Hitting theatres this week is Warner Bros.’ new horror film The Apparition, coming to us from director Todd Lincoln. Taking on the form of a supernatural/paranormal movie, The Apparition hopes to separate itself from the pack by offering up a new take on the “ghost story” formula.
Director Todd Lincoln is making his feature film debut with The Apparition and last week, we had the chance to sit down with him and discuss the film. He talked to us about the challenges of making your first feature, what inspired him to make the film, why he went with a PG-13 rating and more.
Check it out below.
We Got This Covered: Can you give us a brief summary of the film for those who may not be familiar with it yet?
Todd Lincoln: It’s about these university, parapsychology students who carry out an experiment in hopes of creating this ghost, or this apparition, from the power of their collective beliefs and fears. They end up unleashing something and we see how it terrorizes them. That’s the main gist of it.
The film’s really inspired by some research I’d done a few years back on paranormal/supernatural experiments. I came across stories of these types of experiments being done. It started with something called The Phillips Experiments, which were done in the 70s. A group of paranormal researchers came up with this fictional person and a fictional backstory for this person and they even had an artist do a painting of what they thought this person looked like.
They’d meet up once a week and sit around this table and focus on believing on him and for weeks and months this went on and nothing happened. Then, eventually, there’d be some knock on the table, or the table would move a bit or flip over on its side. Eventually, they became so terrified that they stopped the experiments. In the following years and decades, more of these types of experiments were done and the original concept was expanded on.
I just thought that this was something so terrifying and that it would be a fresh way into a horror film, the idea that people are actually trying to create the ghost. And they create this benevolent entity and it’s real scary. This isn’t just some ghost of a living person, this is a whole new type of thing that they’ve created.
We Got This Covered: So this film is based on true events then?
Todd Lincoln: Just to be clear, it’s not about any one of those particular experiments that I researched, but obviously that concept is what inspired the film. We definitely approached the film with that in mind and tried to treat it as grounded and logical and make sure that everything was as authentic as possible. We also had a paranormal researcher consulting with us, his name is Joshua P. Warren. He’s one of the top guys in the field and he’s been documenting some really crazy stuff. We used some of his equipment from his lab too while filming and we made sure that it all felt grounded.
We Got This Covered: Have you always been interested in the paranormal?
Todd Lincoln: Ya, I’m originally from Oklahoma and I grew up in this historic film that was supposedly haunted. One of the original owners committed suicide in one of the bedrooms and growing up there, I experienced, heard and discovered all kinds of strange things in the house and that led to my interest in this stuff. So ya, ever since I was young I’ve always been drawn to this stuff.
We Got This Covered: Let’s talk about the cast, how did you put it together?
Todd Lincoln: We saw every actor in town and it kind of just all came together. Ashley, she came in and auditioned and she really just nailed the part. She loved the script and she liked the relationship aspect of it. When she got it in the room the casting director and I looked at each other and we knew that this was our girl. Then I presented her to the studio and they agreed.
Tom Felton, for his audition, he just gave an effortless, kind of bold audition and he was really great at selling a lot of the technical terms. He was really fascinated by all of this too. It was also something very different than Harry Potter.
Sebastian Stan, he really had this great weight and intensity and edge and he really made unexpected choices and further elevated things. At the time we looked at him though, Marvel was considering him for Captain America: The First Avenger and they came and looked at footage of our film and cast him off of that.
So ya, everything just kind of fell into place.
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