Travis Stevens stages Jacob’s wife.

CS Interview: Co-writer / director Travis Stevens on Jacob’s wife

After the film finally reached a wide audience after its acclaimed world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival, had the opportunity to speak to prolific horror producer Travis Stevens about his latest co-written and staged effort, the Barbara Crampton. LED Jacob’s wife.


RELATED: CS Interview: Barbara Crampton on the Empowering Horror Pic of Jacob’s Wife The last time we talked it was like that indeed How is it for you to see the really positive feedback the film has received so far before the film premiered on SXSW?

Travis Stevens: Really, I’m incredibly proud and people really reacted to Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden in those roles. It’s so nice to see because I respect her so much as a performer and the people who come out of the film have the same joy in watching them do their work that I had while making the film. It was great.

CS: Was there anything you were specifically concerned about people taking the film away either negatively or positively?

TS: Well, I guess your concern is always whether or not people get your intent. With any kind of feedback or criticism, there are certainly things that you, in some ways, agree with. I think I was really happy to see that so many people understood that the tone of the film was changing along with Anne. As she starts to change, the movie starts to change. I was really happy to see that.

CS: I think one of the interesting things is the small size for Anne’s character, especially for a vampire movie. What was it like to find out how many people she kills and who exactly she kills and for what reasons?

TS: It’s an interesting question because in some ways there were drafts before I got involved. In some aspects I work with what is there and try to optimize it so that it fits my vision. I think with any type of kills you want to anchor it around what value it has to the character’s arch. So there are times when Anne gets active in this film. I think of her as she still gets control of her powers. It’s like superpowers and she doesn’t have full control over them yet and just gives in to them, the animal aspect of becoming a vampire. Let’s say in a future movie I think the number of bodies would be different, but in this movie she loses control a few times, which is different from the hug of that person for who they are. We’ll follow them as they walk around town killing a lot of people who didn’t seem right for their character.

Click here to rent or buy Jacob’s wife!

CS: When I first read the synopsis, I initially thought The Master was that polite character who would commit a series of murders in town when she came into Anne’s life. Were there ever drafts or was there ever a time when you thought the master would be someone to commit the murders and then teach Anne along the way?

TS: I don’t think that was in any of the designs I saw. I think the master was portrayed much more as a traditional type of seductive character that is somehow there to lure Anne away from her husband. We didn’t spend much more time with the master in town in any of the designs I saw. I think this film primarily uses vampirism as an allegory, and it really is a film about a woman taking back her voice. Every time we’re away from this woman it’ll make a little difference.

CS: What was it like trying to strike that balance between the structure of the world and the allegories of history, especially with scenes outside of Anne?

TS: It was a lot of trial and error getting Anne’s character into scenes that she might not originally have been in and just trying to make sure we didn’t lose her in the story. You know, there are so many factors that come into play when you are making a movie on this budget. How much of this world will you be able to show in terms of building the world? How effectively will you be able to live in it? You know how to like a movie bladeYou can live in the world of these vampires because they have the money to show this world and that would be bloody great. We had to bend over to Abel Ferrara a little more The addictionwhere it’s a lot more about a character and that there are little bolts of the world on the page.

CS: So even though you didn’t really have the budget to show these things, did you have some kind of Bible to refine this world for both your own mind and your cast?

TS: Sure, I mean it wasn’t a complete Bible, but every actor needs an understanding of who this character is, what their experience was before the film started, and how that character works. Because the design would pay homage to some kind of classic Nosferatu, Salem’s lotVampires in style that made it easier to fill in some details about the shipping boxes and the dirt and the rats and the clothes and all that.

CS: Was there any part of you who wished you had more on-screen time with The Master than the Jaws-like approach to their presence?

TS: It’s hard for me to know this part of the process. I’ve certainly seen some feedback that people love the character and would like to see more of her. But it’s hard to know as this is a movie that is mostly about Anne and The Master is only there to trigger the transformation that Anne is going through. I think there is room to explore that more in the future, but in this particular film I don’t really regret it because adding more with The Master could mean taking some of the other things away.

Travis Stevens

CS: One thing I find interesting is when you have themed heavy horror movies like this, which in the same role as Larry Fessenden’s character is often dead by the end of the film so the female lead can take on her new one Strengthen life, and yet Larry survived in this film. How did you come to the decision to keep him with you?

TS: Movies have value in black and white, but that wasn’t this movie. This is not the story of a good woman and a bad man. It’s the story of a relationship that, over time, stopped working for both people. In this case, Anne is speaking, speaking in her voice, “Hey, I have things I want to do and I am now confident enough to express them. “Her husband didn’t have to die for her to win this victory. Only she tells her partner, “Hey, things have to change in this relationship” in order to achieve the goal. So it’s more of a subtle solution, but I think it’s true to life and that’s certainly the point I wanted to address. This is not a movie about a terrible relationship, the terrible husband, and to be happy she has to kill him and then she can be free and now everything is perfect. Maybe that’s a win, but that’s not the only win like in a relationship where the two of them really, really care about each other. Victory is in listening to your partner and their needs, and then making the adjustments necessary so that you can move forward happily. This may be silly for a horror movie where blood is like splashing all over the set, but it is what it is. [laughs]

CS: To look away from the film for my final question, I’m curious, will we see you and Ted Geoghegan get back together on a project soon?

TS: I think Ted has a lot of things going on, I’m a Ted Geoghegan super fan, super friend, and if he ever needs me to do anything, I’m there to help.

CS: What would your hope be for a joint project? Would you direct Would it be Ted directing? Would it be in the horror genre? What’s your big dream project to come back with him?

TS: I think it would be really fun to work with Ted on our version of a slasher movie from the 80s, and then Ted has such an encyclopedic knowledge of horror subgenres that he could do something incredible with that format.

RELATED: SXSW 2021 Reviews: Jacob’s Wife, Language Lessons & More!

The film revolves around Anne, who is married to a small town minister and feels that her life and marriage have shrunk over the past 30 years. After a chance encounter with “The Master” she discovers a new feeling of power and an appetite to live bigger and braver than before. As Anne becomes increasingly torn between her alluring new existence and her previous life, the number of bodies grows and Jacob realizes that he must fight for the woman he took for granted.

In addition to Crampton (We are still here), the ensemble list for the film includes Larry Fessenden (Stake land), Nyisha Bell (Coming 2 America), Mark Kelly (The hot zone), Sarah Lind (Wolfcop), Robert Rusler (A nightmare on 2 Elm Street, vamp), Bonnie Aarons (The nun, the incantation 2) and Phil Brooks (aka CM Punk, Girls on the third floor).

The horror thriller is judged by Travis Stevens (Girls on the third floor) and co-written by him, Mark Steensland (The Special) and Kathy Charles and is an AMP production produced by Bob Portal (It came from the desert), Inderpal Singh (The hoarder), Crampton and Stevens. RLJE Films is a unit of AMC Networks, while Shudder is the studio’s premium streaming service for horror, thriller and supernatural titles.

Jacob’s wife previously made its debut at SXSW in March and is now available in select cinemas as well as on digital platforms and VOD!