Director of The Babadook
Are you a fan of horror?
I am. I certainly don’t look down on it. A lot of amazing directors cut their teeth on horror, especially if you look to the early horrors – back to the ’ 20s with Carl Dreyer. A lot of those films are really artistic and beautiful, and that’s what I saw as the potential for The Babadook. And I love the Polanski domestic horrors. Repulsion and The Tenant are great. How did you approach working with a six- year- old?
We took three weeks beforehand to prep him to know what acting was, but also what the Babadook was. He was drawing pictures of him and the Babadook and his mum and dad. He felt a really important part of the team. And I tried to shoot in sequence as much as possible, so he knew what was going on. Sometimes directors like to try and trick kids or keep them in the dark. For me, that doesn’t make sense because children are really bright. Give them credit and they can do amazing things. Noah has an amazing resilience. I saw little boys in the shortlist that could have been good as well, but I just felt they didn’t have the robust emotional quality that Noah had. Is there a female audience for horror that isn’t being well served?
I was talking to a producer and he said, “Women over 30 start dropping off and stop watching it.” And I don’t think that’s because they’re uninterested. I think that’s because horror is not as intelligent as it could be. But when it is, people respond to it. Horror doesn’t have to just be about release. I think there’s great potential. Rosie Fletcher