Bruce Davison Interview: The Manor

Welcome to the Blumhouse is back with The Manor, a film centered on an elderly woman who moves into a nursing home following a massive stroke and suspects a dark secret behind the deaths of the residents. The cast for the film is led by horror icon Barbara Hershey alongside Nicholas Alexander, Bruce Davison, Jill Larson, Fran Bennett, Katie A. Keene, and Ciera Peyton.

Screen Rant got the opportunity to exclusively speak with Bruce Davison for The Manor, the terror from writer/director Axelle Carolyn’s script, and his love for the horror genre.

TechCrunch: I love The Manor, it’s such a fun and really intriguing build to the final reveal. What about the film and the script really stood out to you as something you wanted to be a part of?

Bruce Davison: Well, there were a number of things. First of all, meeting Axelle, the director, she had a wonderful vision, she had a vision of a story she wanted to tell and it was clear to her. She had a clarity about the kind of story she wanted to tell. Secondly, Barbara Hershey. I did my first film with Barbara in 1968, so coming full circle with us in our lives was really, you know, kind of the seven ages of man of actors.

It’s just an intriguing story and it plugs into a fear that a lot of people haven’t really gotten a chance to look at, which is kind of special, which is who believes you when you get old? Who believes you and then who cares when you get old? We don’t die young, that’s what happens to all of us.

It’s definitely a theme that does not get explored as often as it could in the genre, so I’m glad that Axelle brought that to life. What were some of the biggest creative challenges for you coming into this project?

Bruce Davison: Oh, gosh, it’s not so much a creative challenge anymore, because I’ve gotten to the point in my life where pretty much what you see is what you get, you know? I don’t have to spend a lot of time in makeup unless it’s horror makeup and I just like to be able to find a character and something about the character that I want to enjoy.

The character I’m playing is filled with joy, he just has a blast and I love that. What was interesting is Axelle would encourage that in different scenes too. Something would happen and I find a joke in it or some funny twist on it and she said, “Yeah, that’s it. That’s good.” So this was one of the easier kinds of journeys that I’d had in a movie. I mean, I didn’t have to suffer a lot. Villains are always great, too, you don’t suffer as much as a victim or as the hero.

Since the chemistry between you and the whole friend group in the home is such a vital element of making this film so entertaining, what was it like building that rapport and chemistry with one another?

Bruce Davison: It was so great. It was Jill [Larson] and Fran Bennett and Katie Amanda Keane, all of them brought their own characters so thoroughly to it. What was wonderful about Axelle is she puts four people around a table and she’s cast, people that have their own agendas and their own ideas and their own, as actors, great creativity. Then, you know, it’s just bouncing a ball into the middle of that and see who swats it around and that’s what was fun. Because we’ve been there a while and we’re all looking to find joy in whatever life is left.

This is not the first time we’ve seen you in the horror genre, of course, but what is it about this genre you feel keeps bringing you back to it?

Bruce Davison: Vincent Price. I always wanted to be Vincent Price. I met him at a dinner one time and he was just the sweetest man. And I said, “Did you enjoy it all” and he said, “Yeah, some stick to the wall, some didn’t. But they were all fun. It was just fun to do it. And I got to make a name for myself in that genre.” And I thought, “Yeah, I love something like that.” That’s great.

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