FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG Interview With Simon Rumley Director Of Johnny Frank Garrett's Last Word
By James Whittington, Sunday 28th August 2016
Today sees the European premier of Simon Rumley's latest movie Johnny Frank Garrett's Last Word. Simon is a regular at FrightFest and his work is always very creative and guaranteed to have the audiences debating their content. This makes him one of the most exciting directors working at the moment. Here he chats about this latest project.
HC: Is this the first movie you've directed that's not been written by yourself and if so did you find it restrictive in any way?
SR: I actually directed a short called The Handyman with Greta Scaachi. The script had won a screenwriting competition so was really great. Subsequently I also directed Crowhurst which wasn't initially written by me but I worked with the producer to come up with a script that everyone was happy with and on that I got an 'additional material' writing credit. With Johnny Frank Garrett, given that this was a 'Hollywood' film, things work differently over there and as a director I was brought on board to visualise the film the producers wanted to make. This was restrictive in as much as I would have, given carte blanche, treated the subject matter differently but that wasn't what I was hired to do and I knew that from the offset. Ultimately I was allowed final cut which in these situations is relatively unusual.
HC: You can tell it's a Simon Rumley movie by your use of colours and sound, were you tempted to add any more of your traditional style to it?
SR: Thanks! Well, as above, I was allowed final cut so, given the script, this is the best that I think I could have done with it. A lot of what is considered my 'traditional style' comes from how I write scenes and how I write a whole script so without having the luxury of writing this particular script, some of what would be considered my style is inevitably missing. I very much write to shoot and shoot to cut and although we do drop scenes in the edit, my scripts are usually very lean and there’s also a structural consideration which has an element of non-linearity.
HC: One of the stand-out performances is from young Dodge Prince; did he read for the role?
SR: Yeah, Dodge was amazing! Our casting director Karen Hallford held auditions in Shreveport and Austin for kids and I think Karen had seen him first and then brought him back and he did a reading which blew both of us away. He’s the loveliest kid, very bright, mature for his age and asked a lot of pertinent questions and really humbled some of the other actors; he's a complete natural and actually, can be seen next in the remake of The Magnificent Seven which I'm excited to watch. He comes from a very tight and loving family and I think he's an actor who could go all the way if he wanted to. Hopefully I'll get to work with him again some time.
HC: How do you look after a young actor when working on a movie with a dark theme like this?
SR: One of Dodge's parents was on set all the time and, as above, they're very grounded and nice people. I'm pretty sure they read the script first and went through the themes with him in an intelligent way. One has to be sensitive that these little people don't necessarily have the same stamina as adults or the same ability to concentrate so I always make sure they're OK and happy to continue whatever scene they're doing but Dodge was a real trooper and was always happy to do more, always wanted to get it to the point that I was happy. There's a lot of misconception about director's getting good performances from their actors but more than anything, this comes from the casting process and, with the producer and casting director, being able to spot that spark or that ability that will make that actor work for that role better than any other actor is the most important thing.
HC: What are the major differences of shooting a movie in the USA as compared to the UK?
SR: Well I've shot three features in the US now. What I like about shooting there is that lunch is usually shorter and you shoot for another hour or hour and a half a day which means you can get a lot more done in a shorter period than you can in the UK. I've often heard it said that the crews in the UK are the best in the world but I've found the crews in the US to be just as good.
HC: Though it states it's based on a true story how much is actual fact?
SR: The whole story about the juror and his family is fictionalised but everything around that is completely true; all the facts, the deaths etc, etc. There's only one death which is slightly fabricated and that's the teacher's although she did commit suicide.
HC: Do you believe people can be cursed?
SR: Not really, but that said, I'd preferred not to be cursed myself!
HC: You're a FrightFest regular; do you get nervous when your movies play at this festival?
SR: Yep, this is the 5th film I've shown in 10 years, staring with The Living And The Dead in 2006 so this will be a 10th year anniversary! FrightFest is always a slightly weird experience for me because I always find myself apologising that the film I'm presenting isn't an 'obvious' horror film, and actually, isn't really a horror film at all! I'd describe most of my films more as extreme dramas than horror films and although Johnny Frank Garrett isn't extreme in any really way, I'd describe is more as a thriller with supernatural overtones than an out and out horror film; I think it's creepy rather than scary.
HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?
SR: I've got a couple of features that I'm completing at the moment; one is Crowhurst - based on the real life story of Donald Crowhurst who entered a race to sail around the world non stop in 1968 and ended up cheating. It's a very sad story about the flip side of the British Empire and for all the success stories that we're fed this is one of failure and misguidedness. It features a tour de force performance from Justin Salinger. The other is a thriller called Fashionista which stars Amanda Fuller who was the lead in Red White & Blue. It has a great cast which also includes Ethan Embry (Cheap Thrills), Eric Balfour (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes) and Devin Bonnee (Johnny Frank Garret's Last Word). It's set in Austin, Texas and is a non-linear story about a woman's fashion fetishism and how that adversely affects her life. I'd like to think it's quite an unusual/unique film and am looking forward to getting it out there...
HC: Simon Rumley, thank you very much
SR: Thanks and my pleasure!
