In his new film The Night Clerk, Johnathon Schaech (you may remember him from That Thing You Do or DC's Legends of Tomorrow) plays a husband mourning the loss of his wife. While having an affair, his wife is murdered by an unseen assailant, with their argument captured on video by a hotel night clerk who uses hidden cameras to study his guests in an attempt to mask the signs of his Autism Spectrum Disorder, which impairs his ability to socialize. After becoming a suspect in the woman's murder, the clerk (Tye Sheridan) is relocated to a different location in the hotel chain and finds himself forming a bond with a regular guest there (Ana de Armas).
Schaech's character spends much of his screentime with the police officer investigating the murder, played by John Leguizamo. Offscreen, though, Schaech (who is active in generating awareness and money for Autism-related charities and research) worked to make sure that the voice of the Autism community was heard during production.
"I was so excited by the script because I know that world," Schaech told ComicBook.com, adding that after he read the script he wanted to be involved in part because it depicted a young adult on the Autism spectrum who was self-sufficient and struggling to take care of himself and fit into society.
Schaech said that he also loved the realism of a character who has good intentions but struggles with circumstances. The reason that Bart (Sheridan) becomes the prime suspect in the murder case is that he rushes back to the hotel after his shift is over upon realizing that one of the people he was spying on was in life-threatening danger.
"Him trying to do something positive turns into something incredibly negative, you know?" Schaech added. "I love that. I think that was great. I mean, the script was sensational."
One thing that didn't surprise him between production and release of The Night Clerk was the rapid ascent of Ana de Armas to superstar status. He compared the actress to a young Gwyneth Paltrow, with whom Schaech starred in Hush in 1998.
"It reminded me of Gwyneth and Shakespeare In Love, the whole way that her work schedule and she was working nonstop and you follow her on social media and she was just bouncing from one thing to the next and she was really good in everything she's ever done," Schaech said. "Uniquely good. She has screen presence, and she is vulnerable and strong at the same time. She's a fearless actress."
The Night Clerk is now available digitally, and is also screening in a limited theatrical run around the country.