Magazine article Screen International

Season Well

Magazine article Screen International

Season Well

Article excerpt

Screen chats to make up and special effects designer Paul Hyett about his directorial debut The Seasoning House, which opens FrightFest on Thursday (23).

If you've seen the likes of The Descent, Hunger, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll or Attack The Block, you'll already be familiar with Paul Hyett's work. A mainstay of the British genre scene, make up and special effects guru Hyett has now taken up directorial duties for his feature debut The Seasoning House.

Receiving its world premiere as the opening film of Film4 FrightFest on Thursday (23), The Seasoning House takes place in a Balkan brothel where a deaf-mute girl Angel (played by Rosie Day in her first feature role), who cares for the inmates, plans to make her escape after the arrival of the men responsible for slaughtering her family. For Hyett, it was the culmination of a long-gestating dream.

"I've worked with a lot of really good directors and a lot of bad ones, been attached to a lot of projects where I thought a really good script was wasted. It just got to a point where I thought I really have to direct now," explains Hyett. "For me, I want to tell my stories rather than supplement other peoples'. I kept watching directors who didn't have a vision making average films. I just really wanted to make the film that I had in my head and make it how I visualised it."

The Seasoning House wasn't originally going to be that film. Hyett and producer Michael Riley were set to make psychological thriller The Black Site (which Hyett hopes to work on next), but the budget reached £2.5m and they decided to switch to something lower budget for Hyett's debut.

With the script written in two to three months, the casting of Angel proved to be an early challenge. "We saw 150 girls and we casted for quite a while. Funnily enough, Rosie was in the last ten we saw and we did think 'oh my God, we've got to find Angel' and when she came in, I instantly thought she looks perfect. …

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