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Steven Weber talks Netflix horror/thriller ‘The Perfection’

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Steven Weber talks Netflix horror/thriller ‘The Perfection’ (Photo courtesy Netflix)

Netflix’s new horror thriller “The Perfection” freaked me out in a way that a movie hasn’t done for a long time. As I watched, I realized that it would be very difficult to say much about it without giving away some key plot points. Suffice to say all of my preconceptions and expectations were shattered. Cheers to writer and director Richard Shephard for reminding me that the best scary movies are the ones with twists I didn’t see coming.

Shortly before the May 24 premiere of “The Perfection,” I spoke with Steven Weber, one of the film’s stars, for a conversation mostly revolving around the movie … with a little “Wings” exchange at the end.

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The Maine Edge: What was your initial reaction after you finished reading the script for “The Perfection?”

Weber: I thought “Holy cow!” (laughs) because it is a real roller coaster ride. That’s a hackneyed metaphor, but it is. You get on but you can’t quite see where the dips and turns are, but it’s beautifully done. This is not just a terrifying film – although there are moments of real terror. It’s a psychological thriller with a story about abandonment. It’s about family. It’s very jarring and beautifully written and directed by Richard Shephard. It has great acting and great locations. It’s a fun movie but it’s not for the faint of heart.

The Maine Edge: How did you approach your character Anton?

Weber: Anton is the founder and director of a highbrow, internationally respected music academy and he fosters and nurtures great musicians – in this case, amazing cellists played by Allison Williams and Logan Browning. Those two students come back to the music academy that I run with my wife Paloma, played by Alaina Huffman. They try to reclaim bits of their lost past. In doing so, they unearth a lot of these very challenging truths that they and the audience discover at the same time. It’s very compelling. As the viewer, you’re taken down an alley or into a dark cave and you’re not sure how it’s going to turn out.

It’s not predictable, but to the movie’s credit, it has a linear story that gets you sucked in so that you might not notice things that are coming. It’s a smart film that actually takes its audience into consideration.

The Maine Edge: Netflix is laying out some huge money for original content, including films like this. The viewing landscape has been completely altered in just a few short years. What do you think of that?

Weber: I like the fact that Netflix – and other venues – have so much respect for content. People have so many more viewing choices and options these days.

The Maine Edge: Is that a double-edged sword? There are so many more movies and shows available but they’re all competing to find an audience.

Weber: I guess I miss a bit of the old methods of viewing because more people assembled in one place which was more a communal experience. Films used to be in theaters for a much longer period of time than they are now and that can be frustrating. When the movie “Vice” came out last year, I couldn’t see it right away for some reason. When I went to see it a week later it was already out of the theater. It was frustrating but that’s the gap that Netflix fills. In a way, this is definitely better than a traditional theatrical release because everybody can see it whenever they want.

The Maine Edge: A lot of us met you as Brian Hackett on “Wings” (1990-1997). It was appointment television for many viewers. The writing was solid; the cast and characters were great. Do you look back on those years with fondness?

Weber: Absolutely. It was a career highlight. Personally and professionally, “Wings” was a perfect environment to learn and really hone certain techniques. Even though we had a great time doing it, it was almost subliminal how educational it was. I got to meet and work with some very lovely people in front of the camera and behind. You reach a certain point in your life when you feel very grateful that you met so many nice people and had such a great time doing it.

The Maine Edge: Has there any discussion of a reboot or updated version of “Wings?” I think fans of the show would really love to check in again with Brian, Joe, Helen, Lowell and the rest of the characters.

Weber: To be perfectly honest, there has been no serious discussion about that. “Wings” was on for such a long time and was so reliable as a show but it didn’t have that sexy or edgy element that other shows had during that time like “Friends,” “Cheers” and “Frasier.”

I think the show has withstood the test of time, but I don’t know that people would be excited about having it come back. By “people,” I’m not talking about fans of the show; I’m talking about people who are in it for business purposes. Money is the bottom line and I’m not sure that they think there’s money to be made with “Wings.” I would disagree. I think there is an audience for it and I thank you for your kind words about it. I happen to agree. It was a really good show and the writing was fantastic.

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