Netflix’s 2018 post-apocalyptic horror film Bird Box remains its third most-watched movie ever (as of late spring 2023). In other words, the only right way to delight audiences is to dive back into the Bird Box world again, which the streamer has officially done.
Premiering July 14, Bird Box Barcelona sees what happens to a whole other side of the world after a mysterious force wreaks havoc on humankind. Causing a suicidal hypnosis, this force ignites people to take their own lives in mostly violent manners. The only way to stay safe is to stay inside or, if outside, to protect your vision with some sort of eyecovering.
As the title suggests, this Bird Box tale zeroes in on Barcelona on a man named Sebastian (Mario Casas) who is grappling with personal tragedy all while trying to escape the city. To stay alive, he must forge uneasy alliances while up against both the mysterious force and a new looming threat.
Among the group is Claire, played by Georgina Campbell. If you haven’t seen Campbell in her BAFTA-winning performance in BBC’s Murdered by My Boyfriend, you likely were enthralled by her in 2022 horror favorite The Barbarian alongside Justin Long and Bill Skarsgård.
When Los Angeles Confidential catches up with Campbell over Zoom, she hops on the video chat from Dublin where she is on location for the filming of Ishana Shyamalan’s directorial debut, The Watchers.
Read on below to learn more about Campbell’s thoughts on working with Shyamalan; the benefits of working with brother directorial duo David and Àlex Pastor and what it was like to act with a blindfold on.
Was there any sort of prep work ahead of filming to be comfortable acting with blindfolds on?
We did have rehearsals. I remember we did one day where they made almost an assault course and all of us were in there together. We had to have blindfolds on and we had to hold hands to make our way through a room without losing each other and they were making noises and trying to discombobulate everyone, so we did a little bit of that. But when we were actually filming, we had the blindfolds on and sometimes you could see a little bit out of it, like you could see light, but you couldn't see much.
What intrigued you about the role of Claire?
I got sent the script. I had no idea to begin with that it was a Spanish language film because, obviously, they'd sent the entire script in English. There’s lots of sequels and franchises and I think there's a big debate amongst film lovers about whether that's a good thing, whether it's a bad thing. But I think the main thing is that you hope that if you're adding to something that's already existed, that you're adding something new. When I read the script, I just thought it felt different to me than the first film. I liked the perspective that they were going with through Mario's character, Sebastian. It just read like like a big set piece, a massive world-building movie, which I thought was really exciting. I haven't done that many of those sorts of projects before.
The whole job was very challenging. I've never had a job that's been in a different language. So actually going to Spain and it being Spanish directors, Spanish actors, Spanish crew, I was a bit of a fish out of water. So that was a really interesting experience to go into and I had to figure out ways of acting sometimes that were not even to do with being able to understand what people were saying. I had the script, so I knew kind of what people were saying, but when people start speaking, and especially with Spanish people speak very fast, I was losing my way sometimes in the scene, so I'd have to start using like visual aids or remembering who said that, they say that, I say that, which is not a way that I usually act. I think that was a different side of practically acting that I haven't before. And just being in a different culture, being in Spain, it was amazing. Working with David and Àlex was really interesting. I've worked with two directors before that were brothers. That was a very interesting experience to have both of them on set and both of them covering two things at once, which made things a lot easier because one of them could be speaking to the actors about performance and then the other one could be speaking to the camera crew about the technical issues and filming, which just made everything flow very easily.
At its core, Bird Box Barcelona really highlights the strength of the human will to live and we see how each character approaches that in their individualized way. What can we learn from Claire about how she moves in this post-apocalyptic world?
I do remember that when David and Àlex about her, they were like, “She's like a beacon of light within the dark. She's someone that's managed to retain an optimism and a care about people. And she wants to find the best in people and offer help and assistance.” I think that's what most people like to aspire to— to be kind, to treat people how you would like to be treated and to offer people grace in their darkest moments.
To sum up your career so far very generally, you've been in a number of dark projects. In addition to Bird Box Barcelona, there’s Murdered By My Boyfriend and, more recently, Suspicion and The Barbarian. I know you’re a fan of horror, but as an actor, why do you enjoy these sort of roles?
Something that I think any actor knows is once someone sees you in a certain genre and they like it, they are like, “Oh, that person can do that! They can come do something like that on this movie.” So I feel like I tend to get offered roles that are dark genre. And I like genre. I like horror; I enjoy it. And the scripts that I've been reading recently and agreeing to do or auditioning for or whatever so happen to be genre. I think my main thing is I just like looking at the writing and going by if I think it's a good film and if I enjoy reading it, if I take something from it.
You've been shooting in Dublin for The Watcher. Yes. How's that been going?
Oh, it's been really exciting. It's just so exciting being on a film with a young woman director, which is really not an experience I've had very often. And also being on her first feature film. She's so smart and intelligent and passionate and excited and it feels like it's nice to be on a journey with someone where you can tell this is just the beginning and that she's gonna go on to have a very big, very acclaimed career.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photography by: Ivan Gomez; Courtesy of Netflix