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Interview with Barry Keating, writer of Embryo
By James Whittington, Saturday 24th October 2020
Barry Keating at NIGHTWORLD on 25/08/2017Barry Keating is a scriptwriter who has had quite a number of movies at FrightFest over the years. He's back with another shocker for 2020, this time the truth might be out there in Embryo. We chatted to him about this sci-fi chiller.

HC: We show another of your movies on Horror, Nightworld, what's it like writing a script, which has horror legend Robert Englund in it?

BK: When I found out they'd cast Robert in the role that was a very surreal day. At first I didn't quite believe it, but when the producer forwarded a message from Robert to me saying that he really dug the script I completely geeked out. I'm a huge fan (who isn't?), and like a lot of people reading this I grew up on Robert's movies. A Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger are such a huge part of my life, so watching Robert bring a character that I wrote to life was a bucket list moment.

HC: Are you a fan of found footage movies and if so, which is your favourite?

BK: I enjoy do them - in small doses, though. I did get a bit bored of them when it got to a point where it felt like there was one releasing every single weekend. The ones that try to do something different are the ones that pique my interest the most. I can't pinpoint one particular favourite, but standouts in the genre for me would are Blair Witch, Man Bites Dog, Cloverfield, REC, Chronicle, District 9 and, more recently, Rob Savage's Host.

HC: Where did the idea for Embryo come from?

BK: It actually came about in a bar after Downhill screened at FrightFest back in 2015. Patricio and I were just chatting about what to do next over a beer and he mentioned his love of Xtro and the alien abduction angle. It pretty much snowballed from there where we just kick ideas back and forth over emails until we have the beats laid out.

HC: Was it a tough story to write and why did you set it in Chilli?

BK: Not really, it's a pretty breezy tale. There's very little fat on it, especially with a runtime of just seventy minutes. And the simple reason for setting it in Chile was down to the fact that Patricio could shoot it there for very little money with a cast and crew made up friends and family. It was real guerrilla filmmaking, that's for sure.

HC: Its very different to what you've written before, was this deliberate?

BK: I don't think that was intentional on our behalf while writing it, it was more down to the fact we had to reshape the entire thing when COVID got in the way. It wound up transitioning from a traditionally styled narrative to a hybrid of that and found footage.

HC: Were you restricted by the budget?

BK: Yes! We shot it for just six thousand Euros, so we had to be thrifty every step of the way. We started talking about making this in 2015 and it's only getting released now, so it's been a five-year journey to get it to this point, but it's been worth it. We called in hell of a lot of favours from our friends and family to get it over the finish line!

HC: Will you be nervous when the movie is shown at FrightFest?

BK: I'm completely terrified to be honest! Getting a film into FrightFest is a badge of honour, we've been lucky enough to have four films we've worked on play at the festival over the years. It feels weird not being there at Leicester Square to watch it with an audience. That really sucks; that and not being able to catch up with the FrightFest crew - Paul, Ian, Alan and Greg - who have constantly supported us throughout our careers with amazing opportunities like this. For that, we'll be eternally grateful to them and everyone else involved in making FrightFest happen year in and year out.

HC: Do you believe that aliens exist?

BK: I believe there has to be something else out there besides just deep space.

HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?

BK: Right now my plate is pretty full with projects. Patricio and I are developing a neo-slasher that we'll shoot... someday! I'm working with Andy Edwards - writer and director of Ibiza Undead - on a ghost story, developing a series that's completely different to anything I've ever done to date that I'm really excited about sending out. I'm also working with a couple of video game developers on building the narratives and lore for their game worlds which is tough, but always very exciting work to do.

HC: Barry Keating, thank you very much.

BK: Thank you for your support!


Related show tags: NIGHTWORLD
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