Janina Gavankar

JANINA GAVANKAR is most known for her diverse acting career in television, film and major video games, such as The Morning Show, True Blood, The League, Blindspotting, and Star Wars: Battlefront II. In 2020, she’ll be seen starring opposite Ben Affleck in The Way Back. She met Russo in 2014, while working on The Mysteries of Laura, and they forged their creative partnership. Stucco is their narrative directorial debut.

After forging a career in the local commercial world, RUSSO SCHELLING, fled Madison WI to New York City, where he helped direct tandem units on Mr. Robot, and assisted creator Baz Luhrman on The Get Down. He met Janina in 2014, while working on The Mysteries of Laura, and forged their creative partnership. Stucco is their narrative directorial debut.

Alter Films


Q & A

Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?

The entity from ​It Follows​. I feel like the insane, infectious pursuit you have to have, in this industry is monstrous.

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?

Sometimes we pitch ideas to each other that start with “Ok, so the bad version is...” It’s a great way to start assessing the subtext - what’s ​really​ being said.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?

I’d never be so presumptuous. We’d be honored to be mentioned as part of it.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?

The parts of ourselves we’re not proud of. So much of “Hollywood” is about pretending to be perfect. The best antidote for these falsities is to look directly down the barrel of the things no one is willing to talk about, freely - guilt, shame, anxiety.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?

We did! We shot this in my house. I woke up and was staring directly at the hole in the wall, for three days.

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?

The Babadook - great fashion... the questionable vampires from Neon Demon...

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?

Freddy. Stephen King. Practical practical practical. Too many brilliant artists out there, ready to work. Actually I say Pre Apocalypse! Shit is terrifying ​right now.

​How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?

We had very detailed conversations about the rules of how this manifestation worked, and how we wanted to make The Throne look beautiful, as well as terrifying. We worked on concept art before sitting with Frank Ippolito, creature maker, and founder of Thingery, Inc.

What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?

Me. You. Us.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ​‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’

...​Guess we’re renting ​Scream​ tonight.