Your upcoming movie A Stranger in the Woods - in a few words,
what's it going to be about?
The movie is about a university student called Edith who chooses as the
subject of her exam film an elderly hermit who has been isolated from
the world for decades. The rather moody Victor welcomes her for a few
days, but Edith soon discovers that something is very wrong with him. As
the days pass, it becomes clear to her that there are much deeper
secrets lurking beneath the surface, secrets that now threaten her own
physical and mental well-being.
What were your sources of
inspiration when writing A Stranger in the Woods?
I love character-driven found footage films, so I was particularly
influenced by the structure and mood of those. The Patrick
Brice-directed Creep movies, but I also watched The Andy Baker Tape a
few weeks before filming. They are excellent films in their genre.
can you tell us about A Stranger in the Woods' co-writer Beáta
Boldog, and what was your collaboration with her like?
Beáta is my wife, so I can only say good things about her. She came up
with the idea and the story back in 2020, during the first wave of the Covid-19. In our country, there were quite severe restrictions, so we
were at home quite a lot, and when our daughter let us we started to
work out the ideas, the characters, the whole mood of the story.
Originally we were working with more characters, but then we realised
that it would probably be very expensive, so I ended up reducing the
number of characters in the script.
talk about A Stranger in the Woods' approach to horror!
As I mentioned before, I wanted to create a specifically
character-driven found footage film. I've done this before, but this
approach was perhaps the most prominent here. I think that this subgenre
often tends to overshadow character development, and I wanted more than
just characters who are in the film to be killed off at some point. I
thought it was important to develop the characters of Victor and Edith
as much as possible, even their movements say a lot about them, as well
as the depth of the relationship between them.
few words about your directorial approach to your story at hand?
I wanted the film to be as natural as possible, even if there was a
scene that might be shocking or even disturbing and the same goes for
the use of the camera. I let the actors immerse themselves in the
characters, there was nothing set in stone, and a lot of very good ideas
came out, there was a chance to try things out. More perspectives can
lead to more good approaches, that's what I usually say.
hired two horror icons for A Stranger in the Woods, Lynn Lowry and
Bill Oberst jr [Bill Oberst jr
interview - click here] - so what was your collaboration with them
like, and how did you get them even?
Bill had already made a cameo in a previous film of mine, I Hear the
Trees Whispering, and I've been looking for the opportunity to work with
him again ever since. I wrote the script of the film almost from the
beginning with him in mind, and Edith was also intended to be Laura Ellen
Wilson from page one. I didn't really have a plan B if either of them
said no, but luckily for me they loved the script. It was a very close
collaboration, we talked and emailed a lot, I was happy that they were
so actively involved. Bill was very friendly with me from the beginning,
we had great conversations during breaks or when we drove him home to
his hotel at the end of the day. It was a defining experience working
with him, from which I learned a lot. Lynn contacted me last year, right
before Christmas, saying she would like to work with me, because
she heard a lot of good things about me. At first, I was
speechless, I was like wow, is this happening to me, but
then I told her about this story and we agreed pretty soon.
You also appear in
front of the camera in A Stranger in the Woods
- so what can you
tell us about your character, what did you draw upon to bring him to life,
and have you written him with yourself in mind from the get-go?
Damn, I was hoping to keep it a secret, haha. Indeed, I have a small
part in the film. The truth is, I had no intention of being in it, but I
sent the script to four actors (several of whom I'd worked with before),
to which I got not one single reaction, and then decided I could do it.
I have a scene with Laura, and she was very helpful beforehand in
getting the two characters to work well together, and Bill had also
encouraged me days before, which was very empowering.
talk about the rest of A Stranger in the Woods' cast, and why
exactly these people?
The answer is quite simple: I trust them. Bill and Lynn are legendary
horror actors and I had the honour of having them along for the ride.
Laura is professional, always prepared and humble, plus she adds great
ideas to her characters. Shawn Michael Clankie has been there with me
from the beginning, helping me and playing great characters, whether
we're talking about smaller or larger roles. He was very nuanced and
developed in his character, I was very pleased with his work. Some of
the actors I was working with for the first time were Scott Cassin,
Marvin Maddicks jr, Tracy Allen and Fountainblue Tielman, but they all
did an outstanding job. Tracy also did an unimaginable amount of work
behind the scenes, and her help was essential to the making of the film.
A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The atmosphere was very family-like, as it is on most of our shoots. All
in all, we shot for seven days, with only one major interruption. On the
last day of shooting, several pieces of footage disappeared from one of
the memory cards, but the film's editor and producer managed to save the
footage, so everyone was able to go to bed at 3am. We were about 2-3
miles from the nearest town, so we were pretty much on our own. With the
exception of Bill, we also slept on location, where we had nice fights
with the malfunctioning solar panels and low water pressure. I think I
should really make a film that takes place in a five-star hotel or
The $64-question of course, when and where might A Stranger in the Woods
It will be released in the summer of 2024, but before then we hope to
see it at some of the more prestigious festivals in late winter and
Any future projects you'd like to share?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
I'm working with the executive producer of this film, my long-time
collaborator Roy McClurg on our next film, The-Black
Eyed Children. It is the first time that he has been involved as a
writer and I am happy that we are cooperating in this way too. The story
is based on a creepy urban legend and we put a lot of emphasis on
making a very scary and disturbing movie which will be released late
next year, early 2025.
Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever
Feel free to watch the official
trailer of the movie - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q76Ge9Nw3Oc - as well as follow us on
IMDb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt23157098
-, Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/astrangerinthewoods
- and Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/astrangerinthewoods/.
Thanks for the interview!