LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Julian Richards, director of Reborn
By James Whittington, Wednesday 17th October 2018
Ahead of the World premiere screening of Reborn at FrightFest Halloween, Julian Richards discusses the torturous challenges of Daddy's Girl, why he wishes every actress was like Barbara Crampton and future plans, including directing the English language remake of Rabies.
HC: After six years away from directing, you have two films, Reborn and Daddy's Girl poised for distribution. Why these two very different films now?
JR: My previous film Shiver was completed in 2012 and it took longer for me to get back into the directing saddle because of commitments I had to my sales company Jinga Films. The company was growing quickly and needed more of my time and energy. We had grown from handling three films a year to handling ten films a year and our titles were getting stronger. At the same time my wife and I decided to have a family and in 2016 we became parents to twins. I think we both underestimated how demanding parenthood would be, and understandably, I lost momentum with the directing projects that i was developing. But I had no intention of giving up on directing and was always on the lookout for new opportunities. The first, Daddy's Girl came from an unexpected source; an Indian broadcaster Zee Studios, based in Dubai who approached me to help them put together a slate of three horror films that they planned to shoot in Eastern Europe. I sent them three scripts from which they chose Daddy's Girl for me to direct and Open 24 Hours for Padraig Reynolds to direct. My sales company Jinga Films represents two of Padraig's earlier films Rites Of Spring and Worry Dolls, so I was happy to share this opportunity with him. The next opportunity came during Cannes when I was asked by John Penney and Brian Yuzna to recommend directors for Reborn, a feature they were planning to produce in Los Angeles. I recommended myself, gave feedback on the screenplay and was quickly hired for the project. Of course, the idea of directing two feature films in 12 months whilst raising twins was daunting, but I had lost time to make up for, and with the support of my wife, Rosana, I (we) somehow managed to do it.
HC: Daddy's Girl is a contentious, challenging film, to say the least. Did you have reservations about the storyline, given the way the film industry is shifting morally and sexually?
The screenplay for Daddy's Girl that went into production is different from the original screenplay. The original had a Haute Tension-esque twist whereby several characters in the story turn out to be the same character, the protagonist, with many events taking place inside her mind. It was this deeply psychological context that attracted me to the script, but the producers didn't like it and so it was removed. Without this twist, and with the torture scenes actually happening rather than being the machinations of a deranged mind, the project was in danger of becoming just another torture porn film, and being a sales agent as well as a director, I was acutely aware of the problems this might cause, particularly post #metoo. So, I introduced a new theme to the story, making both the killer and the cop Iraq war veterans and linking the torture to Abu Ghraib, turning the film into a metaphor for the anxieties of post Iraq war America. When I directed the torture scenes, I panned away or cut away from anything too extreme or degrading, focusing instead on the protagonist as she watches. Reaction is stronger than action, and horror is more effective when left to the imagination. The producers did question my direction, they wanted less clothes and more torture, but I did not want to make an exploitation film and personally I felt uncomfortable taking the material in this direction. Ultimately Daddy's Girl is not a film about a bad guy torturing women, it is a film about a captive women staving off the desire to commit suicide and choosing to survive instead.
HC: Jemma Dallender puts in a brave, compelling performance. What she your first choice for the role?
JR: Actually, we first cast Jemma as the vigilante, but when two of the actresses cast to play Zoe pulled out we had to re-shuffle our cast and offered Jemma the lead. She jumped at the opportunity because she had never played a character like that before.
HC: You extract an equally commanding performance from Barbara Crampton in Reborn. What was it like working with such a genre legend?
