Fantasia ’13 exclusive: “THE MACHINE” director talks “HARRY’S BLONDE”
Among the filmmakers both screening features at Montreal’s current Fantasia film festival and pitching new projects at its Frontières market was the UK’s Caradog James, who hosted the Canadian premiere of his sci-fi thriller THE MACHINE (pictured above) while seeking backing for his horror feature HARRY’S BLONDE, and discussed the latter with Fango.
Where THE MACHINE (which we reviewed here) focuses on science gone wrong in the near future, HARRY’S BLONDE is about a young man deeply troubled by his past. “I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written,” James says of his script, which wound up on this year’s Brit List, the UK answer to Hollywood’s Black List of best yet-unproduced screenplays. “It’s a really frightening story, but with an very likable, lovable lead character. Basically, when he was 8 years old, his mother was brutally kidnapped in front of him, and he saw the kidnapper’s face, but the trauma of that night has wiped the memory of exactly what that man looked like.
“Six years later, when the story begins, he’s haunted by flashbacks, and he uses those to try to piece together exactly what happened to his mom. Little by little, he starts to find clues that lead him into a very dark underworld, the seedy underbelly of suburbia.” Among his discoveries is the eponymous beautiful woman, Bethan, chained up in the basement of his neighbor Harry—but that situation may not be all it initially seems.
James is planning HARRY’S BLONDE, which is very much rooted in the real world, as a change of pace from the fantastically oriented MACHINE. “I like to mix it up,” the filmmaker says, “and I’m excited about challenging myself to do something genuinely terrifying and full of all the things I love in cinema—the jumps and thrills. There will be similarities to THE MACHINE in the sense of the lighting, and an aesthetic that’s very polished and crafted, so it’s not like a handheld horror movie; I want to do something very designed and beautiful, but also full of scares and suspense. I’m looking forward to experimenting with that.
“I finished the script just before getting here to Montreal and pitching it to financiers,” he adds, “and we’ll start approaching cast when we get back.” We’ll be keeping tabs on HARRY’S BLONDE and will bring you updates as we get ’em!