STING Interview: A Mega Sesh With Director Kiah Roache-Turner

Editor, News; Toronto, Canada (@Mack_SAnarchy)
Because a movie about a humongous mutant spider derserves a humongous mutant interview!
Not content to work within the boundries of the press junket system (though we are deeply indebted to each and every publicist who does their job for us and gets us access to our favorite upcoming films) Sting director Kiah Roache-Turner and I decided that we would take it upon ourselves to have a mammoth interview session on our own time. 
There is only so much you can talk about in the alloted time that junkets provide, little blocks of time spread out over a large number of outlets and writers. Because Kiah had a whole lot to say about his new film and filmmaking in general - combined with the fact that we would be talking across time zones, hemispheres and calendar days - we wanted to make the most of it. 
So we went hard. In the end we had recorded nearly eighty minutes of conversation with over fourteen thousand words transcribed. Thank the gods, old and young, for transcribing software or I'd surely have gone insane writing that all out. Insane, but with a smile on my face. 
We talked about how Sting came about, his great cast, working with Richard Taylor and WETA, shout outs to those who helped make the movie possible and some hard truths about the film industry. And if you pay attention there are tid-bits about things that Kiah is working on right now. 
For additional fun I've also included other dialogue that came out of our conversation over the time we spent. Bonus material if you will. Stuff that sometimes repeats what we spoke about earlier in our conversation and times when we talked about things not so much related to the movie but to the director himself. 

Well then, why don't we just get down to the basics, and let's start at the beginning. Just tell the readers where the idea of Sting came from.

Well, there's a few different threads. It's something that's been in my head for a long time because I have genuine arachnophobia. And so when you're a scaredy cat like I was when I was a kid, you know, there's a bunch of things that are just always in your head.

Zombies was one. I'm scared of ghosts and poltergeists and all the usual stuff, but the concept of a giant spider has been something that's been living in my head for many decades. I live in Australia, so we have a lot of spiders like the funnel web spiders - a big, giant, hairy fat thing that can kill you. If they bite you and you don't get to the hospital in time you'll die. So that's pretty full-on, that's what Shelob was based on, an Australian funnel web spider.

And we've got these things called huntsman spiders that are everywhere and they can be as big as your hand, it's terrifying. If they bite you it's okay, and most of them mostly kill flies and insects. So, a lot of people quite like having them in their house. I do not like them, huntsman spiders terrify me and they do this thing where they come in and they just crouch on the ceiling over the top of your bed. So again, and again, you'll just wake up and they'll just be this giant hand-sized spider just sitting there.

And so spiders have always been a big part of my life. And I've always had an actual physical reaction to them. Arachnophobia is a thing. When somebody gets close or goes near a cliff and they've got vertigo, they start to feel a bit weak at the knees. When I see a spider I start to panic. And so as a horror filmmaker, I've always been thinking about the worst thing that you could possibly encounter and it's for me, it's always been a giant spider.

I was in L.A., and I was having a meeting at James Wan's production company, Atomic Monster. I was talking to his producer and they mentioned that he really loved what we did, but you know that we might not be a match because of Wyrmwood and what I do is kind of crazy. We make really insane horror films that are really quite difficult to make and he says, “Well, we make quite simple horror films here at Atomic Monster”, and I reply, “Oh, tell me about that”. And he says, “Okay, so the template is this - single location, one family, one monster”, and he goes on, “We pretty much make that film over and over again, and that's our template.”.

And so I walked away from there going, “Oh, that's interesting. I wonder if I could write within that template”. And so I was trying to come up with a monster and I'm thinking, “You know, James Wan's done all of the demons and kind of all of the ghosts and the killer dolls. I can't do any of that. What's my scariest monster?”. And it was obviously a giant spider.

And I'm thinking, okay, so this single location is going to be an apartment building. How do I make it a little bit more like Alien, you know, with the Nostromo lost in space and you can't really leave. So I set it in the biggest storm in the history of the world so they kind of can't leave the house or the apartment. And the spider by definition can't be the size of a dump truck. Because if it's gonna move around in an apartment building and drag people into air conditioning ducts and stuff, like probably the size of a panther is about right and that's still scary as fuck, yeah.

Okay, well, who's gonna be in this film? And I just thought, oh, I’ll just put my family (in it). At the time it was in the middle of COVID and right after the fires that killed a billion animals in this country, like burned just through most of Australia, or most of New South Wales anyway, so it was a dark time for me and my family. I just had a baby and we were stuck inside for like a year and things got hard. It was quite a difficult moment, dramatically and emotionally and I just took my family and I put it in the film.

So I took all of that sort of claustrophobic COVID stuff and threw it into the screenplay, and I'm a husband, who just had a small baby and I've got a great relationship with my stepdaughter who I love but, you know, every relationship has drama. So all of the dramas that were going on in my family at the time, I just sort of slapped it onto this giant spider template and wrote probably the most emotionally connected personal movie I've ever written really.

So in a weird way, you know, Sting is very close to me. Obviously, I've never wrestled a giant spider. But if the giant spider is a metaphor, for problems and chaos, then you know that's, that's where we were at.

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