From the writer / director Joey Klein, the indie drama Castle on the ground follow Henry (Alex Wolff), a teenager who is also the caregiver for his single mother with chronic illnesses (Neve Campbell) that he is trying to regain health while she is more concerned with her stash of Oxycontin. When he befriends his troublesome next door neighbor (Imogen Poots), it is falling deeper into the world of drug dependence at a time when opiate abuse is rampant.
During this one-on-one telephone interview with Collider, actress Neve Campbell spoke about addressing the important issue of opioid abuse, the emotional cost she had to address this material, the beautiful experience she had working with her co-star Alex Wolff, and why it took Me awhile shake this project once filming finished. She also spoke about the Party of five restart and a new version The ship, why are you interested in being part of Scream 5, and eager to get more involved behind the scenes of his career as well.
This film explores such an important subject, but also such a difficult subject. How difficult is it to tackle something like this and address it through this character?
NEVE CAMPBELL: For me, I knew a little bit about the opioid crisis and the effects these drugs had on people, but I certainly thought it was important to do a little research. I saw some documentaries about the effects that opiates have on people and about their addictive qualities. It is a very easy slippery slope that one can go down, if you start these types of medications or start abusing them. Also, Joey Klein, the director and writer of our movie, his father is a doctor in Montreal, Canada, and I talked to him a lot about his experience with people taking those drugs. I really wanted to get a good idea of the physicality and mental state of people with these challenges.
When you read this script, what did you want to dive into and explore?
CAMPBELL: The theme prevailed today and is an important theme to bring to the world. Joey’s performance was very interesting. He was obviously very passionate about it when he talked to me about it. For me, I thought that the representation and writing of these characters and their struggles were strong.
At the same time, when you read something like this and it’s a darker, heavier subject, do you have to prepare? Do you have to have a conversation with yourself to decide if it’s something you really want to go through?
CAMPBELL: Absolutely. I knew it was going to be a short shoot. If I had thought filming would take five months, I might have thought more, but since I knew it was only going to be a couple of weeks, I thought I could handle it. As I am a mother of two children and I was playing mother to a young man, and what I am going through is very sad and challenging, I knew it was going to be emotionally difficult, but at the same time I did. I feel like it was an important story to tell. I just make sure that when I’m on set, I’m going to do what I need to do, and then when I drive back to the hotel, I lift my spirits by doing a comedy and talking to my husband, and I’m just trying to let it go. I can not live in that state of mind, 24 hours a day. I know the actors in the method work that way, but that It just doesn’t work for me, emotionally.
What was it like going through this with Alex Wolff and exploring that mother-child relationship with him and having him as a stage partner?
CAMPBELL: Alex is incredibly talented and very dedicated to his work and really capable of being vulnerable, which was very important for this character and for the public to take him with him. When someone is so devoted, it is not difficult to jump with them and make it very real. We had a very good dynamic between us, immediately. We both understood that it is okay to be vulnerable and to mutually allow that space. It was quite a beautiful experience.
When you do something like this, in addition to trying to separate yourself from the character, every day when you leave work, do you also have to do something when you finish a session like this? Do you intentionally take time off to really separate yourself from him?
CAMPBELL: This was quite heartbreaking. It took me about a week to really come out of that. That’s not the experience often, but since it was so emotional and close to home, as a mother, it took me about a week to return to a completely healthy and happy state of mind. I allowed myself time. I didn’t have to jump to anything else. I was able to spend time with my children. However, it is project by project.
I have been a fan of your work for many years, from Passage to Party of five to the Shout franchise and The ship, and you’ve had such a wide variety of characters that you’ve played since then. Are you surprised to see now more than one of the projects you have been part of coming back, with the reinvention of Party of five, a new version of The ship and other Shout movie?
CAMPBELL: Well, it’s flattering, to be honest. And it’s nice to see that a younger generation also gets a version of these movies and the stories we tell.
