The Passenger was an intense, six day shoot, so once everyone had a chance to recover, we threw three questions at them about their experience of filming a micro budget, one location film.
First up, meet Brian - Director and Producer of The Passenger and indie film champion. Having Directed and Produced numerous shorts, Brian knows all about the determination and energy it takes to deliver a film, especially in the micro budget world. He loves a challenge and believes wholeheartedly that if you ‘put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.’
So, here we go - One Director. Three questions.
How was it directing actors in a moving location?
The most challenging but rewarding thing about the directing for this film was losing the link on the visuals, which meant I had to direct entirely by ear for many of the scenes. This sounds terrifying and scared the heck out of me at first but it turned out to be an amazing blessing as it made me focus on the performance and concentrate on the delivery of every line. It freed me from the ‘look’ and framing of the shot, which I find very easy to fascinate over.
I was extremely lucky to have an amazing script and complete faith in my cast and crew. The script was incredibly tight and character focused and the cast had done rehearsal and read throughs with me and Sinéad (even in the car on the way to location), which made it even stronger. I also had the benefit of working with the DP many times before so I knew that everyone was extremely talented and understood my vision and the relationships I was going for. It was a real joy to create this incredible universe with them.
Best memory on set?
I really have loads of amazing memories but there are two that stand out for me. The first was at the Petrol station for a particularly tense scene between Samuel and Charlotte. This scene was pivotal and I know if we got it wrong, we would lose the whole audience. It was one of the occasions I got to use the monitor and watch the performance and it was incredible. Samuel and Charlotte sprang to life. When the scene was shot I simply heard Mike, our Soundie, say “Shit, that was tense.” I could have cried there and then. It was all worthwhile.
The second memory was during the night shoot. I had been particularly tense as our DP was ill (as was his daughter), we had issues with the lights and we were shooting in a car park in the middle of nowhere. The set up had taken ages and this scene had to happen that night. The shooting budget was running out fast and I would never be able to repeat it, if it went wrong. In an ideal world I needed this shot in one take but that was never going to happen, right? Wrong! Luke (Samuel) and Isaac (Dan) were incredible. They smashed it on the first take. I mean, I was stunned. We all were. After a second of getting myself together, I asked Maj if we could quickly see the footage. Everyone, I think, was worried why I had suddenly asked to see the footage as I hadn’t done so before. I just had to check it before I called it. Everything was there. I was elated and went back and called it. They had done it in one take. The team had created something that touched your emotions and jumped out at you in just one take. I still smile now thinking about it.
What’s your favourite thriller?
Wow! That’s hard. Anything Hitchcock is straight in there. Psycho (obviously), The Birds, Vertigo. One of my favourites though and the one that had a massive influence on this film is Frenzy and I have to tip my hat to Duel which was also a massive influence in making this type of film. I have to say though that the thriller that made me determined to make The Passenger is a film called Home which my amazing writer and partner penned for me some years ago. That amazing script has always been the inspiration to get on the feature ladder, so to speak, and The Passenger is the first step toward making Home as the 3rd part of our Thrillogy. It’s going to be fun!!!!