A look Into 'THE WITCH' WITH THE MAKERS AND THE ARTISTS
A reflection of evil as a society and as individuals, The Witch takes you into a journey, that while terrifying, is also eye opening. The Redbury Hotel in Hollywood, CA was home to a press day where Iconic Chica Magazine shared an intimate setting to discuss moviemaking. First up were writer/director Robert Eggers and lead actress Anya Taylor-Joy.
Robert, who is from New England recalls having witch nightmares growing up. He tells us he’s always been interested in what he labels the “genre of the past.” He explains, “New England’s past is very much part of my consciousness and I’ve always been obsessed with witches and had lots of witch nightmares all for my life. I felt like I had a way into this that would be unique… In the 17th century, the real world and the fairy tale world were the same thing. So people, when they accused innocent woman of witchcraft, this meant something really specific to everyone which was like she is a fairy tale ogrest anti mother. She’s capable of doing all the things that she does in this film. It’s not just a name.”
The Witch gathers the elements of witchcraft, black magic and possession while telling the story of a united family who falls apart due to frightful developments. The story progressively intensifies for both the family and the viewer. Thomasin, who is victimized repeatedly, reveals her thoughts in an unexpected turn of events. Anya Taylor-Joy brings the oldest daughter, Thomasin to life. Taylor confesses she did no research for her character, as she did not find it necessary. “There was something about the script that just made sense.” She admits she loves the genre and is no stranger to it. “I love fairy tales. I love magic. I also really like dark fairy tales. It felt like the perfect first film for me to do… I believe in magic but I’m not scared of it.” To that, Robert adds, “These pre-Disney fairytales are great unconscious explorations of family dynamics to think about.” He also points out that in this film, the mother and father are both present and biological.
Following Robert and Anya, was our second and final roundtable interview with Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie. The two play husband and wife and parents to Thomasin, Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), Mercy (Ellie Grainger), and Jonas (Lucas Dawson). Beginning, we talked about initial thoughts on reading the script and joining this project to which Ralph replies, “It’s a powerful period piece.” He explains, “The thing that stroke me when I first read it was how modern the concerns of the family [were]… I had a lot of sympathy for him [William] and the position he’s in and the decisions he makes. Whether they’re good or bad they just seem very real.” Similarly Kate adds, “I just loved the whole story with us in the drama of the family. I was also so interested in what it was like to be a woman then. Who had to hide her affair to husband or affair to God but had not much say in our own life.”
As artists, there’s always something you hope to achieve whether that is for yourself or for your audience. We asked them if there was anything they’d hope viewers take away from their characters. Ralph answered, “I think from my character’s point of view it’s all about that pride of recognizing why you’re making the decisions you are and don’t try to hide behind something else. I think that’s what William does is that he justifies everything by ‘It’s Gods will. It’s God’s will.’ Actually it’s not at all. It’s your own pride. Because nobody else is making you do it. It’s your decision. Take responsibility for your own decisions rather than try to pass it on to somebody else.” Kate’s character had a lot of depth. She describes, “My character isn’t a good puritan because she is questioning everything.” What she also believes to be fascinating for viewers is the mother-daughter relationship. “It was complicated in a lot of ways. That was interesting to me because… Thomasin’s just getting to the age where she could start bearing children. Having her own children and her whole life’s beginning and my child bearing years are over.”
In The Witch Robert Eggers constructs the strict austerity when women were seen as symbols of darkness and evil. Eggers explains, “The witch that I’m showing here is specific to the past. Even if you think that evil witches only exist in the minds of ignorant people, it did exist in the minds of the mass consciousness of the early modern period. And the ramifications of people’s belief in the evil witch as a reality has gone throughout time and it’s messing up with us today the fear of female power and turning that into a monster. So that’s why this is important and I think that even wickens could potentially appreciate the film.”
The Witch is in theaters Friday, February 19.
by Jessica G. Ferrer