, and I’m kind of taking charge of telling people what this job is, which insensibly is a kidnapping, and have to do that convincingly…

He continues,

“You know, in so many ways, the film’s about relationships and loyalty and being cursed with the great burden of who we are.  So, in a way, yes, it’s a horror film, but isn’t life the ultimate horror film?  Like, if you live and you start learning about who you are, you see the good, the bad, the ugly.   So, you know, for me I know for years I just shut that door.  I don’t want to look at that; probably why I’m an actor. You know, I just want to shut that door because that person is an intense human being that I don’t want to look at because he can be really a nasty fucking asshole.  Like, my children say, ‘Papa, you’ve grown so much.’ And I say, ‘No, I’m the same old asshole.’ (laughter) Don’t be fooled.  Just looking at them in a different way, right?

So, isn’t that the burden of life? So, I look at scripts – when I read them as something that I can learn from and grow from.  And then I decide, ‘Should I be on this journey?’  And I relate it back to the spiritual journey I’m taking.  People ask me a lot: how do you play these villains?  And you know, I shy away from saying it’s because I am a villain. Right?  And they look at me.  It’s because I’ve lived, you know?  I know I’ve been a warrior in a past life.  I know I’ve killed people (in my past life). I know that’s been a part of my essence. And I know this because I can look at one of my children, and she’ll just shrink, and I’ll see tears arise.  I had this experience once, and she asked me a question that was really hard to answer. She said, ‘What happened to you when you were a child?’ And that just froze me.  She said, ‘Do you know that generational trauma is really real?’ And I didn’t wanna hear that. And so I had to think about my father.  I’m Italian. My father was really strict. I witnessed a lot of arguing between my father and mother.

All of that affected me, you know?  My father used to belittle me.  Just verbally, and I started to think about all this and started to really feel it again, and it still hurts me.  I’m an adult man, a mature man.  So, I went, ‘Oh okay, I’m still working through that, so that means I’m still angry at him for doing that.’  If I can learn not to do that to my children, then I’m better off… an interesting part of this film for me as well is that this young Abigail is getting her way.   And it’s just a great analogy…There’s a lot of, in this horror movie, there’s a lot of great action, a lot of blood, a lot of loss of life, but a lot of great lessons, too.  That’s part of why I like it.”

Speaking with all of the actors we’ve talked to, there’s a lot of gray area.  There’s no black and white.  They’ve done despicable things, but there’s a lot of empathy there.  Was that part off the myth for you?  

“I think so.  it’s part of why I like being an actor here. You know, thank goodness I love Ireland, and I have a short period of time here. But we, as actors, we’re in a circus, and we’re in purgatory. This house is purgatory, right?  You can’t get out.  Some of these people have to get caked in blood. It’s nasty and sticky. You’re doing your time until your time is up. So, you make a choice. Do you learn from it?  Do you have experiences from it with other people? Or do you hate it?  I’ve been with actors who are just miserable. I mean, you sign on, you might as well get something out of it.  It’s interesting.  I do think that there are a lot of analogies for our lives within this movie and that we talk about a character that we don’t see the whole movie a lot.  The most powerful character we don’t see. What does that remind you of? Why are you here? Where is God? Where is Goddess? The most powerful puppeteer of all. 

You know what I mean? It’s really fascinating. But what does that really represent?  Because God and Goddess – because I always can’t say God without Goddess, powerful words – it’s a principle, right?  Yes, so I grew up Roman Catholic. I was going to be a priest. That was the person to look up to the sky to find God, right? And now I believe that there’s that piece of God and Goddess that’s in all of us. You got to find it inside of you to be able to find the goodness of who you are or the badness of who you are.  Because one doesn’t exist without the other.”

Abigail opens only in theaters April 19.

About the Author

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Mike Conway has been a film fanatic since the age of 4 ever since his dad, who didn't know any better, took him to see A Nightmare On Elm Street 4. When he's not introducing his own son to horror movies, Mike loves being with his family, listening to and playing metal, pinball, and cooking. After seeing Mallrats as a teen, he was inspired to write his first screenplay and hasn't stopped since. While he has made several short films, he hopes to soon get a feature under his belt. In addition to running the JoBlo Horror YouTube Channel, Mike writes, edits, and narrates for JoBlo Horror Originals. He resides in South Carolina with his wife, son, and four dogs where he's constantly vacuuming up dog hair.