“This is the kinda thing people deal with on a daily basis” – Sasha Lane talks Daniel Isn’t Real

Sasha Lane burst onto the scene in Andrea Arnolds evocative and powerful American Honey. Since she has made waves in movies such as The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Hearts Beat Loud.

Now she stars in psychological horror Daniel Isn’t Real, which looks tackles a man who struggles with his mental health and violent imaginary friend. We spoke to Sasha about her role as Cassie – a head-strong perceptive artist who watches her partner Luke’s descent into madness.

 How are you? Are you excited about bringing Daniel Isn’t Real to the UK?

I am very excited, I love the UK and it’s always fun to bring this film to new audiences.

What drew you to the project?

It was talking with Adam (Egypt Mortimer, Daniel Isn’t Real director.) His passion for it drew me in. We were both very intrigued on the exploring the male perspective of dealing with mental health: How Luke’s parents own struggles and society pressures would impact him. I thought the character was a real character who invents someone to cope with the real world.

How did you develop Cassie?

Adam had a strong sense of what he wanted the film to be. I wanted to use my love for psychology and peace together some empathy, tweaking that bit of myself. Cassie has a great use of art so I wanted to use my own to help paint her. Drawing on the own voices in my head and using that to help the performance, I tapped into myself whilst also working with Adam. We rehearsed a lot, which helped me have a strong sense of who she was.

What was it like working with Miles Robbins in establishing Cassie’s strong relationship with Luke?

The rehearsals helped a lot and we went through the script tones. We kinda helped build that friendship. Miles is such a great person. It was great to learn a lot about each other so when we went to film, it was more of a natural thing.

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And then having the face the monstrous Daniel that you aren’t aware of, how was it working with Patrick in this manner? Did this change in the confrontation? Especially with the fight sequences?

I have my own voices and demons that I deal with daily. Sometimes when you ignore them, the louder they become. Having Daniel on set, with his character so loud, feels like you are in someone’s head. You have to push passed that whilst also feeling the energy of that. He feels very in the moment still.

I love Patrick. There is always something brewing in him.  When Luke switches over to Patrick, it is crazy and there is such great acting from Miles and Patrick.  We definitely had a lot of fun filming the fight sequences. It was hot and sweat and you are just so in the moment and I love to fight. There was a great energy on these rooftops in New York.

Why do you think Cassie can sense Daniel?
The film tackles mental health brilliantly but it is also a great mirror for psychological problems of our society? Was this something you were aware of going in?

That was my favourite part of the film. I’m a bit advocate of mental health – it’s a big part of my life. I wanted to do it justice, looking at memory and toxic masculinity as well as acknowledging that men do go through sadness and depression. There’s this image of a strong male that we are tackling and that was something real special. This is the kinda thing people deal with on a daily basis, when people cannot decipher between themselves and I hope this film accomplishes that.

Daniel Isn’t Real is out 7th February 
Read our review! 

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