When Disturbia‘s leading suburban super sleuth Shia LaBeouf whittles down his co-stars, Aaron Yoo and Sarah Roemer, to a one word description it’s “energy” for the former and “mysterious” for the latter. Both live up to these characteristics when the pair joins us on an increasingly sunny early-morning (waaay too early) in Beverly Hills where they’re making the rounds to promote DreamWorks’ youth-geared parable of paranoia. Yoo, hair as frenzied as his chatter, appears fueled by caffeine intravenously whereas model-turned-actress Roemer maintains a quiet poise that…yeah, adds to her palpable semblance of mysterious beauty.
In the film – a strange brew of mystery and teen drama directed by D.J. Caruso – LaBeouf is Kale, a kid serving a 90-day house arrest sentence. During this challenging time he connects with the outside world vicariously through a pair of binoculars and his gonzo pal, Ronnie (Yoo). Together, they learn Kale’s neighbor, Mr. Turner (David Morse), is behind a recent spate of disappearances. This sudden excitement in Kale’s life intensifies when a new girl, Ashley (Roemer), moves into the house next door and, very quickly, becomes the new subject of Kale’s voyeuristic tendencies.
ShockTillYouDrop: How much off-camera cavorting went down to maintain your natural on-camera friendship?
Aaron Yoo: We got to spend a lot of time together and find out way too many things about people, like the fact that you find – what’s the movie with Harrison Ford where there’s two of…
Sarah Roemer: The movie I was watching?
AY: The movie you were watching in your trailer that scared the crap out of you every four seconds.
SR: What Lies Beneath?
AY: Right, exactly, I’m like, “This is the un-scariest movie I’ve ever seen in my life.” She’s done all of these horror thriller movies and you’re like, “Are you serious?” To the point where the movie is really unscary and then she screams. People are going, “What’s going on in your trailer?” Because she’s screaming in there.
SHOCK: So if there was a crazy person living in your neighborhood, would you pursue him or stay away?
SR: I probably would have been curious and looked into it. I wouldn’t have broken into their house, but I’d definitely be watching out my windows.
AY: I think she’d break into their house, she’s a little crazy.
SHOCK: Sarah, horror and thrillers were your entry into the biz, is that a preference or just how things happen?
SR: Just how things happen, hopefully the next movie will be something new and different. I really enjoyed making them but it’d be great to try something else.
SHOCK: You’re doing David Ellis’ “Asylum” next, aren’t you?
SR: I just finished it. I play the lead, it’s about five college students who go to this campus for the first year. It’s orientation so there’s not a lot of students there and these new dorms are attached to this abandoned asylum and, of course, our number one rule is not to go to this asylum. It’s going to be a really crazy movie, very funny at times, very inappropriate laughter will be in call for this movie.
SHOCK: What was D.J.’s direction like when you guys are in a scene together?
AY: He’s an amazing director to work with as an actor. Absolutely, you get spoiled by him because you show up on set, he clears the room and it’s you and him and our director of photography [Roger Stoffers]. You just play, it’s pre-school. He’ll say, “Here’s my idea” but then you just mess around until you find the scene saying, “Okay, this works, this doesn’t work.” There’s this moment of creation and then when you’re done with that – the scene is not fully formed – he invites all the heads of the other departments in and then you show it to people. He’ll come up, take you aside, talk to you. You have a level of trust with him, you can do anything which, at certain times, some things are harder than others. Like, one direction was, “So when you turn around, the camera will be there but it’s gonna be David Morse coming at you with a bat.” And I’m like, “I think I got that, he’s 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, I think I can do that.”
SHOCK: As actors you must have appreciated all of the development your characters are given in this script – it’s much more than what you normally get in a thriller…
SR: That’s what I really love about this movie, it’s actually building a story and there’s a lot of good emotional scenes where you get to know the characters. And when it does get scary, it gets really scary by the end.
AY: It’s incredible that way. It’s easily classified as a thriller because you have to put it in a genre, I guess, but I think – not to over do it – it’s bold enough to say it’s just a movie that is itself. There’s a point where you start wondering about Shia’s character, Kale. Sarah’s character, Ashley, is concerned for him and where he’s going, that’s a really important part of the story. It’s not just about who’s dying and who’s the killer, it’s also, like, are you maybe a little be crazy?
SHOCK: For both of you, what were you favorite scenes to play out?
SR: The moment in the car with David Morse, he’s absolutely fantastic to work with. He’s an incredible actor and I learned so much from watching him and being in the makeup trailer.
AY: He’s the sweetest, gentlest human being but when he turns on the creepy gene that he has you’re just like, “Give me a closet to hide in.” My favorite scene, and there’s so many, had to be the garage scene where I break into Turner’s house, we did that with a micro-crew. It was almost like shooting a student film, I got to hold the camera myself. We had to shoot inside the garage and the door had to close so there were only two other people who could fit inside the garage with me so we had to see what happened. We were shooting low-light anyway, but the funny thing is that I’m creepy around the car, there’s no space in the garage and the two other guys had to counter me and circle around, so if we screwed up the timing at all, I’d be going around with the camera saying, “I think there’s someone in the garage…oh, wait, there is someone in the garage and he’s a grip, and his name is Steve!”
SHOCK: Have you ever had your own instances of stalking – either being stalked or done the stalking?
SR: I’ve had a few situations, but they wouldn’t last longer than a day where you couldn’t shake somebody off and I couldn’t go home because I didn’t want them to know where I lived. Usually in Europe I would have to get on different trains and they just wouldn’t stop following me. I wouldn’t usually speak the same language so that was also a problem.
AY: I remember being in school and following people to parties because we’d be like, “Where do we go now? Those people look like they’re going somewhere.” You don’t have to be invited sometimes, you just go where the crowd goes.
SR: Go where the skirts go.
Disturbia hits theaters everywhere April 13th.