After the death of her mother and having no other known relatives, Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) takes a DNA test…and discovers a long lost cousin she never knew she had. Invited by her newfound family to a lavish wedding in the English countryside, she’s at first seduced by the sexy aristocrat host but is soon thrust into a nightmare of survival as she uncovers twisted secrets in her family’s history and the unsettling intentions behind their sinful generosity.
Screen Gems presents, a Latchkey production, THE INVITATION. Starring Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Doherty, Stephanie Corneliussen, Alana Boden, Courtney Taylor, Hugh Skinner and Sean Pertwee. Directed by Jessica M. Thompson. Written by Blair Butler. Produced by Emile Gladstone. Executive Producers are Michael P. Flannigan and Jessica M. Thompson. Director of Photography is Autumn Eakin. Production Designer is Felicity Abbott. Editor is Tom Elkins, ACE. Costume Designer is Danielle Knox. Hair & Makeup Designer is Nora Robertson. Music by Dara Taylor.
For director Jessica M. Thompson, the chance to work in the horror genre was irresistible. “I grew up on horror, on thrillers. They are sacred to me,” she says. “I always wanted to make a horror movie told from a female perspective.”
“My favorite horror movies have always subverted things that I found joyful,” says producer Emile Gladstone. “Jaws subverted the beach; Halloween subverted the peace and calm of suburbia; Friday the 13th subverted summer camp. I’ve always wanted to subvert romance, and specifically weddings, and we’re doing that with The Invitation.”
The Invitation centers on Evie, a struggling artist in New York who has just lost her mother to cancer after losing her father as a teenager, and is feeling lonelier than she ever has before. “I really identify with Evie,” says Thompson. “When I was 24, I moved to New York City to become a filmmaker. I didn’t know a single soul. I struggled for quite a while – working survival jobs, figuring out how to thrive in this incredible city, how to fight for what you want, how not to feel lonely. And that’s Evie – she’s a New York artist doing the New York hustle, working survival jobs to get by. She’s lonely; she recently lost her mom to cancer. I definitely identify with that, and I feel if I’d been given this opportunity to go on the trip of a lifetime – especially when I didn’t have the money – I would definitely have accepted that invitation, 100%. Of course, things go awry. But through that she finds her strength, her conviction of character, and literally gets to stick it to the man.”
Evie just took a DNA test – turns out, she’s one hundred percent that rich. She has family in England – and not just family, but old money (which in England can be very old) – who invite her to join up for an upcoming family wedding. Little does she know that in a sickening turn of events, she herself will turn out to be the bride-to-be. “She’s under the pretense that she’s come for a family wedding and would meet her long-lost relatives,” says Emmanuel. “But it turns out she is the bride that the family needs. Through her DNA, they’ve discovered that she has the right bloodline to keep the family going – she’s entrapped by these crazy rich people.”
For Gladstone, part of the key was setting up Evie as a character yearning for something. “There really isn’t a nightmare unless there’s a dream first,” he says. “It starts off Gatsby-esque and inspirational: Evie goes to this incredible wedding and finds this incredible guy, and finally thinks the worm has turned for her. And then the penny drops, and the dream turns to nightmare.”
Emmanuel came on the radar for many viewers when she turned heads as the memorable character Missandei in “Game of Thrones.” “Nathalie took a character that was initially a smaller role and she put all of herself into it; she fully fleshed out this character, and became a fan favorite,” says Thompson. “Nathalie has a beautiful presence. She’s the most empathetic person – she really feels deeply for her characters and finds the humanity in them. All of the nuances – from the way she wears her clothes, to the way she creates her art, to the way she honors her mother… all of those little details give Evie so much breath and life.”
“I loved working with Jess – she’s such a badass,” says Emmanuel. “She has a strong sense of what she wants, which is reassuring and earns a lot of trust. It’s wonderful to be working with a female director – it’s really beautiful.”
Some of those conversations involved giving Evie’s story a modern point of view. “Marriage can be a beautiful thing, but if you think about it, a long time ago, marriages were made so that two families could further their prosperity, in money or land,” says Emmanuel. “We’re making that modern. Times have changed and Evie has real power and agency. When things take a turn, she is going to fight back.”
