Multihphenate Castille Landon added writing and directing to her resume after she couldn’t find “roles that I loved and I was getting cast in a bunch of indie things that never got the financing altogether. It’s hard enough trying to get cast in something, but then when it falls through, it’s heartbreaking,” she says. She wrote and directed family drama “Apple of My Eye,” starring Amy Smart and Lionsgate thriller “Fear of Rain,” starring Katherine Heigl. She directed “After Ever Happy” and “After We Fell,” part of the “After” franchise series, based on the YA bestsellers. Voltage is selling the films at Cannes. “After We Fell” will be released worldwide Sept. 3. “I feel like I lucked into finding something I was even more passionate about,” she says.
What drew you to these films?
Initially what drew me to the piece — and I think kind of what draws me to any piece — is a compelling female protagonist or central character. I think that’s always the drawing force for me in anything. But I also really love this franchise in particular because I’m drawn to the kind of messiness of the story.
In what way?
I think it feels really real and relevant and I think we’re so exposed to this concept of a fairy tale romance that when you get into the real world, you find that’s not at all how things are. And so I think “After” really showcases an authentic romance and all of its beauty and all of its ugliness at the same time, and that is much more interesting than something that’s just polished — at least to me.
Did you listen to the series’ fans?
I think that is really helpful. I mean, I think those things aren’t necessarily exclusive because it is a minefield, the fans are very particular and it’s really interesting. They kind of love to, um, pick it apart. So you have these like factions of fans, right? So ultimately you kind of, I think it’s, it’s a matter of finding out what perspective the fans have on the material, what scenes they like, or don’t like, what they like about them and trying to bring the essence of the book, but, um, you know, ultimately you kind of have to use your own discretion.
What was it like shooting under COVID safety protocols, after moving from Atlanta to Bulgaria?
It was wild. I’ve never experienced anything like that where we really had to be as careful as humanly possible. And you do have to rework scenes creatively so that our actors were never around people too much. For me, I’m really grateful that we did end up shooting it in kind of a remote pocket of the world because we all ended up staying in the hotel together, so we built a rapport with each other off-set that then translated on-set. And I think that really did help the onset relationships because between me and the actors, as well as the actors with each other because I felt more isolated from the rest of my crew than I ever have before. It’s just a different dynamic.
I have an MMA love story that I’m working on that I’m supposed to be shooting at the beginning of next year — it’s kind of like a female take on “Creed.” I’m working on some other projects in the “After” universe and I’ll keep that vague.