Category Archives: Interviews

‘Mortal Engines’ star Robert Sheehan on being subconsciously obsessed with mortals

It’s the festive season, so naturally it’s time for a new epic fantasy film from The Lord Of The Rings‘ Peter Jackson. That film is arriving in the form of Mortal Engines, based on the novel by Philip Reeve, which is what some people are calling a steampunk LOTR. However, Jackson isn’t directing this time — that task has gone to Christian Rivers. The film stars Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan and Jihae as citizens and visitors of the travelling town of London as they all get caught up in a plot of murder and oppression.

Robert Sheehan, who genre fans will know as Nathan from E4’s Misfits, has a surprising story regarding the Mortal Engines casting process: “Leila George, who plays Katherine, and I went to San Francisco, to Peter Jackson’s hotel room, and we just sat around, started chatting shit and taped over four hours because Peter’s camera battery kept dying. So, we’d do a take and then he’d go off and he’d sit it in charge for 15 to 20 minutes and we’d have another natter and show each other YouTube videos…

Full interview for SciFiNow
This is an extract from a bigger print-exclusive Mortal Engines preview feature in SciFiNow #152

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Lola Kirke: ‘As a woman, I felt uncomfortable with my libido’

Lola Kirke is perched at the table of an east London restaurant, surrounded by the remnants of scones. Though enthusiastic and engaging in conversation, the 28-year-old actor and musician is prone to getting distracted: on this occasion, it’s a fellow customer wearing a beret with the term ‘Solidarity’ on it that has interrupted her train of thought. “I think that’s hysterical,” she says, genuinely delighted…

Full interview for HUCK

Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber on Blumhouse’s ‘Cam’ and being sex-work positive

A multiple prize-winner at this year’s prestigious Fantasia Festival, the Blumhouse-produced Cam, now available on Netflix UK, is one of 2018’s most interesting horror films for numerous reasons.

First of all, the film, set in the world of webcam shows, is among the most sex work-positive fiction features to date from any genre, and a crucial pop culture asset in a time when sex workers worldwide are under threat, thanks to livelihood-threatening legislation from various governments.

Secondly, Cam is one of the few films with sex work at its centre that’s actually written by a former sex worker. Debut screenwriter and producer Isa Mazzei had a similar camming career to that of the film’s protagonist, Alice (online alias Lola, played by the spellbinding Madeline Brewer of The Handmaid’s Tale).

Thirdly, although the film is directed by Daniel Goldhaber (his debut feature), it is credited as ‘A film by Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber’. Despite taking on specific roles (Mazzei is the sole screenwriter), the pair are adamant Cam is a 100 per cent joint vision, making it a particularly fascinating case study in a climate where who gets to tell what stories is under more scrutiny than ever.

Cam follows Alice, who makes a living as a camgirl on a popular chatroom site, but withholds sharing the details of her career with her mother (Melora Walters) – until she cracks the top 50 ranking of the platform’s performers. Around the time she does, she suddenly finds she’s been locked out of her account. Someone else is broadcasting from it, though: a doppelgänger of Alice/Lola, who veers into content that goes beyond the rules Alice had set for herself. In a bitter twist, the imposter Lola’s shows help her channel become one of the most popular on the site. With the exception of a fan who seems strangely attuned to what’s going on, no one seems able to help Alice stop Lola, forcing her down a path of creative and eventually violent improvisations.

While they were in London for the film’s UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, we sat down with Mazzei and Goldhaber for a fascinating, extensive conversation concerning, among other things, what their film says about our relationship to technology, making such a sex work-positive movie, working with Blumhouse and their thoughts on Jason Blum’s recent comments about women in horror filmmaking, the curious influence of documentarian Frederick Wiseman on the film’s storytelling, working with star Madeline Brewer and how to successfully collaborate with people to empower underrepresented voices, creating a new cinematic language to tell their horror tale, and their unique partnership that dismisses traditional notions of auteur theory…

Full interview for VODzilla.co

Samantha Robinson on Netflix’s ‘Cam’, ‘The Love Witch’, social media, and ‘Paris, Texas’

