The Movie Waffler Interview - LEAGUE OF LEGEND KEEPERS: SHADOWS Director Elizabeth Blake-Thomas | The Movie Waffler

Interview - LEAGUE OF LEGEND KEEPERS: SHADOWS Director Elizabeth Blake-Thomas

Elizabeth Blake-Thomas
Filmmaker Blake-Thomas discusses her teen supernatural adventure.

Due for release in December, teen supernatural adventure League of Legend Keepers: Shadows is the latest collaboration between actress Isabella Blake-Thomas and her mother, filmmaker Elizabeth Blake-Thomas. In this exclusive interview, Elizabeth talks about the film’s influences, working with her daughter and her production company.

League of Legend Keepers: Shadows

League of Legend Keepers is perfect kids’ entertainment -something very different from the norm, even. Did you consciously set out to make something this age bracket doesn’t see every day?

Yes, I wanted to create something that I would want my daughter to watch at this age. It was one Halloween a couple of years ago when there was nothing appropriate for her on TV. It was either too scary or too babyish. This seemed the perfect mix for this age bracket.

Can you tell us about some of the filmmakers who influenced your style?

I love the way Baz Luhrman works. How he isn’t afraid to mix music and drama and old and new concepts. I also admire Woody Allen’s take on reality and how it’s almost like a play. I try to get deep into my characters to ensure depth.

And what about films? Do I sense some inspiration from some of the '80s classics?

Definitely, The Goonies was something I felt was a good example. It was a time when kids could be kids and play and invent stories. They could go out on their bikes and save the world. It was scary but not too scary! I never liked horror films growing up and so wanted to make something I would have watched with my friends.

How do you think the movie might have been different if you’d sold the script to a studio who proceeded to turn it into a big-budget, star-driven vehicle? Would it work as well?

It would have been bigger with VFX but would have felt more modern and more like a Marvel movie. I wanted it to feel relatable and almost like this could be you or your friends saving the world. Something you could get up to at the weekend and be home in time for dinner! Something very local and real.

Did you always intend on directing?

I have always been a theatre director. Then my daughter began her serious film and TV career so I began chaperoning her on set. It was a natural progression but one I had no idea was going to happen. It is in my blood though and I’m totally addicted to it!

Was this the first film you’d directed your daughter, Isabella in?

No, she was the lead with an actor called Joshua Lebar. It was my first attempt at filmmaking and I loved working with her and trying new ideas. She is a dream to direct! This was our fourth film together. She is so motivated and kind on set. She understands what is necessary and we have a very special connection. I always discuss with her what hat I’m wearing. For example today is my director hat, tomorrow is mummy hat!

What kind of compromises did mom and daughter have to make?

I had to get a chaperone to look after her because I couldn’t be the one who monitored her rests and bedtimes and meal times. I needed to make the film happen. But she needed that person to look out for her. We both understood this very quickly!

Where do you think Isabellas’s strengths as an actress lie?

Her ability to become any character. She has such a colourful repertoire. She is also a joy to work with and such a team player. Someone the other day said that she epitomises "poise and kindness."

Did it take a while to get the film off the ground? Was it a lot of door-knocking?

No, I had an idea, I wrote this first version and then Isabella and RJ Nevens took over and I told them it was going to happen! I always make myself accountable and so knew this was too good not to happen! Everyone believed in the concept and we all worked together.

When did you complete your first cut?

Probably four months after finishing shooting. Then we played around with it a lot. It’s always fun to make things work in the edit.

Has the film been doing the festivals or did you decide to bypass all that and go straight to the consumer?

It did a couple of festivals and won awards both for the film and for Isabella as lead actress. But it was mainly about getting people to see it.

It’s great to see Richard Tyson here. How did he get involved?

My 1st AD at the time knew him and explained to him what we were doing and he thought he would be perfect for the role! He was such a dream to work with. I would LOVE to work with him again. He was always so funny. He told me that he had the best experience and was so grateful to be on our set.

Has directing a fun family film opened doors for you with the studios? Is that a goal – to get in with the likes of Disney and Dreamworks?

It’s funny because I would never say no to working in the studios, but I would want to have creative control and with an independent film I get given that. I would love to create my own franchise with the studios as I have plenty of ideas. Family films are also such fun. I am in the process of making the next family film called Time Machine. This already has an incredible surprise cameo from someone. I can’t wait to shoot that next year!

Tell us about your production company?

Mother & Daughter Entertainment is a production company that I founded. It is a female-empowerment entertainment company in Los Angeles. We strive to start a conversation with all of our work and believe in "Making Content that Matters."

Elizabeth Blake-Thomas