Luke Cook brings us the comic relief in his new thriller/horror film Eye Without a Face.
Eye Without a Face is about an agoraphobic young man (Dakota Shapiro), living with a Youtuber and struggling actor (Luke), hacks the webcams of young women, and suspects that one of them is a serial killer. The film was written and directed by Ramin Niami.
Check out my interview with Luke.
How exciting is it that this film is complete and that people are going to get to see it?
Luke: It’s so exciting! After all the madness of 2020, I’d nearly forgotten about that movie. I mean I for one can’t wait to see it because I’ve yet to, but I can’t wait for everyone else to see it too because I thought that Dakota was awesome and the whole cast was really cool and I can’t wait to see exactly how it all comes together. What’s nuts about it, it is like when you forget that you made something, and then there it is, it’s like forgetting about a piece of food that you’d like, a piece of pizza that’s in the fridge, and you’re like, ‘oh, there it is, how good is this?’
How did you become a part of this project?
Luke: One of my co-stars, Vlada (Verevko) and I went to acting school and she had recommended me to the director for a role and he had seen my ridiculous videos that I make on Instagram and was like, ‘this guy is what we need. As the comedic relief in this movie.’ And so that’s how I became involved, my co-star showing the director my stuff online and they’re ridiculous videos like not me acting, me dancing and things like that. So, that’s how I got involved.
What was it like playing a character that was the comic relief in such a dark and heavy film?
Luke: Yeah, I mean it’s really perfect, what I love getting to do because I saw what Dakota was going through with playing the role and it was just, it was heavy and was weighing on him. We were in the same dark house every day, not seeing any of the sun, but it didn’t get to weigh on me, I didn’t have to bear that burden. So I absolutely loved it.
I also hear that you had some room for some improv.
Luke: I did have room to improvise. When I say that, I think Ramin had to pull me back a lot, because I could go too far, which I always appreciated, he ran a very honest set.
Yeah, I spoke with him the other day and he said that he keeps things quiet and focused.
Luke: I’d say that’s correct. Like I said before, about what Dakota was going through, we were kind of all, in a way, going through it, the darkness of this movie, and it is a quiet movie. It’s not fast paced. It’s like a slow dark movement.
So, this film is billed as a thriller and a horror, but you’re right, it is slower in pace, do you think that benefits the story?
Luke: Definitely, I like the idea of slow burn thrillers. A slow burn thriller is a good thing, like when we start slow and then it builds and builds and builds slowly and slowly until I go over to the killer’s house myself to look into the situation, and then we go high stakes, you know, high heart rates, which I think is really good and fun.
Not to get spoilery or anything but what did you think about the ending?
Luke: It’s a great ending. I think people would love it.
Your character, Eric, is a YouTuber and he really wants to break out into acting. Do you think he has what it takes to become a working actor?
Luke: No. Eric is like so many people we see who come to Los Angeles who have hopes and aspirations of being famous… I mean, maybe he could be a YouTube star. But that’s high hopes for Eric, I don’t think he would have made it. He would have been well into his 40s, living in LA, still struggling away. I think that’s what I can see Eric doing, but he’s loving every minute… It’s not a tragic story. He’s enthusiastic about life and loves life, which is the greatest difference between Dakota’s and my character. Henry is sunken into the darkness and Eric is light and fluffy and thinks and thinks optimistically about the world.
What was it like working with Dakota when you’re being very big and bubbly and he’s the opposite?
Luke: It was always nice to get outside to get off set and out of that room. And I think it took him a little while, when we got outside of the room, to come back to himself, to come out of the darkness and relax. He’s a very sweet person. He’s a great actor and a lot of great actors tend to push themselves into the darkness if they need to go there. So it would take him some time to come back to us and to come back to me. And I would be the perfect person to get him out, I’d be throwing tennis balls at him and telling jokes. In a way, I would say that I’m very much my character, I wouldn’t say that he is his character but he knows how to go in that and that’s what makes him a great actor.
He was definitely very creepy in this movie.
Luke: Yeah. It’d be so easy to overplay that and watching him do it, I was like, ‘I’m so glad, we were in good hands here.’ When you start a movie and you’re about to be here for the next two months, it’s hell when the other person is really bad but it’s not hell if they’re really good. It gets to be a good experience, a pleasurable one, and he allowed for that.
It definitely came across on screen that you guys had a great time.
Luke: Thank you. I mean, I remember certain things and I certainly remember the dark. And when you shoot in one place, it’s hard to explain, but when you shoot in one place for the entire movie, it begins to feel like cabin fever. I can’t imagine being Ramin or even Dakota. I got to leave, I was away for a week and Dakota was just by himself. So I didn’t know where he would have gone by himself in that place, I mean, no other actors, no me coming in to lighten the mood, it was just him and Ramin and Tara and I wonder where you would have gone and how would that would have been.
I can’t even imagine.
Luke: It’s funny though, isn’t it, because we got to feel that in 2020. We had to lock down in our house or apartment and just be in that spot. And I can’t wait to see (the film) and see if what comes across is actually that feeling of cabin fever that drove people up the wall in 2020, and even in Australia today.
The bulk of this story deals with Dakota’s character hacking into these women’s webcams. Did you know that Ramin had taken that concept from real life when you went into this project?
Luke: I don’t know what I knew at the time but I used to, at least, have tape over my web webcam. What I heard about was government agencies doing that and I never thought about creepy people doing it like Dakota’s character does. It doesn’t surprise me that Ramin, but, you know, you got to consider that Ramin’s not young. And he very much understood and very much tapped into a very rough story that’s right now, you know, government surveillance or general creeps hacking into computers and looking through webcams. As people who are always on our phones and computers, there’s something there. I didn’t know it was based on a real story but I knew that this was a theme.
Do you have any advice for people who come away from this film feeling very paranoid that this could happen to them?
Luke: I have no advice because for the most part, when I see Instagram ads, I’m like, ‘how the hell did they know that?’ I didn’t talk about it, I thought it. So, I think we’re too far gone. Like cover up (your webcams) if you want to, but they’re in there, all around us. We have Alexa’s in our houses listening to our every word, and probably watching us. I can’t give advice, I don’t know what we can do. I think we’ve invited too many things into our world and they’re listening and they’re watching.
I agree. And that just makes the film that much creepier.
Luke: Yeah, like you can imagine a Mark Zuckerberg on the other side just trying to sell you things, like okay fine, but then there’s like a Henry who is in love with you. It’s crazy and that’s madness and that is scary.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about Eye Without a Face?
Luke: I want to make sure that people go ahead and preorder this baby on iTunes. And then if you love it, please go tell your friends because the independent film industry was crushed during the pandemic. We have something here that, with everybody’s help, we can get off the ground and get it out there and it’s interesting and it’s risky. So if you love it, tell your friends about it.