Fans of thought-provoking horror should be sure to catch Midsommar, director Ari Aster's follow-up to the highly acclaimed Hereditary, when it premieres on July 3rd. Not only is it a powerful and unsettling metaphor for a toxic relationship, it also features stellar performances from a top-notch cast.
William Jackson Harper, widely loved for his portrayal of Chidi on NBC's The Good Place, got the chance to showcase the darker side of academia with Josh. Will Poulter, a rising star since his turn in We're The Millers, plays the arrogant and fun-loving Mark. Meanwhile, Vilhelm Blomgren makes his American film debut with perhaps the complex and mysterious Pelle. The three actors sat down with Screen Rant to discuss the finer points of their characters, as well as what drew them to Midsommar in the first place.
Congratulations on Midsommar, it’s an amazing film. What I especially love about it is that it’s all things at once: it’s a horror film, it’s an anthropological thesis, it’s a breakup movie. What was it that first drew you to the script?
Vilhelm Blomgren: I would say the visuals. It was just… Hopefully, it was going to be able to be extremely beautiful in this disturbing story. And I think it succeeded.
Will Poulter: Yeah. Very unique, like nothing I’d ever read before, I think. I was struck by what a daring and ambitious film it was. As Vilhelm said, if it was executed properly, it would achieve some[thing]. Really cut through and set itself apart from lots of the other things that you can watch these days. And Ari being such a gifted filmmaker was obviously a major pull factor for all of us, I think.
William Jackson Harper: Yeah. I think for me, it was just that when you’re dealing with a group of people that believe a certain thing and you can’t shake it, that’s a really terrifying concept.
And relatable to this day and age. Vilhelm, Pelle is such an interesting character because he seems so open and inviting and warm to his friends. But at the same time there’s that side of him bubbling under the surface that’s very cold and calculating. What was it like bringing those two together?
Vilhelm Blomgren: I really tried to just be as kind and as open-minded to his empathy. But that’s a fun character to play, to be that kind and also not be kind at all.
On the flipside, Mark seems to have the purest motivations in the film. He just wants to have a good time and jut forget about everything else. What do you find most relatable about him?
Will Poulter: You know, hopefully not all that much. He’s such an asshole. But for me, the thing that kind of drew me to play Mark was the dichotomy that existed between what he projects and what he puts out in the world and what’s going on internally. I think he projects this idea that he’s highly confident, he’s there for a good time, he’s the kind of person who’s the loudest voice in the room and a party-starter. But I think internally, he’s very self-loathing, very insecure, and he also feels like a very regressive, out-of-date personality. I wanted to sort of hold up as an example of what not to do in lots of ways.
That’s a good lesson. Finally, Josh is the one that’s most authentically invested in the Hårga, but he also has that academic rivalry with Christian that leads him to overstep his boundaries. Would you like to talk a little about that dynamic and the dissolution of that friendship?
William Jackson Harper: Yeah. I think, especially from Josh’s point of view, when it comes to Western cultures there haven’t been a lot of communities that haven’t been touched by the outside world. The idea of that being a possibility is incredibly fascinating, and it could really make him. To have to share that with a guy who just sort of bumbled into it is really infuriating. So it does push me to a place of making some really questionable decisions.