Don’t Breathe 2 star welcomes film’s theatrical release amid streaming debate

Don’t Breathe 2 star Stephen Lang says he is pleased the film is being released in cinemas as it deserves to be seen on the big screen.

The actor reprises his role as the blind army veteran Norman Nordstrom from the 2016 horror-thriller original, which proved a hit at the box office.

The sequel again shows Lang’s character fending off intruders at his home, this time focused on his young companion.

Stephen Lang
Stephen Lang stars in horror sequel Don’t Breathe 2 (Ian West/PA)

Amid the fierce debate accelerated by the pandemic over the benefits of streaming compared with the sanctity of the theatrical experience, Don’t Breathe 2 is launching exclusively in cinemas.

US actor Lang, whose previous films include Manhunter, Tombstone and Avatar, said the experience of watching on the big screen was unique.

He told the PA news agency: “There is no trading the experience watching this in a cinema. Watching this with the shared energy of an audience, that collective intake of breath, the collective gasp of surprise, the collective scream – that’s all part of the experience that you just can’t get anywhere else.

“And also, the film itself is made, I think, with such artistry on every level that – I’m talking from a production point of view here, everything from music to art direction – that it really does deserve to be seen on the big screen.”

Lang, 69, added: “After you’ve seen it on the big screen I urge you to watch it six or seven more times on your own devices.”

While in the first film, Norman – also known as The Blind Man – may have been seen as the antagonist, hunting down the intruders who tried to steal his savings, the sequel is expected to feature a more nuanced approach.

Lang said he did not see Norman as either hero or villain.

He told PA: “When I played The Blind Man in the first film, I never thought of him as protagonist, antagonist, villain or anything. And when this script came to me, it just seemed to me to be an opportunity to further explore and deepen my understanding, and therefore, an audience’s understanding of who this character is, where he’s coming from, and maybe where he’s going.

“So I really do resist as an actor, labelling characters in any way, but I will say it was great to return to this character and play him.”

Don’t Breathe 2 will be released in cinemas on August 13.