Why would anyone dress Casey Affleck in a grey expanse and try to pass him off as a phantom? It all started when David Lowery read an article about earthquakes and envisioned the world was ending

David Lowery invested much of last summertime feeling sick to his gut. The director was so nervous about shooting A Ghost Story that he filmed it in secret. I was very well informed falling flat on my face, he says. It was such a high-wire idea. I went into it speculating “it wouldve been” fun, a liberating bout of artistic experimentation. But it was terrifying. I was so riddled with self-doubt I perhaps aged five years.

Lowery is now grinning from ear to ear, though. He can talk about his fears because A Ghost Story has hardly subsided his occupation nor prepared him a laughing stock although you can understand his anxiety. On newspaper, the movies high-wire concept looks bonkers: its Casey Affleck wearing a white bedsheet. He looks like Casper the Friendly Ghost or the phantom emoji come to life. On fixed, I kept waiting for someone to call me out, to cause their mitt and say, This examines stupid. Im glad no one did, because my confidence was already film.

A Ghost Story is difficult to categorise: eerily beautiful, dreamily melancholic, earnestly sincere and patience-testingly slow( I watched it sitting next to a soul which is likely to just contain his incensed harrumphs ). The film grades low-pitched for daunts its more likely to keep you up at night fretting about the significance of life than to realise you startled of a flavour for the purposes of the bunk. A recent section in this paper included it in cinemas recent large-scale thing: post-horror.

Affleck performances C( the film is too cool for actual figures ), a musician who lives on the outskirts of Texas with his wife M, played by Rooney Mara. A few minutes in, he is killed in a automobile crash. At the morgue, Lowery hampers the camera still, discovering Cs body covered in a lily-white expanse. We watch and watch until C simply sits up on the slab and walks out, wearing the sheet.

Its funny, until its not. The image of ghost Affleck trudging home, expanse dragging in the mud, is piercingly heartbreaking. Back at the members of this house unlike Patrick Swayze in Ghost he is unable to communicate with his partner. So he becomes a silent witness to her heartbreak. Time extends, the world is moving forward, and he is trapped in the house envisaging eternity.

Lowery, 36, wrote the first draft in a single daylight last spring. Having sent Mara and Affleck in his breakthrough movie, 2013 s veto narrative Aint Them Bodies Saints, he asked them to make this weird little movie in Texas. Actually, he texted Affleck, explaining that the role would involve wearing a white-hot membrane. Affleck replied: Sure. Lowery says he doesnt believe Affleck even spoke the script until he showed up on specify. Casey likes to do bizarre, strange things. I dont think he cared so much how it would turn out.

Rooney Outlaws consolidated Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in Aint Them Bodies Saints.

But is it Affleck under the bedsheet? Because, makes face it, it could be anyone. Yes, Lowery nods passionately. All the time? Not always. We had to reshoot a cluster of backgrounds and he wasnt available. But he was upset. He begrudgingly leaved the sheet. The attire is more complicated than it seems. Under his bedsheet, to get the figure right, Affleck is wearing a hoop skirt and tulle petticoats.

The wizard does act some Oscar-worthy mumbling before he dons the expanse, but the big-hearted recital comes from Mara as the grief-stricken widow. The background everyones is speaking to is a five-minute, uninterrupted take in which she fees an entire family-size pie slumped on the kitchen floor, then runs to the loo to throw up. Youll never look at tart the same, screamed USA Today. Given Maras extraordinary proximity throughout, its a bit of a shame that so much attention has been given to the fact that it was the first pasty shed ever eaten. What kind of pasty was it, dessert or savoury? Sweet, says Lowery. It was chocolate but had a very low sugar content. One of my farmers is a vegan cook.

Its the panorama hes most proud of, he says, its purpose being to avoid any enjoying in grief. I havent lost a partner, Rooney hadnt either. We didnt want to be agony tourists or to capitalise on its own experience that is real for numerous people. He presented Mara a imitate of The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didions account of coping with the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne. The thing I recollect from the book was the way in which Didions grief would certify itself in “the worlds largest” banal moments. Chewing was almost like the right thing.

Lowery is as astonishing as his movie scraped head, laser-bright blue gazes though sadly his monstrous handlebar moustache is no longer in evidence. Hes friendly and up for is speaking to anything. Where, I question, did this interest in mortality and the dimensions of experience originate? He laughs. I was having an existential crisis. I felt everything was meaningless.

The trigger, he says, was a Pulitzer-prize prevailing section by Kathryn Schulz in the New Yorker about an earthquake that scientists feel will take out a sizeable glob of northwest America. It freaked me out, he says. I started piling on other fears: the political statu in the US and all over the world. I was not feeling rosy about the future of humanity. I felt the nations of the world was on its mode to aiming. The film became my road of dealing with those issues.

Lowery is regarded as one of the most promising film-makers of his generation, A Ghost Story being the fifth movie he has sent. Aint Them Bodies Saints, his third, established him indie-level renown and led to a ludicrou give from Disney to remake Petes Dragon, the 1970 s kids fantasy. He started filming A Ghost Story last June, two days after finishing Petes Dragon, applying his Disney pay cheque to partially cover the $150,000 plan. Friends chipped in the rest.

Lowerys Bizarre offer Lowerys remake of Petes Dragon. Picture: Disney

His interest in supernatural beings and bedlinen moves practice back: at the age of seven, he moved to Texas, where his dad still toils as a theology professor at the University of Dallas. It was around then that he decided to become a film-maker, his first foray has become a remake of Poltergeist, which he hadnt envisioned( my mothers wouldnt let me watch it ). It starred one of his brothers wrapped up in a sheet.

Lowery never expected , nor even hoped, that the nations of the world would ever consider his films. Success seems to have taken him by surprise. I knew I would carry on moving strange little independent films that would maybe play at galas, he says. I sort of resigned myself to drudging in a certain degree of gloom. I surely did not envisage making a Disney movie. The most I hoped for was to be able to pay my statutes. I was not a go-getter. I was very type-B.

A Ghost Story opened with a small liberate in the US, but spread to 400 cinemas. Does he worry that someone will walk in expecting something akin to Patrick Swayze and a pottery wheel? Lowery gestures and yields one last-place smiling. The sell has been very clear about what the movie is, he says. But I have no doubt that at some multiplex in America right now, someone is very angry that they are only invest $15 and accepted the issue is going a horror film.

A Ghost Story open in UK cinemas on 11 August. It is out now in the US and Australia.

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