[Interview] Director William Brent Bell for BRAHMS: THE BOY II

[Interview] Director William Brent Bell for BRAHMS: THE BOY II
Courtesy of STXFilms
After that shocking reveal in the original THE BOY, the idea of a sequel seemed out of reach. Where would the story go from there? Well, in the latest follow-up from director William Brent Bell, we will find out what more can be unearthed in the upcoming BRAHMS: THE BOY II. For those who are unfamiliar, Bell is also known for his work on horror films such as Stay Alive, The Devil Inside, and Wer.

For the upcoming release of BRAHMS: THE BOY II, we got the chance to interview director William Brent Bell all things pertaining to the film. We got to learn about what inspired the idea for the sequel to why Bell thinks so many people are just inherently afraid of dolls and concluded the interview with exploring what it was about the horror genre that keeps drawing Bell back to it.

What inspired the idea for the sequel? Was this something that you had always planned on doing? 

William Brent Bell: It was something that we had always hoped for because it’s such a rich character. The first movie was just a tickle of who the character was so there’s a lot more story to be told. It just felt like a fresh way into it as far as the second story. It would give us some perspective on more of what the first film introduced. I love the first movie because it’s kind of a gothic dream-like movie with a young woman trapped in this castle – just her and the doll. In BRAHMS: THE BOY II, it kind of brings it back and grounds it a little bit more in reality. It’s about a real family dealing with some real trauma who moves out there.

Christopher Convery in BRAHMS: THE BOY II

I’m one of those people who has a fear of dolls. What do you think it is about dolls that make people inherently scared of them? 

William Brent Bell: You know, it’s funny because as kids we’re not really scared of dolls, we’re not really scared of clowns. As we get older and become adults, for some reason, it shifts for a lot of people to where those kinds of things become extremely scary. I think our imagination is more powerful than what we see and so if something is sitting there that’s human-like and doesn’t move, sometimes your mind plays tricks that it might move. Then it becomes the question of if I close my eyes or if I turn around or roll over in my bed, is that doll going to come to life? I guess because as kids we play so much with dolls and bring life to them it gets in our heads that maybe something more is going on behind their eyes. It’s amazing and it’s really fun to play with that. A doll not moving is scary because it’s the anticipation of waiting for it to possibly move.

BRAHMS: THE BOY II has a star-studded cast which includes Katie Holmes, Owain Yeoman, Christopher Convery, and Ralph Ineson. What was the casting process like in terms of bringing everyone together? 

William Brent Bell: It was really easy and felt really easy. We made a list of who we liked for the character of Liza and Katie was right there at the top of the list. I got a call from [producer] Gary Lucchesi and he said that Katie’s people really liked [the role] for her and wanted to know what I thought. I was like, that’s great! She read the script over Labor Day weekend and was in. Christopher Convery, the boy who plays Jude, he’s just amazing. He’s amazing on so many levels and he has such an incredible look. We didn’t realize when we cast him how his skin is so perfect, it’s like a porcelain doll, which is perfect for this movie because these two characters [the doll and him] kind of share space. Owain Yeoman, same thing, he was someone Katie’s camp actually offered up and said they loved him. I talked to him over Skype while I was in Brooklyn and he was just so great. Then Ralph Ineson is like a dream genre catch. I don’t think a lot of the producers knew just how great he was but as soon as they saw him in the read-through we started adding him into more scenes. He’s captivating. We had this great cast come together pretty quickly.


You’ve really embraced the horror genre having done The Boy, Stay Inside, The Devil Inside, and now BRAHMS: THE BOY II. What is it about this genre that draws you in? 

William Brent Bell: Stephen King said, “We create horrors to help us cope with the real ones” and there’s something about being able to tell human stories and then adding that element of horror that just makes it, for me, far more interesting. I think a lot of times a good horror film can show you a side to real life that a lot of other movies brush over. Since I was a kid, It’s just been a genre that’s always stood out to me. The first movies I ever remembered were all horror films. When my parents got divorced that’s what my mother did, she would take me to horror films. As a kid, when you use your imagination it’s like dark, scary stuff is always, for me, where my imagination would go. When I started having the opportunity to make movies, being able to make movies in that space was just really natural and really fun for me.

What do you think audiences will be surprised by the most when they go to see BRAHMS: THE BOY II? 

William Brent Bell: I think there are certain directions that the story goes into, certain layers that a lot of people aren’t going to expect as far as the backstory and the mythology of Brahms and Heelshire Mansion and the way we kind of go into this story. I think a lot of people didn’t understand how we could make a sequel, so I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised to see where we go with this story because it’s maybe not what a lot of people expect.

BRAHMS: THE BOY II will arrive in theaters on February 21, 2020. Want to learn more about the film? Check out our recent interview with actor Christopher Convery HERE.

Shannon McGrew
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