LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Andy Nyman, co-writer, co-director and star of Ghost Stories
By James Whittington, Monday 9th April 2018
I've met Andy Nyman on many occasions over the last decade or so, and over that time I've watched his career constantly go from strength to strength. To call him multi-talented would be an understatement and along with Jeremy Dyson has created the must-see horror movie of 2018, Ghost Stories. Here he chats about the stage play, Ghost Stories as well as how it changed on its way to the big screen.
HC: When did you first meet co-writer and co-director Jeremy Dyson?
AN: Jeremy and I met at a Jewish Summer Camp in 1981, and you just get thrown together in dorms of four people and Jeremy is from Leeds and all my family are from Leeds so I used to spend most of my weekends up in Leeds so we instantly had a bit of a connection there. Within about five minutes we realised we were both obsessed with horror. We were right on the cusp of the video nasty boom, I'd just seen An American Werewolf in London at the pictures, I managed to get in and he'd seen it and that was it!
HC: Oh yes! The dream sequence when I saw it when I was younger just blew me away.
AN: That has some of the greatest jumps ever filmed that. It's amazing and that's one of the surprises and joys of the Ghost Stories journey is getting to meet some of our heroes. Tobe Hooper came to the play in town and I had a night with him and he loved it and he did an interview for the New York Times shortly before he died and he was asked when was one of the times he was really scared and he said Ghost Stories!
HC: There's no greater endorsement than that, is there?
AN: And then [John] Landis came to see it about three times and has remained a great champion of ours and a friend now. So that's been one of those "pinch yourself" moments. You grow up and those people have a direct impact and shape your life and you actually get to meet them. Amazing.
HC: Ghost Stories the stage play was and still is an incredible success across the world, did this take you and Jeremy by surprise?
AN: There's this wonderful thing where you create something that in our heart was always creating the thing we would want to see and not compromising on that and then you hope that there are a few other people who feel the same way. I think the reality of the play was when we came up with the idea I very much had the kind of instinct that if we could really deliver what we wanted to deliver there's definitely a life for it because there'd never been nothing else like it, even The Woman in Black which is an absolutely brilliant play and a brilliant piece of work it's a very different piece of work, its DNA is very different to what we were doing. Ours is much more of a narrative of horror films as opposed to the gentle British ghost story. So, it had never really been done but there is a world of difference between as you lay in bed at night thinking, "This could actually work" and it actually working (laughs). It completely amazes us that it continues to grow there are about four international productions happening this year. Next year there's a revival in Shanghai, its been all over the world. And the other incredible thing and what we're loving about the reviews of the film so far is that the play, well over half a million people have seen it around the world you can't really find out what its about so you can't really spoilt it and that is such as joy because that's been one of our things, I just cannot bear spoilers, I cannot bear the trailers that f*****g ruin everything I hate them, and Lionsgate have been amazing because we were so passionate about that and they've crafted, with a company called Intermission and with us, and we've all worked together and they've been absolutely on board with that. Those trailers they've produced have been so brilliant because they give you the tone, they give you just enough without spoiling, there are no key moments spoilt and that's a really brilliant achievement on their part.
HC: What's it like adapting such a major stage hit for the big screen and how did you make any major changes?
AN: Yes, hugely so. The basic secrets and the basic three stories of the play are the same. What's really changed is the major driving narrative of the piece has had to really change and that's been incredibly exciting. You know, its very daunting initially especially when something is put together in the way Ghost Stories is where it's a very complex jigsaw its really daunting pulling it apart and trying to put the jigsaw back together again with new pieces but what is exciting is that the driving narrative is completely different and it very much makes it its own beast from the play so these two things that are fundamentally the same have their own separate lives with their own twists and surprises. If you've only seen the film and the play is on and you go and see the play there are twists and surprises that you won't expect.
HC: Did you have a "dream cast" in mind whilst creating the screenplay?
AN: No, we didn't. We sort of had in the back of our minds thinking wouldn't be amazing to get Martin Freeman, but again (laughs) one thing is lying in bed thinking that and the other thing getting the phone call saying he'd love to do it, you know they are very different things and the other thing when you're actually filming it and you're thinking "F*** me!" And then the same with Paul Whitehouse and Alex Lawther who, in the time between us casting him and filming it he was number one on IMDb a couple of weeks ago. It's insane! His star is just rocketing. I have to say they are the key cast I've mentioned when you see the film you'll see every single performance is brilliant. The cast, no matter how big or small it really puts you in the world, we're so proud of them.
HC: When you co-write or co-direct something, how do you decide on what's a good line of dialogue or best take?
