Better late than never I suppose. Especially when you consider that when the artsy, independent horror film “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006, George W. Bush was still President.
But thanks to poor test screenings, distributor cash flow problems and bankruptcy, the film never made a big enough splash to warrant a more wide spread showing and instead wound up collecting dust for the next seven years until finally getting a proper release here in the U.S. on Dec 3rd.
“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” follows the same format of most horror/slasher films we’ve become accustomed to: a young, virginal Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) is a high-school student who goes off to a remote ranch to party with a much rowdier bunch of kids that includes the jock (Luke Grimes), the sensitive guy (Edwin Hodge), the stoner (Aaron Himelstein), and two sexy, albeit air-headed beauties (Melissa Price & Whitney Able). The addition of a mysterious ranch hand (Anson Mount) popping up at the strangest of times only adds to the tension.
All of the guys are so focused on getting with Mandy that no one really notices that some of them have gone missing until it’s too late. That’s when the bloody truth emerges.
In addition to witnessing the demise of the film’s characters, old school slasher film fans will find plenty of other meat on the bone with “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane”. Whether its the recreational drug use, gratuitous sexual encounters and truth or dare or asking the question of who is really out there in the darkness. Artsy fans will marvel at many of the techniques director Jonathan Levine and cinematographer Darren Genet employed during the filming process.
But for me, what separates this film from the standard ho-hum fare of serial killer pablum was the cool little twist that’s engaged halfway through the film. I’ve seen plenty of Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger “adventures” over the years, but have to admit this was something I certainly wasn’t expecting, and it changed the viewing dynamic for the better.
“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” is Lane’s first leading role as well as Levine’s directorial debut. He’s since gone on to make a name for himself with films like “The Wackness,”and “50/50”. Not bad for a director who’s first film took seven years and two Presidents to see the light of day.
In my view, any filmmaker who invests a substantial amount of time and money into a project should be able to see a proper release of the finished product. While this film is certainly not for everyone, “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” is one fans of the genre will find was well worth the wait. (Three Stars)
Following the recent U.S. economic downturn, actor Paul Blackthorne (along with photographer and friend, Mister Basquali) decided to embark on a cross-country road trip deep into the heart of the American landscape.
Along the way, they stopped to interview random people about the issues and concerns facing every day Americans to try to gauge what society can do to pull together when times are tough.
The resulting documentary, “This American Journey” is an encouraging, insightful look into the unbreakable will of the American spirit.
Regardless of what we may have been brought up to believe through our own socioeconomic backgrounds and biases, “This American Journey” reveals the unique perspective that lies within each of us. It’s the showcasing of those opinions regarding what’s right and wrong with America that makes the documentary so compelling and engaging.
As an actor, Paul Blackthorne has appeared on some of television’s most iconic series, including “24″, “ER” and most recently, as Detective Quentin Lance on the CW hit series “Arrow”. But it’s his directorial debut in “This American Journey” that adds a fresh layer of inspiration to an already impressive resume.
There are moments in the film that are uplifting, while others will surely move you to tears. You’ll hear perspectives of common folks from all walks of life; many of whom having ideas that may make you reconsider your own way of thinking.
But in the end, the real reason “This American Journey” shines is because it makes you think. And perhaps that’s what Blackthorne had in mind all along when he set out on his cross-country quest.
I spoke with him about his journey across America and what satisfied him the most about it.
What made you decide to take on a project like this?
Shortly after the economic down turn, I became curious about what the people of America were thinking about the country. At the time, the American Dream was in a troubled state, and even I wasn’t sure how I was feeling about America (having always loved it since I was a kid). I decided that the best way for me to form an opinion on how I felt about America was to go out and speak to the people of America. So that’s what we did. We got on the road and had a great chat with a lot of wonderful people.
Did you go into it having an opinion of the people you were likely to meet?
It’s easy to judge a book by its cover, but if you take the time to actually open the book and read a few words inside, there’s a lot more to it than what you originally thought. As we drove across the country and met people in certain places sure, it would have been easy to form an opinion of what someone might be like. But once we had the chance to actually listen to them and really get a sense of their character, we were amazed.
Did you at any time during the course of your journey fear for your own safety?
There was one neighborhood we visited in a big city where we had to make a pretty hasty departure, but generally speaking everyone we met was very open and receptive to us and we were received very positively.
