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storm warning

Director Jamie Blanks on the making of his 2007 Aussie thriller

storm warning
Storm Warning
Storm Warning is my third feature film as director, but it's the first time I got the opportunity to fulfil a long held desire to direct a film in Melbourne, my hometown. In fact, it's also the first time I've made a film in Australia, I had previously worked in the US directing Urban Legend and Valentine. For too long I lived as an Australian director who had not directed an Australian film. Not any more...

Storm Warning was written by Australia's most prolific genre screenwriter Everett De Roche (Patrick, Roadgames, Link, Razorback, Long Weekend and many more.) It was written more than 15 years ago and has been with various producers and directors over the years. The script was sent to me by Arclight's Gary Hamilton in late 2005.

I immediately recognized the huge potential this project had as a hard edge thriller with a really vicious bite. It evoked memories of thrillers such as Straw Dogs and Deliverance; stories of ordinary people facing malevolent locals with a disdain for all they represent and a desire to inflict unimaginable misery and suffering. Everett has a strong ability to create tension and suspense and understands what makes these thrillers tick.

I signed on board to direct and began the quest for a cast. French actress Nadia Fares immediately convinced me of her ability and desire to play Pia, the lead character in Storm Warning. After meeting her in Paris, I cast Nadia and moved on to find the Australian actors who would make up the rest of the movie.

I was surprised by the number of actors who declined to play the part of the husband (too wimpy) and the brutal father Poppy (too depraved, too evil). Two actors who were not afraid of the material turned out to be old friends who I had worked with in the past. In open auditions both of them beat the competition and it was a delight to cast Robert Taylor (Vertical Limit, The Matrix) as Pia's husband Rob. And John Brumpton (Romper Stomper, Red) as Poppy.

The greatest discovery that we made on the movie was young David Lyons who plays demented freak Jimmy. His audition left no doubt about his enormous talent but the work he did in the movie is simply extraordinary. He is supported by Mathew Wilkinson (Ghost Rider and one of IF magazine's five young actors to watch) who plays younger brother Brett. In the production department I was assisted by my long-time cinematographer Karl Von Moller. My production designer was Robby Perkins; the sets he and his team created for the movie left everyone in awe. We also have the unique claim to be the first production in Australia to shoot a car action sequence entirely inside a soundstage!

  storm warning
The special effects (both make-up and digital) are state of the art and the sheer level of ingenuity and hard work that everyone put into the movie are evident and I'm confident we've made something strong and unique.

I've had a chance to put a strong creative imprint on the project, in addition to directing I'm also the editor and composer of Storm Warning. I hope the audience has as much fun watching it as I [had] making it.

Jamie Blanks, 2006
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