FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
IFTA AWARDS 2024
Lies We Tell
Lies We Tell is a contained psychological thriller about a gaslit girl's break for freedom. Maud (Agnes O'Casey), an orphaned heiress living alone in an isolated manor, must fight her charming and dangerous Uncle (David Wilmot) for her inheritance - and her life.
Director: Lisa Mulcahy Writer: Elisabeth Gooch, based on the story by Sheridan Le Fanu Producers: Ruth Carter
Q: What was the genesis of this film, and how did it evolve over the course of development to production and completion?
Ruth Carter (Producer): “The spark for the film was Writer Elisabeth Gooch’s idea of converting Le Fanu’s classic Irish-gothic sensation novel ‘Uncle Silas’ into a modern thriller, where the protagonist has to fight a home invasion by her own family. Then Screen Ireland’s POV scheme resulted in a team of Elisabeth, our Director Lisa Mulcahy and I where we got to work through the development process with Script editor Sarah Golding. We were delighted when we were selected for production financing. Casting gave us the opportunity to find our ‘family’ with location scouting resulting in the wonderful Ardgillan Castle. We had a lot of luck along the way as we couldn’t have shot this film in 20 days if we had to move numerous locations. In many ways there was so much set against us shooting period with all that entails in terms of costume and design on a very low budget. However a truly dedicated and hard-working cast and crew who all signed onto the project because they dearly loved the script resulted in a unified, collegial, collaborative and exciting process.”
Q: What did you feel was the most fulfilling element of working on this film?
Lisa Mulcahy (Director): "Bringing this great script to life with such a talented and committed team of cast and crew was an absolute joy; an immensely satisfying experience not only creatively but also in practical terms of making the film. Covid was still pretty rampant but we were all spared it for the duration of the production and there were other factors that could have overcome our ambition but everyone rose to the challenge with such determination, talent and cheer. Immensely positive experiences like this don’t happen too often and I will be forever grateful to all involved for being on this journey with me."
Q: What do you hope audiences will take away from the film?
Elisabeth Gooch (Writer): "We all have a choice to make in the face of abuse of power.”
Q: To what extent was your on-screen talent vital to the success of the film?
Ruth Carter: "We knew from early on that we wanted a newcomer to play the role of Maud. We wanted somebody who was young but who had a strength of character and determination to fight off her uncle and her cousins. When we met Agnes O’Casey we knew instantly that not only could she carry that strong arc but that she has a lovely vulnerability that helps get the audience onside with her character. Maud has to fight back at every stage and Agnes therefore had a lot of meaty scenes. She’s in practically every scene right across the film working through emotional and sometimes difficult material. We were so lucky that Agnes, at such a young age, had the maturity to express Maud.
For Uncle Silas, the character had to be both charming as well as brutal. He holds the power balance in the house where everybody complies and yields to his demands. If it was only done through brute force, it would be less interesting to watch. Instead, Silas manoeuvres and manipulates everybody around him. They all want to be in his sphere. It’s why the casting of David Wilmot was so crucial. David has real gravitas and stage presence whilst being able to turn at any given moment. He truly took on the difficult character of Silas, as well as illustrating how Silas feels the pain of the past in how he has been wronged.”
Why is it important to see your work represented at the IFTAs and to be acknowledged by your peers in the Irish film community?
Elisabeth Gooch: “I am deeply grateful for the shared experience of working with so many talented, dedicated people on a story about courage, resilience, and the possibility of light in the darkness. Being acknowledged by the Irish film community would be a huge honour given the fantastic, engaging work coming out of Ireland."