What satisfies you the most about “This American Journey”?
Getting the film completed was very challenging, but we were supported by a lot of incredibly skilled people and that was very rewarding. Seeing the audience’s reaction to the film and the conversations that are generated from watching it is also very satisfying.
We went into it wanting to make a film that would make us all feel good about life and be inspired to dwell on the positive and as a result, hopefully generate more positive stuff. And that’s what we’ve done.
Has your own perspective of America changed now that you’ve completed the journey?
I feel very positive about America. We may be going though some tough times, but the American Spirit is in good shape. I’ve also learned that we have a lot more in common with each other than we have different. If we choose to dwell on the positive and look out for each other a little bit more, we’ve got a greater chance of getting out of difficult times. We’re all in this together, so let’s work together and focus on the important things we have in common.
For more information about “This American Journey” Click Here
In Ambushed, agents Maxwell (Dolph Lundgren) and Beverly (Carly Jones) are closing in on an international cocaine smuggling operation that’s being run by criminal mastermind Vincent Camastra (Vinnie Jones). But when Beverly goes undercover with mid-level drug dealers Eddie and Frank (Gianni Capaldi and Daniel Bonjour, respectively) she finds herself in deeper then she can handle. The case then becomes personal for Maxwell who has to combat ruthless killers and a dirty cop (Randy Couture) in an all-out action filled finale.
Ambushed is told from the point of view of Eddie and Frank; two seedy guys who want nothing more than to become bigger players in the game. But their quest for glory goes awry and in the process sets off a murderous series of events.
Couture plays crooked detective Jack Reiley, an officer disgruntled with the current state of the LA system who decides to strong-arm his way into the drug business for a fast pay-day and early retirement. Meanwhile, Lundren plays DEA agent Maxwell, a man who’s seen his own share of destruction, but has kept his path on the straight and narrow.
What I didn’t like: Although the context of the story certainly gives a general indication, my biggest complaint with Ambushed was the lack of a definable plot and difficulty in determining just who the actual “bad guy” really is. Is it Eddie and Frank? The criminal mastermind, Vincent? Or is it the dirty cop, Jack? The film leads you in many different directions, none of which making any real sense. In fact, many of the scenes through out the film appear to have either been rushed or leave you just scratching your head. For instance, there’s a chase scene between Lundgren and Couture’s characters that initially begins on foot in broad daylight, but ends with Lundgren catching Couture long after dark in the pouring down rain.
What I did like: I enjoyed watching Lundgren and Couture’s characters develop over the course of the film. Let’s face it, both of these guys are already giants of “bad ass”, so it was no surprise that it was only a matter of time before they faced off against each other.
There’s also a scene where Eddie and Frank are bantering on about the violence in a Bugs Bunny cartoon that I thought was terrific. While Eddie’s describing the animated scene in detail, a real-life violent confrontation is playing out at the exact same time across town. It’s a pity the rest of the film didn’t follow through with this kind of formula.
Lundgren fans will certainly find something to savor with Ambushed, but for me the film came up empty. Although living up to the title’s expectation, I ended up feeling incomplete and wanting more. (Two of Five Stars)
The other day I watched a video clip from director Peter Jackson’s upcoming movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; part two in a trilogy of films based on the classic 20th century novel by J.R.R Tolkien.
Jackson, as you may know, was also the director of The Lord of The Rings trilogy of films (the sequel to The Hobbit) which netted him Oscar nominations for all three, as well as the coveted Best Picture Award for the final film “The Return of The King”.
The Hobbit is one of my favorite stories of all time, and one of the few books I like to re-read every few years. Seeing this awe-inspiring video and realizing that the new movie was coming lit the fire for me, so I once again decided take the plunge. But as I dove into my worn, weather-beaten paperback copy of The Hobbit, I quickly became reacquainted with the same gnawing feeling in my gut that happens every time I read it (or any one of the other “Rings” books for that matter).
I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy worlds with dragons, wizards and trolls. Perhaps it’s the chivalry of noble men with magic rings or the notion that good always triumphs over evil that keeps me coming back. Or maybe it’s the fact that I was consumed with playing Dungeons and Dragons growing up. In any case, I love stories about bands of brothers who stick together on a journey and see it through to the end.
