Your new movie Charismata
- in a few words, what is it about?
A police detective's sanity begins to unravel as she investigates a
series of brutal satanic murders. Or it could be about institutional
misogyny. Or maybe a bit about corporate greed and how "the 1%"
treat the rest of society as assets rather than people, to be traded in
the next big deal.
What were your
sources of inspiration when writing Charismata?
plot was lifted from Angel Heart ... Tor pitched it as "a detective is
investigating a series of occult killings, but the twist is that the
killer really does have supernatural abilities". The story, the main
character's personal journey, was kind of an amalgamation of the three
main characters in Polanski's apartment trilogy. We thought it would be
fun to make the main character this interesting sensitive person who
obviously doesn't fit in but tries very hard to gain acceptance.
what extent can you actually identify with Charismata's
lead character Rebecca Faraway - or her male partner Eli Smith or the
film's villain Michael Sweet for that matter?
question. I think they are all more interesting than I am. Michael is an
utter sociopath who is super confident in his position and has zero
empathy for anybody. He's a cool super villain in a way. It would be fun
to be him but I would make a rubbish super villain. Eli has
"issues" and tries to cover them up with an outrageously brash
and aggressive exterior. I think to some extent we all wear a social mask,
but not to the extent that he does, I hope. Rebecca is shot full of self
doubt but she tries really hard... trying to please the wrong people
however can be a problem. I guess that we can see where they are coming
from, they are all a product of their environment, just they chose to
become the monster in that environment to different degrees.
does make quite a few comments about women in the (male-dominated)
workplace and how they're treated differently - was that intentional from
square one or did that sneak into the story by the by?
from day one... the Repulsion influence in Rebecca's character (and her
perception of everybody else's) was a big part of the story.
What can you tell us about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand?
Again it was an
apartment trilogy homage. This films are very measured and controlled, and
we adopted the same style. We also decided to use lots of long locked
camera shots to build suspense, and to only move the camera when something
supernatural is happening. People probably don't notice the link, but it
gives those moments more impact (at least, that's the intention).
written, produced and directed Charismata
with Tor Mian, so what was your collaboration like on each of these
stages - and how did you two first meet even? And do talk about your
projects prior to Charismata
We wrote it together 100%, with a "top
down" approach where we first started with themes, then agreed on
the broad story plot, then agreed the scenes, then wrote them. It's a
very structured approach but it allows for effective collaboration. We
met through a mutual friend (an actor who we both cast in short films
many years ago). The mutual friend is also a producer who still works
with us. We haven't figured out how to get rid of him yet ;)
We've collaborated on quite a few things in various degrees,
was the first film we wrote and directed together. We are
now working hard to get a new project off the ground to shoot next year.
Very exciting, it's a much "bigger" project than Charismata.
Back to Charismata
- please talk about your main cast, and why exactly these people?
spent a lot of time on casting. From thousands of applicants for each,
Sarah Beck Mather and Jamie Satterthwaite nailed their respective characters instantly. They were
exactly what we were looking for in those roles. Andonis Anthony was harder to
find... I think he was actually out of the country the first round of
casting so he didn't apply, but nobody really "wowed" us for
Eli. Everybody was too "gruff" and stereotypical tough copper,
not the light and shade we were looking for. So we started again on
casting that part, and Andonis applied, and that worked!
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was actually fun. We were very low budget and it was "no
frills"... in fact it felt very much like a guerilla film shoot,
except everybody got paid. That was why we mainly cast actors who were
still looking for their big break and who had not done a lot of TV.
Anybody used to trailers and green rooms would soon get annoyed with
having to sit on deck chairs in a shed between takes. Given the lack of
funds but high production value we were constantly teetering on the edge
of disaster... and while we had minor disasters every day, we avoided the
big one which would have killed the shoot.
$64-question, where can Charismata
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Just finalising a deal with a fantastic, genre
focussed sales agent. I expect it to be released everywhere early next
Anything you can tell us about critical and
audience reception of Charismata
So far, seems to be hugely positive. Nobody hates it
yet, and critic assessments went from "pretty good" to
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
All details here
for the interview!