US actor Bobby Cannavale stars in Netflix’s The Watcher, a series about a family who move into their dream house only to find out that they’re being watched.
They receive ominous letters and the actor has recalled a similar personal experience.
The 52-year-old stars alongside Naomi Watts in The Watcher, based on the true story of Derek and Maria Broaddus.
The thriller series has seven parts and shows the family’s dreams of settling into a new neighbourhood get destroyed when The Watcher, a mysterious stalker, begins to terrorise them.
Cannavale told the PA news agency: “Two years ago we got a letter on our back yard, on our terrace… it looked like it was written by a child saying, ‘If you keep up the noise, you’re going to have a problem’.
“It freaked me out.”
The US actor kept the experience to himself, not telling his partner Australian actress Rose Byrne.
Byrne has starred in Bad Neighbours with Seth Rogen, Dave Franco and Zac Efron.
He told PA: “When I first got it, I freaked out privately. I didn’t let Rose know I found this letter, I was just really debating it – do I go to somebody, what do I do, what the hell is this?
“If I tell Rose she is going to freak out and she’s going to want to move, and I really went through it mentally.”
Cannavale recognised the handwriting looked similar to cards he had received from a neighbouring family and thought: “I think this might be the little boy next door.
“Long story short, it turned out it was the neighbours’ kids as a prank.
“But for that moment I was a bit freaked out, and then we cleared it up, but there was that feeling, ‘Does somebody know we live here?’
“It’s that fear of losing control, you can’t do anything about it and that’s just the worst.
“We want to try and hold on to the things we can control. That’s my only personal connection to any feeling like that.”
Jennifer Coolidge, Margo Martindale, Christopher McDonald, Isabel Gravitt and Mia Farrow also star in The Watcher on Netflix.