Watch as the cast of the new film "The Intruder" talk about the joy of independent filmmaking, visiting Atlanta, and asks the question, "What would you do?" During their press tour stop at Clark Atlanta University, actors Michael Ealy and Meagan Good, along with the film's director Deon Taylor, sit with the AJC's Najja Parker in an exclusive interview. (Video by Ryon Horne/AJC)

Michael Ealy, Meagan Good talk new film “The Intruder”

Purchasing a home is a dream come true for many, but it becomes a nightmare for the characters in “The Intruder.”

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In the psychological thriller, a married couple, played by Michael Ealy and Meagan Good, buys a gorgeous, $3.5 million home in Napa Valley from a widower, played by Dennis Quaid, who plans to retire to Florida. Although the pair expects to settle into their new abode peacefully, chaos erupts when they realize the previous owner refuses to let go of the property.

The plot is simple but elicits strong reactions, which was evident at the early screening in Atlanta at Atlantic Station last week. The audience yelled at the screen and gripped each other’s hands during the event.

“A lady smacked me in the back of the head during the movie,” director Deon Taylor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “When I first sat down and shook her hand, she said, ‘I can’t wait to see this movie.’ Forty-five minutes later, she hit me and said, ‘Why you make that man [Quaid’s character] so mean? We back here scared!’”

Despite the light jab, Taylor is thrilled about the film’s reception, especially since it is independent. It was financed by Taylor and Robert Smith, a private equity titan who has appeared on Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans. It was then picked up by Sony’s Screen Gems after it premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

“When it comes to doing an independent, you really know who wants to be there because of the project,” Ealy said. “That’s why we were there. We didn’t know the outcome of it when we signed up. We just knew it worked artistically and creatively. It’s for us by us, so let’s make it.”

The process was extremely collaborative. Taylor said he trusted each of the actors and welcomed changes to the script. He encouraged them to follow their instincts.

At one point during filming, which took place in Vancouver, Quaid made a revision that shocked Good. The actor asked her to spit on him. Although she was hesitant at first, she obliged.

That wasn’t the only moment that surprised her. The actress, who performed her own stunts, said there was something new to look forward to “every day” while on set. During one scene, she was choked, and during another, she was bitten. She appreciated the physical action, though, because she’s a fan of horror and wanted to do the genre justice.

“I was excited from the gate,” she explained. “I had met with Deon on another project, so I had watched a bunch of his stuff. I was like, ‘This guy really knows how to do a thriller.’ I thought that his approach was so fresh.”

The crew hopes their new flick, in theaters everywhere May 3, sparks conversation. They want moviegoers to have fun and to answer one question.

“This simple story has a huge impact on a simple question, which is ‘What would you do if you had someone like this come into your life?’” Ealy asked. “It’s just got so much life in it.”

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