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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

‘My Animal’ Sundance Interview – Director Jacqueline Castel on the Film’s Fresh Werewolf Metaphor

Director Jacqueline Castel and screenwriter Jae Matthews (The Runner) give a new spin on the werewolf mythos with My Animal (read my review here).

The feature debut by Castel, which made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, sees a teen outcast connect with and fall for a town newcomer, igniting a personal transformation. My Animal stars Bobbi Salvör Menuez, Amandla Stenberg, Stephen Mchattie, Heidi Von Palleske, Cory Lipman, and Joe Apollonio.

Bloody Disgusting spoke with Castel about her debut, the werewolf metaphor, and the symbolism behind her use of the color red.

Castel breaks down what attracted her to Matthews’ script and its approach to the werewolf metaphor, both as Otherness and Heather’s (Salvör Menuez) sexual discovery. 

I’m connected to outsider stories,” Castle explains. “I’m interested in telling outsider stories and stories that exist on the fringes of society. That was something that attracted me to the story and to that werewolf element. There’s this duality, but it’s in a way that accepts that inner aspect of yourself, that inner animal. And embracing the elements that you’re maybe shameful of are actually the things that define you as an individual and are the things that make you unique and interesting.

“I love this idea of society telling you you’re not supposed to be this, this, and this. But actually, you can embrace those things and integrate them and transform yourself and your life by integrating those exact things you’re told to get rid of. I love that idea and concept and wanted to explore that as well in the film.”

A still from My Animal by Jacqueline Castel, an official selection of the Midnight section at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

That approach to the werewolf metaphor extends to Castel’s visual direction and her symbolic use of red. When asked about its purpose visually, the filmmaker explained, “Oh, it’s definitely purposeful. It was this ongoing joke on set that I’d always be like, ‘More red.’ But yeah, I was trying to weave this into the story of red, which was the color I wanted to use with Johnny (Stenberg) and Heather in their wardrobe choices, in Johnny’s hair. Johnny’s hair transforms throughout the movie. It’s really subtle, but she slowly has more and more pink extensions woven into her hair as she falls in love.

I wanted there always to be this sense of this emotional component of the story being represented by the color red. You’ll see it, even if it’s a naturalistic scene like when they’re talking together in the car, you’ve got the brake lights that we made bright in the background between the two of them. That’s connecting them. I used that as something that would come in and out of the universe to symbolize this passion and this desire. I was always looking to reinforce that symbolism and put thought into the process all the way through and have a color story that was happening in the film itself. But it’s that desire, that passion, that thing within yourself that’s uncontrollable.”

My Animal has been acquired by Paramount, though no release date has been announced yet. Stay tuned.

The post ‘My Animal’ Sundance Interview – Director Jacqueline Castel on the Film’s Fresh Werewolf Metaphor appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/interviews/3748512/my-animal-sundance-interview-director-jacqueline-castel-on-the-films-fresh-werewolf-metaphor/

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