British independent filmmakers Dan & Rodeo Strange talk about their psychological thriller THE GREAT CHARADE.
Q) Tell us about THE GREAT CHARADE?
THE GREAT CHARADE is our debut feature film. It's a psychological thriller in which the world’s two most famous actors are kidnapped. They awake, bound and bruised, with no inkling of where they are.
Unable to move they are at the mercy of those who adore them the most; their fans.
Q) Where did the idea come from?
The first spark of the idea came when we were in the car and “I Can’t Decide” by The Scissor Sisters came on the radio. After listening to some of the more psychotic lyrics Dan turned to Rodeo and said, “What if we did a film about a kidnapper trying to decide whether to kill his victims?” Rodeo thought for a moment and said, “What if it was about 2 celebrities kidnapped by their fans?” From there the conversation turned into a proverbial game of table tennis and by the time we had reached our destination we had the skeleton of an idea.
Q) Tell us about the cast and the casting process?
Having worked with a selection of wonderful actors in the past, while writing the script we found ourselves envisioning certain actors for the roles.
Candice Palladino (Dixie Lee) has worked with on a broad collection of creative productions over the past few years, and as usual she brought a new ingredient to the film that we didn’t even think was possible.
Up until we produced THE GREAT CHARADE both Francesca Louise White (Amara Giovanni) and Ricardo Freitas (Ryan Sterling) had only worked with us on commercial projects. We’d been waiting for some time for the right creative project to cast each of them in, and quite serendipitously there was a role for each of them in THE GREAT CHARADE.
The casting for Lyle, the antagonist was a little more tricky. We put out a casting call and ended up receiving around 40 auditions, however none of them were quite right. With only a few short weeks before the shoot Marcus Davis-Orrom came to us through a recommendation from Francesca Louise White. This did mean that the other actors had had months more time to prepare for their roles, however Marcus rose to the challenge and delivered a performance that chilled spines across the set.
Q) Tell us about key crew?
We’ve had the pleasure of working with the same crew on a number of different projects. Over the last few years we have amassed a circle of incredibly talented individuals all with similar ideals. Having worked together multiple times we all share a shorthand that makes our experience on set extremely efficient and incredibly enjoyable.
Our DOP, Will Tullett and our Cinematographer, Sam Ashby have been with us from when we first started our company in 2015. Having worked together on so many different projects they are able to communicate almost telepathically, each instinctively knowing not only what each other need but what we want as directors as well.
We are constantly in awe of Katie Johnson, our make-up and prosthetics artist.
For this particular project we also welcomed a new sound recordist, Max Riches, and a new script supervisor, Lacey Sandiford. They’re both excellent and we can’t wait to work with them again!
Q) How was THE GREAT CHARADE funded?
The short answer is that we funded it ourselves. We had been producing commercial film content for businesses since 2015 and the money we’d earned from that went into funding THE GREAT CHARADE. So we owe a massive thank you to all of our past clients. We did also run a brief crowdfunding campaign to support us during the post-production stages, so we are very grateful to everyone who contributed to that.
Q) How long did the film take to shoot?
This shoot was a strange one... we were able to shoot everything within a week, albeit a tiring one, and we had the unusual luxury of shooting everything chronologically. Because the film all takes place in one night in one location it is essentially one long scene. This meant that it was logistically very simple. We did however have to shoot all of it at night due to the availability of silence at our location.
Q) What were the biggest hurdles in making the film?
The biggest hurdle in making this film was probably sourcing the location. We had to find a location that not only fitted in our budget but that looked a little bit industrial, disused and most importantly American. Unsurprisingly this wasn’t easy to find in Oxfordshire. After visiting a number of locations that didn’t fit the bill, Jennings was recommended to us by a friend. We sent them an email, just on the off-chance that they might get back to us, which they did and it turned out to be the perfect location.
Q) Looking back at the production, what are you most proud of?
Looking back, we are proud of a lot with this production but most of all, we’re proud of what has come as a result. 168 hours of creative delirium has led to some great friendships, a lot of personal and professional growth, and the first feature film of most of the cast and crew’s careers. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved together and cannot wait to see where it takes us.Q) Have you got a distribution deal?We are currently undergoing post-production and have not yet gained a distribution deal. We have, however been in some very interesting discussions with a few of the right people and can only look forward to having more.Q) What’s next?We aim to finish the edit in March and from there we aim to open enough of the right doors to begin working on our next feature film. We already have several ideas in the pipeline including the return of one or two Characters from THE GREAT CHARADE