Guest Moviemaker Karyn Kusama has been through a lot in her career.

Kusama broke out in 2000 with her debut feature Girlfight, which earned the Grand Jury Prize and Director’s Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival. She followed this with the science-fiction love story Æon Flux and the comedy-horror film Jennifer’s Body. More recently her low-budget 2016 psychological suspense thriller, The Invitation, premiered at SXSW and won the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival’s Grand Prize. Set in one location, a swanky house in the hills, this economical thriller precisely moves forward as a palpable sense of unease grows within a group of longtime friends (and the audience) who meet up for a celebration.

Now, Annapurna has released Kusama’s latest, Destroyer, a hard-boiled thriller which puts Nicole Kidman through the ringer of the Los Angeles underworld. Kusama herself may have at times felt like Kidman’s character through the filmmaking process but, in the end, the reward is worth any punishment. Scroll through for what the seasoned director has to say about each phase of the moviemaking process—screenwriting, development, production, post-production, and distribution. —MM Staff

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