Housebound director tackles the Q&ADirector Gerard Johnstone talks about Housebound, the Kiwi horror house comedy which has taken the SXSW fest by storm.
The film gets its New Zealand premiere in Auckland this weekend, having been picked by festival director Bill Gosden to play as part of the main programme - and having been singled out as one of his personal highlights.
Tell us about your film, Housebound
It's a comedy-thriller about a young female reprobate on home detention who has to learn to live with her dithering mother and a supernatural entity.
Where did the idea come from?
There were a few different sources of inspiration, I had a creepy idea in the back of my mind that hadn't been done before (I'm now aware it's been done 3 times). I needed to think of something that could be made for $250k, so it was inevitable that it would be called 'Housebound' and I also liked the idea of mashing up a kitchen sink drama with a ghost mystery.
What was the easiest part of putting this together?
What was the hardest part?
Writing and shooting
What’s the one moment in your film that you’re impressed you got on celluloid and why?
Any moment with Rima Te Wiata. I just think she's a national treasure and it's a sad indictment of how our film and TV industry has progressed that actors with her level of talent haven't been a consistent presence on screen.
What’s the one moment you were devastated you had to leave out and why?
I made a really cool opening title sequence set to the original Hardy boys / Nancy Drew theme. I thought it was amazing and perfectly set the tone. But obviously we would've had difficulties getting the rights to that music and it added 45 seconds to the duration. And some people probably would think it was a stupid way to open the film, so it wasn't worth fighting for.
Annoyingly, it's just the thought that there will be some technical hiccup, like the projector will break, or the DCP file will become corrupted. That's all I can think about. If that doesn't happen, I'd imagine it would feel pretty great. Maybe even a little emotional.
What would you hope audiences would get from your movie?
I hope they have a fun time and if they do, I hope they spread the word.
What’s the one other film at the NZIFF you’re wanting to see and why?
Jodorowsky's Dune. It's incredible that he nearly made Dune and that in the end they went with someone who was only slightly less crazy.
What’s next for Housebound? It’s had great reviews abroad and looks like it’s got global success in its sights?
We've been booked for another couple of big fests but really we're just pinning our hopes on a great opening night and a decent local release in September.
What’s been the best reaction to Housebound as far as you’re concerned?
It's been an embarrassment of riches as far as the critical reaction goes (so far anyway). Drew McWeeny from Hitfix said it was like being 'punched in the skull'. You can happily retire after a review like that.
What’s next for you?
Luke Sharpe (who produced Housebound) and I are remaking the 80s hit Terry & the Gunrunners which is due to shoot later this year.
Finally, because horror Q&As should end on Q13, tell us why NZers should go to see your movie this Saturday...
Because it has absolutely nothing to do with our cultural identity.
Book tickets to Housebound, premiering in NZ on July 26th at the mighty Civic Theatre here