Written By: Jayme Face
Castille Landon is a 25-year-old Harvard and Oxford educated writer, director, actress and her next film Albion: The Enchanted Stallion will soon be released on VOD!
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about your latest film Albion: The Enchanted Stallion?
Castille Landon: Yeah. It is a fantasy film about a young girl who is taking care of her handicapped father and she kind of just gets lost in her imagination. She ends up falling into a magical world and finding out she has to save an entire race of people.
upfrontNY: Can you also tell us about another recent project Apple of My Eye?
Castille Landon: Yeah. That was about a young girl as well, set in this world though. She is an equestrian and she has an accident that causes her to go blind. She doesn’t really relate to a seeing eye dog so this guy played by Burt Reynolds trains a miniature horse for her a seeing guide companion.
upfrontNY: Also, tell us about your upcoming projects and what we can expect in the future.
Castille Landon: Working hard trying to get one film done. It’s more of a Y.A. film and it deals with mental illness. It also follows a young lady, but it’s actually really cool because it kind of blends fantastical elements now that I’m thinking about it which I guess is in the others, but yea it talks about mental health and destigmatizing mental illness, so it deals with that. I don’t want to give away too much because it’s not actually a project yet.
upfrontNY: Some of your projects are about horses and young women; I read that you ride horses is there a lot of you in these characters?
Castille Landon: Yeah, I think that the adage that you write what you know is true. I do write from, I guess, my perspective or imagined perspective. I put myself into the character and think about what I would do in those circumstances, if I were dealing with the same thing. So, yeah, it all is very personal. Characters are all very similar to me, I think, when I was younger. And then just extrapolating based on the given circumstances like what would I have actually done versus what I would have wanted to do and kind of like combining those things. You can kind of see almost idealized versions of yourself when your writing even though it’s not yourself and explore other personalities. And I think that they are, all of them, very much a part of who I am as a writer. I guess there is a biographical element in everything.
upfrontNY: How did you first get interested in this field, did you always know growing up?
Castille Landon: I knew from a pretty young age. I remember in sixth grade I did a musical and I fell in love with it. And I remember I wanted to be in the entertainment industry. I thought I wanted to focus on acting and I did that for a while and I still do that. I still absolutely love acting, but I kind of started transitioning into writing and directing because you have to create your own content. So, I came through acting, but then I discovered for me, it’s so much more fulfilling. I love being able to start with a blank page and just completely creating something. You’re not just creating the thing you see on camera, you’re also creating this entire ecosystem of memories because every single bit of it is a process from the writing of it, to sharing it with your friends and peers and people are going to give you feedback and criticism to actually being on set and collaborating with other artists. That is what is really great about seeing everything that comes together, really remembering each step in the process. People say you have to enjoy the journey as much as the destination as a filmmaker, it’s also this thing that reminds you very much of the journey. I think with acting I didn’t enjoy the journey because I enjoyed the end the scene on set, but this journey as an actor is so different than this journey as a film maker. One is your waiting at home by the phone all the time for auditions to come in and trying to audition in front of people who you don’t know what’s in their head. It’s all very out of your hands and, I don’t know, I found that all very anxiety inducing as opposed to as a film maker the journey for me is about collaboration.
upfrontNY: You have mentioned collaboration and you have worked with Oscar nominated actors and veteran actors what have you learned from them?
Castille Landon: Yeah, I mean it is so rewarding to work with people who are so experienced. You learn something new from every person, but especially those actors you learn as a director how to navigate the personalities and understand that everybody has different expectations of directors. Some people don’t like to be directed as much and some people really really thrive on that. Some people you have to be more motivational with them versus other people don’t need that. So it’s really about learning what each person is like. The best thing about working with someone like Burt Reynolds or John Cleese who’s very experienced you’ll get to hear these incredible stories about their experiences and kind of live vicariously live through them; it’s a very special thing and them living in your world when you write something and create it. We each nibble on each other’s stories, which is something I think is really special.
upfrontNY: And you’re so young, how did you get connected with some of these actors and get your projects out there?
Castille Landon: A good chunk of the time I owe it to my producers. I say all the time it’s my producers. They’re fearless and either they’ll suggest someone or I’ll suggest someone and they will call these people. They will just pick up the phone and call their reps and pitch the project. Luckily I guess the material interested them enough because we’re certainly not able to offer them money that will interest them. I think there is also an element of excitement for experienced actors when they hear something is being directed by a young woman because I feel a duty to support young women. I think that’s really exciting that women are taking the reins and even though it’s very much a man’s game, taking a stab at it and facing that head on that’s really brave of the film makers. No matter what your gender is or your race or background or whatever I think it’s really brave to create in general.
upfrontNY: Again, you are so young, but have already accomplished so much what is something you would love to accomplish in the future?
Castille Landon: So, I’d really like to branch into doing Y.A. I’d love to adapt a Y.A. novel and then make it into something, make a film and make it big. That would be really exciting. I would love to do like A Fault in Our Stars or anything John Greene writes really appeals to me because it really resonated, and it still does. As a young woman those kinds of stories are the ones I want to tell in particular regarding young women and mental health which sounds like a very narrow subject, but it’s not because the content is for 15 and 25 and those are formative years of your life and if it can be about that time in people’s lives it is really important.
upfrontNY: You’re a writer so you must have great taste in books what are your favorite books?
Castille Landon: My favorite changes all the time for me. I’m obsessed with reading. I read probably over a hundred books a year, but the most recent book that I’ve read The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.
upfrontNY: What interests do you have outside of the Arts?
Castille Landon: I like hot yoga and I work out a lot. I’m very into learning, I think it is really important. Everything I do relates to one another, it’s so difficult to separate things for writing because you end up writing about it, but I like reading about neuroscience, psychology, all that stuff. I read a lot is what I’m saying.
upfrontNY: Is there anything you would like to let our readers know?
Castille Landon: Oh, I wanted to make two other book recommendations. Infidel by Aayan Hirsi Ali and Dry by Augusten Burroughs are two of my favorites ever. They’re so good. And if you have “Goodreads” add me as a friend! I love keeping up with people with the best new books and stuff or old books!