And that’s where my problem with Gandalf comes in.
Gandalf is the wizard in the story who “nudges” poor little Bilbo Baggins (the hobbit) on his journey with a bunch of dwarves to slay a dragon and obtain a ransom of wealth. Gandalf is one of those dudes who can pretty much destroy the whole damn world if he wants to. So why he seems content to send little people out on a dangerous quest is a mystery.
But it’s not the fact that he takes hobbits and dwarves off to fight dragons that upsets me. It’s the fact that Gandalf also likes to play “Now you see me, Now you don’t” that really pisses me off.
You see, Gandalf is one of those guys who likes to get everyone together, tells them how horrible the journey is going to be and even promises to go with them on what seems like an impossible quest. Then at some point early on during the course of the adventure, he conveniently pulls the disappearing act, and his 23 skidoo tends to occur just after an early battle. Gandalf will say something like: “Urgent matters to attend to, if you must know” or some other such nonsense. And no amount of tears or pleading from the little guys will make him change his mind.
What’s worse than Gandalf actually leaving the group is the fact that he somehow “magically” returns dozens of chapters later, just in time for the final battle and to obtain a share of the glory. Then all the way home Gandalf never has to leave again. Nope, travels with Bilbo every step of the way for months at a time. WTF?
As I finished the last page where Gandalf and Bilbo are laughing about their “adventure” together, I couldn’t help but imagine if something like that happened today. Suppose you and a team of others were building a state of the art high-rise building. Early on, your best crew member (Gandalf) leaves for no reason, but then comes back months later to hammer the final nail and claim he was a part of it. Instead of gold and glory, I’d be willing to wager Gandalf would be sporting a black eye.
Oh, you may have fooled the hobbits and the dwarves Mr. Gandalf, but not me. I’m on to you wizard.
For actress Andrea Powell, it’s more than just a sci-fi blockbuster. It’s a story about real people in extraordinary situations.
Powell, whose impressive resume already includes “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” and ABC’s “The Gates” joins Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and Asa Butterfield in “Ender’s Game” [based on the novel by Orson Scott Card and opening November 1st].
Powell plays the role of Theresa Wiggin, the mother of Ender (Butterfield), a boy chosen to save the world from alien invasion.
Ender’s Game will certainly give people a lot to talk about. It’s big and splashy, with breathtaking special effects (some done in ways that have never been seen before), and retains many of the great messages from the book.
I spoke with Powell (a hero herself) about her role in “Ender’s Game” as well as her involvement in team DetermiNation, a program which raises funds and awareness for The American Cancer Society.
How would you describe the story of Ender’s Game?
It’s a futuristic sci-fi story about an extraordinary young man who has the fate of the world in his hands. Asa Butterfield’s performance as Ender is fantastic. For such a young actor, he has a lot to bear carrying the movie and he’s completely up to it. It’s definitely a blockbuster, but it’s also a story about leadership, ethics and morality.
What attracted you most to this project?
I loved the idea of a science fiction novel that has big things to say about leadership, morality and the retaining of values in difficult situations. The way Gavin Hood [Director] approached the film was also interesting, because he did it from the perspective of the people involved.
Tell me a little bit about your character, Theresa Wiggin.
Theresa is a brilliant strategist. She’s a mom at her core and wants to protect her family and instill good values in her children. But she’s also got a struggle ahead of her. When Ender is chosen, he has to go away and there’s a certain amount of pain and loss that’s associated with it. At the same time though, she understands that what he’s doing is truly for the good of the world.
Let’s discuss your involvement in team DetermiNation.
Team DetermiNation is a group of endurance athletes who run races and raise money and awareness for The American Cancer Society. I’ve been heavily involved with them for years as both a spokesperson and running three half-marathons. I lost my father to cancer more than ten years ago and also have a lot of friends and family members who have been touched by cancer. It’s a terrible disease and too many people have to deal with it.
Do you have any advice for up and coming actors?
I always encourage people who want to become actors to primarily try to live an interesting life. Travel, learn about art and music, make friends and observe people. If your entire life is all about acting, then you won’t have any “real people” experience to draw from.
What’s next for you?
I have a holiday movie called “Christmas in Conway” that’s premiering December 1st on ABC. I play Cheri Oteri’s side kick and get to do a little comedy.