Emmanuel’s portrayal of Evie is as a very compassionate person, in a way that doesn’t fit in with her newfound family. “When she gets to the castle, she introduces herself to the maids, she gets to know their names and who they are as people – to the horror of her aristocratic English family,” says Thompson. “She sees humans as humans, and not as a class or status. And she maintains that throughout the film – if she’s going to go down, she’s going to go down fighting for these women, to save them from her fate.”
The lord of the manor holding court over these events is Walter, played by Thomas Doherty.
“He has that X factor,” says Thompson. “You can’t not watch him. Part of it is the way he looks – he has these incredible features, so sharp and defined. But the way he commands the space and handles himself… he brings a lot of layers to the role. It’s almost like he’s playing two characters – the charming romantic Lord of the Manor, our leading man… and then he reveals who he really is. That could have been difficult to balance, but Thomas commands the space and makes it look easy.”
“At first he seems like a charming, sweet man who doesn’t fit the aesthetic of what Evie’s just been brought into,” says Doherty. “When he and Evie first meet, there’s a lot of chemistry – a spark. And as that relationship evolves, it intensifies pretty quickly. It seems that because he doesn’t fit into this very conservative world and he sees her as a strong, independent woman from New York, and for that reason, he wants her to stay, to run away with him. Of course, he has his own agenda.”
Playing a character who holds those secrets was a process for Doherty. “To try to embody the character, the best thing to do is to have the weight and heaviness in my eyes. Everything comes from that,” he says. “Obviously, there’s a confidence and a knowingness. It was useful to me to know the character always has a knowing thought at the back of his head.”
“Thomas throws himself into everything,” says Thompson. “He’s a character actor – he finds the little details, tics and mannerisms that upon second-viewing make you say, ‘Oh, this was the undercurrents of his real character shining through.’”
Equally unsettling are the members of the wedding party: Stephanie Corneliussen as Viktoria and Alana Boden as Lucy. Thompson sought out Corneliussen for a deliciously evil role that the actress could sink her teeth into. “I first saw Stephanie Corneliussen playing a memorable villain on ‘Mr. Robot,’ and I knew immediately she was 100% right to play Viktoria – she’s a wild riot,” says Thompson. “Four years ago, she saw my first film, The Light of the Moon, at SXSW, and let her agents know that I was a director she wanted to work with in the future. It’s so lovely that four years later, it has finally happened.”
“I’ve had such a great opportunity throughout my short career to play really strong, complex female characters, and Viktoria was that but just so much more uncontrolled,” says Corneliussen. “She’s stripped it of morals and consequences – she’s controlled only by her own emotions and insecurities. She’s decadent, animalistic, possessive, jealous, controlling, sexy, dismissive, narcissistic. A complex array of not-so-great personality traits. She’s a villain in her own right.”
By contrast, Boden’s character, Lucy, seems more pleasant and easygoing, but can Evie really trust her? “She brings a softness to this very quirky family,” she says. “She’s naïve – I don’t think she sees the bad in anybody. She’s definitely caught up in the wrong thing even though I think she knows it’s not normal.”
Hugh Skinner plays Oliver Alexander, who discovers Evie is his cousin. “He is a very privileged, very charming man, but it’s all just to get what he wants,” says Skinner. “He’s actually incredibly disingenuous, and deep down, he’s an evil bastard.”
Carol Ann Crawford plays Mrs. Swift, the head housekeeper responsible for all of the ladies’ maids in the house. “The events at the beginning of the film change everything for Mrs. Swift,” she says. “She has been a devoted servant to Emmaline for 50 years, so she’s grief-stricken and starts to question her role in Walter’s household. That’s what was so interesting to me: she has kept her head down, doing her job to the best of her abilities… but does that make her part of the problem? If you stay silent, if you do nothing, are you complicit?”
As the head of household – the butler, Mr. Field – is the veteran actor Sean Pertwee. “He’s the master of the house,” says Pertwee. “He’s the gatekeeper, the right-hand man. And he has been that for a mysteriously long time.
