Amanda Crew on The Politics, Brutality, and Quirky Filmmaking of Tone-Deaf


Cultural divides and generational differences lead to an energetic and demented slasher movie in Tone-Deaf, out now on streaming video on demand and in select theaters. The film, which stars Amanda Crew and Robert Patrick, centers on a young woman who wants a peaceful weekend in the country -- which is shattered by an older man hoping to knock one last item off his bucket list: premeditated murder. Crew plays Olive, while Patrick is Harvey -- a character who talks right to the camera as if you, the audience, represent everything he hates and the very values he is trying to drive out of America's heartland.

In Tone-Deaf, "After a string of bad relationships and work failures, Olive leaves for a weekend in the country, only to discover the shocking dark underbelly of rural America." That clash, of course, is one that Americans are living with day-to-day, with an older, mostly conservative generation and a younger, primarily progressive one who can't seem to agree on anything or get along for more than a few hours at a time. Those tensions boiled over and got The Hunt, a Blumhouse movie wherein an evil group of "elite liberals" hunt blue-collar conservatives for sport on a private island, cancelled after the President claimed it would inspire copycat crimes.

"It's such a hard thing to [address], because you're going to offend people, but that's what art is meant for," Crew told "That's what film is meant for, is to expose things, to make you uncomfortable, to make you think. Everyone takes something at face value, and then we're all censoring ourselves, and then our stories are just watered down bulls--t. So I am not daunted by this one just because I don't think it's so political. I think because [director Richard Bates, Jr.] does a really good job of really leaning into the stereotype on both sides, and not depicting one as better than the other, or one as more right or correct, and so just kind of being like a commentary on the kind of this generational clash that we're seeing right now. But again, he's making fun of millennials just as much as he is as Baby Boomers."

The film included a moment where Olive turned to the camera herself -- something that felt like it could suggest that she had snapped in the same way Harvey did. It isn't paid off in the movie, but we had to ask whether Crew thought it would be fun to tackle a prequel or sequel in which she was the killer instead of the would-be victim.

"I loved all of his to-camera things," Crew answered. "It's very weird. I just had that one line at the end, and I was just like, 'This is very bizarre.' The whole acid trip scene that was directly to camera, but it wasn't meant to be talking directly to the audience. So it was different, but was still very weird to just not be looking at another human being's eyes, but just looking down the barrel of a camera."

That said, as much as Patrick demeans the audience to camera and tries to kill the film's heroine, Crew admits that it's hard to root against him, if only becuase of his reputation outside of Tone-Deaf.


"I think there is kind of a weird familiarity that people feel with him just because he's played these iconic roles," Crew said of her co-star. "He's still intimidating, but there's kind of a softness, where you're like that you can get in with him, but then also be scared sh--less, which is just the unique gift that Robert has of just kind of everyone feeling like he's their bud, but also you don't want to f---ing cross him."

Tone-Deaf is available now on streaming video on demand platforms.