Your new movie B&B
- in a few words, what is it about?
A couple of gay guys get more than they bargained for when they bait
the owner of a remote Christian guest house. Mischief turns to
terror when a Russian neo-Nazi checks in.
What were your
sources of inspiration when writing B&B,
and is any of the film based on personal experiences or the like?
love Hitchcock and all kinds of suspense thrillers but I've not seen any
where it's about a gay couple. Me
and my husband stayed at a B&B a few years ago where we didn't feel at
all threatened but had a definite sensation of not being entirely welcome.
It was that germ of unease I realised could
be magnified for a suspense film. Then my friend and producer
Jayne Chard inspired me to write it!
is rather limited when it comes to locations - so what kind of a challenge
is it for you as a director to keep things interesting under these
Itís a good challenge because it forces
you to think visually. We did long takes, circular tracks, split
screens and shot some scenes in infrared. A lot of the film is about
characters watching things and trying to figure stuff out so there are
lots of pov shots which I love.
Where was the movie filmed actually, and
what were the advantages and challenges filming there?
was filmed on the outskirts of Bristol, a town in the west of England.
The main location is a farmhouse and the challenge here was the
tight space for crew and actors to work in. Also the mud! We
had problems using the heavy dolly upstairs because the house was so old
we had to use special structures to keep it safe. The other main
location was a park in Bristol which was exposed on a hill. We
filmed during storm Imogen which looked great in terms of waving trees but
not so easy to record sound and keep actors warm.
talk about your overall directorial effort to your story at hand!
Making anything is always a battle against the clock especially when
you're going for something visual. It's not hard to cover a scene,
it's much more time-consuming - and rewarding - to get the shots which
allow the audience to experience the story first hand, to put them where
the characters are so they feel the emotion the characters are feeling.
It's always a battle between making sure the story is being told and
making sure it's being told in the most visceral way.
One of the difficulties was filming the night scenes in infrared.
than using the usual movie dodge of a red filter we shot infrared for
real which gives an uncanny look. The brightest part of the
image is where the subject is radiating the most heat. It gave us
quite a few problems with cold noses which show up black but also some
really unexpected and visually beautiful surprises. And the
trickiest problem of all - how do you film a dead body in infrared?
The actor can hold his breath and not blink as much as he likes but he
can't stop radiating heat and his body is supposed to be cold.
can you tell us about your cast, and why exactly these people?
The main cast is only five people who are all very important for the
Tom (Bateman) and Sean (Teale) who play the main couple were both
incredibly dedicated and hilarious. It was hard to get through
some of the scenes where they were laughing but they could also pull out
the stops at any point and make you feel raw terror. I'm so
grateful to them for creating a relationship that seems real to me and
isn't the same as what I've seen on screen before. They weren't
afraid to be occasionally annoying and unsympathetic and unheroic like
real people are and that makes me love them even more. Tom and
Sean had their work cut out making us believe in their relationship with
no screen time to show how their characters had met or even what they
did for a living. All the story was focused on the current
situation they found themselves in. Tom and Sean did work off
camera to build a rapport that really helped the scenes.
Paul (McGann) had an amazing ability to find the
humanity and humour in what could have been a cold character. You
really feel for him as a father and find yourself rooting for him in the
strangest places. He made me laugh a lot.
Callum (Woodhouse) was a real find. He has
a very tricky line to walk, an innocent teenager with some dark
passions. He threw himself into it and worked out some great
business with Sean. Their conversation through a locked door was a
highlight for me.
James (Tratas) has some of the hardest scenes to
perform, his character is such an enigma and we don't fully understand
his agenda till the very end. His physicality is extraordinary and
he makes such a compelling screen presence. The film relies so
much on everyone's reaction to him that we were very lucky to land
someone with his charisma.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
like to give the actors as much room to play as possible. Being
their director is not the same as being their boss. They're in
charge of the performances I just have to make sure they feel safe and
relaxed enough to experiment. Having written the piece helps to
change it when things aren't working or they have a better idea. I'm
always rewriting. I always storyboard before the shoot but Iím
very open to changing things if an actor or the DOP has another idea.
I like a relaxed set where people are having fun, I believe thatís when
you get the best work.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of B&B?
far audience and critical response has been great. People do seem to
enjoy experiencing something different.
future projects you'd like to share?
Iím working on
another thriller with producer and friend Jayne Chard.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
I studied Physics then did a one year postgrad
course in Film and TV. Then I worked as an editor, then writer, then
For all fanboys out there reading this, you
of course have to talk about your work on TV's Doctor
Who for a bit! And how did you get the job even?
was asked for an interview by the producer who was looking for someone to
take on the third block of of filming which was to reintroduce the iconic
villains the Daleks to the new audience. I had done some science
fiction and horror previously so I was a good fit. I was a fan of
the show as a child. After I started filming they asked if I would
come back to do some more episodes at the end which I was very happy to
do. I loved working on that show.
past films and TV shows you've worked on you'd like to talk about?
done a mixture of science fiction (Doctor
Who, Space Odyssey), horror (Ultraviolet,
Apparitions, The Secret of Crickley Hall) and thrillers
(Trance, The Replacement). I like anything where thereís some
suspense and visual storytelling.
both worked on feature films and TV shows, are there any differences when
it comes to directing, and which do you prefer, actually?
try to put as much oomph into anything, whatever medium itís for.
In cinema you arguably need less close-ups and can afford to let things
play out longer without going in close quite so much or intercutting quite
so hard. The movie frame also takes up more of your field of view so
you can allow the eye to rove around more. The biggest difference is
that cinema takes place in a dark room and the image has more command over
the space. In TV youíre competing with many more distractions.
Which is why TV can tend to be a bit more hyperactive.
would you describe yourself as a director?
always puts the story first.
who inspire you?
Hitchcock, de Palma, Mamet, Schrader.
Your favourite movies?
and of course, films you really deplore?
It would be unfair
to mention - it's too hard to make films!
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
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