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Starring Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson, Netflix’s new drama, The Devil All the Time, tells a gripping backwoods tale about a family plagued with dark secrets. And along with its star-studded cast, the film features a unique narrator connected to its story.

Tom Holland In The Devil All the Time
Tom Holland | Glen Wilson/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘The Devil All The Time’ is based on a book

The Devil All The Time is based on author Donald Ray Pollock’s award-winning 2011 book. It tells the story of a young boy named Arvin (Tom Holland) who tragically loses his parents and moves in with his grandmother and new step sister. But as he becomes a man, he continues to discover that most people have far more sinister motives than they let on. 

The Netflix film stars Spider-Man star Tom Holland as Arvin, Bill Skarsgård as his father, Willard, Robert Pattinson as Preacher Preston Teagarden, and Sebastian Stan as Sheriff Bodecker.

‘The Devil All The Time’ director was fascinated with Pollock’s novel

In an interview with Slash Film, The Devil All the Time screenwriter/director Antonio Campos talked about his admiration for Pollock’s book. He praised the author for developing these deep characters while bringing a southern feel to a story set in the midwest. 

“[Donald Ray Pollock], the author was, was able to create this amazing hybrid of Southern Gothic literature and hard-boiled fiction, and those two of my favorite genres to read,” Campos said. “I felt like there was this kind of new genre at play – Midwestern Gothic, because Southern Ohio is not the South, you know, West Virginia is not necessarily the South. 

“So I felt like there was this world that Don was bringing me into I didn’t know, and I was fascinated by Ohio, and the Ohio of it all,” he added. “That grabbed me, and then thematically, characters wrestling with their faith and struggling with religion are some of the most interesting characters to me.”

The movie’s narrator is the story’s original creator, Donald Ray Pollock

The Devil All the Time features short narrations that help clarify the story and its characters’ innermost thoughts. And for this particular narration, Campos asked the story’s creator, author Donald Ray Pollock to do the honors. 

“From the moment we started implementing narration, there was no other person in my mind than Donald Ray Pollock,” Campos told The Oakland Press. “I knew his voice was perfect. It was a voice that was born and raised in Knockemstiff, Ohio. What actor are you going to get that is going to be able to replicate the feel of that specific place?”


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The director noted that during production, he would reach out to Pollock for specific voice recordings. He said the author would record his voiceovers and email them to him as needed. 

“It was a really great collaborative process,” Campos added. “His voice was so important to the book, and I was happy we found a way of incorporating it, literally, in the movie.”

The Devil All the Time is currently streaming on Netflix.