EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Director Peter Sullivan Previews Lifetime’s ‘Killer Fortune Teller’!


Sarah Murphree and Jonathan Stoddard, star in the movie ‘Killer Fortune Teller’ premiered on Lifetime Channel on Sunday April 14th, 2024 at 8/7c. We at Survived The Shows had the incredible chance to talk with director Peter Sullivan, who teased the movie and his experience in Killer Fortune Teller. Check out the full interview below!

Peter Sullivan Killer Fortune Teller
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Director Peter Sullivan Previews Lifetime’s ‘Killer Fortune Teller’!

What inspired you to delve into the theme of fate and fortune telling in “Killer Fortune Teller”?

I love playing with genres and worlds I’ve never gotten to work with before, and the idea of mysticism was something new and exciting for me. Learning about the different forms of fortune telling and the meaning behind each of the tarot cards was very interesting. I even went to have a tarot reading of my own.

Can you walk us through the process of casting Sarah Murphree, Jonathan Stoddard, Natalie Daniels, and Caina Summer Field for their respective roles? What qualities were you looking for in these actors?

This thriller takes place in a world that is very much metropolitan and upscale. These characters are incredibly successful business people so the I needed cast members who could portray the confidence and intelligence required. I’ve directed Jonathan and Natalie before, and I enjoyed working with them. Natalie, in particular, played a smaller role in my film “Trapped in the Farmhouse” and I knew I wanted to work with her again in an even bigger capacity. Sarah and Caina were new to me but I knew the moment I saw their auditions that they were perfect. Sarah, as the concerned sister who was better qualiified for the promotion her brother received; and Caina, as an alluring new girlfriend who holds a dark secret.

The synopsis hints at a blend of romance and mystery. How did you approach balancing these two elements in the storytelling?

To me, romance and mystery compliment each other nicely because when you first meet someone, there’s so much you don’t know. You’re attracted to what you observe in that first encounter, maybe it’s their appearance, or something they said, but there’s always an element of mystery when you finally learn about who they really are. What kind of career do they have, how are they in other situations, what kind of education they have, and, on occasion, are they really trying to murder me?

What kind of research did you undertake to ensure the portrayal of tarot reading and new age practices was accurate and respectful?

It started with a tarot reading of my own. I was very upfront, I went to a local shop near the office, told them what I was doing, and that I’d never experienced a tarot reading before. Knowing that, the reader not only did a reading, but explained some of the meaning behind what he was doing. I learned quickly that it’s not just the combination of cards, but there are different layouts for different scenarios, and the symbolism in the art itself is important. I incorporated a lot of that into the film. Then, I bought a book and a set of cards of my own, and read about each of the cards and their meanings, as well as the various spreads you can do. Then, I made sure that each of the scenes in the film were accurate.

Shane’s character undergoes a significant transformation throughout the film. What challenges did you face in portraying this character arc convincingly?

I was interested in the idea of someone who was successful, largely based on external sources, and what kind of insecurity they might face as a result. It’s a big case of imposter syndrome, and that was rich with possibilities for dramatic conflict. In working with the script, I asked to have Sarah’s character changed to be his sister, so there was a direct sibling rivalry for control of the company. They’ve suffered a tragic loss of a parent, and out of that, they’ve gotten the biggest break of their lives, so it’s bittersweet. Then, for added drama, I thought… what if Shane found out his beloved father wasn’t the man he thought he was. Jonathan and I discussed the arc at length and I made sure we had those tent pole moments to show his evolution.

The title, “Killer Fortune Teller,” suggests a certain level of suspense or danger. Without giving away spoilers, can you discuss how these elements play into the narrative?

There was a lot of debate over what the title should be. What’s interesting is that the tarot cards play two very different roles in the film, and what you think is happening at first, might not quite be the truth. I wanted to use the audience’s own skepticism to play a role in the revelations of the various machinations at play.

The premiere date is approaching quickly. How do you feel about the reception the film might receive, especially given its unique premise?

I’m hoping people see the commercial, read the logline, and realize that this is going to be a different type of story.

Could you elaborate on the dynamics between the characters Shane, Maya, and Natalie? What drives their interactions and relationships throughout the film?

For much of the film, Maya is detached from all the other characters. Her tarot readings are what incites the plot, for both Shane’s professional and personal lives. However, as I said above, there is a theme about what roles our parents play in our lives. It’s more apparent with Shane, who’s forced to measure up to a father who was smarter and more successful than he is. However, family history also plays a role in Maya’s story as well… as we’ll find out in later in the film. As for Natalie… you’ll have to see the film to find out.

Olivia’s determination to uncover the truth adds another layer of intrigue to the story. Can you discuss the role her character plays in unraveling the mysteries within the plot?

I wanted to have a sibling rivalry so strong, that you question Olivia’s motives for much of the film. After all, Shane is the one who got the promotion, even though she was the one who deserved it. When she starts questioning the situation… is she really looking out for his best interest? Or is it petty jealousy? Or even sabotage. That’s a question I want the audience to keep asking themselves, especially once they learn she had a secret relationship with another important character.

In a landscape where audiences have varying tastes and expectations, what do you hope viewers take away from “Killer Fortune Teller” after experiencing it?

I want people to feel satisfied that they’ve seen something a little different than normal.

What can you tease about your next projects?

I’ve written two thrillers that will be coming later this year, and I’m in pre-production on a Christmas movie that I’m not ready to go into details about but I will say… you’ve never seen THIS before.

Killer Fortune Teller” directs by Peter Sullivan will premiered on Sunday, April 14th on Lifetime Channel.

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