October 17, 2022 Articles, Interviews Leave a Comment

What would you do if you started receiving eerie, anonymous letters in your dream home?
“I don’t think I’d just suddenly leave,” Naomi Watts tells ELLE.com, empathizing with her character Nora Brannock in Netflix’s The Watcher. In the thriller series, Nora and her family move into a stunning new house only to be sent threatening letters from a mysterious author who knows them by name and refers to the kids as “young blood.”
Watts’ co-star Jennifer Coolidge, however, would opt for a more defensive approach—one that includes “a bunch of rottweilers and pit bulls and german shepherds to surround the house.” The Emmy winner portrays Karen Calhoun, a realtor and old friend of Nora’s who seems to be hiding a secret. Though she’s able to sell the Brannocks the house in the show, in real life, Coolidge thinks the family should’ve had some serious protection.
“I feel that’s what’s missing, is just some really vicious dogs that could really save your life when someone is being so awful,” she says. “And then you think of what an awful thing that is to do to a family, and you should have no mercy for someone like that.”

This twisted saga is based on the haunting true experiences of the Broaddus family, who received similar letters from someone called The Watcher after they bought a house in Westfield, New Jersey, according to a New York Magazine story published in 2018. While multiple neighbors were deemed suspects, ultimately, after years of police probes and private investigations, Reddit theories and neighborhood gossip, the real Watcher was never identified. And the Broadduses found a new home.

“I think what makes this story so relatable is you can imagine this family who’s dreamed about this place, and they’ve had all kinds of plans in place, and even though there’s risk involved, they’ve done it anyway,” Watts says. “And they finally got their dream. And to have these bizarre letters and then bizarre people swirling their dream, they’re not gonna let go easily. You can relate to that kind of story.”

Soon, Watts, who just starred in the horror film Goodnight Mommywill portray Babe Paley in Feud: Capote’s Women, also from The Watcher producer Ryan MurphyAnd Coolidge, who recently won an Emmy for her performance in The White Lotus, will return to the cult HBO series later this month. At 54 and 61 respectively, both booked-and-busy stars (and countless others across the industry) debunk the ageist comment Watts heard earlier in her career that it’s over for women in Hollywood once they turn 40. “I’ve gotten some great parts recently,” Coolidge says, “and I’m not 30 anymore.”

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