A psychological thriller inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe has nearly finished production in Melbourne, with Nicholas Jaquinot and Ruby Duncan starring as leads.
Told across one evening, David Ward’s Lenore follows Max (Jaquinot), a loner filmmaker who becomes obsessed with the titular online performance artist (Duncan), whose adoring fans are forever falling in and out of love with her persona and outrageous evolution. As he is led down the rabbit hole, Max begins to question his reality.
Samuel Macdonald, Caithlin O’Loghlin, and Scott MacKenzie are also in the cast.
Ward, who makes his feature directorial debut with the film, co-wrote the screenplay with Josie Hoss, and also produces alongside Madeline French and Riley Sugars.
Shaun Herbertson serves as cinematographer, with Nick Sadler of US rock band Daughters to compose an original score. The creative team is rounded out by costume designer Coral Jamieson, production designer Keren Dobia, and head makeup artist Ali Rae.
The independently financed micro-budget project has been filmed at various locations in the Brunswick area over the past couple of weeks.
While Poe had a poem titled Lenore, Ward told IF that The Raven and short story The Tell-Tale Heart also influenced the story.
“Poe was a southern dandy and very much a romantic who wrote a lot of very beautiful poetry about the women he was courting, of which Lenore was one,” he said.
“That became a big influence because it had a sycophantic nature which I liked and thought was very appropriate for this character.
“They’re elements of The Fall of the House of Usher in there but the big ones for me are The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart.“
Ward added the film was about “voyeurism, guilt, being watched, being forgotten, and a need to be seen”.
“Performative authenticity is a very big part of it, especially when it comes to the character of Lenore,” he said.
“The other big thing for me from a thematic standpoint is I’m really interested in exploring how a couple of bad decisions stacked on top of each other can lead good people to do bad things.
“I think one of the scariest things that can happen to a person is to turn around and go, ‘Oh, I’m the monster’.”
Production on Lenore will continue until the end of this month. The producers are currently in talks with distributors.