Wish Upon - Michael Galbraith Exclusive Interview - Dread Central
Connect with us


Wish Upon – Michael Galbraith Exclusive Interview



In the new horror movie Wish Upon, Jonathan Shannon (Ryan Phillippe) gives his 17-year-old daughter Clare (Joey King) an old music box that promises to grant its owner seven wishes. Skeptical at first, Clare becomes seduced by its dark powers when her life starts to radically improve. Everything seems perfect until she realizes that every wish she makes causes the people who are closest to her to die in violent and elaborate ways.

The movie is directed by John R. Leonetti, who also directed Annabelle. Leonetti began as a cinematographer, and in fact comes from a dynasty of Hollywood DPs. When we caught up with filmmakers at a press junket for Wish Upon, we thought it would be especially interesting to talk to the man who shot it, Michael Galbraith, to ask not only about the look of the film but also what it’s like to work for a director who is also a cameraman.

Dread Central: Since you and John were both DPs at the same time and running in the same circles, you probably knew each other… and haven’t you worked together before?

Michael Galbraith: Oh yeah. We did Detroit Rock City first, but then he came back and did three more movies in Toronto. I did three with him, and would have done the fourth had I been available but it just didn’t work out for us that time. Then, to stay in his family group, his brother Matthew who is also a very good cinematographer, came to Toronto and I had the opportunity to work with Matthew, so I was deeply imbedded into these Leonettis and it worked out pretty good, actually. Just based on that experience, you build a trust. And John and I actually see things quite similarly, as far as our approach and whatnot. We basically go in, we have good conversations, along with the production designer, about the look of the movie and the feel of it and where we want to take it. Then we just go ahead and execute that. For me it was good, because I kind of had John sitting back there at the monitor so whenever I would think, ‘Should I do this thing, is it too stupid, or is it ok?’ I’d just run it by him and say, ‘What do you think of this, brother?’ and I’d rely on his experience. He’d say ‘Yeah, go for it’ or ‘No, that’ll suck, don’t do that.’ But by the same token he gave me freedom, because we had talked about the movie, we knew the direction we wanted to take to do my thing. And if I ever had a question about anything, I had the master right beside me to get the direct answer from, based not only from a directorial standpoint but a cinematographer standpoint too, so that was very helpful, actually.

DC: With a larger budget movie like this, I’m assuming everything is planned out as much in advance as possible. But did you have any creative on-the-spot moments, and were you allowed to explore those?

MG: That’s right, we had a lot of plans and we were totally rowing all the oars in the same direction. But you know, touching upon what you’re saying is, we may go into a room or scout a location, and we have a plan in mind. John does, because he’s also thinking from a cinematographer point of view, he’s going to say, ‘Michael’s going to want that window, I’m not going to screw him and place him right over by the window that he can’t light from.’ So that works good, but the thing is, you still have to allow yourself that flexibility. We may go into a location and see it in a certain way and at a certain time of day and say ‘Ok, this is what we’re going to do,’ but then we come back to it on the day and maybe the sun is hitting that window just perfectly, so maybe it’s ‘Guys, let’s just shoot this, let’s give ourselves the flexibility to shoot it right there because that’s fantastic, why try and fix it if it’s not broken?’ So you do go in with a plan but you allow yourself some flexibility that like you were saying, if something wonderful is happening or the actors give him something he didn’t think about, maybe he’ll change directions a little bit on it which is fine because man, that’s great, it’s not our original thing but that’s fantastic, let’s embrace that.

DC: What’s the “look” of Wish Upon?

MG: Based on John’s thoughts, he wanted it to be beautiful but in a natural way. We didn’t want to craft and be super stylized because that’s been done a million times. We just wanted the moments to fall into a very natural situation and that’s what we strive for. I was asked a question about the box, whether the box was a character. Yes, absolutely, but did we approach lighting the box in a special way?, and my answer was no, we didn’t, we approached lighting the box in a very natural way based on the environment it was in. We didn’t make it super crazy colorful, we didn’t make a shaft of light on the box, we didn’t make it anything that didn’t fit naturally to the environment that we’re in. We tried to stay very real and natural. I think sometimes that’s even more scary, right? You’re not telegraphing what’s going to happen, you’re just in the real world and then bad shit is going to happen.

DC: What did you shoot on?

Michael: We use the ARRI Alexa. Most of the cinematographers that you talk to will tell you that camera has a more cinematic quality and it duplicates film cameras quite a lot. Basically we ended up shooting in 3.4K resolution, but the camera itself just has a very cinematic quality to it. It feels like film without some of the heavy film grain. I think today’s audience is so used to seeing these images now, with video games and all this stuff that is on television that you except these days, digital cameras are a lot better, but they’re also phenomenal cameras as well. We control the image a lot, at least we did on this show, control the image a lot more closely on set, each day and throughout the course of the day, because we had a digital technician with us. Between him and myself and John we would tune up the dailies and the general look of the movie. That was pretty much it, what you see is what you get… almost. There’s a little tweaking that has to go on later on once the movie is cut, and that’s what we’re in the process of doing now, putting those final little touches on, that you either don’t have time for on the day or you have two more shots to do and you can’t take the time to fuss about them. But the cameras are so good and they give us, for lack of a better word, they give us a rich negative.

