LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Paul Hyett, director of Peripheral
By James Whittington, Wednesday 16th February 2022
Paul Hyett is a multi-disciplined creative whose work is as inventive as it is imaginative. His latest movie is a dark sci-fi chiller named Peripheral and it will have its UK TV premiere on Horror, Friday 25th February at 11.05pm.
Here he chats about this incredible movie and his plans for the future.
HC: How did you become attached to Peripheral?
PH: The producer Craig Touhy and I had been friends for a while and had nearly done another movie together and he'd liked the claustrophobia and tension of The Seasoning House so we met up to discuss Peripheral. When he pitched it to me, very much a low budget, contained movie, in one apartment. I must say I was a little hesitant. I wanted to broaden my directing and do bigger scope. Craig persuaded me to at least read it. I did and loved the script. The story, the character of Bobbi, of this writer blocked, being forced to adjust to what is wanted of her. Her art, her work, being blocked, being forced to sell her soul. Being manipulated in so many ways. And having to succumb to a technology that ultimately fucks her in so many ways and being forced to write for a corporation that she hates. It felt all so very relevant.
HC: Was the cast already in place and what's it like directing an acting legend such as Jenny Seagrove?
PH: No we cast from the ground up, Jenny Seagrove was the first cast, I was so happy we got her. She loved the script and the character of Merlock. She was an absolute joy, so professional, so excellent and willing to discuss The Guardian with William Friedkin.
HC: The film looks incredible, did you have much budget to play with?
PH: No, it was soo low budget. But we were lucky, we had a great DOP, Peter Taylor who is Ridley Scott's camera operator of choice. He shot it so beautifully. And in general we had a great crew, all the departments really did great work to make the budget look a lot more then it was.
HC: It's a very technical movie, was it a tough shoot?
PH: No, not compared to Howl or The Seasoning house. So it was nice to be able to concentrate on the drama and performances.
HC: There is a conspiracy element to the story, do you have a favourite conspiracy theory?
PH: Yeah but to be honest, I will keep those to myself as they could cause offence. Although I do believe aliens have visited and thought we were too backward to bother with.
HC: Do you think there will be a time when AI does take control?
PH: I think technology will continue and AI is going to be a very valuable tool. Do I think it will ever take control as per Skynet, no. Technology will slow down. There's only so much space on a computer chip. Even with nanotechnology there needs to be a breakthrough in how technology can be furthered without it being made in the current methodology. It would need to be something organic, like biological mechanics.
HC: It's very different to other movies you've directed, is this a deliberate choice?
PH: Yeah I try to diversify as much as I can. I like to try to do something different each time. I can't see the point in repeating the same thing over and over.
HC: How does it feel that that it's having its UK TV premiere on Horror and how would you describe it to our audience?
PH: I am so happy for Peripheral to land on the Horror Channel. It will hit a whole new audience. A fusion of reality and with fantasy, whereas an isolated writer faces a bizarre and surrealistic predicament against incomprehensible socio-bureaucratic powers with cross of Cronenberg and Demon Seed.
HC: All your movies have a distinct British edge to them, would you agree?
PH: Yes I would agree with that.
HC: You're a multi-talented creative, you have one job you prefer above all others?
PH: Very kind of you. I love directing more than anything. Its way above anything I've done, and more satisfying and soul crushing then anything I've ever done.
HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?
PH: I have a few projects in development. The Black Site, a gritty war-horror with Grimmfest films. Developing a project with Balagan Productions. a revisionist take on the afterlife and our perceptions of it, and Unnatural selection, a Carpenteresque new England horror. All very different, all in different stages of development.
HC: Paul Hyett, thank you very much.
Thank you, a pleasure as always.
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