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Interview with Casey Dillard writer and star of Driven
By James Whittington, Sunday 25th August 2019
FrightFest 2019 contains some of the most inventive and rewarding movies that are out there waiting to be discovered. One in particular, Driven is causing a bit of a stir so we chatted to Casey Dillard, writer and star of this smart shocker.
HC: How did the idea for Driven come to you?
CD: Glenn wanted to try to make an "easy" movie that took place entirely in a car, so the concept was his. I came up with the idea of a ride-share driver and passenger. Once I had solid reasons for them to stay within this space the story came easily enough. I enjoy a good curse as long as it isn't put on me.
HC: Did it take long to write?
CD: If you count the time that I actually sat in front of the computer and wrote, rather than all the time I spent getting distracted or going down a YouTube tunnel, probably not all that long. I think it was a couple of months start to finish. My cat Trippy was my unofficial writing partner since he'd get in my lap and keep me in place for longer periods of time.
HC: Was your script/vision constricted by budget?
CD: Not especially. Maybe it's because I come from a theatre background, but I generally find myself drawn to smaller stories, or at least big stories told within a small space. I think the budget showed up to bite me more when I started doing some of the producing work.
HC: A lot of the movie takes place in Emerson's cab, what was that like from an actor's point of view?
CD: I'd get a little stir-crazy a couple of times a night, but for the most part I was grateful not to be in the open air since we filmed during an insanely badly timed cold front. It got to be a pain when I'd be wanting to engage with a scene partner by looking at them but was driving (or pretending to drive) so I had to keep my eyes on the road.
HC: How hard was is it shooting at night?
CD: Those particular nights? Pretty hard (see above: awful weather), but otherwise OK. Once you get married to the idea of being exhausted for a few months and lean into it it isn't so bad.
HC: What's the most memorable moment you had during the making of the movie?
CD: Gosh. I guess Rich smashing his head on his first night of shooting was pretty memorable. I think there was a ghost in the interior space we filmed in and it really wanted us gone one night. A cat came and watched us film for so long it was unnerving once. I guess a good one was when Rich and I had to do one of the heavier scenes in the movie and after one take I saw a crew member (Zach, our sound man) smile and nod to himself and give Glenn a thumbs up. It's possible, even probable, that he just really nailed the sound on that take, but I like to think we did a good job and he enjoyed watching.
HC: Just got to ask, where did the "turdspoon" concept come from?
CD: Life. Years ago, thankfully.
HC: Are you nervous that the movie is showing at FrightFest and have you ever been before?
CD: Oh, yes. Quite nervous. We've had good audience responses so far, but humour is so subjective that comedy is always a gamble. I'm thrilled to be going, but a little nervous about it. I've not been before, first time in London, too, so if anybody has any activity suggestions, I'm all ears.
HC: You're a multi-talented person, do you have one job that you prefer above all others?
CD: Well, thanks! Performing is definitely my number one pursuit. I like writing, love it sometimes, but I mainly got into screenwriting so that I could write the kinds of roles that I want to watch and play. I could walk away from anything except performance. And I've tried.
HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?
CD: Planning for my improv team's 10th anniversary show, practicing rope dart, working on a couple of features, and waiting to see what's next.
HC: Casey Dillard, thank you very much.
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