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Scott Derrickson had no trepidation making a movie about a child killer.
The 55-year-old director has helmed 'The Black Phone'- based on a short story of the same name by Joe Hill – which tells the story of a sadistic killer named the Grabber (Ethan Hawke) and how his latest victim gets mysterious phone calls from those who have come before in the murderer's dungeon and was happy to bring the challenging theme to life.
Asked if he had any fears making the movie, Scott told The Hollywood Reporter: "No, and it's because of Joe's short story.
"It was taking the most grim subject imaginable – a sadistic child killer, and its story about the abduction of his sixth victim or whatever it was, and yet the story did two things. It combined a serial killer story with a ghost story in a single location, which I had never seen before. That was very original."
The 'Doctor Strange' director continued: "But Joe really writes from the point of view of love. He really writes with great empathy for the characters. He's not a cynical or mean-spirited horror writer. A lot of horror writers are, and Joe's quite the opposite.
"So, the grimness of the subject matter, I thought even in the short story, was matched by the empathy and love behind the point of view of the writer."
Scott revealed that Ethan's voice made him the ideal actor to bring the Grabber to life.
The filmmaker explained: "The first thing was Ethan's voice. I think a lot of actors have voices that are not in and of themselves highly memorable. His voice is really distinctive.
"I feel like Hollywood hasn't made enough use of his voice. Why isn't he the lead in some great animated movie? His voice doesn't sound like anybody else's.
"And I just had a feeling that the Grabber was a role that he could tear up at this particular juncture in his career. I think he read it and felt the same way."