The Plant Man: Botanic mystery at the ATVAs

7 mins read

Sci-fi, botany, and romantic mishaps define The Plant Man, as Brig discovered during an interview with co-directors Freya Guice and Lea Ihrig.

The Plant Man premieres this Tuesday at the 2023 AirTV Awards (ATVAs). The Plant Man is one of the more secretive films of the night so Brig got the scoop on what to expect from this short film.

Discussing the tone behind the film, we joked a little about how the trailer felt like Greta Thunberg doing Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer; a nature-based vintage-esque drama, full of tension. Brig asked what exactly inspired The Plant Man, in a bid to find out more of the plot.

Guice: “So from what we’ve shown this might sound A little strange, but we tend to take from life experiences. Obviously, we can’t give too much away from the plot. So it’s not like we have anything to do with botany or anything, sadly. But I think they both kind of, you know, discussed a certain storyline sort of message that we wanted to get across. And I had this sort of like, shower thought about plants. And we just kind of combined the two into this weird little story.

“We usually write our scripts together. But this was the first time that actually it was mainly just me writing it. So I spent a lot of time in a cafe, basically lived there for a week. But it’s, like, interesting, because it’s a story we both obviously want to tell. So it was a lot of sort of checking in and making sure Lea was happy with what I had written whether like dialogue needed changing or, you know, a certain theme was coming across strongly enough and just checking in a lot. Which was a lot of compromising sometimes. But we’re good at that.

Ihrig went on to explain her part in creating The Plant Man.

Ihrig: “It actually probably came in handy, because obviously, like exams are on as well. So for me personally, I just had less, you know, stress in that time. it was definitely just different from what we’ve done before because I fully loved her idea when she told me about it. So it was just kind of great to see how that script came out of the idea that she had. And it was kind of, you know, it was fun and sort of like a privilege to be able to say what I like and why I feel like would make the story good in a different way as well. And then see what she does with it. So yeah, just very interesting. A lot of trust building as well.”

Image Credit: AirTV

As we unpicked the mystery of The Plant Man, casting was discussed. Brig enquired about what the directors were looking for, and what inspired the characters.

Guice: “So, our main character Kathy is played by Freya Stevenson. We were kind of looking for someone who is able to portray a lot through like sort of facial acting and body language. That was very important for that character.”

Ihrig: “I guess the dynamic between the characters was the most important. some characters just need a certain kind of aura or something that I can’t really explain.”

Guice: “Calvin was played by Matthew Crawford Russell. We were definitely looking for someone who has sort of like, an older wiser sort of presence.”

Ihrig: “Casting him was especially important as he worked with pretty much every character in the film because… (

Brig: We’ll find out?

Ihrig: Yeah!

Guice:” I do love our cast. Maybe because I had watched Pearl, sort of recently before writing the script, I really could have seen Mia Goth as Kathy. I think that would have made a lot of sense. I think that could just be the influence of watching Pearl very, like very close before writing a script.”

The Plant Man is a mystery even to the friends of the directors. Brig asked what they hope people will think of this unique drama and what other ATVA entries they are excited for.

Guice: “Oh, I hope that they’re mentally drained afterward. It’s a rollercoaster and I hope people are touched by it.

“Honestly, I’m excited for Door to Door and The Ballad of the Indispensable Walnut Man. Like, I feel like we’ve watched the trailers again and again because we’re so excited. So good. Oh, Violent Delight by Paul Cowie looks really really good.”

In a last ditch attempt to find out more, Brig spoke with the directors of the future. We spoke about what comes next for the directors, within and out with The Plant Man universe.

Guice: “We started kind of talking about a sequel to a movie that we’ve done in the past. And just apart from that, just working on scripts and things, a few scripts ideas that we’d like to just get done over the summer and then maybe work on coming back for third year.”

So, it seems there is more on the cards for these two co-directors. Excitement for the next ATVAs may be premature, but if splendid directors are to continue creating then next year may as good as this.

Feature image credit: @/airtvonline on Instagram

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Journalism and English Studies student with an interest in film & tv, music, and politics.
Live on Air3 Thursday 1-2.30
Twitter: @AlexPaterson01

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