Vaughn Stein interview for ‘Every Breath You Take’

Last week we got to into interview the director of the new drama thriller called ‘Every Breath You Take’ starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan. We go into the influences Vaughn had while making the movie and the casting process and balancing multiple genres in one film. Hope you enjoy the interview.

AJ:
Yeah. So once talk about every breath, you’d say, how long have you been involved with it?

Vaughn:
So I, I first read it in sort of mid 2019, and then we shot, we started shooting descendants and we shot through January, 2020, and then we, we sort of edited and did post-production all through the, the brave new world of COVID through 2020.

AJ:
Yeah, was this during or after inheritance because I remembered that always the last time I interviewed you. So was that was every breath you take in between

Vaughn:
It was afterwards. Yeah, it was after this directly after it. Yeah.

AJ:
Okay. So how did the casting come about? Cause he got two really big powerhouse actors in Casey, and Michelle. And so how was it like getting them involved in this?

Vaughn:
Oh, I mean, it was, it was an absolute pleasure and a privilege. I mean, they, they are, I mean, they’re so brilliant. I mean their body of work speaks for itself, but they’re such, they’re such a sort of, they’re just essentially lovely actors to work with. They’re so collaborative and they’re extremely prepared, you know, they knew their lines inside out by they, they questioned things in the best possible way, you know, they want to do what’s right for their characters. They want to do what’s right for the story and yeah, they were, they were amazing to work with. I mean, it was a very, very complicated, you know, relationship to portray like this, this family that were kind of haunted by this, this grief, this unspeakable tragedy. And, you know, we kind of wanted to, we talked a lot as an ensemble, like about blending, you know, character drama, like, you know, a story about grief and about what it does to us as people with this kind of very sort of twisting and turning psychological thriller. And I think, I think what attracted us to the material was it was a great script and an opportunity to kind of blend thriller and character and, and to do something hopefully kind of. Yeah.

AJ:
Yeah. And speaking about that, and this is kind of way different than inheritance wise because there was mainly horror and suspense, but this kind of has family drama, like you said, and family is dysfunctional in between and the grievance. So even if it doesn’t work towards the genre fans it can probably work towards more the drama fans and just, it has this multi-dimensional lane to get more people to watch it. So how was the balancing act between all of those and every breath you take?

Vaughn:
That’s a great question. You have to be, I mean, it’s a tight rope, isn’t it? Because you want to, you want to make the best, you want to tell the best story you can. You want to make the best film that you’ve had. And you know, it, I think for me, the, the blending of those two elements was, was it, it kind of felt natural because the script did a really, really good job of it. And having these amazing actors who were able to sort of elevate it was, was amazing. I think for me, I, I was really interested in the idea that, you know, great thrillers come out of great character and great dialogue and, you know, you need to care about these people. You need to believe in them and you need to root for them because that’s what makes you buy a ticket, right? That’s what gets you on the rollercoaster when you can, when you’re, when you’re interested in them and you believe in them. And I think, I think, you know, Testament to Casey and Michelle and India and Sam and Veronica for doing such an amazing job in, in, in creating these three dimensional characters to sort of populate this, this kind of psychological thriller genre.

AJ:
Yeah. And just, what were some of the influences, just your filmmaking style with every breath you take, then you have any films that kind of inspired you to take a different kind of route with this, or was this something that was just all you, when you made every breath you take?

Vaughn:
I know I love classic thrillers. Like I, I really, you know, I kind of remember like the first time I saw rear window, for example, you can’t think about classic suspense thriller without talking about Hitchcock. And I think one of, you know, there are, there were there definitely, we, we looked, you know, with my department heads on some amazing cinematographer, Michael Merriman and Jeremy Stanbridge, the production designer and Laura Jennings, the edits. So we very much wanted to sort of lead into like classic thriller storytelling, but we wanted to, we wanted to do it with a, with a modern twist, you know, this with sort of some flour and flamboyance, which hopefully we, we executed, I think we’ve, we talked a lot about, I’m a massive David Fincher fan. I thought God. And I think there was an absolutely super of that, like definitely was something that was, that was in my mind about, you know, sort of peeking behind the, like the gilded cluttered. Right? Like looking into that, looking into the, you know, sort of a middle class America and seeing what lies beneath that was definitely, that was an influence as well. Yeah, for sure.

AJ:
And just, everybody’s a character in this, it’s kind of a hard and not to get exploitative and just kind of make them one dimensional in a film like this. So how was it treating everybody else’s character in this to make them more connectable and not just kind of point what they’re going through?

Vaughn:
Well, I think it’s testimony to the actors like that. They were able to do such an incredible job in, in, you know, breathing life. So those codes is that they didn’t, like you say, feel one dimensional that they weren’t just sort of pawns in service to the narrative. You know, like, you know, this is, this is a film that is as much about grief as it is a sort of psychological thriller it’s about the shadow, the grief costs over people and what it does, the sort of destructive malignant influence that not dealing with grief and not being able to process the emotions can, can have on you and the ones you love. And, you know, I think, I think so much of it came from an amazing cost and a, and a great script and being able to, yeah. To have that sort of duality to have something that was a complex character drama, but there was also a great, hopefully a great thriller as well. Yeah. I think that was, that was sort of, that was key to it.

AJ:
Well, Vaughn, thank you so much for joining me this afternoon. It’s been really fun talking to you and congrats. Congratulations on every breath you take.

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