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Interview with Nicholas Santos, writer and director of It Cuts Deep
By James Whittington, Saturday 10th October 2020
It Cuts Deep Image 2

At Grimmfest we're used to comedy horror but none as well written as It Cuts Deep from writer/director Nicholas Santos. Here he chats about this true dissection of a romance going terribly wrong.

HC: Have you always been a big horror fan?

NS: I've been a big horror fan since I was a little kid. Some of my favourite childhood memories are seeing Event Horizon with my dad when I was in second grade, being absolutely terrified by Chucky from Child's Play at every waking moment and watching Psycho for the first time on VHS when I was 7 years old.

HC: Where did the idea for It Cuts Deep come from and did it take long to write?

NS: It Cuts Deep is a horror film about my fear of getting married and having children. The idea for the film came to me when I was preparing to propose to my now wife. I felt a deep fear of commitment and responsibility that was ripe for a horror film. I quickly overcame that fear and am now happily married, but it was a perfect starting point for this story. It took me three months to write the first draft and then I revised the screenplay over the next year.

HC: Charles Gould and Quinn Jackson who play the couple Sam and Ashley are superb together, did they have much rehearsal time?

NS: We had very little rehearsal time, but the actors lived at the same rental house during the shoot and became good friends. We saved the more intimate scenes for the end of the shoot so by then they were much more comfortable as an onscreen couple.

HC: Did John Anderson who plays Nolan, have to work long on his creepy smile?

NS: He walked into the audition with that amazing, creepy, friendly smile. Right off the bat, John understood the character and brought him to another level.

HC: It mixes horror/comedy/male paranoia perfectly, were you worried you wouldn't get the balance so right?

NS: The balance of horror and comedy was always one of the biggest concerns. Luckily, I had an amazing cast, and we were able to work together to make sure we were hitting the right beats at the right moments. We also got a variety of takes with different levels of comedy/horror/drama that we were able to pick and choose from during the edit.

HC: There's lots of light and shade in this movie, what was the atmosphere like on set?

NS: It was a very fun and collaborative shoot. While the film can be very dark at times, we tried to make it as welcoming and positive as possible on set. One of the highlights was having a movie night every night for the cast and crew of films that inspired It Cuts Deep.

HC: The score is fantastic, any chance of a physical release?

NS: The score is by the amazing Owen Evans of the indie band Roar. Fingers crossed for a physical release!

HC: This is your first feature as director, how nervous were you on the first day of shooting?

NS: I was very nervous, but I was working with key team members like director of photography Kyle Kelley who I've worked with extensively in the past and knew we could pull it off.

HC: Was there ever a point in the shoot you thought you'd taken on too much?

NS: Every morning! But I knew what I was getting into and was ready to face the challenge every day.

HC: Will you be nervous when its shown at GrimmFest?

NS: I'm super excited to share the film with the Grimmfest audience when we make our international premiere. Hopefully the film will get a UK release shortly after it comes out here in the states in November.

HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?

NS: I have two new features that I hope to make soon. You Kill Me is a horror/comedy about a marriage that unravels after the husband witnesses his wife murder a man in self-defence. The Bad Friend is a home invasion horror film about a toxic friendship.

HC: Nicholas Santos, thank you very much.


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