Michael G. Kehoe the director/writer of the award winning film Hush has been at it since he was 16 years old when he directed and wrote his first play in school. Then attending theater school in New York City at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. His first film "Second Dance" won at The Sundance Film Festival and The Berlin Film Festival.
Us here at Tennessee Horror News had the opportunity to interview Michael G. Kehoe.
THN: Your short film Hush has won 33 awards.
Is there any award that means more to you then the others?
MK: Every award means something special to me no matter how significant to anyone else. But there is one award that we won that has a special meaning to us and that is the Wes Craven Award that we received with great pride. Wes had chosen the film prior to his passing we were told. So, I guess you could say that award has a significant meaning to me and my cast and crew.
THN: Us here at Tn Horror News love the film! Can you tell us more about it?
MK: The short film “HUSH” is a scene taken from the feature length script I wrote that is untitled. I had been in development of another horror script I wrote and my producing partner who I’ve known for over 20 years told me he was leaving town. I was baffled that he would leave right when we were in the thick of it. But then he told me that he was headed to London to produce Star Wars or JJ Abrams. You don’t stop anyone when they’re going off to work on a Star Wars film, let alone produce a Star Wars film! But Tommy still remained in touch while he was in London. Needless to say, we put a hold on that project. But I didn’t want to sit idle and I hadn’t written any other horror scripts. I was never drawn to blood and hacking in some of the horror genre, but I was captivated by some of the cinematography and elements in horror/thrillers. In fact, I have 4 sisters that live on the east coast and they quickly informed me that if I made a picture with blood and guts I was not to return to New York! So, I remember being so taken by Hitchcock and Kubrick. As well as Ridley Scott’s “Alien”. The cinematography was stunning in Alien. I started writing down the films that made me think about that particular genre and another film that I was taken by through the story was a 1981 film titled: “The Changeling” with George C. Scott. Once I had somewhat of a path I wanted to follow, I came up with the idea of a haunted house. Since Alien had a great leading heroine, I began to think about the importance of what the leading character needed have. Sensitivity, strength, and vulnerability. So I wrote the leading female character with that recipe in mind. I won’t go into any more about the story but I will tell you that we start production in January with a very well known production company that caught the film on line. This company is known for one of its iconic horror films and I am extremely proud to be a part of this great team.
THN: What was your inspiration for writing it?
MK: As I mentioned in my prior answer, I believe it was not wanting to sit idle and also discovering how horror has changed in such as way receiving more respect. I believe the production company Blumhouse had much to do with that as the films that have emerged from their wheel house have been quite engaging.
THN: Can you give us any updates on the production of the full length film?
MK: We begin preproduction in January and the film does not have a title as of yet. Apparently, there is a film coming from another company titled Hush, but if that changes, we may be able to hang on to it. But I was never married to the title in the first place. So, people should follow me on Twitter @MikeyKehoe as I will be posting more info about the coming schedule. We will also be sharing images from the set. The house we are shooting has been known to have a presence inside. I’m not sure I believe it as we never experienced anything while we were scouting. And I spent a good amount of time inside there with my director of photography John Connor. Two of the most important people I will have with me is John Connor and Michael Trent.
John Connor has worked with Tony Scott for the longest time and his experience brought so much of the look to HUSH. John and I work like Siamese Twins, we know what each other is thinking, we communicate almost in a mental telepathy connection. It was amazing what we accomplished on the short film. We prepped for 4 months and shot 11 hours. My other gem is my editor Michael Trent. Michael and I worked very well together, Michael had worked with Steven Spielberg and I always believed in surrounding myself with people who are smarter than me. Michael Trent’s eye is very keen and his attention to story is much like John Connor, they both are connected to the core of the piece. I believe that the triangle of our relationship works for the movie. Michael Trent’s cuts in the film are all his, when you see the film you’re seeing Michael’s cuts. The only note I had for Michael was to extend the stairwell walk, other than that, Michael told the story perfectly. I feel extremely fortunate to have both Michael Trent and John Connor on my team and hopefully our schedules work out so we will be together once again for the feature. I believe their input is crucial and responsible for the success of the short film you will see here.
THN: Last Question. What has been your biggest inspiration in the horror genre?
MK: I think there are many elements that have inspired me over the course of my life. When I was very young, I loved Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life”, it had heart and moments of tension. I was drawn to the James Bond films, I loved the tension and thrill. I then saw a film that was playing in an old theater in New York, it had been released a few years prior, the film was “Walkabout” directed by Nicholas Rogue. This film hit me in the gut with it’s cinematography and story line. As I became more aware of tension in films I started watching Hitchcock and found incredible anxiety and suspense. I’m also a huge fan of some French thrillers like The Confession. I believe this is what has inspired me to venture into horror. I never in a million years thought that I would direct a horror film, let alone get attention for one. But, I was pleasantly surprised! Horror fans are not foolish. There are so many levels of flavor of the horror genre, Zombies, Vampires, Ghosts, Killers, rabid animals, the devil, the list goes on. And with that list comes a force of a fan base that will crucify you if you abuse the genre and will praise you if you give them what they want and surprise them at the same time. When I went to one of the festivals in Los Angeles, I stood in line just to listen to the fans who were waiting to get in. I never told them why I was there or who I was and I engaged them in some moments of discussion and found them quite knowledgable about horror and the filmmakers. The fraternity of horror fans is not a bunch of freaks as some would think. They are dedicated individuals that love cinema.
MK: Thank you for the opportunity to express my gratitude to my cast and crew and most of all the fans of the horror genre. I hope we continue to entertain them in the years to come.
Tennessee Horror News is looking forward to seeing the full length film of Hush. We are grateful that Michael took the time to do this interview with us.