What satisfies you the most about your Ender’s Game experience?
The opportunity to work on such a wonderful script with a truly kind-hearted and talented director. When it’s all going on, you have no idea that what you’re working on is a gigantic Sci-Fi blockbuster, but then you look around and see Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and all of these other wonderful artists and you quickly realize that what you’re doing is part of something really special.
At the beginning of season one of “Orange Is The New Black”, show creators were a bit unsure as to what direction actress Selenis Levya’s character (Gloria Mendoza) was going to take.
But by the end of episode thirteen, it was quite clear that Mendoza had become a central fixture of the groundbreaking NetFlix series; taking over the prison kitchen system that had once been dominated by the feisty Red (Kate Mulgrew).
It’s a testament not only to the show’s brilliant writing, but also to Leyva’s sassy portrayal of Mendoza that’s allowed her character to develop over the course of the series; one that revolves around the story of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a woman sentenced to 15 months in prison after being convicted of a decade old crime.
Filming for season two is already underway with more amazing developments, plot twists and turns and surprises in store.
I had the opportunity to speak with Levya about her role as Mendoza as well as some of her other upcoming projects. She also discusses the appeal of shows like OITNB and when she knew she wanted to be an actress.
What first attracted you to Orange Is The New Black?
I am a huge fan of “Weeds” and after hearing that Jenji Kohan was writing and also the executive producer, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I’m a big fan of dramedy, and Jenji’s known for dealing with seriousness and adding elements of comedy to it. That really speaks to me.
How do you prepare for a role like Gloria Mendoza?
Gloria’s definitely a New Yorker. She’s someone who was raised in the city and there’s a certain sass and fierceness that all New Yorker’s have. I was born and raised in New York, so I was able to dig into my own sassiness and bring that forward.
Years ago, I worked in a theater arts program where we went to juvenile facilities and worked with teenagers who had been incarcerated and developed workshops and plays with them. I never would have thought that years later I’d be looking back at that time for my own research, but it was wonderful to have that kind of experience.
What’s the atmosphere like on the set?
It’s amazing. We all were kind of like freshmen in college for season one and immediately formed this close bond with each other. For season two, we’re more like sophomores, but we’re still this one amazing family.
Were you aware at the time of how successful the show would become?
I had a feeling it was going to be groundbreaking. Not just because of the amazing cast members and what I watched them do, but also because the writing is so good. We have a transgender on the show and women of various ages, shapes, sizes and platforms. It was something that had never been done before.
What do think makes shows like OITNB more appealing than those on network television?
I think a lot of it has to do with being allowed more creative freedom. The beautiful thing about Netflix is that you’re able to put it all out there at once. Network television is more censored and there are a lot of factors you have to take into consideration regarding viewership. Here, we’re able to take big risks where as the networks have to play it safer.
Was being an actress something you always aspired to be?
I always knew. I didn’t grow up in a houseful of artists, but my parents always used to watch telenovelas (Spanish soap operas) with lots of drama, tears and crazy plots. I remember just loving the idea of being able to express all of these emotions. I used to lock myself in my room and reenact all of these scenes. I knew then that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Tell me a little about your upcoming projects.
I have a supporting role in the upcoming film “St. Vincent De Van Nuys”. Its outrageous and funny. Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy are comedic geniuses and for me to be attached to something so fantastic is amazing. I also have an indie film called “Living With The Dead”. It’s a story that’s completely different from what audiences have been used to seeing me do and a lot more serious. I’m really looking forward to them.
What can fans can expect from Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black?
The next season is going to be deeper. We’re really exploring more of the stories with the characters and the different people who make up the amazing world of Orange Is The New Black; both inside and outside of prison. We’re still shooting so I can’t say exactly what surprises lie ahead, but I can tell you that I’m in the season and that I’m in the kitchen. It’s going to be spicy, and a lot of fun.
I’ve read quite a few mixed reviews of Rob Zombie’s latest release, “The Lords of Salem”; most of which have either applauded the director for taking a chance on a story about the Salem witches, or berating him for a weak script, uninspired character development and a theatrical plot that seems to go no where.
Having now seen it for myself, I can concur with the latter’s assessment.
