July 15, 2024

Australian director Emma Freeman (The Newsreader, Fake, Love Me), also directed two episodes of US hit Interview with the Vampire S2, thanks to an introduction by actor Sam Reid.

She tells TV Tonight about the shoot and what’s next.

Minor spoilers.

Which episodes of Interview with the Vampire did you direct?
EF: I directed Episodes 6 “Like the Light By Which God Made the World Before He Made Light” and Episode 7 “I Could Not Prevent It.”

How did the job come about? Did Sam Reid play a key role in bringing it about?
EF: Sam Reid and I have such a brilliant connection and we love working together. Sam put me forward to direct Season 2 and thankfully the Showrunner, Rolin Jones and Producer Mark Johnston wanted me to join the Season 2 team.

Where and when did you shoot?
EF: We shot in Prague in June but with the SAG strike, we had to stop filming and return in October. Prague is so cinematic! The history, texture and atmosphere added so much to the world of the show.

How did you prepare for the shoot?
EF: There is so much detail in the work. Firstly, I re-read the Anne Rice books to delve into her imagination. I read them as a teenager and was quite obsessed, so it was wonderful to return to her work. Showrunner Rolin Jones is so detailed and layered in his work, I agonized over every line and made sure I was understanding and dreaming of all the possibilities we could achieve. Between a very intensive pre-production and a gruelling production (mostly of night shoots) I barely saw Prague except for where we were filming.

Describe the process and how it differs from Australian productions.
EF: The production is more focused on the Showrunner model so I was able to collaborate closely with Showrunner Rolin Jones and the brilliant Co-Executive Producer, Hannah Moscovitch. They were both extremely collaborative and supportive, inspiring me to step out of my comfort zone. The episodes were both complex in style and tone – especially Episode 7 where it is mostly set on a small stage. For me, the process didn’t feel that different but of course, I had more time and resources than working in Australia. At the end of the day, regardless of budget and time, it is the magical relationship between the actor, the screenplay and the camera. That magic is possible wherever you work.

How did you enjoy working with the cast, can you share any experiences?
EF: It was a truly beautiful experience working with such focused, passionate and highly skilled actors like Jacob Anderson, Eric Bogosian, Delainey Hayles, Assad Zaman, Ben Daniels, Roxane Duran and of course, Sam Reid. Despite the darkness of the show, it was a very vibrant set and everyone brought such passion to the project and were willing to experiment and take risks. I think you can really feel that in the work. I could never get enough of the glorious Ben Daniels – we shot the Trial for many days and he was not only extraordinary to watch but wickedly funny to be around.

It must have been fun to dabble in something so gothic, theatrical, intimate?
EF: Yes – that is definitely my love. We don’t get to explore that much in Australia television but I am currently developing a project wth Anna Torv, Beatrix Christian and Joanna Werner that explores an Australian Gothic Fable.

I understand the “interview” scenes in the bunker are adjacent to the other sets, yet there is a whole different time and style to both?
EF: The Dubai set is the most oppressive and suffocating space. Production Designer, Mara LaPere-Schloop is the star of the show. Each set is so thoughtfully designed with such detail and nuance. As a director, you are naturally inspired by the environments you work in and Mara’s sets were a wonderland.

What were the biggest surprises and challenges you encountered?
EF: The biggest challenge and surprise is – when you have more time, it’s never enough! So I’ve learnt to stop complaining about the limitations of budget and time in Australia, just get on with it because no matter where you are, you’ll always want more.

The series has just been renewed for a third season. Any hint of more episodes for you?
EF: We’ll see what the future holds but I would love to work with Sam Reid again – and again.

What’s next?
EF: I’m developing a number of new shows and from September, returning to Melbourne for a new series.

Interview with the Vampire is now screening on AMC+ and begins on ABC Entertains / iview on July 31.

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