It might be Easter week, but Netflix has a new horror movie to savor with your chocolate eggs and hot buns.
choose or die stars newcomer Iola Evans as Kayla, a broke school dropout who decides to play an obscure ’80s video game in order to win the unclaimed prize of $125,000. However, when the game begins to affect reality in horrific ways, she teams up with her friend Isaac (Asa Butterfield) to solve the mystery.
Ahead of its release on Friday, April 15, digital spy spoke to Iola Evans and Asa Butterfield about the twisted horror movie.
Iola is your first role in a film, so how different did it feel to you from the TV work you’ve done before?
Iola Evans: It was both bigger and smaller because, yes, it’s my first leading role in a feature film, but it didn’t really work out until it got picked up by Netflix. It was kind of a small independent British film, in the sense that you got to know everyone on set. It was quite friendly and a rather pleasant environment.
But it was really hard, even though it’s supposed to be fun, to sustain yourself through so many days where you’re just hurting in different ways. I think I quite liked that.
Asa, what was it choose or die – or CURS>R as we knew then – made you want to be in this film?
Asa Butterfield: I think that was the originality of the story. And I’ve never done a horror movie, really. Not a full-fledged horror movie.
I’m a bit of a geek myself, with a lot of my games, so having that kind of horror Jumanji-esque retro video game story seemed right up my street. There were some really clever ideas they were toying with.
[Director] Toby [Meakins] was great. And we were shooting in London, which I had never done before. Shooting in your hometown is always nice, and so it changes a bit. It seemed like a fun opportunity to do something different.
And just to come home at night and relax…
Like a: Yes. I can go back to my own bed after one night. We were shooting in a prison for a lot of it, which was pretty intense. It’s no longer in use, but it used to be a women’s prison in Holloway and I’ve never filmed anywhere like it. The atmosphere was very heavy there, and I think that really helped to set the tone of the film.
choose or die has an 80s vibe, from the video game itself to the Robert Englund cameo. Iola, did Toby give you any horror movies to watch to get into Kayla’s mindset?
Yola: Toby suggested things to watch. Not necessarily all horror stuff, but a few things to do with some super smart, edgy female leads. He told me to look Extraterrestrial. He told me to look It follows [too].
I’m a little [of a] scared myself, so I didn’t see a huge amount of horror. But I think I was just letting myself be guided by the story of an ordinary person – a woman exceptional in her intelligence and skills – who was interrupted in pursuing her own ambitions because of what happened with his mother and his brother.
And then literally trying to survive through the challenges this game has thrown at it. So I’m just trying to play that.
One of the most intense and emotionally charged sequences in the film takes place in a swimming pool, which was the first scene you shot together. As you mentioned, Asa, it wasn’t a setting, it was a location, does that help you immerse yourself in the scene?
Like a: It definitely enhances it, and it adds atmosphere. In this scene I’m by the pool and we have all this fake mist and dry ice, which never behaves the way you want or expect it to, so it ends up being very precise and specific to the shots that you do .
It was also a chance to really see how we were going to work on this movie in the less dialogue-heavy scenes and the more action-y sets. It was a great way to start, because we could get to know each other, and also feel the real heightened moments of this film to know where we were going to end up needing to go.
Yola: It’s good, because I always feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. So it’s quite nice to be around actors that I consider to be more experienced, to learn from that and to absorb some of that. Especially in horror which, as Toby will tell you, is even more specific technically, in terms of how everything is handled.
It helps that this is all really kind of absurd, and it seems kind of weird to be like, “Let me just go down into this pool, into this abandoned women’s prison, and walk around in a little fog, and I have to do choices between my friend and my deceased brother”.
The whole thing is so weird, just accept it, really, I think.
Asa, how does it feel to be the “old face” on set, even though you’re still young yourself?
Like a: I try not to think about it. I feel quite experienced. I feel like it means I can help others. I think as an actor, not only do you have to perform, but the more you can help the other teams and departments around you, whether it’s lighting or costumes, it makes everyone’s life easier. world.
I feel very comfortable on film sets now. I like the acting side, but I also really like the technical side. So I always talk to the film crew about the lighting and the lenses they use, just to understand the idea behind it because I’m interested in it, as well as the type of performance and the story.
I think it’s also helped me over the years to really understand what’s going on. Because there are so many people working on a film set. It can get overwhelming. So I think the more you can understand a little about this, the less it can get a little too much and a little too confusing.
As we watched this, we couldn’t help but think about what we would do if we were in Kayla’s shoes, faced with increasingly bizarre choices. Iola, have you ever imagined the same?
Yola: When I read it for the first time, I wondered: “What is it? How does it work?” I imagined, “If this was me, and if this was real, how could I begin to make sense of what was happening to me?”
A first idea I had, just as I was reading the script, I thought maybe there was nothing supernatural or unexplained about it.
Maybe it was some kind of incredibly modern algorithm that somehow fetched a lot of information from every technology I’ve ever been on, and seemed to somehow augment my reality. But everything was somehow explained by technology – almost a little black mirror-y, like just half a step forward from where we are now.
But I don’t know what I would do. I don’t think I could tell my mom to jump out the window.
choose or die is available to watch on Netflix starting April 15.