Annie Bradley: Directing ‘Planes, Trains And Automobiles’ For In The Dark

The third season of DGC Ontario Production and hit crime procedural In the Dark premiered on the CW earlier this summer. We caught up with DGC Ontario Director (and DGC Ontario Chair!) Annie Bradley ahead of her directorial debut on the series, the episode “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”, to talk about her creative and collaborative process.

Annie has the distinction of being the first DGC Director to have directed an episode of In the Dark after impressing the showrunners with her breadth of knowledge as a longtime superfan. Read on as we speak with Annie about how she got involved with the show, the complex emotional journeys characters will embark on in Season 3, her collaborations with other key creatives, and how she put her own creative stamp on her episode as one of multiple directors. 

Minor spoilers for Season 3 of In the Dark below!

DGC Ontario Director & DGC Ontario Chair Annie Bradley on the set of In the Dark.
DGC Ontario Director & DGC Ontario Chair Annie Bradley on the set of In the Dark.

How did you get involved with In The Dark?

Annie: I had been a huge fan of the show since its launch and really wanted to be a part of it, but I had not done a US network series before, so I knew that was going to be a challenge. But then a window appeared: I had a Zoom meeting with the wonderful team behind the show, and they really liked my work, felt that I got the show creatively and thought that I would be a good fit.

Can you tell us more about your episode “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”?

One of the unique things about this show, besides the great writing, is the weaving of complex emotional journeys between co-dependent key characters, which is brilliantly amplified by an extraordinary ensemble cast led by Perry Mattfeld. Season 3, without giving anything away, is the culmination of many wrong choices for perhaps all the right reasons – where the key characters find themselves on the run. I called my episode “The Precipice”, where every choice made in the past pushes them to the edge of an emotional reckoning.

An aerial shot of a train passing through a snowy field.

Can you tell us about your creative collaboration with DGC Ontario Production Designer Andrew Berry while working on your episode?

As an episodic director on an established series, there are many standing sets that you inherit from previous episodes. But as we shot on location for much of my episode, including on a live passenger train, Andrew and his fantastic team were instrumental in providing guidance and inspiring collaboration on location scouting and on new set builds that enhanced the storytelling and ease of shooting. 

What did you take from your previous work into In The Dark?

I felt a creative kinsmanship to [creator and executive producer] Corinne Kingsbury’s voice from the moment I watched the trailer for the series. Also, the cinematic language of the series and the work of DOP Bradford Lipson was similar in tone to my own work, so this was an exciting visual partnership for me.  

Director of Photography Bradford Lipson on the set of In the Dark.
Director of Photography Bradford Lipson on the set of In the Dark.

Can you tell us how you put your creative stamp on this and other series when there are multiple Directors?  

The old adage that there is freedom within structure is true for me. My goal is always to creatively heighten the emotional and cinematic journey of the viewer while articulating the vision of the creator/showrunner for the series. 

Watch In The Dark on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT on CTV Drama Channel. The episode “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, directed by Annie Bradley, airs tonight!

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