The little engine that wanted to: OZ Perkins talks about his film “The Blackcoat’s Daugher”!


The last time we took a look at THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER, now out in theaters and VOD, Keirnan Shipka gave FANGORIA a look into her experience starring in the film. Now, writer/director Oz Perkins, son of horror icon Anthony Perkins, is here to give an in-depth look into the making of his most recent frightening feature.

FANGORIA:  Where did the idea for THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER originate?

OZ PERKINS: I sat down to write THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER and at the time I think a lot of us who where writing horror movies were thinking about contained locations; a parking garage or an ATM machine. But for me it was going to be a school in winter, it’s going to be a girls school, and going from there I knew that I wanted it to be about the loss of parents. I knew I wanted someone to have lost their parents in the beginning of the story and have the rest of the movie be about what happens to them when that happens. So, demonic possession and all that kind of stuff comes in, but it’s not about the demonic possession; it was more about how do I tell a story about loss? How do I tell a story about the grief of a child and how do I show them the way that isn’t that? How do I talk about it without talking about it? How do I talk about it in a way that people find it attractive and that people will find it compelling? I mean people still want to go see demonic possession movies, it seems, so I figured I put a little top coat of that on there.


FANGORIA:  The film is so gracefully put together and wonderfully picturesque. Could you talk about that process?

OZ PERKINS: The idea behind the look of the movie always was that it should be observational. I didn’t want to make a movie that rushed up into people’s faces. I wanted to make a movie that shows you what it shows you as if you were looking at something that was happening and you couldn’t un-make it happen; there’s a quality in watching something take place. So, I opted for a more observational style and it’s sort of a Stanley Kubrick approach in a way. We don’t lean on close-ups and we don’t lean on over-the-shoulder and you don’t kind worried about that so much. We just let two shots be two shots and never resort to cutting into that.  For me we just created a more uneasy way of watching what happened, you’re observing something terrible happening as opposed to trying to force-feed it. We tried to be as composed and elegant and sort of abstract as we could be.

[L-R] Emma Roberts and James Remar Credit: Photo by Petr Maur, courtesy of A24.

FANGORIA:  The acting was exceptional. How did casting the leads come about?

OZ PERKINS: For any movie, especially “little engines that want to”, you have to get people to see it. So we had a list of people that we thought would be great for the part, that would fit the bill as it were and Emma happen to be at the top of that list. I have to say Emma was the first person to read it and the first person to to say yes to it right away. Her response to it was instantly gratified and instantly connected and she got it on the first pass and it took her only a few days to respond. She was actually the one that suggested Kiernan Shipka to me and we reached out to Kiernan and a couple of days later she was on board. So I got incredibly lucky with the two and they turned out to be just professional in their presence and their commitment and were just astonishing. Lucy Boynton we found on a on a tape. She made an audition tape in England and sent it to us. We saw a lot of footage and a lot of people in the room and that was kind of the only part I cast, cast in a sort of choosing one person out of a hundred.

Kiernan Shipka Credit: Photo by Petr Maur, courtesy of A24.


FANGORIA:  What was the process like getting THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER to his theaters?

OZ PERKINS: We made the movie and it was a real gauntlet and it was hard to find the money at first and it was hard to shoot in Northern Canada where it was freezing cold all the time. Once we finished the picture we got it into the Toronto Film Festival which was a really exciting and cool moment for the movie and then A24 bought it and that was another huge deal. I was like, “oh my God it can’t go any better then this.” Then there was some uninteresting changing of hands and business shit that’s not interesting to me which just slowed the process down. It’s actually been available in England on Netflix for about six months and everybody in Europe has seen it. But as far as North America goes, there was a little struggle and a sort of legal hiccup and here it is now.


FANGORIA:  And what about the change in title?

OZ PERKINS: The original title was FEBRUARY and A24 asked could we change it just to sort of indicate genre a little bit more clearly which was ok with me.  It was obvious that a 24 knew what they were doing so I went and found another title and wound up being taken from my brothers music.


FANGORIA:  The score of the film was both haunting and memorable.  Who scored the film?

OZ PERKINS: I more or less left my brother alone to do the score, he’d never scored before. But the producers agreed for some reason to go along with my crazy notion that he could write the score for this movie. I had nothing but supreme confidence that he could do this. So once he said yes I kind of just let him do it. He’s so intelligent and so put together and so creative and such a wonderful dry sense of humor I just let him play with it.  When he delivered the score it was one of those things where it was just like every time the shoe fit perfectly.  Every time you put the glass slipper on it fit perfectly. It was just cosmic.


FANGORIA:  So, what’s next?

OZ PERKINS: I’m sort of interested in cranking out my own material and the next one I’m working on is a horror movie and it takes place in the 1950s. It’s going to be in black and white and it’s a satanic aberration story and it’s called MEDUSA. With any luck I’ll get somebody to make it.

Watch the trailer below:

Stay tuned here at FANGORIA.com for more on THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER and A24 releases!

About the author
Adam Lee Price
Adam Lee Price has an intense love of horror films and has since being a child. This love of horror has led him to focus on a career in writing films for the next generation of genre fans. Adam has recently completed writing his first feature length horror screenplay entitled THE MASQUERADE. Now, he looks forward to the next chapter of his life working alongside great writers in the horror industry and at FANGORIA Magazine.
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