The Lords of Salem is Zombie’s third horror film [OK, actually it's his fifth, but I refuse to count any attempt at remaking the two original Halloween movies]. And whereas Zombie used “House of 1000 Corpses” and “The Devil’s Rejects” to showcase more of the carnage and body count, he takes a more methodical, artistic approach with “The Lords of Salem”.
Local D.J and recovering addict Heidi Hawthorne (Zombie’s real wife, Sherri Moon Zombie) receives a mysterious package at the radio station from a band calling themselves..(wait for it).. “The Lords.” When played on air, the record’s atonal melody evokes a strange response from Heidi and a certain female segment of the listening audience; summoning long-slumbering witches of Salem and drawing them to the only living descendent of their eternal enemy, the Reverend John Hawthorne. Someone who just happens to be…. Yep, you’re right again! Heidi Hawthorne!
Meanwhile, local historian and author Francis Matthias (Bruce Davison) makes a guest appearance on Heidi’s radio show and begins to notice an odd connection between Heidi, the “Lords” record and the history of the town. His investigation leads him to visit Heidi at her apartment building where he encounters a trio of strange women (Judy Geeson, Dee Wallace and Patricia Quinn) who have taken an interest in protecting Heidi. It’s then when things really start to get out of the frying pan and into the fire.
If you’re into a witch coven returning from the 17th century to raise the prince of darkness, you’ve certainly come to the right place. The Lords of Salem is filled with shocking imagery; including some nudity that should not be seen by the human eye. Thankfully (as seems to be the case in every one of his movies) we do get the gratuitous shot of Zombie’s wife’s bare backside to balance things out.
Zombie has described “The Lords of Salem” as what it would be like if Ken Russell directed “The Shining” and indeed, there are elements of this scattered throughout the film, along with a haunting orchestral score.
Although I do have to join the chorus and poo poo him for a weak, cliché script and blase characters, I applaud Zombie for taking the mindless hack and slash out of horror and replacing it with elements of art. I wasn’t so much scared watching “The Lords of Salem” as I was disturbed. And perhaps that’s what the director really had in mind in the first place.
(2 1/2 stars out of 5)
Actress Jena Sims is a star on the rise. The beautiful Winder, Georgia native and 2007 Georgia Miss Teen USA has already racked up some impressive credits, having worked alongside Hollywood legends Roger Corman and John Landis.
On November 1st, Sims is set to share the big screen with Oscar winners Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline in “Last Vegas”, a film which tells the story of four life long friends in their late 60′s who decide to have a soiree in Las Vegas to celebrate the last of them to get married.
Sims is perhaps best known for her performance as Cassie Stratford in the 2012 summer’s hit “Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader”, a role she was personally selected for by producer Roger Corman.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Sims about her film career and charitable work in this exclusive interview.
How would you describe the story of “Last Vegas”?
I like to think of it as kind of a geriatric version of “The Hangover” [laughs]. It’s a story about four older guys who go to Vegas for one last hoorah. Craziness ensues, but in the end, everyone comes together and has a great time. For me personally, it was amazing to be involved in a movie with so many Oscar winners. It’s a dream come true.
What can you tell me about your role as Abby in the film?
Abby is Jerry Ferrara’s (Entourage) love interest. Jerry has a side story in the film and Morgan Freeman’s character teaches him how to pick up a girl and flirt with her properly. I play the role of the girl that he courts.
Let’s discuss your role in “Attack of The 50 Foot Cheerleader”. What attracted you to that story?
The character had “me” written all over it. I was a huge nerd in high school and graduated near the top of my class. I was also involved in cheering and dance and joined a sorority when I went to college. So it was pretty much my life story, minus the whole growing thing of course [laughs]. It’s comedy, but In a way it’s an ugly duckling turns into a beautiful swan kind of story. It’s about finding yourself and where you belong and about being true to yourself.
What was the filming process like?
We shot for about two months in and around LA. It was a great experience and one of my favorite sets to be on. The younger members of the cast were all close in age so we all got along great and really bonded. We all still keep in touch with each other.
Was acting something you always wanted to do?
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be an actress. I used to watch soap operas on TV with my mom and remember thinking how beautiful the actresses were and wanting to be just like one of them. When I was around 15, I started competing in pageants and in 2007 was crowned Miss Georgia Teen USA which was televised nationally. It was my first taste of entertainment.
What other projects have you been working on?
