Magazine article Screen International

John McNaughton, the Harvest

Magazine article Screen International

John McNaughton, the Harvest

Article excerpt

Ian Sandwell talks to the American director about his first film in over a decade, The Harvest.

Returning to cinema screens over a decade since his last film Speaking of Sex, John McNaughton is very open when explaining why it's been so long.

"I didn't need to work and film-making is brutal, for me anyway, so I just fucked off for a while," says the American director. Screen spoke to him after the international premiere of The Harvest at Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival, but The Harvest might not have even been his comeback film.

"The agency sent me the script and at first, very little attracted me. My agent, who I've known for 28 years and who I trust, asked me to read it again and then I discovered what was there, but realised it needed work to pull that through," recalls McNaughton.

What's there is the dark story of two parents whose son is bedridden after becoming gravely ill. However, when a young neighbour befriends him, they react angrily and it soon becomes clear that not all is at it seems.

For the project, McNaughton assembled a powerhouse leading duo of Michael Shannon and Samantha Morton. His regular producer Steven A. Jones knew Shannon from living in Chicago and once Shannon was on-board, "once you get one good actor, the door opens," notes McNaughton.

The director was never worried about having two key roles for children in the film, played by Natasha Calis and Charlie Tahan.

"Years ago, for [TV show] Homicide, I had to find a six year old, so we brought in a crew of them and there were at least three of them that could have done it. …

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