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The Black Phone Director Made A Radical Last-Minute Change To The Movie

For those who haven't seen it, Scott Derrickson's "The Black Phone" is a movie anchored down by what's not being shown on screen. The ominous Grabber figure, played by Ethan Hawke, is never actually seen murdering any of his teenage victims. We, as viewers, are only left to wonder and imagine what goes down inside the character's dark and creepy basement where the slayings all take place. Where the true terror lies throughout the movie is in Finney Shaw's (Mason Thames) various interactions with The Grabber's ghostly victims — one of which happened to be a radical last-minute change by Derrickson.

"I think a good director always has an antenna up trying to hear what this movie really wants to be," explained the "Sinister" and "Doctor Strange" filmmaker in a June 2022 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "If you do that, you can sometimes make decisions that are bigger than you."

During the final act of "The Black Phone," viewers are shown several different interactions between Finn and some of The Grabber's victims, who are communicating with him using a disconnected phone on the wall of the basement. The slain teens all attempt to give Finn clues and tips on how to ultimately escape The Grabber's home. In one of the very last scenes, Thames' character is visited by one of the ghosts — his school buddy Robin (Miguel Cazarez Mora). However, the actual script never once mentioned this. According to Derrickson, he decided at the very last minute to bring Robin back for the film's closing moments, with him detailing what happened to The Hollywood Reporter.

Scott Derrickson flew Miguel Cazarez Mora in at the very last minute to play Robin one last time as a ghost

According to the original script, Scott Derrickson and "The Black Phone" writers had planned on giving Robin and Finn one last interaction together at the very end of the film, but it would've just been over the phone. There were never any plans in place for the Robin character to show up as a ghost, Derrickson says. It wasn't until he began thinking about the audience and the overall story in the grand scheme of things that the filmmaker decided to resurrect the teen. There was one major problem, though: Miguel Cazarez Mora had already flown back home after finishing all of his scenes (via The Hollywood Reporter).

"It suddenly hit me out of nowhere. I was like, 'Oh, the audience wants to see that kid again. We got to see him again. It's not going feel right if we don't see him again,'" recalled Derrickson. "I was like, 'Where's that kid?' and they were like, 'We just flew him home.' I was like, 'Get him back. You got to fly him back.'" After reportedly tracking down Mora, "The Black Phone" director knew he had to find a way to get Robin back into the cinematic fold in a way that felt natural. "I end up doing it all in one shot," Derrickson said. And the rest is now horror history.