LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview With Neil Jones Director Of The Reverend
By James Whittington, Sunday 12th August 2012
Neil Jones is the director behind the new Brit fright-flick The Reverend which boasts a cast that includes Doug Bradley, Emily Booth and the legendary actor Rutger Hauer. Here he chats about the movie and what his future plans are.
HC: Have you always been a big fan of horror movies and if so what's your favourite horror movie?
NJ: I hated them when I was a kid, I watched A Nightmare On Elm Street far too young and it scared the hell out of me! Now though yes, I like the older films, like Psycho, The Birds and The Shining. Recently for pure entertainment From Dusk Till Dawn and The Devil's Rejects I thought were great.
HC: How did the project for The Reverend come about?
NJ: I wanted to make a Vigilante like film and I thought mixing it with Vampires would make it really commercial. I've always been fascinated with the Biblical book of Job so I thought it would be cool to bring in that story to a modern day setting.
HC: Did the script change at all during pre-production?
NJ: Not really, we tweaked dialogue of course to suit cast and we did perhaps change one or two locations last minute if an issue arose. The biggest tweak was probably Rutger's dialogue as he had a ton of ideas and we went with it.
HC: How did you decide on the levels of violence the piece was to contain, are you a fan of gruesome horror?
NJ: I just wanted it to be as real as we could make it so we brought in Paul Hyett and Stuart Conrad to handle the effects, both the best in the business. I told them I wanted it to be gruesome but also grounded. Gore done well is very effective; I'm not a massive fan if it's there just for the sake of it though.
HC: It's got quite a cast, how did you approach such stars as the aforementioned Rutger Hauer, Doug Bradley and our very own Emily Booth?
NJ: With Rutger we approached the agent not really expecting to get him, when we agreed we were thrilled and it's a great lesson in if you don't ask you won't get. I wrote the parts for Doug and Emily, so it was great when they accepted.
HC: The supporting cast have meaty roles, how did you decide on who you wanted for those roles?
NJ: Like every writer/director I was visualising who I wanted as I was writing it. I can say I got 90% of the cast I wanted which is so rare at this level of film-making. I was very lucky that so many got the script when they read it.
HC: Did you have much of a budget to play with?
NJ: Yes, it was small but we had enough to get the film made with the cast we wanted, I'd have loved to have had more of course but am pleased with what we achieved on the budget we had.
HC: Was it a long shoot?
NJ: For a low budget film it was quite long I suppose. We shot for 5 weeks then came back for another week of pickups. I know a lot of films in the UK at this level of budget are shot in three weeks so I was lucky to have more time.
HC: Do you have a hand in the new graphic novel?
NJ: Yes I wrote it, I've been really impressed so far by what the Artists have come up with, it's almost finished now so I'm excited to get it out there.
HC: What advice would you give to someone wanting to direct their own horror movie?
NJ: To plan as much as possible, get the film shot and edited in your head before you get to shooting it. Once the film is finished you can never change it. Prepare to the max.
HC: What do you think will be the next big thing in horror?
NJ: That's a massive question. Paul Hyett has just directed The Seasoning House which I'm an Executive Producer on, the script was brilliant, I think it's going to really impress everyone. It's the opening film at FrightFest so I think that has the potential to be huge.
HC: So what you going to be on working on next then?
NJ: I directed a horror film in Spain called Deranged which is in post-production, also have the Zombie King which I executive produced which is in post, so those should be out early next year. Currently developing some more action/thriller based films. I enjoyed working on horror but as a director I want to try something a bit different for the next few.
HC: Neil Jones, thank you very much.
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