MIAMI — Non-spoiler alert: Ethan Hawke is most definitely not back from the dead.
In last year’s futuristic horror hit, “The Purge,” the actor’s do-good character was killed off by vigilantes who are allowed to let loose one night a year in a government-sanctioned violence party. In the sequel, “The Purge: Anarchy,” out Friday, Frank Grillo steps in as the star who fends off would-be killers.
We spoke to Grillo (“Captain America: Winter Soldier,” “Disconnect”) from a spooky trailer set up in the Design District, where the New York native was partaking in “The Purge Experience,” a fake-blood-spattered labyrinth in which fans of the movie pay good money to be terrified out of their minds.
Q. How did it feel coming into a sequel?
A. I spoke to (the writer / director) James DeMonaco, and we thought it would be a great idea to see where this story could evolve. It wasn’t like I was taking Ethan’s spot. He dies in a very specific, contained way. “Anarchy” starts it all over again.
Q. Legal killing for 12 hours is quite a concept. What is it about this movie that makes it popular?
A. It is impactful and intense, way more than the first one. I mean it’s like, ‘Eek!’ I get it. I understand. I felt the same thing. So is it human nature? Listen, in some weird way I think it is. People jump out of airplanes, ski down mountains they shouldn’t, wrestle alligators. They want to do things to wake themselves up. And you come out of this movie awake.
Q. You’ve played a cop often in your career. What about the script attracted you to the part?
A. I loved the premise and also the idea of being an antihero. When I was growing up I would see films with Lee Marvin, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood. These were guys who didn’t say much but did a lot.