Devil’s Peak follows the story of Jacob McNeely (Hopper Penn) as he struggles under his father’s (Billy Bob Thornton) control as a meth-dealing kingpin in the Appalachian mountains, especially when he meets a girl (Katelyn Nacon) and wants to run away with her. Penn’s mother, Robin Wright, plays Jacob’s meth-addicted mother in the movie.

In an exclusive interview with uInterview founder Erik Meers, Penn revealed how he connected to the main characters of the story with his own past of drug addiction.

“I’ve had a lot of bad history with addiction and stuff like that so we [director Ben Young] talked a lot about how you can bring that kind of darkness of your past into this story,” Penn said. “I think that was also a new thing I brought like to acting where even if I wasn’t his character, I’ve grown up in a completely different way, I’ve been fortunate, but I’ve also, as everybody, has traumatic things happening that makes bad decisions or whatever and that was that was pretty changing for the whole movie. I mean I think the movie talks about addiction on its own. A lot of it’s about how Jacob’s feeling, I think internally, and why he needs to leave but he’s scared to say it out loud to his dad. I mean, I hope this movie brings light to like, you can get out of whatever you’re in with work, but for me like what I was thinking about the whole time is like f— yeah I’m not doing drugs and I hope people can try to like find some sort of like ‘get out’ factor in this movie.”

Penn also discussed some of the hardest scenes for him to film.

“I will say when I find my mom’s body that I think that was the hardest because, yeah it wasn’t her, you know like that was a double and I knew it was gonna be here so like the day before we did this I was like perfect like this is going to be easy seeing her and it became really hard because you know like the double’s like, ‘Hey, Hopper. Nice to meet you.’ And then gets on the bed and like the blood on her and it threw me out of it. I think that was the toughest scene.”

“Also any scene where I’m just in the tighty whities,” Penn continued on a lighter note. “That was terrible because we were in Georgia and it was freezing cold every day and like also it’s like you know you get to set and you’re all warm and stuff and you see all these people with like down coats next to heaters and they’re like, ‘Ok, strip.’ It was like the worst thing ever. I asked Ben so many times, the director, and was like, ‘Can we just have him wearing like long Johns under my jeans or like something a little bit longer than these tighty whities?’ And he’s like, ‘No, it’s so good that way. I thought they were so representative of Jacob.’ I was like, ‘I really don’t think so.’ But those were actually the toughest scenes.”

Devil’s Peak is in theaters now and available on VOD starting Feb. 24.

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