In theaters today courtesy of STX Entertainment is The Bye Bye Man, which was directed by Stacy Title and stars Douglas Smith, Doug Jones, Carrie-Anne Moss, Faye Dunaway, and Leigh Whannell. Daily Dead had a chance to catch up briefly with Title this week, and she discussed what she initially saw in the project, her approach to collaborating with her husband and writer for The Bye Bye Man, Jonathan Penner, and her unique cast of familiar faces and newcomers.
I’d love to start off by hearing what it was in the story of The Bye Bye Man that drew you in. The concept of this figure basically being the physical embodiment of evil is an interesting one to explore.
Stacy Title: It’s an amazing concept. We worked a very long time to make sure that we created a story that matched the innovative concept. The thing with The Bye Bye Man is that he is a modern version of fear. I haven’t seen anything like it in a while, and I know there have already been comparisons to Candyman, too. I am a big fan of Candyman, but this is different. He turns you into your own worst enemy, and because he’s telepathic and he can come to you and figure out what your weaknesses are, he preys on your specific weaknesses. You can’t stop what’s coming once he’s inside your head, because he puts hallucinations into your life that are very real, and it’s hard to figure out what you’re actually seeing.
I know your husband, Jonathan Penner, wrote the script for this. So when you guys were working together, did you go back and give him some notes on the script or did you let him go ahead and just do his thing with the story?
Stacy Title: When we came on board, we got a draft of the script that was written by another writer, and he [Jonathan] met with Trevor Macy, the producer, who then put the project together. So it all started with Trevor. Jonathan and I work together a lot, we’re doing King Kong for television right now, and we’ve written a pilot together, too, so we do write together a lot. But there was something about The Bye Bye Man that I felt like separating us out would be a very strong way to go. That way, I could focus on being the director and I could let him spread his wings on this as a writer. He’s written a book on horror, so I knew that this story was in the right hands.
Let’s talk about your casting on this, because you have an interesting mix of new faces in there as well as several established stars such as Carrie-Anne Moss, Faye Dunaway, Leigh Whannell, Doug Jones (who is always great), and Douglas Smith, who I really enjoyed in Stage Fright, too.
Stacy Title: Oh yeah, what a great, underrated movie. I love Stage Fright. He’s been working ever since he was a very young kid, so he’s absolutely great to work with. He came to every rehearsal firing on all cylinders, and our other two younger actors—Lucien Laviscount and Cressida Bonas—also did a great job in the film.
And then we also had Faye Dunaway, who was extraordinary to have as a part of this project and who brings so much to her role. Carrie-Anne was incredibly focused and very serious about her performance, and she worked so well with the younger actors, which was another benefit of having her in this movie.
Of course, there is also the seminal Doug Jones, who is not only the absolutely nicest person you will ever meet, but he also is just brilliant to watch. The way that he just throws himself into every single character he plays—it’s rare to have someone with that kind of pure talent. And in this, Doug is the embodiment of fear; he’s like Nosferatu in the way that he moves, and he wears the pain of this character so well. I loved his performance.
In case you missed it, check out Heather's interview with The Bye Bye Man producer Trevor Macy.