Rounding out the cast as Grace, Evie’s friend in New York, is Courtney Taylor. “They’re as close as sisters,” says Taylor. “They're extremely supportive of each other – so much so that Grace is sometimes aggressively, but comically, protective of Evie as she starts on this new journey of reconnecting with her newfound family.”
Director Jessica M. Thompson created a female-forward team of artists to bring this film to life. “It was important for me that this film have a woman-led creative team,” she says. “Autumn Eakin was the cinematographer on my first film and we worked so well together – we have a real symbiotic relationship. We almost don’t have to communicate verbally; we understand exactly what we need out of a role, out of a character, out of design, out of the lighting, out of the camera moves. She’s my right-hand woman and she put her unique mark all over this film with the beautiful lighting and jewel tones. Felicity Abbott, our production designer, went above and beyond with incredible sets that really sell the fantasy and the nightmare. And Danielle Knox’s costumes are stunning. I gave her some creative proofs that I wasn’t sure we could accomplish, and somehow she did it – it looks wonderful. Nora Robertson, our hair and makeup designer, created such unique looks for all of our characters.”
Eakin, the director of photography, says that she was attracted to the project after having previously worked with Thompson on the director’s first feature film. “Having worked with Jess before, and going into a horror genre, I had confidence she was going to elevate it by mixing in some romance, horror, and a fantasy-reality,” she says. “Mixing those genres, for a DP – visually, that’s pretty exciting.”
Thompson’s direction to her heads of department was to play up the duality of the mysterious family in the look and feel of the film. “There are dualities throughout the whole film – nightmare and fantasy, prey and predator, upstairs and downstairs. So we’ve tried to capture that in the design, the lighting, the costumes, the performances,” she says. “All of the sets have a duality, representing both the romance and the nightmare. On the surface, it’s this beautiful world but when you get closer, when you look at the finer details, you realize the horror. Evie’s bedroom, decorated in jewel tones, looks absolutely stunning; there’s a painting on the wall depicting beautiful birds. But then you realize they’re being stalked by weasels – they’re being hunted. You’ll see it in the wallpaper designs, the details on the chairs, the flowers, the food, everywhere.”
“There are so many details for the audience to see that are beautiful from a wide shot,” says Gladstone, “but when you get to an extreme close-up, you realize – everything that is beautiful is also dangerous.”
“The really horrific things in life aren’t actually the things in the dark,” says Eakin. “They’re the things that are right in front of you – but you just haven’t opened your eyes to them yet.”
Thompson says her favorite and most challenging scene was the rehearsal dinner, where the true motivations of the hosts are revealed. “It starts off as a beautiful, sumptuous ball, and then halfway through, the penny drops as we realize who Walter really is and that Evie is being held captive in the house. In that sense, it was like making two scenes in one: the beauty is covering a nightmare boiling under the surface,” Thompson explains. “All of the decadent food is actually rotting and melting and dripping, the incredible chandelier is actually made of antlers and skulls. Among the characters, there’s so much to capture: Evie’s emotion, as she’s realizing the true horror of what’s happening to her, so many looks from the guests, so many nuanced beats. It was a three-day shoot to get it all – so that was the hardest scene but also the most rewarding one, because I think it’s one of the best scenes in the film.”
“It begins as a masked ball, beautiful and decadent and transformative,” says Gladstone. “Evie walks in, beautiful, wearing her red dress and her gorgeous mask, and she is sitting next to a man who she’s recently fallen in love with. She’s never felt more at home or surrounded by family with a solid man in her life. And then, halfway through the dinner, it all turns. And what’s beautiful turns nightmarish.”
For Eakin, those dualities were both fun and gratifying to capture. “We wanted it to feel authentic, but not necessarily real,” she explains. “She’s on an adventure, but it’s not too good to be true. When the horror is revealed, it’s not so unbelievable, because sometimes the horrific things are right in front of your face. It’s the visual exaggerations of horror, which are really fun for a DP, mixed with the realities of everyday life.”
