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Girl in a jacket

‘Down A Dark Hall’ based on classic gothic novel

Age-old secrets rooted in the paranormal are about to be revealed in the thrilling book-to-movie “Down A Dark Hall” starring Uma Thurman and Anna Sophia Robb.

Based on the classic gothic novel of the same title by Lois Duncan, “Down a Dark Hall” unveils young woman named Kit (Robb), a difficult girl sent to the mysterious Blackwood Boarding School when her heated temper becomes too much for her mother to handle. Once she arrives at Blackwood, Kit encounters eccentric headmistress Madame Duret (Thurman) and meets the school’s only other students, four young women also headed down a troubled path. While exploring the labyrinthine corridors of the school, Kit and her classmates discover a secret that Blackwood Manor has been hiding for years.

As troubled young women arrive at Blackwood boarding school in “Down A Dark Hall”, their personalities and pasts slowly become clear. The actresses who play these complex, charismatic characters found themselves entranced by working on the film, challenged by its artistry, and excited by Rodrigo Cortés’ unique vision for the story. “The five girls all have very different personas,” says Cortés.

“The way each of them reacts to the same things is totally different, and they all project such different energies.” “Kit is us and we are Kit,” says Cortés of the film’s main character, played by AnnaSophia Robb. “She guides the audience’s eyes, and throughout the film, we feel things through her.” “Kit is a young lady who is trying to figure out the kind of woman she’ll become,” says Cortés. “She is constantly struggling against the rest of the world and feels the kind of tension every teenager feels when they think that everything is hostile around them. She’s observant and analyzes things, but she’s also bold, and is eager to do what needs to be done no matter the risk.”

Robb has been one of Hollywood’s most emotionally attuned young actresses for almost a decade, since playing Violet Beauregarde in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia. She followed up with Race to Witch Mountain, The Space Between, the true-life drama Soul Surfer, the Sundance hit The Way, Way Back, and, on TV, young Carrie Bradshaw on The Carrie Diaries and a Civil War-era woman on Mercy Street.

One of the things that drew her to “Down A Dark Hall,” she says, was Kit’s uniqueness. “Kit also has a lot of anger, though, and doesn’t feel like she’s been heard by her mother or teachers or other authority figures,” Robb says. “There’s pent-up aggression inside of her, as well as loss and sadness about her father, and a feeling of not really knowing how to be able to express herself.”

“Down a Dark Hall” opens August 8 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.

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