Your new movie I,
Portrait - in a few words, what is it about?
is a story about a newly married couple that invite an old friend
into their house that has ulterior motives to destroy their relationship.
Itís inspired by the thrillers of the 90s, movies like Single White
Female, Cruel Intentions and Color of Night.
wanting to get too personal, is any of your movie based on personal
experience? And to what extent could you actually identify with
I was a kid I remember a lot of people visiting the house and sometimes
overstaying their welcome. My father was a priest so we had a large
congregation of people that would visit us, often unannounced and you
would just have to grin and bare it. I guess I wanted the Stephanie
character to be somewhat like that.
(Other) sources of inspiration when
writing I, Portrait?
co-star Natalie Heslop came up with the original concept and then it just
kinda grew from there. Iíve written many scripts in my time, even won a
couple of screenwriting awards, so to create the classic three act
structure with the typical plot points and red herrings, throw in a cliffhanger and boom weíre there.
I, Portrait you chose
a rather slowburn build-up of suspense - care to elaborate on that?
remember being really taken back the first time I saw Easy Rider.
The ending just seemed to come out of nowhere and shocked the hell outta
me. I wanted to emulate that power on screen. I also like From Dusk
Till Dawn. Itís like the first half of the movie you think itís a
drama, and then it takes you by surprise when the second half turns into
full blown horror. I like that.
can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
took a more suspenseful approach, kinda like a Polanski film. Keep the
drama on the few lead characters (like Death and the Maiden) and
build and build up to a shocking climax. A slow burn as you say. I kept
everyone in a lock down for the main shooting block, being all inside one
house together, I guess I was kinda going for a cabin fever type approach.
Watch what happens when people really have had enough, lol.
You also play the male lead in I,
Portrait - so do talk about your character, what did you draw upon
to bring him to life, and did you write him with yourself in mind from the
character of Julian was an interesting one. If you look closely at my list
of credits on IMDB youíll see Iíve been playing letter ĎJí
characters for the better part of a decade. Itís just trivial and has
worked out that way, even when I donít mean it, which is funny because
my middle name is John. I see it like the second chapter of my life
playing out. Heís a casting agent, same as some of the work I do in real
life, so it was easy to emulate. As a metaphor Iíd say heís driving
the car, but weíre more so watching the girls riding in the car, aka
Carmen and Stephanie. If I get a chance to act in one of my films and
itís within proper context then I do it. Itís also easier as I know
the material better than anyone else.
Do talk about the rest of your cast, and why
exactly these people?
actually collected a bunch of talented actors from my own city that Iíd
been wanting to work with for a while. It was the perfect opportunity to
cast actors like Damon Hunter, to play my best friend. Others such as
Gizelle Basiri, whom had been wanting to collaborate for a long time,
others like Loraine Fabb who had mentioned the same thing. I also had a
little spot planned for Simay Argento which was fun and Kalia Best whom
Iíd had my eye on for a while. Theyíre all respected artists in their
own right and if I could cast them in the correct role/s then I just did
A few words about the shoot as
such, and the on-set atmosphere?
of the nature of the film and thus being a lot of sexualised scenes and
whatnot, the lead actresses asked if we could possibly have female crew
when shooting those scenes. As I often use a female DOP in this case the
wonderful Dia Taylor, I made an executive decision to just hire an ALL
female crew for the entire shoot. It worked a treat and I ended up with a
film unlike any of my others and I hold testament to this being one of the
reasons why. And it worked.
The $64-question of
course, where can your movie be seen?
sales agent/distributor in the USA had the power to get any of my work on
most platforms, ie: iTunes, Amazon Prime, etc. so indeed I will be chasing
that up pronto! We are aiming for an early Xmas release. Iím also
currently working on a special edition DVD for the hardcore fans which has
a bunch of goodies including commentaries that will be available to
purchase online, so Iím pumped about that.
Anything you can
tell us about audience and critical reception of I,
just had the cast and crew screening recently and it was a real success.
In fact more so than my last one. So Iím really happy about that.
Usually the ones who worked on the actual film can be the worst/harshest
critics, now I just have to see what the general public think, minus the
internet trolls and haters that give you bad reviews even when they
havenít even seen the film! Lol!
Any future projects you'd like to
the casting director on Cult Girls (Jane Badler) and an associate producer
on The Debt Collector (John Brumpton), so they will be the next on the
slate to come out. Me personally, will be slating my 10th feature film
next up! But my lips are sealed for now about what that subject matter
will be about.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
My motto for 2019 has been to focus on yourself, donít compare yourself to
anyone else and just be YOU. So far itís been challenging. Social media
is a beast and as filmmakers we have to cross reference so many different
responsibilities now if our movies are to become successful. Most guys I
know are burnt out by the time the movie is in the can. But honestly the
journey only really begins after the initial screening of the work.
Thatís my experience anyway. You have to keep fit and have lots of
energy to survive. Throwing in the towel is easy, staying on top of your
game is the real challenge. And ignore haters, they have failed in their
lives and are suffering from fits of jealousy.
Thanks for the interview!