The filmmakers were inspired to create the scene by the 1972 Rothschild Ball (also known as the Surrealist Ball or Illuminati Ball). Held at Guy de Rothschild’s lavish chateau, the evening began with servants and footmen greeting guests by behaving like cats. Guests entered the chateau into a maze in the main hall. Plates were covered in fur, and tables were decorated with taxidermied tortoises and dismembered and decapitated baby dolls; food was served on a mannequin corpse on a bed of roses. Dead fish accompanied the forks. Salvador Dali designed many of the night’s masks, though he didn’t wear one himself. Audrey Hepburn attended in a birdcage draped over her head; Mme de Rothschild herself wore a stag’s head studded with diamond tears. These were some of the inspirations for the filmmakers as the true nature of what Evie is facing is revealed.
The production filmed at Nádasdy Castle, about an hour outside of Budapest. “We got a backstage tour of all of these incredible castles around Hungary, and when we saw Nádasdy, I knew straight away that it was going to be our hero castle, because it was built in the Tudor style – it looks English,” says Thompson. “But the icing on the cake was that I found out that Madam Báthory’s great-great-grandson owned that castle – and Madam Báthory is a woman who people called ‘Countess Dracula’ or ‘The Blood Countess’. She is believed to be the first known female serial killer, murdering over 600 virgins and bathing in their blood. What better castle to film in?”
“There’s something really special about filming in a real location,” says Eakin. “It has the history and the bones of a magical place.”
“It’s one of the rare examples of English Tudor architecture in Hungary,” says production designer Felicity Abbott. “That led to the inspiration for the interior set. We elevated the gothic details and the pallet beyond what you’d usually find in the interior of an English Tudor mansion.”
“Evie is an artist, so she sees things in a particular way, as artists see the world,” says Abbott. “When I was designing the main hall of Carfax Abbey as if we were Evie seeing it for the first time, she sees it like a heightened art gallery. It’s very elevated and wild, full of sculpture, like St. George and the Dragon, lots of antiquities and artwork.” In this way, Abbott says, the entry hall served two functions. “It’s very dramatic, providing the backdrop of what’s to come, but in another sense, the hall itself is trying to seduce her, as an artist, in terms of the way that Evie would respond to a space.”
“I loved filming in a castle. I almost wanted to stay there – ‘don’t worry about getting me accommodation, I’ll just stay in the castle’ – until I realized the history of the place and that I’d be the only one and then I was like, ‘no, I’ll pass,’” says Thompson. “It’s about 200 years old, recently renovated, and it’s absolutely stunning. What a joy to make a film set in a castle in a real castle.”
For costume designer Danielle Knox, the chance to work in a vampire story offered a rich chance to include centuries of different fashion styles into her designs. “Vampires are immortal – they live for centuries,” she says. “So, in terms of costume, you can bring in all kinds of different eras. Viktoria is five hundred years old, and Lucy was created in the twenties, so we brought in elements of the clothing they would have worn then, and incorporate the styles they would’ve been inspired by as time went by.”
Dressing Evie meant a chance to shop as any young, hip New York artist might. “Evie is very much a product of her time,” says Knox. So what would a product of her time wear? “Vintage!” Knox jokes. More seriously: “She’s ethical – conscious about where she gets her clothes – and an artist, so she’s incredibly expressive and everything she wears is very New York with lots of color.”
When Evie goes to England, she is contrasted with another world. “We’re going back into the past – an era that is her complete opposite,” says Knox. “That’s the introduction of the horror: putting her in a rich, stuffy environment.”
Gladstone says that when Evie arrives in England, she is presented with new clothes. “They help transport her into this world,” he says. “Again, these are aspirational, beautiful, Gatsby-like costumes – a gold dress, a red dress – and again, everything that is beautiful is dangerous. These dresses were created by Danielle – it’s pretty extraordinary, what she was able to accomplish.”
But that’s just the introduction to Evie’s horror. “When we end up at the rehearsal dinner, everything flips on its head and it turns into something quite hedonistic and excessive and scary and strange,” says Knox.
