Patrick Wilson’s Directorial Debut Is Scaring People in His Own Backyard

Patrick Wilson, who lives in Montclair with wife Dagmara Dominczyk, directs and stars in Insidious: The Red Door, which filmed partly in NJ.

Patrick Wilson in Insidious: The Red Door
Patrick Wilson stars in and directs "Insidious: The Red Door." Photo courtesy of Sony

After acting in an astounding 54 movies, Montclair’s Patrick Wilson decided it was time to try his hand at directing his own film.

He chose Insidious: The Red Door, the fifth and final chapter in the popular supernatural horror franchise, for his directorial debut—and it did not disappoint.

The film, which opens Friday, July 7, held a private screening this week at the Village at SOPAC cinema in South Orange, a theater Wilson jointly owns with his other partners in the company Cinema Lab. Wilson, who lives in Montclair with his wife, actor Dagmara Dominczyk, spoke about what it meant for him to show his film there:

“I always thought about what it would be like to screen a movie that I made here. I kept thinking about this moment. This is a huge bonus for me,” Wilson, 50, said to applause.

The film stars Wilson and Rose Byrne as Josh and Renai Lambert, a couple that has divorced after their family experiences a series of terrifying incidents.

Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor, and Juliana Davies in Insidious: The Red Door (2023)

Patrick Wilson, Andrew Astor, Juliana Davies, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins in “Insidious: The Red Door” Photo courtesy of Sony

“In this film, I wanted to deal with trauma, and what it does to your memory,” says Wilson, who has also starred in Aquaman and The Conjuring films; Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set to be released in December.

Parts of Insidious: The Red Door were filmed in New Jersey, including Morristown, Chatham and Florham Park. Drew University in Madison was the filming locale for scenes involving the couple’s son, Dalton, at college. Ty Simpkins, who stars as Dalton, also acted as a kid in Little Children, a film that starred Wilson and was based on the book by novelist Tom Perrotta, a Garwood native.

At an audience Q&A after the screening this week, Insidious actor Peter Dager called Wilson “an actor’s actor. So it was a dream to work with you.”

The film closes with another first for Wilson: He sings the song Stay, which plays during the credits. The song is a cover of the Shakespears Sisters track and is an original collaboration between him and the Swedish rock band Ghost.

“Not too many directors sing on their own soundtrack,” said Wilson with a laugh.

Of course, not too many directors have also been nominated for two Tony Awards for acting in musicals.

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