February 26, 2021

Episode #99: Keith Thomas on Writing and Directing The Vigil, and Remaking Stephen King’s Firestarter

Keith Thomas is Denver-based a screenwriter and director whose horror feature, The Vigil, was released on February 26 by IFC Midnight. Starring Dave Davis, The Vigil is about a man providing overnight watch to a deceased member of his former Orthodox Jewish community, who encounters a malevolent entity. After Stephen King saw The Vigil, he approved Keith to direct a remake of King’s 1984 horror film, Firestarter, which will begin shooting this year.

What you will learn:

  • What inspired Keith to write The Vigil.
  • How his previous career as a medical researcher in nursing homes informed his narratives in both his short film, Arkane, and The Vigil.
  • How witnessing a hate crime in real life inspired Keith to write a particular scene in The Vigil.
  • How a very specific world or community with a defined set of rules (like the Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, where this movie is set), can make for a compelling setting in a horror movie.
  • Why Keith rejected an offer to buy the screenplay for The Vigil, instead choosing to direct it on his own.
  • Why he cast Dave Davis as the lead and what previous roles Davis played that convinced Keith he was right for the part.
  • How making his short film Arkane, which is still available on YouTube, opened the door to making The Vigil.
  • How aspiring filmmakers can make short films to open similar opportunities.
  • Why aspiring filmmakers should NOT take the path taken by Keith into film.
  • Why a remake of Stephen King’s Firestarter is the perfect classic horror film for him to direct.

Resources:


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