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Interview with Guillaume Lubrano, director of Dark Stories
By James Whittington, Monday 31st August 2020
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There's been a number of anthology movies at FrightFest 2020 but one of the strongest is Dark Stories from director Guillaume Lubrano. Here he chats about this fun piece.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror movies?

GL: I'd say I've always been a fan of genre titles, being it horror, science fiction, fantasy, every subgenre that plays with the ability to push our imagination forward always fascinated me. And this was born mostly with the 80s I think and the birth of modern era special effects... those comforted writers and directors in the fact that they could try to tell stuff about anything... and well that's what they did: anything... and among all this creativity, some real gems triggered the imagination of lots of kids like me.

HC: How did Dark Stories come about?

GL: Dark Stories came from the frustration that French cinema is usually not really keen on playing with creatures... thinking that this is something that does not belong to our culture and that if we have to do something it has to be as "grounded" as possible to reality. But from all the nightmares filled with creatures that I was having as a kid I've always thought about monsters so well I wanted to do something more generous about that and before doing the Metal Hurlant Chronicles first season in 2010 I had come up with several pitches for an anthology called Dark Stories where the idea was to have several stories set in France, featuring a different creature in each story and trying to have a different narrative angle on each of those monsters. But I went to do several season of Metal Hurlant (which was an anthology as well) and then I worked on a time travel comedy show called "The Cell". I was working on the follow up of this one when I was asked by the broadcaster if I would have an idea for a Halloween even I immediately pitched Dark Stories and the project restarted from that.

HC: Where do you get your story ideas from?

GL: Hmm, it depends sometimes from dreams, sometimes from experience or strange situations that I feel and some are just developed from concepts in reunions with my co writers...

HC: Your segments; The Bloody Puppet, The Feast of Ghouls, Dead but Alive, and The Parc are very different to one another, was the deliberate as a lot of anthology movies have a theme running through them?

GL: I like anthology. I love the idea of seeing those as candies, Forest Gump's mom could say "Dark Stories is like a box of chocolate... you never know what you're gonna get :)", but I guess she wouldn't like our movie probably a bit inappropriate due to her time period. But that's the idea I had behind Dark Stories, trying to blend horror, gore, action, comedy, adventure, drama, love story in different combinations, just for the pleasure of doing it.

HC: How did Francois Descraques become involved?

GL: We wanted for a long time to work together on a project with Francois and Davy Mourier (the puppet's face is him!) and when the project became real I asked them if they'd like to handle two stories each. so Francois picked up the UFO and Vampire pitches while Davy picked up Ghost and Werewolves, but during development Davy had to leave on another project and therefore I switched the werewolves story to the bloody Puppet as Davy and I actually loved the idea of doing our own take on Sheherazade story so meanwhile Francois' stories evolved and became the Djiin and in the end I went up like that loving the idea that we would get very different stories in terms of tone and narrative. This gives the overall feeling that anything can happen in this world.

HC: The cast are fantastic but especially Dominique Pinon, what is he like to direct?

GL: Dominique worked with me on 3 different episodes on Metal Hurlant he was actually the "link" between all the episodes for both seasons and he was the final of the show. It was really a great experience working with him bringing touching moments as well as madness. So when we started talking about cast for the Last Judgement, I said that we should get Dominique for the part of Jean-Luc Barrouf and as expected, he was really great in the part!

HC: Was it hard working on a multi-language project?

GL: Not really since Metal hurlant, I feel like I've been doing this nonstop, well I try to improve my work by trying to push the boundaries of what we can do in France.

HC: Do you have a favourite segment from Dark Stories?

GL: I love the Djinn and the Puppet stories a lot, but I love the jaw sequence, the strange darkness feelings of the park, those funny moments in the farm, and those crazy moments in the museum with the paintings.

HC: Will there be more Dark Stories?

GL: I do have a concept for a second one with other type of monsters and mostly set in the Alps that we talked together with Francois, but this will depend on finding new production partners for this one.

HC: Which anthology series do you think is the greatest of all time?

GL: Twilight Zone of course, and well Black Mirror comes to mind as the recent masterpiece.

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

GL: I'm on several development projects at the moment, I'm co-writing a US feature project, working as well on a French feature adapted from a comic book. I'm also EP on Francois' next Horror feature. On the TV side, I'm working on two projects as writer/director for SVOD platforms.

HC: Guillaume Lubrano, thank you very much.


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