Talking about Horror: Interview with Lee Bane
INTERVIEW WITH ACTOR LEE BANE
A FEW DAYS AGO, I wrote a review of The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund for Study Paranormal – and it was an easy review to write, because I enjoyed the film so much. Curious about the film, particularly the way it explores the themes of demonic possession and very human struggles of hope and faith, I wanted to talk to one of the film’s lead actors – Lee Bane – about his experience of acting in such a dark, character driven project.
I’ve interviewed Lee before. I have a great admiration for his work; his acting often conveying such depth that it’s easy to watch his performances and feel moved by them. There is an authenticity about his on-screen talent that really makes the film feel all too real. Lee kindly agreed to answer a handful of questions about his taking part in The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund. I hope you enjoy reading his responses as much as I did.
Lee Bane Q and A….
- What was the experience like for you when taking part in this film?
It’s an absolute pleasure to be in touch with you again Fiona. I have to say that I’m very much liking your writing at the moment! I’ve not long ago finished reading your book ‘The Banishing’ and thought it to be an utterly thought provoking and dynamic page turner. With such dark and delicate subject matters at hand, intertwined with such vivid imagery and emotional conflict, the powerful play between horror and suspense took me and kept me inside the world of your thrilling story, really enjoyed.
For my part in the making of ‘The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund’ and as experiences go, my piece of the jigsaw here playing Father Richard Lamont holds many, many wonderful reflections and memories. For starter’s this was a North Bank Entertainment production, so when I got the call to play this fascinating and intriguing role I knew from the start that I would be in very good company. No egos, no time wasting, only productive energy. All elements of production from crew to cast collaborations together with some wonderful locations all congealed for an experience that was fun, educational and gratifying. The entire cast and crew were both generous and respectful of each other’s process which helped me find a positive charge of connection with the material and subject matter at hand, this for me is always a massive tick in the box.
I do find the experience of making a film not too dissimilar from most other life experiences. Overall, when you seek to keep company with negative people and unproductive environments then you soon find yourself limited and numb. When you seek to keep company with people who bring out the best in you whilst seeking to bring out the best in themselves, I personally find that the environments for which you find yourself in naturally align themselves with an altogether sense of ease and happiness. My involvement on this film definitely translates the latter.
- Were there any particular challenges for you in this film – if so, what?
I think the biggest challenge I face on any project is trying to connect with the truth of what the character is feeling or has felt through his life experiences and then maintaining that sense of truth through the duration of filming. I always try my best to bring the character off the page and into the world and for me to have the best chance in doing that I try to create a solid enough back story for the character so that the life of the character has already evolved, not just where the script started off. I try to understand the characters flaws and imperfections in conjunction with the clues within the script and then hopefully these ingredients will resonate and transcend through the camera and onto the screen.
Getting together with the actor ‘Jeff Raggett’ who plays Father Reisinger in the film was one of the many key component towards creating and understanding my role here as Father Lamont. I felt very fortunate to be working with Jeff simply because of his willingness to explore, connect and invest his emotional self with me as a person as well as an actor. Jeff was a pleasure to work with and together we bonded in unison to find the freeness to play and create. Additionally, the Director ‘Andrew Jones’ has a wonderful temperament with actors, always encouraging and always supportive of any ideas or Improv’s to evolve. This for me remains to be one of the most generous and productive actions that a Director can offer.
I find that when facing any challenge, the support and generosity of those around you can only enhance the confidence you already have within yourself!
To be totally honest, whilst creating the character of Father Richard Lamont there was a fair share of me personally experiencing my mind and body at conflict, which at times did cause tension and overthinking when trying to let go and just be in the creative state of understanding this man and what he was dealing with personally and professionally. I feel
the role of Father Lamont was possibly one of the most complex study of characters that I’ve had to work on so far. For here we have Father Lamont who is not only questioning himself, but is also coming to terms with some major philosophical questions which deal with the very nature of life itself. One of the most interesting conflicts within the character that I found challenging was the duality between Lamont being an intellectual thinker and someone who also embraces the concepts of faith and destiny. Trying to understand this man I had to realise his pain and then in turn try to understand his purpose, which in itself was no easy feat. This kind of process had me researching so much more than the readings of various Philosophers, the Bible and various evolutional theories. I also felt it essential to be mindful and mindless of the essence of faith itself, which was altogether a fascinating and respectfully humbling exploration. The challenge of playing this character was enormous, educational and enjoyable for which I tried my best to understand and translate.
