Interview with David Breen
Australian actor DAVID BREEN talks up his new genre efforts POST MORTEM MARY and STRAY.
Congrats on Post Mortem Mary. It was a real success at Sitges I see?
Yeah, we had great news out of Sitges with Post Mortem Mary winning Best Short Film. Since then it’s gone onto win more festivals in Europe and the US. The story is easily accessible for any audience which is a testament to the screenplay and part of the reason it’s performing so well. We’re looking forward to playing the Paris International Fantastic Film Festival in December.
What’s it about, sir? How would you describe the tone?
The story concerns a young girl, Mary, who attends my farmhouse with her mother to photograph my recently deceased daughter. It’s set in the 1840’s in rural Australia at a time when post mortem photography just started to become commonplace. Tonally it’s a dreary, claustrophobic film. The score and sound design provide a great sense of unease and the cinematography allows us to see the film through the eyes of the characters, there’s some great shots in the film.
Do you find that short films that are from the horror genre seem to have longer legs than those that fall outside of the genre?
You might be onto something there. If I had to guess why I’d say it’s because horror films don’t necessarily have to have a lot of set up required when compared to other genres, you can throw your audience straight in the deep end. Horror also appeals to people on that primal level playing on our fears, anxieties and the like and there’s no other genre that can say the same, whether we understand it or not everyone knows fear.
How much did the Sitges win mean for the film – and in particular, you and the filmmaker?
When we found out we won Sitges it was just surreal. It’s amazing for the film winning an Oscar qualifying festival. I remember talking to the director, Josh Long, when we found out that we had been selected and even then we were over the moon, that was the festival that we wanted to get in. I’ve known Josh for a while now and he is the biggest horror fanatic I have ever met, he’s a walking horror encyclopaedia, so for him it was the best news ever. For me it was one of those moments where I heard the news and thought it was a setup but after that I got straight on the phone to congratulate the director.
Is this the first horror film you’ve done? Is it a genre you’d like to do more in?
Not the first, I did another horror film as few years back called ‘It’s a Man’s World’ and my latest film ‘Stray’ is a horror also. Horror is so broad, there’s so many different things that people fear that it’s always possible to find an audience. As an actor it’s great, I’m a night owl by nature and a lot of horror films shoot at night so it suits me perfectly.