Over the summer, I filmed “American Beach House”, which also stars Mischa Barton and Lorenzo Lamas. I’ve also finished a crime drama called “Kill The Messenger” which is based on a true story. It’s about cocaine smuggling in Nicaragua and the CIA’s role in it.
Currently, I’m working on a comedy with Jamie Kennedy called “Angel Investors” and in January, I’ll be heading to New York to film a horror project called “House of the Blood Sisters”.
Tell me a little about your charity work.
In 2006, I started my own charity called Pageant of Hope. It’s for kids who are facing challenges and ones who normally wouldn’t compete in pageants. We’ve been to Cuba, South Africa, Australia and all over the U.S with it as well. We crown every participant (both boy and girl) with different titles; like “Most Confidence” or “Most Vivacious”. The best part of all is that regardless of what title they receive, every kid leaves that day as a prince or a princess. It’s wonderful to be able to give something back.
For more on Jena Sims check out her website by clicking here!
One of the things I enjoy most about independent films is the fact that everyone from cast to crew really puts their heart and soul into their performances. These productions don’t have the luxury of a big budget studio behind them, so everyone takes it upon themselves to personally deliver the best film experience possible. It’s that passion for story telling that translates well across the screen to the viewer, and such is the case with Dragon Day.
Dragon Day is writer/director Jeffrey Travis’ first feature-length film and tells the story of Duke Evans (Ethan Flower); a former NSA engineer who must fight to save his wife and daughter from despair following a deadly Chinese cyber attack on the United States. One that renders all “Made in China” computer chips useless.
Stories about end of days and world shattering scenarios aren’t at all that far-fetched, and Flower’s performance in Dragon Day not only keeps you on the edge of your seat, but also makes you believe in the impossible. In a world where we mindlessly go about our daily lives believing everything is copacetic, it’s nice to be reminded (thankfully, from a fictional standpoint) that we’re all still vulnerable.
Dragon Day stars Ethan Flower, Osa Wallander, Jenn Gotzon, Eloy Méndez and Hope Laubach. I spoke with Flower about Dragon Day, conspiracy theories and what’s next for the rising actor.
What was it about the script that attracted you to this role?
I was fascinated with the storyline and the idea of a man trying to save his family from a cyber attack after social collapse. I’m also a bit of a conspiracy theorist and for years have been well aware (even before it came out in the news) that the NSA had the power to track and listen in on everything we say or access the recordings if they want to.
With all of the debt crisis negotiations going on and talk of a government shutdown in Congress, a story about China launching a cyber attack to take back America because we owe them money is not at all that unrealistic. Everything we do every day is connected to the Internet; financially, electronically, even our water works. If we could do it to them via Stuxnet, they certainly could do it to us.
A lot of people might say “Oh, that can’t be possible”, but EMP (electro-magnetic pulses) can be sent through cell towers as “still pulses” and can essentially kill anything electronic. When an EMP gets sent, everything gets shut down. So, it’s not like they need to have a secret code inside of every single chip. They just have to get it into enough chips to send the kill posts to the cell towers. That’s the program my character writes at the NSA before he gets fired.
Tell me a little more about your character, Duke Evans.
Duke is an ex-NSA contractor who has written a program that gets taken from him. He’s the ultimate hero who has faults and makes some bad decisions, but ultimately is only trying to save his family from this disaster. One of the things I loved about my character was that in the beginning he says that he doesn’t believe in using a weapon to safeguard his family, but through the course of the film is confronted with a life or death situation and decides to get the gun. He quickly changes into a man willing to do anything he can to save those he loves.
What was the filming process like?
It was intense. We filmed most of it in a great town called Wrightwood, California and everyone there was amazing. Jen Gotzon (Rachel) is the consummate professional. She’s a very dedicated actress. Osa Wallander (Leslie) was phenomenal and it was an honor for me to work across from her and build a chemistry of a family who’s having problems. Eloy Méndez (Alonso) was also great. He’s an interesting actor who adds a strong, simple quality to his work. You just can’t take your eyes off of him. I also loved working with my “daughter”, Hope Laubach (Emma). She’s a new actress, but some of the scenes where we had to show a lot of emotion were very touching.
Tell me a little about your next project, “Spoils of Babylon”.
