“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
Written and directed by Scott Stewart, Dark Skies begins with an eerie quote from British author and futurist Arthur C. Clarke and goes on to suggest that there is no pending alien invasion. The fact is, they’ve been here among us all along.
Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton play Lacy and Daniel Barrett, a suburban middle-class couple whose peaceful existence is shattered when their family becomes the target of a terrifying, unknown force.
Daniel’s been recently let go from his job as an architect and has been struggling to find work, leaving Lacy (a real-estate agent) as the sole bread-winner trying to sell houses in an already volatile market.
Adding to the stress, son Jesse (Dakota Goyo) is in full pubescent mode; dabbling in watching soft core porn and keeping company with an older malcontent. While youngest son Sam (Kadan Rockett) seems to be content with just trying to rehabilitate an injured lizard.
But it’s not until something begins rearranging items in the Barrett’s kitchen, scaring Sam and setting off the burglar alarm that the family realizes something is wrong. This is followed by rumors of being visited by “The Sandman”, unexplained blackouts, bruises and flocks of birds dive-bombing the family home. Then there’s the discovery of a creepy child drawing which only reinforces the true horror of the unknown.
The question as to whether or not the family is alone is finally answered when the Barrett’s reach out to paranormal expert Edwin Pollard (J.K. Simmons), who himself has been tormented by the same alien beings.
There are quite a few homages to past horror/suspense classics scattered throughout Dark Skies: including kitchen rearrangement (Poltergeist); child communication with the unknown presence (The Shining) and cameras throughout the house (Paranormal Activity). But regardless of paying tribute to old hat, Dark Skies shines on its own by relying more upon the build up of tension and less on the standard “boo” pablum.
It’s the emphasis of the Barrett’s vulnerability that makes the supernatural events they experience all the more real. And as could be the case with any typical 21st century family faced with financial crisis, one has to take into consideration whether or not Clarke’s argument is really valid after all.
Dark Skies is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Special features include feature commentary with writer/director Scott Stewart as well as an alternate ending.
You’ve been hearing me rave about Director Carrie Carnevale’s short film Beside Her; a love story and fictional portrayal of the true human condition. Now here’s your chance to see the film for yourself.
‘Beside Her’ is part of the FirstGlance Short Online Contest powered by FESTIVAL GENIUS. A competition where YOU get to choose the winner.
34 short films are in competition for over $2000 in prizes and the opportunity to premiere at FirstGlance Film Fest Philadelphia in October 2013! Anyone who registers on the FirstGlance website is eligible to watch and vote. The contest runs April 15th – May 14th. You are limited to only vote per day, per short film.
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Carrie as well as all of the actors from the film: Ashley Watkins, Erika Flores and Owen Conway. Check out my article below then head over to watch and vote for Beside Her!! Help support independent film making and the amazing cast and crew who did such a beautiful job on this short.
While watching “Beside Her”, you quickly forget that the lovers you see on-screen are female and become more enthralled with the deep love and connection they both share with each other.
Along with the amazing talents of actors Ashley Watkins , Erika Flores and Owen Conway, director Carrie Carnevale delivers a film that contains all of the elements that make up a great story: there’s love, tension, drama, passion, suspense and even a twist in the end for good measure!
But Beside Her is much more than a love story between two women. It’s a beautiful film about the human condition and the deep connection we all share but are often oblivious to.
Beside Her tells the story of Dr. Rachel Moretti (Ashley Watkins) and Sofia Rios (Erika Flores) and how, in one brief moment in time, their love for each other is measured beyond the norms of their everyday lives.
Tell me a little bit about the film’s origin.
CC: I wanted to write a story about the human connection; about the ways in which human beings connect with each other. Whether it be someone you’re dating, someone you’re married to, family, friends or even strangers; we’re all connected all the time. The problem is we tend to get distracted by the hustle and bustle of everyday life, that sometimes we forget that.
I wanted to concentrate this story on two people who are in a relationship because I think that type makes for a very complex and compelling situation. There’s an unspoken connection that two people in love share with each other that makes the connection a lot deeper.
Were you concerned at all about the content and subject matter of a love story between two women?
CC: No, not at all. Even when people initially read the script, they were glad to see that it was a story about love rather than a story about being gay. Showing that gay or not, love is love and we all have those same feelings of connectedness.
The musical score for the film is amazing. It perfectly complements the love scene and the ending as well.
CC: It really does. The song we chose for those scenes are an absolute match. Lyrically, it’s great and the mood it sets is just so powerful and amazing.
How did you get started in film making?
CC: I’ve always had a love for film making. I went to film school and spent time in the independent scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. Because of those years of work, I was able to learn so much about day-to-day production. I learned what to do and what not to do.
Along the way, I met some fellow artists who would hire me to work on their pieces, which I was honored and proud to do. In the past couple of years I felt it was time to start telling my own stories and producing my own projects and Beside Her was my first and I could not be more proud.
Ashley Watkins (Dr. Rachel Moretti)
It’s a project where it was the right time and the right place. Everything about it just felt natural!
How would you describe Beside Her?
Ashley Watkins (AW): It’s a story about love and that intuitive connection we all have and listening to it.
We all go about our lives every day not really paying attention to that “little turn in your stomach” or the “ring in your ear”. It’s instinct.
What attracted you to this role?
