After a series of acclaimed turns in film, television and theatre, Rosemarie DeWitt’s grace, style and charm are at the heart of several highly-anticipated projects in which she collaborates with some of the industry’s most honored talent. She has shone in both starring and supporting roles, working consistently across television, theater and film.
Now she brings her considerable talents to Poltergeist, where, alongside her friend Sam Rockwell, she plays the mother in a family dealing with a devastating supernatural nightmare in the depths of suburbia. It is Rosemarie’s first foray into the horror genre.
“Poltergeist” is set in the rapidly fading, disenfranchised American ideal we know as suburbia. Dewitt who plays Amy Bowen, is a mother of two whose husband has recently been laid off from work. The family then moves to a rundown, cookie-cutter community of three-bedroom homes, unkempt yards and chain link fences in an Illinois neighborhood that sets the scene for the unsuspecting protagonists, the Bowen family. It reminds audiences that life in suburbia can sometimes be a long way from comfort and safety.
But it is the children who first notice that something is off about the house, even before the Bowens take ownership. Griffin (Kyle Catlett), the middle child, catches his younger sister Maddy (Kennedi Clements) having a conversation with an unseen…something…in what will soon be her bedroom closet. By the time the family moves into their new home, the stage is set for the discovery of otherworldly forces.
“It almost felt like we were making two movies, one with the horror and the scare of it all, and one was a character-driven piece with a really solid cast, especially for a genre movie,” DeWitt says. “I don’t feel they often go after that, like it’s not always as important, and that made it really, really fun.”
In the film, the family home is built on a cemetery that was supposed to have been moved before the house was built. But while the tombstones were relocated, the actual bodies were left underneath. This caused a group of wandering souls to be stuck in the “in-between” and fiercely determined to get through to their eternal destination. The spirits need Maddy and her innocent source of light to guide them to the afterlife, where they will be set free.
Taken by the script, “Poltergeist” marks DeWitt’s first horror movie, “When I read David’s [Lindsay-Abaire] script – he’s pretty amazing, a playwright and screenwriter from New York – it was clear he’d written really relatable characters. I think we all related to the element of disconnect in our society, and I think we’re a little scared of where that’s going to take us. I think that’s very much where we’re at, and I think part of what we fear for our kids is the unknown. So I guess the poltergeist could really be anything; it’s whatever we put on that’s evil or dangerous, and Madison – the youngest daughter – is pure, so she communicates well with them.”
“Poltergeist” will open June 24 (also available in 3D) from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.