Interview With The Director Of The Resident Antti Jokinen
By James Whittington, Monday 27th June 2011

The Resident PosterThe Resident, a new chiller from Hammer FIlms has just been released into UK cinemas. It boasts a cast that includes Academy Award winner Hillary Swank and Hollywood legend Christopher Lee. Notable for Lee's return to Hammer for the first time in over 30 years, it has been directed by newcomer Antti Jokinen and we caught up him to discover how he came to direct one of Hammer's most famous actors.

HC: You hail from Finland, are Hammer films well known over there?

AJ: Well, I don’t think that Hammer Films are that well known in Finland, but I think that they are well known within the film industry and among film fans and horror film fans, and I think those are the people that will always know Hammer Films well. But obviously I don’t think that we [as a country] have such a big relationship with Hammer Films. A lot of my friends were aware of it and I was obviously more aware of it; it was great for me to be involved with them because as they are a European company they work so enormously well on a worldwide level.

HC: How did you start in the entertainment industry?

AJ: Well, you know, I stuck it out. I made my first movie when I was seven years old on an 8mm film, and I wanted to study film so I went to East Carolina University in North Carolina and studied Film and American literature. I always sought out the craftsmanship and learnt to write, learnt how to use a film camera; I shot a lot of my own commercials, music videos. I learnt different aspects on what film directors need, I did documentaries then I did commercials and music videos in Hollywood, which were for very different artists and that was my very own ‘film school’ into making feature films. I believe that there are around 2% of people who are naturally talented and are able to lean on a camera, put the film in and then something immaculate will happen. The rest of us need to work on it. I think it is a craftsmanship like any other you just think that you need to start at an early age that you need to take on these inspirations that will help you make films.

HC: How did the project for The Resident come together and where did you get the idea for the story?

AJ: Originally, when I wrote the story of the film, I wanted to make a film about claustrophobia and voyeurism and I was very strongly influenced in my teens by Polanski with The Tenant, and Hitchcock with Dial M For Murder and other European psychological thrillers. I started to write a film that I wanted to be able to liken to that, and I also wanted to write a film which I could then direct that was character driven and not just blood driven. Then after I wrote the first draft of the story I got Robert Orr involved in the written process and he brought in a lot of new things, a lot of cool ideas and we executed the script together like that. I wanted to have control over the project so we worked for free. We didn’t have a development budget and didn’t want to get a development team involved too early on so that is really how it came together. It was a film where I wanted to take an American psychological thriller film and hide a European film inside of it. That was my intention and I think it paid off.

HC: The Resident has a feel of 1960s Polanski to it, was this deliberate?

AJ: Without a question it was deliberate. I really love that era of films and I really like, really love Polanski. I love those claustrophobic films, those films that are left unknown, films that leave things open and are left to your imagination and I think there was a very strong influence for me. I really also wanted to be a writer and director that really celebrated that era; now, when films are becoming more and more normalised, we need to make films as artists, that are different to what we are accustomed to in Hollywood.

HC: The Resident is your first major picture, how nervous were you when you first sat in the director’s chair on set?

AJ: I wasn’t nervous; I think that I am grown up enough not to be nervous, but I was definitely feeling the pressure. I think the biggest pressure comes from the fact you know that you want to deliver something you have imagined yourself. It is such a collaborative and creative process, in Hollywood there are always companies involved, a lot of producers, but I think my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t get my point of view across. I wasn’t really nervous or frightened by the fact I was making my first film, but I was feeling the pressure of delivering what I promised to the cast and crew, and even what I promised to myself. That’s the biggest stress that I felt. There’s a lot of pressure when you start shooting and you have to complete the film in 30 days, but when you have such a great cast and such a great crew that all of those fears do go away. And the fear comes from the fear of not being able to make the film I wanted to make. Am I going to be able to make a film that translates what the script is about? Those were the pressures I was feeling. On the other hand you want to make films that people like. I don’t want to make films for myself; I think that is the ultimate sin of a filmmaker. You want to make films for other people.

HC: Was it a hard movie to cast?

AJ: The original draft script was written eight and a half years ago and was written with nobody in mind. With Robert, there was nobody in mind. I tried to make the film once already and the original script had a stronger sexual vibe and I couldn’t cast it in Hollywood; then I adjusted the script a little bit three years ago, and I guess it got better as well. I couldn’t even dream of getting Hilary Swank but luckily she was looking for a different role. She was looking for an independent film with a different idea on how a story should be told. Then when she got involved it was like a ray of light and it all came together and the film was immediately greenlit. She was a fantastic collaborator. With Jeffrey Dean Morgan, I wanted to have a male character that was not just one dimensional but that had good and bad things; a darker side that was also gentle. He got involved because of Hilary as they were looking to make a film together. And then with Hammer Films, there was a role in the script for an older grandpa character that had a very strong presence; the Christopher Lee role was not originally made for him, but Hammer were very keen on getting him involved... It is Christopher Lee! What the f**k? What was supposed to happen? How do I say no to that? He really responded to the script then we spoke over the phone. I was unbelievably grateful; his screen presence is just unbelievable. He has made more films than anybody on the earth so you know what is not to like?

HC: To say Christopher Lee is an icon of horror cinema, especially Hammer cinema is an understatement...

AJ: Yes, of course, it was great. Hammer Films, Christopher Lee – it’s kind of a cracked deal! It was a dream come true in that sense. Both of them are icons, alongside Hilary as well. But I will be the guy forever remembered for reuniting Christopher Lee and Hammer. I’m very happy.

HC: The film is set very much in the real world and very dialogue driven – were you at all tempted to over-do the special effects?

AJ: I don’t like films where there is over the top action and gore; I mean, it’s a central thing that happens in horror films these days. It is not something that I wanted to happen. Yes, there were times where there were conversations, not with Hammer specifically, and from the Hollywood companies there was some pressure to inject more gore into the film, but that was not the film we were making. Hilary was great help there as well. But, you know, I think the system in Hollywood works in the way that once there are a couple of films with gore in them, they look for further opportunities to put them in to make them a part of the flavour of the day. We played with the idea but the script didn’t really have a place for it – it would have felt out of place. The central thing was that I just wasn’t interested in making that sort of film and neither was Hilary. I think that to have things that are not seen and a person who is incapable of trusting anybody is interesting filmmaking.

Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Mickey Fisher 1

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?

MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...

Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Gary J. Tunnicliffe doing SFX make-up on the set of Hellraiser Judgement

Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.

HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?

GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...

Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Director Chee Keong Cheung

Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?

CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...

Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020

On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.

HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?

SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...

Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Concrete Plans poster

Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.

Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!

HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?

SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...

Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020

A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.

HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?

SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...

Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Fried Barry

Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?

RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...

Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
thumbnail_Brandon Blood

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?

DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...

Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.

HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?

FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...

Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020

Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.

HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?

CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...

Interview with Nicholas Santos, writer and director of It Cuts Deep
Posted on 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 hor...

Interview with Robert Woods, director of An Ideal Host
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
Robert Woods

Ever had the dinner party from Hell with people you don't really relate to and seem alien? Well this is the premise of the the hilarious horror comedy An Ideal Host from director Robert Woods. Here he tells Horror about this cracking movie.

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it and what made you decide that this would be your first project as a director?

RW: Tyler and I had been writing theatre together for a decade, but movies are our first love and we wanted to give it a crack as well. Tyler came up with the initial idea but we worked on the story together and it evolved a great deal from the initial pitch. As it was my first time directing, I think we were j...

Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
Friday 21st May
9.00 PM
Tuesday 25th May
9.00 PM
Lost City Raiders
Sunday 23rd May
6.30 PM