Above all I do love challenges and having the chance to play Father Lamont was to open the door to exploring our inner conflicts between the mind and heart. Playing this particular role reminded me of that wonderful feeling you get when feeling and embracing a particular moment in a day with the realisation that you weren’t thinking about what you are going to be doing tomorrow, in an hour or next week. Thinking in this manner was altogether useful throughout the majority of my part to play here in ‘TEOAE’. I feel that there were lots of good moments where there was a sense of connection within the world for which we were trying to create, which is the win I think. Sometimes connection happens and you feel it and ride with it and sometimes you don’t. When it does happen it feels like a glide which is the aim for any actor. When working with other actors, directors and members of crew it helps me to no end knowing that they too also want to find the truth in what it feels like to forget and connect.
This was such a great project for me and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of an incredible ensemble of people. All the people connected to this film only wanted the best outcome within the small amount of time we were allotted to make the film. The fact that we all came together and got the job done made for an amazing and rewarding experience.
- Where did you draw inspiration from, in your portrayal as a priest? Your performance as Father Lamont was striking and felt very authentic and heartfelt. I found several scenes very moving.
My Portrayal of a priest was inspired partly from attending church on a regular basis and also talking to the priest of that church, who was very open and frank about his duties his responsibilities and thoughts on the realities of day to day practices of being a priest. Attending church is not something that I do personally, but the nuts and bolts of it are that I was never going to gain any substantial understanding towards my subject simply from just reading books. I felt that I had to experience and listen to those who were completely involved with the church in order to connect with my character and I was very fortunate and grateful to meet a priest who was willing to share his life experiences with me. Our meeting sort of gave me the permission to wear the certain garments that you see in the film. I also had lots of questions which came from own curiosity and those questions were answered with complete sincerity, I was honest with him and he was honest with me, nice and simple. I also spoke to a couple of people from the church who were also generous enough to share their experiences with me. These explorations definitely gave me some inspiration and understanding of what might be like to be a priest.
Another big inspiration for my interpretation of a priest was the wonderful script from which Andrew Jones wrote. The script was very informative and a natural guide to what research needed to be done in order to help me develop my choices towards characterisation.
- Many writers and actors have said they’ve felt personally effected when involved in projects regarding the occult, exorcism and the devil etc. Did you find taking part in the film quite a dark or difficult experience?
There is a very dark story from which this film title has derived from, which makes it.. well, pretty dark, so yeah, it was a dark experience to explore but making it was productive and thoughtful which shone ‘a bright beacon of light’ (a line stolen from the film) on any doom and gloom. In amongst my research I read quite a bit into a pamphlet which was published in or around 1936 called ’Satan Begone!’. The pamphlet’s information is short and very tragic which gave me some insight into the real events from which this story is based on. The historical notes naturally effected my feelings simply because I have feelings. The fact of the matter is that most of the real horrors that go on in this world are really dark and are very troubling and I’d be lying to say that subject matters like this don’t affect me because they do. Personally I want for nobody to feel any pain and it makes me quite upset inside to know that someone somewhere has felt or is feeling some torment in their lives.
I’m very conscious of the fact that I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by good natured people so these learnings do not have a long holding on my mind and for that I am immensely grateful. I suppose history and the way that some people conduct their lives to me are purely lessons that give us choices to follow or not. Above all I’m an actor here and I just try to give an interpretation, nothing more and nothing less.
Taking part in this film was an informative and creative process of which I enjoyed very much. To my knowledge, no one who worked on the set has yet lost the plot and I assume they are very well and in very good spirit.
No nightmares, no worries : )
- Finally Lee, can you tell us what your next projects will be? What does 2016 hold in store?
2016 has kicked off with me co-producing alongside Andrew Jones and his production company ‘North Bank Entertainment’. The film is called ‘The Curse of Robert the Doll’ and it is a sequel to the feature film ‘Robert’ which has since been released, of which I acted in last year and was also written and Directed by Andrew Jones. We’ve not long finished shooting and the film is now well on its way through post production.
At the moment I’m acting in a feature film called ‘Indifferent’ which is being produced by SJ Evans of ‘Dark Art Films’, written by Emma Raine Walker and Directed by Adam Lipsius. It’s a story where two young girls come together as friends through their imagination of art, creating their own fantasy world where they can finally be free.
After that there are a few wonderful opportunities on the horizon but nothing of which can be shared at the moment! Keep your eye’s peeled on IMDB as the year unfolds.
It’s great as always answering your questions Fiona and I wish you much inspiration for your future writing and look forward to reading more of your wonderful work.
A BIG thanks to Lee, for taking the time out to answer my questions!