Interviews with director John La Tier and stars Rose McGowan and Patrick John Flueger
The Tell-Tale Heart, a new film starring Patrick John Flueger, Rose McGowan and Peter Bogdanovich (to be released in 2012), is a reimagining of Poe’s suspenseful short story of the same name, with a touch of romance and fantasy, set in modern day New Orleans.
Flueger, most recently seen on the big screen in Footloose, is playing the lead role, and his co-star is the stunning McGowan, known for her roles in Grindhouse, Scream, Jawbreaker, The Black Dahlia and The Doom Generation, in addition to the popular series Charmed.
Bogdanovich plays the one-eyed old man in the story (who was probably inspired by Poe’s despised foster father, John Allan). Esteemed as a director for classics including Paper Moon, The Last Picture Show, and What’s Up Doc?, Bogdanovich started out training as an actor under the tutelage of the legendary Stella Adler before making a name for himself as one of Hollywood’s great filmmakers.
“It has been my goal since the start of this production to stay true to the nefarious world that Edgar Allan Poe creates in all of his stories,” says director John La Tier. “Filming with this cast in the city of New Orleans is truly making this captivating story come to life.”
Also joining the cast is Jacob Vargas (Devil,Traffic, Jarhead), Damon Whitaker (Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai), and Kirk Fox(Forgetting Sarah Marshall).
In addition to the first photographs from set, The Tell-Tale Heart has launched a Facebook page, which is being updated throughout production with behind-the-scenes videos and photographs at facebook.com/TellTaleHeartTheMovie.
John, do you have any personal connection to Poe and his works that you can tell us about?
La Tier: I’ve been a longtime fan of Poe. “The Tell-Tale Heart” is actually my favorite piece of his work, but “The Raven” draws a close second, and I also love “Annabel Lee.”
McGowan: I read “The Tell-Tale Heart” when I was four years old, and I became obsessed with it, to the point that I would go around and any time I saw wooden floors, I would put my ear on the floor and scoot around listening for hearts. That is how I fell in love with Poe.
Flueger: The first time I read Edgar Allan Poe was in English class in the ninth grade. When I first read “The Tell-Tale Heart” in the ninth grade, it was so dark and macabre and so different than other stories I had allowed myself to be privy to, but I really liked it. I was a bit of a metal head growing up and all of the music I listened to was so dark and the lyrics were so emotional, so it was cool to read a story that was written so long ago that felt similar to modern music.
What made you decide to set the story in New Orleans?
La Tier: When I first started developing the screenplay, I moved into an apartment in the French Quarter. I would sit in my window every day and hear the beautiful sounds of New Orleans—the boats going by, the Calliope playing every morning, the streetcar..it just all came to life for me and inspired many aspects of the story. New Orleans, which is so full of haunted houses, creaky wooden floors and tormented souls, seemed like the perfect choice for an Edgar Allan Poe film.
You mentioned that you wanted to stay true to the original short story. How did you adapt it into a full-length movie?
La Tier: When I first started working on the screenplay, I immersed myself in Poe’s work. From “The Black Cat” to his prose poem “Eureka,” I found inspiration throughout his bodies of work to create a story centered around the “The Tell-Tale Heart” and stayed true to all of his dark fantasies. We also created a bit of a fantasy world, which allowed us to include the femme fatale role played by Rose McGowan and helps heighten the level of torment for Shaun, our main character played by Patrick John Flueger. I wanted to have a driving force between the old man with the vulture eye and Shaun, and what better force than a love interest? But at the heart and soul of the film, lies Poe’s story of “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
Rose, tell us something about the character you play in the film. You’ve been known for playing many dark, edgy characters in your movies. What attracted you to this particular role?
McGowan: My character Aerial in “The Tell-Tale Heart” is someone who may or may not be real, and acts accordingly. Poe’s story “The Tell-Tale Heart” does not have a female character in it, so I was very curious to see how that would be woven into the script. It’s really seamless and it almost seems like it could be part of the original story, and I think Poe would be very pleased.
Patrick, you’re the lead. Tell us about your role.
Flueger: I play a kid by the name of Sean, and he’s trying to deal with his past. What I find most interesting about Sean is that he supplements the reality of his history with this story of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” which is equally as dark as his own story. It was easy to be invited into the world John was trying to create.
John, what do you think will distinguish this motion picture from other film treatments of Poe’s works?
La Tier: I hope this film will appeal to both Poe fanatics and those lesser familiar with Poe’s body of work. We tried to walk a line between fantasy and reality, drama and thriller, and I think audiences will appreciate that.
Flueger: I think if Poe met some of the people making this movie, the people making the effects and backdrops and our director, well they are all madmen, so I think he’d like them! (laughs) I think Poe would have a lot of faith in the fact that John La Tier could get across the ideas that he intended to get across with his stories.
La Tier: Working with Peter Bogdanovich, Rose McGowan and Patrick John Flueger to create this piece of art was such a dream come true for me. I’d love to invite all of our fans to watch our ongoing series of behind-the-scenes videos at the official website, and we just hope our fellow Poe fans will appreciate all of the references—big and small—to such a talented writer.