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Interview with Dominic Brunt, director of Attack of the Adult Babies
By James Whittington, Monday 6th August 2018
With FrightFest 2018 only a few weeks away we decided to chat to actor/writer/director Dominic Brunt about what its like to be waiting to have your movie screened at FrightFest and the plans he has for future movie projects.
HC: It's been a while since we last chatted, apart from Attack of the Adult Babies, what have you been up to?
DM: It's been a very busy and fulfilling year at Emmerdale with a very involving story going through the whole year. Also, I was driver about-er on Sybil, Jo's fantastic new short film (which is showing at FrightFest 2018). I had a small role in Funny Cow with Tony Pitts and Maxine Peak which I loved.
HC: AotAB has to be one of the most original movies around at the moment, how did the project come together?
DB: Thanks very much!! It was a title first which I scrawled on the wall in our Leeds office. Jo then developed it over some time and kept adding to it and expanded. I really wanted to reference the old EC (pre-comic code) horror comics from the 50's. We have quite a few stories, treatment and scripts in various stages of development. We were lucky enough to be offered funding for this one, and I was available for the duration. A large part of the originality comes from the fact it was made totally independently and without interference.
HC: Did it take long for the script to be completed and did it change much over this time?
DB: The story came from an existing idea which was a little home invasion theme we were working on. It fit the Adult Babies idea really well and we went from there. Paul Shrimpton wrote the screenplay from our breakdown and he did brilliantly lending his unique voice to the film. He's a big horror nut so we were all on the same page from the off.
HC: There's always a fine balance between horror and comedy in movies and few directors get the balance right but you've added a satirical element too, how hard was it to balance all these themes?
DB: We have made very serious horror films from the start. Our next is very serious and tense too, so it was a good release to do something as unbridled as Attack of the Adult Babies. I honestly don't think we'll ever do anything like it again but it was good anarchic fun, if not ridiculously hard, stressful work.
HC: Was casting the movie difficult as each part, shall we say, needs guts to play?
DB: We gave the entire script to the actors we wanted to see. We pre-cast a few parts like Andy Dunn and Charlie Chuck, but a good amount of the casting was done through auditions. Sally Dexter was a revelation and we were lucky to have found her. The tricky part was casting the Adult Babies. No one would do it, and I can't say I blame them. There were four speaking AB's and four none speaking. The four none speaking were almost impossible roles to fill but we did it with a day to go before filming, and now we're all friends for life. Adult babies forever!!!!
HC: There's some really cool SFX moments, were they hard to realise?
DB: Shaune Harrison and Graham Taylor know exactly what they are doing and Neale Myers augmented some of the effects in post to make them extra realistic. They all had meetings before the shoot and organised their separate roles within each effect before we arrived on set. We were very fortunate to be working with the people we wanted to be working with. We did a short film with Shaune called The Box and I've been a nerdy fan of his work for years... if you don't ask, you don't get. We worked with Graham for Inbred and another short film. There really isn't anyone who can do blood and pump work like him. He is also the inventor of the Sh*t Cannon.
HC: It's also quite surreal in places, whose idea was it for the animation sequence?
DB: I love animation and always have. I really want a shadow puppetry segment in our next film in the style of Lotte Reiniger or the early oriental approach. For me, animation holds emotion and expresses it in a way that live action can't. I like drawn animation or model animation. I really loved a claymation feature from years ago called The Adventures of Mark Twain (which no one has seen) and I know that film from back to front, every word. Lee Hardcastle is incredible, and me being both a horror and animation fanatic, he's an animation giant.
HC: How would you catergorise this movie as underneath all the bizarre themes I feel there's a political message?
DB: That would be for the viewer to decide. You could watch it as a very brash gore-fest comedy or you could see the wider more satirical messages which run all the way through. I do believe you can make a political point in feature films without being preachy or (even worse) boring. Attack of the Adult Babies is about our elected (and very often) un-elected moral guardians who purport to be our "leaders" when in fact, time after time after time, they prove themselves to be anything but moral. Open a paper.
HC: How nervous were you before its world premiere last year at FrightFest?
DB: Horribly nervous. Any film premier is the culmination of two or three years work (far more if you include writing and fund raising). You want people to "get" your work or at the very least understand and enjoy what you are presenting. We've been very lucky in the responses to our films. Of course we've been slammed to the wall by the odd internet reviewer but the vast majority of reviews have been great.
HC: How have you changed, as a director between Before Dawn and AotAB?
DB: I plan all the shots ahead of the shoot and try to stick to it. I'm more confident and I think I work with actors with a greater degree of empathy than I did.
HC: So, what's next for MitchellBrunt productions?
DB: We've bought the rights to a comic book which I fell deeply in love with and we'll make that next.
HC: Dominic Brunt, thank you very much.
Related show tags: ATTACK OF THE ADULT BABIES, BEFORE DAWN, DOMINIC BRUNT, INBRED MORE FRIGHTFEST Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
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