LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Ben Charles Edwards, co-writer and director of Father of Flies
By James Whittington, Saturday 16th October 2021
A vulnerable young boy finds his mother pushed out of the family home by a strange new woman in Father of Flies, and he must confront the terrifying supernatural forces that seem to move in with her. This intense and chilling movie is showing at Grimmfest Online Edition so we chatted to director and co-writer Ben Charles Edwards about this movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Father of Flies come from?
BE: It came from my childhood experiences. When my good friend and journalist Dominic Wells was talking to me about my next project, he told me to draw on real life experiences. So, I did. My own experiences were neither as heightened nor as traumatic as they may appear within the film. But it served as a good starting point.
HC: Was it written with a cast in mind?
BE: Not fully. I always wanted Camilla Rutherford to play Coral "my" stepmother though. When we were offered Nicholas Tucci, it was a dream come true - I was a fan of You're Next, so I felt very honoured.
HC: You wrote it with Nadia Doherty, what was your process for this arrangement?
BE: I wrote the initial story structure and beats as I spent a month on and off of old train carriages across Morocco. I think it took several days until I was somewhere with suitable wi-fi to send the 1st draft to Nadia for feedback. Once I got back to London. Nadia and I then sat with my draft for 4 weeks and thrashed the dialogue and action out. At the time, Nadia and I lived across the hall from each other in our apartment block in East London and I've her a long time so there was an easy dialogue between us.
HC: You get very emotion and true performances, did the cast have long to rehearse?
BE: No, not really - this is very much an independent production and a tight shooting schedule, but I spoke to them a lot beforehand as you would imagine and explained the back story to each character in my head - they were all so hard working and professional. We had to have the film set exorcised by a priest before the night security felt comfortable to stay on set through the night - So after the actors caught wind of this - the atmosphere on set really helped them remain in character!
HC: The film is beautiful, eerie and truly haunting, how hard was it to create this atmosphere?
BE: We took as much time within staging and framing the shots. The set was kept remarkably quiet and tidy - This allowed for the camera to breath. It seemed to find its natural course through the scenes. This culture was also helped by the wonderful set design, location and timely winter weather of upstate New York.
HC: The effects are superb, how long did they take to get right?
BE: I kept the need for VFX to a minimum - a lot of the horror was shot in camera on the day. However, we worked hard in post with a VFX company in the UK and as we shot with pre viz in mind it was a smoother process.
HC: What was the hardest sequence to get right, without giving too much away?
BE: THE END!!!!! Ha! It's the big reveal!
HC: The movie is dedicated to Nicholas Tucci, what was he like to work with?
BE: He was a true professional, quiet and hard working. Nick was at the centre of creating the culture on set that allowed for us all to operate to such a high standard. He was a truly good man, and he will be missed.
HC: Do you believe in the paranormal?
BE: Of course. Without a shadow of a doubt, I believe in the paranormal. We are only human; we don't have all of the answers. We just play out part within the greater picture.
HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?
BE: I've had a busy few years and I'm currently completing three movies, Father of Flies being one of course, A Bird Flew I which is a black and white cinema-verite feature I produced which also opens at festivals this month. And Quant a feature documentary on fashion designer Mary Quant that I've produced Which is opening at cinemas on the 29th of Oct 2021. I'm currently writing my next horror feature title and I'm in the process of creating a large modern horror slate of movies called The Number 44 for Goldfinch Entertainment.
HC: Ben Charles Edwards, thank you very much.
BE: Many thanks for your time.
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