Interview: Director Eric D. Howell for VOICE FROM THE STONE

VOICE FROM THE STONE is a hauntingly beautiful story centered on Verena, a nurse who is drawn to aid a young boy who has fallen silent after the death of his mother. For the release of the film, Taylor had the chance to speak with director Eric D. Howell about his latest film and the influence and inspiration for VOICE FROM THE STONE

Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Eric, thanks so much for speaking with us today about your film VOICE IN THE STONE. To start things off, cine the film is based on the Italian novel of the same name, how much did the novel influence how and why the story was told in the style that it was? 

Eric D. Howell: This was a script, written by Andrew Shaw, that made me want to read under a blanket with a flashlight. For me it was always a gothic romance which is different than the original book. I didn't read the book until much later in the process and can say that our final film interpretation really is its own story. However, at the core this was a very Italian story and the producers and I were very much committed to keeping it that way. 

NC: The cast is absolutely brilliant - Emilia Clarke and Marton Csokas are wonderful on screen together. They have an undeniable chemistry and Lisa Gastoni is a calming but chilling presence throughout the film. How did you know that this cast was going to be a perfect fit? 

EH: It all starts with Emilia. Once she came on board finding the right Malvina was next for me. I wanted to find the right fit for Emilia's character to 'grow' into. Once we had the amazing Caterina Murino it was about finding who her husband, Klaus, would be, which in turn told us the kind of child Jakob needed to be. We built a family. Remo Girone was simply a dream come true opportunity to work with. Then, once you have a woman like Caterina as Malvina your choices become very limited for a governess elegant and graceful enough - Lisa was a perfect fit. 

NC: Who are your biggest influences in your directorial style and how did you channel those inspirations to direct VOICE FROM THE STONE? 

EH: Well certainly Hitchcock's REBECCA was a major influence for this film specifically. The list of people who inspire me is quite long - everyone from Sam Mendez to Steven Soderbergh, to Lasse Halstrom and Guillermo del Toro. Actually, as I work I'm trying to keep them out of my head because it's too easy to try and compare - and then never live up to those great filmmakers. I'm just trying to do my best to find my own voice, and with any luck have an opportunity to make more films. 

NC: This is one of your only credits as a director of a full-length film. What drew you to this story to create it? 

EH: This was for me such an unusual love story, one I'd never seen before. It could have easily slanted toward a more up-the-middle genre film with jump scares and blood, but it never went there. It wasn't trying to change a genre, just living on the edge of one and deliver a unique and thought provoking catharsis. I simply hadn't read a story quite like this. And the opportunity to work in Italy didn't suck either!

NC: Are there any other projects you're currently working on that you'd like to tell us about? 

EH: I've got two personal projects going. One is a script of mine that's been picked up as a graphic novel titled "The Revolution of Cassandra." Think of it as a contemporary RAIDER'S OF THE LOST ARK, but instead of a pistol and whip, the protagonist is a woman with dreadlocks and Birkenstocks who fights for her idealism in the middle of a Central American civil war and inadvertently changes the world around her. The future is feminine! 

The other is a script I co-wrote titled KILLING ROMA which is going out to cast at the moment. It's the story of a meticulous assassin forced together with a suicidal femme fatal who wants him to kill her after causing him to miss his original target. They spend the night on a journey through a romantic city and fall in love... Sort of LOST IN TRANSLATION meets LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL

VOICE FROM THE STONE is now in select theaters and is available on VOD and Digital HD