Digging into the creation of the Puritan mind-set involved really trying to wrap my head around extreme Calvinism and what that's all about. I now understand predestination, and I had to read the Geneva Bible cover-to-cover and read the gospels quite a bit to get into that world.
Without sounding like a New Age crystal worshipper, you can feel something there, in these old dilapidated colonial farms and hidden graveyards in the middle of a pine forest. I certainly did as a kid.
The figure of the witch was interesting to me, because of the primal, archetypical witch nightmares I had, even as an adult. But as a kid, it started with Margaret Hamilton in 'The Wizard Of Oz' as this inescapable horror.
If you're a part of this urban intelligentsia, you're not around animals all the time the way people were in the past. So animals become a part of the folklore.
It's pretty easy to learn about lighthouses because there's a lot of lighthouse enthusiasts. Really, there's lots of books about it, and it's fairly easy to find lighthouse keepers' journals and logbooks.
The Lighthouse' couldn't have been made without this kind of freedom that is allowed to some filmmakers to be able to play around with genre. Jennifer Kent's 'Nightingale' is more horrific than any horror movie - but also, I don't think you could make that movie without this kind of freedom.
I actually like 'The Shining' more than I like Kubrick, I think. The tension he sustains through the whole film is so great.
When 'The Lighthouse,' bizarrely, became the film that people wanted to greenlight, it was really clear that those were the only two people to play the roles. And I knew that they would want to do it.
Three years into getting 'The Witch' financed, I was hanging out with my brother and he was like, 'I'm working on this script. It's a ghost story in a lighthouse.' I thought, 'Damn, that's a really good idea, I wish I'd had it.'
I think I had my answers to the questions in 'The Witch,' and I had my answers to the questions in 'The Lighthouse;' I need those in order to write and direct them.
My brother and I grew up in a setting in the woods very much like 'The Witch' in southern New Hampshire, and then we would drive up north to Maine to settings like 'The Lighthouse' for vacations.
The Witch' was very well planned, but 'The Lighthouse' was so much more so.
The Lighthouse' isn't scary. A few people have said it is, but I don't think it is.
You can't train a goat. You can't. You can't. So I don't recommend making a movie with a goat in a major role to anyone.
I still know the lyrics to pretty much any 'Mary Poppins' song.
Folk tales, fairy tales, religion, the occult - these are the things I'm most passionate about, even more than cinema. And I'm very passionate about cinema.
I think the thing that is most influential about 'Haxan' is the casting of the witches as just old women and the strength of that.
My office is just overflowing with books about witches and books about 17th-century animal husbandry and agricultural farm tools from the period.
For me, rehearsal is only about blocking and pacing; it's not about performance.
There's a lot of cool stuff going on in independent film. But obviously, yeah - all the comic-book-franchise stuff is deeply boring. But these comic-book characters are the pagan pantheon of gods in today's contemporary culture. It's so important to so many people.