"The Haunting" centers on four people who are drawn to the foreboding mansion known as Hill House for reasons they think they know—though what they believe and what is real may not be the same
"The Haunting" centers on four people
who are drawn to the foreboding mansion known as Hill House for
reasons they think they know-though what they believe and what
is real may not be the same.
One who has every reason to believe he alone knows the truth behind
their visit is Dr. David Marrow. While Marrow has told the others
they were recruited for a sleep disorder study, he is secretly
observing them for a book on fear.
Liam Neeson, who stars as Marrow, reveals, "In order to study
their reactions, Marrow suggests certain half truths about the
history of the house, but assumes he will be in complete control
of the situation. He doesn't believe in ghosts. He is a scientist;
everything can be explained.. .which is totally contrary to my
own upbringing because I'm Irish and grew up believing in fairies
and goblins. I also loved scary movies as a kid, so it was great
to be part of this one. It was thrilling to read a script and
get chills up my spine, and I totally trusted what Jan would do
with the film. He's a great storyteller."
Susan Arnold comments, "In casting Marrow, we needed somebody
who has a built-in authority someone you have an immediate trust
in. Liam is a wonderful actor who has the ability to make you
feel that you are safe and in good hands, but that there might
be more going on beneath the surface."
Of his study subjects, there is no one more trusting of Dr. Marrow
than Nell, played by Lili Taylor. Taylor explains that Nell hasn't
the life experience to sense any duplicity in him. "Nell
has been shut in taking care of her mother, so this is her first
real exposure to the world. She has a very different dynamic from
the other three, kind of wide-eyed and somewhat overwhelmed. But
at the same time, she is feeling things and picking up on things
in the house that the others don't really believe.. .at first.
Roth says, "Nell is a very complex character, and we were
so lucky to get Lili Taylor, who is such an extraordinary actress,
to play her."
"Nell had to be very vulnerable, very fragile, yet have an
inner strength that reveals itself as the story progresses,"
De Bont notes. "It is very hard to find all that in one actress,
but Lili was fantastic. She put it all together."
Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as Theo, the brazen young beauty, who,
Susan Arnold observes, "is everything that Nell isn't. Catherine
really captured the essence of Theo-her exuberance, her beauty
and her love of life."
Zeta-Jones remarks, "When I read the script, I loved that
it was a completely different genre from anything I'd ever done,
and I especially loved the arc of my character. Theo appears to
be very up-front. She's wild and fun, but it's all a pretense,
an imaginary game she's made up to call her life. When things
start to happen, a lot of those pretenses and barriers get broken
Bringing a cynical edge and irreverent humor to the group is the
character of Luke, played by Owen Wilson, who has seen enough
of these studies to know there's more here than meets the eye.
"Owen is really somebody special," Roth says. "He's
bright and funny and witty, and has a wonderfully skewed view
of life that was perfect for the role."
"Luke volunteers to participate in paid psychological experiments
to make money," Wilson notes. "He's been through tests
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