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Hellion at EIFF

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Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul and actress Juliette Lewis star in Hellion – an EIFF International Premiere. We caught up with the film's writer and director, Kat Candler, who visits EIFF this week.

Kat Candler arrived in Edinburgh this morning ahead of the International Premiere of Hellion starring Aaron Paul. I asked how she felt about being in Edinburgh.

“It’s awesome,” said Candler. “I’ve never been over here, so I’m like a wide-eyed kid looking at everything.”

“It’s funny, I was hanging out with a bunch of filmmakers and everybody who’s been here was like, 'Oh my God, it’s the greatest Festival and you’ll love it so much' – so yeah, I’m excited.”

“It’s our International premiere, and it’s nice, over Twitter and Facebook people in the UK are asking, 'When do we get to see it?' so it’s been a nice reception so far. People are excited about it.”

The film follows a family which is brought to the brink of separation when single father Hollis (Aaron Paul) loses control of his increasingly delinquent son Jacob. The film will have its International premeire here at EIFF tonight at Cineworld.

So what was it like to work with Aaron Paul? “Awesome. He’s a total dream," said Candler. "I was excited to work with him because I’d never seen him do a part like this before. I’d seen him in a movie called Smashed and I fell in love with his performance and the honesty of it.

“I was so excited to offer him the role and when he accepted we were in Georgia having milkshakes together, talking about love and life and the character and the world.

“When he got on set he was just one of the easiest actors in the world, he just really puts his performance in the director’s hands and he was incredibly interested of me. As a not a well-known, established director it meant the world that he had that kind of trust. He’s just a freakin’ awesome human being. It has been an incredible journey.”

Candler also went through an interesting casting process to find the two boys who would play Aaron Paul’s character’s sons: Josh Wiggins who played Jacob, and Deke Garner who plays younger brother Wes, and supporting characters.

“Our casting director in Texas, she worked on Terrence Malick’s film, The Tree of Life, so we kind of took that process. We went to tiny towns all across Texas and, with permission, I would sit in the cafeterias and watch the kids to see their dynamic personalities. Then I’d send letters home to the parents saying we’re interested in seeing your son come and read for us. I did that in schools and at motocross races all across Texas.

“I’d bring the kid into the audition and I’d just try to get to know him a little bit, ask questions about his life, improv a scene and see how wild their imagination can be. I spent several months searching high and low, and was very patent about it.”

Eventually she found one of them at a motocross race near Port Neches, Texas, where the film was shot, and found Josh Wiggins through YouTube. “There was something very effortless about him on screen, and when we brought him into the audition it was just electric,” Candler added. “I was very proud that all my boys came from Texas!”

What does she hope the EIFF audience will get out of the film?

“Emotionally connection. That’s what you hope as a filmmaker. Regardless of where you are, and who it is, as human beings you hope that there’s that human connection and emotional resonance with that audience.”

Hellion has its International premiere tonight, Tuesday 24 June at 6pm.

The second screening is tomorrow, Wednesday 25 June at 6.15pm.

Tickets can be purchased online, by phone on 0131 623 8030 or in person at Filmhouse, Cineworld, Odeon Lothian Road, or Festival Theatre Edinburgh. Please see the official brochure for details.

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