Interview: At HOME with Elle Piyanka

Its obvious to say that nearly the whole weight of the film rests on this one character, the daughter of the family, and it was a hard role to cast for because we had hundreds auditioning, but it is impossible to gage someone’s personality within such a short time. Especially because the role required very little dialogue, my idea was for it to be very atmospheric and to establish the characters with a passive, invincible voice. On paper the project is bare and quiet as is the short script, because I wanted it to possess a loud and impactful psychology.

My film HOME deals with a home invasion, a family of four who live in the country are suddenly confronted with a group of strangers all dressed in black, they communicate but not verbally, are organized, schematic and dangerous.

When I met Elle I wasn’t sure about her, so many of the girls we met before were unimpressive and I began to had doubts about the character, thought maybe the vision I had for it was unachievable, so it was a leap of faith to take Elle.

And in the time we spent with the whole crew, I was deeply fascinated by her as an individual, this role demanded a lot, a girl’s innocence is broken in the most terrifying way possible, the courage she finds to deal with the events of that night are accompanied by a psychopathic rage that is pure emotion, it is no place for words, reason, fear, the brain is sieged by one overriding need: to survive. 

Elle latched onto this character, fed and groomed her and finally became her.  She needed to be provoked, go berserk, be tamed, when the cameras roled I sensed a force from her physique that was defensive and always on guard, with a mouth still closed she could project a face that was screaming, there was the blood, sweat and tears we saw in the character, a part that refused to leave you comfortable, pushed you into darker places, and this was entirely Elle’s responsibility.

HOME needs to be seen and experienced. People do crazy things everyday, and from our point of view it is outrageous, in this journey Elle and I take you to merely one example of how circumstances can influence certain actions, and I hope by the end of the film despite whatever personal reaction you may have towards this character, be it sympathy, revolt, annoyance, I hope that between the two of you, a connection was made.

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