Mennan Yapo, the German-Turkish director of the newly released thriller Premonition, thinks it is a good thing Hyde Park Entertainment and Sony chose him for the project. "You have this story rooted in Americana about a small town setting with this perfect couple and their children, so it was smart not to let an American make this film because it helped to avoid the cliches," he says.
Yapo appeared on most people's radars with his 2004 German-language thriller Soundless. Hyde Park and Sony hired him to make Premonition, about a disillusioned woman who sees her husband's death in the future and does what she can to save him and their marriage. Sandra Bullock was cast and Yapo shot the $18m feature in Louisiana over 45 days in spring 2005.
"We were supposed to go to New Orleans, but Katrina struck so we had to move north to Shreveport. It turned out to be a good thing because we found all the locations we needed right away.
"It was a tremendous experience. There were lots of people on the crew from New Orleans who would work all week then fly back on Friday night and carry on rebuilding their homes. Everybody was happy we were there, supporting the state. The Southern hospitality is amazing."
Before the shoot, Yapo undertook readings with his cast, including Bullock's on-screen husband Julian McMahon, best known for TV's Nip/Tuck. "The actors have to make the lines their own and everything has to be real. The crash at the end is real - there isn't a single effects shot in that scene.
"Because we were so prepared, it allowed us to try things. I try to be totally open to creating something fresh. I tend to use the same take, and I like to get close to the actors. It's important that the actors and the camera operator feel me nearby. I need to give physical direction from close by."
To keep things fresh, Yapo shot multiple scenes out of sequence in the same location. "Instead of shooting back-to-back scenes of Sandy waking up in bed each morning, we filmed each occasion in the room on separate days. We thought about the different days and tones of what we needed to convey each day and it gave the episodes an authenticity."
Yapo is currently developing a political thriller called The Ambassador with Strike Entertainment (Children Of Men) for Universal that is scheduled to shoot in 2008 in his hometown of Berlin. Before that he will try to squeeze in another Hollywood film and is looking at scripts.
He will make another German film, but says: "It's harder to find $3m in Germany than it is to find $100m in the US. But I'd love to do another German film. I'm developing something with the writer of Soundless, Lars-Olaf Beier."