Honeymoon Director Leigh Janiak Sees The Light With Digital Filmmaking

Opening September 12 in select theaters and on VOD, Honeymoon centers on newlyweds (Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway) who leave the city to spend some quality time at a remote cabin. With hardly anyone in sight, surrounded by trees and a lake, Bea (Leslie) and Paul (Treadaway) should be having the time of their lives.

Unfortunately, a nighttime excursion in which Paul catches Bea sleepwalking leads to dire repercussions, as the woman he loves gradually transforms before his eyes.

Though it was shot in North Carolina and has its share of exterior sequences, Honeymoon is a claustrophobic thriller in the vein of Roman Polanski’s Repulson or The Tenant. The storyline’s main scares come from Bea’s emotional and mental undoing by an unseen force as Paul is rendered helpless in the process.

During the interviews, first time filmmaker Leigh Janiak explained why she initially considered shooting the movie in Super 16 and eventually went digital (with the Arri Alexa). She also talks about how watching Amour and Zero Dark Thirty helped inform her the film’s visual aesthetic (most notably in Honeymoon’s use of lighting).

Click on the Souncloud bar below to hear Leigh Janiak talk about the benefits of using the Arri Alexa:

‘Life After Beth’ Director Jeff Baena On Film’s Dreamlike Visuals

 

Life After Beth has been part of director Jeff Baena’s creative world for well over a decade. He penned the script back in 2003, and with a bit of luck and determination, the film is finally a reality with what the filmmaker describes as his “dream cast.”

The ensemble includes Aubrey Plaza playing Beth, a young lady who’s killed by a zombie during a hike, leaving her family (Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly) and neurotic boyfriend (Dane DeHaan) distraught beyond belief. When Beth comes back into their world as a card carrying member of the undead, they surprisingly welcome her with open arms.

Dane DeHaan & Aubrey Plaza in Life After Beth (A24 Films)
Dane DeHaan & Aubrey Plaza in Life After Beth (A24 Films)

Plaza was the first actor on board Life After Beth, and DeHaan’s casting literally originated from a friendly card game.

“I met Dane at my house playing poker one night,” said Baena, who co-wrote the screenplay for I Heart Huckabees. “I’d knew, in addition to his unbelievable dramatic work, that he’s kind of a silly guy and has a really good sense of humor, and he hasn’t really had an opportunity to show that. Even though he’s the straight man in the movie, he has such a sensitivity to that humor and is such an amazing actor, his reactions are real and they’re also funny at the same time.”

Baena and cinematographer Jay Hunter shot Life After Beth with Arri Alexa cameras, but to give the movie a more dreamlike feel, Kodak gray cards and film elements were also mixed in. I’m not a tech or photography guy, so to fully understand the process, listen to Baena’s explanation below:

Now available on DirecTV, Life After Beth opens in New York and Los Angeles on August 15.