We caught up with the Irish director of DRACULA UNTOLD on the set of the movie…

Irish director Gary Shore has certainly dug his teeth firmly into Hollywood for his first feature length movie ‘Dracula Untold’, a big budget retelling of the popular vampire franchise. Hailing from Artane on Dublin’s north side, Gary studied film in GMIT and IADT before carving out a career directing advertisements, music videos and a number of highly acclaimed shorts. His online trailer/short ‘The Cup Of Tears’ brought him widespread praise and earned him an invitation to make his own feature.
We visited Gary on the set of DRACULA UNTOLD in Belfast to talk about his journey bringing Dracula to the big screen.

How have you found the process of making your first film?
Gary Shore: It’s fantastic. It took a while to get off the ground; getting a first feature done, and then for it to be a studio feature and being able to do it at home… It’s amazing; that doesn’t really happen. I’m having a fantastic time and I feel very very lucky.

When you went to LA, did you ever dream that your first feature would be shot back home in Ireland?
GS: I didn’t know where it would be, to be honest, and I would have taken it anywhere in the world because to get the opportunity to do this, to play around with all these ‘toys’ at this scale… You’d take it anywhere. I could never have imagined it would be done here.

As director, you have to work with so many different departments. What was that like?
GS: My background is in commercials, so I was very used to working with multiple departments. The biggest difference between doing this and the commercials was the pace; commercials are really fast sprint, and this is a marathon. By the time this is finished, I will have been on the project for three years. It’s just been amazing, but you treat it the same as anything else; it’s just a different phase of the process. For a lot of the time my job, on the creative side, becomes managerial and you spend 20 weeks in prep doing office work, so you are just glad to get out [on set] and breathe the fresh air, and burn things down! Why not, you know! [laughs]

Would you have known people working on the film from the Irish film industry?
GS: No, I didn’t really know anybody in the Irish film industry to be honest. I did my training in Eastern Europe doing music videos and commercials. Music videos you will never find! [laughs] They have been buried! I started there and then went to London, then Stateside, so I bypassed working in Ireland. That wasn’t out of choice; there just weren’t the opportunities available, so I didn’t come up through the short and independent film ladders. I have had an amazing career.

Were there other filming locations considered before you decided to film in Northern Ireland?
GS: There were, yeah. Originally, we were going to go to Romania. It had been considered for a while; before I came on the project, there was another version, where it was either going to be done in Australia or Romania, then it was considered between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and it ended up going to Northern Ireland.

You received widespread acclaim for the online short trailer you made for THE CUP OF TEARS, are you still interested in making that into a feature?
GS: It’s in development; we have the script finished – it needs a bit of work – but that’s a very ambitious project. With any first time director going to a studio, they take a chance with you, and [the film] has got to be in the realm of the projects that fit their slate. Something like ‘The Cup Of Tears’ is so bonkers and out there that it’s probably something for down the road, once I have done a few films and got that bit more experience.

DRACULA UNTOLD is in Irish cinemas from October 3rd 2014

Words: Brogen Hayes