'The Gift' Stars Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall Celebrate at L.A. Premiere

The Gift Premiere - H 2015
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Joel Edgerton makes his directorial debut with the project.

Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall took to the red carpet outside of L.A. Live on Thursday night for the world premiere of The Gift.

The stalker thriller, which consciously evokes echoes of Hitchcock and Fatal Attraction, follows husband and wife Simon (Bateman) and Robyn (Hall), who move back to Simon’s native California after a traumatic experience. Their initially picture-perfect life is disrupted when Gordo (Edgerton), one of Simon’s previous classmates, reappears, and the couple begins to be plagued by mysterious gifts and troubling encounters. It’s not until Robyn starts digging into the past that she discovers her husband may not be who she always thought.

“My favorite thing about this movie is that when I read the script, it felt original to me,” said Jason Blum, one of the film’s producers and CEO of Blumhouse Productions, which almost exclusively produces horror films. “I think a lot of Hollywood looks back at success and tries to repeat it. We look back at things and say, ‘Let’s try and do something different.’ ”

Simon, a morally ambiguous character, is a departure for Bateman. The actor initially signed onto the project without having read the script.

“Joel and Rebecca were the big draw for me. I’m friends with the guy who runs the studio, so it was just a lot of people I really love,” said Bateman. “The fact that the script was so great, that my part was good, was kind of just icing on the cake. I said yes before I read it.”

The film, which was penned by Edgerton, also marks his directorial debut, and co-stars were effusive in their praise.

“As an actor, it was an absolute joy to be directed by somebody who really understood what we were doing on a very intimate level. I think that smart actors can make really good directors because they have a focus on the truth and what’s happening in the moment, right here, right now,” said Adam Lazarre-White, who plays Ron, Simon’s neighbor in the film. “Joel Edgerton’s going to be a huge director.”  

The Gift is the first released project from STX Entertainment, a film and television studio launched by Robert Simonds is 2014 that focuses on midbudget movies that are evaporating from major studios in favor of high-grossing tentpoles. Although only 10 months old, the studio boasts three more films in postproduction, four about to start production, and 12 to 15 slated for production next year.

“One of our primary goals with every single film we decide to make is that it has a legitimate chance to be great, regardless of genre,” said chairman of STX’s Motion Picture Group Adam Fogelson. “Every film for us is a tentpole. This is the core of what we’re doing. I think [STX is] a great resource for people who love movies, and I think it’s a great resource for the talent who wants to make them.”

The screening was attended by guests including Kiernan Shipka, Jonathan Bennett and Mark Duplass and was followed by a reception immediately after.

The Gift will arrive in theaters Aug. 7.