“He’s Not A Villain, He’s An Animal:” Alex Montaldo On Playing “The Bad Guy” In The Seeding
When a lost young boy lures science photographer Wyndham Stone into a deep crater within a Utah canyon, his only hopes of escaping lie with Alina, the seemingly passive woman with him, or the gang of feral, desert-raised boys circling above them, that lives to serve her.
Popdust sat down with Alex Montaldo who plays the leader of the sadistic pack of young men - think Peter Pan to the Lost Boys.
In your own words, tell me about The Seeding.
The Seeding is a horror film, but more on the psychological side. To me, it has a lot to do with the primal human fears and the relationship we have with nature, which is broken in too many ways I think, and how this could turn sour and bad and dangerous - just ‘cause we think we’ve been put in charge by something, someone which is just an illusion and then when you face reality then, it could go bad. [Laughs]
What was it like filming out in the middle of Utah?
It was gorgeous, I loved it. It was so uncomfortable. And that helped me a lot.
My idea was just to become part of the desert and take it all in and see what it did to me. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the sky in Utah, but you can see every single star. And I felt this overwhelming feeling of being so tiny and at the same time, so huge, that it’s just I don’t even know what I was doing … [looking up at the sky] was one specific moment that gave me a lot.
Normally I’m afraid of heights, but most of my scenes were actually up on top of the rim of the canyon. As the character? I could look down, had no fear whatsoever, and I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s kind of why I like doing this.
What drew you to the role of Corvus in the first place?
I was able to visualize it immediately - he’s like a carnie, like a carnival barker type, but he’s also a shaman - meaning he’s this guy who strives to feed this goddess he and his tribe worship. And there’s also a very human side to him which is more related to the men he kidnaps and kills.
In the desert, I rule. And is that evil? Good? Bad? I don’t look at it that way. I mean if you’ve seen my character, you probably think of it as a bad guy - I don’t at all. It’s all out of love, in a way, for the sister/mother/goddess, and this need to create something very human and very much not human at the same time.
The essence of my character is really on his name at the end of the day. Corvus means crow, right? [Alex laughs and points to a crow tattoo on his left forearm.] I had this before… In celtic mythology, crows are messengers of death. And my character is high on death to a certain extent. He has this connection with arcane knowledge. So it all goes back to that.
Also he reminded me of Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger and Peter Murphy so it was cool for me to just go for it... [The writer/director Barnaby Clay] has got a rock’n’roll style in his aesthetic I was just drawn to.
What was the dynamic like on set between you and the other feral boys?
[Laughs] It was cool. I never worked with children before. But it was great ‘cause they have much more freedom. They don’t have all those layers of ‘Oh it’s me, it’s my scene, now I gotta do this, I gotta do that cause it’s gotta look a certain way’ - no, they just go for it.
When I can, I like to create the same dynamics the characters have outside of the - ya know - as much as I can, without talking about it. And I think I did. I was protective of them. Concerned about them. And that was a big part of it. I think the character cares about them even though he may end up killing some of them. It’s for a greater good, a greater purpose, but there’s still like a pack bond between them.
A lot of the movie’s tension comes from Wyndam not knowing about Alina’s codependence with you and the boys. What was it like working with Scott Haze and Kate Lyn Sheil?
It doesn’t happen a lot that you’re so lucky that you get to work with people you respect and like and get something out of. Scott [has] this movie star Robert Redford type quality to him and yet this captivating intensity that I really liked. Working with him was so easy for me.
I really love the way [Kate] was so quiet and focused on set. She can play a doctor or a lawyer or in this case, a goddess, and there’s gonna be something unique to it. If I were to describe it, it’s like a grace and strength at the same time that made her character so interesting to watch.
Tell me your ideal audience reaction, coming out of the theater.
Ideally, I would like ten people to have ten different opinions on it. [My character is] an animal, in the best possible way. Is he mean? Sure, whatever. I don’t judge. I hope that everyone gets something different out of it.
The Seeding is playing twice more at the Tribeca Film Festival on Tuesday, June 13 at 9pm and Saturday, June 17 at 9:30pm at the Village East by Angelika.