BROTHERS BY BLOOD Exclusive Clip And Interview With Star Maika Monroe

We have an exclusive clip for you from Brothers by Blood along with our full interview with star Maika Monroe (It Follows, The Guest). Hit the jump to hear her thoughts on the exciting crime thriller...

Brothers by Blood takes place in Philadelphia, and picks up with eight-year-old Peter Flood after he helplessly watches on as his little sister is killed by a neighbour’s reckless driving. Tormented with grief and resentment, his father finds revenge as the only solution, leaving lasting generational wounds.

Thirty years later, Peter still wrestles with the guilt he feels over his sister’s death and his father’s vengeance. As he tries to distance himself from the criminal family business, his cousin, Michael, becomes more powerful in the hierarchy. Bonded by blood, neither man can escape violence as they are dragged further into a chilling cycle of betrayal and retribution. You can find our review here.

The movie stars Matthias Schoenaert (The Old Guard), Joel Kinnaman (The Suicide Squad), and Maika Monroe (The Stranger), and we caught up with the latter to discuss her taking on the role of Grace.

You can check out excerpts about It Follows, Independence Day: Resurgence, and superhero movies under our "Interviews" tab, but the full Brothers by Blood chat is below. Before you scroll down to that, though, we also have an exclusive clip to share with you featuring an exchange between Peter (Schoenaert) and Grace (Monroe). That sheds more light on what to expect from their dynamic.

Needless to say, we want to extend a huge thank you to Maika for taking the time to talk to us!

When Brothers and Blood came your way, what was it about Grace, as a character, that made this a project you wanted to be part of? 

Gosh, I remember reading it for the first time, and I really liked it. I’m a huge fan of Matthias [Schoenaerts] and Joel [Kinnaman], and I hadn’t really known the director, but I watched his previous film and thought it was so grounded and beautifully shot that I realised these were people I’d really love to work with. That’s how it started.

Did you read the novel, Brotherly Love by Pete Dexter, that the movie is based on at all or was the script enough for you?

The script was all that I had read, I did not read the book. [Writer and director] Jérémie [Guez] and I had lots of conversations. We were shooting a lot in Belgium, and I had arrived early, so we spent a lot of time working together and working with Matthias, so I felt okay with it. Jérémie had never said he wanted me to read the book, and I felt like we were creating our own version of Grace.

The majority of your scenes are with Matthias, so can you talk about the dynamic you had on set and what it was like to develop the relationship between Grace and Peter? 

It was really, really nice. You don’t normally get the time and money on a project like this to get that preparation for the film. We were really lucky to be able to have time to hang out together and get to know each other. He’s obviously just insanely talented. I remember seeing [Rust and Bone] a while ago, and just being in absolute awe of him and his work. It was so exciting for me. It’s just a dream as an actor to be working with someone you look up to and respect, and really feel you can learn from. It was a really special experience, and he’s such a nice person. It was really great. 

Being the movie’s sole female lead, do you feel any pressure at all to make sure a character like Grace is portrayed in an authentic, non-stereotypical way?

Yeah, absolutely. I don’t know if it’s pressure, but there’s an importance, for sure, going into any project. 

Without getting into any spoilers, the movie concludes in an open-ended way; what is that ambiguity like for you when it comes to what might be next for Peter and Grace after spending time bringing this character to life on screen? 

I [Laughs]...I like it. I think there’s something really nice that everyone can have their own opinion or own idea of what becomes of these characters. It definitely doesn’t bother me!

What is it about Peter that you think leads to Grace becoming so invested in how things play out for him? 

I feel like with her growing up around her brother and what he does, she understands it in a way. I think there’s a part of her that thinks she can save him and help him, and make him a better man. There’s a drive that she has, and she believes in him and believes in him doing better than her brother. I think that binds them in a way because she really understands him more than another person would. 

You don't get to spend much time with Joel Kinnaman in the movie aside from those early scenes; were you disappointed by that?

We were actually all in Belgium together, so we were hanging out a bunch which was really fun. But yeah, definitely. I’ve seen a lot of Joel’s work, but when I finally saw a cut of this movie, I was really, really blown away. I think he’s incredible in this role. I’m a fan. [Laughs]

I know what you mean...that horse scene, in particular, is real edge-of-your-seat viewing. You just don't know what he's going to do!

Yes! [Laughs] Absolutely.

You've mentioned shooting on location, but what was that experience like for you? 

I mean, it was really fun. It was kind of bizarre shooting it just because Philadelphia is a big part of the film, so shooting in Belgium was really strange. I had a lot of fun, and it was a different experience for me. We finished shooting in Philadelphia which was cool as I’d never been. Shooting on real locations is always the best, so I had a really great time on this. 

I'm guessing it was a quick turnaround on a smaller budgeted movie like this one too? 

[Laughs] Yeah, It was quick. I remember, when the film was going to come out, we were almost booking flights to New York for the Tribeca Film Festival, and then everything got shut down, so it’s was so quick to shoot, but so long for it to finally come out. It’s wild!

Thanks to COVID, Brothers and Blood, like a lot of other films, isn’t receiving a traditional theatrical release. What’s your take on the way PVOD releases are now being embraced while theaters remain closed?

I’m in the middle. I obviously love going to the movies and being in a theater, I miss that so much. However, it’s really cool that with a lot of these smaller movies being released on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon, a lot of people are seeing them. When it’s a movie that wouldn’t have had such a massive audience, now a bunch of people are watching them. I think there are positives and negatives to both. 

Brothers by Blood will be released in Select theaters, On VOD & Digital on January 22nd, 2021.

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