The Radio Times logo

The Black Phone director changed the mask for Ethan Hawke

Scott Derrickson revealed that the design for Hawke's mask was simpler before the Moon Knight star accepted the role.

Ethan Hawke as The Grabber in The Black Phone
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
Published: Wednesday, 22nd June 2022 at 8:00 am
Subscribe to Radio Times magazine and get 12 issues for £1

If you've seen any of the promotional material for new horror movie The Black Phone, you'll likely be familiar with the terrifying mask worn by Ethan Hawke throughout the film.

Advertisement

And director Scott Derrickson has now revealed that the mask was actually custom-built for the Moon Knight star, with the original design having been far more straightforward before Hawke signed up for the role.

"Well, in the script, it was very simple," he told RadioTimes.com during an exclusive interview. "It was just described as an antique leather devil mask. There was one smile mask and one frown mask.

"And after I got Ethan, I got more interested in creating a more complicated mask, partly because I wanted to see his face some. The idea that I came up with during pre-production was splitting the masks in half."

He added: "Once I had the basic idea, I went out to a bunch of special effects companies that specialise in making masks and do this kind of thing. And Tom Savini, the legend who's behind some of the great masks in horror history just gave me a sketch, that was basically what you see on the screen – three masks divided with those basic expressions.

"And as soon as I saw it, I was like, Oh, my God, that's it. It was great."

Hawke stars as The Grabber, a serial killer who abducts several children in a suburban Colorado town in 1978.

The Black Phone
The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) and Finney Shaw (Mason Thames) in The Black Phone UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

And Derrickson admitted that Hawke was initially a little reluctant to play such an irredeemable villain, before he eventually accepted the role in a very unique way.

"I didn't think he would do it," he said. "I gave him the script, he told me 'I don't really play villains, so I'll read it but you know'. I think his exact phrase was it's gonna have to be some kind of real Jack Nicholson The Shining kind of thing.

"And then after he read it that night, he left me a voicemail reading one of the lines from the script in the voice of The Grabber. He just left it on my voicemail. And that's how I knew he was going to do it."

Advertisement

The Black Phone is in cinemas from Friday 22nd June 2022. Visit our Movies hub for the latest news and features, or find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide.

The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content