Interview With Castille Landon! (@CastilleLandon)
Photo Credit: Paul Smith
1. Can you tell us about your upcoming film “Albion: The Enchanted Stallion”?
“Albion” is about a young female outcast who is whisked away by a magical stallion to another world, where she discovers that she must save an entire race of people. It’s a fun ride (pun intended, perhaps?) and also very empowering for young women. It stars an incredible, gender-balanced cast, including John Cleese, Debra Messing, Jennifer Morrison, Stephen Dorff and Daniel Sharman.
2. What was it like for you getting to work on this project?
It was a dream come true, as well as a massive learning experience. I learned so much about myself, filmmaking and how to construct and lead a team. One of my favorite elements is that you have to show up, and you have to be on your A-game to inspire others into action. No matter how you’re feeling when you wake up — you’re tired, sick, whatever — for that month that you’re filming, you have to do whatever it takes to be there to motivate your team when you’re all working together for your own project. I think that ability is a life skill that most people struggle with, but I think it also shows you where your passions are: if you can’t pull yourself together, or if it’s too difficult to do so, then that’s not for you.
3. How is this film different from others that you’ve worked on in the past?
For starters, it’s the first one I’ve ever directed myself! It’s also the first fantasy film of which I’ve ever been a part, so we had to do things differently so as to facilitate the visual effects that would be applied in post production. I think with fantasy films too, as an actor, you have an even greater challenge of really deluding yourself — for me, I tend to just behave as though what’s going on in the script is my reality. I am that character, that is my world. So when you’re acting in a fantasy, all of that is heightened.
4. How did you get your start in directing?
I started out acting when I was much younger and that led me to “creating my own content”, which meant I started writing for myself. I pulled my mom in to start producing things and I was in some of those productions, but it’s not until I wrote “Albion” (after she had produced 8 films for other people) that she decided to take the plunge and help me direct that film myself. It ended up being our most successful film, until “Apple Of My Eye”. It wasn’t my intention to start out as a director, but more of a happy accident, which I’m trying to learn from — as sure as I felt that acting was my sole purpose and passion in life, being open to experiment with other areas led to my finding an even greater passion.
5. What was it like getting to write and direct “Apple Of My Eye”?
Writing and directing “Apple” was extremely fun. It was a “baby project” in that it was much smaller in scope than “Albion”, but because I had experience directing, I felt a hundred times more confident in my abilities. There wasn’t really a moment of existential crisis on that one, and it had the added benefit of having been bought by Sony right as we started filming. I also think it was particularly rewarding because it deals with a cause, which is something I’ve been focusing on much more as I’ve matured. As fun as it is to create, it’s far more compelling when you’re able to tell someone else’s story or shed light on stories that haven’t received much attention. I don’t think we, who have our vision, often think about how grateful we are for it or how traumatic and difficult it would be to have that taken away from us. The people we got to work with at Southeastern Guide Dogs (we filmed a large portion of it at a campus that trains dogs for the visually impaired) were instrumental in achieving the “reality” of the piece and also the proper tone. They hosted a screening recently for their staff and community and I heard they really enjoyed it, which means so much to me.
6. What is your favorite part of your job?
I love being able to connect with people. At each stage of the filmmaking process, you get to connect with others: during writing I’m doing a lot of research and connecting with the characters in my head, during filming I’m getting to be in the center of a whole group of phenomenal crew and cast with whom I’ve chosen to collaborate and share in the experience and after post-production I get to connect with filmmakers at festivals and then audiences!
7. Do you have any advice for any aspiring writers, directors, or actors?
If there’s anything else in the world you could possibly do instead of being on that side of the entertainment business, do that. If not, then pursue it relentlessly and be prepared to pivot or take alternative routes. Each of us has a different set of skills and a different path, so comparing ourselves to others is pointless. There will always be someone who had it easier, who is more beautiful, more intelligent, more talented— none of that matters, and focusing on that will just make you frustrated, self conscious, and depressed, which means you’ll create a downward spiral. Instead, focus on your unique gifts, how you can bring them to your art, and what makes you ‘you’.
8. Do you have any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I’m working on a few as we speak. The next two I’m trying to push forward are much larger in scope and are for an older audience than the previous two, so they’re more of a risk. But I’m really excited about them and will keep you all posted!
9. What are your social media accounts?
You can find me on Instagram and Twitter; my handle is @castillelandon!
Thank you for chatting with us, Castille!