Film, Interviews
Apr 23, 2015

JOHN MCNAUGHTON INTERVIEW

The Harvest, directed by John McNaughton, is one of the most chilling horror films to come out in recent years.

Best known for movies like Wild Things and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, McNaughton is no stranger to making movies that shake things up.

Press Pass LA sat down with McNaughton to discuss The Harvest and his approach to movie making.

PPLA: What attracted you to this script? What made you want to direct it?

JM: With me it was something I hadn’t done before. When I first read the script I saw there were two ways to do it. You could either do it as straight out horror, an ooga booga story, or a much more dark and realistic approach.

For me, I saw the story as a sort of modern fairy tale. There are the two kids fighting the evil witch in her house. But instead of a fairy tale I made it very realistic and made it about a mother. This is something I feel could really happen. To me there is nothing more frightening than that.

PPLA: You turn Samantha Morton into a truly classic villain. What kind of inspiration or direction did you give her for that role?

JM:  To understand that you have to know Samantha. She came from North England which isn’t unlike the Southside of Chicago, very rough. She is a parent as well and I think that showed in her performance. What I enjoy most is getting great performances. Both her and [Michael] Shannon are extremely serious and hardworking performers.

PPLA: Your score in the movie is very reminiscent of the horror films from the 70s and 80s, was that intentional?

JM: I wanted to make something that was sort of a goodbye to an era of film. For the score I wanted something that sounded like a fairy tale. It was shot on celluloid, something I don’t think I’ll be doing again.

PPLA: Why is that?

JM: There are no film labs left anymore, it is being kept alive artificially.

The Harvest opens at the Arena Cinema in Hollywood on April 24 and is currently available on VOD.