Director Luis Prieto’s erotic thriller Shattered comes out on January 14 in select theaters and on demand. The film stars Cameron Monaghan and features spirited performances from Lilly Krug, John Malkovich, and Frank Grillo.
“In the tradition of Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct comes this dazzling action-thriller starring Academy Award nominee John Malkovich (RED) and Frank Grillo (Avengers: Endgame),” says the official synopsis. “After lonely tech millionaire Chris (Cameron Monaghan, Shameless) encounters charming, sexy Sky (Lilly Krug), passion grows between them – and when he’s injured, she quickly steps in as his nurse. But Sky’s odd behavior makes Chris suspect that she has more sinister intentions, especially when Sky’s roommate is found dead from mysterious causes.”
ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Shattered star Cameron Monaghan about working with several great co-stars, what drew him to the script, and making a young tech bro retiree sympathetic to audiences.
Tyler Treese: Shattered is really interesting. Your character is almost in this dream scenario. He bumps into this beautiful woman while getting groceries and then you just go through hell in this film. It’s pretty brutal. What did you find so attractive about the script?
Cameron Monaghan: I thought it was a fun mix of genres. David Loughery, the writer, had done a couple of movies that I was pretty familiar with. One was called Lakeview Terrace with Samuel Jackson and then another called Obsessed with Beyoncé. I had seen them when I was a kid. And the story of Shattered starts with an interesting genre; the erotic thriller genre. I remember seeing movies like Body Heat, Basic Instinct, and Single White Female and they’re movies that don’t really exist very often in this generation. I think that they’re fun and I like the idea of them still existing in some form moving forward. So it starts with that genre and then it moves into a more thriller and tense space in line with something like Misery. And then obviously, the script explodes and opens up in a big way and turns into more of a horror film. And I really liked these different flavors of genre and how it mixed and remixed them and reimagined them. So I thought it would just be fun to jump onto a genre project and do something that I really had not done before
Your co-star in the film, Lilly Krug, is fantastic as well. She’s able to be alluring and shockingly twisted. How was it working with her and can you talk about that chemistry?
It was great. Obviously, this movie kind of lives or dies on the chemistry between the two leads and I wasn’t familiar with Lilly. She is a young German actress and this was her first leading role in a film, which was really exciting for her to come on. And she was great. She’s so kind, super sweet, smart, and focused. And she did a great job and it was really fun. She’s playing a pretty twisted and messed up character and she’s the absolute opposite in reality. She is incredibly, incredibly sweet. So it’s very funny with her holding a power drill to me and torturing me for information and they’d call cut, she’d be like, “Oh, I’m so sorry. Are you all right?” It was an interesting contrast, but it was a lot of fun working with her and I think that the chemistry between the characters ultimately works and anchors the film.
John Malkovich is also in this film and is a legendary actor. Did working with him live up to your expectations? How was it with him?
Yeah, it absolutely did. John was one of the primary reasons why I wanted to be involved with the project. He was producing it and having the opportunity to work with him was really intoxicating. He was great, an absolute professional, and really generous with his time and with his focus. He’s constantly surprising. He has an absolute mastery of being present and finding new ways of approaching a scene. And something that was really fun being in a scene with him and it was that he’d give you something a little bit different with every take and you’d always have something fresh to play off against. And since my character is, without spoiling anything, in a situation where he is very much at the mercy of John’s character in a particular scene. And that was really fun as he was kind of dancing around the scene and giving me so much to be able to play off of.
Your character’s also interesting because you’re this super young retiree. You’re this tech guy and it’s not really the most sympathetic character. Some Silicon Valley tech bro gets tortured and you’re like, ‘Oh well.’ What went into your portrayal to make sure audiences connected with him?
Yeah, I think that that’s one of the fun aspects of the story is that we have a lead character who isn’t going to be immediately likable because of his background. He is very wealthy and extremely reclusive and posted himself up in this gilded cage. He’s living on this castle upon this hill of his own making. But I think he’s sympathetic in the sense of he has an extraordinary amount of love for his daughter and he has a complicated relationship with his ex-wife, but still has feelings for her and cares very deeply for her.
I think why we ultimately end up rooting for Chris is that we put him through absolute hell in the story. And so from a performance perspective, what I really wanted to do was just make his pain in a struggle as tangible and grounded as possible. So that meant just being really present and trying to bring in a fresh intensity to every moment and find different ways of making it feel dangerous and trying to put us, the viewer, in that perspective of him where we feel trapped and afraid. And we don’t know what’s gonna happen from moment to moment.
You were also the star of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Did anything surprise you about that experience of recording a video game compared to doing all these films and TV?
Yeah, it’s an interesting process. It’s extremely technical. There’s a lot that goes into the technical side of it as essentially your performance is being translated by computers and for the computer to operate effectively, they basically have to be calibrated for you every morning. So you do all these warm-up techniques. They’re basically like these pre-choreographed dances. They’re called ROMs. And these ROMs calibrate the algorithms of these computer programs to essentially try to lock in your muscular and skeletal geometry not only of your body but of your face. So it’s something you have to do every morning and it becomes this kind of strange meditative process that you basically have an hour and a half of making sure that the computers are going to be translating your performance effectively.
So that’s a really different thing than getting onto a set and besides some basic hair and makeup, usually, you can walk onto a set and just give a performance. But in a way, I actually grew to really enjoy this warm-up routine where you’re getting very in touch with your body and your facial movements. And Jedi are very in tune with themselves. They’re very in tune spiritually. They’re knights and warriors. So I enjoyed that process of grounding myself before performing every day.
Jedi: Fallen Order’s ending left it pretty open-ended for a sequel. Is that something you’d like to return for?
Yeah, definitely. I think that there’s a lot more story to tell with Cal. Specifically, I would really like to explore telling Cal’s story over time, seeing how this character transforms as he gets older and how his perspective changes, and how the world around him really informs who he is. Cal’s story is very tragic and I see us really exploring the darkness of this character and his world.