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Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, and author Joe Hill on ‘Horns’

'Horns' Opens October 31st

Oct 30, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

In Horns, Daniel Radcliffe stars as Ig Perrish, a young man who finds himself accused of murdering his girlfriend—a crime he knows he didn’t commit, but lacks any proof to clear his name. Perceived as a villain in the public eye, Ig awakes to find he’s sprouted a pair of devilish horns, and possesses powers that compel others to tell him their darkest, most tucked-away secrets. With his new abilities, he sets out to prove his innocence by finding the person who took away the love of his life and bringing them to justice.

Horns’ premise is as uncommon as they come, and – for a setup so dark – the film surprisingly humorous. It’s such an unusual combination that even author Joe Hill, who wrote the original 2010 novel, admits he “never thought it would be a film.”

“I just thought it was such a weird, unlikely story,” Hill explains. “It has a black sense of humor, it’s funny, and it has this tragic love story … It has a lot of elements in it, and I just thought it was so strange that I could never imagine that anyone would actually, really make it.”

It was finally the French filmmaker Alexandre Aja (High Tension) who dared take a crack at adapting Horns. The screenplay (by playwright Keith Bunin) found its way to Daniel Radcliffe, who immediately wanted to be involved with the project.

“I viewed it as an incredibly original, daring, witty, emotional piece of writing,” explains Radcliffe. “I was always pleased by how that transferred into the script. Obviously things change with an adaptation, but the one thing people will get upset about [is] if the original tone of the book is absent. I think what makes Joe’s book unique is the sort of joyous rampaging through styles, and that’s what I think we’ve stayed very faithful to, and what I hope fans of the book will respond to.”

The wide range of styles that Horns attempts to tackle would never even have a chance to come together had the film not been a straight-forward, believable love story at its heart.

“The love story is so key to the film,” says Radcliffe. “[Joe] created this kind of universally recognizable, perfect, ‘love’s young dream’ relationship, which [he] then destroys.”

“I think ‘Love Hurts Like Hell’ is a good tagline,” explains Juno Temple, who plays Ig’s girlfriend, Merrin, in the film’s flashbacks. “[Ig] has not only had the love of his live ripped away from him, but he’s also being charged with it.”

“When I wrote the book, I thought I was going to take this sort of perfect young man, and I’m going to turn him into the devil,” says Hill. “I’m going to destroy him. But by the time it’s done, he’ll be sane. In the course of writing the book, it turned out that destroying someone who’s really decent is harder than that.”

That idea of good and evil – and how the barriers between the two are sometimes blurred – was central to Hill’s story. There’s always a sense that Ig is actually a good person, despite the accusations against him and, of course, his devil horns.

“When you look at Ig… when he becomes this sort of devilish, demonic creature, he’s also using [his powers] for good, to try to solve a horrible crime,” says Temple. “Bad can be good, and good can be bad.”

“It’s easy in films, stories, and novels to make it seem like bad things happen because of evil, but actually a lot of pain is caused because of people trying to do the right thing,” says Hill. “People almost always suffer because of love, not because of hate.”

Hill admits that he wouldn’t exactly call Horns a horror movie, and if there’s anyone qualified to make that distinction it’s him. (Hill is not only a successful horror writer in his own right, but the son of bestselling author Stephen King.) Horns’ strange blend of horror, crime fiction, young romance, and dark comedy make it hard to categorize—but also unique.

“I think we live in a world where people have an obsession categorization of things. I like that this is very, very hard to pin down,” says Radcliffe. “I think if you can describe a movie and do it justice in one sentence, it’s probably not a very good movie. This one takes many sentences to define.”

“I don’t think horror is about disgusting people, or [shocking them],” adds Hill. “I think it’s about finding characters you really love and can root for, and then seeing them suffer the worst.”


Horns opens on Friday, October 31st. For more information about the film, check out its website.


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