Netflix's The Devil All The Time is an adaptation of the eponymous novel written by Donald Ray Pollock in 2011. It centres on the story of a good Christian boy named Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) who makes it his personal mission to uncover the frightening mysteries of his small town. Arvin's search for the truth leads him down a dark road, forcing him to cross paths with Knockemstiff's most dangerous residents: a murderous couple (Jason Clarke and Riley Keough), a law-bending sheriff (Sebastian Stan), and a scamming pastor in a powder blue suit (Robert Pattinson).
The film was directed by filmmaker Antonio Campos (who also co-wrote its script with his brother Paulo Campos), marking his very first project with the streaming giant. Adapting the novel for the screen proved difficult for the pair, who admitted to struggling since the original story had so much to offer. Between the different timelines that unfold in the plot of The Devil All The Time — the plot spans the events of World War II up to the stirrings of American involvement in the Vietnam War — and the story's many shadowy characters, there was a lot to pull from.
"It was a hard book to adapt also because there was so much that we loved," the director told Entertainment Weekly. "I’m a big fan of southern gothic and noir and this was a perfect marriage of the two. Sometimes you might be adapting a piece and you think like, Well, there is a seed of a good idea here and I’ll just throw everything away and start from scratch. In this case it was like, we love everything!"
Thankfully, Campos got a little help from the author of the crime novel himself; Pollock signed on to lend his voice to the project as the film's omniscient narrator.
“His voice is very powerful,” Campos said in conversation with Vanity Fair. “We needed a narrator to guide us, to connect all these pieces and give us a sense that there is something bigger at play here. It had to be Don.”
The Devil All The Time premieres on Netflix on September 16. Check out its chilling full-length trailer below: