This weekend, director Mimi Cave celebrated the premiere of her feature film debut, Fresh, exclusively on Hulu. Starring Daisy Edgar-Jones, Sebastian Stan, Jojo T. Gibbs, and Dayo Okeniyi, Fresh follows Noa (Edgar-Jones) as she navigates the treacherous world of modern dating after she gets more than she bargained for after falling head over heels for the seemingly perfect Steve (Stan), who has some very particular predilections.

During the recent press day, Daily Dead had the opportunity to speak with Cave, and during our discussion she chatted about getting involved with Fresh, how the material spoke to her on a personal level, finding the right actors for the project, and more.

Be sure to check out Fresh now that it is currently streaming on Hulu.

Great to speak with you today, Mimi, and congratulations on the film. I'd love to start at the beginning and talk a little about how this came together. Was this a script that was brought to you? Or did you know Lauryn [Kahn]? I'm just curious how the stars initially aligned on Fresh.

Mimi Cave: I didn't know Lauryn. I knew of Lauryn and I think she knew of me. So that's how I had the script sent to me. I know that she really wanted a woman to direct this film. And so I was on that list, but I'm not sure who else was. But I basically did what we do in the business, which is I came in and pitched myself to the producers and gave my take on Fresh and what I was going to do with it.

What aspects of this story were you excited to dive into as a filmmaker and explore in Fresh?

Mimi Cave: I think that the script had just a lot of different things to dive into and to sculpt, I guess, as a director. So in a way, it was a lot like, "Okay, well, what am I interested in and how am I going to make this the best it is based on my inspirations for this?" So, it was a lot of things that I have a very instant affinity towards, things that deal with bodies, that deal with the physical form. And I feel that I find that very inspiring visually. That was something. And, also, I'm single and I could see myself in Noa very much, so I could sympathize and empathize with her experience. That was something where if I can see myself in it, I know I can speak to it. And I'm old enough where I've had a lot of different types of experiences: long relationships, short relationships, bad ones, good ones, horrible things happening, okay things happening. So, I had a lot to channel I guess, and maybe without realizing it.

Because this story has some darkly comedic undertones, but it also takes the subject matter very seriously, was it a challenge for you to navigate those two tones and make them work together in a way where they are in service to each other? Or do you feel like because of the material and the cast that you had, that it ended up being a lot easier maybe than you expected coming into it?

Mimi Cave: I don't think that combining those two things is ever easy. I think that you can very easily make something like that quite campy, and I didn't want this film to be campy. I think that it could have been, and I think that anytime you are handling really delicate, important topics in the horror thriller aspect while inserting levity, you have to be really careful about it. You have to know when it's okay to insert jokes, you have to know when it's okay to insert gore. So that was the biggest challenge with Fresh, is just knowing when and where to toe the line between those two things. And with the ultimate goal that I knew I wanted it to be meaningful and that I wanted it to be a visceral experience for people.

In your eyes, what made Daisy and Sebastian perfect for these roles? They are both incredible here.

Mimi Cave: I think that what it comes down to for this particular film is just a sense of commitment, and both of them had it. And so did Jojo. I think this movie on the page is really divisive. People either really wanted to be a part of it or they had wanted to have nothing to do with it. So weirdly, I think the reaction we've been getting with the movie out has been surprisingly great and less divisive than the script was. So it's interesting. And so I knew that anyone who came into it with a fair-weathered approach would not be a good fit. So, all of the people that are in the film wanted it immediately and really were passionate about making it right.

I'm a really big believer that whenever you do something creative, obviously, you put a piece of yourself into it. But I'm curious, from your experiences working on Fresh, what has been your biggest takeaway from this experience, whether it's something that affected you personally or professionally, or maybe it's a combination of both?

Mimi Cave: I think it's a combination of both. I feel like Fresh was the perfect storm for me in a lot of ways. I joke about the fact that I got offered the film a week before the world shut down. ​​I'm always like, "Yep, that tracks for my career." Just because I think coming up as a director, it's really competitive, it's really tough. My parents, until maybe like six months ago, were like, "What are you doing with your life?" So, juggling that and the commitment of filmmaking, which you have to sacrifice a lot of your personal life, and then trying to have a love life and trying to have a personal life and coming up short in a lot of those ways, it's weirdly like Fresh was like this perfect outlet for me to express a lot of the things that I'd been through in the previous 10 years. And so I think it was a really good storm of all of the things in my life.

[Photo Credit: Above photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures.]

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.