Treachery is deemed the worst sin by Dante, therefore, it’s the one I begin with. My film starts at the bottom of Hell and winds its way up toward Limbo. The film is neither shocking nor extreme. I’m not aiming to compete with the violence on “Game of Thrones” or the Machiavellian nature of “Madmen”. Each sin is a metaphor for what we find in our everyday lives. Maybe not situations we would find ourselves in, but definitely things we see and experience every day.
There are a lot of treacherous people in this world, there are a lot of violent, greedy, heretics. But mostly there are annoying people who do greedy things or gluttonous things or get angry at us. And sometimes, we walk right into their web. Never do I believe that a person deserves to be on the receiving end of a sin, especially the violent or fraudulent type, but when they are, or when I am – I wonder how I go there. What signs did I miss, who did I trust I shouldn’t have, just how desperate was I? Eventually, the clues fall into place and I hope I’ve learned a lesson for the next time.
The short for Treachery came about in an interesting way. I let the actresses of HELL choose which circle they wanted to portray until there was only one left, and that’s because no one wanted Treachery. Can’t blame them! So, I turned to Victoria Hay (TITANIA), and asked her to do it – and she agreed to take on the challenge without hesitation. Over the past several years, I’ve stretched many characters over Victoria’s skin, and she never fails to find the humanity in a scarred fairy, a queen about to be burned in a kiln, or a treacherous croupier.
In order to entice the audience into HELL, I wanted Victoria to look like a Bond girl in a casino. Check and check. The film was shot on a soundstage in London, and Victoria learned how to shuffle cards for the role – it’s the little details that count. And there’s no better person to welcome our Inferno travelers than someone ready to take everything they have with a smile. (I think Vegas must run on this rule too.) When we sit down at a table to gamble and have some fun, we actually end up giving away more than your vacation money. Croupiers are good at what they do, they know our body language, our face expressions, and most important, our intentions. We want to win right? No, we want to hold onto our pride. That is more valuable than assets. But desperation and addiction, such as gambling, take all of that away. Or rather, we give it up.
These vignettes are not meant to be judgmental, they take place as the sin is happening, but I do hope they are self-reflective. Are they manipulative? Sure. All film is manipulative to a certain extent. What matters is how you use it. Actors manipulative an audience into caring for their characters or hating their characters – for the noble art of storytelling. Treacherous people manipulate you into giving up everything you have for ignoble reasons. So, they come together in HELL over a gambling table as the lovely croupier is giving you some advice while robbing you blind.
Will you buy into it? I think if Victoria Hay has anything to do with it – you will.
HELL has its official premiere on Oct. 9th in New York.
Read about the other circles HERE
And watch the trailer HERE