Interview with Director, Vaughn Stein (Terminal)

Vaughn Stein’s anticipated debut Terminal (2018) took part in the 72nd Edinburgh International Film Festival. The film has an eclectic mix of dark, gangster-com vibes with a heavy dose of film noir thrown in for good measure. The femme-fatale protagonist, played by the Oscar-winning Margot Robbie, is alongside talented co-stars such as Simon Pegg, Mike Myers, and Dexter Fletcher. The all-star cast is not all that this film brags, but it’s interconnected storylines and dank n’ dark atmosphere will have you completely sucked into the strange neon world of Terminal.

Terminal is out in UK cinemas on Friday the 6th July 2019

Stein’s early career

Whilst studying Drama at Bristol University, Stein wanted to get his hands dirty in the film industry. He initially applied for work experience on the set of Matthew Vaughn’s ‘Star Dust’. Apparently, someone thought it was funny they shared a name. From that, he ended up working as a runner in the VFX department.

“I just ran myself stupid all over Pinewood – It was brilliant.

After handing in his dissertation, someone he met on Star Dust invited him to work on the set of the Dark Knight.

“As soon as I walked on set and saw Heath Ledger dressed as the joker, that was it.”

From there, Stein worked his way up through the ranks from working on small budget indies to big blockbusters such as Beauty and the Beast, Harry Potter and Bond. He always knew he wanted to write and direct but he wanted to get the experience and graft under his belt first.

The beginning of Terminal

The earliest building blocks of Terminal date back to “awful and mind-bendingly boring” shorts written on Microsoft Word during his days of running and AD’ing. But, he loves to write. He continuously worked on ‘Terminal’ until it met his unique vision- and now he can finally sit back, relax and admire his handy work.

Stein wanted to create this dystopic world that used the sexiness, mystery, and intrigue of film noir yet leave the location and time unnamed, in an anonymous, timeless vacuum.

When Stein began seriously planning and writing Terminal, he was set on building it around a strong female lead.

“This elusive, mercurial, strong, dynamic woman -who’s all things to all men, who can utilise her charms, who can transform herself to ensnare the men around her into her traps. Margs and I used to talk about her having a children’s dress-up box in which she can pull these characters out of.”

Take away tips for budding directors and writers

Incredibly humble, Stein points out that as a director, you’re surrounded by incredibly skilled people. From camera operators to the performers -they’re all there because they’re incredibly talented. The director is only there to ensure that the original vision comes together.

“You’re surrounded by people who are brilliant at their job and they’re all there to fulfill your vision. So, it’s about the clarity of vision and communication”

You have to make sure you make it known that the actors should feel comfortable approaching you and to be involved with the direction of their character. It should be a collaborative process between both the director and the actor.

“I loved collaborating with Simon, Margs, Dexter…”

Feel inspired?

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