Hawkeye’ Actor Aleks Paunovic to Star in Psychological Thriller ‘Human Nature’ (EXCLUSIVE)

·3-min read

Aleks Paunovic, known for his roles in Marvel’s “Hawkeye” and “Snowpiercer,” is now set to star in Canadian actor-turned-director Luvia Petersen’s psychological thriller “Human Nature.”

The feature project, currently showcased at Frontieres’ Genre Film Lab, is in advanced development, with Amanda Konkin of Download Joy Productions also attached.

“I was fortunate enough to see Luvia’s work as an actor, but seeing her drive and commitment to the craft and storytelling, I was just honored that she asked me to be a part of the project,” Paunovic told Variety. The two acted together in the fantasy series “Van Helsing.”

Currently promoting “GenZeroes,” the first live-action NFT series, Paunovic will play Rigger, the owner of the cabin where two very different couples are spending their ill-fated weekend.

“Heck, if she asked me to get coffee, I would have done it. She’s just a next level storyteller and I can’t wait for the world to see her shine,” he added.

Playing with recognizable “cabin in the woods” tropes, Petersen – also behind “Writing Kim” – is still hoping to surprise the audience, however.

“The biggest threat in ‘Human Nature’ is not external but internal. The characters harm themselves more than our villain, played by Aleks, ever does. But even Rigger has his own internal struggles and the parts of himself he has denied end up hurting him too,” she said.

Writer Huelah Lander added: “I love that the audience has certain expectations that we can subvert. I also think the fact that the story is very character-driven makes it a little different.”

Apart from providing scares, Petersen also intends to root the story in her own “queer female perspective.”

“I grew up watching movies made primarily by cis heterosexual white men. Although these stories entertained me, I rarely saw myself represented in them. It’s important to share my perspective because it’s one that I myself want to watch.”

Keeping things ambiguous was also crucial, with the viewers wondering who they should be rooting for in the end.

“I don’t take these characters to the point of no return. I think part of the fun is how different audience members may forgive or at least understand some of their choices while others may not,” noted Lander.

“Some of the relationships here don’t implode, they grow stronger. Whether that’s good or not is another question. Ironically, it’s an outside observer, someone who doesn’t know them at all, who in many ways finally helps them really see each other.”

Sometimes things need to shatter in order to be rebuilt, agreed Petersen, mentioning the complex bond between two sisters in Patricia Rozema’s 2015 thriller “Into the Forest,” starring Elliot Page and Evan Rachel Wood.

“Their struggles allow them to see each other for who they really are, which brings them closer together.”

“That’s what I love so much about this film: Each of us has something we can connect with. As an older sibling, I know this relationship in our film is so true to life and it makes me feel better about having a messy, nuanced dynamic with my little sister,” summed up Konkin.

“Human Nature” has been supported by Women in Film and Television (WIFTV) and Women in the Director’s Chair (WIDC). The latter nominated the project for the Telefilm Talent to Watch Program.

“You don’t get to see women being morally ambiguous and a little bit terrible to each other very often on screen and I love that we go there,” said Konkin.

“As a team, we love telling stories rooted in complex character dynamics that make us examine what it means to be human. Our film does that!”

(L-R) Amanda Konkin, Luvia Petersen and Huelah Lander - Credit: Credit: Jessie Robertson Photography
(L-R) Amanda Konkin, Luvia Petersen and Huelah Lander - Credit: Credit: Jessie Robertson Photography

Credit: Jessie Robertson Photography

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