JR: When I read the script for Reborn, Barbara was the first actress I thought about for the part of Lena, so I was really pleased when she agreed to board the project. Actually another actress was already attached to the project but had to leave just before we started shooting, so when Barbara arrived she only had a couple of days to prepare. It was a fraught start to the production but she was like the cavalry coming to the rescue. Barbara gives commanding performances in all her films, so all a director has to do is cast her and provide her with a good script with good dialogue. Occasionally I would step in and ask for a little less or a little more, but generally speaking, you just roll the camera on Barbara and often you get what you need in one or two takes. Working with Barbara is therefore a director's dream. She comes fully prepared and is willing to go above the call of duty to get the best result for the film. I wish every actress were like Barbara...
HC: Even though Reborn is a violent supernatural thriller, at heart it's a moving story of a young woman's search and reunion with her birth mother. How did you find balancing the emotional narrative with the brutal tone of its visual effects?
JR: It was the mother, daughter reunion aspect of the story that attracted me to Reborn. The script had a strong, dramatic, emotional through-line which reminded me of Frankenstein. Most horror scripts don't have such a strong dramatic ingredient, so I knew that this was something special. However, the script was lacking in strong horror beats, so I did a directors pass, ramping up the kill scenes in which Tess uses her electro-kinetic power. The Omen franchise became an influence here, dramatic family scenes intercut with inventive murder set pieces. Of course, Carrie was also an influence, as was The Fury and Scanners. The film has a strong sense of nostalgia for the genre, so I introduced a meta-horror ending to give it a contemporary twist.
HC: Juggling a career as a film director with that of running an established sales and distribution company (Jinga) must be a constant challenge. How do you do it? Do both give you equal satisfaction?
I moved into sales after making The Last Horror Movie. I put a lot of my own money into that film and needed to make sure that I got it back. I also wanted to learn more about the business side of films and sales seemed to be the most immediate and accessible way to do that. I never intended to switch career, but I did need to do something that would provide me with a more reliable income. Jinga went from strength to strength and by the time we released A Serbian Film in 2012, we had established ourselves as one of the key genre companies in the World. It was, and still is, an incredible learning curve and it compliments my film-making in many ways. I think the opportunity to direct Daddy's Girl and Reborn came because of my experience in sales, so although Jinga initially diverted me away from directing, it ultimately provided opportunities that I might not have got going through the conventional employment channels such as agents and managers.
HC: You made a massive impact with The Last Horror Movie and many people are still hankering for a sequel. Is this on the cards?
JR: I did toy with the idea, about doing something with Max on Facebook and Twitter etc., but technology and social habits are evolving so quickly that I was concerned that any script that we came up with would be dated by the time it got made. Also, the market has changed. There is not much of an appetite for found footage, and crime films are less popular than supernatural. If somebody out there has a viable idea and wants to write a sequel to The Last Horror Movie, I would certainly consider making it.
HC: When you look at the Jinga library, are there any films you would have liked to have made?
JR: Well, A Serbian Film does spring to mind, but actually no, I don't think I'm capable of that level of transgression. The three films I would choose are Still/Born, Our Evil and The House at the End of Time. All have a strong family drama at their core which gives them a greater sense of reality, despite the supernatural events wreaking havoc elsewhere in their stories.
HC: You come from Wales but your last film shot there was the BAFTA Cymru award-winning Summer Scars. Do you plan to return to your homeland to make more movies?
JR: The first opportunity I got to direct a feature came from Wales, when I received lottery finance from Film Agency Wales to make Darklands, which is arguably the first Welsh horror movie and which has been credited as kickstarting a new wave of UK genre production which continues to this day. Film Agency Wales also supported Summer Scars, and without this support I may not have been able to achieve the level of success that I have obtained, so I owe them and Wales a huge debt of gratitude. I would love to make more films in Wales, particularly films that focus on Welsh history, myth and folklore. If any writers out there have a script that I could shoot in Wales, please send it my way and I would be happy to read it.
HC: Finally, what's next for Julian Richards?
JR: I am in talks with Israeli production company UCM to co-produce and direct the English language re-make of Rabies and I am also developing an action thriller based on the terrorist attack on British holiday makers in Tunisia. I am also involved as a co-producer with the English language re-make of The House at the End of Time which is currently in development at Good Fear.
