ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive Interview With Composer Jeff Wayne
By James Whittington, Sunday 24th May 2009
It may come as a bit of a shock to some, but Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War The War Of The Worlds has been with us for over 30 years. To celebrate this fact and to coincide with a new tour of this musical masterpiece we spoke to Jeff himself about his love of this piece of music and his plans for the future. No one would have believed what he had to say!   ZH: So then, here we are celebrating over 30 years of your musical version of The War Of The Worlds, does it feel that it’s been that long?   JW: Yes it does!! But in a good way, actually. The world and life personally has changed so much, TWOTW remains a very close friend that has travelled with me during it all.   ZH: You’re taking it out on the road for a third tour later in the year, do you still get a buzz when performing it live?   JW: There are two stages to each new tour we do:

1.  The pre-production which is the phase where new ideas, testing new technologies, meeting with potential new cast members, and anything else that the newest production will have in it.
2.  Performing TWOTW. As the conductor, I have the best seat in the house- I’m in the middle of all the music and live performances from the guest artists, and all around me are these incredible technological ingredients. For 2 hours or so, I feel like a hovercraft – my feet don’t return to earth until I’m back in my dressing room after each show.   ZH: Have you made any dramatic changes to the show this time around?   JW: There is a range of new ingredients - one major one is from the world of illusion, levitation specifically and it involves one of our new guest artists – Jennifer Ellison in the role of Beth, Parson Nathaniel’s wife. There are a range of other new special effects, and for the first time we have our own travelling stage which has allowed us to re-design our stage, and conceal things that previously had to reside on top of it.   ZH: Why did you re-cast some of the vocal talent for this tour?   JW: This is our 3rd UK tour, and after the UK we play shows in Holland and Germany, before we head out to the US and Dubai. In 2007 we’ve also played Australia and New Zealand over a 5-week period. Every tour there have been cast changes – sometimes because of the availability of certain performers, or, as in the case of down under, 3 cast members who were major names there came in for that tour because our promoters felt that they would add extra value to TWOTW. At all times, we been so fortunate that no matter who has played a given role, they’ve all been superb and given their own individual slant on the part they’ve played.   ZH: Will this be the last time you’ll be taking your musical version of The War Of The Worlds on tour? If so would you allow anyone else to perform it live?   JW: At this juncture I’m firmly attached, but you never know. What tomorrow might offer. Recently we’ve been asked to explore a west end production by a major west end producer – that type of production would have to be created for the scale and expectancy of a west end production. Having a 10-piece band and 46-member string orchestra with me conducting wouldn’t work in that context, so it’s about judging each production on their own merits.   ZH: You’ve got a really cool piece of merchandise being produced for sale at each gig, that is a CD recording of the actual event. Was that a hard decision to make for it may capture any orchestral or vocal errors?   JW: Good point, but isn’t that what ‘live’ performance is all about? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a band, a solo artist or TWOTW – if we goof, unlike a recording studio, you can’t stop the show and announce to the audience that we’re going to take that bit again! But that is the whole adrenalin rush of live performing – to try and be perfect every show.   ZH: We heard a few years back that a movie based on your musical piece was in production, is it nearing completion yet?   JW: That’s the CGI feature film we had started production on before TWOTW alive on stage! Came along. We’re hoping to return to it from next year when these next tours are completed. We’re not a huge producing company, and our team is very hands on, so touring and producing a major feature film at the same time simply hasn’t been possible. But the tours themselves have benefited by having some 100 minutes of high definition CGI that runs on our 100-foot wide x 20 foot high screen in perfect sync with the live performances (including some changes added in this year) that without the year or so of R+D on the film side, would never have been ready for the first tour in 2006.   ZH: So when the tour is over what plans do you have? Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?   JW: Aside from putting energy back into the CGI film, I have another musical work – The Call Of The Wild by American author Jack London that I’ve started sketching out already. I’m hoping to have enough expanse of time to realize the full potential of that wonderful story. TWOTW never stops to amaze me with new projects opening up regularly, so whatever I say today, may have to be re-explored later on, so it’s best to just leave it there!   ZH: And for the future, how about a tour of one your other major musical pieces, Spartacus?   JW: It’s been a most interesting thing that since our tours of the TWOTW started in 2006, it’s probably been one of the most asked questions about whether Spartacus might become another multi-media live arena tour. Aside from certain creative ingredients to the score that I want to re-visit, I most definitely think Spartacus would excite live audiences in its own, unique way.   ZH: Jeff Wayne, thank you very much.

Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds is on tour throughout the UK in June. Click here for the latest information.        
MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2020

Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.

It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?

JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.

When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020

Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...

You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?

AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020

Simeon Halligan is one of the busiest people working in the industry today. Writer, director, producer, director of celebrated film festival Grimmfest, in fact the list goes on.

