So many amazing films have premiered this year, including Audrey Cummings’ She Never Died (read our review – here). It is currently having a very successful festival run. We had the chance to watch it for Screamfest and this Friday it premieres at BITS 2019. I was stoked to be able to talk with Audrey about her career, the inspiration behind She Never Died, favorite scenes, and more.
PopHorror – It’s great to talk with you, Audrey. What inspired you to work in the film industry? What made everything click?
Audrey Cummings – The first time I saw E.T. I was fully transfixed by what was happening in front of me. It took me to a place I never thought was possible and whatever that place was – I wanted to be a part of it.
PopHorror – That’s a good one! What was the first film you worked on?
Audrey Cummings – The first film was a stop-motion live action black and white film shot on super 16mm with Eve breaking out of the Garden of Eden and desiring to be her own person and having the life she chooses to have. It actually turned out pretty well!
PopHorror – Sounds amazing. I love black and white films. Where did the inspiration for She Never Died come from?
Audrey Cummings – Jason Krawczyk wrote and directed the first film He Never Died with Henry Rollins, which did really well. The team then decided to produce their next film, which introduces us to Lacey another character in the larger world Jason has created. It’s a strong female-driven film and they decided to bring me on board to direct it because of the success of my previous films. I fell in love with every character because they were so incredibly complex and compelling. To me, this film is all about tone, texture, and mood and I was inspired by what I felt I could bring to the table in order to create a dark, humorous and gritty film that has lots of heart.
PopHorror – It definitely needed a woman’s touch. This is a phenomenal film and different from the norm. How does it feel to get such a good response from it at festivals?
Audrey Cummings – Oh, thank you so much! It feels great after a year of such hard work. Filmmaking is not easy and sometimes you second guess yourself and wonder if people will find it as dark, or as humorous, or as touching as you do… but at the end of the day, I felt really proud of the film and was excited to launch out it into the world. So getting a good response is really the best thing ever. The most rewarding part though is how it brings us all together again because we are all sharing in the absolute joy and excitement of its success after working so hard on it.
PopHorror – How did the casting process come about?
Audrey Cummings – Because of the short timeline we had before having to go to camera, I placed a call to Olunike Adeliyi who had been in my previous feature Darken. She was my number one choice for the role because I knew what she would bring to the table on this one. She was on a beach in Jamaica and I asked her to leave her hot sunny paradise to come work with me in North Bay, Canada (in the month of May). She said yes immediately. The rest of my fantastic cast were actors that I loved and worked on getting with our casting director Larissa Mair. We were extremely lucky that they were all available during that timeframe!
PopHorror – That’s awesome. Any favorite scenes?
Audrey Cummings – I honestly have so many favourite scenes it’s hard to choose. When I was working in post with my editor, Mike Mason, every time we finished a sequence it would become our new favourite sequence. I think everyone brought so much to the table that all the scenes work extremely well. I’ve seen the film now hundreds of times and I still laugh at the offbeat humour, I love the dynamic of the three motley crew trying to take down the sinister and incestuous brother/sister team and the diner scenes are all fantastic.
PopHorror – Totally agree! You’ve done a few horror films, is horror a favorite genre of yours, and if so what is your favorite horror movie?
Audrey Cummings – I love horror films. I love how they take us to emotional extremes and can leave you feeling exhilarated and terrified at the same time. But what makes them really stand out for me is when they have strong compelling leads and multidimensional characters you can really get behind and root for! My favourite horror of all time is still the original Black Christmas.
I do also love sci-fi and fantasy films in that they can bring us into worlds of infinite possibilities. The joy is that they tap into the child inside of me. Deep down I would still love to be a superhero.
PopHorror – Same here! I know the film is currently doing a festival run, do you know when it
might have an official release date?
Audrey Cummings – It is coming out in theatres across Canada this December!
PopHorror – Woot, woot! Any other upcoming projects?
Audrey Cummings – I created a one-hour sci-fi drama tv-series and I have a few features that I’m trying to get off the ground… so hopefully something will be officially greenlit soon!!!