Based on the trailer I see a slight connection to your award winning short Hush. Was the short a spring board for your upcoming film The Hatred or did it evolve afterwards?
The short film HUSH was a scene from the feature film now titled THE HATRED. I have twin sons and when they were about 5 years old, they would ask me to check the closet and check under the bed before I would turn the light out for them to go to sleep. So, when I was writing the screenplay, that was just one idea for a scene. Another idea for a scene was a moment when I was in Ireland with my mother, sister and brother. We were staying at a country hotel that was a home for Field Marshal Montgomery’s mother during World War 2. When we went to bed around midnight we would hear someone walking up the stairs. My mother wondered why people were coming in so late. The next morning she asked the woman who ran the hotel who was coming in at that late hour. The woman shrugged it off until my mother later sat with her. The woman informed her that we were the only ones staying there. Legend had it that Montgomery’s mother was walking the stairwell at night because she and her son had gotten into a fight and never made up. So, she would walk the stairwell waiting for him to return. I wrote a scene with something happening in the hallway similar to that event in my life. The short film HUSH went on to win 34 awards and opened the door to present the feature screenplay.
Malek Akkad is producing the film, how did that come to be?
Malek and I had known each other from the reboot of Halloween he produced with Rob Zombie. Malek and I were friendly but we did not know each other on the level as a filmmaker as I never pushed that. When we started pushing the film, a mutual friend of ours reintroduced us with the intention of Malek checking out the short film and reading the script. Malek loved the short film and we had a meeting discussing the prospects of making the feature. Malek and I dove into the script and molded the scenes to elevate the story. Once we were funded both Malek and I hardly had any sleep. We would meet 3 hours before the start of our shoot day, work on the script and plan out each scene. We would then work 12 to 15 hours, talk about another hour after we wrapped and our day would be almost 18 hours. We did that every day of shooting!
How would you describe your experience directing your first feature? Do you have any advise for first time directors?
Well, this is actually not my first feature. This is my first horror feature. My first short film titled SECOND DANCE went to Sundance. I then directed a feature titled DOMINION, then a few more short films and another feature titled THE ART OF A BULLET. I wanted to get into a thriller and the idea of what we now call THE HATRED came to life. I wanted to take a chance as I never directed or wrote a horror script so I researched and decided to make it more of a thriller. One of my favorite thriller/horror films is THE CHANGELING starring George C Scott.
My advice to first time directors is to research, prep and prep and prep. The more prep you have the easier your day will go to cover everything. And don’t shoot anything for the sake of making a film. Would you have a baby for the sake of just having a baby??? I don’t think so. Find something in a feature script you can make and then take out a scene that has a beginning, a middle and an end. Use that as a stand alone story! Take your time with that. Shoot a thriller or a horror/thriller and stylize it. Get a great DP that is hungry and talented. You want to be sure that the look of your film exceeds your budget. Then find a great cast. READ AS MANY ACTORS AS YOU CAN!! Don’t just find an warm body to fill the role. This is your first shot! Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you! Go observe acting classes, go to plays, look at short films on YouTube and find the actors that are right for your script.
I have seen posters for The Hatred with the name Alice of them, why was the title altered?
The original title was HUSH, then Blumhouse released their feature HUSH, so we had to change it. We then started calling it ALICE, but there were several films titled ALICE so we started throwing names around and came up with THE HATRED which is in the dialogue of the script.
If you had to chose to be any villain or survivor from a horror film who would you chose and why?
I’d want to be R.J. MacReady from John Carpenter’s ‘THE THING”. That film is my favorite film of this genre.
Thank you for taking the time to spend on my film THE HATRED. Our goal is to entertain the audience and making it a fun event to see a movie. I will keep you informed as to my future films. The next one takes me to Iceland for a Sci Fi Thriller. Please see THE HATRED!!!
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Watch Hush with an opening from The Bleeding Critic
Watch the trailer here!
Thank you and keep spreading the FEAR of THE HATRED!!!