Thatcher, who plays the teenage version of Natalie Scatorccio on the Showtime series, will lead the adaptation of Stephen King’s 1973 short story, which focuses on a family haunted by a terrifying entity.
Savage, who has previously directed Host and Dashcam, praised the actress in an interview with SFX Magazine, saying she gave a “commanding” performance.
“She’s fantastic in every single thing that she does, but people aren’t ready for the level of her performance here,” he said. “She’s in almost every single frame and she’s operating on a Toni Collette in Hereditary level. It’s an incredible, commanding performance, and the whole film really rests on her shoulders.”
The film, which also stars Chris Messina and Vivien Lyra Blair, had to be re-edited following initial test screenings, with audiences finding it too scary in its first draft.
“The first time you see the creature, the audience screamed so loud, and then immediately started talking with their neighbours and chattering, that they completely missed the next lines,” said Savage.
“So we had to re-cut it and build in 45 seconds of padding, just so they didn’t miss any vital information. I’m a huge jump-scare guy. That’s the most gratifying part, when you see that play with an audience and you can feel them taking the bait, and then you feel the jump land,” he added.
Savage also revealed that King turned up for the first screening, with the director wary of the fact that the author has strong opinions on adaptations of his work: "I didn’t go because I was terrified that he was going to do a Shining on it and absolutely hate it," he revealed.
"But apparently, he jumped on numerous occasions, and then sent this lovely, lovely message to everyone who worked on the movie. And the next morning I got an email saying, 'From Stephen King.' And he says, 'Robert, I’m still thinking about your movie the next morning.'"
The Boogeyman will be released in cinemas on June 2.
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