Freddy Beans here with an interview of director Can Evrenol for his second film HOUSEWIFE.
Can exploded on to the scene in 2015 with directorial effort, BASKIN, a bug nuts - impossible to explain descent into Hell. It was one of the weirdest and best things I saw that year. His visuals are striking, and he tells a story through emotions, sometimes forgoing story altogether to complete his abstract visions. The best way I could describe one of his films is to imagine a good idea, then slowly play with that idea and the emotions involved with it before ending it in complete “what the f***” fashion. If you like horror and you haven’t heard of BASKIN you should definitely check it out. HOUSEWIFE plays with similar themes and keeps Can as a director to pay attention to. My review of HOUSEWIFE can be read HERE.
Without further ado, on to the interview
Freddy Beans: Hi, how are you doing today Can?
Can Evrenol: I’m doing good (Freddy), how are you?
FB: I’m great, thanks. First I wanted to thank you for letting me watch HOUSEWIFE early. I really enjoyed it. At the end you’re left wanting to watch it again to try and find all the hidden meanings in it. Very akin to BASKIN your first one.
FB: How would you describe HOUSEWIFE to someone that hasn’t seen one of your films?
CE: A woman taps into her childhood nightmares of trauma, she may or may not have suffered from.
FB: I like that. That pretty much sums it up. Where did you come up with the idea for the film? Or is it simply as it looks a nightmare put to film?
CE: That’s a two part question. 1. What do I think of the spirit of my film? And 2. How did I get started writing this? I think the second one is more interesting so…?
CE: After finishing BASKIN a dark film solely from the man’s point of view, I wanted to make a film about a female. First, it started with a woman’s story of revenge. Then we started expanding the story to include a woman kidnapped by aliens when she was a kid and years later the aliens return. My coworker and I started writing the script, over a couple months, sending it back and forth. I decided I wanted to make this film an even further expansion of a short film I did called TO MY MOTHER AND FATHER
It’s a short film I did in 2010 that got me a lot of international connections and sort of kicked off my career. I wanted to make a film off of that concept. So, she would have all these broken identities and living among them in a Lovecraftian manner. Keep it abstract, as with pretty much everything I do.
FB: Definitely! (Laughs)
CE: (laughs) yeah. Also, I had this crazy idea for a cult leader character. I have been playing with this idea in my head for a long time. A cult leader that turns out to be a real supernatural entity.
FB: I really like you mentioning Lovecraftian influences because the film absolutely harkens to it. I want to bring up David Sakurai, the cult leader of “UMBRELLA OF LOVE AND MIND.” He was awesome in the role. Holding down the trance-like fashion a self-help guru typically has over his audience. I was wondering how you came upon casting him or did he just hypnotize you like in the film?
CE: I had just met him at FANTASTIC FEST in Austin when I was there with BASKIN and he was there with LIZA THE FOX-FAIRY. I ended up in a car with him to the airport and we started talking about UFC. It turns out we’re both very into martial arts and movies and I realized I wanted to work with him. Initially, I had this idea for a very anglo saxon American guy. When I met David, I realized he held that attribute and why not see if he’d be interested. I offered him the part and ‘BOOM’ he’s one of the first there in pre-production. HOUSEWIFE with David as Bruce O’Hara.
FB: Great! Same type of question for Clementine Poidatz, it’s impressive what you put her character Holly through in this movie but it’s even more impressive how adeptly she traverses the paths you put before her here. She’s a helluva an actress and nails the role.
CE: (Laughs) Yes. I’m very new to this. I always deal with content in my movies that would be crazy for big-time actors. I’m not well established enough or have made enough money on my previous work to get that A-list. So, the way I pick or choose my actors is I choose people who I can be friends with. You know someone to be my spirit warrior with. Because when you go through a crazy project such as this I kind of count on my colleagues. I’m not even sure what I’m going to ask of them. I know the feelings I’m trying to convey but I can’t describe it to you beyond here’s what I feel and lets’ work on this idea together. It’s a lot like climbing a mountain together. It can get very emotional. It can be so very difficult. So, with that in mind, I met Clementine because initially, she auditioned for Valery.
Actually, It has a crazy backstory. Initially, we had porn actress Stoya cast as Holly.
We met Stoya. I came to New York and stayed at her house. We auditioned her and some other actress for the role of Timucin Erguvan. Ninety days before the production begins, Stoya flips out. She’s a super sweet but a little crazy. She kind of fucked us all. Telling me she’s not doing the movie. Saying the content was too crazy.
FB: (Laughs) Your movie was too crazy for her?
CE: (LAUGHS) Right?! But 2 months before the shoot my biggest draw is, I have this porn actress in it and she just walks away.
FB: Man, that could have ruined you.
CE: Exactly! I end up thinking maybe this is a blessing in disguise. She was complicated onset and after day 5 or day 6, we shift things around and I just said, we should go with Clementine. So, I offered her the part and she seemed very happy and accepted it. David and Clementine became my main spirit warriors in this journey if you will.
FB: Yeah. The irony of a porn star turning your movie down, because it’s too much, is hilarious.
CE: Well this is the first I’ve spoken on it. It’s sort of a spoiler so I’m not sure how you put this into your interview but...One night it’s 1 AM Istanbul time and I text up Stoya and I ask if she had read the story the Call of Cthulhu? And she says yes why? I said you know how there’s a Cthulhu like creature at the end of our movie? She says I guess, I thought it was a Cthulhu creature inside. Now I’m not doing this movie. I froze and just asked her what?!? That doesn’t even make sense. I ended up having the producers call her to see what’s going on. She’s crying on the phone. Saying I changed the script. Which I didn’t. I don’t understand her excuse I just can’t believe she backed out over that.
FB: I can tell it was a tough experience. I’ll clean up the interview (to remove spoilers) so don’t’ worry about that just feel free enough here to express yourself honestly. Okay, I have 3 quick questions for you.
FB: What is your favorite all-time horror movie?
CE: Oh my god, what a difficult question. I’m going to say THE FLY, the remake.
FB: The remake is so good. Also, I see you’re doing the FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL what would you like to tell us about that or your next film?
CE: It’s already doing festivals. It premiered at SXSW and revolves around a childbirth and a Djinn.
FB: Interesting. There’s really not enough genie/Djinn stories out there in horror. It’s an underused concept.
Is there anything else you’d like to relate to our readers before we go?
CE: I would just like to say my next movie will be called GIRL WITH NO MOUTH and it’s a dystopian children’s adventure film. A kiddie movie with some darker elements at play in it.
FB: Wow! That sounds awesome. I already can’t wait to see that one man.
CE: I really appreciate that.
FB: Thank you for your time today, Can.
CE: Thank you. Thank you for the great questions.
FB: Appreciate your forthcoming answers. Good luck in the future.
CE: Thank you and good luck to you!
Til next time, Kids!
- Freddy Beans