Your film In the
Lantern - in a few words, what is it about?
Itís about a couple and their best who friend who
purchase an old abandoned theatre (The Lantern) located in a small
village. The idea is that they will reopen it to its former glory. However
there is something very old and angry waiting inside the theatre.
did exactly kick off the project in the first place?
Well the writer, Will Griffin, and
I where on set for another film and we started talking about what films we
This lead to Will saying Ďshall we do a film
together?í and having worked on and seen the other films Will had
written I said yes immediately! So it kind of all started from that
were your initial inspirations for In
the Lantern and what can you tell us about your collaboration with
your screenwriter Will Griffin?
Will said to me ĎHow about we do
a ghost story?í and I really liked the idea. We had a chat about story
ideas and we came up with a few rules for the film:
I said I didnít want to shoot
the film in a house as I felt a lot of short films are set in houses and
wanted something different. I also said that we shouldnít have any
teenage characters, as the minute you have teenagers and Ghosts in the same
story it could easily become a Ďslasherí film, and Will and I wanted it
to be something else. We also didnít want the ghost to be walking
through walls. He had to be more than that. I think Christopher Nolan
inspired us the most as we are both huge fans. We tried to think of
something different in every decision when writing the film that would
make it stand out.
I then mentioned The Amulet
Theatre, which doubles as The Lantern - I knew about the place beforehand.
That is when it all started to fall into place. We thought a ghost story
set in and old abandoned theatre was original and interesting. We then
came up with the idea of making the ghost an old performer of the theatre.
Once we know it would be set in a theatre it kind of all just feel into
place and everything went from there.
Will is a fantastic writer and we both have a
similar taste in movies, so it was very easy to find a style we liked and
films that influenced use. We both wanted to have a film that was all
about the characters and their relationships, and not too many chases in
dark corridors. Will wrote fantastic dialog for all characters and we
actually shot the first draft of the script as it was bang-on the first
time. I had met Will about a year beforehand so we where already friends
which made the writing process easier. It also meant we couldnít fall
out over anything!
How would you describe
your directorial approach to your subject at hand?
After reading the script I knew
that we would need to nail the performances for the film to work.
We had two days of rehearsals
which the actors, Lionelle the producer and I attended. When directing it
I just thought about what shots would complement the actors and their
performances the most. I think overall it was basic coverage really, but it
almost allowed the crew to take a step back and let the actors do the work
without anyone getting in the way.
Also the decision to not have any
hand-held shot gave the film, I think, a certain grace which kind of
reflects The Pale Man and his mannerisms. I really wanted the audience to
get the feeling he was everywhere in the building and it was HIS
building, not Clement's and Laraís.
I also wanted the film to be slow-paced as the
audience, in theory, are going to be on edge. They know something is going
to happen but donít know when or how. When something does happen they are
can you tell us about your wonderful location, the titular Lantern, and
how did you find it?
Itís funny really: we had the
location before we began writing! In reality The Lantern is called The
Amulet and I had done some musicals there a few years beforehand.
Unfortunately The Amulet closed down and was left unused.
I told Will about this place and
he and I visited the location, the owner is a friend of mine and he said
we could use it for as long as we wanted. After Will had been to The
Amulet he wrote the script with that place in mind. It has such a great
run-down feel to it that you couldnít really recreate in a studio. It
was also always cold in there! We didnít have a production designer as
the building was already falling apart. There was mould on the walls, roof
tiles hanging off, doors on there hinges and also this fantastic stage!
The seats in the auditorium can
actually go up into the roof and in the script the seats came down from
the roof with Clement and Lara sat in them. Unfortunately about a month
before we shot they got trapped up in the roof and wouldnít come down!
This obviously would have meant we couldnít use the location so we
rushed around to try and get a back-up. Luckily a local electrician
company saved the day and got the seats working again!
Last I heard The Amulet is being turned into a
Weatherspoons, which is very sad - In
the Lantern has become the building's
Your positively creepy Pale Man
Guy DuSade - what can you tell us about him, and what's he like in real
Let me tell you, Guy is nothing
like The Pale Man at all. He is a real Jack the lad kind of guy and a real
gentleman. He likes to have a laugh and lightens the set with his sense of
humour. To date Guy and I have done four films together including this
He is actually a friend of mine
who I have known for a few years. Bit of trivia for you, before he was an
actor he was a builder and helped to build The Amulet, the location we
shot this film.