MORE INTERVIEWS 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 Interview with Marko Makilaakso director of It Came From The Desert
Posted on Tuesday 17th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film It Came From The Desert at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Marko Makilaakso shares his admiration for Roger Corman, love of B-Movies, spoofing and overcoming homeland obstacles.
It Came From The Desert is inspired by Cinemaware's cult 1980s video game, which in turn was motivated by the giant creature feature craze infesting 1950s Hollywood. What was the main inspiration for you?
MM: There's so many movies and makers which inspired ICFTD, but the main inspiration was exactly that; creature feature infested 1950s Hollywood films, and the legendary Cinemaware Desert games and creature features and action comedies I grew up with in the 19...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Can Evrenol director of Housewife
Posted on Thursday 12th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Housewife at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Can Evrenol tells us why film is a 'pervert's art' shares his feelings for Fulci and reveals his contribution to Horror anthology, The Field Guide To Evil.
Was it important to make your follow-up film to Baskin in the English language?
CE: I wanted to make the film available for a wider audience and to test myself with a different language movie. I thought it was a fun thing to do.
How do you describe Housewife? What would be your perfect pitch line?
CE: Man, I had this crazy f****d-up dream last night! Do you want to see it?
Like Baskin, Housewife shares man...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Dominic Bridges, director of Freehold
Posted on Wednesday 4th October 2017
One of the stand out movies from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was the psychological chiller, Freehold. Dark and at times truly unnerving, the film caused quite a stir and will be released onto DVD on October 9th. Here the film's director Dominic Bridges talking about this superb debut.
HC: Where did the idea for Freehold come from?
DB: Based on personal experience my wife and I suffered a miscarriage whilst trying to buy a house in London whilst the Estate Agents had us bidding against ourselves... I reacted badly which was embarrassing to my wife and myself it all felt like too much fighting for a roof over our heads just tainted the whole of London for us and we moved also the realisation...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Damien Power, director of Killing Ground
Posted on Monday 25th September 2017
One of the best from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was a superior thriller, Killing Ground. This tension packed movie looked incredible on the big screen so we decided to chat to its director, Damien Power.
HC: Did Killing Ground take a long time to write and did it change as you progressed?
DP: It took eleven years from the germ of the idea to stepping onto location to start shooting. Luckily I wasn't working on it full time! Once we had a draft we were happy with, it took five years to put the financing jigsaw together. It's a long journey! The biggest change was that for a number of years it didn't really have a third act. It ended very abruptly at the moment of maximum jeopardy. Fort...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Michael Boucherie writer and director of Where the Skin Lies
Posted on Monday 28th August 2017
More new talent seemed to be around at Horror Channel FrightFest this year and one of the stand out movies for me was Where The Skin Lies from Michael Boucherie. Here he chats about this emotional movie.
HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to be in the film-making business?
MB: Going to the movies with my family is a favourite childhood memory. There was no cinema in our home town, so it always involved a bit of a car trip. Afterwards we'd recount and quote our favourite scenes, for some movies up to this day. My mother also filmed and edited our home movies on Super 8, and she involved me in that. So, on some level I grew up with it. It didn't dawn on me that this was a v...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with legendary actress Barbara Crampton
Posted on Tuesday 15th August 2017
Ahead of her eagerly awaited presence at Horror Channel FrightFest 2017, genre icon, actress and producer Barbara Crampton talks exclusively about her latest film Replace, battling chronic fatigue syndrome and her passion for supporting new talent.
Q: Replace raises questions about beauty, body image and growing older, issues that many feel plague the Hollywood movie industry. What is your view on this subject?
BC: The best movies reflect our inner world, our hopes, our good intentions, trials and our demons. Growing old and the fear of death is endemic to all, not just the movie industry. Just when you begin to figure it out your back aches, your skin starts to wrinkle and you gain weight...SHARE: READ MORE Exclusive interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of See No Evil 2
Posted on Tuesday 4th April 2017
Jen and Sylvia Soska are two of the most exciting creatives around at the moment. Their work is visceral, dynamic, exciting and above all bloody entertaining. We've chatted to these multi-talented Canadians about their work to date in the build up to the UK TV premiere of See No Evil 2 this Friday on Horror.
HC: It's been while since we last chatted and apart from See No Evil 2 what have you both been up to?
SS: It has been a while, but it's really cool that we get to chat again. We hosted a reality horror gameshow from Matador, GSN, and Blumhouse called Hellevator that was like Saw: The Gameshow!. We had a blast making it. I really can't even believe that was a job a person could have. We're st...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with 'Life' star Rebecca Ferguson
Posted on Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Previously starring opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Emily Blunt in Girl on the Train, Ferguson steps out as the lead, standing firmly in front of her co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds in the Horror/Sci-Fi spectacle Life, which opens in cinemas across the UK this Friday.
Starring as Dr. Miranda North, Ferguson plays the last astronaut on-board an International Space Station which has recently caught a space probe containing the first sign of extra-terrestrial life. Studying the life form quickly turns from fascinating to a complete catastrophe, as the organism rapidly grows strength and intelligence - with the desperation to prey upon those within its reach.
We spoke with Fergus...SHARE: READ MORE PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 20th December
Monday 25th December
Tuesday 19th December