FROM “FEAR THE WALKING DEAD,” DANIEL ZOVATTO HEATS UP “DON’T BREATHE”

Daniel Zovatto
Daniel Zovatto stars in Screen Gems’ horror-thriller DON’T BREATHE.

Up-and-coming young actor Daniel Zovatto (“It Follows,” TV’s “Fear the Walking Dead”) stars in Columbia Pictures’ new horror-thriller “Don’t Breathe” as Money, one of a trio of teens who break into the house of a blind man they suspect has plenty of money hidden away. But their plan goes dangerously wrong when their intended victim turns out to be more frightening than they ever anticipated.

Produced by Sam Raimi (the “Spider-Man” trilogy), “Don’t Breathe” also stars Jane Levy (“Evil Dead”), Dylan Minnette (“Goosebumps”) and Stephen Lang (“Avatar”). Fede Alvarez (“Evil Dead”) directs from a script co-written with Rodo Sayagues (“Evil Dead”).

Zovatto’s character, Money, is the mpulsive, street-savvy boyfriend of Rocky, played by Jane Levy. Money is the connection between the streets and Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Rocky. Says Zovatto, “Basically, he is the alpha, the muscle of the group. But he’s not one-dimensional. There’s a lot more to him than just a gangster or a street kid. He has a lot of layers.”

It is Money’s street contact who tips him off to a retired army vet rumored to have a six-figure cash settlement stashed somewhere in his home. Money convinces his friends that this is the score to catapult them out of their crumbling city into a sunnier life in California.

There’s not much money around in his neighborhood,” Zovatto says. “This seems like a pretty sure thing. But he also enjoys the adrenaline rush of these jobs.”

Alvarez cast the actor on the basis of his performance in the breakout indie horror film “It Follows.” “He is an actor that can take a role from the page and make it his own,” says the director. “The take he brought into the room when we were casting the role was completely different from what everybody else was doing.”

Like a typical hustler, Money lives in the moment. “He’s just pure energy and anarchy,” Alvarez observes. “He knows what he wants and he gets it. Money has a better idea of who he is than Alex, who is still a bit confused about what he wants to do.”

Zovatto says the “Don’t Breathe” shoot was the most fun he has ever had at work. “Because Fede both wrote and directed, he knows all the ins and the outs of the story and the characters, which is really cool. At the same time he let us discover our own characters with his guidance. He’s a really passionate guy and I love passionate people.”

Opening across the Philippines in August 31, “Don’t Breathe” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

HOME INVASION TURNS INTO HORRIFIC NIGHTMARE IN “DON’T BREATHE”

Don't Breathe

In Columbia Pictures’ new suspense thriller “Don’t Breathe,” three young friends break into the house of a wealthy blind man, thinking they’ll get away with the perfect heist. They’re wrong.

Directed by Fede Alvarez (“Evil Dead” 2013) and written by Alvarez & Rodo Sayagues, “Don’t Breathe” stars Jane Levy (“Evil Dead” 2013), Dylan Minnette (“Goosebumps”), Daniel Zovatto (“It Follows”) and Stephen Lang (“Avatar”). The film is produced by Sam Raimi (“Spider-Man” trilogy), Rob Tapert and Fede Alvarez.

Three young robbers (Levy, Minnette and Zovatto) invade a blind man’s Detroit home — teenagers who are targeting vulnerable properties in the city as they bid to harvest enough cash to flee the area and start new lives elsewhere. Once they enter the Blind Man’s home, however, the tables begin to turn.

Director and co-writer Fede Alvarez, who shot to international renown with his 2013 remake of the Sam Raimi-directed classic “Evil Dead,” explains his inspiration. “We wanted to make something that was very, very suspenseful,” he says. “And we thought, ‘What is one of the things that creates a lot of suspense?’ For me, it is when you have a character walking into someone else’s domain because there you are under their rules.”

In “Don’t Breathe,” when the three young robbers enter the Blind Man’s domain they find themselves very much under his rules – the house is set up in a way that suits the owner, giving him the upperhand.

“I love movies that force me to pick sides but which don’t give me the answers to the questions,” says Alvarez. “And that’s what I’m trying to do in this movie — not give the audience good guys and a villain. They all are villains. They are all doing something that is very wrong, all four of them. So it’s really up to the audience to choose whom they are going to root for.”

“The benchmark that this film tries to reach, and this is about as high a benchmark as one can get, is, of course, Psycho,” he adds. “Is Psycho a thriller or a horror film? It’s really a thriller. But also it’s somewhere in between because it has horror elements,” states Alvarez.

The filmmaker also believes that the audience is in for a groundbreaking experience. “There are some pretty f—ked up choices that we make,” Alvarez says with a smile. “You’ll see them when you see the movie. There are some things that happen that are pretty particular. They have definitely never been done before and there is a definite scene that I have never seen before. You’ll know what it is when you see it.”

Asked how the title “Don’t Breathe” came about, Alvarez points to one crucial moment in the film. “There’s a scene where one of the home invaders gets hurt so then, suddenly, he’s trying to hide, but the problem is he has hurt his ribs, so every time he breathes in, he makes this sound. So either he gets found or he stops breathing, and stopping breathing is not an option. It generates a lot of strange and fun opportunities for me.”

Opening across the Philippines in August 31, “Don’t Breathe” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.