LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Abner Pastoll, director of Road Games
By James Whittington, Thursday 21st March 2019
Horror Channel loves to promote new talent in the industry and one of the most exciting new directors around is Abner Pastoll. His first feature, Road Games, is an adrenaline packed killer of a thriller which is showing on the channel on March 22nd at 9pm. We decided to chat to Abner about this tense movie and his plans for the future.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?
AP: Yes. I remember being as young as 4 or 5 and just knowing with such clarity that I needed to make films. My family had a cinema, drive-in and video store, all of which certainly enhanced my obsession with movies of all shapes and sizes.
HC: Was there one film that truly stirred you to become such a creative person?
AP: Back to the Future was that key film that quite literally blew my mind into creative gear. I can easily credit it as the initial reason why I make movies. I still recall the energy I felt as a kid watching it for the first time. It was hugely inspiring. Still is to this day.
HC: How did Road Games come about, what inspired you to write it?
AP: I first came up with the idea while travelling in the North of France one summer, many moons ago. As a huge admirer of French cinema, from directors Claude Chabrol to Jacques Audiard, and being fascinated by language barriers, cultural misunderstandings and miscommunication between people, I was always keen on exploring something along those lines. It's something anyone that travels can identify with - feeling out of place, for better or worse - and it lends itself very well to a suspense story.
HC: Was it written with a cast in mind and did it take long to complete?
The initial outline and structure of the script was relatively quick to write but I spent years fleshing it out and adding the various layers before we got to bring it to life. The only actor I really had in mind, albeit loosely, during the writing process, was Frederic Pierrot for the role of Grizard. It was an absolute joy being able to cast him in the role. I was always a fan of Barbara Crampton but not once did I think of her during writing - I didn't even know she was still acting! I completed the script in 2011 just before I saw her in You're Next - that's when it all clicked and I thought she'd be great in this role, especially as it was vastly different to anything else she'd done, which is also what attracted her to the project.
HC: Though everyone plays their roles so well, Barbara Crampton and Frederic Pierrot are just mesmerising, did they rehearse much together?
AP: We didn't have much time for rehearsals - no more than a couple days before shooting began, but it was enough. We all got along so well and quickly created our own little family unit where we'd not only spend all day together shooting but would stay up late drinking wine and discussing everything from the movie to life in general - in many ways that worked in the favour of the on-screen relationships between the characters as well. It was a magical experience working with this cast. I was just so lucky we all clicked so well.
HC: How nervous were you on the first day of the shoot as this was your first feature?
AP: It honestly didn't even hit me that we were finally shooting the film until about a week and a half into the shoot. I vividly recall the moment; we were shooting the scene where Jack discovers Veronique tied up in the attic. After the first take I literally said out loud to Andrew Simpson and Josephine de La Baume "holy shit, we're making the movie!" It had been such a rollercoaster getting to that point, and to actually be shooting was surreal. I'm not sure I'd have been nervous in any case as I'd already been working in film for many years, so it was mostly about being focused and prepared - with a dash of excitement.
HC: What was the hardest part of the shoot?
AP: Having to say goodbye to the actors when we wrapped!
HC: The movie premiered at FrightFest, how nervous do you get when your movies are shown to an audience?
AP: There is certainly an element of being nervous when unveiling work to a large public audience for the first time but that quickly turns to excitement. The year we premiered at FrightFest, we had 3 overlapping screenings on the same day, and I had to introduce each and return afterwards for QandAs. So in that case I'm not sure I had time to be nervous!
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
AP: I've just completed my new thriller A Good Woman Is Hard to Find, starring the incredible Sarah Bolger, and I've once again teamed up with Andrew Simpson, unrecognisable from his role in Road Games. Academy Award nominee and BAFTA winner Ronan Blaney wrote the brilliant script. It's a great project and I'm beyond excited for people to see it. It'll start hitting festivals later this year - watch this space!
HC: Abner Pastoll, thank you very much.
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