AN: We have a very similar taste and then you just, you know one thing is in the actual shoot where you're just doing everything together and then any moments that I was acting in we set the shot up with my double so we could create the shot and I could step in and then the edit, you know, you discuss and wrangle and if there were moments we disagreed on then you, you know, you just work through it. The other thing, we're both passionate about what we like and what we don't like, and you just constantly have to be on your guard that you're dealing with each other with respect and you're trying to hear the other person's point of view. Jeremy had 10 years solid collaborative with The League of Gentlemen who have just rekindled again brilliantly, and I've been with Derren [Brown] for 20 years. So, we're both used to working in collaborations. It's a special thing with the right person.
HC: Is there scope for a Ghost Stories 2, would you ever consider that?
AN: There won't be a Ghost Stories 2 as that would feel like a betrayal of the truth of it but we're certainly working on our next script!
HC: Would it be an anthology movie?
AN: No, not at the moment the thing we're working on is a single story.
HC: Do you have a favourite anthology movie?
AN: Dead of Night! We nostalgically love so many of the others but Dead of Night. The thing we learned from it more than anything is that the strongest story of all them is the main protagonists story because all the others, all of them, the framing devices tend to be, "Welcome to my Antique Shop..." (laughs) We love that, absolutely love it as a framing device but in Dead of Night its like a kick in the bollocks because you realise, in the way we hope with Ghost Stories, the whole world that you've been part of is the very reason for the anthology it's not just an excuse to have three short films.
HC: You're a multi-talented person with many strings to your bow, but what do you like doing, work wise, the most?
AN: Acting is always my primary career, that is what I adore more than anything, but I have to say that directing is a very close second to that.
HC: Andy Nyman, thank you very much.
AN: James, an absolute pleasure.
Ghost Stories is in now in cinemas rated 15.
MORE INTERVIEWS John Krasinski talks directing and starring in 'A Quiet Place'
Posted on Friday 6th April 2018
In case you hadn't heard, A Quiet Place has opened in cinemas nationwide.
The film, starring real-life couple, John Krasinski (US adaptation of The Office and 13 Hours) and Emily Blunt (Sicario, Wind Chill and The Devil Wears Prada) takes place in a post-apocalyptic(-ish) environment, in which strange wild creatures that hunt by sound have destroyed a significant amount of the population.
Krasinski and Blunt's characters, husband and wife Lee and Evelyn try to lead a life with their family as quietly (and by that we mean literally) as possible, in able to ensure their survival.
We sat down with the director and one half of Krasinski-Blunt to talk about the film, what scares him the most, and which...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with David Howard Thornton, star of Terrifier
Posted on Monday 26th March 2018
If you're a fan of slasher movies then you'll have to check out the bood-splattered shocker Terrifier. The movie is a full-blown, hair-raising homage to grindhouse slashers that introduces a new murderous icon in the form of Art the Clown. Art id surely destined to become a true horror anti-hero and here David Howard Thornton, the guy who plays art, chats about this brilliantly brutal movie and what he's up to at the moment.
HC: What movie or person inspired you to want to work in the film industry?
DT: I would say that would be the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit film wise. I was obsessed with that film when it first came out, and still watch it at least once a year when I need some inspiration. It meshe...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Richard Elliot, Managing Director of 88 Films
Posted on Saturday 17th March 2018
Recently I've been lucky enough to review some rather tasty Blu-rays from 88 Films. This company has been behind amazing releases of titles such as A Cat in the Brain, Anthropophagous and Don't Go in the Woods...Alone. So I decided to chat to managing director Richard Elliot about 88 Films and how they survive in a cut-throat market.
HC: How did 88 Films start?
RE: 88 Films started after James and I met working for another label and it was the usual "we think we can do it better than the boss" scenario. So we slowly developed an idea of what we wanted to do after work down the pub and after lots of head scratching and pork scratchings and some setbacks BE Movies was born... which quickly became 88 Films...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Urkijo, director of Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil
Posted on Thursday 1st March 2018
One thing that Horror Channel FrightFest prides itself in is by championing new talent. This year's Glasgow event is no different with a whole host of newbies bringing their first features. A real highlight is Paul Urkijo's Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil which is a sumptuous piece that Terry Gilliam would be proud of. Here he chats to us about this stunning movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil come from?
PU: I was inspired by the Basque story "Patxi Errementaria". He was registered by JM Barandiaran, an anthropologist priest who dedicated his life to recording stories and legends of the Basque Country. It is a legend about a blacksmith who was so ev...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam MacDonald, writer and director of Pyewacket.
Posted on Wednesday 28th February 2018
There have been a number of occult and demonic movies over the last few years but none have come close to the tension and terror of Adam MacDonald's Pyewacket. The superb piece of cinema is showing at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this week so I had a quick chat with Adam about this superior shocker.
HC: Have you always been a horror fan?
AM: It really started when I was about 7 years old when my older brother showed me Evil Dead. I couldn't believe what I was watching, it truly rocked me. The card scene in the film did not leave my mind for days. That film is stained on my brain. I was terrified. But then I had a realisation that I loved that feeling. It was primal. Then I watched The Shinin...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Kelly Greene, writer and director of Attack of the Bat Monsters
Posted on Tuesday 27th February 2018
Making movies can be a tough business but to have to wait almost two decades to release your work takes true dedication. At Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this weekend Kelly Greene's Attack of the Bat Monsters is finally unleashed. Here he tells us the story behind this celebration of 1950s creature features.
HC: You were inspired to write Attack of the Bat Monsters when you were researching 50s movies, did it take long to write?
KG: It took quite a while because I was working 50 to 60 hours a week at a video production facility while raising a 2-year old and 8-year old, along with my wife, who was also working. I would write at night between 9 and 11pm, and maybe a little more ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Patrick Magee, writer and director of Primal Rage
Posted on Monday 26th February 2018
There's been a spate of "bigfoot-style, beast in the woods" types of movies recently but none have come anywhere near Primal Rage. This superior creature feature from Patrick Magee will be having its European Premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this Friday so I decided to have a chat with this very talented and creative person.
HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to work in the film industry?
PM: Since a very young age I was always into, even obsessed, with movies. Specifically horror movies, monster movies really. As a hobby, I got really into special make-up effects and drawing. It got to the point where I was so obsessed with it, I decided when I was a teen that I ha...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gabriela Amaral, writer and director of Friendly Beast
Posted on Sunday 25th February 2018
As we get ready for the trip to Scotland for this year's Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow I've been lucky enough to chat to Gabriela Amaral about her powerful movie Friendly Beast which is getting its UK Premiere at the event.
HC: Was there a certain piece of work or person that inspired you to work in the industry?
GA: Yes, there was. I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and I decided to study cinema because of him. In the beginning, I didn't know what would I do with movies. Would I be an academic? A film critic? A director? I just knew I had to live doing something that had to do with movies. I graduated in Communication Studies in Brazil where I studied horror movies and literature (specific...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ruth Platt, director of The Lesson
Posted on Wednesday 6th December 2017
On the eve of Horror Channel's network premiere screening of The Lesson, director Ruth Platt talks about the decision to quit RADA, why her film isn't 'torture porn' and what the future holds.
The Lesson received its World Premiere at FrightFest. How did you react when it was chosen? And what was the experience like?
RP: I was really excited when I found out we'd been picked - we got a call from the team, and they were passionate about the film, and they are such a knowledgable and experienced small team, Greg, Paul, Alan and Ian, and it meant so much. Especially when the making of it had been such an arduous and difficult process! I had no idea how people would react to the film - it was su...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with John Shackleton director of Panic Button
Posted on Wednesday 15th November 2017
As social media horror feature Panic Button gets a remastered DVD and Download release, writer and producer John Shackleton reflects on the film's inspirational journey.
To start at the beginning, what was the genesis or the seed of the idea for Panic Button?
JS: The model of how to make a film actually came before the concept. I'd made a short film with a group of trainees using a bunch of self-imposed restrictions for practicalities sake, to make sure we completed and delivered within the three-week timeframe of the training scheme, who were my employers. The rules were quite simple - no more than five minutes' walk from the office (we couldn't afford a van), no dialogue (we did...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Damien Leone director of Terrifier
Posted on Saturday 28th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Terrifier at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event today, director Damien Leone talks about the 'Art' of extreme clowning, his debt to Tom Savini and a terrifying Halloween experience...
Art, The Clown initially appeared in your 2008 short The 9th Circle, then the 2011 award-winning short Terrifier and in your first feature All Hallow's Eve. What made you decide to give him a fourth outing?
DL: Up until this point I never felt like I fully showcased Art's potential. I believe between the short films and All Hallows' Eve, there only exists about 20 minutes of Art the Clown screen time. For a character who's done so little, he seems to really resonate with horr...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Mathieu Turi director of Hostile
Posted on Wednesday 25th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his debut feature Hostile at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Mathieu Turi shares his admiration for Tarantino, describes the challenges of filming in three continents and reveals his 'magic hour'.
You were born in Cannes so you grew up with film all around? When did you know for sure you wanted to direct?
MT: I think it's always been there. As a child, I used to steal my dad's VHS camera to make mini-movies. They were basically all about my Jurassic Park toys eating my dog or invading the garden. Later, I did more elaborate short films with friends, instead of studying. Then, I remember watching Braveheart and the making of the ...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Tuesday 1st May
Monday 7th May
Saturday 28th April