"Civic Duty's" Peter Krause Talks TV, Terrorism, And Paranoia
While it owes a debt to "Rear Window," "Civic Duty" explores how post-September 11 paranoia might drive generally responsible citizens to the brink. Krause stars as Terry Allen, a recently sacked accountant who suspects his new downstairs neighbor Gabe (Khaled Abol Naga) may be tied up in terrorist activity.
Peter Krause and Khaled Abol Naga in "Civic Duty"
"Civic Duty" opens Friday in limited release. In a telephone interview, Krause (who also acted as a producer on "Duty") spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about working in film versus television and living in a culture of fear.
Rotten Tomatoes: You seem to have a knack for playing characters that have a veneer of stability, but they're sort of volcanic underneath. What about that appeals to you?
Peter Krause: I see a lot of behavior like that in the world. I think it's my job to reflect that. I did a mini-series for the Sci-Fi Channel called "The Lost Room," and I got to play a classic hero who knows right from wrong and has a clear objective -- his daughter's lost in another dimension and it's his job to get her back. It was psychologically refreshing to be that uncomplicated.
Kari Matchett and Peter Krause in "Civic Duty"
RT: There have been a lot of movies lately, from "Disturbia" to "Red Road," and now "Civic Duty," that seem to derive their central premises from "Rear Window," with people spying on each other. What is it about our current political climate that's made people want to tell these stories?
PK: I think that fear sells and that people are buying it. I don't want to sound like a simple economist here, but I do when I say that. I think at first, the media was behaving responsibly post-September 11. People wanted answers. People wanted to have an idea of, "What kind of world am I living in?" and their fears were reflected at first that there were perhaps thousands of terrorists embedded in the country. And I think after a while, with ratings, and the way corporate America works, that the networks and the cable news networks recognized what they've known for a long time, and that's that fear does sell. There was a reason why we all were buying into it at first, and now it's become more than a mere inconvenience at an airport; it really is more about the psychological state or the emotional state of much of America. You reach a breaking point where you just can't live like that. You have to let it go. I do think there's a point where corporate ethics have to be questioned about selling fear, and at the same time, if we're continuing to buy it, we're driving the creation of every weekend's horror film. And I'll be honest, part of what makes "Civic Duty" work is that it is a horror film, and it's a particularly disturbing horror film because it could be true.
Click here to read the full interview!