The Desperate Hour Star Naomi Watts Talks the Film's Emotional and Physical Challenges

In some cases, a film that unfolds in real time can feel like nothing more than a gimmick to draw attention to it that a storyline might not entirely offer, but in the case of The Desperate Hour, audiences witness how quickly a tragedy can unfold and how it can impact unsuspecting victims. Throughout most of the film’s run time, audiences see actor Naomi Watts not only attempt to cope with past trauma, but also one that she finds herself thrust into the middle of, yet without the power to directly intervene. The Desperate Hour hits theaters, On Demand, and Digital HD on February 25th.

While the new film might not have been an action-packed experience, the premise required Watts to not only convey her emotional struggles with the tragedy, but she also had to be physically active through a majority of the story.

“It was both things colliding with full force at the same time,” Watts confirmed with when discussing the difficulties of the emotional vs. physical challenges. “I certainly prepared a bunch in the lead-up in both areas. But, like you say, once you’re there on the day, it’s a whole other challenge that you didn’t quite know. We shot it in ways that just lended itself to long shots, which governed how the emotions would play because of the physical exhaustion and then the emotions unraveling so easily because of that. You’re body’s broken down, and then, so what happens? The thoughts just come in.”

She added, “And then, of course, you’ve got this voice at the other end of the phone that is delivering information that is obviously rendering you either powerless and useless to [think], ‘Oh, my God, that’s unjust and unfair and I’m going to be filled with rage.’ ‘Collision’ is the perfect word, because it was just constant.”

Unfolding in real time, The Desperate Hour is a “riveting and pulse-pounding” thriller from award-winning director Phillip Noyce. Recently widowed mother Amy Carr (Academy Award-nominee Naomi Watts) is doing her best to restore normalcy to the lives of her young daughter and teenage son in their small town. As she’s on a jog in the woods, she finds her town thrown into chaos as a shooting takes place at her son’s school. Miles away on foot in the dense forest, Amy desperately races against time to save her son.

Despite Watts being the only person in most shots, forcing her to carry the weight of the story almost entirely alone, she did have people just on the outskirts of the production to help her more effectively convey the stress and anxiety she suffered.

“It was very challenging, but I did have real-life actors on the phone,” Watts confirmed. “If that wasn’t available, that would’ve been too, too hard. That would’ve been too lonely. As an actor, you are reacting. There is more than one person, really, that is necessary in order to tell the story, unless you’re truly doing a monologue. So, I really relied on them, and they were up for it in every way. Sometimes it was like, ‘Oh, shoot, we’re deep in the forest and we now have lost service.’ So, you were on your own, but you had to just run with those challenges.”

Watts was recently involved in another unsettling experience, having starred in the English-language remake of Goodnight Mommy. With that original film full of shocking twists and turns, she kept a tight lid on that new project.

When asked if she could offer a tease for fans about the remake, Watts deflected, “No, I don’t want to give anything away, but I think you won’t be disappointed. That’s all.” She also noted that it won’t be a complete departure from the source material and the remake is “still a definitely freaky film.”

The Desperate Hour hits theaters, On Demand, and Digital HD on February 25th.

Are you looking forward to the film? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!


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