A Lonely Place to Die is closing this year’s FrightFest and having already tracked down director, Julian Gilbey, we also had a chance to chat to male lead, Ed Speleers, about the film and what festival goers can expect on the last night.
Hey Ed, where did you get the acting bug from?
From the age of about 10 I wanted to act. It was after I was asked to play Puck in a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream and just fell in love with it and was totally committed to trying to make it happen after that. After that any kind of acting gig I could get I just jumped at it, just any excuse to get on stage. Then you know I just got a very lucky break and that was that.
I assume by the lucky break you mean Aragon, tell us how that happened.
I was school at the time and my agent sent me up for the audition and it just went really well. The producer liked what he saw and that was it. Before I knew it I was out in Hungary having a fantastic first experience of a big budget movie.
It must have been insane for you at 17 given the size of the production.
Insane is the right word, I don’t think anything I could have done prior to it would have prepared me for the scale of the project. It was just a great time I got to travel around the world with the promotion and just have a load of fantastic memories of the whole thing.
So moving on to A Lonely Place to Die, how exactly did that come about?
Well I was a massive fan of Rise of the Foot Soldier and I heard that Julian Gilbey was on a new project and I just told my agent that I wanted a chance to get in there. Given that is a very physical action movie I really wanted to show that I could do something different and really wanted to work with Julian. So I got a chance to read for Julian and I was just totally committed to getting a part on that film.
I spoke to Julian the other day and I think it’s fair to say that he is totally full on, how was that to work with?
He absolutely throws himself into it without a doubt; he immediately wanted me to go climbing with him the moment I came on board. He took me to Snowdonia and just started getting me as much practical experience as I could cram in. Then Julian’s enthusiasm for climbing and the film just rubs off on everyone around him and it was just great to be included.
Julian mentioned that the shoot was physically taxing to at the least, how did you find it even with the preparation you put in beforehand?
Hands down one of the best shoots I have ever been on. Yes, the conditions were challenging but everything went well, we had good weather and the crew was simply fantastic. I would get up first thing in the morning and straight away go for a run which just got me more psyched up for the physical stuff that followed. Personally, I just loved the charging around, it was physically demanding. I would get back at night just feeling totally wrecked, but it was great.
The movie will be showing at FrighFest and Julian was saying that he was a little concerned when he first heard, given that it’s basically a full on action thriller and not a gory horror flick, is that fair to say?
Yes it is, without a doubt, it does though have an edge to it and it will hopefully keep people on the edge of their seats throughout. I know that FrightFest shows a lot of different films, not just horror as some people think and I hope they love it. I think Julian and Will have done an amazing job and hopefully people will see that and we’ll get a brilliant reaction.
From what I have read so far the reaction at other festivals has been fantastic, have you had any feedback on this?
Everything I’ve heard has been fantastic; people seem to be loving it and really reacting in a very positive way and what better way to get to the UK than to close FrightFest. The festival has grown so much over the past few years and is now a big event so it’s amazing we get the chance to fill such a prestigious slot. Given the budget of only £3 million what Julian and Will have achieved is nothing short of a miracle in my opinion. I think people are going to be blown away by how fantastic the film looks, the visuals are brilliant.
Are you going be at the festival Ed so we can follow up on this?
Yeah definitely without a doubt I will be there, I cannot wait in fact.
What else have you got going on at the moment?
I just did a short film with Anthony La Paglia showing at the Tribeca film festival which was fantastic. The guy was a true gent to work with and the reaction it got was great from what I was told.
I read that you wrote a play at college called Retribution which was rather controversial from what I understand?
Very controversial to say the least, it was about paedophilia and when we had finished the performance the room was simply dead silent, at that point I knew we had done the right thing (laughing).
So if something came along that was really dark and controversial you wouldn’t shy away from it?
I’m 23 now and I’m always looking around for the next challenge. I will happily consider any part no matter what the subject matter and if I think it’s what I’m looking at the time I’ll go for it no matter what the genre. I just want to make sure I do as much variety as possible as I don’t want people seeing me as an actor that only does one type of character.
Thanks Ed, I’ll see you at FrightFest
Can’t wait, see you there.