Some of the most successful women are those who are not only efficient, sophisticated and smart in their careers, but also in their relationships with their relatives, no matter what challenges they all face together. That’s certainly the case for actress Alexis Louder’s character of Linda, the strong-willed wife and mother in the new ensemble Christmas horror comedy, ‘Violent Night.’
Linda succeeds as being a good mother and wife by pointing out the obstacles that need to be fixed in their family dynamic. She holds her own withing a family that doesn’t always know how to support each other, and takes a stand for what she wants out of her relationships.
Pat Casey and Josh Miller wrote the characters’ arcs in ‘Violent Night,’ which was directed by Tommy Wirkola. The movie hails from production company 87North, which has also produced such action films as ‘John Wick,’ ‘Atomic Blonde,’ ‘Nobody,’ Bullet Train,’ ‘Deadpool 2’ and ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.’ 87North’s Kelly McCormick, David Leitch and Guy Danella served as producers on ‘Violent Night,’ which Universal Pictures is releasing in theaters this weekend.
In ‘Violent Night,’ a team of mercenaries breaks into the compound of the wealthy Lightstone family on Christmas Eve. The mercenaries are instructed by their leader, Scrooge (John Leguizamo), to take everyone in the Lightstone family hostage, including matriarch Gertrude (Beverly D’Angelo), her son, Jason (Alex Hassell), his estranged wife, Linda, and their young daughter, Trudy (Leah Brady).
While struggling to stay safe and protect her family throughout the night, the latter forms an unexpected, heartfelt bond with Santa Claus (David Harbour). As members of the family and Santa are all struggling to find a way to find purpose in their lives again and reconnect with the people they love, the latter musters up the strength to not only offer vital assistance to his new friend Trudy and her relatives, while also dispatching the intruders.
Louder generously took the time earlier this week to talk about starring in ‘Violent Night’ during an exclusive interview over the phone. Among other things, the actress discussed that she appreciated that Wirkola encouraged her to develop Linda’s arc in the comedy in a way that allowed her to be strong-willed and determined to rebuild her characters’ relationships.
The conversation began with Louder discussing why she was drawn to play Linda in ‘Violent Night.’ “Tommy reached out to my team, complimenting me on ‘Copshop.’ He then sent me the script for ‘Violent Night’ and I read it, and I was like, ‘I’m so game. This seems like a lot of fun, and I’m excited for whatever it is to become,'” she noted.
Further speaking of the fact that Wirkola directed the film, the actress shared what her experience was like of collaborating with him to build Linda’s arc throughout the story. “It was really interesting because I’ve never had a circumstance before where I could completely mold a character, and I learned a lot from it,” she said.
“The dynamic Linda has with this family, and seeing all the reasons why Jason settled down with her, was amazing. She’s very grounded, warm and supported,” Louder continued. “I felt like those were things that I wanted to put into Linda. She wants that for her husband, as well.”
Like the actress mentioned, Linda is very efficient, sophisticated and smart. She wants her family to be together, but there have been some obstacles that have hindered her marriage with Jason and their family dynamic, and she’s strong enough to call out the things that need to be fixed. The performer feels it’s important for Linda to hold her own and take a stand for what she wants out of her relationship for the betterment of her family.
“It’s like that saying – when they go low, you go high. The Lightstones really fight with one another, so Linda wants to be an example for her daughter, and show her what a supportive family looks like,” Louder shared. “She tries no to let things get to her, but they do.
“I had a lot of fun with that, and Tommy was really genius in how he let us freely move within the space. We had a very well-written script, which made our jobs a lot easier,” the actress continued. “If we had any questions about our characters and what they would do and why, he would discuss it with us.”
While Louder appreciated how well-written the screenplay was for the ‘Violent Night,’ she also appreciated that Wirkola allowed her and her co-stars to improvise on the set. “We definitely had our time to improv. I really hope we get a blooper reel because it would be hilarious to see all the different takes we did in the scenes together, especially in the great room where we had the whole ensemble together,” she shared with a laugh.
Following up on the fact that Linda wants to be a great mom to Trudy, the actress then delved into what the experience was like of building the unbreakable bond between Linda and Trudy. “Leah’s such a sweetheart. I actually used to nanny before my acting took off. I worked with kids of all ages, so getting to work with Leah was cool,” she divulged.
“Kids just want to feel included, but this is really an adult project. So I tried to find times where she’s included. We would play games on set and do TikTok challenges. We also went out to get manicures together, just to really build that bond as mom and daughter,” Louder also shared. “A lot of moms want their daughters to be their best friends, so I took that route with Leah.”
Besides Brady, Louder also enjoyed the experience of working with her ensemble cast of co-stars to create the relationships Linda has with her husband, his family, the mercenaries and Santa Claus. “It was so fun. I didn’t get to work with David as much as I would have liked. But everyone who was involved in the project was amazing,” she said.
“Working with John was a dream come true. I also got to work with actors who are new to me, like Alex Hassell, who played my husband. We really got to support each other in figuring out what this relationship is, what went wrong and what will make it right,” the actress continued.
“It’s almost like when you do a scene study class, you have all of these great actors who just want to make great work,” Louder shared.
“Funny enough, I’ve been a fan of Edi’s work since I saw her in Groundling and her one-woman show. So getting to work with her was amazing,” the actress gushed about her co-star.
“Beverly D’Angelo just took me under her wing, like the gorgeous queen mother that she is,” Louder also shared.
“So I really appreciate the relationships I’ve built with my cast members. It’s almost like we’re the Lightstone family,” the actress added with a laugh.
While the movie is driven by the serious exploration into the family dynamics, especially as they’re targeted by the villainous Scrooge and his fellow mercenaries, the story also features moments of relatable humor. Louder then noted how she feel it’s important to interweave humor with the more serious moments in this type of horror film.
“It was actually quite difficult because I was supposed to be scared, and these jokes are quite funny,” the actress revealed. “So I really had to focus on not laughing in certain scenes. But when they went in on close-ups, I really couldn’t hold it together.”
‘Violent Night’ also features action sequences that work well with the plot’s jokes and horror elements. Louder shared that she enjoyed creating her stuntwork and physicality, as Linda helps fight back against Scrooge and his fellow mercenaries, throughout the shoot
“I didn’t have much training to do because I do have experience working with weapons. But I didn’t want Linda to know what she was doing, so I had to dial back my experience, just to make it seem realistic that she’s a career woman, and doesn’t encounter violence on a regular basis,” the actress explained. “So in this experience, she’s just diving in and hoping that she can help her family.”
The comedy was shot on location in Winnipeg, an experience that Louder cherished, as it helped influence the way she approached playing Linda. “It was cool to be on location, but it was really, really cold! We were in this frozen terrain, but Winnipeg is a very cute, adorable town, and I wish I was there in the summer,” she admitted.
“Doing the exterior scenes was quite daunting because were fighting and running. We had to do our scenes in short spurts because we had to keep going back inside and warm up. They took great care of us out there and took the elements into consideration with everything we were doing,” the actress concluded.