One of the most difficult obstacles people must overcome in life is contending with the secrets of their traumatic pasts in order to confront the malevolent evil that’s threatening their future. That’s certainly the case for actress Rose Williams’ protagonist of trainee nurse Val in the new supernatural horror movie, ‘The Power,’ which marks the feature film writing and directorial debut of BAFTA-nominee, Corinna Faith.
In addition to Williams, ‘The Power’ also stars Rose Charlie Carrick, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Emma Rigby and Shakira Rahman. The feature is now available VOD, Digital HD and DVD, courtesy of RLJE Films.
Set in London in 1974, ‘The Power’ follows Britain as it prepares for electrical blackouts to sweep across the country. As she prepares for the power outage, Val arrives for her first day at the crumbling East London Royal Infirmary. While most of the patients and staff are being evacuated to another hospital, Val must stay behind and work the night shift in the nearly empty building. She soon discovers that within these walls lies a deadly secret, which forces her to face her own traumatic past while she confronts the malevolent power that’s intent on not only destroying her career, but also everything around her and her career.
Faith generously took the time recently to talk about writing and directing ‘The Power’ during an exclusive interview over the phone. Among other things, the filmmaker discussed that while there was a lot of pressure making her feature film scribing and helming debuts on the independent project, she cherished having the opportunity to work with the rest of the cast and crew to tell the story. She also mentioned what a talented actress Williams is, in terms of creating the physical and emotional arcs of Val throughout the story.
ShockYa (SY): You wrote the screenplay for the new horror movie, ‘The Power.’ What was the inspiration in penning the script for the drama, and what was the experience like of putting the screenplay together?
Corinna Faith (CF): The overall experience was quite drawn out because it took quite a long time to craft the characters. The script went through quite a few different versions, but the idea essentially stayed the same from the beginning. It was hard work, but a good process.
SY: In addition to scribing the script, you also made your feature film directorial debut on ‘The Power.’ How did writing the screnplay influence your helming style? How would you describe your overall directorial style on the set?
CF: It was fantastic and I loved every minute of it, but there was a lot of pressure, since it was my first film. It had a modest budget, so there were a lot of time pressures. The hardest thing was having to cut everything down as we went.
But the crew were really amazing, and I don’t just say that lightly. The entire production was a lot more fun than I thought it would be
SY: The movie stars Rose Williams in the lead role of Val. What was the process like of casting her in ‘The Power?’
CF: Casting was fun and pretty straight forward, apart from the lead role, which I had to be careful with. I was looking for someone who would be a great collaborator and could immerse themselves without being traumatized or being overtaken by things.
I could see that Rose, besides from being very talented, was very diligent and bright. She was really lovely to work with, and I was thrilled to find her.
SY: Once the actors were cast, what was the process like of collaborating with them to build their characters?
CF: Since it was such a tight schedule, we really didn’t have much rehearsal time. The only small bit of rehearsal time I had was with Rose. But I did get to have a good conversation with everybody beforehand.
I did also have a small bit of time with Shakira, who played Saba, the young hospital patient. I wanted to workshop some things with her and check on how her language skills were going because she had to learn how to speak a different language for the role.
So I did have some time with those two key players, but we really just had to wing the rest of it. It was all about casting great people who could do it.
SY: What was the experience like of specifically working with Rose and the rest of the actors on creating their stuntwork and physicalities for the film?
CF: Well, Rose did all of her own stunts, apart from smashing through the window. That was pretty nerve-racking, but she was pretty game and wanted to do pretty much all of it by herself. She’s a brilliant actress and was obviously backed up and trained, but I was still nervous about her when she did something. But I think having Rose do her own stunts offered a layer of authenticity.
SY: ‘The Power’ is mainly set in the East London Royal Infirmary, where Val is training to be a nurse. How did you decide where you would shoot the drama, and what was the process like of shooting the project on location?
CF: The location was tough to find, but it was clearly the right place when we did find it. It’s a small psychiatric hospital, and we wanted it to look atmospheric, rather than historically correct.
A lot of our budget was spent on painting the building in colors that I had specifically chosen. I tried to create an atmosphere through the colors on the different walls.
It was a very strong, atmospheric place to work. Everyone thought it was quite a spooky place to work, and thought it had a lot of atmosphere. (Faith laughs.)
SY: Laura Bellingham served as the director of photography on ‘The Power.’ What was the process like of collaborating with Laura to figure out how to shoot the movie?
CF: Laura was my other massive collaborator, along with Rose, because we spent a lot of time preparing together before we began filming. Laura’s very horror and cinema literate, and she had all of the same references as me. We spent a lot of time watching films together.
We also created storyboards and found images that we liked, so that by the time we got to set, we had a real shared language. Then we were able to make changes together quickly and easily.
SY: ‘The Power’ features an original score by Gazelle Twins. What was the process like of collaborating with them to create the score for the film?
CF: I left a lot of the duties of creating the score to Elizabeth Bernholz and Max de Wardener, who are also known as the Gazelle Twins. I wanted the music to reference the ’70s, but not be stuck in it.
In the end, we ended up using Elizabeth’s voice a lot; she sung a lot of pieces. They created a lot of the score through her voice, which became another supernatural layer that was linked to the ghost in the story. So it was a really good experience to work with them; they were fantastic.
SY: ‘The Power’ is now available on VOD, Digital HD and DVD, courtesy of RLJE Films. What does it meant to you that the drama received the dual release model?
CF: I’m pleased that this dual release is happening, and I think it’s great to have it available on a wide selection of platforms. Hopefully, more people can find it through this distribution model.