Q&A with Gabriel Olson, Director of “The Bridge Partner”

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ALTER: Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
GABRIEL OLSON: I don’t know if Rosemary from Rosemary’s Baby counts as a horror character or is what you had in mind, but I relate to her in the sense that she’s questioning the world around her and suspicious of the way things are. Although she loses in the end, she does at least attempt to trust her own instincts and stop the downward spiral of her life.  I love characters that are mistrustful of their situations but lack the certainty / confidence that they’re absolutely correct in their suspicions.  Watching the back and forth keeps the mystery and mirrors the uncertainty of real life.

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?
GB: Shooting down and not finishing ideas is my specialty.  My favorite thing is to write notes or a couple pages and then convince myself that it wasn’t that good and give up.  What I struggle with and labor to remind myself each day is that unless I write an idea down, I’ll never be able to revise it or review and improve it.  Rather it will just be kicking in my head until I forget it.  One never knows what seed of an idea from one day will grow into something great another.

A: Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
GB: Not really. I’m obsessed with movies that have characters I relate to or empathize with going through incredibly suspenseful situations. It’s a fine line between a thriller and horror, sometimes just the amount of blood—so I try not to get too caught up on the genre labels and more into what the ride is like. I’d like to be part of the community that celebrates films that create elevated heart rates and intense perspiration in their audiences.

A: When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
GB: Everywhere…reality, other films, research, documentaries.  When I decided to do THE BRIDGE PARTNER I was a 34 year old guy, I knew nothing of ladies Bridge Clubs, I just liked the idea that it was something specific, with its own etiquette, history and feeling. So I went and observed various bridge clubs. After seeing competitive clubs where nobody talks, I stumbled across one in Pasadena that was more older ladies dressed in their best having champagne or tea and socializing.  It was fantastic, it was an extension of high school.  They were kind enough to let myself and Sharon Lawrence hang out for a day and watch, and things like the wardrobe, manicures, and subtle glances all started to fill my imagination.

A: What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
GB: If I woke up in my film I’d have to take a bridge playing class.

A: Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
GB: First character that comes to mind is Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) from Season 1 of FARGO.  He’s a nihilistic character obsessed with creating chaos and shattering lives.  I love that he’s real, human and unstoppable (for the most part).

A: Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
GB: Abstain.  But practical effects. The only time I like CGI is when it’s undetectable.

A: And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
GB: Don’t have a favourite. A few that have been on my mind lately: REC (Argentinian version), The Babadook, It Follows, The Gift, The Invitation, Rosemary’s baby, The Exorcist