Recently I had the pleasure of talking with actor Russell Geoffrey Banks of the new film Who’s Watching Oliver. After viewing film I felt compelled to speak with Banks to discuss the film, the inspiration behind his character, and what his experiences were during the filming. Keep reading for the full exchange!
Wicked Horror: I want to congratulate you on your success thus far with the new film. I am sure this was a difficult role to tackle, did you do anything specific to prepare for the role or did you do anything special to get into Oliver’s headspace?
Russell Geoffrey Banks: First of all, thank you for reviewing us and interviewing myself. Really appreciate how kind everyone has been to us. What did I do to get into the headspace? First of all, spent a lot of time to really figure who Oliver was. Then spent a lot of time watching different documentaries to do with serial killers and the effects of mental and physical abuse. Then really tried to really get into Oliver’s walk, talk, and mindset while mixing his life with my own emotional triggers. It was a tough challenge and after the film was certainly hard to shake off his anxieties mixed with mine. I did feel a bit screwed up after.
WH: The tone of the film is very unsettling and dark, did that atmosphere carry over to the set and make filming difficult?
RGB: Yes, it was a horrid set to be on for everyone. It didn’t have a good atmosphere on set. I think because it was so dark with the subject matter and shooting through the night it took its toll on everyone. That said, the daytime parts with Sara Malakal Lane was a real breath of fresh air. That was really needed for myself and the crew. But in general, I’ve never been through such an intense experience on set trying to stay in character.
WH: Not only do you play the title character, you were also a writer of the film. Where did the idea for Who’s Watching Oliver come from? And what do you want audiences to take away from this film?
RGB: Originally I knew I wanted to do a serial killer film when I approached Richie Moore and Raimund Huber, At first I wanted to go down the Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer style film. Raimund Huber had the idea to style the character as George McFly mixed with Forest Gump. So, from that moment on, the whole dynamic had changed and we could really start to shape the movie. What would I want the audience to take away from this? Not really sure. I hope they enjoy what we tried to create and can see that we really tried to show this story from a much more personalized perspective of a serial killer. I would like the audience to walk away feeling like that actually know Oliver as a person rather than a fictional character.
WH: Is Who’s Watching Oliver a love story with horror elements or is it a horror film with a love story?
RGB: I think that all depends on the viewer. There is definitely a twisted love story mixed in with some horrendous events and insidious acts. There are definitely some lighter moments throughout the film but that does mean enduring the gut-wrenching scenes.
WH: Do you have any favorite memories or stories from the set?
RGB: Honestly, not too many. I feel like I should make up some stories and make it sound more fun than it was. I actually just rang Raimund Huber the producer to ask him as well but he agreed. It was dark and with there being such a small crew there was just so much work to be done. We had our moments of fun but overall it was a hard slog physically and mentally.
WH: As an actor, you have starred in several other horror films such as Cam2Cam, Ghost House and Pernicious, do you find yourself preferring to work in the horror genre?
RGB: I do love horror and I’d say I’ve been lucky to work with some great people within the genre. I also think it’s more of the darker style of character I feel attracted too. That said, I am a massive fan of all genres and do want to explore lighter roles between the heavy roles to keep myself sane.
WH: You and Sara Malakul Lane had previously worked together on the film King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. She also stars opposite in Who’s Watching Oliver playing the titular character’s love interest. What was it like to work together again?
RGB: It was great to work with Sara again. On King Arthur, we got on so well and had such fun. That’s why I reached out to her for this film. She is a great actress I really loved what she brought to the film, she got what we were trying for. I can’t wait to work with her in the future again.
WH: What can fans expect from Russell Geoffrey Banks next? Do you have any current projects fans can expect in the near future?
RGB: Not sure what’s next I’ve recently moved back to the UK so it feels like I’m starting again. So please if you’re a director and you want to work together please do reach out. I love acting and I’m definitely not doing that enough so I’m praying that this movie opens some more opportunities up.
WH: And finally, where can fans keep up with you? Do you have any social media fans can follow?
For those who have not seen this amazing new film yet I implore you view it as soon as possible. The fan and critic reviews have been extremely positive and well deserved. Be sure to check out our forthcoming review for a more in-depth analysis of the film.
Who’s Watching Oliver can be seen from July 3rd in North America on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Prime Video, Vudu, YouTube, Microsoft, Video, FandangoNow, PlayStation, x box, Comcast, Cox, Dish, Verizon, SuddenLink, Media Company, Insight, Wow, East Link TV,Vobile, Midwest Tape,