DC: What would you say is the scariest thing depicted in Wish Upon?

MG: For me, it’s the struggle of human nature. You know damn well in your heart of hearts what is right and what is wrong and yet your soul can be seduced into areas that you normally might not go. It’s just the law of human nature and how you can be seduced by certain things that you normally think you could never be seduced by, and you verbalize these strong, moral principles and then all of a sudden you find yourself spiraling down into some madness, and you never thought you could go there.

Directed by John R. Leonetti (Annabelle), produced by Sherryl Clark (Cloverfield), and written by Barbara Marshall, Wish Upon stars Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Ki Hong Lee, Mitchell Slaggert, Shannon Purser, Sydney Park, Alice Lee, Kevin Hanchard, and Sherilyn Fenn. It comes to theaters on July 14, 2017.

In the latest horror thriller from the director of ANNABELLE, 17-year-old CLARE SHANNON (Joey King) is barely surviving the hell that is high school, along with her friends MEREDITH (Sydney Park) and JUNE (Shannon Purser). So when her dad (Ryan Phillippe) gifts her an old music box with an inscription that promises to grant the owner’s wishes, she thinks there is nothing to lose. Clare makes her first wish and, to her surprise, it comes true. Before long, she finally has it all: money, popularity and her dream boy. Everything seems perfect – until the people closest to her begin dying in gruesome and twisted ways. Now, with blood on her hands, Clare has to get rid of the box, before it costs her and everyone she loves the ultimate price.

Be careful what you wish for.

Continue Reading


New Novel Alien: The Cold Forge Gets Cover Art, Synopsis, and Release Date



I don’t know about you but I’m a massive fan of the Alien film series. Oh, the hell with it. Let’s cut the bull. You are too.

Anyhow, considering both of us are massive fans of the Alien films, I wanted to make sure you were aware that Titan Books has an all-new original Alien novel on the way.

It’s called “Alien: The Cold Forge” and the 320-page paperback is written by Alex White (author of the “Salvagers” series) and will be hitting the public on April 24, 2018.

You can check out the novel’s synopsis below and its current cover art to the right. Just click the image for a higher-res version.

I know I will be attempting to score a copy of the novel asap, but what about you? Are you interested in this original novel? Let us know below!

Again, “Alien: The Cold Forge” hits April 24, 2018.



A dramatic new Alien novel, as Weyland-Yutani seeks to recover from the failure of Hadley’s Hope, and successfully weaponize the Xenomorphs.

With the failure of the Hadley’s Hope, Weyland-Yutani has suffered a devastating defeat–the loss of the Aliens. Yet there’s a reason the company rose to the top, and they have a redundancy already in place. Remote station RB-323 abruptly becomes their greatest hope for weaponizing the Xenomorph, but there’s a spy aboard–someone who doesn’t necessarily act in the company’s best interests. If discovered, this person may have no choice but to destroy RB-323… and everyone on board. That is, if the Xenomorphs don’t do the job first.

Continue Reading


Simon Pegg and Nick Frost Are Truth Seekers Playing by Slaughterhouse Rulez



One of our favorite pairings of stars from the last twenty years is no doubt that of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Their chemistry is undeniable, and if you didn’t get enough of it in “Spaced,” Shawn of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, and Paul, you’re about to get a bellyful of it on both big and small screens.

Variety is reporting that Frost and Pegg will be starring in “Truth Seekers,” a half-hour comedy-horror TV show about a three-person paranormal investigation team.

According to the site, each installment of “Truth Seekers” will focus on a paranormal incident, a setup with clear monster-of-the-week potential. “Each episode is going to be an adventure, a potential haunting or something,” Pegg says. “It’ll start as a very parochial idea, a very small business venture for these people, but it will expand as the series goes on to be something far more global. It’s a language everyone understands, the mystery of the unknown. Shaun of the Dead was a very parochial story set in North London, and somehow it managed to get this global reach because everyone understands the language of zombie movies.

That’s not all, though… the pair are also working on the feature film Slaughterhouse Rulez, a horror-comedy now in post-production. Directed by Crispian Mills and set in a well-to-do public school, the movie is “very satirical, very much about the U.K. selling itself off,” Pegg says. “It’s about fracking as well, and that unleashes some awful subterranean demon.

Both of these projects will be released under their Stolen Picture shingle. Stay tuned, kids! More as we get it!

Continue Reading


Rest in Peace – Yôsuke Natsuki



We’ve lost another Kaiju legend today as reports are coming in that famed Japanese actor Yôsuke Natsuki has passed on at age 81.

Natsuki was a familiar face in several Godzilla films including Godzilla 1985 and Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster. Born in 1936, Yôsuke has made over 100 appearances in film with the last being in 2012’s Kirin.

We here at Dread Central would like to take this time to honor Natsuki’s friends, family members, and constituents.


Continue Reading

Recent Comments


Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!


Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC