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Anthony Michael Hall pleased to play 'slimy' senator in 'Trigger Warning'

Anthony Michael Hall's film "Trigger Warning," premieres Friday. Photo courtesy of Netflix
1 of 4 | Anthony Michael Hall's film "Trigger Warning," premieres Friday. Photo courtesy of Netflix

NEW YORK, June 21 (UPI) -- Vacation, Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club icon Anthony Michael Hall says one of the reasons he wanted to star in the new revenge thriller, Trigger Warning, was the fact a female-led cast and crew meant "a super group of really cool women leading the charge."

Directed by Mouly Surya and premiering Friday on Netflix, the movie follows Special Forces commando Parker (Jessica Alba), who returns to her crime-ridden, Southwest hometown to take over her family bar after her father dies.

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Adding to her grief and suspicion that her dad didn't die in an accident as alleged, Parker quickly realizes her former boyfriend Jesse (Mark Webber), who is now the sheriff, his hot-tempered brother Elvis (Jake Weary) and their father, Senator Ezekiel Swann (Hall) are deeply connected to the town's violence and corruption.

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Erica Lee and Esther Hornstein were producers on the film, while Zoe White was the cinematographer.

"Zoe and Mouly were really in sync and they were just going for it," Hall, 56, told UPI in a recent phone interview.

"A lot of times people overlook this sense of adventure that comes with taking on a role and doing this for a living," Hall said, adding he enjoyed the fight training and choreography he learned for the film while in New Mexico, a state he always wanted to visit. "It was just really cool to work on a picture with that level of action."

Hall, who is known for his youthful appearance and the father of a 1-year-old son in real life, admitted it is still surprising when he is cast as the parent of adults.

"It is kind of funny because here I am now, 56 years old, so it's like you get to the set, you got two grown-ass men playing your sons, i'm going, 'Alright, these guys are cool,'" Hall laughed. "They're excellent. They're dynamic, good actors."

Hall likened Jesse and Elvis' contentious relationship to the Bible story of Cain and Abel, and described his own character as a "slimy senator."

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"I wasn't inspired by any one particular politician. It's kind of like there are too many to name," he joked, adding his character's style of dress resembles that of media mogul Ted Turner in the 1980s a bit.

"What I wanted to do is to be honest with this. I kind of worked on texturing my voice," Hall said. "Sometimes I used tea and coffee and just warmed up and then I wanted to give him sort of a nondescript, nebulous southern background and a little bit of a southern snarl to him."

He tried not to judge the character, even though many will see him as the villain of the piece.

"The whole family is kind of complicit," Hall said, adding he likes the film's stark good versus bad theme -- a popular, relatable and effective narrative that is used time and again, from ancient myths to the writings of Joseph Campbell to the Batman movie The Dark Knight.

"The hero goes on the journey," Hall noted, "and then defeats some form of evil."

Next up for Hall is a recurring role in Season 3 of the Prime Video series Reacher, which will be based on Lee Child's mystery novel, Persuader.

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"it's a very dynamic season. There's a father-son story line. I can't really delve too far into it, but, basically, that's the foray into the story. My son kind of gets saved by Reacher in a weird situation," Hall said.

"He brings Reacher to me, and then this bigger sort of A-story line unfolds, which is really interesting. Now, on the surface, he's like a wholesale rug dealer, but he's living like the 'Great Gatsby,' so there's a lot going on here, a lot of stuff at play. I can't give too much away or some 'Men in Black' from Amazon might show up at my door."

UPI's interview with Hall took place last week just as millions of viewers were watching Andrew McCarthy's Hulu documentary BRATs, which is about the group of 1980s teen idols, including Hall, who were collectively known as the "Brat Pack."

McCarthy asked to interview Hall on camera for the film, but Hall declined.

"Some people choose to view it as a pejorative thing," Hall said of the Brat Pack nickname.

"I didn't love it, but it didn't bother me," he said. "I hope that film turned out great. Andrew and his team asked me to be a part of it. We have the same publicist. ... I'm always just forward-thinking and moving and making new stuff. So, that was why I chose not to."

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Hall has made his peace with his 1980s fame in his own way, sending up his beloved characters in period-specific shows like The Goldbergs or alongside his former co-star Chevy Chase on Chase's former sitcom, Community.

"I wish everybody the best. I think that's the healthiest attitude to maintain, just wish everyone's success," Hall said.

"I feel better than ever. I feel more alert, more aware, more conscious, and grateful and thankful and centered. I feel great about life and I'm loving being a parent."

The actor called parenthood "a rejuvenating second start to life."

He's even visiting kids' water parks and cracking Dad jokes about going from tween Rusty to father Clark Griswold from the classic road trip comedy, Vacation.

"I'm really glad I waited to have my son because I feel much more aware and consciously there for him and my wife. It's been beautiful."

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