Read Shockya.com's exclusive interview with filmmaker Robin Hardy, who wrote and directed the new horror film ‘The Wicker Tree.’ The movie is set to be distributed by Anchor Bay Films into limited theaters on January 27, 2012. ‘The Wicker Tree’ follows two young, engaged missionaries from Texas, Beth, played by Brittania Nicol, and Henry, portrayed by Henry Garrett, as they travel to Scotland. They go on behalf of their religious group, Cowboys for Christ, to educate the people there about their religious views.
After being charmed by the locals of Tressock, the two agree to become the local Queen of the May and Laddie for the annual town festival. However, the two don’t realize the disturbing secrets they’re about to discover about Tressock’s seemingly nice townspeople. Hardy discusses with us, among other things, why he decided to write and direct ‘The Wicker Tree,’ and what the casting process was like.
Written by: Karen Benardello
ShockYa (SY): You directed ‘The Wicker Tree’ as a companion piece to your original cult classic film, ‘The Wicker Man.’ What was your motivation in retelling the story for modern audiences?
Robin Hardy (RH): Well, I don’t the story is, in terms of date, all that different. It is set for a modern audience, but in a way, you wouldn’t notice the difference, because it’s set in the countryside, and the people are on the island. In ‘The Wicker Man,’ the people were contemporary to their time, but they’re kind of timeless, because there aren’t any cars or cell phones. (laughs)
The same is true of ‘The Wicker Tree,’ although of course it’s set now. The main intrusion is that there’s a nuclear power station, which is really important to the story. Otherwise, the story’s set in rural countryside Scotland, in both case. So the similarities between the films are perhaps more important, in that I think it was Christopher Lee who said of this film, ‘The Wicker Tree,’ that it’s comic, erratic, romantic and horrific enough to strain the bowels of a bronze statue. (laughs) It’s a lot of different things, in terms of genre.
SY: Besides ‘The Wicker Man,’ the only other film you directed before ‘The Wicker Tree’ was 1986’s ‘The Fantasist.’ Why did you decide to take such a big break between directing films, and why was ‘The Wicker Tree’ the right movie for you to return to directing?
RH: Well, I do a lot of other things. I was trained as a painter in Paris years ago, so painting and drawing is a love of what I do. I’ve written five novels. I have eight children, so I’ve kept myself busy.
I decided to do ‘The Wicker Tree’ because I was always surprised that no one had made a film of the same genre of ‘The Wicker Man.’ In other words, where you had music and comedy and a little bit of sex and jokes. But ultimately underneath, something frightening truly happening. That hasn’t really been done much, and I thought it would be fun to do it again.
Also, there was a remake of ‘The Wicker Man’ (in 2006, starring Nicolas Cage and written and directed by Neil LaBute), which ignored all those things, but somebody kept the plot. The plot wasn’t all that special, it was a perfectly good plot. But the remake had none of the fun or the music or the jokes that made the first film special. So I decided to do another one in the same genre.
SY: While Anthony Shaffer wrote the screenplay for ‘The Wicker Man,’ you penned the script for ‘The Wicker Tree,’ basing it on your 2006 novel ‘Cowboys for Christ.’ Why did you decide to adapt the screenplay ‘The Wicker Tree’ yourself?
RH: Like I said, I write novels, and I have written lots and lots of screenplays, mainly for television, over the years. I consider myself a writer, as well as a director. So adapting my screenplay from my own book seemed like a natural thing to do. Then, of course, I’ve been directing all my life, television, commercials, dramas, theater, so on and so forth.
SY: Do you think writing ‘The Wicker Tree’ helped you in your directorial duties, once you were on the set?
RH: Yes, a great deal. Not only did I do that, I story-boarded the entire film myself. So I had every aspect of the film in my head, and that made the directing much easier.
To continue reading this interview, please visit: Interview: Robin Hardy Talks The Wicker Tree | Shockya.com