In the horror film Midsommar (out Wednesday), Will Poulter plays Mark, one of several young Americans who visit a remote community in Sweden, and the most obviously hateful member of the group, as the Black Mirror star is happy to admit.
“It was fun to play the poster child for how not to be, as a man, in the modern day, and I think unapologetically expose someone for being regressive and out of touch,” says the British actor. “That was interesting, particularly, when I also think, internally, he’s not the confident party boy that he projects himself as. He’s actually this deeply insecure, self-loathing person. He survives on a kind of emotional currency of laughs. He’s not a gifted anthropology student, he doesn’t have the emotional intelligence that Dani (Florence Pugh) has, he isn’t successful in any of his relationships. He’s there kind of as the fool. I hope that the commentary on relationships, platonic or romantic, in the film encourages a conversation of how we treat each other, and how we serve our relationships.”
Midsommar is the second film from Hereditary director Ari Aster and, like its predecessor, has been acclaimed by critics. But Poulter reveals he almost didn’t sign on to the project.
“I was struck by how unique it was,” the actor says, of first reading the Midsommar script. “I’d never really read anything like it. Any time I felt like it was leaning towards one genre, it went aggressively in the other direction. I did love the combination of horror and humor. Honestly, I was a little bit skeptical about being involved, only because it struck me as so ambitious that I kind of wondered whether there was anyone the planet that could pull this thing off. And that was before I’d seen Ari Aster’s work. I met Ari and was like, Oh, this is a magic combination of highly ambitious script that requires a real master to pull it off and a master.”
Like his fellow cast members, Poulter recalls the shoot as a tough one.
“There’s this rumor, I suppose, that the best films are a nightmare to shoot and, yeah, I kind of feel that’s probably true,” he says. “I think it’s a great film, but it was really really difficult to shoot. But it was also a real pleasure, when you’re part of something that you feel has so much potential to be special, something that I think could separate itself from the rest of the pack, just with how unique and different it is. I really feel like I’m part of the second Ari Aster classic, in what I imagine will be a long long list of accomplished films. So I feel very grateful.”
Watch the trailer for Midsommar, above.