In the new horror film The Id, actress and all-around awesome lady Amanda Wyss plays a woman dealing with a sadistic elderly father in claustrophobic house. She learns a dark secret about his true nature, and her own. Thommy Hutson‘s directorial debut is already winning awards and will have a screening at the The Hollywood Reel Independent Film Fest on February 18 and I got a chance to chat with Wyss and Hutson about the film and what we’re going to see. I met both of them while doing makeup for Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy and I was thrilled to hear that two amazing talents are working together again. Check out what they had to say about the film below.
Legion of Leia: Thommy, You’ve been producing and working in the industry for years. How does it feel to be making your directorial debut?
Thommy Hutson: Amazing and wonderful mixed with a little bit of scary! I had always wanted to step behind the camera as a director and it really was, I think, just a matter of time. As a writer and producer I was used to wearing a lot of hats, especially in the independent world, so I think that really helped me prepare for what being in the captain’s chair was going to be like. I loved the ability to be creative, bring the vision of what I was seeing on the page to life, and still have my hand in the ring as producer to make sure things were running smoothly. Of course, I was not alone as Dan Farrands was producing with me, which was a huge relief. It was my first rodeo in the director’s seat and I loved every moment of it, from working with the actors and talking technical and creative with the DP and crew, to approving wardrobe and even the color of the rooms. I can’t wait to do it again.
Legion of Leia: What can you tell us about the film?
Thommy Hutson: It’s an interesting, strange, almost-fever-dream look at characters who are stuck together. They both have very different ideas of what their situation is, and why, and how that plays out is an intense tug of war. The script (written by Sean Stewart) was really well-crafted to showcase the multi-layered, character-driven approach to so many different facets of what life can be when it doesn’t pan out the way you hope. It touches on parental issues, unrequited love, the fear of being alone, and sickness & death. What I most enjoyed were the power struggles between the father and his daughter, Meridith, and also the moments of strange humor and inherent sadness. It’s a movie that I think, and hope, will stay with viewers after the fact and make them talk about what they just watched.
Legion of Leia: Amanda, can you tell us about your role?
Amanda Wyss: My role is Meridith, a woman who has been unable to break away from her domineering preacher-like father. She was a person who never really had the tools or resilience to weather the storms of life in the real world and, after only a few brief attempts at independence, ended up back home living with and caring for her father.
Legion of Leia: Going by the description, this film plays on the fear of aging and aging relatives and the mysteries of the past. I’d love to hear from both of you on your process for breaking this all down.
Amanda Wyss: Meridith and her father’s history is exposed through each of their individual prisms. Both versions justify their present choices. For Meridith, those are guilt, resentment and blame as well as the feeling that the best possibilities are behind her. I think regret of things undone and unlived and fear that this was the way it would always be were paralyzing for Meridith. As her father became more frail she realized her whole life had been this struggle between her needs and her father’s needs. As he deteriorated her loss of all she had given up magnified to an overwhelming degree.
Thommy Hutson: Meridith is someone who I believe raced to grow up, did so too fast, and then realized that all of the things she wanted to do, and be, are no longer viable. She is a woman who lives through the past and that manifests in a lot of sad, strange, and unfortunate ways. And the fact that as an adult woman she is saddled with her sick father makes her feel that there may be no hope to recapture her dreams, even if she won’t admit that nothing she is after is truly viable anyway.
Legion of Leia: What is it about the horror genre that appeals to you guys? For me, it’s always been the way you can attack a concept more aggressively than you can in a regular story. Sort of like sci-fi.
Amanda Wyss: I believe in horror you can tell a gritty, violent visceral story with exaggerated archetypes that really move us on a cave man, cell level. Primal fear is universal. Therefore it provides moments of commonality among us when it might not otherwise exist.
Thommy Hutson: I really do believe that a lot in the genre acts as a mirror or a morality tale. Telling tales that are dark, and scary, and thrilling gives us an outlet to explore things that some might feel shouldn’t be thrown out into the open. And it is an interesting, visceral way to look at a story and take it down a road less traveled in order to fully get to the core. I think we’re all a little bit fascinated with what lurks around the corner, what’s in the dark basement, and what might be sneaking up behind us. Genre films let us quench that thirst and come out the other side just fine. It’s what I love about them. And being scared, of course!
Amanda Wyss: For me this role was challenging and raw. I felt so vulnerable. Working with Thommy was so wonderful. We had a mutual trust and shorthand that made it possible to make this movie, having an incredibly tight shooting schedule. The crew was also very focused and supportive. It took me quite a while to shake Meridith off. She definitely haunted me!
Thommy Hutson: It was an experience as wonderful as it was challenging. The cast and crew really pulled together to make a lot of things happen that might not have otherwise if everyone didn’t go above and beyond. There were times when it seemed, both in a story sense and in terms of the actual production, that we were going down this dark, dismal, yet fascinating rabbit hole. It was truly something to remember, and I am really, really proud of what was accomplished with limited time and on a limited budget. It’s a testament to the cast and crew for pulling together, trusting me as a first-time director, and doing the incredible work they did.
Check out the trailer for The Id below. If you’re in Los Angeles and want to check out the screening, here is the info:
Thursday, February 18th at 9:15pm as part of The Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival at The Regal LA Live Stadium 14 Cineplex. Tickets can be purchased here.