Di­rec­tor: I blame mum for turn­ing me into a lit­tle

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By Ross Crae RCRae@suNdaypost.Com

Di­rec­tor John McPhail says he got his love of hor­ror films early... pos­si­bly a lit­tle too early.

The 33-year-old, who picked up a num­ber of awards for di­rect­ing 2015’s Where Do We Go From Here?, said: “I grew up with films. My mum loved John Car­pen­ter, one of my favourite di­rec­tors. She would say ‘you need to watch The Fog, it’s bril­liant’ and I’d be sit­ting there ter­ri­fied!

“For years I ac­tu­ally wanted to be a cin­e­matog­ra­pher, and it wasn’t un­til about six or seven years ago I started di­rect­ing, made my first short film. I re­ally en­joyed it and boss­ing peo­ple about!

“No, I love work­ing with peo­ple and be­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive. That’s the best part, I got to just hang about with my pals and make a film.”

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously worked on ro­man­tic come­dies, he rel­ished the chance to work on his favourite genre for Anna And The Apoca­lypse, al­beit with a few nerves.

“I loved it, but I was ter­ri­fied.” he says. “I wanted to make sure I did ev­ery­thing right by what I would want as a hor­ror fan.”

John wasn’t, how­ever, a mu­si­cal fan, un­til he started do­ing his re­search for

di­rect­ing this one. “If you’d have tried to take me to a mu­si­cal be­fore I made this you’d be taking me kick­ing and scream­ing,” he laughs, adding: “My favourite mu­si­cal was South Park: Big­ger, Longer & Un­cut…”

John ad­mits he’s now fully fallen in love with the genre and­hail­s­the cin­e­matog­ra­phy of West Side Story and the fun of Legally Blonde. Anna And The Apoca­lypse sees La La Land meet Shaun Of The Dead, so was it a chal­lenge for John to bring the zom­bie, Christ­mas and mu­si­cal el­e­ments into one melt­ing pot?

“The way I wanted to work it was that the first 15 min­utes would be just the kids, no zom­bies,” John ex­plains. “That’s the way I like to tell sto­ries. I like you to know who the char­ac­ters are and want you to love and­cham­pi­onthem.

“From there, we can then get off and run­ning and be as crazy as we wanted and have as much fun as we wanted. Th­ese kids are just in­cred­i­ble… well, I call them kids but they’re in their twen­ties! But they’re my kids and from the mo­ment­thattheyall­met they just fell in love with each other and it was amaz­ing.

“They came in to­gether for re­hearsals and they all felt like they were back at high school again, run­ning about the cor­ri­dors caus­ing chaos. They were all made-up in blood play­ing switch and scrab­ble in the green rooms and the en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm they brought to every scene was just in­cred­i­ble.

“We’d be two hours be­hind, the rain com­ing down and it’s freez­ing cold, but they al­ways de­liv­ered with en­thu­si­asm!”

Di­rec­tor John McPhail

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