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Review of Interview: Intrusion Director Adam Salky Talks Netflix Thriller

Netflix’s latest thriller is Intrusion starring Freida Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green. The film features plenty of drama after a couple moves to a new town and find themselves the victim of a break-in.

“Meera (Freida Pinto) and Henry Parsons (Logan Marshall-Green) move to a small town in New Mexico seeking peace and togetherness,” says the official synopsis. “Instead, they become victims of a random act of violence that disrupts their lives and unearths secrets of their pasts. As their trust erodes, suspicions rise, testing their marriage as it becomes clear the home invasion was not random at all.”

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Intrusion director Adam Salky about the new release, its main performers, and the film’s themes of trust and class.

Tyler Treese: I was really impressed by the film and it seemed like a very seasoned production. There are not any wasted moments in it. It’s pretty tight. What lessons did you learn from Dare and I Smile Back that really helped you make this film?

Adam Salky: Every time you make a film, you learn another lesson or two. From Dare and I Smile Back, really what I’ve learned is just to double down on preparation. Um, the time that the director spends sometimes in private, and then once preproduction starts in collaboration with the team, preparing everything that you want to do, the shops you wanna hope to achieve the design of the locations, the casting, all of that time is really to me when the movie is made. Um, so to me, ultimately, the lesson is just about being as prepared as possible when you get the set and then also be prepared there to improvise and sometimes leave the plans at the door. If you have a better idea or someone else does like the actor, for example.

In Intrusion, I loved how you kept the tension rising throughout, but there are also moments for the story to breathe, and the audience could kind of calm down between the more intense moments. How do you find that kind of balance?

So the process of post-production and editing and making sure that you schedule a handful of, they can be small, sometimes friends and family screenings to me is the most useful way to figure out the pacing of the film. Basically the editor Ben Baudhuin, and I would take the film, the current iteration of it, as far as we thought we could, and then we would show it to a handful of people, which during the pandemic was over Zoom. So it wasn’t exactly the screening experience we were used to. Then we kind of give them a friendly grilling, ask them questions and try to figure out what’s working, what isn’t working. That process to me really helps figure out what you still need to fix.

You mentioned, some of the breaths in the film. To me, when it comes to suspense, so much and drama is about tensions and releases. You, you kind of have to have those little pauses in there sometimes, or sometimes the kind the air goes out. It’s almost like too tense, it’s too much. One of the things we realize through post-production is that we wanted a few more releases in there. So we actually sent a drone operator back to the location and back to Albuquerque to get us some extra wider atmospheric shots that we could use to create little breaks in the film.

I thought Freida Pinto was so great in the lead role. She’s instantly likable and somebody we can get behind as a viewer. Can you just speak to her performance? I thought she did so well.

Oh, thank you so much. Yeah, Freida is incredible in the film. For me, she was a breakout performance in Slumdog Millionaire, which is also a breakout film. I always remembered her. That is the exact thing that you said there’s just kind of an instant connection with her, which is so important for the character of Meera in this film because we meet this incredible couple. All of a sudden, there’s a home invasion and this shocking act of violence, and that this couple has to contend with this. So it was really important that we feel connected to Meera’s character and Logan Marshall-Green’s character, Henry, right off the bat. I knew that Freida brings that to every role that she plays.

I was really curious, what about Chris Sparling’s script that really appealed to you and made you want to get involved with this project?

Intrusion is about this incredible couple in love that moves to a small town after the wife goes into remission from breast cancer and they move there to start a new chapter, be connected and, and leave this illness behind. While they’re there, their house gets broken into twice in so many days. After that, the wife starts to question why they moved to this place and everyone around her. The film is about the terrifying unknowability of people and how there’s nothing scarier than that blind spot with those closest to you.

Chris’ script, to me, really nailed that idea, this idea of can you ever really know anyone? That’s something that I’ve just always been fascinated by. But when I read the script, I immediately thought about [how] there’s just so many incredible secrets and twists and turns in this movie. I was expressing this point of view about just the complex nature of people and how it’s really hard to fully get a read on anyone. That was the thematic core that really inspired me to make the film.

Can you speak to Logan Marshall Green’s performance? I thought he was really great as this mysterious husband.

Logan is an actor that I have been a huge fan of for a very long time. Ever since I saw him in the film Devil, he really stuck out to me. I just, went “my God, who is that?” Then when I saw him again in another film after that, he looked completely different. He sounded completely different. His gate was completely different and I quickly realized that Logan is the kind of actor who is really a chameleon. He just becomes a completely new character in everything he does. In that way, he’s kind of perfect for Henry because there is a mysterious nature to that character and you can’t quite get a read on him. I knew that Logan was going to really amp that off for of the audience.

This is such a great rewatch film. All the clues are sprinkled throughout there. So once you see it, you see these scenes again and you see them in a totally different light. When you’re structuring a film like that, making sure it’s still mysterious and you’re not giving the mystery away. How difficult is that?

It’s a challenge. It’s a balancing act. This film is so much about secrets, unknowability, and that really bakes itself into the design of making it. Everything down to how we would design the shots so that the character couldn’t see around a certain corner, or there would be a really sort of darkened areas of the lighting that would keep you on edge. So much about designing the suspense of the film was so much fun, and one of my favorite parts of making the film,

I thought the film also played with class very well. How the neighboring city we see is a lower class place. It’s kind of looked down upon even by the police and we kind of paint them as, “Oh, they have a criminal record.” So it plays on that class warfare a lot. Can you speak to that aspect of the film?

It was one of the things when I first read Chris’ script that stuck out to me. That he was dealing with really important themes, primarily this idea of the unknowability of people. But he also was touching on this concept of the haves and have nots. So to me, that was just an example of Chris’ really fantastic script and how he’s able to touch on multiple nerves in one story, but do it in an entertaining way.

Premiering on Netflix is so exciting. You get that huge audience built-in. How exciting is that as a filmmaker to know that instantly millions can watch this on day one?

Yeah. It’s a little hard to fathom and, and it’s a wonderful thing. My experience is primarily in the feature world with smaller, independent films that often have a very small curated theatrical release. In the end, most people who will see the film will see it either on a streamer or on iTunes. This is a little old school, but playing a DVD or something like that. So to have a chance to make a film, that’s going to premier to something like 210 million subscribers in 36 languages. It’s something I’m really grateful for. Netflix has been an incredible partner and very supportive creatively throughout.

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