Brightburn’s Terrifying Spin on Fathers, Sons & Superheroes

Brightburn stars David Denman and Jackson A. Dunn on playing a dad and his son -- who happens to be a superbeing.

What if a powerful being — the kind we usually refer to as a superhero — came to Earth and was not interested in protecting humanity but destroying it? The new movie Brightburn, produced by James Gunn and directed by David Yarovesky, asks that provocative question while combining two of the most popular film genres around: horror and superhero origin story.

The film stars Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) and David Denman (The Office) as a young married couple who, while struggling to conceive a child on their own, feel themselves blessed when one lands on their farm inside an alien vessel.

Read More: Brightburn Review

At first Brandon (Jackson Dunn) seems like the perfect child and their lives couldn’t be better. But as he reaches puberty, the vessel he arrived in calls out to him — and he’s not exactly told to defend truth, justice and the American way. 

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Brightburn also touches on notions of parenting and whether the “nature vs. nurture” question can come into play when one is raising a child — ideas that hit home with Denman, who told us as we sat down for the interview below that he had just become a new father when he read the script: “My agent called and was like, ‘Look, I know you probably don’t want to read a script…’” the actor recalls. “So I read it and I was totally captivated with it.”

It’s probably every young kid’s fantasy to become a superhero, but in the case of Jackson Dunn, he played something much more sinister. “I’m not playing a superhero, I’m playing a supervillain,’ he says. “But yeah, it’s a dream come true to play a superbeing at all. I’ve grown up watching Marvel and DC movies my whole life and I’ve idolized the characters in those movies, so this is a dream come true.”

Read more here with director David Yarovesky and here with James Gunn and Elizabeth Banks. Brightburn is out in theaters now.

Don Kaye is a Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist and associate editor of Den of Geek. Other current and past outlets include Syfy, United Stations Radio Networks, Fandango, MSN, and many more. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @donkaye