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Interview With Joanne Mitchell Star Of Bait
By James Whittington, Saturday 29th August 2015
Joanne Mitchell is a multi-talented lady who is no stranger to Horror Channel viewers, her film Before Dawn is a firm favourite with us and her latest movie Bait (directed by husband Dominic Brunt) is having a special preview at FrightFest today.
Here Joanne chats about Before Dawn, Bait and future plans.
HC: After the huge success of Before Dawn were you eager to get back in front of the camera to be directed by Dominic?
JM: I loved shooting Before Dawn. We, as a small team of actors and crew, had such fun, that yes, I was really looking forward to acting and working with Dom again.
HC: What’s it like being directed by your husband?
JM: It's great. Dom knows me so well, that he won't let me get away with anything. So, if he feels that I can dig deeper, he will push me that bit further. Every director wants the best performances out of his/her actors, and every actor should want to be challenged for themselves and for the sake of the story and production, otherwise, what's the point?
HC: Let’s chat about Bait, what did you think of the script when you first read it?
JM: I loved the script. I think Paul (Roundell) did a great job of bringing the characters and story to life with the treatment and story we gave him. It was important that the characters were very layered, gritty and real. This, I feel, is exactly what Paul achieved. And it was a joy to bring these characters to life.
HC: How do you prepare yourself for such a role?
JM: Hmm… well, I guess firstly I read it a lot and make notes; to understand the essence of the characters, story, relationships and journeys... My script is usually covered with scribbles of thoughts and ideas, mostly indecipherable and a lot of which I never actually use in the end anyway! But, it seems to work for me...I guess it's my little process.. For this particular role of 'Dawn' it was important to really understand what she had been through as a single mum, bringing up her severely autistic son and trying to get on in the world. I wanted to 'understand' her world and that of those around her. So one of the things I did was to meet and talk to a child psychiatrist who was very insightful and helpful particularly in understanding the relationship with Dawn's autistic son and how that would have emotionally effected herself and him. I also spent a few days wondering around various markets, spending time observing and listening to all the various people there which was useful and fun too. And of course Vicky and I had various skype calls (she lives in LA) discussing and chatting about ideas and thoughts etc...
HC: What was the shoot like as some of the scenes seemed incredibly demanding both physically and mentally?
JM: The shoot was very intense! Our schedule was tight so we didn't really have the luxury of much rehearsal. Luckily Vicky and myself trust and know each other very well, so that made things easier, especially for the emotional scenes, and we'd chat about stuff during breaks or whilst driving to various locations, etc.. However for the more physical scenes we had a fight director (Dave Nolan) who was brilliant. He was very thorough and made sure we all knew what we were doing, and for those scenes there was rehearsal time. There had to be. And yes those days were very demanding, perhaps more so for Vicky (when she, for example, spent many hours at night in a river, freezing)and Jonathon (Slinger) when he was literally covered in sticky blood and prosthetics for most of the day. Everyone was such a good sport though and the crew were incredibly supportive. There were still a lot of laughs too!
HC: Did you stay in character?
JM: Ha! I wish! No.. .there was far too much other stuff that I had to do to give myself that luxury!
HC: It has a powerful message in my opinion; do you think it reflects a dark side of society that exists at the moment?
JM: I think the message goes way back. It's not really something new… the issue of borrowing and lending has been going on for hundreds, thousands of years… however I guess recently there has been a lot of press about it, with pay day loans etc...and you only have to type in debt collector or loan shark into the internet and a lot of information comes up. Yes it is a dark side of society and a very sad one that can be incredibly unfair and cruel, with far too many innocent victims being caught up in it.
HC: Are you nervous that it’s getting a special preview at FrightFest?
JM: I'm excited and overwhelmed that it's getting a special preview at FrightFest!! It really wasn't something we expected. We feel very privileged to be a part of it and hugely grateful to the wonderful team there for wanting to show it and for all their continued support.
HC: Will you watch with the audience?
JM: Hmmm... not sure.. . Maybe at the back so I can escape? No, think I'll be too nervous and will settle in the bar!
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
JM: Well, I have a script doing the rounds and being sent to various TV production companies at the moment which I have co-written with Victoria (Smurfit) and another writer. I'm working on an animation with Lee Hardcastle, and Dom and I are working on the story for our next feature.
HC: Joanne Mitchell, thank you very much.
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