Silent Night Star Lucy Punch on Film's Christmas Dark Humor & Costars
Lucy Punch developed a prolific career across film and television, developing a gifted talent for comedy. Her latest is a black comedy that's probably dysfunctional in the worst possible way as friends and family are about to deal with a pending catastrophic environmental disaster during a Christmas dinner. Written and directed by Camille Griffin, Silent Night features an all-star cast with Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Roman Giffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp, Sope Dirisu, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, and Rufus Jones. I spoke with Punch, who plays Bella, about what intrigued her about the role, working with Griffin, and the pre-film dinner prior to filming.
"I got sent the script, and it was a few weeks before the film was due to start," Punch said. "They hadn't cast this role, and I had very limited time to put myself on tape for it, and I was sick at the time. I was like, 'I don't have time for this.' My agent said, 'Just read it, trust me,' and I read it and thought it was incredible and laughed while I was reading it. When I started, I felt like I was on one journey on one type of film, and it then just went in a completely different direction seamlessly. I loved all the characters. Their relationships felt familiar and real to me, and I loved the part that I was ended up playing and, ultimately, the sort of bigger set of ideas and themes of the script. So I was thrilled that it worked out, not to mention this incredible cast. There were millions of reasons I wanted to be involved. "
The Prince star knew how near and dear the project was to Griffin. "Camille knew exactly what she wanted," she said. "She knew the characters, and she was working with her husband [Ben Davis]. He was the director of photography, and her kids played the kids. So it felt very intimate, which was great. She's an amazing writer and director and an amazing person and just made it sort of created this atmosphere that felt very warm. We met each other very quickly, but we had to be convincing that we'd all sort of been friends for 20 years or longer. I think she made that possible by just sort of making the atmosphere sort of warm, fun, and friendly. They were very supportive of the scenes that were sort of more difficult to shoot. The film goes off in a different direction, and it gets much darker, much more real. It's not such a lighthearted comedy anymore. You have to feel like you really trust the person who's sort of steering the ship to sort of do all those types of scenes."
Punch certainly had the time of her life at the cast dinner before the dinner of the film. "We had the producer Trudie Styler threw a dinner at her place in London, and it was hilariously a Christmas dinner…sort of in February. We all got to meet and know each other. Keira and Matthew had worked together before, and I hadn't worked with anyone, but Camille really brought together such a lovely group of people. It was sort of very easy to sort of creating that chemistry pretty quickly." You can also catch her on AMC+ series Motherland, Sky One's Bloods, the animated series The Prince, and Gossip Girl revival (both on HBO Max). RLJE Films' Silent Night is available to stream on AMC+. You can check out our interview with Griffin here.