Reborn has its World Premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, Cineworld, Leicester Square on 8th November, 10.40am.
MORE INTERVIEWS Brand new interview with Dee Wallace, star of Cujo, The Howling and now Beyond the Sky
Posted on Sunday 12th May 2019
Dee Wallace is one of those people who seems to have be around forever and yet never ages in enthusiasm or her ability to bring to life some of cinema's most memorable characters. With a resume that includes E.T., The Hills Have Eyes, Cujo and now Beyond the Sky, we chatted to Dee about her career to date and how she prepares for each acting project.
HC: What made you want to be an actress?
DW: Oh, you know... I was born! (laughs) Seriously, I think creative people are just born to be creative and they have to find an outlet for that. My mother also was a beautiful actress, locally in my hometown and did all the plays at church so I think I naturally found my way into a family that supporte...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Horror's Channel Manager Stewart Bridle
Posted on Friday 10th May 2019 Stewart Bridle is Horror Channel's longest serving Channel Manager. He has guided Horror for almost a decade and has managed to bring to our screens many classics as well as introducing us to some new horror movie talent. In this, our 15th anniversary month we chat to Stewart about his role and some of the juicy pieces he has lined up for the rest of 2019.
HC: Have you always been a horror movie fan?
SB: Yes! I've always been interested and fascinated with horror and all genre stuff. I have an older brother who would manage to rent or get bootleg VHS of some great horror titles and I have memories of watching things like the original Dawn Of The Dead or slashers like The Burning while far too youn...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with exploitation legend David McGillivray
Posted on Wednesday 24th April 2019 Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Pete Walker's Schizo on April 27th, horror and sexploitation movie writer/director David McGillivray reflects on disastrous scripts, his volatile relationship with Walker and writing smut for Julian Clary.
Q: Schizo is unusual in your body of work with director Pete Walker because the concept and narrative were not of your choosing. How much of a problem was that for you?
DM: Huge. I thought the script that we re-worked was terribly old-fashioned and this led to big arguments with Walker that ended our relationship.
Q: You often play a cameo in the movies you've written - you're 'Man at Seance' in Schizo. Any particular reason?
DM:...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Abner Pastoll, director of Road Games
Posted on 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 t...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Zach Lipovsky, director of Leprechaun: Origins.
Posted on Thursday 28th February 2019
On March 1st, Horror is bringing you the UK TV premiere of a real corker of a shocker, Leprechaun: Origins. The movie follows two couples backpacking through the Irish countryside who end up spending the night in an old cabin, and learn the terrible truth about Ireland's most famous legend. So begins a living nightmare... The movie is a smart entry into the franchise so we decided to chat to its director, Zach Lipovsky.
HC: Did you know from an early age that you wanted to work in this industry?
ZL: Yes, I grew up as a child actor. Mostly as an excuse to be on set and not at school. I was quickly more interested in making movies than acting and from the age of 10 started shooting silly pro...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tom Paton, director of Redwood
Posted on Monday 4th February 2019
Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Redwood, director Tom Paton reveals the secrets of his prolific work-rate, talks about tackling the subject of fake news and the twists and turns of his new film Stairs.
HC: Redwood gets its UK TV premiere on Friday 8 February, courtesy of Horror Channel. Excited or what?
TP: Honestly, I'm so proud that Redwood has made its way onto Horror Channel. I've been a huge fan since the channel launched and over the past decade I've discovered so many horror gems on there from classic through to films I'd never heard of but now love. It feels incredible to know that someone might discover Redwood in the exact same way.
HC: Is it true y...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with journalist and documentary maker Calum Waddell
Posted on Saturday 2nd February 2019
Calum Waddell has been involved in writing, reviewing, making documentaries and teaching about movies for over a fifteen years. His knowledge on cult movies has been used by such labels as Arrow Video and 88 Films as well as appearing in magazines such as Total Film, Fangoria and DarkSide.
