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Interview With Actress And Producer Joanne Mitchell
By James Whittington, Sunday 24th February 2013

jo_mitchellJoanne Mitchell is an accomplished actress who has appeared in countless TV shows. She's also an established writer and Producer but at the moment she's battling zombies in the stunning gut-munching shocker Before Dawn which has been directed by her husband Dominic Brunt. Here, Joanne chats about the movie, how she came up with the initial idea for it and her plans for the future.

HC: Before Dawn was born out of a conversation you and your husband Dominic were having about zombie films, are you a fan of the genre?

JM: I don't think I was ever really a 'fan' of the zombie genre, however I do feel I have been slowly converted since making Before Dawn! If only because I'm intrigued now and want to see how others made them. I do actually find it all quite fascinating now. My mind has definitely been opened to the zombie!

HC: Did the script change much from first draft till last?

JM: I had a very clear idea of what I wanted it to be like. So the storyline came fairly easily. I wrote a scene by scene breakdown of the story, then handed it over to Mark Illis (who wrote the screenplay). He followed that really well and came up with a great screenplay. Obviously there were re-writes, drafts, going back and forth with different ideas added or taken away, but it basically stayed true to the original story.

HC: How did you go about choosing Mark as script writer?

JM: We had both worked together with Mark (Illis) on a theatre piece a few years ago. It was a great experience and I loved Mark's use of dialogue and the two characters he had written for myself and Dominic. He was the person I wanted to write the screen play and hadn't really given anyone else much thought. Luckily he was really up for it and he was great to work with.

HC: Before Dawn has developed quite a following since it was shown across festivals last year. What was it like jumping from city to city with it and did it surprise you how positively critics responded to the movie?

JM: The whole experience has just blown me away really. I never expected it to get to all those festivals and be so well received. I was just happy to have made a film and to really have enjoyed the journey. Everything else has been a massive bonus and I am so grateful as well as delighted.

HC: When we first spoke (at FrightFest 2012) you seemed quite shocked by the way the film was embraced by those who saw it. That must have been gratifying to say the least?

JM: Yes, totally. There are of course always going to be those who really didn't like it, and that is fair enough, it won't be to everyone's taste. But it is thrilling to see a movie you have made, been a part from right from the germination of an idea, to being shown on a big screen with a packed out cinema. May never happen again, so I relished the experience!

HC: Are you tempted to make Before Dawn 2?

JM: Ha! Ask Dominic! No, I don't think so, unless an amazing idea comes up. As of yet, that hasn't happened.

HC: What's Dominic like as a director and would you like to get behind the camera and directs your own films?

JM: I have to say, Dominic was a great director. I never really had any doubts about that, it was just whether he could do both the acting and directing. But he pulled it off, and I'm sure there is stuff within the film that he would do differently now, but all in all I think he did amazingly, especially for a first movie. (think will get extra brownie points now!;) as for me directing? Hmmm, never thought about it really....but for the moment I'm happy writing and acting, but who knows what the future may hold...?

HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?

JM: We have just finished a short that might hopefully be ready to be submitted to festivals this year and we are working on another feature, which we will be shooting at the end of this
year. So, exciting times...

HC: Joanne Mitchell, thank you very much


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