Blog by: John Stimpson
What inspired you come up with the idea for the film? Why did you want to tell this story?
I grew up in the theater, did four Hasty Pudding shows while I was at Harvard and became president my senior year. I’ve always been fascinated with the superstitions of the theater. The ghost light is probably the most famous theatrical superstition, followed closely by the curse of Macbeth… err, The Scottish Play. I love how seriously actors take the superstition and the extents to which they go to avoid or fix the curse if they mistakenly say the name of the Bard’s Scottish tragedy. It’s great fodder for our story.
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
The characters in our movie represent a broad cross-section of thespians, from the seasoned veterans to the young, eager rookies, and I’ve seen them all. Actors are colorful, eccentric, egomaniacal, lovable people and we wanted to portray them in all their glory.
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
I think the manifestation of the Macbeth curse changed and developed most through the writing. How the witches appear and change through the movie definitely blossomed as we fleshed out the story.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during production?
The movie takes place in the Berkshires and we intended to shoot out there. But budget constraints forced us to shoot closer to Boston. The set was originally going to be built on a sound stage, but we ended up shooting in an actual barn which gave our set so much more authenticity than we had ever dreamed of. We did have to fight the elements and the stench of cow methane, however!
Were there any risks that you faced during production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
As in any movie the entire project is an enormous risk. Investors put their faith in our idea and our script we need to deliver an entertaining, sellable movie. We had the challenge of staying on budget and finishing on time, which we were able to do, but now we hope the movie will speak for itself and build an audience.
What influenced the visual style of the film?
The look of the film emerged from the story, the setting and the locations. We really worked hard not to be derivative, but to let the world of Shakespeare, summer stock theatre and particularly our beautiful set and the New England Autumn inspire the look and feel of the film.
What risks did you take to tell your story?
We took the risk of challenging an audience to understand the play, Macbeth and appreciate The Bard’s work but not take it too seriously. With any luck, our film will educate while it entertains and inspires a renewed interest in The Scottish play.
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screenwriting or film producing?
Push yourself to develop compelling stories with a strong ending and fully rounded characters. Find the conflict in every scene and never be too precious about your ideas… there are lots more.
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