Directors: Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz. Screenwriters: Sergio Casci, Severin Fiala, and Veronika Franz. Starring: Riley Keough, Alicia Silverstone, Richard Armitage, Jaeden Martell, and Lia McHugh
From American Cousins, to The Caller, and Katie Morag, Mr. Sergio Casci has been writing screenplays for years. Now, The Lodge is his latest screenplay that he co-wrote with Severin Fiala and Veronika. I hope you use your time wisely and read this interview. Get to know this great screenwriter and discover why you should go see The Lodge after reading this.
1. WHAT IS THE GENESIS OF THE LODGE?
My first horror feature, The Caller, had been well-received and I was trying to come up with a new idea. My wife (novelist Helen FitzGerald) and I were chatting about it one night and the central conceit of the film emerged from that conversation. It’s essentially the reverse of an idea used in a couple of classic movies, but I can’t say what those movies are because it would give the ending away!
2. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE LODGE?
It probably took about a year, but I had other paid work at the time and The Lodge was being written on spec, so I wasn’t up against a deadline. I wanted the story to appear relatively simple on the surface while hiding something more nuanced and complex underneath, so I couldn’t rush it. It had to be finely-tuned. Much more time was spent thinking than writing.
3. WERE THERE OTHER TITLES YOU CAME UP WITH BEFORE THE LODGE?
My original title was “December 25”. I found it vaguely disconcerting because it’s a date you rarely see written down. People usually just say Christmas. In the end, though, it would have been too confusing, with some people thinking it was the release date!
4. WHAT RESEARCH DID YOU DO WHEN WRITING THE LODGE?
I did a fair bit of research, but ended up using very little of it. I remember spending ages looking up various different types of American confectionery for a scene that didn’t make it into the finished film.
5. WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIKE CO-WRITING THE LODGE WITH VERONIKA FRANZ AND SEVERIN FIALA?
The screenplay went through various stages. The original spec script was picked up by Hammer Films, who had some great ideas that I incorporated into the screenplay. Then Veronika and Severin joined the project and brought their creepy genius to the story and the characters. It wasn’t co-writing in the sense of physically collaborating round a table from Day One.
6. WHAT IS YOUR WRITING HABIT IN GENERAL?
My writing habits have changed over the years. I used to spend a lot of time at the desk typing. I now spend much more time away from my desk, thinking. Writing a screenplay doesn’t take that long – there are only 100 or so pages with lots of white space. The trick is knowing what to write. I’m a big fan of day-dreaming – that’s where ideas are born and problems are fixed.
I’m not particularly a morning or night person when it comes to writing. I think about what I’m writing all day, on and off. Showers are a particularly productive time, as are the moments before I drift off to sleep (which can be irritating because if I have an idea I really like, I have to get up and write it in my notebook!) I’m also much more self-critical of what I’m writing, while I’m writing it, and take longer to commit to a particular scene, character or plot point. I used to just dive in, but I’ve come to understand that your first idea isn’t necessarily inspiration, it might just be your first idea.
7. DO YOU EVER GET WRITERS’ BLOCK?
I hit a brick wall with a recent script, and eventually got over it by buying a large sketch book and scribbling little drawings of characters and scenes. It wasn’t something I’d done before, and it loosened-up my imagination. It’s an occupational hazard. I like what Thomas Mann said: “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM “THE LODGE”?
When Grace tells the kids: “You have nothing to be scared about…”
9. WHAT MOVIE DID YOU SEE RECENTLY THAT MADE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE?
I’m not sure that movies do make a difference to most people’s lives after a certain age. They certainly make a difference growing up; films such as The Godfather, Jaws and The Exorcist made a tremendous impression on me and I’m sure I’ve been subconsciously ripping them off throughout my career. In terms of (relatively) more recent movies, the one that made the biggest impression was The Sixth Sense. I think it’s a work of genius. Generally, however, I’m more engaged by television drama than by feature films these days. There’s so much of it, and it’s so good. The Italian crime series “Gomorrah”, the Cold War spy series “The Americans” and “Game of Thrones” have been highlights of recent years.
10. HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE YOUR FIRST SCREENPLAY BEING MADE INTO A FEATURE FILM.
We had a big party after the premier of American Cousins in Glasgow, with fish and chips for the guests. I remember celebrating the making of my first ever short film by buying a decent-sized television to watch it on.
11. HOW DOES A SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHOR GET THEIR WORK READ FOR POSSIBLE MOVIE?
Write a short, effective treatment or summary that really sells the story. Just a couple of pages. It won’t be for everyone, but those people who ARE interested will then ask to read the full thing.
12. WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE FOR ASPIRING SCREENWRITER STARTING OUT?
Write stuff you care about; stuff that enthuses and excites you. If you don’t really care about it, the reader won’t either. Plus, you’re going to be working on each screenplay for a very long time – it’s going to be a big part of your life – so it might as well be material that engages you.
13. WHICH NOVEL HAVE YOU READ THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE ADAPTED INTO A FILM?
My wife Helen FitzGerald’s first novel, DEAD LOVELY. It would make a FANTASTIC movie.
14. WHICH MOVIE HAVE YOU JUST FINISHED WATCHING?
Mamma Mia 2. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
15. IF YOU COULD PICK A DAY TO RELIVE OVER AND OVER AGAIN, WHICH DAY WOULD IT BE?
The day I met my wife. I’d never met anyone whose company I enjoyed so much, and I still haven’t. In second place is 11 July 1982 – the day Italy won the World Cup.
And with that, I just want to extend my appreciation to Mr. Sergio Casci. I hope each and everyone of you enjoyed what you read. I know that you are quite interested in seeing this terrific horror film.when It get release. Thank you all for your time and I hope your day is going great so far. Stay safe as well and have a wonderful summer.