Alex Wolff has had a variety of film roles that range from horror (the recently released Old) to family fare (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and its sequel). He has steadily become an actor to watch and arguably one of his most memorable roles is that of Peter in the 2018 indie horror film, HEREDITARY. Directed by Ari Aster, the film is an attack on the psyche for the audience and, as it turns out, the film also had a lasting effect on Wolff that still sticks with him today.
During a chat with Looper to promote his role in Pig, starring Nicolas Cage, Wolff admitted that Hereditary had an effect on him like no film he had acted in before. Wolff said, “I’ll tell you that movie did as much damage to me as a movie can do.” The damage, according to Wolff, included psychological effects and loss of sleep. The actor said that he was reluctant to reveal the lingering effects of that film on him because he realizes he’s in a privileged position because of his chosen profession:
“It’s very hard because as an actor, you really don’t want to sound pretentious or self-serious or like anything is too serious because we have a cushy job in a lot of ways, but this, emotionally, it was one of those tough ones, it was one of those ones that really did some gymnastics on my emotional well-being.”
It really comes as no surprise that Wolff went through it making that film. As an audience member, Hereditary was mentally exhausting (and I mean that as the highest compliment) so I can only imagine what it was like to act in it. Wolff’s character is really put through a varying degree of emotional paces and it only builds as the film progresses. Even if you weren’t particularly method as a performer, I would think you would take some of that home with you at the end of the day.
In Hereditary, a family is haunted by a mysterious presence after the death of their secretive grandmother. When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry, trying to outrun the sinister fate they have inherited. Led by a truly powerful performance from Toni Collette, Hereditary was very well-received by critics, scoring an 89% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the film became a bit of a surprise box office hit during the summer of 2018. On a production budget of $10 million, the film grossed $44.1 million domestically and $80.2 million worldwide. The film still stands as A24’s highest-grossing film at the worldwide box office. The film also stars Milly Shapiro and Gabriel Byrne.
What are YOUR thoughts on Hereditary?