FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG Brand New Interview With Actress And Star Of Before Dawn, Joanne Mitchell
By James Whittington, Monday 18th November 2013
On November 23rd Horror Channel is giving Dominic Brunt’s superb zombie shocker Before Dawn its UK TV premiere. The film stars his wife Joanne Mitchell so we decided to chat to her about the making of this acclaimed movie and what projects these two talented people are working on at the moment.
HC: How did you get your big break into show business?
JM: Well, to be honest I don't feel I have had that big break that actors talk about. I'm really just a jobbing actor who was lucky enough to get into the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and have just worked ever since doing theatre, TV, radio, voiceovers, film and now having a go at writing and producing. I still feel a novice with every job I do, but I guess that adds to the excitement!
HC: Are you a horror film fan?
JM: Well I certainly never used to be, but since writing and acting in Before Dawn, it's definitely much more on my radar and I definitely have a new found respect for the genre. I've been to a lot of the horror festivals these past few years and i have definitely found some of the films incredibly interesting. It's fascinating how many people are devoted and supportive of the genre, that is a great thing, much respect.
HC: Was it difficult taking direction from Dominic?
JM: Actually no not at all. We had discussed and worked on the scenes in depth before we started shooting so we were both working from the same page so to speak. We totally trusted each other and I guess this made it all easier, and of course we know each other really well so no space or time for any egos!
HC: There's some amazing make-up effects in the movie, did these take long to apply?
JM: Those were down to the amazing talents of Darren Grassby and Ian Jowett. I would say the longest it took was about 2-3 hours..particularly for the scenes in the cellar towards the end of the film. It was such fun looking at the transformation in stages, loved it.
HC: The film has real heart, do you think it's this aspect that stands it above other zombie films?
JM: Well, I think that is definitely a matter of opinion. It depends what you are into. I know for some people they could really relate to the characters and their journey and the well, ordinariness of it all. And I guess that was what I was interested in. I wanted to make it accessible to horror fans but also to those who are not fans of the genre. However, for some die hard horror fans I know it wasn't perhaps gory enough, or action packed enough. So I guess it depends on the individual really. You are never going to please everyone, but I think we achieved what we set out to.
HC: Looking back is there any of your performance you'd like to change?
JM: Definitely. There is always room for improvement, and everything is a learning curve but once the film is locked there is really nothing else you can do. So I guess you have to put it all down to experience and move on to the next project. Having said all that, it was all such a great experience that there's no regrets!
HC: Was it a difficult shoot?
JM: Hmm, well there was a lot of pressure to get it all done in the limited time we had to shoot (two weeks) so there wasn't really much time for mistakes. But because we had a really tight and accurate schedule that we mostly adhered to we felt confident. The weather was a bit tricky on a couple of occasions but we managed to work around that. So, all in all, no it wasn't a difficult shoot I don't think. We had such a great team of people on it, everyone supported each other and we had a good laugh. I would say it was one of my happiest working experiences.
HC: You must be happy that Before Dawn is getting its UK TV premiere on the Horror Channel?
JM: It is totally awesome that it has. Beyond either of our expectations to be honest. This whole journey of the film is beyond our expectations! We are so so grateful to the Horror Channel and for all their continued support.
HC: Would you like to direct Dominic in a feature in the near future?
JM: Well, if that were ever to happen it certainly wouldn't be in the near future! But who knows, I may turn my hand to directing one day...for now though I'll leave it to the experts!
HC: Would you like to return to the zombie genre in the near future?
JM: Oh yes, given the chance most definitely. Thinking a nice little part in The Walking Dead would do me very nicely.
HC: So what are you working on at the moment?
JM: A few projects actually. We need to do the finishing touches to another short that we filmed over the summer called The Mighty Witch Killers. Plus there's our feature which is in pre-production due to start filming spring 2014 and I am still working on a boxing script that's near to completion. And not forgetting Shell Shocked which is and has been doing all the Festival rounds in this country and abroad. So, keeping busy!
HC: Joanne Mitchell, thank you very much.
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