Similarly, hair and makeup designer Nora Robertson worked closely with Knox to create classic looks for Viktoria and Lucy and a more contemporary look for Evie. “The inspiration is old Hollywood plus current,” says Robertson. “Lucy and Viktoria have a very classic look – a mixture of 1920s fill with a 1940s fill force. Evie, on the other hand, is a very funky New Yorker.”
Emmy-nominated actress Nathalie Emmanuel (Evie) is best known for her remarkable performance in the role of Missandei in the critically acclaimed HBO series “Game of Thrones.” The series concluded its highly anticipated eighth and final season in May of 2019. Notably, Emmanuel starred in Quibi’s “Die Hart,” opposite Kevin Hart and John Travolta. Emmanuel went on to receive a nomination for a 2021 Emmy award in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for her performance in the series.
Up next, Emmanuel will also return as Ramsey in the highly anticipated Fast X, which will be released in theaters on May 19, 2023. In the fall of 2022, Emmanuel will begin production on Francis Ford Coppola’s project 20 years in the making, Megalopolis. She will star as the lead opposite Adam Driver, Forest Whitaker, Jon Voight, and Laurence Fishburne in this epic story of political ambition, genius, and conflicted love.
Emmanuel also recently returned as Ramsey in F9, the ninth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise which surpassed over $500M in global ticket sales, making it the first US-produced movie to do so since 2019. Emmanuel first reprised her role of Ramsey in The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. Her US feature film debut was in the seventh installment of the iconic franchise, Furious 7, opposite Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, and Paul Walker. Both the 7th and 8th installments individually grossed over $1 billion at the box office, with the 7th remaining the highest grossing film of the franchise and one of the highest grossing films of all time.
Most recently, the actress starred in Netflix’s heist comedy Army of Thieves, the prequel to Army of the Dead, as well as Last Train to Christmas, opposite Michael Sheen and Cary Elwes. In 2019, the actress played Maya in Hulu’s romantic comedy series “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” which was produced by Mindy Kaling. Emmanuel also featured in the voice cast for Netflix’s “Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” alongside Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, Helena Bonham-Carter, Alicia Vikander, Simon Pegg and Andy Samberg. The series based on Jim Henson’s 1982 classic The Dark Crystal.
Emmanuel can also be seen in 20th Century Fox’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which is the second installment in the popular young-adult franchise based on the book series of the same name by James Dashner. In 2018, she went on to reprise the role of Harriet in the movie’s sequel, Maze Runner: The Death Cure. The actress also starred in Josh Friedlander’s directorial debut Holly Slept Over opposite Ron Livingston, Josh Lawson, and Britt Lower.
Born and raised in the UK, Emmanuel landed her first role on the professional stage at the age of 10 when she starred in the original London cast of “The Lion King,” playing Young Nala. She then went on to play the role of Sasha Valentine in Channel 4's popular soap “Hollyoaks.” Since then, Emmanuel has continued working on several British TV shows including the BAFTA winning series “Misfits.” Emmanuel permanently resides in the UK.
Scottish actor Thomas Doherty (Walter) stars in the highly anticipated reboot of “Gossip Girl” for HBOMax, which premiered in 2021 as HBO Max’s most-watched original series over launch weekend. It has been renewed for a second season. He was previously seen in Hulu’s High Fidelity opposite Zoe Kravitz. He is a graduate of The MGA Academy of the Performing Arts who at the age of 27 has gained a huge following from his starring role as Harry Hook in Disney’s hit franchise “Descendants,” which garnered nearly 21 million viewers in the most sought after demographic. Doherty has amassed over 4 million social media followers. He can also be seen in HBO’s Catherine the Great opposite Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke.
Jessica M. Thompson (Director) is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker who made her feature writer-directorial debut with The Light of the Moon, which won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at SXSW. The Light of the Moon, starring Stephanie Beatriz (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” In The Heights, Encanto), enjoyed a limited theatrical release to sold-out screens in both New York and Los Angeles and holds a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score. Critics called the film "harrowingly effective" (Variety), "honest and complex" (The Hollywood Reporter), and Film Inquiry stated that "for any filmmaker this would be an unmitigated triumph, but for a first-time filmmaker this is revelatory."
