Director / Co-Writer Lee Cronin & Actor Seána Kerslake, ‘The Hole in the Ground’

One night, Sarah’s young son disappears into the woods behind their rural home. When he returns, he looks the same, but his behavior grows increasingly disturbing. Sarah begins to believe that the boy who returned may not be her son at all.

David Prendeville chats to director / co-writer Lee Cronin and actor Seána Kerslake about their horror The Hole in the Ground.

 

Lee, can we start with where the idea for the film came from?

Lee: It wasn’t a lightbulb moment. It was a combination of things. The first little scene of it all was a news story I read about a man sitting in his armchair in Florida. A sinkhole emerged and took him in and he died. I thought that was terrifying, to have the rug pulled in such a fantastical way. That spawned the title The Hole in the Ground which was then rolling around and around in my mind.

At the same time I was developing a story about a mother and a son and a situation of doubt between them after a trauma in their lives –  it was more a concept. The combination of these things over a number of months came together. It felt like the sinkhole that was rolling around my mind would be a great metaphor for the situation that this mother and son found themselves in. The actual development of the film was kind of a slow. Sometimes you have these lightbulb moments when an idea comes fully formed. With this one, it was more a kind of slow creep of different things coming together.

 

Seána, what was it that attracted you to the role?

Seana: I think the challenge of being in a horror movie but to make it feel real to me and real to the character – that challenge was attractive and one I thought that we could rise to. As well, a lot of the physical stuff was a huge draw, like having to be physically ready to go underground and do the fight scenes… They were huge pulls for me. And, of course, the story. I was always interested in that kind of concept of somebody you know not being who you think they are, or slightly off. There’s the idea there – do you ever really know people fully.

 

Were there other horror films you were looking at as reference points – either directorially or performance-based?

Seana: Lee had given me a list of some stuff to watch, but I did steer clear of it because there was some female performances that I knew if I watched then I’d feel maybe I’m going to take from those performances. For me, I just had to be totally emerged in this script rather than other ones.

Lee: We had our  influences and we discussed them, but we didn’t do a deep dive where we were trying to necessarily analyse other work in any way and emulate that. We were trying to be as fresh as we could be in our own way. The reason I wanted Seána in the role was because she was very different to what I had imagined this character would actually be from the get-go. I wasn’t trying to impress upon her or anybody else’s performance necessarily. It’s a case of what I saw in Seána I thought was going to challenge me and challenge the character on the page. That was the way to go about it. We just jumped in and went for it.

 

How did the casting of James [Quinn Markey] come about?

Lee: When I met Seána, she was the first performer that I met for the role, we just stopped the hunt right away. We sat down, had a coffee and decided it was right and offered her the role. But when you’re working with young performances you have to do a greater due diligence. You’re not just getting to know them, you’re trying to understand them a little more, meet their parents, get a sense of how this will all work. Especially you have a sudden responsibility when you’re making a horror film and you’re bringing an 8 year-old out on set to be part of that and to be an object of fear in the movie. So the process was a slower one. You have a casting agent that goes out and looks at a lot of different performers and then makes shortlists. You’ll see someone on the shortlist you’ll like and make mental notes. You might dig back into the longlist and look at someone else. You build these little groups and you’re always analysing and looking at what it is you want. What’s really interesting about James is that he’s not in any way a creepy kid at all. He has this ability to just step into different subtle places. But yeah, it was a long process. We did chemistry tests with Seána with a couple of different young actors. We definitely went through it. It’s the one decision, when you’re casting someone that young, that you can only make with so much confidence until you turnover and roll camera on the first day – despite all the rehearsals, because it’s a different environment once you’re on the set, so you are kind of slightly crossing your fingers. Thankfully it worked out great – he’s a little superstar.

 

Seana, the physicality of the role that you mentioned earlier, how did it compare in reality to what you imagined it to be like?

Seana: It was pretty spot on! It was tough. Brendan [Byrne – sfx coordinator] and his whole team were so amazing. It was exciting to be part of that, but tough work.

Lee: I had said to Seána in advance that it was going to be tough. We didn’t pretend that it wasn’t going to be very physically challenging – that it would be something very different for her to do. Seána had to dive in and do some pretty serious stuff. I don’t want give away any spoilers but later on in the film there are certain physical challenges that are done for real. There’s no hiding.

Seána: I think in hindsight I go “yeh, that was fine” but in the doing off it there were certain moments where I was like ‘suck it up and do it’ or else there’s moments where I’m feeling a little wary –  not so much scared – I’d never say it because I knew Lee wanted me to be scared in parts of it!

Lee: Show no weakness.

Seána: Yeh. I’m like, I’m not giving him that! So in my head, I’m thinking ‘go for it!’ But it was a lot of fun – hard work, but a lot of fun.

Lee: Good hard work.

 

The Hole in the Ground is in cinemas from 1st March 2019.

 

 

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/DaeXROE_2jE” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Share

Irish Film Review: Dublin OldSchool

DIR: Dave Tynan • WRI: Emmet Kirwan, Dave Tynan • PRO: Michael Donnelly, Dave Leahy • DOP: Jj Rolfe • ED: John O’Connor • MUS: Gareth Averill • DES: Mark Kelly • CAST: Emmet Kirwan, Ian Lloyd Anderson, Seána Kerslake

Dublin OldSchool is an evocative, poetic film set in modern-day Dublin. As the name suggests, it’s dripping in nostalgia; there’s stylistic nods to ’90s/Naughties classics Trainspotting and Disco Pigs that will have you sucking on your soother necklace.

