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Antlers Movie Poster From the visionary world of acclaimed director Scott Cooper and horror maestro Guillermo del Toro comes ANTLERS....

Antlers [Movie]

Antlers Movie Poster

From the visionary world of acclaimed director Scott Cooper and horror maestro Guillermo del Toro comes ANTLERS.  In an isolated Oregon town, a middle-school teacher (Keri Russell) and her sheriff brother (Jesse Plemons) become embroiled with her enigmatic student (Jeremy T. Thomas) whose dark secrets lead to terrifying encounters with a legendary ancestral creature who came before them.  Based on the short story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, David S. Goyer, and J. Miles Dale.

From the visionary world of acclaimed director Scott Cooper (CRAZY HEART, HOSTILES) and horror maestro Guillermo del Toro (THE SHAPE OF WATER) comes ANTLERS. In an isolated Oregon town, a middle-school teacher (Keri Russell) and her sheriff brother (Jesse Plemons) become embroiled with her enigmatic student (Jeremy T. Thomas) whose dark secrets lead to terrifying encounters with a legendary ancestral creature who came before them. Based on the short story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca, screenplay by C. Henry Chaisson & Nick Antosca and Scott Cooper. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, David S. Goyer, and J. Miles Dale. ANTLERS stars Keri Russell (The Americans, STAR WARS: THE RISE OF THE SKYWALKER), Jesse Plemons (THE IRISHMAN), Graham Greene (WIND RIVER), Scott Haze (VENOM), Rory Cochrane (BLACK MASS), Amy Madigan (GONE BABY GONE) and introducing Jeremy T. Thomas and Sawyer Jones.

Scott Cooper and Guillermo del Toro:
The Forging of a Powerhouse Partnership

Scott Cooper, an acclaimed filmmaker known for his artful exploration of the human condition, has made a diverse array of films, each one examining cultures and stories within a host of genres. From the underside of addiction in the country music world in CRAZY HEART, to the intense familial drama that haunts the thriller OUT OF THE FURNACE, to his astute take on the journey of Native Americans in the aftermath of battle in his western HOSTILES, Cooper has sought to redefine our expectations of classic genre norms. And while Cooper explores the underlying social issues in his writing and filmmaking, he always seeks to assemble a crew of craftspeople to showcase eye-catching cinematography, intricate sound design, impeccable production design and dynamic acting to create an immersive cinematic experience. With ANTLERS, Cooper jumped at the chance to tackle the genre of classic horror, and to work with the maestro himself Guillermo del Toro, a man who knows the way to boldly tell a tale of monsters.

Cooper’s attraction to the horror genre may have been the next logical step in an already nontraditional career. “Horror movies have always been among my favorites— DON’T LOOK NOW, THE EXORCIST, THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and of course THE SHINING”, says Cooper. “And after doing a -musical in CRAZY HEART, a suspense thriller in OUT OF THE FURNACE, a gangster movie with BLACK MASS and a western with HOSTILES, it felt natural to segue into horror,” says Cooper.

But Cooper wasn’t interested in horror-for-horror’s sake. He was intent to tackle a narrative that would allow him to employ the classic horror genre as a vehicle for telling a terrifying story of one family’s journey into darkness, steeped in the intimacy of a small northwestern seaside town. “How could I talk about what’s happening in America today and somehow draw those themes into horror? To me, the best of those films shares elements of social commentary, while also delving into the fears and weaknesses that haunt so many of us,” he says, adding that centering his story around a tortured yet formidable heroine as embodied by the versatile actress Keri Russell was a “complete coup for my film.”

As luck would have it, in the summer of 2017, producer David S. Goyer (THE DARK KNIGHT) met with producer J. Miles Dale (THE SHAPE OF WATER) about a script written by Nick Antosca and C. Henry Chaisson, who’d adapted author-producer Antosca’s (Hulu’s The Act) short story “The Quiet Boy.”

The result was an emotionally-charged horror feature that blended Native American lore with family drama—and plenty of requisite scary moments. And Cooper sought to portray a mythical creature who embodied the fears and weaknesses of a small town decimated by the societal issues that so many towns encounter. But the mythology didn’t just come from the story. Cooper worked with acclaimed director Chris Eyre (SMOKE SIGNALS) as a consultant to specifically examine how the mythology of a native monster impacts a culture living on cherished native soil. “Chris and I first worked together on HOSTILES, which told a story of Cheyenne, Apache, and Comanche natives, and I knew his insight and expertise into the native mythology in ANTLERS would be invaluable,” said Cooper.

“It began with the The Quiet Boy, says Antosca, “the story was loosely inspired by my mother's experience as an elementary school teacher in a small town while I was growing up.”

Chaisson says, “I spent a big chunk of my childhood in a post-industrial town on the east coast, a place where the pillar of the local economy had vanished. One of the things that drew me to Nick's story was that it evokes that crumbling, forlorn atmosphere and crafts a horror scenario that feels so specific to that kind of setting.”

“We took the project to Searchlight and were surprised to learn that Scott was interested because he typically writes his own material,” says Dale, who’d previously worked with the studio on THE SHAPE OF WATER. “But he really loved it and wanted to help evolve it from a genre movie into a beautifully complicated and suspenseful allegory about the relationship between human and nature.”

Cooper’s enthusiasm for ANTLERS was cemented when horror and genre master filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro (HELLBOY, PAN’S LABYRINTH, and Oscar®-winner for THE SHAPE OF WATER) boarded ANTLERS as a producer. Cooper says Del Toro’s involvement immediately lent a reassuring sense of artistic purpose. “One of the reasons I decided to do the film is because of Guillermo and his amazing skill at creating creatures,” says Cooper. “I wouldn’t have done it without his help in creating something that felt real and like it was part of the earth.”

It turns out the professional admiration was quite mutual: Del Toro had long admired Cooper’s work, especially his grueling 2013 film OUT OF THE FURNACE, starring Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson. “To me, Scott had actually directed a great horror movie in OUT OF THE FURNACE,” says Del Toro. “It was so scary. Woody is one of the all-time great monsters in that movie. What I also saw in OUT OF THE FURNACE was how Scott handled tension so beautifully; the softer, emotional side of humans. But also, the brutal.”

Cooper’s wide-ranging acuity as a storyteller across such disparate genres gave Del Toro the assurance, he needed that the two could enjoy a shared vision on ANTLERS. “For me, it’s a movie about rage, hatred and what happens when we destroy the earth,” says Del Toro. “Whether the rage happens in a family, in a country or to the environment, it’s all an invocation for this creature: The rage is what summons him. Yes, ANTLERS is a horror movie, but it’s also a really dark, poignant and emotional social drama, anchored by surprising and immensely dedicated performances.”

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