Elisabeth Moss says The Invisible Man is about 'gaslighting and abuse'
Less than a year on from her supporting role in Jordan Peele's Us, Elisabeth Moss returns to the horror genre in the just-released The Invisible Man. In writer-director Leigh Whannell's film, Moss plays Cecilia Kass, who escapes a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist portrayed by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, but comes to fear that he has found a way to make himself invisible. "Cecilia starts the film escaping what we later find out to be an abusive relationship," says Moss. "Then she believes that her ex-boyfriend is terrorizing her and following her. She basically keeps saying that this is happening and nobody believes her."
Below, Moss talks more about the movie — and about her love for horror films.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: No offense intended to your Oliver Jackson-Cohen, but this is very much your character's film. I've bee telling people it should have been called The Visible Woman.
Elisabeth Moss: [Laughs] Yeah maybe it should be Invisible Man: Actually, the Story of the Visible Woman.
One of the themes of the film is that your character is being gaslit, basically. The film seems very of the moment in many ways.
For sure. I think it was a cool thing for Leigh to do to [take] this genre film, this genre idea, this Universal monster, and make it relevant for audiences. Yeah, it is an analogy for gaslighting and abuse.
What attracted you to the project?
The script that Leigh wrote. I mean, it’s always the script, honestly. It’s the only thing that really matters. [Laughs] Because if it's good then you have a lot less work to do and if its bad it will bite you in the a--. So, it’s really the only thing that matters and he wrote this really great, beautiful script, and it was full of so much emotional drama and exciting horror stuff and he is a huge fan of the genre, as am I. And yet, he also just tapped in to this analogy in this really interesting way.
You must have spent a lot of the shoot pretending to be scared and stressed out by literally nothing. What was that like?
Well, that's kind of my bread and butter. I mean, that’s every day for me. I’m constantly pretending things are happening that aren't happening! Even if there is another actor there it’s the same thing, you’re just imagining things the entire time. You’re imagining things are there and you’re imagining the crew and the cameras aren’t there. So, for me, the idea of this extra loop of pretending someone is there, it was an extra challenge but it wasn't as crazy as it sounds.
And you're a big fan of horror?
Yeah. I've been a fan since I was eleven or twelve. There are still moments from The Shining that I can’t wrap my head around. Obviously, you've got more recent ones like Hereditary. When I was eleven or twelve the original It, you know, Poltergeist, the original. Those are the ones that really got me.