ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Adam Wingard wanted to do a different kind of “fall thriller.”
While many movies are set in the East Coast, Wingard found everything he needed. And that was in New Mexico.
“I always wanted to do a movie in the high desert,” he says. “New Mexico offered it all. The incentive package drew us there and we stayed because of the locations. It had it all.”
Wingard is the director behind the upcoming thriller “The Guest,” which will be out in Albuquerque on Oct. 10.
The film follows David, played by Dan Stevens, a soldier who introduces himself to the Peterson family. He claims to be a friend of their son, who died in military action.
After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.
“We wanted the film to be an homage to the late ’80s and early ’90s types of thrillers,” he says. “I think we found the right person to play the hero/villain with Dan. He can play both good and bad.”
Wingard teamed up again with writer Simon Barrett on for the project. The duo were behind the 2011 horror hit “You’re Next.”
Production for “The Guest” took place mostly in Moriarty and Estancia. Wingard says while on the location scout they were driven out to Moriarty and it became very clear that “it had everything we needed.”
“The mayor took us to the high school and everything kind of fell into place really quickly,” he says. “We were trying to find a centralized place that had more than one piece for us to film.”
Wingard says after arriving they were given full access to the high school and the finale in the film takes place in the gymnasium.
They were shown diners and then found the biggest “score” when they were taken to McCalls’ Pumpkin Patch.
“In the film, we have a haunted Halloween fun house and it already existed at the farm,” he says. “It was just too perfect the way it worked out. The entire community embraced us filming there and it was a great experience.”
“The Guest” production took place over 31 days last fall.
Wingard says getting the feedback on the film has been quite a rush for the pair. In fact, the film has been getting good reviews from various national outlets.
“We’ve been pretty lucky with the reception to the film,” he says. “We thought about what we wanted the film to be like and really worked hard in getting it the way we wanted it. It’s been a lot of hard work and now we’re rolling out the film a little at a time.”
Wingard says he’d love to come back to New Mexico to film another project – he’s just got to find the time.
“This publicity tour has me so busy that I haven’t started anything yet,” he says. “But who knows, I’d love to be back and film again.”
GETTING ANSWERS: Journalist Maria Hinojosa has been working on her series “American by the Numbers,” which will air on Saturday, Oct. 4, on New Mexico PBS.
Hinojosa says the project began four years ago, though filming didn’t start until a year ago. During filming, Hinojosa and crew searched for stories that helped examine the new American mainstream – the growing numbers of African Americans, Asians, Latinos, mixed race, immigrants, women and youth.
“It’s been an amazing journey to tell these stories,” Hinojosa says. “The world has changed so much, it’s a new world that we live in. I can’t wait for the next season.”
Hinojosa says choosing the areas where the stories are told is challenging – but one she likes.
“This shows us how diverse the country is,” she says. “That’s the greatest part of it all.”
HE’S GOT SOME BITE: Sebastian Roche is currently starring in the film, “A Walk Among the Tombstones” with Liam Neeson.
The long-time actor also has carved out a niche for himself in the sci-fi genre and will return as Mikael in the second season of “The Originals,” beginning Oct. 6.
Visit ABQjournal.com/reelnm to read more about his career.