Jason (Emmet Kirwan), a charismatic, wannabe DJ, has two conflicting goals for his bank holiday weekend: to man the decks and spend each waking moment in a chemical-induced haze. With a hearty band of sessioners in tow, and a rake of cans, the party begins. Jason flits from venue to venue, dodging the pigs, clashing with his ex, crashing gaff parties, raving in Wicklow – but the revelries are hindered when Jason encounters his brother. Daniel, a homeless heroin addict, forces Jason to reevaluate his past.

The theatrical origins of the story are evident in the weighty dialogue/lyrical voiceover, and elevated with a steady beat of trance and striking visuals. While this delivers the distinct style, not all supporting characters can handle the verbosity. The leads’ performances are outstanding, however. Although a little too old for that particular peer group, Emmet brings believability and charisma to Jason. This makes his terrible choices a lot easier to squirm through. While Ian Lloyd Anderson, who plays Daniel, is just perfect.

If you haven’t watched the short film Heartbreak, do so now. Director Dave Tynan brings that same well of emotional depth and empathy to all of his characters. Interestingly enough, Tynan also walks the tentative line of neither glamourising drug use, nor demonising it. The negative repercussions are there, but the parties also look like excellent craic. Meanwhile, cinematographer JJ Rolfe adds to the shifting atmosphere with his aesthetics. Depending on which scenes you’re watching, Dublin can look like Baltimore a la The Wire, or an ad for The Gathering.

Dublin OldSchool has the potential to be one of those classic films people return to. The duality is there across the board. It’s fun and heavy; fast and slow; a comedy and a commentary – but mostly, this is something best experienced on a big screen.

Gemma Creagh

16 (See IFCO for details)

95 minutes
Dublin OldSchool is released 29th June 2018

 

Share

Seána Kerslake to Star in ‘The Hole In The Ground’

 

1260443_Seana-Kerslake-2

Lee Cronin’s directorial debut, The Hole In The Ground,  will star Seána Kerslake (A Date For Mad Mary) as a young single mother who is trapped between rationality and the unexplained as she becomes convinced her little boy has been transformed by something sinister from the depths of a mysterious sinkhole.

John Keville and Conor Barry of Savage Productions will produce, with Benoit Roland of Wrong Men in Belgium and Ulla Simonen of MADE in Finland as co-producers. The film is to be funded by The Irish Film Board with the participation of Head Gear Films.

Shooting is due to get underway in the summer.

 

Share

Podcast: Women in Film and Television Ireland @ Galway Film Fleadh

WIFT new logo CU cropped

 

‘A Stronger Voice for Women’ Panel Discussion

‘A Stronger Voice for Women’ event in association with the Galway Film Fleadh features a dynamic panel discussion on creating a stronger voice for women in Film and Television when writing, casting and auditioning.

Panelists included international and Irish talent: screenwriter Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You), casting supremo Louise Kiely (Ella Enchanted, Sing Street), screenwriter, playwright and actor Stefanie Preissner, whose six-part comedy-drama series, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope was recently shot in Dublin and actor Seána Kerslake, who stars in upcoming feature A Date for Mad Mary.

Seána Kerslake

Actor Seána Kerslake who participated in WFT Irelands’ A Stronger Voice For Women at the Galway Film Fleadh, talks to us about her background, process and recent roles.

Seána most recently filmed the lead role of Aisling in the forthcoming RTÉ drama series Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope directed by Cathy Brady and written by Stefanie Preissner. Other projects due for release this year include Darren Thornton’s forthcoming feature film, A Date for Mad Mary in which she plays the lead. Seána trained with the Screen Acting Programme at The Factory in Dublin (now Bow Street Academy), and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music & English from NUI Maynooth.

Louise Kiely

Listen here to our interview with leading casting director Louise Kiely following her contribution to WFT Ireland’s ‘A Stronger Voice For Women’ at the Galway Film Fleadh. She gives great insights into the casting process and advice for aspiring actors.

Louise and her team cast film, television and commercials. Recent credits include Sing Street (Dir: John Carney for Cosmo Films), A Dark Song (Dir: Liam Gavin for Samson Films), A Date for Mad Mary (Dir: Darren Thornton for Element Pictures Distribution), Handsome Devil (Dir: John Butler for Treasure Entertainment) and Redwater (BBC One and Element Pictures Distribution).

 

A Stronger Voice for Women took place on Saturday, 9th July 2016 as part of the Galway Film Fleadh

 

Women in Film and Television Ireland

“Women in Film and Television International is a voluntary foundation promoting greater representation of women on screen and behind the camera, with a membership of over thirteen thousand professionals worldwide.

Women in Film and Television Ireland is a branch of Women in Film and Television International. The Irish branch is a voluntary body run by film and TV professionals of international standing. Our committee members represent the creative, business and technical divisions of the Irish audiovisual sector. We are all internationally credited and the recipients of industry-recognized awards. Our intention in creating this organization is to ensure that the film and television industry functions as a meritocratic, sustainable and successful force into the future.”

 

 

Share