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THE STEPFATHER

About The Production
The Stepfather is an edge-of-your-seat popcorn thriller, a roller coaster ride the audience can enjoy in the comfort of a darkened theater. But the story behind the new film (and its 1987 predecessor) is actually rooted in horrifying fact.

This reinvention of the film came about when producer Greg Mooradian was watching a Bravo television special on the 100 greatest horror movies ever made and saw that the original The Stepfather was included on the list. It was actually one of the few films mentioned he had not seen, but upon viewing it and talking with producing partner Mark Morgan, they felt it was ripe for being remade. 

"The Stepfather is a remake,” says director Nelson McCormick, "but rather than invest ourselves in what the original did, we wanted to delve more into the characters. The original "Stepfather” was the story of a man who lived in New Jersey and decided he had to murder his family. He murdered his wife, his three teenage kids, and his mother, then moved to Colorado, assumed a new life, married, and changed his name. It wasn't discovered until 18 years later that he was, in fact, the same man.

"We thought that was fascinating,” McCormick continues. "The character flaw, the tragic gene that pushed him to the edge – that's what we focused on in this version of The Stepfather.” With that in mind, the filmmakers began crafting their new stepfather: David Harris.

For The Stepfather, the words on the page are full of menace and the images they conjure are strong, but to actually bring the villain to life, the filmmakers turned to actor Dylan Walsh. Walsh and director McCormick had previously worked together on the award-winning show Nip/Tuck, and throughout his many seasons on that show, Walsh had gotten to show many sides to his acting talent. But McCormick knew there were untapped aspects of his talent he hadn't yet been able to showcase and thought he'd be perfect for the role. "Dylan has enormous talent, enormous chops,” McCormick says. "You didn't often get a chance to see that on Nip/Tuck because it's very defined who he has to be on that show. But there's so much more to him. He's so gifted at navigating himself through a scene.”

For his part, Walsh was thrilled to take on such a character. He knew creating Harris would be a huge challenge, but also a fascinating exercise, a thrilling acting experiment in walking a tightrope between believability and delicious evil. Together, Walsh and McCormick and the filmmakers worked on making the character terrifying, but always with one foot firmly rooted in reality, knowing the idea of a killer that could and did exist was much more frightening.

"Dylan and I spoke a lot about his character's rationale for doing what he's doing,” says McCormick. "Harris truly wants a family, and he's deluding himself with this illusion that ‘If I have what appears to be a happy family, then happiness should follow.' His logic is simply to find a woman with children that he can then graft himself onto and make a family work.”

In speaking of his character, Walsh says, "Imagine a guy who has an obsessive need to be at the head of a family with a kind of 1950s dynamic, where the father would be the king of his castle. Harris has such a need for that that he finds these vulnerable women, either widowed or divorced and they have kids, and he wants to come into that family and take over. He means well; he does good things for them, and he's empowered by doing good things.

"The problem is,” he continues, "there's a clash between this 1950s king of the castle idea and the way families are now. I'm a father, so I know it's much less a king of the castle thing. We've moved on, progressed, and there's a give and take – nobody's the captain. It's complicated and there are gray areas you have to navigate and finesse, and it's harder work. And this cl

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