David Denman & Jackson Dunn Interview: Brightburn

Brightburn, in its own way seeks to answer the question about “nature vs nurture” Are some people just born evil or can good parenting overcome any obstacle? Jackson Dunn stars as Brandon, the alien baby who crashes on earth and David Denman stars as Kyle, who is convinced by his wife to take the child in as their own. We had the pleasure of sitting down with these two stars to discuss the film and whether they think Brandon was just born evil or if there may have been more to it than that.

Congratulations on the film! Amazing job. You’re [Jackson A. Dunn] probably the most terrifying super villain monster that I’ve seen in quite a while. But you [David Denman] play Kyle, Tori’s husband. And Tori has her blinders on when it comes to Brandon. But what’s Kyle’s point of view on Brandon?

David Denman: Well, Kyle has always been skeptical. I mean, he is an alien we found in the woods. So I think from the get-go, this couple has wanted a baby so desperately. And when he sees how much his wife is so elated with this baby and desperate to have a child, he goes along with it. And I think for the most part, for twelve years, it’s been pretty good. He’s a normal kid, for the most part, and only once he starts going through puberty do these changes start happening. And, you know, red flags keep coming up to him, and he is trying to have this conversation with his wife. But she really doesn’t want to see her son as anything other than the pure innocence that she saw when she picked him up in that pod. So that conflict is what’s exciting and fun to play, but yeah. Kyle has always been a little, “Uh, I don’t know…” But by the time he actually puts two and two together that something is happening, it’s too little too late.

Too little too late, and a bad move taking young Brandon hunting. Jackson, congratulations. Amazing performance, I gotta say. There’s a lot of intense scenes in this movie. Was there ever a time where things got a little too real for you on set? Because a lot of that stuff, visually, was stunning.

Jackson A. Dunn: Yeah. Honestly, I can’t thank anyone more than the whole cast and crew, directors, producers, and everyone. I can’t thank them more for the atmosphere that they created on set. It never really heated up too much. It was always such a comfortable environment where I felt there was such a distinct separation between when the cameras were rolling and when they weren’t. Which really made it a warm environment and an atmosphere where I felt very at home.

I always want to talk about Brandon’s look a little bit, because it’s something that we’re not very familiar seeing. Now, especially in horror, you have these kind of iconic looks. He has this mask and this cape. Do you know how that came about?

Jackson A. Dunn: Yeah. Well, it’s actually made from his baby blanket, which is established in the beginning of the movie. That’s what he’s held in by Tori, and then that’s what’s on his bed throughout the course of the movie. And then at some point he chops it up, and decides to use his mediocre sewing skills to make this terrifying mask and cape. And, yeah, I do think it’s a very iconic look and it was a very powerful feeling whenever I had the mask on. So, yeah, I think it was very effective.

Now there’s a parenting conundrum here of whether Brandon was born this way or if he’s raised to be that way. What do you think?

David Denman: Oh, he’s evil.

That’s his destiny?

David Denman: Well, look. The reality is he’s got an alien voice in his head that only sort of starts when he goes into puberty. So if that voice wasn’t in his head, maybe we could’ve guided him in a way that he didn’t make his powers used for evil. But he does have that voice in his head, so I don’t know that there really is anything we could’ve done to stop that from happening. Although we are a little late to the game of actually putting two and two together that something’s going on with him, which falls on us, I think, as parents. But I think at the end of the day, he’s a psychopath. There’s not much we could’ve done to stop that. On the level, the world isn’t going to change the voice in his head from not taking over the planet.

I love that this movie flips the superhero and horror genre upside down, and congratulations. I hope everybody sees it.

More: James Gunn & Elizabeth Banks Interview for Brightburn

Key Release Dates
  • Brightburn (2019) release date: May 24, 2019
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