Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl, Shattered) brings home invasion horror meets Groundhog Day to life in her new indie horror film, Lucky.
Lucky was written by Brea Grant (12 Hour Shift), who also stars as May.
Life takes a sudden turn for May (Brea Grant), a popular self-help book author, when she finds herself the target of a mysterious man with murderous intentions. Every night, without fail he comes after her, and every day the people around her barely seem to notice. With no one to turn to, May is pushed to her limits and must take matters into her own hands to survive and to regain control of her life.
Lucky also stars Grant along with Dhruv Uday Singh (“Good Trouble”), Kausar Mohammed (What Men Want), Hunter C. Smith (Alien Expedition), and Kristina Klebe (Hellboy).
How does it feel now that the film is complete and people are getting to see it?
Natasha: It feels great! We had a bumpy, sort of interesting release because of the pandemic, we were supposed to premiere the film at South by Southwest. We weren’t sure what was going to happen but I think we’re just really thrilled that it’s getting out there and Shudder has been great for us. It feels really good, and we’re really happy that people seem to be understanding the movie because I think with a special movie like this, you’re not always sure that people are going to get it, you know, get it.
Can you explain how you came to be part of this film?
Natasha: I knew Brea already, socially, we had never worked together but we knew each other so I was just excited to read something that she would write and then she would be involved in. At the time, I was reading a lot of maybe more simple horror scripts, like more straightforward slasher scripts and that’s not so much my where my interest lies, so I was very excited to have something that was sort of like wearing the skin of a horror movie, and playing in that sandbox, but was, at the end of the day, really felt more like satire, more than anything else to me. And I felt like those layers and that sort of complexity, from a filmmaking perspective, was really exciting. And then, of course, the fact that she had an actual point of view, like she had an actual story that she wanted to tell that sort of checked all the boxes for me. It was a pretty easy project to jump onto.
What was it like working with Brea, not only as the writer but also as the lead?
Natasha: She’s a fantastic collaborator, we’re actually developing some other stuff now together because we had such a good time. I think we work really well together because I think both of us are very willing to sort of let go of the idea of egos or ‘this is my project.’ Letting that kind of not be at the forefront of the conversation was very easy for us and we were able to just sort of focus on how we can make this happen with the resources we have in the best possible way. So I think that is really more than you can ask for in any collaboration. And we are very different. I think our sensibilities are different and so that was fun too. When she was willing to let me come on board as the filmmaker for her script, I think I was bringing a lot of things that she hadn’t anticipated to the table. She’s a curious person and enjoys that process of having a director come on and really be like the captain of the ship, I think is how she says it. I think she was happy to sort of let that production side of things happen so she could focus on her own role which was really very challenging. Because she was able to just focus on the acting side of it, once things were started up and rolling, I think that worked for her and it worked for me… Our interpretation of the script was in sync, from the first conversation. And so there wasn’t a lot of like, ‘oh I need to explain my intention to you,’ you know, it was more like, ‘this is what I’m thinking, is this what you’re thinking?’ And because we’re excited by each other’s ideas, cool things happen and that’s a great process to be a part of.
The name of the movie is Lucky, did you and Brea come up with the title together?
Natasha: To me, that was always the name of the movie. I mean, there were definitely conversations to change it because it’s not a very Google-able title. But I always was fighting to keep the title Lucky because I think it’s just perfect. It’s so multi-layered, it is ironic, it really sets up the movie to be satirical, and I really liked that. I liked the irony and the sort of cheekiness of the title. I think it sets up the movie in a really nice way. I also like to have titles at the end of my films, so there’s no opening credits, there’s only closing credits. I like to think of a title as sort of an answer to the question that the movie is positing. So, you’ve sat through this 80 minute, 90 minute experience, and then what is the one word that sort of is the little after all that? What is the word at the end that sort of wraps it all up with a bow, and for me, lucky was just the perfect word because as the audience, you can look back at all the scenes you’ve just watched and I think the word lucky fits into every scene in a different way, but a very relevant way, and so that I think is a strong title.
So what was your favorite scene to shoot?
Natasha: I loved all the scenes but I think, obviously the parking garage is the big sequence that everybody sort of remembers and I loved working with the specialty camera and the stunt people and that kind of stuff is always super duper fun. But I think, maybe something unique about this one is because I had never worked with Brea before, there’s a few scenes where she really gets to embody the character of May and sort of has these long monologue sequences. There’s one where she admits that she had cheated on her husband, which is a very quiet close up. It’s a little bit closer of a close up than you see in the rest of the movie. And I think there’s just something really fun for me to see Brea really step into the character of May and explore her in revealing this moment. For me, it’s a really important moment in the film where the main character, in a way, admits to herself that she thinks maybe she had done something wrong, and is being punished for this mistake that she’s made. And it’s just a very quiet, intimate moment but I think Brea just really rose to the occasion. It’s a huge pleasure for a filmmaker to see the character come alive in that way so I would almost say those little quiet moments are extra special for me.
What would you say would be the most challenging scene?
Natasha: There’s so many. I think one of the real challenges was that this is a movie that takes place, for the most part, in one location. And so, I think with all of the sequences happening in the house and sort of finding unique ways to photograph this same woman in the same house, over and over and over again, that was definitely something we were super aware of. We wanted to make sure we were developing the look and the house was sort of changing and that it was staying interesting because we didn’t want it to be one of those indies where it’s like, ‘oh god, I’m so bored. We’re still in the same freakin’ location.’ And I think we achieved it. I think the movie moves at a nice pace and because we’re changing things about the house and about the way we’re photographing her in the house, I don’t think we felt bored in that space. It became increasingly claustrophobic and crazy and wild and there was a lot of brainpower that went into making sure that the house didn’t get old. So yeah, I think that was one of the biggest challenges for sure.
When you said claustrophobic, that is exactly how I felt watching this.
Natasha: Believe me it’s not a big house. We were literally claustrophobic in the house shooting but it was also a very interesting house so we tried to find ways to bring the weirdness of the house onto the screen.
What is something that you want your audience to take away from watching this?
Natasha: I think there is a universality to May’s experience that I’ve seen a lot of people who have watched the film respond to and I think the conversations that come out of that realization have been really wonderful to hear. I think it’s less like a prescriptive thing that we want people to feel, as much as just having a conversation after the film. So that there is some sort of dialogue that happens whether it’s with whomever you watch the movie with or online or on a phone call or whatever it is. I think that really is what we’re interested in.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Natasha: The team was a really amazing mix, we had a lot of women in the heads of our departments and so I think that maybe is something that people would like to know. And I think going back to that universality of the experience, I think having so many women as the heads of their departments really brought not only a great work ethic because women work great together despite what people tell you, but also I think a sensitivity to the material that really does make it unique. You know, with so many horror movies coming out, I think to have something sort of special and offbeat like our movie is fun and it really is a product of a lot of women coming together so I think that’s a nice aspect.