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From Ambition to Cannibalism, Nick Stahl Talks WHAT YOU WISH FOR

Nick Stahl stands in front of a stove with a concerned look on his face
Nick Stahl in WHAT YOU WISH FOR, a Magnet release | Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing

By Shannon McGrew

In WHAT YOU WISH FOR, Ryan (Nick Stahl) is a talented, down-on-his-luck chef with crushing gambling problems. Circumstances being what they are, he leaves town in a hurry for the safe haven of an unnamed Latin American country where his friend Jack (Brian Groh), a more prestigious chef with his own unique troubles, welcomes him into his home. Ryan has no idea how Jack is able to afford his extravagant lifestyle, cooking for the elite in paradise; he doesn't want to feel envious, yet he can't help but want this life for himself as well. Soon, a grim twist of fate will give that to him. Ryan assumes his friend's identity and soon discovers what Jack's been doing to maintain the lifestyle he so desperately craved.

For the release of WHAT YOU WISH FOR, Creepy Kingdom's Shannon McGrew spoke with actor Nick Stahl. During their chat, they discussed what drew him to the role of Ryan, the challenges of filming in Colombia, and more.

Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Nick. What drew you to the role of Ryan?

Nick Stahl: I liked the idea of this guy having a rough patch in his life and looking for a way out. He's running away from some mysterious circumstances and gets to go to this beautiful location where he's faced with a decision to sell his soul. It's a "what would you do in this situation" thing. He makes a decision, and he has to pay the consequences for it.

Nick Stahl stands in front of mountains and palm trees
Nick Stahl in WHAT YOU WISH FOR, a Magnet release | Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing

What was the experience like filming in Colombia? Was it a challenging place to film?

Nick Stahl: It was beautiful. What was challenging was the schedule. We had a limited number of days to shoot, but we had a really hardworking crew. Most of them were local Colombia crew. Everybody showed up and worked super hard every day. What was also challenging was the big bugs [Laughs]. We all stayed in houses out in the mountains, a very remote location, and I got to share a house with Juan Carlos Messier, who plays Maurice, and Randy Vasquez, who plays Detective Ruiz. We all got to know each other really well.

Director Nicholas Tomnay is no stranger to the horror/thriller genre. How collaborative was the process of working with him?

Nick Stahl: Nick is great! He's very detailed with what he wants, which I appreciate because some actors can be very high maintenance, and sometimes you have to approach certain actors in just the right way. I like having a lot of direction and somebody with a specific vision for what they want. He's really honest; he would tell me if he doesn't like something. I really appreciate that cause I need that. He's a really smart guy and is very knowledgeable about films. He's seen everything, and he makes me want to see more movies because just hearing him talk about his film influences, I mean, the guy is super smart!

Cannibalism films often explore socio-political themes, particularly the tension between rich and poor. Beyond the more gruesome aspects of this film, what do you hope viewers take away from the film?

Nick Stahl: All those elements exist in the movie, but I don't think it necessarily hits you over the head with it, which is nice. For that reason, I think it appeals to a wider audience. On the surface, if you're a horror movie fan, you'll like this. But it also has some deeper social themes, which was one of the main things that attracted me to the story by merging those ideas. It was a really cool way of doing it.

Lastly, do you have a favorite cannibalism movie?

Nick Stahl: Does Deliverance have cannibalism in it? [Laughs]. Oh, The Menu, that one definitely!

WHAT YOU WISH FOR is now in theaters and on VOD.


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