Nothing is as it seems in Eli Horowitz's Gone in the Night. The mystery-thriller revolves around a woman whose boyfriend goes missing and she falls down a twisty rabbit hole in her search for him and answers as to why he seemingly broke up with her for a mysterious younger woman.
Stranger Things star Winona Ryder leads the cast of Gone in the Night alongside Dermot Mulroney, John Gallagher Jr., Brianne Tju and Owen Teague. Homecoming creator Eli Horowitz directs the thriller on a script he co-wrote with Matthew Derby.
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In anticipation of the film's release, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with star Brianne Tju to discuss Gone in the Night, reading the scripts multiple times on her first night, developing her character with star Owen Teague and more.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Screen Rant: It's good to chat with you again after Unhuman.
Brianne Tju: I know, I just saw your face! [Laughs]
Though Gone in the Night isn't the same kind of energetic fun as Unhuman, it is still quite the thrill ride. What about it really drew you to the project?
Brianne Tju: I got the audition for it, I had to read the script that night, I was working on Uhuman when I got this audition, actually. I remember thinking, "Oh, it's a thriller kind of horror film, is that really what I want to do right after doing Unhuman?" Then I read it and I was like, "Yep, that's it. That's the one I want to do." And I read it back-to-back, twice in a row that same night, because it was so well-written, it was so interesting.
It just kept you guessing the whole time, even when I was reading it the second time, I was still like, "Is that really gonna happen? That's crazy" and I really love the character of Greta, she was unlike any character I've ever played in the past. So all around, the people involved, the script, the character, it was all there for me and I'm so grateful to be a part of this movie.
Greta is really quite the interesting character to watch as Gone in the Night plays out, especially when you see her between flashbacks and the present. What was that like for you really exploring these different layers of her as the film goes on?
Brianne Tju: Yeah, that's what I really loved about this film was that we all kind of got to play in a way two characters. It was very duplicitous in a way, which is funny because I think that in reality, most people have two different sides to them. With Greta, she falls into more of the extreme, she comes off as this tough, confident badass and I think throughout you kind of can't tell if she's good or bad, necessarily, and what her intentions are with even the people closest to her, like Al.
You don't know what Greta wants, essentially, until really the very end and it was just really interesting. It was funny, because Eli and I talked a lot about just how Greta and Al would look. What would they wear? What music do they listen to? How did they meet? All these things, because they are a very specific set of people and we wanted them to feel very alien to the other characters who are living or are from a different generation. We wanted them to look at this younger generation almost like they were aliens, essentially, which is sometimes me.
I look at the younger generation who's grown up with TikTok and Instagram and I'm so far removed from that world. I don't hate on it at all, I just don't understand it, I still have a hard time trying to figure out how to use TikTok. [Chuckles] There's just this cultural difference between these four generations of people that we follow.
I think that theme plays out really well in the film through your various characters and with that said, you share most of your screen time with Owen Teague and John Gallagher Jr. What was it like really building that chemistry with each of them off camera before bringing into each scene?
Brianne Tju: It was so immediate that it was so lucky. So before we even went to Cazadero to start shooting, I think I had about two weeks of prep in between Unhuman and this and one of the first things I wanted to do was meet Owen and he was so game, he was like, "Yes, when? Were? You tell me." It turns out he was my neighbor at the time, lived very close and we just sat in my backyard and talked about these characters, about our lives and what are these characters into, what should they look like? We were playing around with the idea of bleaching our hair blond and so many other things. [Chuckles]
But yeah, with Owen I felt very safe and supported and I felt like because of that, we were able to be uninhibited and make weird choices with our characters and know that we were in good hands, and that has a lot to do with Eli as well. And John Gallagher Jr., I cannot sing his praises enough. I love that man so much, he is the nicest, funniest, most talented person and so grounded and I feel like I've watched so many of his films like Hush, I've seen him in Westworld and also Short Term 12, I thought he was really, really good in that. So I've always been a fan and to get to work with him, I was intimidated, but he is really the coolest person and he just makes you feel understood and seen and, yeah, they were so great to work with.
Well, that's awesome. That's always what you want to hear from the set.
Brianne Tju: I'm not gonna lie, I can't always say that. So I'm glad to get to say it right now. [Laughs]
A lot of people I've talked to for this film, especially John, have also really sung Winona Ryder's praises for being involved with this film. What was that like for you when you first heard that she was going to be in it and then when you saw her on set?