Thompson was the lead director on Showtime's series "The End," produced by the Oscar®-winners See-Saw Films (The Power of the Dog, The King's Speech). The series received five-star reviews from The Guardian and The Times.
In 2010, Thompson founded Stedfast Productions, a collective of visual storytellers who use film to explore the complexity of the human story.
Thompson is an Australian filmmaker who resides in Los Angeles.
In addition to The Invitation, BLAIR BUTLER (Writer) has several other active projects at Sony Pictures, including a high-profile adaptation of the best-selling novel Home Before Dark. She is also collaborating with Mortal Kombat director Simon McQuoid on a sci-fi actioner called Omega.
Butler’s first high profile gig in the entertainment business was as head writer for the G4 Network's variety program “Attack of the Show,” where she also served as a frequent on-air personality, covering such diverse topics as comic books, gaming, and even MMA fights. As a writer on the show she was responsible for creating many of “Attack of the Show’s” most iconic bits, including a recurring animated series called ”Slasher School.”
Butler’s first original screenplay went viral in Hollywood and led to her being hired to write Polaroid at Dimension and, later, Hellfest, both of which got wide releases.
Butler’s abilities as a writer are incredibly diverse and, in addition to her big horror releases, she also produced a season of the Hulu/Marvel series “Hellstrom” as well as spending a year commuting to the Bay Area to work on some of Pixar's biggest titles.
Emile Gladstone (Producer) is a film and television producer. He is best known for producing the 2019 worldwide hit horror film The Curse of La Llorona for Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema. The film starred three-time Primetime Emmy nominee Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo, “Freaks and Geeks”) and was nominated for two Saturn Awards and an Audience Award at SXSW. Gladstone also produced a film for Conde Nast Entertainment and FilmNation called Army of One, which starred Nicolas Cage and Russell Brand.
Prior to producing, Gladstone was a talent agent and founding partner of ICM Partners, representing writers, directors, actors and corporate clients. He resides in Los Angeles with his partner, Lisa Petrazzolo, and their two kids, Valentina and Isabel.
Autumn Eakin (Director of Photography) turned her years of working under Maryse Alberti (The Wrestler, Velvet Goldmine, Creed) and Vanja Cernjul (“30 Rock,” “Orange Is The New Black,” “The Deuce”) into an artful resourcefulness she uses in her narrative and documentary filmmaking. Born in New Mexico and raised in the hills of Missouri, she loves stories about the thin line of melancholy one finds between hope and despair.
Netflix's Someone Great, starring Gina Rodriguez, Dewanda Wise, Brittany Snow, and Lakeith Stanfield tapped into a cultural zeitgeist and was lauded by critics. The Light of the Moon, directed by Jessica M. Thompson had its World Premiere in Narrative Competition at SXSW 2017 to rave reviews and was the winner of the Audience Award. Feature documentaries Mavis! (HBO) and No Le Digas A Nadie (Don't Tell Anyone) (PBS POV) both went on to win Peabody Awards. She has shot for acclaimed directors John Crowley, Liz Garbus, and Alex Gibney. She has also shot projects for Netflix, The History Channel, NBC, Hulu, Northface, Ogilvy & Mather, AT&T, and many more.
She has lensed episodes of the second season of Amazon's “Modern Love,” HBO's series “Insecure,” and Netflix's dramatic series “Grand Army.”
Eakin is also the forming member of the site Cinematographers XX, a respected hiring resource of experienced female-identified DPs. The group has been profiled in The New York Times, BUST, and The Washington Post. She now divides her time between New York, Los Angeles, and wherever the next job is.
Nominated for Best Production Design by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) for Blumhouse sci-fi action thriller Upgrade, Felicity Abbott (Production Designer) was awarded Best Production Design at the 2020 New Zealand Television Awards for her work on the BBC production of “The Luminaries.”
Her previous work includes Ladies In Black, a tale set in the summer of 1959 from director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Black Robe) and the period film The Outlaw Michael Howe, for which she won the Australian Production Design Guild (APDG) Award for Best Production Design in 2014.
