Stuart Graham has been an actor for over thirty years, appearing in Steve McQueen’s Hunger, Amazon Prime’s Wheel of Time and Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, among many others. The Good Word marks Stuart’s directorial debut behind the camera.
Q & A
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
Too many bad ideas we wouldn’t know where to start - but that’s all part of getting to the good stuff, and you never know when a bad idea might come in useful further down the line. And if you can’t create the IP personally, there are tonnes of great genre writers out there making graphic novels, short stories, self-published stuff – it’s fine to be inspired by other people’s work and turn that into a fulfilling collaboration – which is what we did with The Good Word.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
I feel we’re becoming more a part of it – since TGW we’ve gone on to make some genre features and we have one premiering on Shudder in the next few months, and we’ve had projects in some great genre fesitvals like Frightfest, Fantaspoa, Night Visions – cool things like that make us feel like we’re contributing to the community.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
It’s always a collaboration and we love to start those creative conversations with the production designer, costume designer in order to start building the atmosphere of the film – good onmes will bring so much gold ideas to the table. But also audio is a huge thing for us – and the work of the sound designer and the composer are so integral. For other inspiration – it sounds corny – but a walk around a museum or art gallery or a city you’ve never been to before can birth the weirdest and most interesting ideas.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Well we’re Irish so we have to bring The Leprechaun! And Dracula as he was invented by an Irishman. Round those guys out with C’thulhu and I think we’ve got serious squad goals.
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Jason! King! Practical! Post!
How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
We needed to create a cozy farmhouse in rural ulster in the 1950s. We thought we had found the perfect place but then our production designer was wandering the farm and found a disused barn. She pitched us the idea of turning that barn into the interior as she felt she could build a more believable world – we ended up going for it. She and her team did an amazing job.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
Oh, the usual. Death, loss, grief, pain, losing your mind, being in a situation that you can’t control. Does that inspire us?... We prefer to just spin a good old spooky yarn.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
The Wicker Man. Come on, a musical horror! And Christopher Lee’s sports jackets!