Tony Award-winning stage performer Denis O’Hare, known for his fearsome character in “True Blood” faces one the fiercest immortal creature jackal-headed god Anubis in the terrifying horror event of the year “The Pyramid.”
In “The Pyramid,” father-daughter team of archaeologists, Dr. Nora Holden (Ashley Hinshaw) and her father Miles (Denis O’Hare) have stumbled in what could be the most important discovery of their careers. Using NASA satellite imaging technology, they have uncovered the first three-sided Egyptian pyramid buried deep under the desert for over 5,000 years. Followed by documentarian Sunni Marshe (Christa Nicola) and her cameraman Terrence “Fitzie” Fitzsimmons (James Buckley), and with the help of robotics expert Michael Zahir (Amir Kamyab), the team is determined to explore the foreboding structure.
With the screenplay finalized and the sets under construction, the filmmakers’ attentions turned to casting. “Originally we were going to go for unknowns,” reveals producer Scott Silver, “but we found a new dimension when we started thinking about established actors who hadn’t quite fully broken out yet.”
Helping bring to life the film’s key relationship – the father/daughter bond between Holden and Nora – is Denis O’Hare, a Tony-winning actor who’s had memorable roles in stage, on screen and on television. “As played by Denis, Holden is the opposite of Nora,” says director Greg Levasseur. “Holden doesn’t want to go into the pyramid, he’s always concerned about safety and you realize he’s wise to do so. He’s the first to figure out what’s going on.”
O’Hare notes that the part was challenging to research. “The funny thing about researching a role is you inevitably explore the wrong thing,” he says. “To make this character work properly I investigated how people react under pressure and what they do when they’re trapped. To become Holden, it was less about me becoming an archaeologist and more about becoming someone who’s trapped in a pyramid!” O’Hare did immerse himself in Egyptian history by absorbing an entire lecture series on Ancient Egypt and then learning about other civilizations of the time. “It’s a great excuse to get to know a new area,” he confirms.
Where Nora is eager for a groundbreaking discovery, Holden is jaded from years of coasting. “He’s an academician who’s never had the right idea or received the right funding,” O’Hare reflects. “I imagine he had an early success in his twenties, which landed him a professorship, and then nothing else has happened to him. Now, because his daughter is reigniting that thirst for discovery and exploration, he makes some bad decisions.”
For Hinshaw, O’Hare proved to be a perfect co-star. “We spent a lot of time discussing their relationship,” she says. “We focused on the characters’ backstory. It’s rare to get a co-star who’s as into that as I am, and perhaps he’s even more interested than me. We started developing all these stories about their lives and their life together before the film starts.” Cementing the father/daughter bond was always the key driver of the story. Their disparate personalities and goals are heightened by Nora’s embracing of new technology – the very technology that reveals the location of the pyramid – and Holden’s desire to continue using the tried and true methods of his profession. “They have an emotional connection, that anyone can relate to, but it also increases the tension because you can have a more direct confrontation with your father than you can with, say, your professor,” Hinshaw concludes.
The doors to “The Pyramid” opens December 10 nationwide in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.