Magazine article Screen International

Ed Gass-Donnelly, 'Lavender'

Magazine article Screen International

Ed Gass-Donnelly, 'Lavender'

Article excerpt

The director talks to Jeremy Berkowitz ahead of the April 18 world premiere of his psychological thriller in Tribeca.

Lavender centres on Jane, played by Abbie Cornish, as she tries to regain her memory and uncover the truth behind her family's death. Diego Klattenhoff, Dermot Mulroney, and Justin Long also star.

Gass-Donnelly reveals more about crawling centipedes, how to horrify any audience, and the influence of Stanley Kubrick. AMBI financed the film. XYZ Films represents US rights and AMBI Distribution handles international sales.

What different horror movies or thrillers influenced you for this movie?

I have such a mixed response to the word "horror". Definitely The Others was a big influence. I'm not a horror fan really, per se. But there are great movies that happen to be scary, but I'm not a fan. The biggest reason I don't like that genre is I really don't believe it. There's bad reactions. But what I liked about The Others was just that it was such a rich world of performances. I was so drawn into the world. They made me believe it through the acting. And that was what inspired me to do this. I'm interesting in telling stories and it's about how I can make them authentic and with airtight logic from beginning to end. Especially a movie like this where you have to make sure that all those pieces and beats are a part of it.

The other one that influenced the movie was The Shining. There were points where I would say, "I think we're accidentally ripping offThe Shining." Not ripping it off, but the shot where there was the girl in the hall - it's that classic sort of Kubrick centre frame. I think it's just where our tastes tend to go. We try to find things that we find to be creepy and unsettling. They tend to have a lot of restraint.

I thought Justin Long really fit the role. I know he did Tusk, but typically we're used to seeing him play more comedic characters.

I was trying to cast him in a way that makes him a little weird, and then lets us trust him. So, for me I like the idea that that he's recognisable, so when you see him at the beginning of the movie you know he's going to come back. And that was important. Within the genre you're always looking to be ahead of the movie. As soon as you know there's a mystery you try to solve it. …

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