The Movie Waffler Waffling With THE CUTLASS Director Darisha Beresford | The Movie Waffler

Waffling With THE CUTLASS Director Darisha Beresford

darisha beresford
Director Darisha Beresford on bringing her true-life thriller to the screen.

Darisha Beresford’s first film is a jungle-set thriller called The Cutlass (out next month on VOD from Wild Eye Releasing) about a young woman kidnapped by a sociopath. As Beresford explains, it’s not easy condensing a gripping real-life story, that ran well over two-hours, into movie-length duration.

the cutlass

Where did the idea for the film come from?

It is based on a true story.


As we progressed we realised we had to tell a complex story in less than two hours…So in some instances we simplified the plot and in other instances we added different story arcs and created new characters to fit the feature length format, and to build necessary tension to keep the audience engaged.  It was important though, for us to keep the essence of the story as close to the true events as possible.

What about the script? How did it change, if it all, in the time between that initial draft and the shoot?

The script evolved a lot.

The screenwriter (Teneille Newallo) worked on the first couple of drafts of The Cutlass, shaping the story to be as accurate as possible to the true events, then we worked together to rewrite the screenplay to fit a movie/genre format. It was important to me that we tell both sides of the story, from the victim and villain’s perspectives. In my opinion it is what makes the movie intriguing, unique and intense.

The script continued to evolve during rehearsals, screen tests and up until the days of the shoot… Then of course once we are in the edit (post production) the script evolved into many different versions..... Until we settled with the final cut.

Did you have your actors onboard first or did financing fall into place first? I guess it’s a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario, that one?

Yes, our actors were very interested in the project, so they signed on before we secured funding.

Who of the cast do you think are closest to their characters?

I would think in real life that Lisa Hirschmann and her character Joanna have a lot in common. In actuality they know each other.

Is there a particular moment in the film you really, really enjoyed shooting?

Yes, I really liked shooting the robbery scene at the beach house! First the location was amazing, and indoors, which was a nice break (since the majority of the film takes place outside) and it was fun working with the group of actors; it was also very challenging.

George Lucas was likely offered science-fiction movie after science-fiction movie after the first Star Wars; have you been approached to direct similar projects to yours since?

Actually, I’ve been offered a variety of genres from a musical to a kids film, so that is pretty interesting….

Any chance of a sequel?

There has been talk of bringing Al back, or maybe [doing a ] prequel!

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a handful of projects at the moment. I’m developing a Crime/Mystery series in Miami and fundraising for another Caribbean feature - a young woman kidnapped by a sociopath and led into the jungle.