Sundance is always a great place to find wildly impressive feature directorial debuts and this year, one of my favorites of the bunch was Romola Garai’s Amulet. The movie stars Alex Secareanu as Tomaz, a homeless ex-soldier struggling to get back on his feet after a traumatic experience. Hope comes in the form of a nun (Imelda Staunton) who introduces Tomaz to Magda (Carla Juri), a woman living with her ailing mother. If Tomaz agrees to help Magda fix up their home, he can live there free of charge. It sounds like a wonderful arrangement but trust me when I tell you, there’s a lot more going on in that house than you could ever imagine.
It was a real treat having Garai, Secareanu and Juri at the Collider Studio at the Kia Supper Suite in Park City. We talked about Garai making her feature directorial debut with Amulet, the largely female crew, the heavy nature of the story and the challenges of filming it out of sequence, the extreme amount of stew Secareanu had to consume during the shoot, what it took to nail their blood effects, and more. You can catch it all in the video interview at the top of this article and, in case you missed it, click here to read my Amulet review.
Finally, I’d like to give special thanks to our Collider Studio Presenting Partner, the Kia Telluride SUV, the 2020 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Additional thanks to support sponsors Glenfiddich Scotch, Peroni Beer, Marbl Toronto, mou footwear, ic! berlin sunglasses and clothing lines, Laundry by Sheli Segal and Orginal Penguin.
Carla Juri, Alec Secareanu, Romola Garai:
- 00:30 – What is Amulet about?
- 01:44 – Why this story for Garai’s feature directorial debut?
02:58 – Are Juri and Secareanu horror fans?
- 04:28 – Juri on the horror of Wetlands – but a very different type of horror!
- 04:58 – How to prep for shooting such significant character arcs out of sequence.
- 06:10 – The mostly female crew and the importance of the atmosphere on set.
- 06:40 – Is the heavy nature of the material exhausting?
- 07:29 – Did Garai set out to put together a mostly female crew?
- 08:50 – Garai breaks down the technical requirements for creating distinct worlds and feels in the film.
- 10:34 – Would Secareanu rather eat a lot in a scene or run a lot in a scene?
- 11:49 – Filming in the house, the key location in the movie.
- 14:55 – The team talks about the blood effects in the film.