His latest film is the neon tinged, blood-splattered masterpiece Habit which is showing on Horror February 14th so we thought we should get the story on how he brought this shocker to the big screen.

HC: When did you first become aware of the book by Stephen McGeagh to which Habit is based?

SH: I read the book a couple of years back and really liked it. A combination of gritty realism and dark fantasy; set within a very recognisable Manchester. There's a juxtaposition in the book; from a kind of soc...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Jackson Stewart, director of Beyond The Gates
Posted on Wednesday 22nd January 2020

Jack Stewart's sublime retro horror Beyond the Gates was recently shown on Horror. Jackson is one of the strongest creatives around at the moment but he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about this contemporary classic and his future movie plans.

HC: Was there one film that you saw growing up which gave you the idea that you wanted to work in the film industry?

JS: There were definitely a number of them; I think the ones that stick out strongest in my memory were Temple Of Doom, Batman '89, Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Raising Arizona, Back To The Future, Marnie, Army Of Darkness, The Frighteners and Dirty Harry. All of them had a big emotional impact on me. Dirty Har...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with acclaimed author Shaun Hutson
Posted on Friday 20th December 2019

The British horror legend Shaun Hutson is back with Testament, a new novel featuring one of his fans most loved characters, Sean Doyle so we decided to catch up with this talented chap about his acclaimed work.

HC: Was there one author who inspired you to become a writer?

SH: My inspirations were always and still are cinematic if I'm honest. Even when I first started writing my influences and inspirations came from things like Hammer films, from TV series like The Avengers (with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and from old Universal horror films. I read the Pan Books of Horror Stories when I was a kid and I think they were probably the first "literary" influences I ever had. I also read lo...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Tyler MacIntyre, director of Patchwork
Posted on Thursday 12th December 2019
On the eve of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Patchwork on December 14th, director Tyler MacIntyre reflects on body image issues. twisting audience expectations and his admiration for current female genre directors.

HC: Patchwork finally gets its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Excited or what?

TM: Relieved actually. It's been a long time coming. The third screening of the film ever happened at FrightFest in Glasgow and since then I've had people asking me when it was going to come out. The UK genre fans are among the most diehard in the world, so I'm very excited to finally have it available for them.

HC: You were in attendance when Patchwork, your directorial feature debut, rece...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with James Moran, writer of Tower Block
Posted on Monday 25th November 2019

Writer James Moran is about to do what few other writers have done in the past, the Horror Channel Triple! He is one of the few creatives who has had three of his movies play on the channel; Cockneys Vs Zombies, Severance and now Tower Block which is playing on November 29th. So, we decided to chat to this talented chap about this superior thriller and the rest of his career.

HC: Your first movie, Severance is a huge favourite with Horror Channel viewers, were you ever tempted to pen a sequel?

JM: Thank you, I'm really glad that people can still discover it with every new screening. Everybody wanted to do a sequel, we actually had several meetings about it. Nothing came of it, they carried on with...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Gary Dauberman, writer and director of Annabelle Comes Home
Posted on Saturday 23rd November 2019

Gary Dauberman has been the scriptwriter for some of the most successful horror movies of the last few years including IT: Parts 1 and 2, Annabelle and The Nun. His latest movie, Annabelle Comes Home which is also his directorial debut, has just been released onto DVD and Blu-ray. We caught up with this talented chap about his career to date.

HC: What was it about the horror genre that grabbed your imagination and made you want to become a writer?

GD: The earliest movie going experience I can remember was my parents taking me to Raiders of the Lost Ark and I was 4 or 5 or something and I had to sleep with them for a week, you know the opening up of The Ark and the face melting, a rea...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Cameron Macgowan, director of Red Letter Day
Posted on Friday 1st November 2019

FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.

HC: Where did the idea for Red Letter Day come from and did it take long to write?

CM: I have long been a fan of the 'Humans Hunting Humans' subgenre of film (Battle Royale, The Running Man, Hard Target, etc.) and was inspired to set one of these films in what many people consider the 'safe' location of the suburbs. Suburban communities feel like the perfect setting for a horror film as you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul all while knowing that you are surrounded by many people. This mixed with a desire to satirise the current socio-political climate ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis, director of Swallow
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019

Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.

HC: Swallow is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?

CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019

Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...

HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?

PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted on Thursday 10th October 2019
CHILDS_PLAY_Universal_2D_BD_Pakcshot_UKIt was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.

HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?

LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.

HC: W...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Skyline
SKYLINE
Wednesday 4th March
9.00 PM
Inanimate
INANIMATE
Tuesday 3rd March
9.00 PM
Night of the Living Dead
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
Thursday 27th February
9.00 PM