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[Interview] Talking ‘6 Souls’ And Julianne Moore With Screenwriter Michael Cooney

The Julianne Moore starring 6 Souls (formerly Shelter), arrives on VOD Today March 1st before hitting limited theaters April 5. Directed by Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein and co-starring Jonathan Rhys Myers, I found the film to be a fun throwback to those very “adult approved” early 90’s horror/thrillers. That’s not meant as a dig at all, it’s just a very specific type of movie and it does what it does well.

In the film, “After the death of her husband, Dr. Cara Harding’s (Julianne Moore) faith in God has been shaken, but not her belief in science. In an attempt to open her up to accepting unexplainable psychiatric theories, her father introduces her to Adam, a patient with multiple personalities who takes on some of the physical characteristics of his other personalities. But, Cara quickly discovers that Adam’s other personalities are murder victims and the more she finds out about him and his past, the closer she and her loved ones are to becoming murder victims themselves.

I recently interviewed screenwriter Michael Cooney (Identity) and we discussed the genesis of the film, his take on Marlind & Stein’s unique directing process and his next project, In The Dark. Head inside to check it out!

I enjoyed the shift this makes away from traditional “split personality” movies, how did you settle upon that choice?

I wrote a movie called Identity about nine years ago now, that deals with multiple personalities. And when I’m writing a thriller I always start with the ending, I know where I want it to end up. So when I was doing the research for that I discovered that, not too long ago, that people who had the symptoms of dissociative identity disorder would be treated as if they had demonic possession. And this wasn’t too long ago. That made no sense for Identity, but I found it endlessly fascinating and spooky.

And I started thinking that the good story there is, “what if we shouldn’t have abandoned those beliefs so hatefully?” What if that is the truth we discover? And the perfect character to track that is one who has a strong belief in science.

Is it true that [directors] Marlind & Stein trade days on set?

It’s extraordinary to watch! And I think they did a fabulous job. They are two of the nicest people and they will continue to work, they’re terrific. But it’s crazy watching them. These two have been friends since they were 8 years old, making movies and shorts the whole time. And then they swap off day for day. One of them will sit there sipping a cappuccino and occasionally get involved with something, but for 90% of the day it’s their friend’s day to direct. Even if it’s a scene or sequence that lasts 2 or 3 days, they still swap off. And you cannot see where one director steps in and the other steps out. They are of one mind. I never saw them argue about anything.

How was it watching Julianne Moore inhabit the role of Cara?

I’ve been very lucky to have some very talented leading ladies be attracted to the material over the years. But she’s a queen. She is so good. When you get the phone call that she wants to do it, that will put a smile on your face for quite some time. And I think her performance is terrific, it’s an absolute journey of watching her performance.

She does a masterful job, as does Jonathan [Rhys Meyers].I wrote the piece with this incredibly hard role, and then you get this actor as earnest, dedicated and hard working as can be. What he had to go through to create those characters… he put as much effort into David, Adam and Wesley as most actors do into one character. And he didn’t go larger than life or showy, he’s subtle. It’s these little things that he does.

Is ‘Argonauts’ still coming up next for you?

I think that one of those things that’s on the shelf. I’ve got lots of things in the hopper. I’ve got a piece that I’m writing now that’s a nice, dark spooky thriller. I’m deeply into that piece. And one of my favorite things about it is the title. I took my kids to the set when 6 Souls was being filmed and I was worried, “what am I teaching my kids?” But it turns out, my kids love spooky stuff. My daughter especially, and she came up with such a simple, perfect title for the new one. It’s called In The Dark. Of course she’s asking for 10% and we’ll negotiate on that.




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