How far would you go to reach the top? Would you do whatever it took, even if it meant stabbing your best friend in the back? The ugliness of the music industry comes to life in the new horror movie, Torn hearts. Best friends Lee (Alexis Lemire) and Jordan (Abby Quinn) are a country music duo looking for a major breakthrough in the industry. When the girls seek the help of music icon Harper Dutch (Katie Sagal) in her secluded mansion, they slowly face each other as they learn about the brutal nature of business.

Directed by Brea Grant and written by Rachel Color Croft, Torn hearts is a suspenseful psychological thriller with country music that focuses on the horrors that women tend to face in the entertainment industry. In an interview with Digital Trends, Grant spoke about his love of stories about complex characters, the process of choosing the three main female roles, the background of original music and the problem of women’s opposition to each other in the entertainment industry.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Digital trends: I read that you like to tell stories about complicated women. What attracts you to this type of story?

Brea Grant: Well, I think we’ve seen a lot of women in genre movies a long time ago. But I think that although they are the heroine, they are the main character or something like that, they are not that complicated. I hate to refer to the last girl’s trope, but she’s often, you know, a virgin. She did nothing wrong. She is innocent. And I think there’s something much more interesting in women who have done things and have flaws. I think we tell stories of men with disabilities for years and years. We have so many sinful men in our stories, and I think it’s time to start doing the same for women. I just think it’s a lot more interesting.

When you read the script, what stood out to you from the beginning?

Have you ever watched a horror movie in the country music scene? [laughter] I read so many horror scripts, so many genre scripts, and this one had a good atmosphere that I liked. Just the fact that it happened in this world was something I had never seen. There aren’t that many movies about it, period. I mean, there are some dramas. There are some musicals and things like that. But for the most part, there aren’t that many sets in the world of country music. There has definitely never been a horror movie in this world.

How did you manage to fulfill the three main roles? Were you looking for actresses who could also sing?

Yes, completely. It was scary at first because I really want them to be able to sing. I want to be able to do some of this live. I don’t want to duplicate everyone. I didn’t know if it would be possible. But then I started getting tapes and I said to myself, “Oh, yeah, LA, New York, Atlanta, and all these cities are full of these multi-hyphens who can sing. I also have tapes in Nashville. It is a shame of wealth when it comes to the amount of talent there is in all these cities.

Both Abby and Alexis sent cassettes to sing. I was familiar with Alexis’ work. She’s in a movie called Halfwhich is absolutely great if you’ve never seen it. Alexis has a beautiful voice. She is not a professional singer. She has no training, but she is just an amazing voice. And Abby is an amazing guitarist and singer, and she just has that amazing voice. I just liked the idea of ​​being together.

For Katie, she was on my list from the beginning. I wanted someone we’d seen do all sorts of things. We’ve seen her do comedy and we’ve seen her do drama. But wouldn’t it be really nice to see her make a horror movie? And she can sing. She just has that weight and I felt she could fulfill this character and do her justice without overdoing it, but [someone to] attracted us all. I just needed someone to whom people were immediately like, “Oh, yes, I want to watch this woman and see what this woman will do.”

Harper holds a pistol in a frame from Torn Hearts.

Katie seems to have this magnetic force on her, where it’s very difficult to look away when she’s on screen.

It is the same in real life. She was walking on set and everyone was kind of quiet, and I said to myself, “Oh, good. Everyone behaves suddenly because Katie came in.

The music is a huge part of this film. How did you start choosing the songs? Did you hire artists to write original songs?

So Rachel, who wrote the script, wrote the lyrics to these songs, which she thought would be the lyrics to the songs, which was amazing. I usually have the feeling that we will start from scratch, but we hired a music producer named Alan [Ett] and he read the text and said, “I think I can make this work.” Then he and I worked together to work out what the songs would be like, because I wanted everyone to feel very different. Those who Torn hearts you have to feel almost bordering on pop music. They are like pop country. They are trying to break into the mainstream, while those who made the Dutch sisters, they must be like a country from the nineties. I even wanted them to feel a little older than that. Then for Caleb’s songs, unfortunately, one did not make it to the film. They should feel more like a “fraternal country” a little.

That’s why I sent him [Alan] examples and we talked a lot about it. Then he wrote these songs and arranged them and sent them to me and I gave him notes. We had about a week to do it. I mean, the performance time in this movie was super fast. So we did that, and then Abby and Alexis came to New Orleans. We put them in the studio for a day so we could record their songs, and the others were recorded elsewhere. But yes, it was a quick turnaround process, which is super fun. It felt like, “Okay, just go with your gut.” We can’t think much about it. ” The songs should feel like the songs we are trying to emulate here.

One of larger themes in the film is the idea that external forces are trying to pit these two girls against each other. At the beginning of the film, Caleb tells Jordan how one person usually succeeds in a group. In addition, Lee’s manager / boyfriend tells Lee that it may be better to be alone. Was it important to establish this idea of ​​pitting women against each other from the beginning?

You’re focusing on one of the topics I wanted to make sure people left, because I think Harper even says something like “When women fight each other, we all lose.” And I think that’s something that the entertainment industry tends to do. He tends to pit women against each other, not just as if they’re ready for the same jobs, but as, “Oh, there’s a woman on set or a lead actress in a movie.” I just feel and see it happen again and again.

I wanted to show this on the screen and how it affects them, because I don’t want to have a lot of judgment on them. I wanted to see that they were put in the situation and did what their characters would do in that situation. What would these women do if they objected because they were given all this information. They think this is the only way to succeed, so they do what they have to do.

Harper watches Jordan play the guitar in a Ripped Hearts scene.

Torn hearts has been hailed as a horror film, but it’s almost like a tragedy, as these characters are built just to fall back. I was wondering if you watched the movie that way.

I like. I tend to make films that are not in a particular genre. For better or worse, I like my films to have genre elements of many things. For example, this one has some action in it. There are definitely some horror elements. There are many thriller elements. I took a lot of hints from Miserywhich I think is a horror movie but a slow burning horror movie. I also like to have a lot of fun with my movies. I think it’s really hard for me to define the genre. Maybe at some point people will say, “Oh, this is a Brea Grant movie.”

What is the biggest food you would like the audience to leave after watching this movie?

First and foremost, I always want people to have fun. This is always my goal with movies. I want people to have a good time, to see something they’ve probably never seen before. But then I actually want people to sympathize with the characters. I sympathize with them. I really felt that yes, they did things that one might not have to do. But I want people to be with them on their journey.

Torn hearts is available in digital form from May 20.

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