Cummingsoon talks to Kevin Bacon and Carrie Preston about it they them, a slasher horror film that takes place in a conversion camp. The two discussed what makes horror so fascinating, and how they got into their intense roles. The film will premiere on 5 August 2022 on Peacock.
The synopsis states, “Kevin Bacon plays Owen Whistler in this slasher horror film set in the LGBTQIA+ conversion camp.” “Many queer and trans campers join Whistler for a week of programming aimed at ‘helping them find a new sense of independence’.” As camp methods become more psychologically unstable, campers must work together to protect themselves. When a mysterious killer starts claiming victims, things get even more dangerous.”
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Tyler Trees: Kevin, I found the introduction of your character so interesting, because obviously, the idea of a gay conversion camp being progressive is such a contradiction, but Owen’s so friendly and almost accepting in the beginning. It makes for a lot more interesting and frightening characters. Can you speak to that element of Owen?
Kevin Bacon: Well it was thanks to John [Logan, director of They/Them], To his credit, he wrote a guy who wasn’t a cookie cutter, crew cut, flag-wearing, right-wing or religious nut, you know? He wanted to soften the edges of this character and make him a dead fan or something and make him feel as appropriate as possible. I think when you set it up, there’s room to really shock people in a way that happens later in the movie, obviously.
Carrie, you give such a great performance, and you have this great monologue for Theo where you end it with only the scariest smile and “good night.” Can you discuss what drew you to that haunting scene?
Carrie Preston: Thank You! I think that, sadly, this woman really believes what she is saying. But she is also extremely smart, very intelligent, very well educated, so she also knows how clever she is to make it happen. To me, it feels like it’s almost the real horror of this movie. Yes, we have cuts and stuff, but the conversion scenes that both Kevin and I have to be part of are the true horrors of this horrible practice that continues to this day. I wanted to be a part of something like this. I don’t usually get to play the bad guy, so it was fun for me to do. You kill people with smiles as much as you do with dazzles, so I went with that.
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Kevin, you have a rich history with horror. What about this project caught you and make you want to return to the camp slasher style? You bring such enthusiasm and expectations to the film.
Kevin Bacon: I love horror because horror has very, very high stakes. It’s life and death, and it’s a good thing to do. John could have made a movie that was about a gay conversion. It could have been a dark little indie kind of drama, but to his credit, he felt that horror is a genre that has the potential to reach a lot of people. We see that all the time when things come out of the gate and have a very wide appeal. So to take this background, this terrifying idea, this horror of the gay conversion itself, and then plug it into a very traditional structure, for us — a ’70s camp slasher film — I thought, a super It was a wonderful idea.
Carrie J. Preston: The script itself is an adaptation of what we usually see in these types of movies, you know? In a way film… counselors become counselors, so to speak.