Our interview with talented Harvard and Oxford-educated director, writer and actress Castille Landon, whose next film, “Albion: The Enchanted Stallion” was just released on VOD.
“Albion: The Enchanted Stallion” follows a thirteen year old girl, tasked with the responsibility of caring for her disabled father, who is transported by a magical black stallion to the mystical world of Albion, where she discovers that she is the key to saving an entire race of people. Directed and co-written by Landon, “Albion: The Enchanted Stallion” stars acting icons such as Debra Messing (“Will and Grace”), Oscar-nominated John Cleese (“Monty Python”) and Jennifer Morrison (“Once Upon A Time”).
Landon directed and wrote “Apple Of My Eye” starring Oscar-nominated Burt Reynolds and Amy Smart. The film was sold to Sony Pictures Worldwide and was released in January 2017.
She also executive produced “I Believe In Unicorns”, which premiered at SXSW and screened in more than 40 festivals worldwide with multiple wins.
Landon’s acting credits include a major supporting role in the comedy “Sex Ed” opposite Haley Joel Osment and Glen Powell, CBS’s “Criminal Minds”, “Wind Walkers”, “Land of Leopold” and “Among Ravens”.
Hi Castille, please tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a director and writer — my latest film “Albion: The Enchanted Stallion”, which stars Jennifer Morrison, Debra Messing and John Cleese, was just released on April 2nd!
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Authentic, curious, passionate.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s not exactly a well-crafted adage, but my mom has always taught me that as a leader, you must be unafraid of collaborating with and/or hiring people who are better than yourself (i.e. never be intimidated by other peoples’ success or experience as they make you stronger and better). I’ve seen a lot of young people especially be a afraid of hiring someone who has more experience because they’re insecure about themselves or they think the other person will outshine them.
How did you get started acting, writing and directing?
I started acting in school plays and musicals when I was in middle school, then I moved to Los Angeles when I was 15. I wrote a lot throughout that time and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until college that I really took to writing. The first screenplay I wrote that was selected for production was “Albion” and it just made the most sense for me to direct it, which was one of the best things to ever happen because I discovered my passion for directing and at that point began focusing all of my energy on that outlet.
Did your family support your decision to get into the entertainment business?
My mom supported me, but it wasn’t her dream for me. She would have much preferred for me to choose a more linear, stable path but now she works with me as a film producer, and she’s phenomenal at it.
How do you prepare for a role?
I first start by figuring out what function the character serves within the script. What is the writer trying to convey through this character, and how does she serve the overall arc of the story? I try to pinpoint her strengths and weaknesses, and then I focus on what she wants from life and from each scene (or rather, from the other character in each scene). I think identifying the character’s desires in each scene is the most pivotal part of acting.
Tell us about “Albion: The Enchanted Stallion”?
Albion is a fantasy film for families about a young girl who is transported to a magical world by a black stallion, where she discovers that she alone must save an entire race of people.
Tell us the process of directing and co-writing the film?
For “Albion”, I wrote the first draft, then got notes from one of my co-writers and made edits. Following that, we did a pass together, and then the third writer came in and we met and discussed, refined things, etc, and he did a pass. From there, I went to Bulgaria and we found partners at Millennium Studios (where they shot “London Has Fallen” and “Expendables”) who helped us to set up the majority of production there and find locations, etc. We shot in Michigan, Florida and Bulgaria for a total of 31 days, I believe. The post production process was the most difficult part — the film took a lot of time with two different editors, over the course of about a year.
Now tell us a little about “Apple Of My Eye”?
“Apple of My Eye” is a heartfelt story about an equestrian who loses her sight in an accident and, when she’s unable to connect to guide dogs, she is given a miniature horse as a guide companion.
What advice would you give to those who want to be in this business?
If there’s anything else you CAN do, do that instead. If not, then pursue this relentlessly, but don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone has a different path, and you must be prepared to pivot or redefine what “success” means to you.
What are the 3 things you can’t live without?
Cardio, Whole Foods, my mom. Not in order of significance!
What is a typical day for you like?
It really depends on when you catch me. I’ll go long stretches where I’m able to set my own schedule, so I work out, go to hot yoga, have lunch at Whole Foods, and then write for 6+ hours. When I’m working, though, I’m usually working twelve hour days either on set or in prep, in an office. And right now, since I’m doing my master’s, there are times where I’m over at Oxford, in class from 8 AM until 10 PM.
What’s something people don’t know about you?
I think a lot of people get the impression that I’m outgoing because I have a pretty strong personality, but I’m actually quite introverted whenever I’m not working. I enjoy being on my own, and I’d much rather be one-on-one or in a small group (less than 6 people) than at a big party or out at a club (I can’t remember the last time I went clubbing actually. Stuff like that often gives me social anxiety).
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’d most like to be directing episodes of television or a studio picture, but that might be on a longer trajectory. I think realistically, I’d like to have directed the two features I’ve been working on recently, both of which I’m extraordinarily passionate about. They’re much bigger in scope and meaning than my previous films, so it would be a huge accomplishment to get one or both of them made.
What kind of music do you like?
It depends on my mood and what I’m doing! I love folk music, but when I’m at the gym or getting ready to go out, I like to listen to really upbeat, poppy, girl power stuff.
Do you have any hobbies outside of work?
I love doing hot yoga, reading, riding horses and watching TED talks. I also love being outside, provided the weather is cooperative.
What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
My typical Sunday routine is pretty perfect — a gym session, then a few hours of hot yoga, then brunch at Whole Foods (creme brûlée french toast oh-my-God!), then spending the rest of the day either writing or with a good friend or two, outside, in the sun.
Do you support any charities?
I’ve been volunteering quite a bit recently at different places across Los Angeles. I really love the Women’s Center in DTLA, which supports thousands of women who have endured trauma or are struggling financially or with mental health issues.
Where we can follow you on social media?
Favorite quote: “I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.” – Pablo Neruda
Favorite book: This is such a difficult question because I love so many books. Fahrenheit 451, Hamlet, The Fountainhead, Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Dry by Augusten Burroughs.
Favorite sports team: HAHAHAHA
Favorite restaurant/bar: Whole Foods. Does that count?
Favorite drink: Zevia Cream Soda
Favorite music: Mumford and Sons or X Ambassadors
Favorite travel destination: Prague— although I’m sure I haven’t yet been to what will ultimately become my favorite
Favorite movie: “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” or “All About Eve”
Favorite TV show: Luther, Game of Thrones, or Sherlock!
Photo Credit: Paul Smith