We were 25 years old with the obsessive bonds of youth and the heartache of lost loves still looming, and looking for a place to channel it all. It started with a name - Buttercup Bill - and a late night viewing of the cult Otto Preminger film Bunny Lake is Missing. A recovered memory of a forgotten imaginary friend and a film darkly illustrating the same subject was the jumping-off point. Day after day we poured over old journals and letters, exchanging stories from our youth, reading books like Georges Bataille’s Story of the Eye and Nabokov’s Ada, and studying psychology that explored the taboos of early sexual development. We pooled all of these influences together to form the characters of Patrick and Pernilla, who in our minds were the modern day version of the siblings from Cocteau’s Les Enfants Terribles mixed with our shared autobiographies.
During the gestation period of ideas for our story Emilie met a man in New York, fell in love, and ran off to New Orleans to see him. He lived in this beautiful shotgun house by the river in the ninth ward - where we eventually ended up shooting the film. We met a community of people in that neighborhood who were soon to be our collaborators on the film. Even after the love affair extinguished these friends remained in our lives and we incorporated them and the settings around them into our story. We would write on the front porch of houses at sunset and sit in the sweltering heat of backyards in the summertime, taking in the atmosphere of the world we wanted our characters to inhabit. The script started to take on an organic shape as real life scenarios were being incorporated into this imaginary/real life hybrid of a world we were creating. We soon became inextricably bound to this specific place and community and needed to complete the film there.
After things progressed and we found producers (Sadie Frost and Emma Comley), we were beginning to start pre-production back in New York. The biggest challenge in our minds was finding the right person to play the character of Patrick. The whole film hinges on this relationship and we felt the two actors would have to share an innate connection. With the nature of indie film and the tight shooting schedule we thought it was crucial that a bond be formed between the two actors before production began. After conducting casting sessions with Susan Shopmaker in NY we found our actor - Evan Louison. We ended up having around 8 months before shooting for Rémy and Evan to develop a relationship and they created a shared past of sorts to utilize in the film. One outing they shared consisted of frequenting the last remaining Times Square peep show before it got torn down. Evan eventually took a train across the country to meet us in the South for the shoot.
In the middle of summer and during an especially brutal Louisiana heat wave we went down to New Orleans to finish pre production before the shoot and scout final locations. Locals really came together in an amazing way to help us. One of them being a gentleman named Diamond Jack who let us use his perfect strip club Visions, and another being a 90 year old Italian mobster who welcomed us into his home for one of the scenes. We also drove up to Alabama to what is known as WC Rice’s Cross Garden where a few years back a man who was a
‘sinner’ woke up and decided he was saved and covered his property in acres of holy cross sculptures made out of rust washer machines and broken stoves. One night we took bottles of wine to the caretakers of the Greek consulate, who also happened to be male modern dancers, and they open up their home for us to shoot in. The house also happened to be where Candyman 2 was shot - which was a plus for us. The Reverend Goat - the healer, musician, self described ‘renegade Cherokee Indian’ was another beautiful addition to the film who we referred to as the ‘gris gris’ voodoo Harry Dean Stanton. The entire shoot was a mad 16 days. It was sweltering and intense. A labour of love for everyone involved.