Is it something you have seen or want to see and are curious about yourself?
CAMPBELL: I have seen the new Party of five And I think they are doing a great job with that. I love the new concept. Now it is more opportune. It is a Mexican family whose parents are not deceased, but are sent across the border. I think it is an excellent version and I think they are doing a great job with it. With the new Art, we’ll see. For me, I really didn’t want to be a part of that, but I think they have a very interesting vision, and I hope they have a chance to do something great. I think the timing could have been a challenge with COVID, but I hope they can finish the movie. The scream comes again. They have approached me about it. Again, the moment, at this moment, is challenging. There can be no negotiation, at the moment, because we don’t even know how the studios will be reopened. But in time, hopefully we will figure it out. As I said, it is very flattering that these things come up again, hopefully with very good quality projects.
You said you were initially reluctant to do another Shout without West Craven, which is very understandable, but what was it that finally changed your mind and interested you in that possibility?
CAMPBELL: Well, I’m not one hundred percent, but to be honest, the two directors (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett) have done a great job. I have seen their movies and they are very talented. They wrote me a letter, expressing to me what great admirers of Wes’s work they are and how honored they are to have the opportunity to do Scream 5 because the Shout the franchise is the reason why they are now directors. So that was really sweet. They really want to honor Wes’s style of work and honor the movies. That was a delightful thing to hear. Then we will see. Hopefully we can all agree on everything and do something great, but it’s a process.
Have you always felt there were more Sidney stories to tell?
CAMPBELL: I think you can always tell them more with these stories, and they are very funny movies. Obviously there is a large audience for them, and the public wants to see more of them. You can always go further with the trip. Certainly, with Sidney, she comes to a new change in her life, every time, and I don’t know. We’ll see.
You have had a very long career, with a wide variety of projects in various media. Has your professional career been as you expected it to be, when you started, as an actor? What would you think younger than the career you’ve had?
CAMPBELL: I think the younger I would be surprised by having worked so long. Especially as a woman in this business, it is a challenge. I am so grateful to have had the career that I have had and to have had the opportunity to play so many different types of roles in so many different genres. That I keep challenging myself is a lot of fun. I can only be grateful. There is nothing to complain about, that’s for sure.
Where does artistic and creative realization come from right now? Is it the experience of doing whatever the project is at the moment?
CAMPBELL: I love many different aspects of the business. I really enjoy developing projects now too. I am looking to write more. I’ve enjoyed producing, in the past, and I want to do more of that too. I really enjoy the process of creating a project, and working with writers and producers, and having a seed of an idea and going from there. It is a beautiful opportunity. So, I want to do more of that. I want to continue acting too. I really enjoy expanding my horizons.
Have you thought about directing too?
CAMPBELL: I would love to direct, at some point. People often ask me if I’m going to do it. As a mother of young children, it takes a long time to lead right now. It takes much longer than it does, as an actor. There are many more hours, with pre-production and post-production. I would like, sometime, but right now, I really enjoy putting my kids to bed. While they are this age, I think that is really important.
Because working takes time away from your family, do you think projects have to be more important to you than just a job?
CAMPBELL: Absolutely. The decision-making process is completely different now. It has much more to do with where you are filming, how far away I will be, how it will affect my family, time and life, and whether it is something I want you to see or not, in the future. It really does really affect your choices as an artist, but I’m thankful for that. The best thing about having children is that there is something bigger than you and you are giving your life to it. That is good.
As you get more involved in the development of things, are there genres that you feel you have been unable to work in, or a specific type of character that you would like to develop for you to play?
CAMPBELL: There is no specific person or character that necessarily wants to play. I just enjoy challenging myself, in different ways. As projects appear or I find them, I’m just looking for something that excites me. There is no specific job you wish you had had, or a genre you wish you had been in. I can’t think of a genre I haven’t been in.
Castle on the ground It is available on demand and in digital format.