Emily Mortimer on ’Relic’s Difficult Shoot and the Cool Women Who Got Her Through It

     February 5, 2020

One of my favorite things about the midnight line-up at the Sundance Film Festival this year was how many movies use the genre to explore very realistic and challenging scenarios. The Night House does it with grief, Amulet with gender dynamics and forgiveness, and now we can add Natalie Erika James’ feature directorial debut, Relic, to that list as a film that digs into dementia and mortality.


Image via Sundance Institute

James assembled an A+ cast for her trio of leading ladies. Robyn Nevin plays Edna, a woman who’s suffering from an increasing case of dementia. When Edna vanishes, her daughter Kay (Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) rush to Edna’s house to assist with the search. However, soon after arriving, Edna suddenly comes home.

Right after Relic’s world premiere in Park City, we got the full team in studio at the Kia Supper Suite – Mortimer, Heathcote, Nevin, and James! They discussed the journey from proof of concept short to green light for the feature and what the preparation process was like for the shoot, but my absolute favorite part of this conversation was hearing them talk about how important having an incredible team and the perfect atmosphere on set was to bringing such trying material to screen. You can catch the full chat for yourself in the video interview at the top of this article and if you’re looking for even more Relic coverage, click here to check out Haleigh Foutch’s one-on-one interview with James.

kia-supper-suite-marbl-toronto-logo-sundance-2020Finally, 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. 

Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, Bella Heathcote, Natalie Erika James:

  • 00:52 – Mortimer wasn’t in the best mood when she first arrived at Sundance, but seeing Relic changed that!
  • 02:00 – What is Relic about?
  • 02:42 – James on going from proof of concept to getting the green light for Relic.
  • 03:37 – Who was the first person cast in the film?
  • 04:26 – Are there any horror films on the panel? Our shared love of Scream 3.
  • 06:10 – What’s step one after casting to build the family chemistry; how did they prepare for the film?
  • 10:03 – What is James like as an actor’s director? They actually didn’t rehearse much.
  • 11:20 – The very specific notes James gave to the cast on set.

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