Co-directors talk Feed Me ahead of Grimmfest

Ahead of its screening at Grimmfest 2022 this October, we caught up with co-writer/directors Adam Leader and Richard Oakes to spill the beans on the film.

Here you go buddy!

What can you tell us about the conception of Feed Me? Adam –

For a while, I’d been toying with the idea of writing something that was inspired by the man who gave a cannibal permission to eat him; you know, as you do. After Rich and I sat down and discussed it together, I guess it was our mutual excitement for it that got the ball rolling on something that would become one truly sick and twisted story!

How closely did you and Adam Leader work on the script?

Rich –  I didn’t work much on the script at all, probably just a line or 2 as a suggestion. The script is all Adam and he nailed it if you ask me. Prior to that we both met up and wrote the whole story together, fleshing out what happens through the film scene by scene for Adam to take away and work his magic on the script. Adam – Once we’d storyboarded the scenes from start to finish, I used it as my map for the script. I pretty much locked myself away for a couple of weeks and completely lost myself in the weird and bizarrely wonderful world of FEED ME. When it came to penning the character dialogue, the dots just seemed to connect and it all just flowed so naturally, which felt really special. The whole experience was a real rollercoaster of emotions.

Tell us about the research for Feed Me, how closely is the film linked to real life?

Rich –  It was inspired by a true story about a man giving himself to be eaten by a deranged cannibal, However we  mainly just used this as loose inspiration for the concept as we wanted to push the film in a more bonkers comical direction. Adam – When it came to the script, I couldn’t help but take inspiration from some of my own personal trauma and experiences, which infused itself into the character backstories and motives. This is why I think the writing process felt so natural, albeit difficult at times when it came to reliving certain experiences. But that dark comedy which, like Rich mentioned earlier, is something we both love and will always find its way into our films; not only is it downright funny, but it’s really good at bridging those heart-felt or hard-to-watch scenes. If anything, it’s kind of like real life. There’s always somebody that ends up inappropriately cracking up in the darkest of situations, which somehow makes it even funnier because it’s just so taboo. 

This sounds like a genre splicing feature, was this always your intention?

And how hard is that to execute? Rich – We have always been a fan of horror and comedy, and dark comedy dramas such as Fargo. We actually did a lot of short dark comedy sketches on the dark fable media youtube channel before we made our first film Hosts, however that film was not really a comedy. When writing FEED ME we felt that going back to these comedy roots was a more honest version of us than what we had made before and from the response we have had so far I think it was a good decision. Adam – Rich hits the nail on the head there! I think with Hosts, we were a little unsure of ourselves when it came to that crossroads of taking the serious or comedic route. But since then, we kinda just said “fuck it, let’s do what we want instead of trying to cater to what we think others might want”. Much like a band matures over time and finds their own sound, I think we did the same, and what we’re left with is something that not only we are extremely proud of, but something that we are both fans of from an audience perspective. Also, it’s kind of hard not to be permanently glued to a screen when the man responsible for the cinematography is Richard Oakes!

What can you tell us about the casting process?

Rich –  Neal Ward is a good friend of ours and the film was essentially written for him, we knew he would smash the role of Lionel, so there was no need for us to consider casting this role to anyone else. I had worked with Christopher Muvin on 2 films prior and we loved his presence on screen. We all agreed he would do the role of Jed Justice so got him to send us an audition tape and after seeing the amazing job he did with that, no one else was considered. Adam – Yeah man, those guys absolutely nailed their characters individually, but to watch them together on set feeding off each other’s energy and creating pure magic was nothing short of spectacular. That goes for the rest of the cast too; Samantha Loxley, Hannah Al Rashid, Nadia Lamin and Anto sharp were all phenomenal and went above and beyond to bring something so incredibly unique to the screen. We couldn’t have asked for a better cast.

Are you excited to be screening at Grimmfest this October?

Rich – Hells yes! Grimmfest is such a beast of a festival and I feel so honoured to be selected to have our UK premiere at this crazy event! Adam – Boom boom POW!

What can you tell us about the upcoming Witch?

Rich –  Witch is a Fantasy film set in the middle ages that I had the pleasure of Cinematograsmithing. The film is Directed by the awesome duo Craig Hinde and Marc Zammit. We filmed on the Witcher set in Hungary which was an awesome experience and I’m super proud of how it ended up looking on camera. It was on this set that I met Anto Sharp who ended up playing one of the police officers in FEED ME.
You and Adam have collaborated again in Dirge, what can you tell us about that film? Rich – Yeh Dirge is something we have been cooking for the past 7 years and it’s going to blow people’s minds.  It’s just such an ambitious project and so nuts we can’t rush it out! Adam – A project long in the making and still a little way to go, but let me tell you, when you see it, you will never be able to unsee it.

Feed Me screens at Grimmfest 2022.

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