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Richard Gray Interview 01
Mine Games director Richard Gray




Having done a couple of Australian dramas, filmmaker Richard Gray decided it was time to really shake things up. The result? An American-lensed horror movie called Mine Games. He took a few moments of his time to give Horror DNA a Q&A.

Four of you are credited with the story. Who came up with it? Who gets the most praise here?

Richard Gray: I happened upon the screenplay back in a Australia and the credit certainly needs to go to Ross McQueen and Robert Cross. I found it refreshing and was so excited to jump onboard.

Seems you work with your wife Michelle quite a bit. How does that professional relationship work so well? What's the secret?

RG: Michele's an incredibly collaborator. We have an uncanny ability to separate home life from set and I think that's why it works. No one is more critical on us than ourselves, and she's always go my back. She's focused on story and it's great for me to return to the monitor and have another strong opinion to consider.

Was this the movie that brought you to the states, or were you here shopping for work when it landed in your inbox?

RG: I was traveling to festivals and markets is the US with Summer Coda. I'd been working with the writers of Mine Games for about 12 months already. Then I happened to meet Mike Gillespie - producer - in LA at a Coda screening, and he asked, "What else you got?" He read TEW, really clicked with the story, and by chance had a great connection to some real mines up in Washington State! It felt very much "meant to be". We were very fortunate to have producers Chris Lemole and Benton Morris come onboard, and the cast quickly followed. Filming was an exciting adventure. The amazing backdrops of WA, and the ability of a very small Indy crew to work and build brilliant sets on a tiny budget was a real highlight for me. We had a ball.

The film's score is eerie and effective. How did you discover the composer?

RG: Alies Sluiter is amazing. We met while I was at Film School and she was at Music School, at The Victorian College of the Arts. She's also one of Australia's finest violinists. Alies has composed seven films for me to date. I adore her. She's able to do any genre. My preference usually comes from a classical place and I feel she was able to create an amazing atmosphere on this one.

Richard Gray Interview 02
Still from Mine Games
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The movie's message would seem to be: Don't try and change the future, you'll make an even bigger mess of it. What do you think of that statement?

RG: Yeah, that's pretty much spot on, but mainly for me it's about friendship and what happens to it when put under extreme pressure, in extreme circumstance. Do people bond together or do they tear each other apart to protect themselves. It were these "Lord of the Flies" type elements that made me so excited about the story.

You have a Twilight cast-member in your film. Was the film set stalked by crazed fans every day? Was it hounded by the public?

RG: Alex Meraz is a lovely man. I think it helped that we were so deep out in the forest. We filmed at a place called North Bend in WA. We were pretty hard to find out there, but certainly whenever we ventured into Seattle he and Briana Evigan would be pretty much mobbed.

If I wanted to fast-forward straight to the scariest moment in the film, what scene or counter-time should I jump to?

RG: I personally love the ticking clock aspects and jumps in the final act when all the secrets and twists come together. I love the last 20 minutess. I also like love seeing the reveal of the dead characters in the mine. I hope it's fairly uniquely spooky.

Look for Mine Games on DVD and VOD in September.

Mine Games Cover
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Mine Games Poster
Poster for Mine Games
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