Repression: Interview with Elijah Wolf

We speak to Repression actor Elijah Wolf about playing a kid who may have the ability to control people using his drawings…


Set in Scotland and with a staller British cast, Elbert van Strien’s Repression is a twisty thriller following therapist Marianne (Thekla Reuten) who has moved to a remote area of Scotland to start a new life. However, her plans for a fresh start are thrown off course by one of her patients, ten-year-old Manny (Elijah Wolf) who claims he can see and control her future.

Soon, Marianne starts to struggle against both the wall of silence from her colleagues and her own mind as she tries to uncover the truth behind Manny’s drawings, which are starting to depict a dark future for her and those around her…

We spoke to actor Elijah Wolf who plays Manny about making the film, the drawings and having a birthday on set!

How did you get involved with Repression?

There was a nationwide casting and my agent put me up for the role. A few months later I had an interview with [the director] Elbert [van Strien] and the casting director in London, and a few weeks later I found out I’d got the job. We were actually in the cinema when we found out!

What were your first thoughts when reading the script?

I didn’t read the whole script, just the bits I had to film. I found it to be quite dark but I thought it would be pretty interesting to do because it wasn’t like a regular kid’s roles I’d auditioned for!

How would you describe Manny?

He’s not had a great life, he’s really really angry and resentful and he uses drawings as a way of expressing himself and getting some of his anger out. Actually I kind of feel a bit sorry for him!

What appealed to you about the character?

Well my mum got the script and she stayed up until three in the morning to read it because she wanted to know what happened in the end! She mentioned it was going to be quite a challenging role…

It is a challenging role! How did you prepare for it?

To get into the character I had to imagine what it would be like to be Manny; how he might feel, how he might act. Once I’d done that I’d be in ‘Manny mode’. I mean obviously, I’d be joking around [on set] but for the emotional bits, I’d have to think about my hamster who died and that would put me in the right mood. And to get myself out of it, I’d whistle a happy tune!

Therapist Marianne’s (Thekla Reuten) world is turned upside down when she meets young Manny…

Manny expresses his thoughts through drawings, how did that element work?

The drawings were given to me on set actually and we had bits left for me to finish off. So I’d scribble in the last bit to finish off the picture. There are quite a few really hard ones with chunks missing. I noticed there was one with a pig with little brown patches on it. So, I decided to pay attention to every detail and drew the pig with brown patches on it and then Elbert came and asked “why did you turn that pig into a cow”? [haha] he did like it!

What are your fondest memories from working on Repression?

It was really fun, the cast were amazing, especially Thekla [Reuten], I worked with her the most, and Bill Paterson was really encouraging and gave me a few acting tips. During filming, it was my birthday and the cast and crew brought in a birthday cake from the canteen and sang happy birthday which I really wasn’t expecting. That was really nice of them.

What’s next for you?

I guess I’ll continue with acting and I do some music as well; they’re the two things I enjoy the most. [I’d also like] to get more challenging acting roles; I’d love to be in something like Stranger Things or Star Wars, or maybe do a comedy film…

Signature Entertainment presents Repression on Digital HD out now.