Naomi Watts And The Crovetti Twins On Their Horror Film Goodnight Mommy - Exclusive Interview

"Goodnight Mommy" is a psychological horror movie about two young twins, Elias (Cameron Crovetti) and Lukas (Nicholas Crovetti), who return home to their mother (Naomi Watts) after an extended stay with their dad. But once the boys are dropped off, they find that their mother's entire face is covered in bandages as a result of cosmetic surgery. Unable to see her features and frightened by her odd and even terrifying behavior, the boys begin to wonder if the person underneath is really their mother at all.

Directed by Matt Sobel, "Goodnight Mommy" is a remake of a 2014 Austrian film written and directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. While some aspects of the original have been altered for the English-language remake, the core of the story is the same, as is the shocking twist toward the end that changes everything the viewer perceives about the movie.

For the talented Crovetti brothers, "Goodnight Mommy" continues a burgeoning career that has included roles for both in the HBO series "Big Little Lies," as well as an upcoming appearance in "Salem's Lot" for Nicholas and a recent stint on "The Boys" for Cameron. Meanwhile, for Watts — who has starred in the English-language version of the Japanese horror classic "The Ring," Peter Jackson's epic 2005 take on "King Kong," and Michael Haneke's own reworking of his horrifying home invasion drama "Funny Games" — the thought of doing another remake wasn't very exciting to her at first.

Taking an active role as an executive producer — something she's been doing more of lately — helped ease her doubts. She and the Crovetti brothers sat down with The List for an exclusive interview where they shared their thoughts on the film, behind-the-scenes details, and more.

Naomi Watts needed convincing to star in a horror remake

Naomi, had you seen the original film before or after getting involved with this?

Naomi Watts: Yes — I first read the script, then had a great conversation with [director] Matt Sobel. He knew that I was nervous about doing a remake, having done a few by now, but he comforted me because he told me that he had new ideas that he wanted to incorporate.

I was struck by his level of intelligence and instantly trusted him. I did go and watch the original, and I was like, "Whoa, this is a really good film. There's not much that should be done here." But that makes it interesting when you've got new ideas and we can do a lot of what they did as well.

I love the fact that this woman is so deeply troubled at this point in her life. She's wearing a mask for a good portion of the film. As an actor, working with those kinds of limitations, that's definitely new territory for me. But there are ways to find freedom within those constricts and constrictions, and I felt like, "How does she relate to her children at this point in her life where she's coming unraveled?" I found that very compelling and deeply psychological.

The twins in the movie had an unusual audition process

Cameron and Nicholas, what was your take on doing this? How did you see the boys, in terms of how they're similar and different, and were you allowed to watch the original film yourselves?

Nicholas Crovetti: During the auditioning process, we didn't actually know who would be playing who. We auditioned as both characters. Then, as we got more in-depth with the process, we started to figure out, "Okay, I think I'm going to be Lukas and he's going to be Elias."

But that wasn't confirmed almost until we got there. As for the original movie, we weren't allowed to watch it because Matt Sobel, the director, wanted our performances to be real throughout the film up until the ending.

Cameron Crovetti: He didn't want us to be affected. If we knew the ending, he didn't want it to affect our performance throughout the movie, up until the end.

Nicholas: We were in the dark the whole movie about what happens at the end. Then when we did get to those ending scenes, we were told what happens. Once we were told, our emotions and how we felt about all of that information ... We'd been shooting for so long, and to finally figure out what all these little things meant throughout the film was a really big deal. Shooting the last scenes was very difficult, but they ended up being amazing. It was a very interesting experience.

How Naomi Watts got around acting in a mask

Naomi, you're working with your face covered for a large portion of the movie. I understand you're allergic to medical tape, so how did you work around both that and the challenge of having to work with your face obscured?

Naomi: Gosh, how did you find that detail out? Yeah, I'm allergic to latex — particularly if it's on for long periods of time, especially around the eyes — so it was very limiting. But as I said, you could find freedom within those rules. You can get very specific and learn what you can use and how to use them in powerful ways. My eyes were my most powerful tool in a close-up — the position, the feeling, all of it.

Also, being still was important, except for a wide shot, where you could use your body and rely on those other parts of yourself, down to the fingertips. It was a challenge that I hadn't yet undertaken, but it did remind me of my days when I was training to be an actor. We did some mask work.

Watts is protective of her co-stars and her work

Did you feel protective toward the boys when the camera stopped rolling, especially during some of those really raw scenes?

Naomi: 100%. It was so important to me. I had multiple conversations with their mom, and I knew that they were pros coming in. They'd done quite a large amount of work already. Oftentimes, you're working with actors who are children and it's their first time, so I didn't have to worry about that part so much.

But I still, no matter what they were telling me or what their mom was telling me and what the director Matt [Sobel] was telling me, it was important for me to keep checking in on them and also short circuit the dark train of thought that might be going on.

By no means did I ever want to show up in their dreams at night as a woman who was torturing them. I wanted to get rid of any of those dark thoughts by playing a game or being silly and goofy and reminding them that this is not real.

You're also working as a producer a lot more lately. Does that give you a better say in the material and in shaping it?

Naomi: Yes — [in] some of the decision-making, particularly in the creative ways, that means that your voice is taken seriously in the mix. Sometimes, it's a piece of material that I found. In this case, it wasn't, but they invited me to be on that part of the team. It's definitely something I like to do. I pride [myself] on bringing good people together — not that Matt needed any guidance with that; he was so well-prepared coming in. But yes, having a voice that is heard is always nice.

"Goodnight Mommy" is streaming now on Prime Video.

This interview was edited for clarity.