Give Me the Backstory: Get to Know Caroline Lindy, the Writer-Director of “Your Monster”

By Lucy Spicer

One of the most exciting things about the Sundance Film Festival is having a front-row seat for the bright future of independent filmmaking. While we can learn a lot about the filmmakers from the 2024 Sundance Film Festival through the art that these storytellers share with us, there’s always more we can learn about them as people. This year, we decided to get to the bottom of those artistic wells with our ongoing series: Give Me the Backstory!

When Caroline Lindy was 3 years old, she had a brush with death during a performance of Beauty and the Beast. “I almost died jumping off the balcony,” she recalls. “I wanted to get to the stage to comfort Beast. It was later communicated to me that it was all fake. That’s when I understood that some grown-ups spend their lives telling stories about handsome monsters. I wanted to do that.” And so began Lindy’s love affair with storytelling, one that continues to blossom with Your Monster, premiering in the Midnight section at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

Adapted from her short film of the same name, Lindy’s genre-bending feature introduces us to mild-mannered actress Laura Franco (Melissa Barrera) at a difficult time in her life: She’s back in her childhood home, recovering from surgery, and newly single after a breakup she didn’t see coming. On top of everything, there’s a strangely charismatic monster living in her closet.

“The rom-com is a genre in decline and I am making it my life’s mission to revive it,” says Lindy. “If you like Nora Ephron movies, handsome monsters, musical numbers, and steamy love triangles, this one’s for you.”

Below, discover what inspired Lindy to write Your Monster, her favorite part of making the film, and why she feels cinema is a “magical medium.”

Caroline Lindy

What was the biggest inspiration behind the film?

My week from hell. I was 23, diagnosed with a serious illness, and dumped by my long-term boyfriend in the same week. As I was recovering from a right hemicolectomy, my sadness became depression, and my depression mutated into something else, a forbidden feeling — fury.

I was enraged. How much would it cost to hire a hitman to murder my ex? Maybe I could do it with my own hands? I was raised to be a good girl and not let my anger get the best of me, but now I was lusting for blood. Something monstrous was simmering inside me, and it kind of freaked me out.

I didn’t end up murdering my ex-boyfriend. Instead, I turned the pain of that moment into an off-beat romantic movie. In Your Monster, a young woman’s inner rage is released into the human world in the form of a handsome monster, emerging out of the closet after being shut inside for years. For me, this film is a weird allegory for the complex relationship I had with my own inner rage.

How do you want people to feel after they see your film?

A bit mushy. As if you held eye contact with a person you have a crush on and it lingered for a beat longer than expected and a warm feeling is bubbling up in your tummy.

Tell us an anecdote about casting or working with your actors.

The role of the monster was developed by two amazing artists. The first is the incomparable Tommy Dewey, our leading man, a gifted actor whom I have known for years.

The second is Dave Anderson, our brilliant special effects makeup artist who spent four hours every day turning Tommy into Monster. Without Dave, Tommy was nothing more than an impossibly charismatic, highly astute, and intelligent actor who was also extremely handsome and possessed a natural likability akin to that of Tom Hanks.

It only took four hours in the makeup chair each day to transform the dashing Dewey into the dashing Monster. Seeing these two artists collaborate on a vision for this character was truly a sight to behold.

Your favorite part of making the film? Memories from the process?

I loved the twirly dresses and musical numbers. My sensibilities have remained the same since I was 6 years old.

Why is filmmaking important to you? Why is it important to the world?

Cinema is a magical medium. Like Roger Ebert said, “Movies are like a machine that generates empathy.” For me, there is no greater shared experience than sitting in a full theater watching something awesome that touches your soul and expands your understanding of the world.

If you weren’t a filmmaker, what would you be doing?

I would have a giant ranch in Montana where all the dogs who don’t have homes could come live. It would be called Doggy Ranch and it would be glorious.

Films are lasting artistic legacies; what do you want yours to say?

This film is an exercise in transforming pain and heartache into a fun, loving, joyful cinematic experience. Your Monster tells a story about a part of myself I was taught to lock away, my anger and inner rage. I want this film to say: Fuck that.

Embrace your monster, harness your monster, fall in love with your monster.

What three things do you always have in your refrigerator?

Orange juice, yogurt, and blueberries. Or three packages of dog food for Moose, my dog.

What was the last book you read?

Expecting 411: The Insider’s Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Ari Broan and Michele Hakakha. I’m pregnant!

One thing people don’t know about me is _______.

I studied the art of clowning in Paris. For graduation we got red noses.

Who was the first person you told when you learned you got into the Sundance Film Festival?

My husband, Daniel, who started sobbing immediately.

What’s your favorite film that has come from the Sundance Institute or Festival?

Navalny! The winner of the Festival Favorite Award (2022 Sundance Film Festival), which was directed by my favorite filmmaker, the aforementioned sobbing man, my husband, Daniel Roher.

News title Lorem Ipsum

Donate copy lorem ipsum dolor sit amet

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapib.