Your new movie Commune
- in a few words, what is it about?
man takes a job as the guardian of a rundown London house. Charged with
keeping the property secure, he soon realises that itís not the building
that needs protecting, but himself. A malevolent dark cult from the past,
resides within the walls and they are hunting for new members. Over three
terrifying nights theyíll stop at nothing to make you: Join them!
What were your
inspirations when writing Commune,
and is any of the movie based on personal experience?
came about after I attended a halloween party held at a dilapidated
1930ís house in North London. The party was hosted by a friend, who was
living at the property as a guardian for developers. The deserted, run
down aesthetic of the building was a fantastic opportunity to make use of
a real world location. It was a strange place, full of belongings and
personal effects from a Jewish family that had long vacated. The general
decor was of faded opulence, flock wallpaper and gold radiators. The more
we sifted through the rooms, the stranger it felt to have our hands in
someone elseís life and a creepy feeling of intruding was very strong,
as if the owners could return at any point. I knew then that we had to
make a film in the location.
Commune being a horror
movie, is that a genre all dear to you, and what can you tell us about
your movie's approach to horror?
and scary movies have always been very appealing to me, since seeing
The Exorcist with my dad at the London Trocadero late night
cinema, Iíve had an unhealthy love of horror movies and psychological
thrillers. Unusual stories interest me, anything that mixes reality with
unreality is interesting, situations become fascinating when a
supernatural element is introduced. I also love stories that tie up, or
repeat, stories with a cyclical theme. Commune
draws on all of these themes, Tom is similar to Jack
Torrance from Kubrickís The Shining, a custodian of a strange
building with a dark past. (Eagle eye viewers may spot a Kubrick easter
egg; Tom wears a scarf with the pattern of the carpet from Overlook Hotel
featured in The Shining.) It also has elements of Raimiís
Dead films, and Hooper/Spielbergís Poltergeist.
Do talk about your
film's overall look and feel!
let the location do most of the talking, it was such a fantastic find.
Every corner of the building had a story, layers of life, left to rot. I
wanted to show this strange space and our hero moving through it. Robin
Greenís sound design really heightened this creepy feeling of
Ďsomethingí in the fabric of the building, creeping, stalking our
hero. This coupled with Mike Payneís score gives the stillness of
rundown location a very atmospheric feel.
What can you tell us about
your lead Tom Weller, who pretty much carries the entiry film on his own
shoulders, acting-wise, and what was your collaboration like?
The real world location was due to be gutted and
redeveloped so we had a tight time limit and finding Tom was a very
fortuitous part of producing Commune. I was connected to Tom by a mutual
friend as Tom and I had coincidentally attended the same college, but we
only met for the first time on the set of Commune.
Tom was a child actor and had featured in a long
running TV drama, Commune
marked his foray back into acting since he was
young. Due to our tight turnaround, we had no time to rehearse so Tom and
I just ran through the script on set with the rest of the crew. I would
explain the bones of what I was looking for and weíd try the scene. Our
director of photography would light and line up whilst we improvised and
ironed out the beats of the take. Then weíd shoot it.
is key, every key crew and cast member has a valid opinion on set and I
seek their expertise to help create the best scene for the story.
of course also have to talk about your location for a bit, and how did you
find it and what was it like working there?
The location we shot Commune
in, is a real house in
North London and it was once used as a Jewish commune. The house has since
been developed but can still be seen at 94 Lordship Park N16.
This is how it looked when we were filming:
And here it is now:
Due to insurance small print and because we
couldnít sufficiently secure the building, I had a real taste of what I
was putting my character through. We shot for two days and two nights and
on the last night, when we had wrapped, I had to stay at the house on my
own and guard the kit.
slept in a sleeping bag in one of the many bedrooms, the house was cold
and strange noises haunted my night. With the images of our days of
shooting and the story of Commune
swirling about my head, I donít think
I slept for more than 20 minutes all night.
What can you
tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Mobilising a cast and crew in a very short time
frame was probably the hardest part of production. Commune
is the first
multi setup, narrative film I have made since I graduated from Bournemouth
University in 2001 and I donít have a well seasoned crew at my disposal.
I do fortunately have many friends and contacts in TV & film
production, so after calling in all the favours I could, I managed to
assemble a small but decent cast and crew. Working in the abandoned house
was fairly straightforward, although it was at times a dirty and cold
We all had to muck in and make it work, everyone
would share tasks such as boom operator and cable bashing. We had a good
time, discussing ideas and angles, I think the cast and crew found the
house quite a fascinating place although we were all happy to leave at the
end of the shoot.
$64-question of course, when and where will Commune
be released onto the general public?
have a couple of offers from Video On Demand services who would like to
include Commune on their menu. Iíll release details on social media as
soon as we know.
Anything you can
tell us about audience and critical reception of Commune?
Commune has had a fantastic reception on the
festival circuit! I was very ready for my first film festival experience
to be a difficult, cutthroat arena, and although competitive, everyone
weíve been involved with has been very positive and complimentary
towards us. We have a few festivals left to attend.
Commune has also had some great reviews! As an
editor I seek criticism everyday, to make sure the choices Iím making
are right for a overall project, so having such positive feedback from
film bloggers and critics is fantastic! It really spurs me on to try and
tackle a more ambitious project.
future projects you'd like to share?
was talk of taking the story further and writing it into a feature, but
weíll see. I definitely intend to continue making films, to build on
this experience and produce more work. I have a myriad of ideas that Iíd
like to explore, I like the format of short films and I have a better
understanding of the festival circuit now, so Iíll probably go again
with a new more ambitious short. Iíve been researching Korean Fan
Death for an idea. Also
looking into hallucinations, our perception of reality and lucid dreaming
for another script. I also have a collection of feature scripts that I
have written with a friend and ultimately Iíd like to make them the way
we envisaged them.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
As an only child Iíve always had a Ďhealthyí
relationship with the TV, and I remember being fascinated and drawn into
the fantasy of film from a young age.
I attended BRIT school, a performing arts college,
where I studied art and film. I then secured a place at Bournemouth
University and completed a degree in film and television production before
joining a post production facility in Soho as a runner.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Commune?
made a short film called Hindsight for my final year of
university that was nominated for a Royal Television Award and was
screened on TV -
have dabbled with short film projects since college, helping friends out
with shoots and edits etc. But this is the first time Iíve produced a
film that is worthy of a festival run. I sometimes feel that it has taken
me longer than I envisioned to get to this point, but I guess the length
of the path we take is irrelevant if you accomplish what you set out to
would you describe yourself as a director?
love real life situations that are turned on their head, the familiar but
with an unearthly or supernatural twist, the unexplained.
The goal is to move people, to draw them in, evolve them in a
fascinating world, take them on a journey and leave them with a feeling of
satisfaction inside, satisfaction that they were entertained and beguiled.
Itís this feeling that I seek, in art music and film. The feeling that
anything is possible and anything is viewable.
who inspire you?
Filmmakers that inspire me are the ones who embrace this: Spielberg,
Kubrick, Mann, Hooper, Coppola, Raimi, Zemeckis, Carpenter, Scott (Ridley
and Tony), Verhoeven, Hooper, Argento, the list is endless.
Your favourite movies?
is a very difficult question to answer, I have so many favourite films.
Films that stayed with me, that I would have loved to have been a part of
are the ones I tend to hold closest to my heart. Coppolaís
Apocalypse Now is a fantastic anti-war film, how they made
that film still makes my mind boggle. I love George Lucas's
THX1138 - the original tech-noir, distopian future film.
From that Terminator, Alien,
Blade Runner, RoboCop. Iím a
big fan of comedy too, I love Ghostbusters, National
Lampoon's Vacation and Saturday Night Live films of the 80ís.
Also contemporary films inspire me too, Birdman, Children of
Men, Under the Skin. Iíll read this back sometime and realise Iíve
missed off so much. Metropolis, Playtime, Die
Hard, 8Ĺ, Citizen
Kane. As for horror,
there are just so many. I think breaking it down into categories would
help me give a more concise answer. It Follows was amazing,
The Thing, The Evil
Dead, An American Werewolf in London, The Witch, Drag Me to
Hell, The Fly...
I could go on forever.
and of course, films you really deplore?
I suppose there are films I donít really like or
care for. Iíve never walked out of a movie. I donít think itís fair
to judge someone's vision without at least seeing it all the way through.
Some films that Iíve perhaps not fully enjoyed, might still have one
small idea or angle that Iíve never seen before, and in some way that
makes the viewing worth it.
I think what upsets me is that a director or
producer would throw away the opportunity to make a film the best they
possibly can. The privilege of directing a feature film, with someone
else's money, is a rare occurrence, so to make something thatís
substandard or lacking really irks me.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Thomas Perrett IMDBb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1981443/
Thomas Perrett Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cosmo_For_King
Lead actor Tom Weller Twitter:
Director of photography Tim Gee Twitter:
Composer Mike Payne Twitter:
Thomas Perrett Instagram:
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
you for watching!
for the interview!