Carice van Houten and Director Halina Reijn on ‘Instinct’ and Paul Verhoeven’s Filmmaking Advice

     September 20, 2019

One of the many films to play at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was the directorial debut from Dutch actor Halina Reijn, Instinct. The film is about a veteran female psychologist (Carice van Houten) that becomes infatuated by the sex offender (Marwan Kenzari) she is treating in a penal institution. In spite of her expertise and experience, we watch the two of them engage in an ever changing power play. While it would be easy for the film to paint in just black and white colors, Halina Reijn has crafted a movie where the viewer is not given easy answers.

instinct-carice-van-houten-halina-reijn-interviewShortly after seeing the film, Carice van Houten and Halina Reijn came by the Collider studio at TIFF. They talked about the advice Paul Verhoeven gave them for making a movie, how the film deals with addiction and toxic behavior, what it’s about, playing TIFF, how things changed in the editing room, their love of HBO’s Euphoria, how they both got into the industry because of the movie Annie, and so much more it would be impossible to list it all here.

Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is what we talked about followed by the trailer and official synopsis.

nordstrom-supper-suite-tiff-2019We also need to send a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Nordstrom Canada and supporting partners Marriott Bonvoy and Ciroc Vodka for supporting the Collider Lounge at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and helping to make these interviews happen.

Carice van Houten and Halina Reijn:

  • Was it tough to get financing?
  • How have they been describing the film to people?
  • How the film doesn’t give the audience easy answers.
  • The advice Paul Verhoeven gave them for making a movie.
  • instinct-carice-van-houten

    Image via TIFF

    What were they nervous to pull off with the time and budget they had to make the film?

  • What was the last fight they had?
  • What was the editing process like?
  • How long was the first cut compared to the finished film?
  • What was the last sequence they cut out before locking picture?
  • How does Carice van Houten like to work on set?
  • Before filming began what day were they nervous about in terms of filming?
  • What does it mean to world premiere at TIFF?
  • How they just got the rights to The High Nest and what it’s about.
  • What TV show would they like to guest star on?
  • Their love of Euphoria?
  • What TV show have they seen the most?
  • Favorite ride at Disneyland?
  • What do they collect?
  • What was the last thing they were obsessed with?
  • What TV show have they watched all the way through more than once?
  • instinct-carice-van-houten

    Image via TIFF

    Do they own any movie or TV show props?

  • What got them into wanting to work in movies?

Here’s the trailer and official synopsis:

Nicoline, an experienced psychologist, starts a new job at a penal institution. She meets Idris, a sex offender who committed a series of grave crimes. After five years of treatment, he is about to go on his first unaccompanied probation. His team of practitioners are enthusiastic about his development but newcomer Nicoline does not trust him and tries to push his probation. Idris tries his hardest to convince Nicoline of his good intentions, but slowly but surely, he transforms into the manipulative man she saw in him from the beginning. A power play emerges between the two and Nicoline, in spite of her knowledge and experience, lets herself be trapped completely.


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