A night of drinking between old friends typically leads to some laughs, a few cries, and a lot of hijinks. Add in a board game with supernatural stakes and you have the premise for Gauntlet. In this horror-comedy, friends Sam (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Troy (Sarunas J. Jackson), and Cliff (Jon Bass) decide to cheer up their newly divorced buddy, Paul (Jim Mahoney), with lots and lots of alcohol. When they play the drinking game Gatlopp, they soon discover the game has life or death consequences and if the group can’t finish before sunrise, they will be forced to play for the rest of eternity in hell.
Directed by Alberto Belli and written by Mahoney, Gauntlet combines the board game madness of Jumanji with the partylike atmosphere of Dazed and Confused to create a fun, one-night adventure. In speaking with , Raver-Lampman discussed her love of the script, the magnetic chemistry she had with the cast, why she embraces the challenges presented in acting, and what to expect for the future of her hit Netflix show, The Umbrella Academy.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
: Gauntlet is a really fun film. What attracted you to this role in the first place?
Emmy Raver-Lampman: I am a lover of board games so I was immediately drawn to this idea of this crazy drinking board game that kind of comes to life and puts these characters in unusual and bizarre circumstances. I also love the dynamic between the four: Paul, Troy, Cliff, and Sam. I think the friendship and the tension in that friendship when we first meet them was really, really interesting to me. This cast of actors is so awesome and so incredible. I really wanted to work with them. So I think there are a couple of things, but definitely, I think the script and the relationship of these friends and this wild board game at the center of it were definitely exciting to me.
Watching the film, I got a sense this was an entertaining project to work on. Was that the case for you?
Yes! We actually still have our “Gatlopp Gang” group message. We go out to dinner all the time. We hang out. We actually are still really good friends. Honestly, it was so fast and furious. We made this movie in 12 days, and we had to immediately have this crazy decades-long chemistry together. It was almost immediate. I just adore these guys so much, and I’ve honestly never laughed so much on a set of anything in my entire career. I’ll never forget it. We just laughed from the morning until late. And then I would go home and be like lying awake, just thinking about whatever ridiculousness happened on set that day, and still be giggling. We just had the best time, truly.
You’ve acted for film, television, and theater, but was acting while holding someone else’s hand your biggest challenge to date?
Honestly, it was just wild [laughter]. I loved the challenge. You’re shooting a movie, and it’s an indie film, and they rented an Airbnb house for the location for Cliff’s House. You can’t have the air conditioning on. It’s the middle of summer in Los Angeles. Our hands were so sweaty [laughter]. We were constantly just being like, “Sorry, sorry. My hand is so sweaty.” But I mean I loved that challenge.
Coming from theater, I love physicalization. I love having to physicalize the aspect of performance. I just thought that was really fun. Troy and I were able to add funny little bits while we were attached to each other because of the dynamic of those two characters in that moment who are not getting along. So that was really exciting to play that. You’re kind of attached to your worst enemy at the moment.
Was your plan to always crossover from theater into film and television? How have you been able to balance these various projects in multiple mediums?
You know, it wasn’t. I mean, to be honest, Broadway wasn’t. I’ve always been a person that kind of just looks at what’s right in front of me. If it challenges me, if it stretches me as an artist, if it scares me, and if it makes me nervous, those are things that I try to push myself towards because I think those are the things that ask you to grow the most, and those are the things that you learn the most from.
Being on BroadwayI was kind of getting to that point where I was really curious about other ways that I could be an actor and be an artist and be a performer. TV and film scared the hell out of me because I knew nothing about it. I grew up going to Hitchcock movies with my parents all the time. I knew that I loved film, but I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know how films are made. I didn’t know anything about it. When I started auditioning and then landed the role in Umbrella Academythat was the first time I ever stepped foot in front of a camera, on day one of a massive original Netflix series playing a superhero. It scared the hell out of me, but those are the things that excite me.
I’ve slowly started to want to do voiceover work. Having the opportunity to voice Molly Tillerman in Central Park and diversify this industry and represent animated characters as they should be is such an honor. It’s so exciting. It takes me back to the theater. So much of it is improvisational and collaborative with our showrunner and with Josh, Lauren, and the whole Central Park team. It’s just been such a learning experience. Then the scripted podcast is all of it. I’m so honored to be a part of these projects that I feel like I’m growing so much and I’m learning so much. It’s just really exciting to kind of be able to twist myself and mold myself into all these different mediums and see, see what I’m capable of.
With the release of Umbrella Academy season 3, what can fans really expect of your character Allison this season?
I think this season, we’re seeing a very different Allison, which is really exciting to play. I think we’ve got a whole other family of superheroes and there’s an incredible showdown between the Umbrellas and the Sparrows that is not to be missed. I think Allison’s going through it. I think she’s working through some stuff, and I think it’s a very different side of her that we haven’t seen before. It was really, really awesome to kind of bite into that as an actor and play a different version of this character that we’ve gotten to know so well for two seasons. To kind of see a different side of her was really exciting.
Gauntlet will be on demand and on digital starting June 23.