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As is the case for most horror films, in The Killing of a Sacred Deer, it’s the kids that are the creepiest characters in it.
Up-and-coming star Barry Keoghan’s performance as a troubled teen who unleashes havoc on the lives of Steven (Colin Farrell), a surgeon, his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) and their two children is absolutely bone-chilling, especially as things rapidly spiral out of control.
Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos‘ absurd horror has a twisted and amoral heart. Its veins pump out grim black humour as the actors deliver their lines with clinical detachment. It’s a film about revenge, making impossible choices and the burden of guilt that stains everything it seeps into.
Keoghan, 25, who also starred in Dunkirk, revealed that Lanthimos’ audition techniques were rather unusual.
‘He made us throw a tennis ball against the wall [and] pat our stomach. It was all part of distracting us from attaching emotions… He just wanted us to say it.’
Tomorrowland star Raffey Cassidy plays Steven’s daughter, Kim, who is instantly smitten with Keoghan’s mysterious outsider, Martin, even when his intentions become more sinister.
The 15-year-old actress revealed that the pair learned a lot from watching Farrell and Kidman in action.
‘Colin was always really funny on set and bringing the laughs because it was quite a dark film, so you’ve got to have fun as well. Nicole was really warm and always made you feel really comfortable. Also to watch them work was amazing.’
Watch our full interview with the stars at BFI London Film Festival to find out whether they got any acting tips from the Hollywood heavyweights and what Lanthimos was like as a director.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is released in cinemas on November 3.