That was another amazing experience. It’s a television mini-series for IFC. I play a British civilian who sort-of rewrites history with Tobey Maguire. The scene I did was unlike anything I’ve done before and I’m very excited about it.
What did you enjoy most about your Dragon Day experience?
Dealing with people who truly love what they’re doing. You could see it in every meeting you took and could feel it in the writing. The story itself is so interesting and one that hasn’t really been told before. I think when you’re dealing with people who are so passionate about a project, it makes it very easy to dive in and give it your all.
Dragon Day will screen as part of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and be released in select cities on November 1st. The film will also be available for download and Video On Demand.
Two-time Emmy award winner Cady McClain is proving she’s much more than an actress. Although best known for her roles on the soap operas “All My Children” and “As the World Turns” McClain just completed her first short-film; one in which she took on the roles of writer, producer and director.
McClain’s film (and her directorial debut), Flip Fantasia is a dark comedy set in New York City about four guys and their relationship to a dead girl.
Although hilariously comical at times, the film strikes a nerve when you look past the humor and the giant cheese puffs. McClain takes innocent, urban people and creates a situation where they are suddenly faced with hardcore reality, all while posing the question to the audience: “What part of this is a result of the characters not paying attention? How much of it is about love, and what part is about denial?” The themes run deep.
McClain’s short film is about life, death and flawed people. But mostly, it’s a story about love and the emotional process of letting go.
Flip Fantasia stars Christopher Gabriel Nunez, Julie Lucas, Eden Marryshow, Clinton Lowe, and Gil Zabarsky,
I spoke with Cady McClain about Flip Fantasia as well as what she has in store for the future.
What made you decide to undertake this project?
I’ve always had an eye towards multidimensional work. Back in the 90′s I wrote a play that I produced and co-directed and it was one of the greatest artistic experiences of my life. Christopher (Gabriel Nunez, who stars in the movie) is also a playwright and I recently started acting in his plays. He has this amazing energy that just revitalized me and gave me the strength to go back and make something that really matters and to put my vision out there. I’m really grateful for that support.
How did you come up with the idea for Flip Fantasia?
I’ve been jotting down ideas for years and sometimes stories will just pop into my head. Over the years, I’ve had an enormous amount of therapy in my personal life and one day was walking through Central Park thinking I had so much baggage that it sometimes felt as though I was carrying around a dead body. Then I started to laugh at the picture of some young guy walking through the park dragging this girl around, propping her up on a park bench at lunch, just unable to let go.
What was the casting process like?
I originally wrote the story back in 2011 and did a Skype reading with Chris and a few other NYU student actors. When Chris came around again this year, he asked me about the movie and making it happen. He told me that he had a few actors in mind that he had always wanted to work with. Once we did another Skype reading, I knew immediately that it would work!
Did you notice any differences or challenges being a female in complete control of a production rather than being an actress?
It was a big step forward into big shoes, but I never saw myself as being a woman in a position of authority. I think because I don’t treat people differently (whether they’re male or female) and don’t expect people to treat me any differently, I’m setting that environment. In the end though, all of that doesn’t really matter. All I want is to get to the good work.
Why did you decide to go the online route with releasing Flip Fantasia?
Over the last few years, I’ve been really busy a lot online. I have a dialog with a lot of people who have been very supportive of me, so I wanted to give this as a gift to them. The other reason is that since most people know me mostly as an actress on soap operas, they may not think much of it. Doing it this way helps people see that I’m a not just an actress, I’m a story-teller. Sometimes you have to prove yourself in this world.
What have you learned from this experience?
Producing is challenging and it’s also very important to be organized. Another thing I’ve learned by taking on these multiple roles (producer, director, and writer) is that it gives you more respect for the job that everyone does. Everyone’s job is important.
On a personal satisfaction level, how does completing Flip Fantasia compare to some of your other projects?
I’m just as exhausted [laughs], but it’s a similar deep, quiet pleasure. The most fun of all is being on set or in the studio. The actual process of creating is the fun part. It’s a blessing to be able to do it.
What’s next for you?
We start shooting a brand new short film in October called “The World of Fuh”. It’s about a professor named Albert Fuh who falls in love with a balloon [laughs]. I’ve always been a huge fan of short stories and think shorts have a unique place in the entertainment world. The good ones always tend to linger with you the longest.