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'The Black Phone': Ethan Hawke is terrifying for 2 minutes straight in haunting new trailer

The Black Phone hits the big screen Friday, June 24.

By Josh Weiss
Ethan Hawke as The Grabber in The Black Phone.

It's no wonder Ethan Hawke was initially hesitant to play the villain in director Scott Derrickson's film adaptation of The Black Phone. The Oscar-nominated actor definitely unlocked something sinister (no pun intended) inside himself by playing The Grabber, a sadistic serial killer who enjoys kidnapping and murdering children. You can see just how terrifying he is in the official trailer for the upcoming horror flick (out in theaters this June), which is based on the short story of the same name by Joe Hill.

"I don’t tend to think about actors during the scriptwriting process, because you just never know if they’re going to do it or not," Derrickson explained to The AU Review last year. "I really try and create the character as the character. When I was done I really thought Ethan was the perfect actor to play this character though.  He was my first choice, so I sent him the script and he said yes, thank goodness."

Set in the 1970s, the story centers around Finney Blake (Mason Thames), a 13-year-old boy who winds up in the maniac's sound-proofed basement. His only shot at survival is to take advice from the killer's previous victims, who contact Finney through a seemingly broken telephone affixed to the wall. Madeleine McGraw (Ant-Man and the Wasp), Jeremy Davies (Saving Private Ryan), and James Ransone (IT: Chapter Two) co-star.

Watch the new trailer now:

Derrickson co-wrote the project's script with frequent collaborator, C. Robert Cargill. Both writers serve as producers alongside Jason Blum of Blumhouse. Ryan Turek (Halloween Kills) and Christopher H. Warner (Halloween Ends) are executive producers. Despite the fact that the film is set in the past, its director didn't want to look back at the specific time period with rose-colored glasses.

"I grew up in this kind of violent working class neighborhood in North Denver and experienced a lot of fear and a lot of bullying, and domestic violence, and it was a scary place to grow up," he told STACK. "And I was talking to Cargill about it and he grew up in a tough neighborhood as well and then we got the idea to combine the specifics of the world we grew up in with Joe’s story.”

Audiences can answer the call for themselves when The Black Phone hits the big screen Friday, June 24. In the meantime, viewers can text "ESCAPE" to 303-529-2166 for clues, links, and other bits of teaser material leading up to the wide theatrical release. 

Hawke can currently be seen in the Moon Knight television series on Disney+ where he plays the main antagonist, Arthur Harrow.