Set in the world of a specific type of sex work, Netflix’s Blumhouse-produced horror Cam offers plenty of food for thought alongside its unsettling thrills. Written by former camgirl Isa Mazzei and directed by Daniel Goldhaber, the film sees a rising star camgirl, Lola (real name Alice, played by Madeline Brewer), locked out of her account, after it has been taken over by a mysterious entity that looks exactly like her and is near-constantly broadcasting. No one can tell the difference and it seems nothing can be done about this supernatural occurrence. In its portrayal of an identity theft nightmare, the film taps into and escalates real fears for the social media generation.

Although Alice is the centrepiece of the film – one of two, if you count her digital doppelgänger – there are plenty of memorable supporting characters. One of these is a young woman we only get to know as PrincessX, a camgirl rival of sorts to Lola, played by Samantha Robinson, currently best known for her breakthrough lead role in Anna Biller’s The Love Witch.

We met Robinson in London for a discussion of what drew her to the film’s material, the lack of a male gaze in the film thanks to its unique co-vision, what Cam says about our relationship to technology, how her career’s changed since The Love Witch, and her love of Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas informing a new creative project.

We also tried to get any information at all about her experience working on Quentin Tarantino’s next movie. Tried…

Full interview for VODzilla.co

Adina Pintilie, Tómas Lemarquis and Laura Benson talk MUBI’s ‘Touch Me Not’

An unexpected winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Romanian director Adina Pintilie’s Touch Me Not is an eye-opening look at human sexuality and intimacy that’s not quite documentary, not quite fiction in its incorporation of recognisable actors alongside non-professional stars sharing stories and acts of intimacy. Pintilie also ‘stars’ in the film herself as a director reflecting on the drama unfolding, lending proceedings the feel of a therapy session.

With the film now available exclusively on MUBI in the UK after a brief theatrical run, we speak to Pintilie and actors Laura Benson (Dangerous Liaisons, I Want to Go Home) and Tómas Lemarquis (Blade Runner 2049, Nói Albinói, Snowpiercer) about the unique project, how it changed their own views on intimacy, achieving trust, and what winning the Golden Bear means to them…

Full interview for VODzilla.co

Breakthrough anime director Mamoru Hosoda on ‘Mirai’

In conversation with Japanese writer-director Mamoru Hosoda, he cites childhood and how young people change as a recurring theme that unites all of his original stories. As such, it seems strangely appropriate that we end up introduced to his own children during our interview. Having just told us that his latest animation, Mirai, is inspired by his kids, we ask him if any of the film’s characters were directly informed by his own brood, which leads to us being shown a family portrait on his phone. “Do you want to see my kids’ pictures?” he asks. “They even look similar.” Sure enough, a lot of the people pictured in the photo resemble the character designs in the film. “The father is different,” he concedes. “Obviously, I’m not that good looking.”

Although staged on a comparatively smaller scale to other Hosoda films like Summer Wars and The Boy and the Beast, Mirai still has an element of fantasy informing its portrait of family relations. It’s closer in spirit to his excellent drama Wolf Children, which spanned several years in the lives of a pair of lycanthropic children and the human mother struggling to raise them. Mirai also features troublesome children, though its exploration of time comes through the unique hook of a magical garden enabling a young boy to encounter his relatives from different eras, with a future older version of his younger sister Mirai acting as his guide…

Full interview for The Skinny

The strange story of Orson Welles’ final years

Intended as the director’s magnum opus, Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind is one of the most famous films never to be completed. Or, at least it was.

Thanks to the efforts of various parties over the years (and a hefty cash injection from Netflix to get the existing footage out of rights limbo), a full version of the film – which tells the story of an ageing director struggling to revive his career – has finally been finished. After a wait of more than 40 years, it will be available on the streaming service from 2 November.

In conjunction, Netflix are releasing a feature-length documentary on the very same day, which covers the decade prior to Welles’ death in 1985. Titled They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, it follows the late filmmaker as he struggles to get The Other Side of the Wind made…

Full interview for HUCK