When Will and I where talking
about what the ghost should be like I mentioned Guy to him, showed him a
few photos from his website and Will said Guy was exactly what The Pale
Man should look like. I sent the script to Guy and basically said the part
was his. I didnít have another choice for the role. Luckily he said yes
and was the first to be cast. Guy has this look in his eyes at certain
points in the film where he just looks unhinged! You canít quite tell
what heís thinking but you know itís not good.
Guy made The Pale Man a lot creepier. In the
script he was more of a straight cut villain but Guy gave him that
theatrical quality which works really well and made sense as he was a
performer before he died.
A few words about your leads Lucy Harvey, Jason
Bailey and Ben Williams, and how did you find them? And what made them
perfect for their roles in your eyes?
Lucy was the second person to be
cast, after Guy. I went to drama school with Lucy and had acted with her.
Again she was someone who I always had in mind for the character of Lara.
I sent her the script and she said yes.
What I like about Lucy is she can
make you care for the character. I personally think Lara was the hardest
part to act because she is under The Pale Manís control and only she can
see him to start with. This meant Lara needed to be glazed over and seem
distant without it looking like the character was wooden. She is also a
tortured soul because of some decisions she has been forced to make. Lucy
did all of this perfectly. You really feel for her come the end of the
I had worked on a film as a camera
assistant about six months before In
the Lantern and Jason was the lead. It was a
bit harder to find Clement as both Will and I had different ideas on how
Clement should be.
I had trouble getting hold of
Jason for a while because he was on holiday! When he came back he called
me and said he would love to play the part.
What Jason did with Clement was
make him a nice genuine guy who tries to make the best decision for each
situation. He needed to be like this, otherwise audience members would have
thought Lara is only with him because of his money. Clement also needed to
be attractive so you could see why Lara has married him.
Jason is a tremendous actor who
consistently gives as a performer. Not just for the camera but also to the
actors heís working with. He brought a vulnerable side to Clement which
was so important because it made him more human and allowed for some great
acting with the other cast members.
Also he has a fantastic voice! A
very calming voice, he doesnít need to shout to be heard.
Ben was the last actor to be cast
as Brett. This was also the hardest part to cast. Initially I wanted Brett
to be the same age as Clement, but it didnít really work so he became
the same age as Lara. This meant all the people I had in mind for Brett I
had to throw out.
Again I had met Ben at drama
school, so when looking through lists of names for Brett I came across Ben.
I called him, talked him through the script and characters and he was
In rehearsal I told Ben to play
Brett as Ďthe nicest man in the worldí. The reason for this was so
when you realise he has only come down to try and break up Clement and
Lara you see what a complete asshole he really is. Those opening scenes
when he has some banter with Clement and you think it's all friendly - but
watch it again and you see there is something more sinister. This is the
reason Brett gets the fate he does, as a punishment.
It is very much the bad boy-thing that
girls like without being that obvious. We needed someone that you could
believe Lara would turn to in troubled times. Ben played the character
perfectly and with his schoolboy-looks he makes Brett a very interesting
character to watch and almost a direct contrast to Clement.
Jason Bailey, Ben Williams, Adam Lanfranchi
What can you tell
us about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?
It was a very long shoot! Two
days, 8 in the morning to
both days. The crew were all people I had worked with before minus one or
two people. We are all friends and it was very relaxed. I got a bit tenser
as the shoot went on but only because of time restraints.
My Director of Photography, Paul
Dudbridge, made the film look absolutely fantastic! It added real
production value and having Simon Pearce as the Camera Operator meant I
knew the film was in safe hands.
The problem was that the building
was really cold! We shot in April but the building made it seem like it
was October and we had no heating. It felt like the building was actually
There was a funny moment when one
of the girls on the crew got lost and was scared out of there minds! I
wonít tell you which crew member but safe to say we all had a good
laugh! The days leading up to the shoot were fun also as Ben and Lionelle
my producer stayed round my house so we had time to chill out and have
All in all you couldnít really ask for a better
crew and on-set atmosphere.
In the Lantern
essentially being a horror film, is that a genre you can at all relate to,
and why (not)?
I wouldnít say I can relate to
it. What I wanted to do with In
the Lantern was to address my problems with
You always have teenagers on
holiday, usually really attractive ones. A few of them have sex. A villain
shows up with a half-burnt face and starts to kill the teenagers in really
over the top ways. The last survivor, traditionally a female, kills the
villain but then the villain isnít really dead, setting up a sequel.
Will and I never wanted to do any of this and deliberately avoided it.
