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Brightburn: David Denman On Family Dynamics With An Evil Villainous Teen [Exclusive Interview]

For many parents, raising a teen going through puberty is possibly the greatest challenge in parenthood.

Try raising a teen with superheroes intending to destroy the world.

In a mix of comic superhero and horror films, Brightburn is a unique film that features “what if” the child from another crash-landed on Earth, but not to become a hero to mankind.

The film stars Elizabeth Banks, David Denman and Jackson A. Dunn. It is directed by David Yarovesky and written by Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn. James Gunn is also a producer on this project.

LRM Online exclusively had a phone interview with actor David Denman on his fatherly role to a sinister evil in the household. He talked about the attraction of this unique new genre, working with Elizabeth Banks and the brilliant mind of David Yarovesky for putting this ambitious film together.

Denman has a long acting career on screen with appearances in 13 Hours, Puzzle, Logan Lucky and The Gift.

Brightburn is in theaters tonight.

Read our exclusive interview below.

LRM: Let’s talk about this Brightburn movie. What initially attracted you to this complex movie?

David Denman: I’ve known James Gunn for a very long time. I’ve always been a fan of his. We wanted to work together, but the opportunity never presented itself until this thing came along. Actually, I got sent the script the day after my son was born. I was still at the hospital and my agent called saying, “Hey, I know you really don’t want to read anything right now, but there’s this amazing script that James is producing. He requested you specifically. If there’s any way in which you can find the time to read it–it would probably be really great.” I did find the time. I loved it. I couldn’t put the script down. I loved the conflict between the parents trying to raise this child. The fact that Brightburn became a mix of these two genres together. It really creating a new genre of superhero horror. He’s not a hero. It’s really a super villain, if anything. I’d never seen anything like that. It was original and unique. As an artist and we’re always looking for those opportunities to do something that is different. I met with the director David [Yarovesky] and he was great. Basically, he said, “You’re exactly what I’m looking for.” The next thing I know I was making the movie.

LRM: I know you had a long career. What was it a first superhero and was it a first horror movie for yourself?

David Denman: I’ve done a horror movie. I was in the Power Rangers movie as the Red Ranger’s dad a few years ago. I’ve done a scary movie called Shutter, which was a Japanese horror film. I’ve done both genres before. I’ve never done this. No one has done both genres at the same time really.

LRM: Besides being a film about superpowers with horror elements, I also loved the family dynamics in this film. Could you talk more about working with Elizabeth Banks as your wife and Jackson Dunn as your son?

David Denman: With Elizabeth Banks, I’ve been a huge fan of hers like in forever. She is an amazing actress. It was really fun to see her to get to play this role. It was a perfect casting for her, I haven’t seen her get to do something like this for a long time. I was excited by that. We’ve met immediately and had a great time. We got on set, one of the keys of this movie you really got to create an environment where it feels authentic as a family. We are a happy family. That was important to Liz and myself.

First time we read the script, it gets so dark so quickly. There’s so much conflict that comes up. We just had a natural chemistry with the family. One of the things was grounded with James Gunn, he’s such a good dude. He’s very loyal to his friends. He’s known Liz and myself for a very long time. Even though we didn’t know each other and we hadn’t met Jackson, there was a familiarity on set. David is one of his best friends. It felt like a family getting together and making this little and the kind of movie. I think that just helped us translate that onto the screen of us all getting along.

You deal with the dynamic of the two different parenting styles. Kyle was always a little skeptical of Brandon. The fact that he’s an alien we found in the woods would probably be red flag for anybody, but Liz’s character, Tori, wanted so desperately to have a baby. We both did. She was able to look past that. She can only really see this innocent baby that we found with basically blinders on. For the most part for the last 12 years, everything had been pretty good with this family. He has been a pretty normal kid. He is going through puberty with this dynamic change. Kyle was the one seeing this drastic change and tried to share with his wife. By the time they’ve finally figured it out, it’s too little, too late. It goes bad pretty quickly.

LRM: I’ve followed David’s career for quite some time. I’ve noticed that this is quite a drastic change from his previous direction. How was he as a director and as a protege of James Gunn? You think he’d be finally broke out with this film?

David Denman: Oh, yeah. Great guy. I loved working with him. To do a movie like this, it’s a moderately low budget film. You have to be really, really sensitive with your time. So much to do in so little time. We don’t have the luxury of a big budget movie to put special effects that would go into that. He had to really get the most out of every second have on set. I think he really did it. Every bit of it shows on screen. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do when he gets something with a little more budget behind it.

LRM: On location in Georgia, how was it working on the production set in the middle of the countryside? Was there a lot of CGI involved too?

David Denman: They didn’t have the money for CGI. There are definitely some effects that you’ll see in the movie. For the most part, we had to do really creative staging with practicals. That farm and the house are in two different locations. We had to shoot accordingly to make it all look like the same place. That was all David for putting it all together like that.

LRM: Let me start wrapping things up. Could you talk about future projects for yourself, David?

David Denman: I did this Dolly Parton anthology series on Netflix that is coming out of the fall. I’m a huge fan of hers. When I got asked to do it, I jumped at the opportunity. Basically, it’s an anthology of her songs. Each episode is a different songs of hers that’s basically a movie. Ours is a western. It’s an opportunity to be in a western. Ride a horse. Shoot a gun. Meet Dolly Parton. I jumped at the opportunity to blast with that. It was actually also in Georgia.

LRM: One last question for you. I know the character Brandon has superpowers of flight, laser eyes and super strength. If you had to choose one superpower, which super power would you love to have and why?

David Denman: I’d love to be able to fly. That’ll be pretty cool. That’ll be my superpower if I can have one.

LRM: [Laughs] Well, that’s a great answer. I would love to have that one too. Hey, thank you for speaking with me, David. I really appreciate it.

David Denman: Thank you.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive

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