Double Walker is the kind of ghost movie that does not quite fit in with the normal Halloween fare. It does involve death and it does get bloody, but the story is much more quiet and personal. The film brings audience into its atmosphere and circumstances instead of concentrating on scares and gore. We spoke with director Colin West and star Sylvie Mix (both collaborated on the writing duties) about their project.
AIPT: What was the inspiration behind Double Walker?
Sylvie Mix: Lots of things. I mean, long story short, I had just come out of an abusive relationship and was sort of processing and dealing with the emotions of that. And I was sort of channeling that into creating this graphic novel about a female serial killer. And Colin actually came to Columbus to shoot a short with my mom and I, who she’s also in the film.
I told him sort of about this concept and we talked about it briefly then, and then a few months later he called me up and was like, “Hey, I keep thinking about this. Like, I think we should maybe try to turn it into a movie.”
Then we started FaceTiming like once a week for like three to five hours, just these epic conversations about sort of different themes and experiences in our lives. And both of our histories with, or like family and personal histories with abuse and yeah. Amongst many other things. And it really just sort of organically developed into this story, even though a lot of our conversations weren’t really plot based at all.
Colin West: Sylvia and I have been friends for like 10 years or so. And for the longest time I have known that Sylvie’s a total rockstar and I wanted to work with her. We had such a great experience to like shooting a short film together. There was a great collaborative process. She had this idea and I was also writing a graphic novel at the time about these twins. And there was this kid who was getting abused and so forth. And we ended up kind of like really connecting over some of these themes and how trauma can sort of ripple out to affect an entire community.
It was clear that there were these seeds that we kind of wanted to plant and grow, but it was like figuring out how to do that. Through these long FaceTime conversations, we were really just talking about things that we cared about and stuff that was interesting to us and influences or movies that we liked and quickly kind of latched on to like genre.
And maybe this is like a ghost story in the way that like A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night or A Ghost Story. And those things kind of all ended up kind of blending together into this basically we wrote this like fifty-page novella.
It wasn’t even a script. It was basically like, this very kind of cerebral visceral kind of verbose written novella script that would also have some shots in it, written into it and stuff like that. It was very weird, but like very little dialogue.
And so we kept that like conversational tone as we went into the production process and the editing process as well. So, the writing process never stopped for us. It was really continual and it wasn’t like, oh, we’ve got the perfect script. Now we just need to shoot it. It was far more organic than that.
AIPT: You mentioned how there is little dialogue. Why did you go that route?
Mix: Ghost is essentially this child’s mind projected onto this woman’s body. And so really just trying to portray like that sort of kids sneaking around and watching the adults in their lives; just being very observational and sort of absorbing the energies and the experiences around her.
But, she’s also a ghost. So it’s like who are you really talking to? Who is there to talk to? Colin and I are both very visual people. I think that was always sort of at the forefront of our mind when writing and shooting and editing. It’s a very visual story. And I think there’s a lot that the character says without saying anything.
West: Absolutely. I think one of the most intriguing things was being able to use the ghost as like a vessel for the observation of this rippling effect throughout the community. Because we could be with her as she was watching this family talk about these events in the town, for example.
It reminds me a lot of like that scene of when she’s at the dinner table and the kid and the two parents are talking. It was very much like when I was a kid and sitting at the dinner table, much like the actor Majesty does in that, I just remember, like when my parents would talk about work or like adult stuff, I would just blur it all out.
And in the same way that I think the ghost sort of does, but sort of like is able to almost feel the energy of what’s going on. And I think that that was like it was also just like very fun. I think cinema offers up the opportunity to sort of portray story using visuals and sound not necessarily dialogue, but a sound scape. And it’s a very cinematic movie in that way. Like in that I think it would be incredibly hard to actually adapt this into just the written word or some other form, which I like.
AIPT: There’s a number of themes in Double Walker. What do you want audiences to take away from it?
Mix: I do feel like it’s important to mention that we didn’t want it to come across as an exploitative, revenge porn flick. A lot of films or media in general tend to take sides or like view the world in this very black and white way. But I think with this story, we really just wanted to also explore the gray spaces of trauma and of the effects that people’s act all the people around them.
Honestly, I think there is potential for a lot of different things to be taken away from this film because like with anything it really depends on your perspective and your experiences. We wanted to create something that sort of explored all the many different perspectives.
I feel like we’ve made something great if people will come away from it having conversations. Even if they don’t like it, I think I’d rather make something that’s like interesting and worth talking about, than something that doesn’t make someone think.
West: We also didn’t entirely know where it was going the whole time. Sylvie’s real mother Micah plays the mother in the film. And there was a part during shooting where we did like a kind of intimate interview session with Micah and had Sylvie about her traumatic relationship with her previous husband and so forth not knowing what we were going to get, but we shot it.
We kind of just let the cameras roll for like 20 minutes and ended up using bits and pieces of it throughout the film, but we didn’t know what it was going to be. We didn’t know what we were going to use in the edit, any of that stuff. So, it was really about sort I don’t know, gathering the material throughout the whole process.
AIPT: What is the future hold for you, Colin?
West: I’ve done another feature. We shot it maybe six months after we shot Double Walker. I went out to New York and shot this other movie called Linoleum. And it’s like 180-degree opposite of this in a lot of ways. The script was like a very tight script. There was a huge crew. It was bigger budget and so it was quite a different experience, especially going like right into the other.
AIPT: My final question was for Sylvie. You’ve had a big year; Poser came out earlier this year and now you have Double Walker. What does the future hold for you?
Mix: Poser was actually my first film acting experience and it changed my life. I mean, I feel so fortunate to have had that introduction to the world of film and filmmaking. Poser actually is coming out spring 2022. So that’s really exciting.
As far as the future, I kind of have some ideas of what it might hold, but I think the safe answer is, I don’t know right now. I’m kind of, I’m open to opportunities and I’m really just looking to work on projects that are fun and exciting to me. So, yeah, I’m just as curious as you are to see what it holds.
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