Harry Potter star Tom Felton, Silicon Valley alum Amanda Crew and Twilight actor Ashley Greene bring the twisted psychological thriller Some Other Woman to life, directed by Avatar star Joel David Moore.
Some Other Woman is set and shot in the Cayman Islands, where we meet married couple Eve (Crew) and Peter (Felton).
While Eve longs to move off the island, back to the U.S., to raise a family with her husband, Peter is seemingly thriving financially where they are. But as Eve is feeling the devastating loss of another miscarriage, things start to spiral into a psychosis.
Eve notices a woman, played by Greene, hanging around her home with Peter, who ends up having some flirtatious moments with her husband.
Then things start to entirely unravel where key elements of Eve's life, or what Eve believes is her life, are not the reality of the people around her. Has she gone insane? Is this a conspiracy? Is it some sort of evil entity? We're not quite sure.
'It leaves audiences with a lot of questions on purpose'
Moore was given this script, written by Josh Long, in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in North America, when Moore was in working through a four picture deal in the Cayman Islands. Some Other Woman became the fourth film.
"The thing that attracted me to this the most is the dissecting of the mind of someone who was going through some traumatic things in their life," Moore told Yahoo Canada. "It was a result of trying to get pregnant and trying to kind of see what your life would be like if you have that, or if you didn't have that."
"The simple way to think about this very strange gaslight haunt is, is the grass greener on the other side? We always sort of tend to imagine that this life that we can have is perfected by our dream. I don't know that that's possible. I think that reality takes its course, in a very formal way."
Some Other Woman is very much a movie that's up for interpretation. At no point is Moore's film really leading you through a paint by numbers type of story, each person who watches will likely have a different interpretation of the motivation behind the dizzying journey Eve goes through in the film.
"I really do want the audience to discuss amongst themselves, it leaves audiences with a lot of questions on purpose," Moore said. "But the ending fulfills your lead storyline, or your character arc, in what I think is a really fulfilling way, so that you can see her win the day."
"Traditional gaslight storylines have to end in some version of allowing for an audience to interpret. This harkens back to old Hitchcock movies, De Palma movies, where you're allowing for an audience to be a character, following along the way. The first time that I ever saw Rear Window sparked so much imagination in me, because I felt like when I was watching that, I felt like I was in one of those windows, just taking in everything that was going on."
In fact, when the film premiered at the Mammoth Film Festival, Moore got into several conversations with audience members about their interpretations of the film, based on their own personal life experiences.
"I'm very happy, very proud of the confusion, to a point. I'm proud of what we came up with in the end," Moore said.
Tom Felton's impressive commitment to the film
For fans of Felton's previous work, Some Other Woman is a very different space for him.
"He doesn't portray any kind of ego for the amount of fandom that he does have, and boy do I see it. And anytime I jump onto social media it is absolutely wild, hundreds and hundreds of people are discussing this film just simply because he's in it," Moore said. "I think Tom is an incredible actor, I think he's a great human, I would work with him over and over again."
"What he brought to this, in the middle of the night, having to be up at 2:30 a.m. where I'm telling him to throw out the lines, I'm scribbling lines in the middle, because he had an issue with a certain thing, or Amanda did, or Ashley. ... While I do give them breathing room, I do expect a level of commitment to it, and the level that they reached for their commitments was pretty impressive."
Felton also had to play the character in a way where he could be a villain, or maybe not, but keep the audience guessing.
"That's just a very, very thin line to try to meet and I press this thin line over and over and over again," Moore said. "We really got through it, through emotions and tears and quality of performance."
Much of the work to execute that "confusion" in the story also rests with Crew's acting ability.
"Think about reading the script and trying to work out how to approach that character. It's complicated," Moore said. "Amanda and I did a lot of work on this character."
"She just really goes to places, dark, light, inspirational, but very emotional places. There's a key line that raises the hair on the back of my neck every time I see it, when she's sitting outside of her own house and Tom's character says, 'How do you know where I live?' And she says, 'Because I've lived here with you for two years.' There's just something so draining to the soul about the confusion of that moment."
Moore stressed that the collaboration process on set also resulted in room for changes to the script on the day with the actor.
"We ended up working on the dialogue on the day, and sometimes I would take the script and I'd just be like, 'Throw it out. You guys have done this two or three times, find your own emotional quality to this scene now," Moore said.
"You have a beginning, a middle and an end, we always walk through where we came from, and where we're going to, but the ability for my incredible actors to find the scene work within their own emotional state, I think drew some really natural moments out of this movie."
Lessons from famed 'Avatar' filmmaker James Cameron
For Moore, having worked with famed filmmaker James Cameron on the Avatar films, Moore said he learned "everything" from the Canadian legend.
"Jim is the most prolific director in all of cinema, in most ways, not just because of the success of his movies, because of the dedication and the tenacity, and the energy level that is unmatched to anyone," Moore stressed. "He's the first one on set. He's the last one to leave every single day. There is no one that I've ever met that has that kind of determination to make something right."
"I strive to try to be that kind of a director as well. In having patience with my actors and stepping back, and not forcing onto them what their performance is. This is something that I learned from Jim."
Moore directed his first feature, Spiral with Zachary Levi and Amber Tamblyn, before working on Avatar, but that was something Cameron was particularly interested in.
"One of the first things that Jim said to me, he said, 'I want to understand where you are with this movie, you have directed already?' And I said, 'Yeah, I've directed it. It's in the can," Moore revealed. "He said, 'I only like to work with actors who either don't ever want to direct, or have already directed, because if they're actors that want to direct, they think they know everything and they have never had their hearts crushed. They have never had their dream broken of getting every perfect little piece of every scene, because you're just never going to get it.'"
"I thought, wow, with a guy that can really demand upon his cast and crew anything that he wants, the perfectionist in him still sees that there's always going to be holes. It was a very important lesson that I learned early on, to just leave breathing room for your actors so that they can find the characters themselves."
Some Other Woman is now in theatres