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The Desperate Hour's Naomi Watts Discusses What Drew Her To The Film - Exclusive

There are few topics that are more fraught today than school shootings. While they've become depressingly common since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, the news is always shocking and tragic. So perhaps it's no surprise that movies and TV have rarely broached the subject. That is one of the things that makes "The Desperate Hour" so unique. Not only is it one of the very few movies to explore the horror of school shootings, it does so almost entirely from the perspective of the character of Amy Carr, played by Naomi Watts.

Amy is a mother whose teenage son is trapped in his high school when a gunman starts firing. Watts turns in a visceral, harrowing performance that conveys every shade of emotion Amy goes through as she desperately tries to reach her child. It's another impressive performance in a career full of them. From "Mulholland Drive" to "The Impossible" to "Birdman," Watts has a talent for bringing warmth and sympathy to challenging roles. And in "The Desperate Hour," she's done it again, with a performance that's sure to make viewers feel as frantic and terrified as Amy does.

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Watts discussed why she felt it was important to take on the role and depict her character in "The Desperate Hour."

Living through a terrifying moment

Naomi Watts' journey to becoming Amy Carr in "The Desperate Hour" started with the script. "I worked with Chris Sparling before on a movie, who's the writer," Watts remembered, "and he approached me and asked me to read it and I found the story very compelling and obviously very familiar, which is sad to say."

While many actors might shy away from a role that required them to confront an event as terrible as a school shooting, Watts felt it was essential to appear in the film. "[The familiarity of the situation in the script] made it necessary for me," Watts explained, "because I wanted to know what it would be to live in that situation, in the shoes of a parent who's going through that moment."

Watts also revealed that she hoped the movie would help viewers better comprehend the enormous tragedy of school shootings. "As confronting and difficult as that may be for me to play it and for an audience to absorb it," Watts reflected, "hopefully it helps us understand how big this is and how awful and unimaginable it is, and senseless."

"The Desperate Hour" is now playing in theaters, and is available digitally and on demand for rental or purchase.