Your new movie Everyone
Laugh at Leanne - in a few words, what is it about?
film follows the paranoid mind of Leanne Higgis, she seems to initially
have the perfect life with great friends and a great boyfriend, but things
are not all as they seem, her world of paranoia soon starts to eat away
the edges of her so-called perfect life and inevitably burrows its way in
causing all sorts of hauntings, violence and mental disruption.
were your sources of inspiration when writing Everyone
Laugh at Leanne?
was inspired by a succession of thoughts based around someone whoís
haunted and going through an extreme mental breakdown, and I was fascinated
at how this would play out in a film. Lots of films have covered this
subject; two brilliant examples would be The Man Who Haunted Himself and
In your movie, it's never
really explained what exactly is going on in Leanne's world - so was this
intended from the get-go, and/or do you have a secret explanation for
donít want to give anything away, but Leanneís paranoia is defiantly
taking her over, therefore sheís seeing stuff thatís not actually real
but there could be a possibility that some stuff in the film is outside of
that and is stark cold reality - but you will have to make up your own mind
on that one! It's great to leave it open to audience interpretation.
Do talk about
Laugh at Leanne's approach to horror for a bit!
falls into horror from a drama/thriller perspective. Although I did set out
to write the film as a psychological horror, it had huge elements of drama
in it too. The film is very violent in places, and this was intentional as
I wanted something disturbingly real feeling, and sometimes that gets
lost in the fantasy world of horror films, the fact that itís a
psychological horror film moves it further into the realms of reality. I
see it as more Hitchcock or Lynch rather than Carpenter or Argento.
also created the musical score for Everyone
Laugh at Leanne - so do talk about the music in your movie for a
bit, and its inrpirations and influences? And what came first, the music
or the movie?
always write the music to my script before we film, this way there is much
more room to manoeuvre rather than scoring it and it leaves it open to use
tracks on scenes where they maybe werenít meant to be in the first
place. There is usually lots of piano in my films, but this time there was
none at all as I opted for a very unsettling eerie sound world. I used my
voice on a track as well emulating a possessed spirit which seemed to
unsettle my engineer in the studio! The whole sound was incredibly dense
and evil sounding; unlike lots of horror film soundtracks this does really
sound like it means it rather than just the usual music to a film. My
inspiration as always was my script, but if I had to pick a person who
always inspires me musically especially when composing this kind of stuff,
it would be Ligeti, he was the master of eerie unsettling sound, both
disturbing and utterly beautiful at the same time.
What can you tell us about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand?
My idea was to direct it like a drama, as I knew with this approach
the horror element would be much more powerful. I wanted Leanne to be both
confident and content but at the same time slowly affected by things and
totally confused by whatís going on around her and in her mind, therefore
setting off a brutal breakdown. The couple of violent scenes in the film
took Nicolai (DOP/editor) and me longer to work out, as we wanted them to
look as real and intense as possible. I wanted the film to have an ominous
underlying feeling of nastiness and mockery which I think we definitely
achieved with this film.
about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
As in all of my
films from Being Without onwards all the cast are phenomenal. Kerry Newton
who plays Leanne is absolutely perfect for the role. She has an extremely
strong presence and brings Leanne to life onscreen like no other. Tom Coulston who was in my previous film
The Mind of Juliane has
role in this film and brilliantly plays Leannes boyfriend Eddie. Real life
mother and daughter Josie OíRourke and Jodie OíRourke play the mother
and daughter friends of Leanne, Francine and Lily. I worked with Jodie on
my film Emilyís Hands back in late
2018. Both Josie and Jodie are
amazing, essentially they both work in comedy but they were by far the most
sinister characters in any of my films, to my mind they play two iconic
characters that could very well have their own action figures! Caisa Martin plays
Mrs Stewart, and I won't explain her character as I donít
want to give anything away. Caisa is essentially a non-actress but brings
to all her roles a brilliant professional air. This is her biggest role to
date, and she brings Mrs Stewart to life perfectly. Like one of my heroes
Joanna Hogg, who works with both actors and non-actors on her films, if
itís the right people for the roles it always works with great direction
and a great script.
words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
is always a brilliant atmosphere on set on all of my films, which is great.
We filmed this in 6 hours and as we always do we worked extremely hard. It
was filmed at a house in East Finchley in North London, a perfect
location; it had a fantastic eerie feel to the house and surrounding area.
$64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?
film will be at festivals this year, and my other films have done really
well at festivals last year so I hope this does the same. My film House of
Lexi, which stars Emma Dark [Emma
Dark interview - click here], won 3 awards at the Stormy Weather
Horror Film Awards in America recently, which was amazing. It won best director, best
soundtrack and best cinematography.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Everyone
Laugh at Leanne?
who have had private views of the film so far have loved it. They loved
the acting, the intense story, unsettling soundtrack, and the overall
insanity of it all, and of course
the brilliant camerawork and editing by the great Nicolai Kornum and the
brilliant sound by our wonderful sound recordist Denise Yarde.
Any future projects you'd like
Iím creating next you can be sure it will be totally different to what I
did previously and will be worth waiting for.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
My Facebook pages @everyonelaughatleanne and M W Daniels - @thelairofthedaniels
Twitter @bleakscape70 will have all the updates
on whatís happening with the film.
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
huge thanks to you for the interview, Michael. Itís very much appreciated
and Iím so happy you enjoyed the film and thanks for the review.
Thanks for the interview!