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An Interview with Paul Sutton, Writer and Star of The Pact

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2018

Paul Sutton on (re)Search my Trash


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Your upcoming movie The Pact - in a few words, what is it about?


Well the tagline is 'When you're burying the need all the help you can get!' It's about life, troubles and how you can look to escape the life fate has in store for you!


What were your sources of inspiration when writing The Pact, and is any of it based on personal experiences, actually?


I wanted to buck the trend of women being either The Final Girl or the victim so set out to write strong female leads and I had Eloise Daye in mind from the start for the character with the biggest transformation because she's so talented and I knew she could play both ends of the spectrum. Also, there is a Joe Jackson song called Is She Really Going Out With Him with the great first line 'pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street' about a man wondering why women go out with these men who treat them like shit. I wanted to explore that kind of relationship and tell it from the woman's point of view and give them an opportunity to put things right!


As far as I know, The Pact is your first script (that's actually getting filmed at least) - so why is that, and how and why did you get into writing in the first place?


When my wife fell pregnant I had to take a step back from acting as I prepared to become a dad. With her being tired a lot and with me having a lot of time on my hands I had a lot of acting energy but nowhere to use it so I picked up a pen and started thinking about how I could write something that maybe someone else could take on. I've always written from a young age, short stories, songs - but to be honest it was a way to pass the time more than anything else. That was 3 years ago and now my son Luke is 2 and a half I'm energised to bring it to life.


How would you describe yourself as a writer, actually, and are there any writing rituals you tend to follow?


I have a warped imagination and while writing this and a full length film (that Chris and I hope to make after The Pact) I wrote a scene that's so awful I read it to my wife and she couldn't look at me for a couple of days! I also like the style of Dean Koontz, who puts ordinary people in extraordinary situations. That's my kind of style - get the audience to think 1) this could actually happen and 2) what the hell would I do if it happened to me?


What can you tell us about The Pact's director Chris Dudley [Chris Dudley interview - click here], and what's your collaboration like so far?


I first met Chris when we both did live action horror acting for paying crowds. If I recollect he was a seedy vampire and I was the Head Abbot of a haunted monastery! He's a very talented actor and his best roles in front of the camera have yet to come - but at the moment he's honing his craft behind the lens and learning from very talented directors and producers such as Aidey Pugh and Luana Ribeira (a.k.a. Eirian Cohen [Eirian Cohen interview - click here]). I approached Chris with the script and basically said 'I wrote this. I'd like to see it made but I have zero clue about the production side. You're awesome and I really think you're the guy who can take it out of my head and onto the screen.' He loved the script and sees it as a great chance to add to his directorial repertoire - and he's excited to make a thriller that has a few twists and turns!


You'll also appear in front of the camera in The Pact - so what can you tell us about your character, how do you prepare for the role, and did you write him with yourself in mind from the get-go?


I've got a track record of playing a nasty man in a lot of my films and Pete is no different - he's vile! I wrote myself into the role for two reasons really - one is selfish in that I get to play opposite Eloise and I couldn't pass that up. The second reason is practical - Pete is so nasty and he's a bit of a wife beater. I have done fight scenes and coordination before and know how easily things can go wrong! I wasn't going to risk anyone getting hurt on our set so I gave me the responsibility of hitting someone safely - and if it goes wrong Lord help me!


What can you tell us about the rest of your (however tentative) cast, and how much of a hand did you actually have in choosing these people?


As mentioned above Eloise was on my dream cast before I even finished the script. Francesca Treymaine was also on the hit list. We've worked together since acting school, most memorably in A Frank Exchange - - and she can also play a broad range from submissive housewife to femme fatale. Danni Shepherd is an amazing actress Chris has worked with in the past - piercing eyes and a girl next door look, how could we not use her?!? As for the male leads it's the unholy trinity of Leon Child - a man I know from acting school who might even play a better villain than me -, Chris Dudley (no idea who this is) and Paul Sutton (another relative newcomer). Chris and I had a fully formed cast from the start and we're blessed to know so many amazing actors. We're also incredibly blessed that they all said yes without hesitation and without pay bwahahahaha!


As far as I know, this film is still in pre-production - so basically, what's the schedule, and any idea when it might be out yet (however tentatively)?


We're filming this November - after that I let Chris work his magic and hopefully just after Christmas we'll see the finished results on the festival circuit early 2019.


Any future projects beyond The Pact?


Yes indeed! At the same time I wrote The Pact I wrote a full length film called Choices. I read Chris a scene that made him shudder and the plan is on the back of (hopefully!) a successful festival run for The Pact we'll generate enough interest to justify making choices. I'd originally written it with me in mind for the lead role but I have to be honest and say I wouldn't mind another actor playing the role and me adopting a more advisor based role. I'd still want to make a cameo though, maybe that's my thing now hahaha


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Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Yes! Big love to Lynn Lowry and Debra Lamb [Debra Lamb interview - click here], two ladies who really do buck the trend for women in films and two of the key inspirations for the darker side of this film. Some of the lines were very much written with them in mind and I hope they enjoy the homage to the slightly darker sides of their nature J


Thanks for the interview!



© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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