CS Interview: Rebecca Hall on Tales from the Loop, Godzilla vs. Kong
Amazon’s series adaptation of the art book Tales from the Loop has blown away critics and audiences alike since its debut this month and ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with star Rebecca Hall (The Night House) to discuss the sci-fi series, as well as her upcoming role in the monster blockbuster Godzilla vs. Kong.
Based on the acclaimed art of Swedish artist Stålenhag, Tales From the Loop explores the town and people who live above “The Loop,” a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe, making things possible that were previously relegated only to science fiction. In this fantastical, mysterious town, poignant human tales are told that bare universal emotional experiences while drawing on the intrigue of genre storytelling.
The series stars Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelon, The Town), Paul Schneider (Parks and Recreation), Daniel Zolghadri (Eighth Grade), Duncan Joiner (Waco) and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes, Game of Thrones). The show comes from writer Nathaniel Halpern (Legion, The Killing), director Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo, Never Let Me Go), Matt Reeves’ 6th & Idaho, and Swedish production and management company Indio. Fox 21 Television Studios is co-producing with Amazon Studios.
Halpern, Romanek, and Reeves will serve as executive producers alongside Adam Kassan and Rafi Crohn (The Passage). Indio’s Mattias Montero, Samantha Taylor Pickett, Adam Berg, and Stålenhag will also executive produce.
In looking at her time joining the series, Hall finds that rather than one big draw, there were a “lot of things” that drove her to want to be a part of the project, recalling that when she was first pitched the idea of a series “inspired by artworks,” she thought it to be “so unusual and intriguing” and would lend to the series visual style in a major fashion.
‘It set out its goals to be something that was cinematically interesting and visually captivating,” Hall said. “But then, when I read it, I was really knocked out by just the subtlety of it and also the humanity of it. And it was so fascinating to me how the stories intertwined whilst also not in a direct way, and all of the crucial emotional information was told indirectly, I thought was really brave and unusual to see. And I don’t know. The whole thing just struck me as something very exciting that I would like to watch. So I was on board very quickly.”
From the first episode, audiences are thrown into the chaotic and fascinating world of Hall’s Loretta, going all the way back to her childhood, and the 37-year-old actress found a lot of interest simply from the fact that “there’s not much on the page” with her character.
“She doesn’t really talk about her feelings very well, and she’s very internal and at times quite hard in a way or hardened, I would say,” Hall described. “She can be quite a difficult sort of character and I just found it very exciting as an actor, to play a character like that, because when you play characters like that, you have to do quite a lot of heavy lifting to make that sort of personality sympathetic or comprehensible, even. And in the case of Loretta, the first episode explained pretty much why she is in any way socially dysfunctional, and then they got it together. SoI didn’t have to do anything, I was free to be as sort of hard and strange and internal as I wanted to be, which was quite fun.”
Given the series’ literally artful source material and sci-fi genre, it makes way for various large production designs throughout the film, namely in its more robotic and futuristic elements, and Hall found that the “juxtaposition” of two of opposing themes present through lent to further interest during shooting.
“A lot of scenes are very domestic and inside a kitchen, and then there are these scenes that have these huge robots or huge sets that made up the Loop, the underground place where Loretta works,” Hall said. “And you know, flitting between the two was really fun, I’d say because you aren’t left wanting something else. They’ve also built everything, so I got to see it all. I got to see the robots and I got to see the Loop and I got to see how it all fit together because so much of it wasn’t green screen, actually.”
While having its futuristic setting, the series also incorporates a timelessness to its tone, with various vehicles and even housing appliances more reminiscent of America in the ’50s and ’60s than today, to which the Golden Globe-nominated actress felt was “quite arresting.”
“I could see how a viewer would be sort of bewildered and also made to feel like there was something familiar about it at the same time, which I thought was quite exciting,” Hall recalled. “I don’t know how it affected me doing it, because I think I just had to accept that this world was the world that we lived in. You know, I sort of tried not to think that it was sort of loosely maybe in the early 1980’s, but I’m not going to think too much about how if they have any understanding of what’s going at the culture at large, because I doubt they do. I think their ecosystem is their own ecosystem and I don’t think Loretta tunes in to talk shows or anything, so I sort of took everything at face value with that.”
Like many stars working with a talented ensemble, Hall couldn’t name any one favorite actor to perform alongside in a scene, finding that “everyone was such a delight to work with,” including Oscar nominee Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes).
“I am a long-time admirer of his, but honestly, I loved working with the kids, all of the kids, Abby and Duncan,” Hall noted. “Those were the ones that I had the most scenes with and I don’t know, I love working with children. I think that there’s a real — grownup actors, whether we like it or not, I think we form habits and things that we fall back on, and sometimes, we forget what it is to actually be in the moment and listen to each other. Kids have an innate ability to do that because they’re much closer to the time when that was — play is what kids do to learn about the world. You know, it’s not a question of how am I going to believe that I’m in this whatever game it is that they’re playing. They just believe it completely. And often for that reason, kid actors could be quite extraordinary.”
Hall is no stranger to blockbuster-level projects, having previously starred in the Shane Black co-written/directed Iron Man 3, as well as the Johnny Depp-starrer Transcendence and Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel The BFG and is set to return to the field in the highly-anticipated Godzilla vs. Kong, part of the Legendary MonsterVerse.
“It was quite overwhelming for me, if I’m being honest, because I just had a baby and it was the first job that I did after having a baby,” Hall laughed. “We sort of packed up and went with the baby to Hawaii and Australia and all these very glamorous locations and suddenly I was catapulted into jungles imagining King Kong and Godzilla and it was just really exciting and strange, also, given where I’d come from. But it was really thrilling because, well, King Kong and Godzilla, they’re pretty famous, famous people to work with. They’re big names in Hollywood again.”
Tales from the Loop is available for streaming now on Amazon Prime and Kong vs. Godzilla is set to hit theaters on November 20.