Home Horror Entertainment News [Interview] Director Darren Lynn Bousman Talks Villains, Horror, & ‘St. Agatha.’

[Interview] Director Darren Lynn Bousman Talks Villains, Horror, & ‘St. Agatha.’

by Ryan T. Cusick

St. Agatha, is the newest film by Director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II-IV, Abattoir, & The Tension Experience).  

Darren has been responsible for some pretty hardcore villains throughout his films from Rebecca De Mornay in Mothers Day to Tobin Bell in the Saw Franchise and now Carolyn Hennesy in St Agatha, we discuss not only his newest venture, but we also touch upon the villain that has scared him the most from his films.

St. Agatha Synopsis: It’s the 1950’s in small town Georgia, a pregnant con woman on the run seeks refuge in a convent hidden in deafening isolation. What first starts out as the perfect place to have a child turns into a dark layer where silence is forced, ghastly secrets are masked, and every bit of will power Agatha has is tested. She soon learns the sick and twisted truth of the convent and the Odd people that lurk inside its halls. Agatha must now find a way to discover the unyielding strength needed to escape and save her baby before she’s caged behind these walls forever.

ST. AGATHA is now available from Uncork’d Entertainment in theaters and On Demand / Digital HD.

Darren Lynn Bousman Interview

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer – © 2016 WireImage – Image courtesy gettyimages.com
Via IMDB.com

Ryan T. Cusick: Hey Darren.

Darren Lynn Bousman: Hey Ryan how are you doing?

RTC: I’m great, how are you doing today?

DLB: Doing well, thanks.

RTC: Thank you so much for speaking with me today i’ve been looking forward to it.

DLB: No worries man, thank you.

RTC: Well I gotta bring this up immediately. In the film [St. Agatha] the use of the umbilical cord is very original. I had NEVER seen a scene like that before.

Both: Laugh

Carolyn Hennesy as Mother Superior in the horror film “ST. AGATHA” an Uncork’d Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment.

DLB: Well it is funny because I just did the director’s commentary today and that was kind of the on going joke no one actually thought we were really going to do it. We were standing there on set and the DP looked at me and is like “Are we really going to shoot this?” And I was like, “is it too much?” And he was like, “maybe, but maybe not.” The sun was setting and we shot that on the very last day. We literally had twelve or fifthteen minutes to get the shot before the sun was too far gone and it wouldn’t have matched. We were just like “fuck it, let’s go for it” and we did it in one take. And yeah, we went there.

RTC: That was awesome. And I didn’t think you were and then I am like “okay its gonna happen.” It was great, it was great. Was it originally written in the script that way?

DLB: Yes and no…no it wasn’t. So basically I brought in one of my writers named Clint Sears the guy who I have worked with numerous times before to do a rewrite on the script. I kept talking about that I wanted better kills, I wanted something that was more iconic. He gave me the script and I thought he was fucking with me at first, and he kept talking to me, “that’s it dude, you gotta have balls man, just do it, just do it!” And, yeah, he’s right I hadn’t seen that in a movie before and I knew that we had to do it.

RTC: Yeah, ummm… this may have been the first movie. [Laughs] So, What really got you started into horror? I know that you’ve done the Saw series I had spoke to you about Abattoir (2016), and that was a great movie by the way, what really got you into horror?

DLB: I think that horror has such a prime and raw emotion attached to it that when good horror happens it can actually connect with you, it scars you or it tears you a little bit and for me no other genre does that. I could see a good drama, a good thriller, or even a good comedy and it is not something that like stays with me. Not something that I remember. With something like horror it is much different. When you watch something that gets under your skin. Like I just watched Suspiria like a week or two ago and i’ve not stopped thinking about it, it got under my skin. I watched The House That Jack Built and that movie – i’ve not stopped thinking about it. Now i’ve watched thirty movies between The House That Jack Built and now and I still go back to that and like “holy shit that was fucked up.” I think it is the same reason people go to amusement parks and ride a roller coaster they want that thrill, they want that sixty second feeling of being out of control but knowing their safe and I think that horror is that one genre that can give you that.

