Barbarian is a shockingly twisted thriller that will surprise audiences around every corner. During the press conference for this new film, stars Georgina Campbell and Justin Long, as well as writer and director Zach Cregger, had quite the time trying to talk about the movie without giving any spoilers. This is one of those movies that should be watched when you know as little as possible about it. However, they were able to dive into what drew them to the film, the inspiration behind it, and their characters.
The Inspiration Behind Barbarian
When asked what inspired him to write the film, Cregger says that he was reading a book, The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, and one of the chapters was dedicated to red flags that women should be aware of. “He was encouraging women to pay attention to these little, minor red flags that men can give off in day to day situations. And they can be very innocuous things that you might not notice. Things like complimenting you when it’s not necessarily appropriate, or doing you a favor that you didn’t ask for, or touching in a non sexual way that’s not initiated by you.”
This inspired him to do a little exercise that was supposed to be just for him. He planned to write one scene, sticking in as many of these red flags as he could. He started with a double booked Airbnb and then it just grew from there. The intention was never to write an entire movie, but here we are, with Barbarian. As he finished the script, Cregger told himself that as long as he kept surprising himself, he would keep going. That is very clear when you watch the film as it is filled with twists and turns that no one can predict.
What Drew The Actors To Their Roles
Georgina Campbell plays the main character throughout pretty much the entire film. Her name is Tess, and she shows up at said double-booked Airbnb to find someone else already there. So what made her want to take on this role?
“I got sent the script on my agent. At the time, I was thinking about doing a different job, but I wasn’t really sure. And this script came along. And it had to be quite a fast decision. So I read it, and I was completely gripped from start to end. There’s so many twists and turns, which, as you’re reading it, you’re so engaged and wanting to know where is it going? I’ve always really wanted to do a horror film, but nothing had come up. I hadn’t come across anything that was right, that I really, really liked. And I just loved it. I thought it was fantastic.” she explains.
Campbell goes on to say that after meeting with Zach Cregger, it was clear that he knew what he was doing and that he had a passion for this film. She didn’t say yes on the Zoom meeting, but she did shortly after — and is thrilled to be a part of the project.
As for Justin Long, it was a similar situation. “It was the best-written script I’ve ever read. There was something very classic, completely unexpected. I had no idea what was happening. I was so intrigued by it. It was unlike anything I had read. It starts off as a well-written romantic comedy, which is really hard to do. The dialogue was so fluid and natural, and then there were things happening that broke so many rules.” Long says that he is so grateful to be a part of this film, because it is one of his favorite movies.
Cregger admits that Long isn’t the first person he reached out to for the role of AJ, but also admits that he was originally thinking about the character all wrong. Initially, he was thinking of Zac Efron (who declined the role). But as they were putting together more names, they realized the character needed to have more of a nice guy look than a buff bro look.
Are The Actors At All Like Their Characters?
AJ is not the type of character that Justin Long usually plays. When asked about preparing for this different type of role, he admits that there were only a few moments he couldn’t relate to.
“There was only one or two moments where I felt like I couldn’t relate. I’ve lied before. I’ve tried to put on airs before. I’ve been flawed. But there were some really awful things that he does, that I, fortunately, for me and people close to me, I couldn’t relate to. So that was a challenge, but a fun challenge. You have to create something and you have to create an approximation of how somebody might feel. And so I love that challenge. I love playing somebody who is flawed.”
Long goes on to explain that he watches a lot of Bachelor / Bachelorette shows and AJ reminded him of a guy who goes in and just tries to pretend he is cool and romantic. And so he says it was fun to play a guy who is different in certain situations. Like he is a different when talking to his mother than he is when talking to his friend.
Georgina Campbell says that what she loves so much about Tess is that she is extremely relatable — and also a much better person than she is. “I think she goes through everything in a way that you would if you were a normal person. There’s so many things that she’s reacting to that are going on around her. So I feel like when you’re watching it, hopefully, there are many moments that you can relate to and feel like you’re almost in that Airbnb with her.”
Barbarian is one of those movies that is basically one giant spoiler. It is best to head to theaters to see this one without knowing too much about it. Go see it on the big screen when it comes to theaters in the US and Canada on September 9th. You don’t want to be left out of the conversations, trust us.
Tessa Smith AKA Mama's Geeky, is a journalist that covers geek and Disney culture on her own website, as well as freelances for other sites such as What's On Disney Plus and Screen Rant. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Marketing and loves all things geeky. She is a Disney Vacation Club member and a Founders Circle Member of Disney+. She is also an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes and a member of the Critics Choice Association. Tessa lives in Upstate New York with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs named Sansa and Khaleesi.