This week at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, filmmaker Quarxx was on hand for the world premiere of his full-length feature All the Gods in the Sky. Based on his short film A Perfect Blue Sky, both tell the story of Simon (Jean-Luc Couchard), a disgruntled factory worker who cares for his sister, Estelle (Melanie Gaydos).
Simon's caretaking, however, comes from a place of guilt, given that her disability resulted from a childhood accident. Rather than turn her over to the state, he keeps Estelle in her room, believing that aliens are set to arrive and take them away from their life on Earth.
Despite the premise, Quarxx said he first got the idea when working on a photographic work about death, which led to the director's first viewing of a dead body.
"They told me it was a girl that was staying with her brother, and she’d been dead for three weeks," Quarxx told the crowd, which included SYFY WIRE. "Her brother just [kept] her body, sleeping with her and feeding her. That really stunned me. I tried to imagine what was going on in their life, how this guy couldn’t let go of his sister, even though she was dead."
When looking for an actor to play Estelle, Quarxx was insistent on finding someone authentic for the role, which led to the discovery of Gaydos, a model who suffers from a rare genetic disorder: ectodermal dysplasia, which prevents teeth, pores, nails, cartilage, and bones from developing.
"We never planned to take a regular actress and put prosthetics on her," said Quarxx. "I wanted to find the right person to impersonate sadness. She’s [her character] been lying in this bed for 20 years. It took me nearly two years to find her [Gaydos]."
Quarxx's search took him to hospitals and mental wards, but the director says that when he first learned of Gaydos online, seeing her "was like a vision."
"There was no way I could do the movie without her. I didn’t know her at all, I just heard an interview about her on the internet without any knowledge of who she was."
Still, given that All the Gods in the Sky, like the short film that preceded it, is not exactly the easiest watch, Quarxx was ready for Gaydos to turn it down.
"I was so sure she was gonna throw the script in my face and say no. Two hours later she was calling me saying, 'I love it, let’s do it.' She did an amazing job."
There's no word on what's next for All the Gods in the Sky. In the meantime, don't forget to check out all of SYFY WIRE's coverage of this year's Fantastic Fest.