LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Steeve Leonard co-director of Radius
By James Whittington, Monday 21st May 2018
In the chilling movie, Radius, a man wakes from a car crash with amnesia and what's more anyone who comes into contact with him instantly dies. This FrightFest favourite is receiving its UK TV premiere on Friday 25th of May so we chatted to its co-director and co-writer Steeve Leonard about this celebrated and cerebral movie.
HC: How long did Radius take to write?
SL: Radius took about 4 years to write, on and off. We had the radius of death idea first but we didn't know what to do with it, and so we shelved it for a while. Later we came up with the more interpersonal twist we have now and we weaved it together with the radius idea.
HC: Was it written with a cast in mind?
SL: No. When we write we have a general sense of what type of actor/actress we'd like, but we know that when the actual cast comes into play, they will make the role their own and change the character somewhat. You have to give yourself some leeway when you write.
HC: How do you and co-director Caroline Labreche decide on which "takes" are the best etc?
SL: We decide everything as we edit the movie. Sometimes a take in itself will seem like the best one, but when combined with the shot that comes before or after it, it somehow falls flat. That's the whole process of editing; combining shots together to get a new effect, create the best performance possible.
HC: Did the size of budget effect you vision in any way?
SL: As with any budget, you're always going to cut your vision somewhat. We could have had more fancy camera moves, etc, but in the end, it's the story that counts. That's what we focused on.
HC: The narrative is pushed by some soul-searching moments of dialogue; how did the actors prepare for such emotional scenes?
SL: Our actors (Charlotte Sullivan and Diego Klattenhoff) are truly amazing. I personally don't know how they prepared per se, but I can tell you that when it came time to really bring it, they did without holding back. When they get into an emotional scene, they live it - I mean they truly live through it. It was hard watching them go through these emotions sometimes. As a director, you've got to watch these people suffer, then tip-toe over to them and ask them to re-do it just because there was a mosquito in the shot or something stupid like that.
HC: The film has a lot of different elements to it which makes it difficult to categorise, what genre would you place it in?
SL: We always thought of the film as a sci-fi/thriller. A cross between Memento and The Twilight Zone.
HC: Talking of The Twilight Zone, it does feel like and episode, are you fansl?
SL: Yes. We're big fans of anthology series like Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Black Mirror... And I think that influenced us in the writing of Radius. There's something we like about taking a single, clean concept and seeing what story can emerge out of it.
HC: The score is quite beautiful; did that take long to get right?
SL: The soundtrack was composed by Oscar-nominated Benoit Charest - who is great to work with. He actually did the score twice. We were under pressure to finish the movie before Christmas, and so Benoit worked as fast as he could. When we came back from the holidays he asked us "Do you guys like the score?". We said it was fine, but then he said "Give me a week more and I'll work on it, alone, at home". And then, lo and behold, he basically redid the whole score, and it was so much better! He's a real trooper and an all around great guy.
HC: Radius is getting its UK TV premiere on the Horror channel, what do you think of that?
SL: We think it's awesome that there are channels dedicated to horror and sci-fi. We didn't have access to specialized channels like this when I was growing up, but that's something I would've been glued to all day!
HC: You're a director, writer, actor but which role on a film is your favourite?
SL: Firstly, even though I have acted a bit, please be advised that I am no actor - I suck at it. Secondly, I'd say that for me, directing is the best part. Writing can be long and ponderous, but directing is fast, reactive, to the point: I like that the best.
HC: What are you working on at the moment?
SL: Secret things!
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