Filmed in North Bay, Ont., during the pandemic, Watts plays Amy Carr, a mother of two (an older son, younger daughter), who finds out there is an active shooter at her son’s high school in the small town. She gets this call while she’s out for a run in the woods and spends most of the film trying to get back to town to see what’s going on.
Naomi Watts’ new role in the Phillip Noyce (Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Quiet American) film Lakewood tells the terrifying story of a mom who gets the call every parent fears, which had its world premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
When Noyce read the script from Chris Sparling just over a year ago, he immediately connected to the material as a parent.
The other thing that connected to me was the feeling that…I don’t think there’s been any day that I’ve taken them to school that I haven’t looked at the security guards and the egress points around the school and wondered if today is the day, and that fear that’s experienced by millions of parents.
Lakewood director Phillip Noyce
“The first thing that connected me was this uncertainty of any parent, when you kid starts to form his own personality…and you wonder who this new persona is and sometimes you wonder, has he grown into something that I’m feeling negative feelings about,” the director told Yahoo Canada. “That was echoed in the script in Amy.”
At a press conference for the film, Watts explained that every time she takes on a new role, the story has to be “meaningful” to her.
“I just have to choose a role that speaks to me and what can I bring to it, what scares me about it, what does it mean to my life, and I just kept coming back to how haunting this would be, seeing myself in this woman’s shoes and adopting her mindset of how to struggle in complete chaos from a state of powerlessness, to panic, to actually coming into her power,” she said.
“That both terrified me and interested me, nobody wants to see themselves in this position but we’ve all dreaded it at one point or another.”