LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview With Director Axelle Carolyn
By James Whittington, Monday 11th August 2014
Multi-talented Axelle Carolyn is one of the most talked about people in the horror industry today. She’s a writer, director and actress and her directorial feature film debut, Soulmate has just been released onto DVD. Here she chats about this fantastic film and her plans for the future.
HC: Where did the idea for Soulmate come from?
AC: The idea came about 5 years ago; at the time I’d been living in London for a few years but I wasn’t very familiar with the British countryside. I got lost one foggy day on my way back from the Cotswolds and ended up in a strange little village which seemed entirely deserted. It brought back images of Gothic tales and ghost stories I’d read as a teenager,
and I thought I’d love to help bring back the genre (The Woman In Black movie hadn’t been announced yet).
HC: How long did it take to write and did you have any actors in mind whilst creating the script?
AC: I wrote the first version in about a year, on and off. Then I left it aside and made a few short films, wrote another script… At the time I didn’t have a specific cast or location in mind. A few months later I went back to the script, and decided to make it as contained as possible, so I could shoot it on a low budget. It’s basically two people in a house, one of them just happens to be a ghost. I’d also worked with Anna Walton, and she struck me as the perfect Audrey.
HC: How nervous were you when you sat behind the camera on this, your first feature?
AC: Not too nervous, to be honest. Just a healthy amount! I thought it was a fantastic experience. I was surrounded by a cast and crew I trusted, and I’d spent so much time with this story on my mind already, I felt very familiar with it. And you know, we had to move so fast. You’re swept into the action, you adapt and make decisions on the spot, and
there’s very little time for nerves because you’re constantly busy.
HC: The locations used are stunning, did you have these places in mind whilst writing?
AC: Thanks! Not at first, but once we’d found the cottage, I rewrote the script to adapt it to the layout, with the living room upstairs, and the general feel of the place. I love the Brecon Beacons; it’s stunningly beautiful and inspirational. And our production designer, Felix Coles, did such a great job with the cottage, making it look like something you could
realistically expect to find on the holiday property market, but also kind of dark and odd.
HC: The film has a classic, romantic/paranormal feel to it, you must be very proud of its unique atmosphere?
AC: I’m happy you liked it! Atmosphere is so important in ghost stories. Taking your time to get to know your characters, letting your locations breathe… Most horror movies like to rush into the scary bits very quickly now, which wasn’t the case of the movies I grew up watching, like The Haunting, or The Innocents, or The Changeling. The locations also help set the mood of course, as well as choosing the right frames, and shadows (my cinematographer Sara Deane is awesome!) sound effects such as howling wind, etc.
HC: What have you learned about directing whilst making this movie?
AC: I think more than anything, to listen to everybody’s advice, but then to go with my instincts. As a first-time filmmaker, you’re acutely aware that you’re the person on set with the least amount of credits to their name. When I was making my short films, it sometimes made me a bit hesitant to go against the opinions of the more experienced heads of departments. But as the director, no one has a better global picture of what the movie should be than you, so you have to go with what you believe will work best.
HC: So what are you working on at the moment?
AC: I have a script I’d love to make, called The Skeleton Dance. I’m developing a couple of other ideas at the same time, we’ll see what gets made first!
HC: Axelle Carolyn, thank you very much.
AC: Thank you!
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