A professional member of the British Film Designers Guild and the US Art Directors Guild, Abbott is a graduate of the Australian Film Television and Radio School (MA Hons). She studied classical design at French national film school La Fémis in Paris as part of her Masters program.
Recent work includes the upcoming Amazon Studios feature Don’t Make Me Go, directed by Hannah Marks.
Danielle Knox (Costume Designer) has enjoyed a successful career in the entertainment industry for almost 30 years, after obtaining her degree in Fine Art, and travelling to Europe and the East, igniting a lifelong love of travel and the arts.
She explored all the possibilities Film has to offer before finding her niche in Costume Design, finding her passion for the creative challenges offered by working in the varied genres of period, fantasy, fashion, street, and sci-fi.
Her love of travel and art has informed her style of work, edgy street style, documentary realism, and dystopian futuristic grunge and punk.
She has worked with many fringe directors, in the genres of grindhouse, horror, cult classics, and video games, with actors like Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa (Monster Hunter), Lance Reddick and Ella Balinska in the series “Resident Evil,” Nickelodeon’s darling Victoria Justice in the Afterlife of the Party, Omari Hardwick and Loretta Divine in the horror Spell, and other stars including Luke Goss, Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames, Michael Gross, Corey Feldman, Maisie Williams, Alan Ritchson, Marama Corlett, Colin Cunningham, Christina Ochoa, Luca Pasqualino, and Britain’s darling Michelle Keegan.
Her credits include such varied titles as the surf classic Blue Crush 2, the classic horror The Lost Boys 3, dystopian action in Death Race 3, and the grindhouse thriller series “Blood Drive,” as well as dramatized documentaries like “Jonestown: Paradise Lost,” the army drama series “Our Girl” seasons 3 and 4, and the period lesbian arthouse film The World Unseen, for which she won a SAFTA for best Costume Design.
She has also worked with celebrities like Jamiroquai, T.I., Michael Fassbender, Hilary Swank, and Richard Gere during the course of her years of assisting such designers as Michelle Clapton (of “Game of Thrones”) and Kasia Walicka-Maimone (Amelia, Capote).
She is currently in pre-production for the dystopian fever dream Boy Kills World with Bill Skarsgard and Samara Weaving.
Dara Taylor (Music) has emerged as a fresh voice in the world of film music as the composer of The Tender Bar, directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker George Clooney. You can hear her music in the Lionsgate hit comedy Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar starring Kristen Wiig and Jamie Dornan, as well as HBO Max’s new series “Little Ellen,” Netflix’s Ada Twist, Scientist, Blumhouse’s American Refugee, and Universal’s Curious George: Cape Ahoy. Taylor has been tapped to compose the music for Universal’s Strays starring Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx.
Taylor’s previous work includes the action crime drama Echo Boomers starring Michael Shannon, the Netflix series “Bookmarks,” the Netflix docu-series “Trial By Media,” the FX series “Pride,” Lifetime Television’s “Holiday In Santa Fe” and the Karen Allen-starred film Colewell, for which she won a 2019 Hollywood Music in Media award.
As a score producer and composer for Chris Lennertz, Taylor has contributed to major motion picture films and series including Bad Moms, the action-comedy sequel Shaft, Amazon’s highly acclaimed television series “The Boys,” Netflix’s sci-fi series “Lost in Space,” The Happytime Murders, Uglydolls, and the long-running CW show “Supernatural.” In 2015, Taylor was nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award for her score on the short film Undetectable, and in 2016, she participated in the Women in Film’s Women Composers in Media concert. In 2018, Taylor was chosen as a fellow for the Sundance Institute Composers Lab and the following year she was chosen as one of the BMI Conducting for Composers Fellows. In 2021, she was chosen for both the Grammy NEXT program and the coveted Universal Composers Initiative.
Taylor is a proud Executive Committee member for the Composers Diversity Collective, as well as a member of the Television Academy, Recording Academy, Society of Composers and Lyricists, Alliance of Women Film Composers, and Women in Media.