Exclusive: The Cast and Crew of The Lodgers on Bringing Horror to 1920’s Ireland
The last we wrote about Let Us Prey director Brian O’Malley’s The Lodgers, it was to notify everyone that it had begun filming in Ireland, much of the production taking place in Loftus Hall, reputedly one of the country’s most haunted locations. Since then, there hasn’t been any information about the period Gothic horror film.
That’s going to change as I had the chance to speak with O’Malley, producers Ruth Treacy and Julianne Ford, and stars Charlotte Vega and David Bradley about how they came aboard the supernatural horror/drama and what filming was like.
You can read everything below as well as get a first look at six exclusive images.
The story follows a sister and brother haunted by a secret curse that forces them to remain in the large estate home left to them by their dead parents. But when a young man who falls in love with the sister tries to free her, his attempt sets off a deadly chain reaction.
Epic Pictures Group’s Gothic horror story was scripted by David Turpin and stars Charlotte Vega, Bill Millner, David Bradley (“The Strain”), Eugene Simon (“Game of Thrones”), and Moe Dunford.
For Charlotte Vega, who plays lead character Rachel, joining the cast of The Lodgers was a very welcome surprise. “I thought it was really, really beautiful from the start and there was something so special about the character that I really liked, but I just didn’t think they would see me as the part physically,” she told me.
Producer Julianne Ford touched on this, saying that for their original vision of Rachel, “…we were thinking black hair, pale skin, typical Goth style.” However, they soon realized that they had their Rachel, with Ford adding, “…she’s just so watchable and engaging so quite early on in the process, Brian and myself and [casting director] Manuel [Puro] identified that she was the strongest and so we cast her first.”
Choosing Vega wasn’t a simple process. For one, she lives in Spain and submitted her first audition as a tape. Producer Ruth Treacy explains that Puro brought “…hundreds of different girls through self-tapes. We saw Charlotte quite early on, and I remember at the time saying, ‘She’s really got something; I think we should look at her.’”
From there, they had to find the right Edward to play as her twin brother. Treacy adds, “Bill Millner hadn’t auditioned but then decided he would and he was there with Charlotte and the chemistry was great. When we saw the tape of the two of them, we said, ‘Oh my god, it has to be Bill.’”
Vega explains that what drew her into the story was the character of Rachel herself. “I don’t think there are that many strong female leads around as there should be, especially for young women. When you’re kind of in your twenties, there’s not many roles like that; and when I read the script, there was just something so captivating about her, about her struggle throughout the film. She’s so passionate and so brave and she’s real,” she says. She elaborates, “…the whole film is partly about her being torn between her brother and the life she’s always known and freedom. So she risks everything, really, for a chance at that and that’s what I thought was so amazing about her.”
After seeing her performance, Ford adamantly states, “We’re convinced that Charlotte is going to be a star,” a sentiment shared by “The Strain” actor David Bradley, who said, “I thought the young actors, Charlotte and Bill [Milner] and the others, were utterly terrific. They just had that eerie, otherworldly quality.”
As mentioned previously, much of the film was shot at Loftus Hall, a residence that is supposedly haunted by the Devil. While no one experienced any strange or supernatural events, they all spoke glowingly of the atmosphere and tone that it helped create. Bradley explained, “It was just such a wonderful location because in terms of acting, if you’re in a place like that, half of the work is done for you, you know what I mean? You’re already surrounded by the most amazing atmosphere.”
Treacy also spoke about the house, which she described as “perfect.” “As soon as we saw it, we knew it was the ideal location because it’s such a character itself,” she states while Ford joked, “…our production designer will kill me for saying that, but a lot of production values came from the house itself.”
O’Malley joined in and talked about the “hugely positive energy” that he felt during the shoot, saying, “…the house was presenting me with this magnificent palette.”
When I asked O’Malley to describe The Lodgers, he started laughing and said, “Oh man, this is the dilemma…Can we come back to that one?” About 15 minutes later, in the middle of answering a different question, he unknowingly offered the best response, telling me, “I set out to make an elegant, beautiful, delicate ghost story.”
It’s the kind of movie that everyone I spoke with compared to films like The Others, The Orphanage, Pan’s Labyrinth, and similar other titles. At the end of the day, David Bradley summed up The Lodgers with the confident statement, “…[it] will have a strange, compelling magic about it.”
Disclaimer: Epic Pictures Group and Dread Central are affiliated. As a result, this post does not feature any opinions or personal commentary. We’re sticking to the facts here, folks!