We managed to talk to Calum about the ups and downs of his career and his plans for the future.
HC: When did you decide that you wanted to become a journalist?
CW: I am not sure I ever was a journalist [laughs]. Maybe just a for-hire film writer more than anything else! But my biggest inspiration about cinema was and still is Kim Newman, whose work I discovered at a very young age...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Iain Ross-McNamee director of Crucible of the Vampire
Posted on Sunday 27th January 2019
Making its World Premiere at Cannes Film Festival and garnering rave reviews at other major festivals, Iain Ross-McNamee's gothic chiller Crucible of the Vampire is set to arrive in UK cinemas on 1 February.
This will be followed by its home entertainment release on 4 February on dual format DVD and Blu-ray and on digital platforms courtesy of Screenbound Entertainment.
Here he chats about this retro-feeling piece of cinema.
HC: What inspired you to write Crucible of the Vampire?
IRM: I chose the location first and wrote the story around it with my two co-writers, John Wolskel and Darren Lake. The idea of people ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Corin Hardy, director of The Nun
Posted on Sunday 20th January 2019
The Conjuring universe expanded recently with the box-office chill-filled thriller, The Nun. It's just been released onto Blu-ray and DVD so we had a quick chat with the very talented director of this gothic entry, Corin Hardy.
HC: How did you become attached to the project?
CH: I had made The Hallow and that had caught the attention of James (Wan) through his company Atomic Monster and he sent me The Nun script, I am obviously a die-hard horror fan, and I knew all of James' films and was particularly a fan of The Conjuring movies so I was quite intrigued as to what this story would be as I am always on the lookout. I have my own films I want to develop and make and I'm ...SHARE: READ MORE Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of zom-rom-com Ibiza Undead, we ask actress and producer Marcia Do Vales 10 scary questions.
Posted on Tuesday 8th January 2019
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of zombie rom-com Ibiza Undead, we ask actress and producer Marcia Do Vales 10 scary questions.
HC: When did your interest in horror films begin?
MDV: About the age of 11 or 12, I started enjoying watching horror films, after my parents had gone to bed. I remember watching Child's Play with the volume turned off, sitting directly in front of the TV so I could quickly turn it off if my parents came in.
HC: Tell us about your first horror film role.
MDV: In my first film role, I played The Girl in The Reverend I found myself working alongside the legendary Rutger Hauer who was cast as the Devil. He had his own private room...SHARE: READ MORE A chat with Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Attack of the Adult Babies
Posted on Wednesday 2nd January 2019
Ahead of the Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Attack of the Adult Babies, on January 5 at 9pm, director Dominic Brunt and actor/producer partner Joanne Mitchell unpin the nappies...
HC: Attack of the Adult Babies will receive its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Are you both excited?
DB: I'm over the moon. As a fan of horror, I'm also a fan of the Horror Channel. It's an honour to have our work premiered with one of our favourite channels. The Horror Channel (along with FrightFest and Metrodome) took Before Dawn under its wing when that was released as our debut feature film. It marked our transition from horror fen geeks to horror film makers and we were well looked after indeed.
JM: We're delighted and incred...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Leprechaun Returns director Steven Kostanski
Posted on Monday 17th December 2018
Horror's smallest terror is back to reclaim the treasure that's been lost for 25 years in Leprechaun Returns which has just been released across all streaming platforms. We spoke to its director, Steven Kostanski about this movie the challenges of carrying on a much loved franchise.
HC: How were you approached to direct Leprechaun Returns?
SK: The producers contacted my manager and he sent me the script. I had a few conversations with them over the phone discussing the direction they wanted go, and once I saw that they were looking to get away from the seriousness of Leprechaun Origins I knew I wanted to do the project.
HC: What did you think of Suzanne Keilly's script when y...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Monday 26th August
Tuesday 27th August
Sunday 25th August