Actor Domnhall Gleeson stars in the new film The Little Stranger as Dr. Faraday, who has been called to visit a gentry family in their crumbling mansion in post World War II England. While Dr. Faraday believes that he is treating the son for post traumatic stress caused by the war, the family suspects a supernatural threat to the estate. The Little Stranger, based on the novel by Sarah Waters, also stars Ruth WilsonWill Poulter and Charlotte Rampling. In this exclusive video interview, Gleeson discusses The Little Stranger, social class in post-war England and the psychology behind human fears of the supernatural.

Gleeson’s character faces his first challenge at the outset of the film at the Hundreds Hall manor. “Set amongst a kind of a family, it’s like kind of Downton Abbey‘s weird cousins who aren’t invited ’round to dinner anymore because they believe in ghosts, and their house is kind of falling apart,” Gleeson explained. “My character comes into the middle of that. He’s always been aspirational in his class. He grew up working class and would love to be of these people, of this house. And slowly his presence in the house, the little stranger, this ghost sort of starts taking everything over. And Dr. Faraday is almost like a detective, trying to find out what’s making the house sick.”

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When asked about his favorite scene of the film, Gleeson said all of the scenes that he shares with his co-star WIlson. “They’re kind of emotional scenes because he has his relationship which is almost a love, like almost like a kind of love relationship with this girl who lives in the house, this woman who lives in the house.” Gleeson recalled. “The power dynamic is strange because she is of a better, a higher class than him, and yet he’s a man, she’s a woman. So there’s just this kind of see-saw element in terms of the power of. So any of the scenes where the power sort of shifts back and forth with Ruth, I really enjoyed.”

Gleeson noted that understanding the concept of class is a crucial part to understanding Dr. Faraday. Faraday is insecure about his class, but also uncomfortable in social situations. “He carries a lot of anger, bitterness and jealousy, but also a lot of love, and all of that is repressed.” Gleeson stated that the repression of all of these emotions make for a character who is ready to burst under pressure.

Gleeson does not personally believe in the supernatural, but is very interested in the psychology behind why people create a fear of such things. “I think the mind does many things to help a personality cope with the world. And I’m fascinated by why you would need to feel fear, why you would need that adrenaline spike, sitting alone in a house at night and hearing things go bump. And that terror is real, whether the ghost is real or not. And so I think that’s actually more interesting and that’s one of the things that kind of comes up in the film, is how terrified you can get.”

The Little Stranger comes to theaters August 31, 2018. The film is directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Lucinda Coxon.

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