Director Lorcan Finnegan Chats Us Up About New Film NOCEBO Opening Today & Digital/VOD November 22

By Chris Hammond

Irish Writer/Director Lorcan Finnegan is one outstanding talent. First with 2019’s eerie film Vivarium and now with NOCEBO.

Christine (Eva Green) is a fashion designer who is suffering from a mysterious illness that is debilitating her. Traditional doctors prescribe pill after pill, but the illness remains. Her husband Felix (Mark Strong) grows frustrated with each passing day. Their young daughter Bobs (Billie Gadson) needs an active parent at home. The doorbell rings one day and a Filipino nanny named Diana (Chai Fonacier) hired by Christine comes to help the family out. Will she cure Christine with traditional folk healing or will things take another turn?

The film NOCEBO is the first Irish/Filipino co-production and didn’t happen overnight. Finnegan discusses the process of putting a film together like this.

“We started with the research into this and did a trip to Cebu and Sequijor (aka Island of the Witches) back in 2019. We had already met a producer there, we talked a lot about filmmaking and all that kind of stuff. Then we met Witch doctors and Shaimens, we visited garment factories and stuff. That was a good few years ago and then pitched the project in Macau, China to find Filipino co-producers to work with and partner up with. They were pitching a project there as well. We got on really well, we started hanging out. It was just a really good fit with Brad, Bianca and Patti from Epicmedia.
It wasn’t like we just arrived in the Philippines and started shooting it was a long process of getting to know each other and casting the film”.

Full audio of the answer can be heard below

NOCEBO leans heavily on traditional medicines and techniques. Since it is a very sacred thing to Shamans and faith healers. Is there anything they didn’t want to be shown in the film?

“We did a lot of research, we even had a shaman read the script when Chia was onboard and talked to me and Chai. One to make sure everything was accurate, but two to make sure we didn’t open a vortex to another dimension.
The props that Diana brought with her when she arrived at the house we all shipped over from the Philippines. So they all had to be treated with respect and a black cloth had to be put over them between takes. Chia was told to say certain spells privately after doing any incantations. Her driver in the morning wasn’t allowed to go by any graveyards”.

Full audio of the answer can be heard below

Chai Fonacier’s (Diana) performance in the film is intense. In a film with talents Ava Green and Mark Strong, Fonacier not only keeps pace with her fellow cast members but also makes her mark in one of the more memorable films of 2022. Finnegan talks about the luck of casting Fonacier

“We were extremely lucky. We wanted somebody from Cebu who could speak Cebuano which is the local dialect. She nailed it in a self-tape that she sent”

Full audio of the answer can be heard below

Without Name (2016), Vivarium (2019) and now Nocebo (2022) are all films that make the audience think. Finnegan has a real knack for capturing human emotion. He recently had an exhibition of his photos for the book “Dublin Streets 2012-2022” go on sale. Finnegan also gives more details on how his characters are so true to life.

“It’s not a conscious thing where I study people to make my movies better. Portraits are something I’m interested in. Portraiture and photography kind of capturing characters in candid street photography. It does plan into them when you’re capturing actors with a motion camera. Trying to give the audience a sense of this person not just their dialogue and that kind of thing. Being able to look at their faces properly. Sometimes I think in films I don’t get a good look at people.”

Full audio of the answer can be heard below

Finnegan had some great insight into films that stick with you after viewing them and really make you think. He talks about the score and composer Jose Antonio Buencamino also.

“I watch films that are pure entertainment value it’s like going on a rollercoaster ride and you go woo!, but I really enjoy a film where you watch for its entertainment value or story and whatever but then it kind of lives on in your mind afterwards.”

Full audio of the answer can be heard below

Christine (Eva Green) has a pair of lucky red shoes, Finnegan tells us that he also has a pair of lucky red shoes and where the inspiration for the red shoes comes from

“I did actually I wore them on the first day of shooting, a pair of red Asics. Yeah, they were my lucky shoes. Those red shoes were inspired by The Wizard of Oz kind of really, Dorothy’s red slippers”

Full audio of the answer can be heard below

RLJE Films will release NOCEBO in theatres on Nov. 4, 2022, and on Demand and Digital on Nov. 22, 2022.  The film will stream on Shudder at a later date. 
You can find our review by Chris Hammond here


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: