The Lost Girls Director Livia De Paolis Talks Peter Pan Influence

Peter Pan leaves a trail of generational struggle in The Lost Girls. Wendy’s (Livia De Paolis) grandmother (Vanessa Redgrave), mother (Joely Richardson), and herself have all experienced Neverland and are challenged by the hold Peter has on them. He desperately wants them to never grow up. As Wendy’s daughter Berry (Ella-Rae Smith) begins her descent into Peter’s gripwe see her fight to save their relationship.

Rounding out the cast are Julian Ovenden, Parker Sawyers, Emily Carey, Louis Partridge, and Iain Glen. Paolis also serves as the writer and director of the film, which is based on the novel by Laurie Fox. It’s set to release in theaters and on-demand on June 17, 2022.


Paolis joined Movieweb to chat about the film ahead of its release.

Based on the Novel by Laurie Fox

“I read the book a long time ago and really enjoyed it. The book is longer, there are more twists and turns, and there are five generations instead of four… for me, it just stayed with me, and I’ve always been interested in the hidden meaning of fairytales, ”Paolis explained. “Laurie has a very strong feminist take. As a young woman reading it, it kind of shaped a little bit of my vision of feminism. ”

As for hidden meaning in The Lost Girls, there’s plenty of symbolism and or commentary on mental health that viewers can take away from watching. “We can all identify with trauma, and Peter Pan in the movie becomes sort of something that makes you run away from the memory. Even in the original book, the kids go to Neverland, and they start forgetting about their mothers…. And so it’s a form of escapism, really, which I think we can all relate to. And then I was fascinated with this idea of ​​multi-generational trauma… but the movie is uplifting. So there’s hope for everybody. Through writing, the script has had much darker versions, and the book eventually gets much darker, but I thought that this version was the one that was able to still touch on all these themes without completely forgetting the inspiring power of imagination. ”

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Writing, Acting, and Directing

The Lost Girls is another entry of Paolis’ into the triple duty club of acting, directing, and writing, not to mention also serving as a producer of the film. Prior to The Lost Girlsshe served the same for Awestruck and Emoticon;). Taking on multiple roles on a project isn’t an easy task as it requires serious preparation. Paolis recalled workshopping the script in acting classes and a bit of her process on set.

“I wrote the script, which is a long process because I was also working multiple different jobs. I was an actor in New York, so I was always taking acting classes… and I was able to go in and workshop scenes. So I would write some scenes, then go to the studio and workshop. We’d do some exercises and discover more and more about the characters, specifically the character Wendy. So eventually, all the story, even though it’s an adaptation from a book, it really became extremely personal to me. ”

As for directing, Paolis commented, “If I’m in the scene, when I’m shooting, I can not really direct. So all the blockings and talks have to be done before. And then once we’re in the scene, we’re in… Then I would stop, go back, look to see what I needed to change, and then I would go back and do another take. It’s pretty fast-paced, but I do like that intensity… I would like to do it again at some point ”

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Working With Vanessa Redgrave and Iain Glen

Redgrave has an impressive resume with years of notable projects including Nip / Tuck. Glen is also no stranger to the screen and is well-known for his role in Game of Thrones.

“We were supposed to shoot the film in March 2020, then COVID happened and everything fell apart. So we did the casting through the lockdown. And I’m very happy that they accepted…. We went to Vanessa, and she did a wonderful job. And as you see, Iain, that part was a little tricky to cast, because it’s a villain and kind of out there, and he was just really good. He’s one of the best actors I’ve met in my life. He’s so professional, he’s classically trained, he could do whatever and is a delight to work with. I think he helped me as an actress, to play opposite him. ”

The Lost Girls is distributed by Vertical Entertainment with a run time of 107 minutes.

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