Since his first appearance in 1997, Neil LaBute has always been able to combine deep social commentary into every project, no matter the genre. He''s also developed a passion for Bram Stoker''s culture in "Dracula," and the theatre. As both learn about the plot, LaBute discusses how Long and Bosworth shaped the narrative.
LaBute: What inspired the ''House of Darkness?'' Part of it was ''Dracula,'' and the idea of transforming it to something new. The other goes to my theater days. When COVID was rampant, we were experimenting with small cast and crew. This story felt like a fantastic one to tackle.
Is it possible to break down how the cast grew up? Justin came to us through one of the producers, and the producer had a connection to him. I also worked with Kate on stage for a theater benefit. After coming on board, they immediately got a good understanding, which was very important because they spent the majority of the film together. When we were back to us, we clicked.
''Dracula'' was used as an inspiration for ''House of Darkness,'' and you worked on the TV series ''Van Helsing.'' I think this because I spent a lot of time making connections, and it all greatly improved your sense of character. It always helped me to get a sense of character to what you''re doing.
The only problem when it came to pacing and the build-up to the end is that there''s no one component that''s more difficult as you''re always looking at the whole. I''m trying to use it as economically but as interestingly as possible. It''s a chess game of blocking out where you''re going, how much of this you''ll play here, and where we''ll go. We shot in Arkansas at a private residence, even in this limited location.
With the inherent environmental difficulties that arise, we are constantly at the mercy of the weather or shooting at night. We were second-guessing what we should do and asked if we could move this scene outside. We divided this up and tried to get a suitable location for the [climactic] dream sequence.
When you move the chess pieces around, you may bring a third actor, and then one leaves, and another pops late in the game. That was the most important thing for me because a lot of time was spent sitting and talking frankly. How do you make that appear as interesting as possible?
While considering Justin and Kate''s interactions, there was a bit of social awkwardness. Was there any effort between the two, or was it all intentional from the script? A lot of what was on the page was on the screen, and I''m fairly meticulous in articulating dialogue, expressing itself as natural and theatrical. It had a lot of potential, but we were very surprised by the fact that things were repeated, and they found that there is no going on. They''re also moving around, but it is creating a
You want it to feel when you''re writing it, and you can also say, "This works for me," or "I don''t; let me try something." I''m not a fan of Improvisation, but it''s easy to make whole scenes new. Somebody gives up a great tagline to a scene.
The film, which stars Gia Crovatin and Lucy Walters, is in theaters, digital and on-demand.
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