I wanted a film with a REAL story
and REAL characters. The film is character-driven. The audience learns
more about each character as the film goes on. I really love watching
actors performing with each other; itís very much like a play. In The
Dark Knight, when Batman and The Joker meet properly for the first time,
they arenít fighting; they are talking to each other.
Also even though there is a ghost
in the film, I wanted the film to be believable. Apart from Act 3 of the
film everything that happens could actually happen. These characters could
all exist. Even The Pale Man could have existed at some point. Not as a
ghost but as an old theatre performer.
I donít think the word Ďhorrorí was ever
used on set. If we had shot it as a horror it wouldnít have worked. We
shot it as a drama and after editing it together and adding music thatís
where the creepiness and horror aspect came from.
What got you into filmmaking in the first
place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
My love of films got me into filmmaking really. Also being fascinated by the stories they told and the
characters actors portrayed. At a young age I always wanted to see how
films where made or how they did certain parts of a film.
I havenít received any formal
training for filmmaking, no. I went to drama school but not film school.
The reason for this was because I feel to be a good director you should
know how to act not just direct.
I do an ITV
Bristol. This teaches you more of the basic stuff like filming formats, equipment
and writing. Iíve met a lot of friends there who worked on In
the Lantern and
are filmmakers themselves. It's run by ITV and not a University which
means it's going to be good!
I think filmmaking can be self
taught. Iíve bought a tone of filmmaking books on writing, editing,
filming, directing and producing. Thatís where a lot of my skills have
Personally I think in this day and age with
ridiculous tuition fees itís a waste of time to go to University to do
film. Not only this they have a bad habit of teaching you the wrong things
for filmmaking. They love the film theory side of things but when it
comes to the practical side they donít really teach it in depth and
thatís the important part! If you canít use a camera but can tell
someone the secret meaning of a film then thatís not going to get you work
or help you making a film.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to and besides In
I had worked on films as a runner
or camera assistant but I had never directed anything this large. I had
done films with my friends in the back garden on my parentís camera but
nothing like this.
Of course since In
the Lantern I have
done other projects, as In
the Lantern was over a year ago.
Again the films I had worked on were short films but thatís where I met people like Paul Dudbridge, my
DP, Will Griffin, the writer, Simon Pearce, the camera operator and a few
other crew members.
the Lantern being a short, any intention of making a feature film
some day soon - and/or any other future projects you'd like to share?
I won't be making a feature film
version of In
the Lantern, but yes, I would love to do one some day. Iíve
worked on a few but never directed one.
There is an idea I have for one
called Farmers Vs Gangsters, but it's still a while off. Obviously with a
title like that itís an action comedy and Iíve done some work on it
with a writer but not much more than that really. My trouble is my ideas
are always too big!
I do however have two short films
One is called Elsie and Joe.
This is a drama about a woman, Elsie, who has two months to live. She
makes an extraordinary offer to Joe, her neighbour Ė a wad of cash if
he agrees to drive her on a tour of key places that have featured in her
life. Unfortunately the two of them donít get along.
This is very much a project that
is character-driven. It has been written by a writer named Richard Addison
and heís created a script that is all about relationships, love and
regret. Its also very different from In
the Lantern, and Iíve never directed
anything like it before.
We are currently in pre-production
for that and Iím casting it as we speak.
The other project is another short
film that Iím working on with In
the Lantern-writer Will Griffin. It
doesnít have a title yet but we have a rough plot and a location. I
donít really want to give too much away but it's and action thriller and
it's going to be dark. Maybe darker than In
who inspire you?
Christopher Nolan, Quentin
Tarantino, David Fincher and James Cameron. Also Trey Parker and Matt
These guys are the top of the
class and know how to make a film interesting and enjoyable.
Not a fan of Avatar though - sorry James.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The Dark Knight, The Godfather,
Pulp Fiction, Seven, Terminator 2, Alien,
The Naked Gun, ... to name a
and of course, films you really deplore?
Anything by Michael Bay. He should stop making movies.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Check out In
the Lantern on IMDb.
Or have a look at some stills from it on my Facebook page. There are also
still from other films Iíve done including Wakey Wakey, Confessions of
a Farmer and The Chase.
My website is www.manixpictures.com
(currently under maintenance)
Or follow me on Twitter Adam Lanfranchi @MANIXPICTURES.
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Not really apart from thank you
for taking the time to read this.
The trailer for In
the Lantern is
up on Youtube, so please check it out. There is also a link for another
short film trailer I did called Two Men, One Brain in Wakey Wakey.
Also if you want more information
on upcoming projects follow me on Twitter.
for the interview!