Following a successful trip around the film festival circuit, writer/director Ivan Kavanagh’s supernatural thriller THE CANAL makes its way to limited theatrical release and video-on-demand this Friday in the US, 10th October. To mark the occasion, we spoke to leading man Rupert Evans about the outstanding psychological horror film, acting, casting and scary movies!
ScreenRelish: What drew you to THE CANAL?
Rupert Evans: I think what really drew me was the character David. He goes on a really incredible, strange journey from beginning to end. I think for an actor, that’s what you kind of what, really – to be tested and to go on a journey and experience that. You want to change as a character from the beginning to the end. This character has lots of ups and downs and I thought it would be interesting to go on that journey and see if I could bring it to life in an interesting way.
ScreenRelish: David’s experiences are pretty extreme – he questions his own sanity. How do you approach that kind of intense internal conflict?
Rupert Evans: I always try to think about something I’ve experience myself in some way, even if it’s not as extreme. For instance, David finds out his wife is cheating, and we’ve all been heartbroken, so I kind of drew on that. I always start from myself.
ScreenRelish: The film treads similar ground as some great horror films – THE SHINING and THE ORPHANAGE, for instance – but it has such a tenderness about it. What do you think sets THE CANAL apart?
Rupert Evans: What I admire about what Ivan has done is he tried to create very naturalistic, very real characters. I think you believe the relationships. Ivan and I worked very hard to create these relationships to be true, and then when the world unravels and the situation becomes extreme, hopefully you kind of lose yourself in it. I hope that the audience gets to believe the characters and then will follow David through this part of his life and make their own decision about whether he is the culprit or whether it was something else.
ScreenRelish: What do you think of David?
Rupert Evans: What do I think of David? I think David is not really remarkable as a person. He is like you and I. He aspires for a happy relationship and he thought he had that. He has a son and he has what every man wants, and then these events change his life and he becomes something else. Someone else. I think he is a very decent, generous guy – I think that’s what Ivan wanted – nice, generous, open guy, and then see if there’s something underneath as he changes.
ScreenRelish: Five-year-old Calum Heath is so wonderful, and his presence generates so much tension in the film. Did he have any idea what the story was about?
Rupert Evans: He had no idea. What Ivan and I wanted was to find someone who was very naturalistic. I think Ivan saw like 200 kids. When Calum walked in, he was just very real. He didn’t try to add anything. And he and I spent a lot of time together, went on walks, played together, mucked around, and over time we became very, very close. And of course he had no idea what was going on. There were a couple of times where he was a bit spooked or unsettled and we had to stop, but it was about trying to get him to trust in this relationship. He was great. Unbelievable. But he had no idea and has not yet seen the movie. And won’t for a number of years.
ScreenRelish: Are you a fan of scary movies?
Rupert Evans: I don’t go out to see scary movies much, though I’m in Seattle filming and here – especially around Halloween – Americans love horror movies. I did go see THE GUEST recently, but I don’t see a lot of them. I do admire the editor and director’s ability to scare me even when I know what’s coming.
ScreenRelish: What about THE CANAL? What is it that people will like about that one?
Rupert Evans: I think if you like a good story with a smattering of horror sprinkled in, with a bit of blood and guts, THE CANAL is for you. I think it has a great story and a great horror and all those spooks that Halloween needs.
You heard him! Check out the film and if Evans’ own words isn’t enough to sway you, hit this link to read our 5 star review! Screen Relish would like to thank Rupert for his time. THE CANAL is released Friday 10th October.
Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF.