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Exclusive: Rachel Carey opens up about directing Deadly Cuts!

Deadly Cuts was one of the many gems lined up at this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, and a comedy that reflects the true spirit of the Irish communities that are struggling to keep their businesses with the rise of gang violence and gentrification. Rachel Carey made her first long feature and hopefully it achieves the success it so clearly deserves! Using comedy to tackle important social issues and an amazing talented cast, Deadly Cuts will become the unexpected escape you needed during these frightening times. We had the chance of interview this amazing author and we can’t be more excited when the film premieres all around the globe. Read our interview below:

Deadly Cuts Review

CineAddiction: When did you come up with the idea of making a film like this one?
Rachel Carey: Well, for years I’d had the idea to make a comedy that championed the young working class female voice here and Dublin, because it’s so unique and more or less completely absent from screens. And I wanted it to be something that they could be powerful in. So it was just about finding them the right vehicle, which landed as a hairdressers a few years back. The elements of vigilantism and the various social issues they tackle sort of grew from there.
CineAddiction: Where did you find the inspiration of making the characters so specific in their nature?
RC: A lot of it came from real hairdressers. Obviously I wanted each girl to be a unique character, so I started with the different types of hairdresser personalities you’d typically come across – the scary one, the slightly vacant one, the one who wants to hear all your problems. From there I just spent time drilling down into each of them and their own stories, adding layers til I really knew what made them tick.
CineAddiction: What was the hardest step in changing from short films into a feature length one?
RC: Writing the script. This was my first feature length screenplay, and it really is a different beast to short form. There was a lot of learning and redrafting involved, but it’s left me much more confident in writing the next one.
CineAddiction: Do you think that Deadly Cuts captures the true Irish spirit? If so, how do you think Ireland is coping with the issues tackled in the film such as gentrifying and gang violence?
RC: Yes, Deadly Cuts is definitely a very Irish film – we’re a country that tends to use humour a lot to deal with bad things, which is exactly what this film does. A lot of the issues in the film really only affect certain areas, whether it’s gang violence or the sharpest end of the gentrification stick. These are areas of great community spirit, and they’re dealing with these things as best they can in the face of a lack of resources, support and interest from the powers that be.
CineAddiction: How was it working with Victoria Smurfit (who I’ve known for a long time in television!) and Aidan McArdle?
RC: It was a lot of fun! I had never met either before – though I was obviously familiar with their work – and I loved how they both came to set 100% committed to the comedy and madness of the film. They’re both fantastic character actors and I was so pleased with how they carved out baddies that were both hilarious yet entirely awful.
Deadly Cuts Review
CineAddiction: The ladies of the film are hilarious! How was the casting process? Did you immediately know they were “the right ones” for the job?
RC: They are the best! I couldn’t believe my luck when I found them. We’d done a rough casting for a read through about a year before we went into production, and that’s where I met Ericka (Stacey) and Shaunagh (Chantelle). Immediately at that reading I thought, “oh my God it’s them”, and proceeded to quietly stalk them for the new year to make sure they’d be around for the real thing. At that point we saw lots of other great actors but the girls had already become Stacey and Chantelle for me, they couldn’t be topped. So we then used them for readings with our Gemma casting, til we found the perfect final piece of the puzzle in Lauren. The three of them had incredible chemistry from the off – my only problem was trying to get them to stop laughing long enough for takes.
CineAddiction: I need to know how you came up with D’Long and what does he represent to the whole hairdressing community!
RC: D’Logan’s casting brief was basically ‘the Irish Vidal Sassoon’. In hairdressing you always get these God-like figures who become international stars, and they’re always men. I used a lot of real life inspiration and then pushed him a little bit for the heightened comedy of the Ahh Hair show. D’Logan is king of the hairdressers in Deadly Cuts, the man everyone scrambles to impress at any cost – even though he’s actually a mess himself. I really wanted to use D’Logan to poke fun at the mindless fawning that tends to go on in these circles, the sort of desperation for approval from the right people.
CineAddiction: Blending in so many genres can be tricky. During your writing process, what do you think helped keep things balanced?
RC: Finding the right murder/comedy balance was definitely something that took a lot of consideration. I made the decision early on that we’d keep most of the violence off screen, because it’s not really about that – it’s about why they’re being forced to do it. Then I had to take care in the drawing and performance of Deano and the crew – they had to fit the world but they also had to be awful enough for people to get behind one of them being murdered. So that had to feel real, but then I always made sure to break the tension with a joke soon after.
CineAddiction: What do you think were the biggest challenges of shooting the film?
RC: We had a lot to do, with a large cast, and a small budget in a small amount of time. So every day would have a packed schedule with a lot of cast. The bigger set pieces like the stage shows at Ahh Hair could be particularly challenging – just in terms of the sheer volume of elements to be considered. There were no easy days! But we had a great crew of people who threw themselves into it and managed to do it all smiling, even if we went home crying!
CineAddiction: Do you think that the current pandemic will affect the film industry as we know it and will change the way people consume films in the future?
RC: I honestly don’t know. If I’ve learned anything this past year or so it’s that you never know what way things are going to go! But obviously people have watched more than ever lately, and there is no denying there’ll always be a hunger for new and great stories on screen. Where people watch them may change, especially in the short term, but I certainly think we’ll always find a way to keep making them.
CineAddiction: Do you have further projects in store?
RC: Yes! At the moment I’m developing a spin off series of Deadly Cuts based on the world created in the movie, which has been so fun to write. It’s easy when you already know them so well! I’m also deep into writing my next feature, which is also a female ensemble comedy with some death themes – but very different from Deadly Cuts otherwise. Besides those active projects I have lots of other ideas bubbling away in various stages – I like to think of them as competing with one another to be made, we just have to see which of them manages to grow into the best and biggest story.
CineAddiction: The best of luck to you Rachel, and thank you so much!
RC: Thank you so much!
Deadly Cuts Review