Preview: Daniel Stamm FAULT Magazine Interview

FAULT: How excited were you to direct The Last Exorcism?

Daniel Stamm: I was extremely excited! I became involved in the movie when the original directors had another project to work on called The Virginity Hit. They saw a movie I made called A necessary death and they loved it. They came to me and said “we love that movie. We want exactly that for The Last Exorcism, can you do horror?” So of course I lied and said “Yes of course I can do horror” I couldn’t of possibly turn down the opportunity to work with such incredible people and producers. It all happened very quickly!

FAULT: How did it feel to direct your first big movie project?

Daniel: I was excited about it because I, my editor and cinematographer were all coming out of film school and we didn’t have any money because you’re pretty much bankrupt when you come out film school. Most people wait years and years for someone to suddenly give them a green light and millions of dollars. So we just decided to just go out there, shoot a video with no money and use old donated tapes. It took three years to make A necessary death because we didn’t have a script and every time something didn’t work in editing we would just get the camera, get the actress, it doesn’t cost anything to re-shoot it.  It was such an amazing process but when it was all done and finished I really felt it was just the tip of the iceberg with what you could do with this style and just when I felt I had figured it all out and felt really comfortable…it was over! So when they approached me with The Last Exorcism and they wanted the same style, but with money I was just so excited, it was perfecting timing.

FAULT: How about your next project?

Daniel: Well it’s not going to be a fake documentary.

FAULT: Was it a conscious decision not to use mainstream actors?

Daniel: Absolutely, just because they are known actors doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to be right for the part. We wanted to cast the best actor rather then the biggest names. I think it would have taken so much away from the film if you recognised the faces, I mean acting is all about losing yourself and becoming another person, a new character and Ashley Bell(Nell) is just incredible.

FAULT: Do you have a favourite scene from The Lat Exorcism?

Daniel: They are strangely enough not the horror parts. They are the very subtle parts. I love Nell’s reaction when Cotton is doing all the doctor stuff “don’t be nervous, you can’t be nervous.” Or her reaction to the shoes, it’s so beautiful. I also love the scene when she talks about when she got pregnant, its shot through the mirror and there is just something happening in her face, I always get Goosebumps from that scene.

FAULT: What research did you do to prepare for the movie?

Daniel: I did a lot of research. The actors and producers also did a lot of research. We sent the actors out to experience and research stuff for themselves. This way they would come to set all with their own personal experiences. We had an actual exorcist on set, which was a total coincidence. He was the brother of one of our drivers! The driver was like “oh yeah my brother is an exorcist, like it wasn’t a big deal. The most fascinating thing about this was that he spoke about exorcising like it wasn’t a big deal, he spoke about it like you and I would talk about working in a bank.

FAULT: What is you FAULT?

Daniel: As a director you are forced into a position of authority, my FAULT is that I have a real problem with telling people what is right, just because I have the director badge on. It’s not lack of confidence but to be an authority figure is really uncomfortable which is weird as a director.