Lucy Punch Tells All About Her Scary Holiday Movie Silent Night - Exclusive Interview

If you're hoping to watch something scary this season, look no further than the holiday horror movie "Silent Night." The film follows a group of friends coming together to celebrate Christmas. However, this holiday happens to be much different than the last, considering they all know it will be their final night on Earth. A toxic fume has engulfed the world continent by continent and is slowly approaching the area these characters live in.

As scary as it sounds, what may make "Silent Night" even more terrifying is the fact that the world has been dealing with a worldwide pandemic. Yet, eerily enough, the movie was just completing production when the world went into lockdown. Even the star-studded cast, consisting of Lucy Punch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Lily-Rose Depp, were terrified that a similar story was beginning to play off-screen — and we had the opportunity to ask Punch all about the surreal experience and more.

In an exclusive interview with The List, Punch told us the wild story of meeting her "Silent Night" co-stars, what it's like getting recognized out in public, how she really feels about her portrayal of Kate Middleton in "The Prince," and where she hopes her acting career goes from here.

Possible spoilers ahead for "Silent Night."

How a worldwide pandemic affected production of Silent Night

I just saw "Silent Night," which you are phenomenal in.

How nice! Thank you!

So it's a Christmas movie, but it's not your typical warm, fuzzy Christmas film. What was your first impression of it when you read the script?

Well, what I loved is that it starts off as a warm, fuzzy movie. And you feel in very familiar territory with all these characters; it feels like we know them all and we know this world, and it swiftly transitions into something else much darker. And I thought it did that seamlessly. And you were given little clues in the first half hour that something's awry. And I think, particularly now with everything going on in the world, it feels really timely to have a Christmas movie like this.

What was the most difficult thing about shooting it, because it is such a dark movie?

We closed down shooting because of the pandemic, and we started — I guess we started in February [2020], and we shut down. We were one of the last productions to shut down, so I think it was like March the 19th, and immediately went into lockdown.

Oh, wow.

And like everywhere we were like, "What is this COVID? What is it?" But we had no one taking it that seriously, and it's a bit of a — And as it was getting closer and closer, I live in the States, and my family was coming to visit me, and I was like, "Get on a plane now! Please, please, can you get on a plane now?" They came over just as everything shut down, and then the movie shut down, so it was extremely dramatic. I'll never forget.

It was a wonderful experience, but it was, you know, extreme as well. Something like this had never happened, and it was extraordinary that it was like a movie about a global crisis, albeit an environmental one due to environmental issues, while something was — We were living it, so it was crazy.

Lucy Punch opens up about the dark holiday horror movie

I feel like your perspective really changes watching it during a pandemic versus any other time. Was there anything specific that you drew inspiration from, or how did you get into character?

I mean the characters felt very familiar. They were based on people that our writer-director, Camille [Griffin] knew or had met, and they were very well drawn, and the relationships were very real, so I didn't find it hard to get into character.

Those more difficult scenes, you're using your imagination, and yes, I guess going to sort of a darker place and imagining what that [it] would be like, but it's funny because you sort of — I was saying to someone, it's like, that's a game I remember always playing even as a kid, like, "What would you do if you were going to die tomorrow? What would you do with your last day?" Like a kind of conversation. "I'd do this. Da, da, da." "Who would you want to be with?"

And so it reminds you of all of that, and you want to be with the people that you love, and you hope that you can have fun and some cocktails and dance and be happy, but there's sort of, you know, the reality and the fear. And I thought it was very interesting in the film, these characters that — my character didn't, but the parents ... that you can't just sort of like knock yourself out and have this hedonistic last day, because you're sort of protecting children or trying as best you can.

I'm a parent, too, so that perspective made it even more disturbing and intensified the story for me. I know you're a parent as well.


Did that have any effect on how you viewed it?

It did, and I thought it was really interesting that Cami — You know the kids in the film, the three boys, they're the writer-director [Camille Griffin]'s children, and she sort of laughs [about] how dark it is. She killed off her own kids. And shooting those scenes for her, I'm sure, was incredibly traumatic and moving, but yes, it's sort of like you do your best as a parent, and you're sort of making decisions, and are they the right decisions?

And I feel like the characters in this are thinking they're doing the right thing, and then are doubting themselves, and their children are questioning them, and we're just doing our best. And, yeah, that sort of, like, definitely added a, you know, sort of innocent children and their choice being taken from them. It definitely made it more intense and serious really than, sort of, the issues.

How Lucy Punch first met the cast of Silent Night

You were surrounded by such a star-studded cast in "Silent Night." There was you, Keira Knightley, Lily-Rose Depp. What was it like being on set and working with them?

