Jonathan Groff And Ben Aldridge Reflect On Playing Gay Dads In ‘Knock At The Cabin’
In director M. Night time Shyamalan’s “Knock at the Cabin,” Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Groff play a pair of males who should endure emotional and bodily torment from fearsome assailants whereas grappling with the specter of the apocalypse.
The two actors are nonetheless hopeful that audiences will look past the film’s supernatural, if wildly topical, premise to watch the homosexual love story at its heart, too.
“Gay marriage wasn’t even legal when I came out of the closet in 2009, so this feels like the gift of a lifetime,” Groff informed HuffPost. “It wasn’t lost on us while we were shooting [how] blessed we are to be on that wave of progress.”
Launched Friday, “Knock at the Cabin” is an adaptation of a 2018 novel by Paul Tremblay titled “The Cabin at the End of the World,” albeit with a radically completely different ending. The film facilities on married fathers Andrew (Aldridge) and Eric (Groff), who’re having fun with a trip with their 7-year-old daughter, Wen (Kristen Cui), at a rustic dwelling by a secluded lake.
The household’s idyllic getaway, nonetheless, is disrupted when 4 strangers bearing makeshift weapons emerge from a close-by forest to storm their property. Eric sustains a head damage within the ensuing scuffle, and the group takes him and Andrew hostage earlier than presenting them with a grisly conundrum: One member of the household should voluntarily sacrifice their life to cease the world from ending.
In flashbacks, it’s revealed that Andrew was the sufferer of an anti-LGBTQ hate crime that will have concerned one of many dwelling invaders, Redmond (Rupert Grint). Naturally, Andrew suspects that he and Eric have been focused due to their sexuality, whilst their cultish captors’ doomsday claims seemingly start ringing true.
Whereas trustworthy to Tremblay’s guide, the movie’s use of homophobia and different queer-specific traumas as subtext has turned out to be divisive amongst critics. (Learn HuffPost’s evaluate of the movie right here.) Groff, nonetheless, mentioned Shyamalan’s intent was for him and Aldridge to all the time “feel the love” within the scenes, “even when there was confusion and even when there was pain.”
“From the first read of the script to actually playing it, I didn’t realize until we were doing it how much of a love story we were playing between us outside of the lines — including the lines, of course,” he recalled. “But that was a real element that he kept reminding us of as we made it.”
Aldridge, in the meantime, credited Cui ― who’s making her display screen performing debut within the movie ― with serving to preserve the temper gentle on set.
“We had a lot of fun with Kristen in between all of the intensity,” he mentioned of his younger co-star. “She’s unflappable and unfazed. [Shyamalan] has worked with so many child actors and can be incredibly hard and blunt with them. But I think probably more than anyone on that set, Kristen knew that we were acting. She would make us laugh rather than the other way around. It was kind of like she did her own version of taking care of us, really.”
Aldridge, who got here out as homosexual in 2020, has been outspoken in interviews about issues he’d beforehand held concerning how his sexuality might impression his Hollywood profession.
Instead, he’s discovered even better success as of late, most notably in final 12 months’s film adaptation of Michael Ausiello’s memoir, “Spoiler Alert,” by which he performed a photographer named Package Cowan whose relationship is examined following a terminal most cancers prognosis.
Collectively, each initiatives have afforded Aldridge the possibility to supply audiences with the form of illustration he felt was lacking in his early years. “I could never have imagined when I left drama school that this would be a possibility,” he mentioned. “I just feel very grateful.”
Groff, in the meantime, has been a favourite of queer audiences since HBO’s “Looking,” which targeted on the lives (and loves) of three homosexual males in San Francisco. His film profession has been flourishing, too, due to appearances in 2021’s “The Matrix Resurrections” and Disney’s animated juggernaut “Frozen,” by which he voiced Kristoff.
These days, he’s gearing up for a long-awaited return to the musical stage following his Tony-nominated roles in “Spring Awakening” and “Hamilton.” In September, he’ll seem alongside Daniel Radcliffe within the first-ever Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along,” which not too long ago wrapped a sold-out off-Broadway run at New York Theatre Workshop.
Interestingly, Groff will all the time affiliate “Knock at the Cabin” along with his “Merrily We Roll Along” function, on condition that he started making ready for the musical whereas on the film’s Pennsylvania set.
“I’d go down to the treadmill every morning at 5 a.m. before we shot, and I’d be listening to ‘Merrily.’ So they kind of feel intertwined, even though they seem so dissimilar,” he mentioned. “But I don’t think of roles fitting in any type of canon. It’s just pulling an arrow and shooting it off, and going back for another one.”
Catch a trailer for “Knock at the Cabin” under.