Wonder Hall
Total Film|August 2021
REBECCA HALL has had a very good year – professionally and personally – despite lockdown. As she stars in psychological horror The Night House, she tells Total Film about reckoning with her own past, realising a long-awaited dream, and haunted bread…
JANE CROWTHER

I’m working towards ‘proud’…” muses Rebecca Hall down the line from her home in New York. She pauses, her switch in attitude almost perceptible through the static. “No, I am proud – immensely proud,” she determines. “I’m not working towards it, I am. I’m also mostly surprised. I do look back and it’s a bit shocking that we managed to get through everything we did.”

The prolific actor is reflecting on the last couple of years, in which she had her first child, made her first horror and wrote and directed her first film. Add to that the lockdown that stalled the film industry and Hall still managing to star in one of 2021’s biggest blockbusters that proved audiences still wanted cinemas; bowing her debut film to great acclaim at virtual Sundance earlier this year; and seeing her latest movie actually make it to the big screen this summer, and – well, yes, she should be pleased with herself.

Perhaps it’s the British disinclination for showing off that’s tempering her self-celebration – with her precise English diction, her lineage from her directing-legend father, Sir Peter Hall and description of the Covid crisis as “everything going tits up”, Hall is very much a UK success story. But she’s also always walked with her feet in two worlds. She grew up with dual UK/US citizenship thanks to her mother, opera singer Maria Ewing. With an innate ear for an American accent and a stacked CV glittering with blockbusters and iconic directors, the 39-year-old also moves in Hollywood circles, now residing in the States with her actor husband, Morgan Spector, and their toddler daughter.

Duality is something that works well for her – she can comfortably portray strong and sensual as well as weak and anxious, and her choice of work shows an appetite for exploration, having worked on projects and genres as diverse as Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Town, Christine, Please Give, The BFG, and Godzilla Vs. Kong. Though, she says with disarming honesty, not everything she’s done has been work to shout about. “Acting’s funny,” she laughs. “You sign up to something you think is going to be great, and then often you see the thing, and it’s so far away from the thing you imagined. It can be quite bruising, you know?”

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