When Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie (Meagan Good) move from the city of San Francisco to the Napa Valley wine country, they are planning to begin their lives as newlyweds and start a family. Yet when the young Black couple settles in, the original owner of the house, Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid), keeps popping up in the oddest and sometimes, scariest of ways, making for a new thriller that hits theaters May 3, “The Intruder.”
In an exclusive interview, Michael Ealy sat down with the AFRO to share how the film manages to engage audiences with a real love story, a relatable plot and scary moments, while leaving viewers with a tough question at the end, “What would I do if this happened to me?”
“Most of the prep work from this role came in terms of working with Meagan [Good] and Deon [Taylor] the director,” Ealy told the AFRO. “We talked about trying to make this couple real. Not just this newlywed bliss fantasy. This couple has a history and we have to come to terms with what that means and whether or not it’s kind of a flaw or window of opportunity for Charlie to kind of manipulate some things and come between us.”
Through the work that Taylor, Good and Ealy put in, the romanticism, frustrations and intimate moments between Scott and Annie are believable on screen.
“We didn’t just want it to be a romanticized version of a relationship where everything is happy; everything is great. And I think we were able to get that done.”
Their relatable romance makes it that much more engaging to watch when Quaid’s character tries to mess up their new life and relationship.
“Dennis Quaid’s character, Charlie Peck, is the sociopath in this one and I’m doing everything in my power to try and protect myself and my wife from his demented way of looking at this house and us. And what he’s trying to do is tear us apart,” Ealy said.
How Quaid tries to ruin this family is what makes the plot incredibly interesting to watch.
A rare sight portrayed onscreen, the young, successful Black couple spends over $3 million on a home that had been owned by Quaid’s character’s family for generations. It is a battle between Old v. New and Black People v. The White Man, but the storyline allows for even more than just a conversation on dueling themes.
“I think where we are in 2019, it’s time to start acknowledging that we’re not a monolith, and that there are characters, there are people, who aren’t in entertainment and can afford a $3 million house. There are people who can afford a $300,000 house, and we run the full spectrum,” Ealy told the AFRO. “I think for years all we ever saw was poor Black people and that’s fine because everything had to be. Why was “Good Times” a hit? Because we had to identify with the struggle. And the reality is at this point, that not every Black child grows up with a struggle.”
“I think with regards to Scott and Annie, they’re doing well, but as you can see in the movie, it almost doesn’t matter when you come across a sociopath like Dennis Quaid’s character, Charlie.”
Ealy emphasized the identifiable common themes and storylines within “The Intruder,” that will make the film significant and enjoyable to many audiences. “I do think the film has a universal quality that can make anyone relate to it, because everyone is trying to buy home. Everyone. Most people try to buy a house at some point in their lives and your first house is where you can start a family. These are all tangible relationship goals, if you will.”
Besides the fact that audiences will see themselves reflected on screen, they will also be entertained.
“It’s a fun movie. It’ll make you laugh, it might make you cry, it might make you a little scared.”
Ealy said that seeing this film will bring feelings of nostalgia and, in the end, will have one questioning their own methods of dealing with crisis.
“This is like an old movie going experience. There’s no special effects. It’s literally a movie that’s grounded in reality. It’s like, it could be you, and I think that’s why the experience is so tangible. That’s why the experience is so fun, because ultimately you’ll see yourselves up on that screen, questioning ‘What would I do in this situation?’”
This article originally appeared in The Afro.