Well, luckily we had a dinner the week before that the producer, Trudie Styler, very kindly threw for us, and it was creepily enough a Christmas dinner. We're all like this [widens eyes], having this Christmas dinner, but funny as well. So we kind of got to — I got to meet everyone, but it was — Camille [Griffin], our director, brought together such a lovely group of people. It really wasn't hard to create sort of a warm, dynamic feel, and make it believable that we were all old friends that had known each other for ages.

And the script was so good. But it was a lovely cast, and it was a lot of fun. But as I said, we were shooting — the last week, Annabelle [Wallis] was sort of shot out at the scene, because she had to get on a plane to get back to the States. Lily-Rose [Depp] wanted to get to Paris. I had my family coming in, and it got scary.

It got real in that moment for sure.


What message do you hope viewers take away from this movie? Because there is a twist at the end!

Yeah, I do. I think what's sort of interesting is that it really feels when we were shooting this film that it really wasn't obviously about COVID, and it wasn't about any of those things, because it was written way before. [It] is sort of waking up to — I mean, this is about a global crisis and the environment, and we can't see anything, and it all looks fine until this cloud is coming, and it was the same with COVID, this invisible threat that no one was taking seriously until it was too late. So hopefully that, because that will be great if people woke up to that.

These are the kinds of roles Lucy Punch looks for

What kind of things in general do you look for when you read a new script?

I suppose it's always if I can identify with the character or find something in it that I can — Even if I don't relate to [a character], that [she] just feels like a real person, and I go, "I know how to play this person," or "I understand that dynamic or that relationship." But it was a treat with this script because it was that and then so much more. It was so well written, and it was funny and scary.

And I think I'd just seen that film — I mean it's completely different, but I'd just seen that film "Parasite" ... where it all sort of became one journey, and it shifts into something a lot darker, and I was completely taken by surprise by that and loved that. And I felt the same with this in a sense that sort of [widens eyes], "Oh." ... It's a totally different film, but I just loved that shift suddenly of: you think you know these characters, you think you know what type of movie you are in and what ride you are on, and then you get knocked off course. And I thought that was really exciting.

Lucy Punch talks starring as Kate Middleton in the television series The Prince

Something else that you've worked on recently is the animated series "The Prince." How did you prepare to become Kate Middleton? What was that experience like playing such an icon?

Well, I didn't prepare anything. That was sort of a figment. It caused quite a lot of controversy that — I think it was unfortunate, the timing of when it came out. There had been, you know, a tragic and terribly sad death in the royal family. We'd had the [Oprah Winfrey] interview with Harry and Meghan, and it was a very difficult time.

And then the show was released, but the truth was it's a complete fantasy world of [creator] Gary Janetti, and so he was like, "I don't want you to sound like the character. Do whatever you want." It's like, he didn't try and sound — No one is really doing an impression of those characters, those people.

And again, funnily enough, I recorded a lot of that. That, sort of, for me, was a kind of very special job in that I was stuck where I am in the U.K. I couldn't get back to the States where I live, and I was sort of in the countryside going, "When am I going to get back?" And, meanwhile, was doing Zoom calls with the director, Gary [Janetti], recording it, just like putting a placement track. So it felt like a little bit of real life of being back at work and sort of like in the midst of the madness that was going on in the rest of the world.

And I hadn't done any sort of really animation like that before, and Gary Janetti's so clever and so lovely, so it was a real pleasure. I was just sorry that it offended some people because that was never the intention. And it was, like, so fantastical and crazy and over the top and silly. It was never meant to be based in any sort of reality.

Lucy Punch on her favorite roles she's played

You've played so many unique characters over the course of your career. Is there one that you get recognized for the most?

Oh, gosh. You know, it's funny I get — Who'd I get? I've done a show here that was in the U.K. — I'm in the U.K. right now — called "Motherland" that has been a really big hit here. It's not really in the States, and so whenever I come back, I'm always — people are like going [gasps and points] and have seen it.

But I love the jobs that I've done that have been — I've done a few kid things for kids. And I love, I love being recognized and known by the children. I find that really charming and endearing when it's sort of — I did a show called "A Series of Unfortunate Events," or I've done played lots of ugly stepsisters in various films, in various "Cinderella" films, and I find that really sweet because kids get so excited to go, "It's you!" So, yeah that's nice.

Is there any role you haven't played yet that you would love to take on next?

God, so much. I mean, there's millions I'd love to do. I'd love to do something that — I do, obviously, a lot of comedy, and my favorite thing is sort of like when it feels like a comedy drama, but I'd love to try doing something purely dramatic and not having this crutch of comedy, which I'm so familiar with, and I kind of, I feel sort of confident in that arena. ... And [there are] people I'd like to work with, and yes, hope I do.

Well, "Silent Night" was more of a dark humor, so you got to really take on the best of both worlds in that sense.

Yes! That was really fun, because you watched these quite light, funny characters dip into something else.

"Silent Night" is available in theaters and on AMC+ on Friday, December 3.