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The Boys' Shawn Ashmore Explains The Inspiration For His Character In The Free Fall - Exclusive

This article contains spoilers for "The Free Fall."

When developing a new movie or TV character, an actor can look to many sources for inspiration. Actors want to ensure they depict each character they take on with as much realism as possible, but how do you prepare when you're playing a character who is one thing on the surface and deep down may be something else entirely? That was the challenge facing Shawn Ashmore when he took on the role of Nick in the terrifying head-trip "The Free Fall."

When we first meet him, Nick comes across as the loving and concerned husband of Sara (Andrea Londo). Sara recently attempted to take her own life, and the ensuing coma leaves her with no memory of Nick or anything else about her past. Given the circumstances, it's no wonder Nick would be protective of Sara and even a bit overbearing — but in Ashmore's talented hands, the character takes on a note of ambiguity too, as the actor drops small hints that something stranger and more sinister may be at work in the house he and Sara share.

Looper recently spoke with Ashmore about preparing for his unsettling role in "The Free Fall," in which he shared the references he and director Adam Stilwell turned to as inspiration for Nick's physicality.

Referencing classic horror characters

The way Nick comes across physically was a major consideration in bringing the character to life. For inspiration for how Nick dresses dress and holds himself, Ashmore and Stilwell looked to some classic characters from iconic horror movies "We used a lot of references [to John Cassavetes] from 'Rosemary's Baby' and [Anthony] Perkins from 'Psycho' and stuff like that," Ashmore said. "Even the way that Nick leans in a doorway and stuff like that. There's very specific imagery and physicality that Adam wanted to think about that we put into it."

Although these were subtle things that viewers might not initially notice, Ashmore said they were important to the character because Stilwell wanted Nick to appear to be a "man out of time." It's a quality that makes the character even more of a mystery. "Like the way he dresses, it's not really contemporary, it's kind of strange," Ashmore observed. "There were moments where [Stilwell] was like, 'I want you to think about, when you're sitting on this chaise lounge, don't hunch over like you do. Think about the body language of this sort of man out of time.'"

According to Ashmore, this was all in service of ensuring that "all the details and the truth" of what's really happening in the story are there. All the small elements that have been incorporated into the film, including Nick's physical characteristics, are "breadcrumbs that we wanted to leave for the audience so that if they go and watch the film again they don't feel like they're tricked by the reveal."

"The Free Fall" is now playing in select theaters and is available on VOD and digital.