RTC: And Horror is something that you can go back and revisit like you said over and over again.

DLB: Yeah, exactly.

RTC: And there is not much out there other than horror that is like that.

DLB: I agree completely.

Marsha Fee Berger as Sister Susan in the horror film “ST. AGATHA” an Uncork’d Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment.

RTC: You were involved with The Tension Experience and I noticed that Sabrina Kern who played Mary was also part of The Tension Experience. How was it directing her in a film versus directing her in that type of environment?

DLB: Well what is so fascinating to me about Sabrina is a couple of things. She had done nothing before this. She had never been in a movie and in fact she was living in Switzerland, she’s Swiss-German and she had been in L.A. for two years when I had met her. I met her on a weird add on Backstage, which is a website that you use to cast people and I was casting for this immerse theatre production. I met her and I immediately fell in love with her energy and passion. She was so excited and I found out later that she was from Switzerland, everything about her fascinated me. She was the lead of The Tension Experience and she just blew me away – her performance, her work ethic and at the same time I got this script for St. Agatha and it required a young woman and I wanted to cast kind of an unknown and it just seemed like the perfect vehicle. For her very first film ever and being out through the ringer like she does is kind of insane.

RTC: It was definitely good casting – he nailed it. Also, Carolyn Hennesy…

DLB: Yeah she is fucking evil bitch in this movie.

RTC: Oh she is! Man she is.

DLB: I love her. One of my favorite scenes is the scene where they are in the Chapel and she pulls Agatha’s hair backwards and she is sitting behind her, she’s smiling and talking about the perfect strawberry and she is so sinister and sweet and then just horrific and mccobb the next second. I have been i’ve been very lucky to have worked with very great villains in my movies – Rebecca De Mornay in Mother’s Day to Tobin Bell in the Saw Franchise, I felt that exact presence around Carolyn Hennesy. She just has it. You sit with her and you’re in her presence  and she scares me, she terrifies me. I said this in my director’s commentary today, “the first time I met her my asshole clenched, she just scares me.” She’s the nicest person in the world but I am surprised that I have never seen her in a movie like this before. She is the greatest villain.

RTC: She is and if I ever write a piece on the top five villains, I mean she would be part of that for sure because she was remarkable.

DLB: Oh that’s great thank you.

RTC: The ending of the film was that the original or did you shoot various endings?

DLB: The original script for the movie and the original edit was much different. Originally in the film the first forty minutes they weren’t in a convent it was all a back story. The producers wisely said that we need to get to the convent a lot quicker. So we re edited the entire thing and had it start in the convent and then kind of tell it through flashbacks. There was a lot more in the ending a lot more crazy shit that went on but in the very end we wanted to streamline it. Again, the umbilical cord it used to be that you got into a fight with rocks, stick, and clubs and they beat each other up almost to death. And then I was like, “nope we are going to use the umbilical cord.” It was hard because like I had said we had such a limited time to make the movie. We got the script and like ten days later we are shooting the thing.

RTC: What’s next for you?

DLB: Well I’m still doing immersive theatre which I still think is my primary passion it is just something that I love. For your readers that don’t know much about it I highly recommend checking out the immersive theatre scene, specifically if you are a fan of horror because they have the ability to get under your skin in a way that I feel movies do not. I am doing more immersive theatre and I just finished another movie in Thailand called The Death Of Me which stars Maggie Q and Luke Hemsworth. The film is kind of a paranoid thriller which I just finished that and it that will be coming out next year.

RTC: Perfect I will definitely be looking for that and I wanted to thank you again, you’re wonderful and keep on doing what your doing for us.

DLB: Thanks so much for that I appreciate it.

RTC: No problem, you take care.

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