Brianne Tju: I remember sharing a moment with John at the beginning of our very first table read where he and I were just like, [Mouths] "Oh my god, that's Winona" and he was like, [Mouths] "I know" and we're kind of just freaking out together. But she is so talented, I grew up watching her, she's completely iconic, almost feels like otherworldly. But then you meet her and she's just so real, so grounded, so kind, and she really guided me through this whole process. There were a couple scenes where I go head to head with Winona and I was scared s---less, I was very scared. [Chuckles]
She essentially just held my hand through it and supported me and made me feel great about myself. She's one of my favorite people that I've ever acted with and just one of the best people to be around. She's also one of the main reasons why I wanted to do this movie, she was already attached and it was like, "Are you kidding me? How are you going to not want to do a movie with Winona Ryder?"
Right? That's one of the biggest draws you can have for any movie, really.
Brianne Tju: And also Dermot. I'm obsessed with My Best Friend's Wedding. Don't get me wrong, I know he's on plenty of other amazing projects, but I was always obsessed with that movie growing up. He also has a great character on New Girl, so yeah, I've always loved Dermot as well.
It's funny, when I interviewed him for this, I specifically brought up New Girl for my final question because I love that show.
Brianne Tju: Oh, good. I don't know why, it's funny, when I booked the movie, I remember my roommate and I were like, "Let's watch him in New Girl again." He's just so charming, and charismatic and adorable and you can't help but fall in love with the guy, even his character in Friends. He's just so great and so prolific and such a well-rounded actor and human. He's funny, he's weird. [Laughs]
I got a little bit of all of that when I talked with him, for sure. Since you did mention going head to head with Winona, I feel like I would be remiss not to bring up the big reveal of Gone in the Night. What was your initial reaction when you saw that?
Brianne Tju: "Whoa. What?" [Laughs] What's crazy is that, so I went into reading the script with zero context, I didn't even look at the sides for the audition yet, I was like, "I'm just gonna go in blind. I just want to see what this thing is about." And it really threw me for a loop and I was so impressed and so excited at the twist at the end. When I first read the script, I saw Greta one way and I thought, "How can this character not prevail? She's the strongest, most confident character, most capable character, it seems like, manipulative as well."
So to see how it ends is really, really interesting, and I think probably satisfying for the audience to watch, because as much as I think people have fun with Greta, she's not really a good person. Which is fine, because I don't always want to play good people and there are plenty of not great people in the world. But it's just kind of satisfying in the end, I think. But yeah, she was a really fun character to play.
I was doing weird s--t while shooting, I was listening to a lot of noise music and it was an eight-hour drive for me to go to Cazadero and I wanted to drive and I was listening to true crime and noise music and I think I was drinking a can of Monster. By the time I got out of the car, I was wired. [Chuckles] I was like, "I'm a different human being," it was fun to indulge in that.
That's the perfect prep, really those three things right there, for a role like Greta. So filming that final scene, we finally got to have all of the main cast together, what was that like for you finally getting to be in that room shooting with everybody?
Brianne Tju: It was great. Luckily the way it kind of played out was we were all in there on mine and Owen's last week, so those were the last couple of days shooting was in the container. It was great, because we all really got to play off of each other. It was a little chaotic, don't get me wrong, but I think we all thrived on that and it was fun and we really all were so supportive of one another, even though it's hot in there and it's a long scene. It's a very long scene, so it can be quite taxing. But it was really fun and I just loved that the movie is out of order. You keep getting hints from the past, but they don't fully line up and you're trying to make sense of this puzzle and in the end, to finally see it all line up, is really satisfying.
Gone in the Night Synopsis
Upon arriving at a remote cabin in the redwoods, Kath (Winona Ryder) and her boyfriend (John Gallagher Jr.) find a mysterious young couple (Owen Teague and Brianne Tju) already there — the rental has apparently been double-booked. With nowhere else to go, they decide to share the cabin with these strangers. When her boyfriend mysteriously disappears with the young woman, Kath becomes obsessed and enlists an unlikely supporter (Dermot Mulroney) with finding an explanation for their sudden breakup— but the truth is far stranger than she could have ever imagined.
Check out our other Gone in the Night interviews with star John Gallagher Jr. and director Eli Horowitz.