Your new movie Acting
- in a few words, what is it about?
Acting is about the
process of method acting, and how far would you take it for the ultimate
What were your
sources of inspiration when writing Acting?
always found method acting kind of fascinating, to put your own
experiences into a role. It's both informing and dangerous. In Acting, Una
is a very vulnerable actress who is dedicated to her craft but the trauma
she's experienced in her own life is leading her down a downwards spiral. I
love downward spiral stories like most of Darren Aronofsky's films, less
of a morality story and more of a first person witness of mental
written Acting together
with your leading lady Annabella Rich - so what was your collaboration
like during the writing process?
I had just produced Bella
in Ryan Carter's debut horror film The Unwanted, we'd worked on a few
things before but nothing where she was the lead. I tend to ask actors in
general what would be your ideal role, and see if I can create something
that suits it. Bella wanted to play a psycho! I had this old idea of how
far method acting could take someone if they were to play a serial killer,
so I rexplored it. Bella loved the concept and wrote the inner dialogue
stuff from the script within the film The Black Widow, we both kept
crafting the character together, so it only felt right that she was to
share a writing credit for the film.
You've shot Acting
in long, often almost static and carefully framed takes, which is quite a contrast to many of
your earlier films which often have a rather improvised feel to them - so
could you elaborate on the film's style?
Well, Acting, like
most of our films, was improvised, minus the inner monologues of The Black
Widow. I wanted to explore something different with improv, firstly
expressing emotion through physicality and sound as opposed to expressing
through dialogue. I still wanted it to feel like a horror film, but the
kind of horror film like Repulsion where
it's paranoid and close. Also as
acting is a method I felt the steps needed to be seen out of order, memory
doesn't work in a linear fashion, it's invaded with other moments, especially
when we've experienced abuse or in Una's case a partner who belittles and
what can you tell us about your directorial approach to your new movie?
stage through the film is a different process of becoming the character,
she's planned every intention, and this meant the direction needed more control
with camera and lighting. This was also the first feature I had shot and
directed rather than just directing. I had a preciseness I wanted to
talk about Acting's
cast, and why exactly these people?
Well as I said the role
was written for Bella, and she was simply fantastic. We have been lucky to
collaborate more since the film, and I hope we continue to do so! Dan Rad
who played the prostitute was a delight to work with. I wanted someone who'd be comfortable with the vulnerability the
character's put in, but still
cocky and self-assured. Bella had worked with Dan on Rob Ulitskis I am an
Addict, and he was an excellent addition. Abbie Hills runs a talent agency
which Calum Beeson came from. Abbie was already our AD on Acting, I wanted
to keep to a minimal cast and crew, allowing us to shoot this in Jan 2020.
A few words about
the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was suprising how easy everything came together. The location was an
AirBnB my friend owned, so we could just film and not be distracted. Being
that the crew and cast was so small it kept the shoot focused. My crew was
just me, Abbie Hills and Jessica Hunt [Jessica
Hunt interview - click here] joined a day, excellent lovely
people to work with! We shot for two days with mostly female crew and it
just made things more comfortable, which was so important! There was 2
extra days of shooting, luckily one before the pandemic, and then final
final day we managed to grab a day, I was fortunate that Jackson Batchelor
interview - click here] and Ryan Carter jumped on to finish the film. Tend to find with a lot of
improv work we do, we can explore additonal material after the edit, so on
the first cut we could see more was needed for the ending, and we added
the award speech on our last day of shoot. Bella nailed that so well.
$64-question, when and where will Acting
is set to be released in October, release date should be annouced from our
sales agent Adler & Associates Entertainment very soon.
Anything you can tell us about audience and
critical reception of Acting
The most important thing for me was for people to
empathy and believe in Una. So to see how much the audience loved Bella's
performance, with her winning a lot of acting awards, is a real joy!
Any future projects you'd like to share?
recently wrapped on Terror At Black Tree Forest for Dustin Ferguson's
[Dustin Ferguson interview
- click here] SCS
Entertainment with HB
Films, that's looking to be released later this year. We are also
in post production on two 2020 horrors, Senseless and Home Is
Where I Lay, which will start their festival run in 2022. As far as
next production, fingers crossed me and Bella will be shooting a fun
hearted witches curse horror at the end of the year with Chris Mills and
Simon Berry. Main aim for first half of 2022 is to get Jackson Batchelor's
next film produced!
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
movie's website, social media, whatever else?
Twitter: sammasonbell and trashartsfilm
for the interview!