One of the most memorable scenes from The Purge franchise stars Rhys Wakefield as that well-dressed young killer who gave the family in the first film an ultimatum as he grinned like the Chesire cat. That smile is hard to forget.
Rhys has starred in many other roles than just in The Purge. He went diving in Sanctum, he went to school in After the Dark, co-starred in Echoes of War, appeared alongside Terrence Howard in Cardboard Boxer, and played the role of Lucas on the long-running series “Home and Away“.
Now, he gearing up to make his directorial debut. Rhys sat down with me to talk about it and his role in The Purge as well as the soon to be released thriller The Grand Son (aka American Pets).
The Grand Son follows Tod (Wakefield), a twisted young man, whose Hollywood lifestyle is put in jeopardy when he makes a fatal error.
Horror Fuel: “Did you enjoy getting in touch with your darker side for The Purge?”
Rhys: “I really did. I enjoy dark characters. You have to find a sense of empathy with those characters. He’s just a well-dressed psychopath who just wants to Purge.”
Horror Fuel: “That smile is so eerie. Did you already know that you could do that look or did you discover it while filming, kind of accidentally?”
Rhys: “[laughter] I knew I could do this almost devilish smile. ”
Horror Fuel: “That’s a good way to describe it, devilish.
Have you seen Truth or Dare yet? There are a couple of scenes where the possessed characters do something very similar with their smile, almost like an homage. When I watched the movie I automatically thought of that porch scene in The Purge.”
Rhys: “Awe, thank you for thinking of me. I have not, but I might have to see it.”
Horror Fuel: “Given the opportunity would you Purge or would you hide?”
Rhys: “I would absolutely hide. I’m still taken back by the number of people who are into the idea. It is a bit disturbing.”
Horror Fuel: “Your character was a bit evil, you played it well.”
Rhys: “Thank you.”
Horror Fuel: “Can you tell us anything about your role in the upcoming third season of True Detective?”
Rhys: “I’m sorry I can’t yet.”
Horror Fuel: “I get it. You can’t blame me for trying [laughter]. I absolutely love the show. I look forward to seeing you in action.”
Rhys: “[laughter] Thank you. It’s fantastic.”
Horror Fuel: “Do you know the premiere date? I’ve tried to find it.”
Rhys: “I know it will come out in 2019.”
Horror Fuel: “The Grand Son, also known as American Pets, will soon be coming out. What do you think drives your character, Tod? Is it greed or lust? Because you have to admit, Tod gets busy a lot in the film [laughter].”
Rhys: “[laughter] He does. But I think it is a bit of both. He comes from a very narcissistic family who puts more stock into possessions than anything else.”
Horror Fuel: “Did he kill by accident or was it a choice?”
Rhys: “We wanted to leave that up for interpretation. What do you think happened?”
Horror Fuel: “Spoiler-free version? I think it was a bit of an accident, but once it happened he was okay with it. He seemed panicked at first, then pleased with the situation he created.”
Rhys: “That may have been the case. We, Robert and I, wanted the audience to decide for themselves.”
Horror Fuel: “At times the character is a bit hard to read, but I guess that’s the case with a lot of psychopaths. Can you explain the relationship he has with his sister?”
Rhys: “He is definitely a psychopath. I think that a lot of the women in the film serve as a type of mother figure. With Lani (Fabianne Therese), he’s in more of a fatherly, protective role. She’s the only one he truly trusts. He’s only looking out for himself and her.”
Horror Fuel: “What do you hope viewers take away from The Grand Son?”
Rhys: “The film is like a strange feeling, it’s hard to explain. Most of all I hope that the audience is entertained by a few colorful characters. Ultimately, we just want the audience to be entertained.”
Horror Fuel: “Now the dreaded question, what’s next for you?”
Rhys: ” I have a movie that I wrote and will direct that is coming out next year.”
Horror Fuel: “What is the title?”
Rhys: “It’s my Untitled Hollywood Hills Project.”
Horror Fuel: “What genre is it?”
Rhys: “It’s a dark comedy thriller, with Nick Cage, Jack Falahee, and James Roday. It’s about two guys who accidentally kill their friend and it unfolds over a night. It’s a bit A.D.D. I guess would be a good way to put it, it’s funny. You’ll have to see it for yourself, it will be out next year.”
Horror Fuel: “Congratulations! I look forward to seeing it. You have made several short films also. Am I right?”
Rhys: “I have. This will be my first feature.”
We’ll keep you posted on the Untitled Hollywood Hills Project. In the meantime, be sure to see Rhys Wakefield in The Grand Son, which will be released digitally on August 14, 2018, followed by its DVD release on November 6th.