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Fantastic Fest Friday Night Headliner Interview: ‘Rabbit’ Writer Director Luke Shanahan

Wednesday 20th September 2017 by AllieHanley

Fantastic Fest kicks off Thursday September 21 in Austin with a host of genre films that encompass everything from a comedy vampire flick, a documentary about a man who lost his virginity to an alien, and an eerie kidnapping film starring Adelaide Clemens in a double role.

Notably the festival is also hosting smaller satellite versions in New York, Denver, and San Francisco where movie fans will be treated to a taste of what Austin is hosting for the next nine days.

Premiering Friday night for the first time any where is the twisty film from writer/director Luke Shanahan, “Rabbit.” It’s about twin sisters both played by Adelaide Clemens (Silent Hill: Revelation). When one goes missing the other has portentous dreams that may lead to finding her missing sister, or perhaps something else.

In an interview, Luke Shanahan talks about why horror fans need to turn out for the film Friday and Monday at Fantasic Fest.

Allie Hanley: In your new film “Rabbit” tell me about where the original idea came from?

Luke Shanahan: I have a set of twins that are very close to me as friends. The thing is,  they aren’t close. In fact they have been driven apart by their intimacy. One day at lunch, one of the twins says to me, “We’re so close, I’d even feel the pain I reckon if Rachel (her twin), was being tortured…. I can’t escape her.” What an amazing idea I thought and the seed of RABBIT was born.

AH: Right when you think you know where the story is going it takes a turn and incorporates a twist, several times. Did you have those twists from the get go or did they come along later in the process?

LS: I had always written the story as it appears on the screen. It was never an intention to confuse or bamboozle my audience. And memory at most times, appears to all of us as fragments of a dream. So I feel the non-linear nature of the story-telling  <in “Rabbit”>replicates this, and is tonally consistent throughout.

AH: I feel like “Rabbit” is part of a larger story (details omitted to avoid spoilers). Did this originate from something larger?

LS: I would love, love, love to delve deeper into <what you referenced> and I have a really engaging and large back-story in my top drawer as to what you referenced. I have sketched most of it out. Its big and it would make a great “American Horror Story” style show.

AH: Well, with the current rating of “American Horror Story” you may be able to break in with your own tale! Tell me about casting and working with Adelaide Clemens?

LS: Adelaide is incredible. I needed an actress that was instinctive, brave and committed. Adelaide and I were in sync in all the choices we made. very little, needed to run to discussion. Her process is what I’m so in awe of. As example, she asks very little by way of “What’s my motivation?”

She is more, what else can I give the moment or scene? She inhabited the two sisters and never needed to resort to cheap parlor tricks. Aesthetically, there is not big differences on the screen regarding make-up, wardrobe or hair and so she had to emotionally separate them. She was extraordinary.

AH: So your film is premiering in Austin at Fantastic Fest. Any cool things you are looking forward too?

LS: Apparently I have to get ready for all the BBQ’S. being an Aussie – I can’t wait. The added bonus is that I’ve a film in a festival that I’ve long admired from afar. The scope of films at this years festival will leave me with little time for much else. So meat and movies – I’m a happy man.

Fantastic Fest film goers can see “Rabbit” Friday, Sept. 22, 9:00 PM, Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (North American Premiere)

Monday, Sept. 25, 2:30 PM, is the second screening and for those without a badge, your best chance for getting in ($10 without badge). Line-up an hour in advance to further your chances of getting a seat.

Link to full schedule

Link to online ticketing app


Allie Hanley waves her Geek Flag proudly as she writes Film, TV, and Pop Cuture articles for several websites and a magazine. She occasionaly lands cool intervews with some of the Hollywood's most influential movers and shakers. Her favorite TV show is "Game Of Thrones" followed closely by "The Walking Dead." She has high hopes for HBO's "Westworld" and loves all things pop culture. Her favorite interview in recent times was with Gary Oldman. She attends Comic Con International every year and sometimes guest panels on smaller cons talking from topics like Women of Sci/fi, film, etc. Follow on Twitter @HallHHooker