Indie Zone: Interview with Shane Abbess, Writer/Director of The Osiris Child

Interview with Shane Abbess banner

Shane Abbess co-wrote, directed, and produced The Osiris Child, an Australian sci-fi adventure film starring Kellan Lutz, Daniel MacPherson, and Isabel Lucas.

The Osiris Child Synopsis: Set in the future in a time of interplanetary colonization, an unlikely pair race against an impending global crisis and are confronted by the monsters that live inside us all.

Talking with Shane Abbess

Sci-Fi & Scary:  You’ve stated that when you’re working on a film, you’re creating memories, not a movie. How much do you think that changes the way you shoot a film in comparison with most directors?

Shane Abbess: It’s very intense. To completely surrender and live something takes a real emotional and physical toll on all involved. But there’s also a reward. You have to want to go all the way with it to explore your art and the moment to its fullest potential. Some of my peers prefer to keep things more purely professional. Hit your mark. Say your line. Make the movie – and they’re making amazing films. So it’s more just personal taste for me, about how the journey transforms myself and others at the human level. You design a movie in your head but when it comes to shooting, I want to move to my heart and leave the rest behind. I’ve never cared if people do or don’t like a movie I’ve directed but I can’t stand the thought of anyone having legitimacy in saying we didn’t give it every fibre of our being to elevate whatever we had.

Sci-Fi & Scary:  You served as writer, director, and producer of The Osiris Child. You’ve done so with your previous films Gabriel and Infini. Does this tie in with your ‘making memories, not movies’?

Shane Abbess: It does help shape a level of trust to the approach but I’ve also had the support of amazing producers, cast and crew to achieve our immersive commitment. It’s an ever evolving team effort. I’m always in development on larger movies as purely a director but it’s a snooze you lose kinda thing and my impatience usually gets my own things up faster.

Sci-Fi & Scary: Do you think this will continue to be something you always try to do or would you be fine with moving to doing just one or two in the future instead of all three?

Shane Abbess: Most movies I’m on, my sole job is the director but I will produce if I can see a way to help get the film made. Writing is more just a personal passion and something I do when I want to control my own destiny a little more. I have no set preference though. It’s all storytelling.

Sci-Fi & Scary: How long did it take you to do The Osiris Child from beginning the script to wrapping up production?

Shane Abbess: It was an 18 month process from pre-production to delivery and the script itself was gestated over many years and combined several ideas into one so that’s hard to put an exact time on.

Sci-Fi & Scary: Brian Cachia, whose name usually appears in conjunction with the musical side of things, was your co-writer on The Osiris Child. You’ve worked with him in the past on Gabriel (composer) and Infini (un-credited co-writer). Do you think his musical background brings something different to his writing? And will we be seeing the two of you working together in the future?

Shane Abbess: Brian’s my brother. Not in the mateship sense but true family. We’re in this for life and have been through all the ups and downs of the ride together. Our collaboration into writing was a very natural process as we’d spent so long together in post on our early movies, discussing the themes and ideas, that we ended up just doing that on new ideas in between films. He’s a very intense and committed person so we can always go for straight the throat on anything and I think he’s one of the best composers to come out of the country. His ability to inhabit a film to find the musical voice is the same space he goes for on an idea or screenplay. He literally ripped his toenail off writing the music for the scene in Infini where Rex confronts Whit because he wasn’t feeling it til then and he brings that kind of commitment to a story as well.

Sci-Fi & Scary: I liked the spinning solitary cells in The Osiris Child. Would definitely drive a person crazy! Where’d you get the idea from? (I instantly thought of a dryer but was curious if it was something else.)

Shane Abbess: I was thinking if you were in the worst prison, literally worked to the bone, then traditional solitary might actually be a break, so how do you take that up a notch to keep it as the most extreme punishment in the place? Our storyboard artist, Barend, was working on a tunnel idea for a corridor in the prison and I liked the shape and scaled it down and started it spinning so the inhabitant could never rest, never stand then added lighting and sound manipulation ideas and off we went. Fun fact, Dwaine Stevenson, who played all the main Raggeds in the film, is in the last cell (the aqua color one) and spent the entire night in there beforehand to get himself ready for it. Also, the fourth guy in the yellow cell is Brian Cachia.

Sci-Fi & Scary:  There are some interesting creatures that appear in The Osiris Child (don’t want to say more because they’re not in the trailer!)– CGI, practical effects, or a mix?

Shane Abbess: In keeping with the retro tone of the movie, we wanted an old school vibe to them that felt 80’s and very practical so there’s ZERO CG (Computer Generated) creatures in the film. They’re all there on the screen and performance is live. This has caused a love/hate response from the audiences depending on what decade they grew up in.

Because this is a much bigger story than just Volume One…

Spoiler!

Sci-Fi & Scary:  I couldn’t believe that The Osiris Child was the first full-length movie listed for Teagan Croft! She comes across in the film as someone who knows exactly what she’s doing and doesn’t need much refinement! Do you think we’ll see big things from her?

Shane Abbess: She’s already playing Raven in the new DC teen titans and her raw instinct and ability to work at the level and commitment of her adult peers means she’s has the tools and the drive to go the distance. She comes from an active family of actors too (McNamee’s) so it’s in the blood. I can’t wait to work with her again.

Sci-Fi & Scary: The full title is Science Fiction Volume One: The Osiris Child, and the movie itself is split up into ‘chapters’. What made you choose that particular title and layout?

Shane Abbess: I wanted to bring back a type of movie which I felt had become all but extinct. There was a real naivety to the pulpy betamax era of the 80’s and I wanted to go back there. The kid in me missed this type of movie, which was a staple in my collection and evolution growing up. In fact, all my films to date have been love letters to the past eras. Infini 70’s, Gabriel 90’s… this one, 80’s…

Specifically, we tapped back in to the innocence and excitement of the depression era pulp sci-fi magazines and the fact we used to get all our comic books out of order down here in Australia, which meant you had to imagine large parts of the story, the connective moments as it went, and that’s how the structure was born. It was originally written and shot to be a lot more abstract, 15 CHAPTERS, but test screenings wanted it simpler so we have this final ‘flashback’ sort of structure as a result.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What projects are in your immediate future?

Shane Abbess: I have a feeling that will be announced very shortly, as in the next few weeks. We are also going back to the Slipstream universe that Infini spawned from at some stage, hopefully soon… and I’m just waiting to get the call from Lucasfilm saying they want me to do the Darth Revan/Malik anthology film. Should be any day now, right? Ha.

The OSIRIS CHILD: SCIENCE FICTION VOLUME ONE is now available on DirecTV and will be in theaters and On Demand / Digital HD on Friday, October 6th. 

Check out The Osiris Child on Amazon.

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