AW: I’m very supportive and totally believe in equality for everyone. As an actress, there are no limits to the types of roles that I’ll play as long as I’m portrayed respectfully, and/or not exploited. If I can play something that emphasizes the common good for people and it’s something that I believe in, I love to do it. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to do that with this project and Carrie just has so much passion for the film.
Erika Flores (Sofia Rios)
It’s a story about two people who have a strong connection and in the end, there’s a twist. You don’t expect the ending at all.
Were you concerned at all about the subject matter?
Erika Flores (EF): No, not at all. I like portraying raw, challenging characters. I loved the idea of being connected and really showing the relationship.
What was it like working with Carrie on her first short film?
EF: It honestly didn’t feel like it was her first film, because the entire process was professional and handled so well.
What did you like most about the experience of filming Beside Her?
EF: Challenging myself with this role was fun. I also loved the location in Malibu where we shot my scene. That was beautiful.
If you had to briefly describe the story of Beside Her, what would it be?
EF: It’s a slice of life between two people and the relationship that they share. How their connection is so powerful that they can actually feel each other.
Owen Conway (Jeffrey)
What attracted you most to the role?
OC: It was a role that I really wanted to play. Jeffrey is a heavy character with a lot of desperation. It’s not something that you get to play very often.
Tell me a little bit more about Jeffrey.
OC: Jeffrey is a “street” person who definitely has some issues.
But the thing that struck me the most about him was the fact that he’s so young. For him, it’s just about survival.
What was the experience of filming Beside Her like?
OC: The entire shoot was fantastic. I remember seeing the final product for the first time at a screening a few months ago and being really moved by it. The whole thing came together beautifully.
For more info on Beside Her, check out 17films Facebook page.
The phenomenon of SUNDS (Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome), and the belief that malevolent creatures may be to blame is the basis of the new film, Shadow People. Written and directed by Matthew Arnold, the film stars Dallas Roberts; whose current tenure on the AMC hit TV show “The Walking Dead” is sure to garner interest from horror fans, and rightly so.
Roberts plays Charlie Crowe, a small town radio personality and divorced father trying to juggle his fledgling radio career while attempting to re-establish a relationship with his estranged son.
When Crowe receives a strange call on his radio program one night from a young man fearful of the Shadow People and subsequently dies, it sets into motion the possibility that not only could these manifestations be real, but the story itself could also be news worthy enough to be his golden ticket to the big time. Together with CDC Agent Sophie Lancombe (Alison Eastwood), the pair begins an investigation which ultimately uncovers a dark world and decades long cover-up.
Shadow People explores the actual historical evidence of SUNDS and the real phenomenon of an inverse placebo effect, where the mind can actually kill the body through false belief. Backed by real archival footage from a suspected outbreak which occurred in Kentucky, it uses the “found footage” approach to film making in a new and exciting way by intertwining the story along with actual, real-life participants.
“Shadow People” also stars Anne Dudek (“Mad Men,” White Chicks), and Mattie Liptak (Quarantine 2, The Candy Shop).
What I liked: I enjoyed the mixing of news footage with real world interviews within the context of the story. The combination worked well in not only establlishing the possibility that Shadow People might actually exist, but also calls into question the true power of the mind.
The SUNDS phenomenon and Shadow People are both interesting topics that have been around for centuries. In Persia they’re called “Bakhtak.” In Japan, they’re the “Kanashibari.”; and in Mexico they’re called the “Subirse el Muerto”. Victims have reportedly been awoken from their sleep to find themselves paralyzed and a noise buzzing in their head while a shadowy figure stands and watches them. Some experts believe that these “appearances” may be tied to SUNDS.
What I didn’t like: Although the combination of footage and interviews is both welcome and appealing, it’s over saturation tends to become confusing and drawn out after a while.
Bottom line: Although the film tends to drag a bit at times, Shadow People is a film which nicely brings to light the subject of SUNDS and has enough scares and mystery to hold your interest for it’s 88 minute run time.
Shadow People (Rated PG-13) will be released on Blu-ray / DVD on March 19th.
It was English cleric Charles Caleb Colton who once said, “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery”. Truer words could not be spoken, especially when it comes to horror films.
In “Mimesis”, a group of die-hard horror fans attend a horror convention and are subsequently lured to an “exclusive party” at a remote farm. While there, the group is drugged and upon awakening find themselves smack dab in the middle of a reenactment of one of the greatest genre films of all time: a real life version of the classic 1968 George Romero film, “Night of The Living Dead”.
As the “movie” plays on, a group of psycho villains (dressed up as the walking dead) keep the seven unwilling participants terrorized inside of the farmhouse and kill them if they try to escape.While the original black and white version of the film plays in a non-stop loop on a small television set, it quickly becomes a battle of survival as the group tries to plot their escape. Mimesis stars Allen Maldonado, Lauren Mae Shafer, Taylor Piedmonte and Jana Thompson. Directed by Douglas Schulze, the film also contains original music composed by Diego Navarro.
As a “mid-tier” horror fan myself, I especially enjoyed the fact that the film also featured genre favorites Courtney Gains (Children of the Corn) and Sid Haig (Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses). Both actors have small roles in this film but none the less bring “street cred” with their performances. In fact, it’s Haig himself who actually explains to us the definition of Mimesis (“imitation, mimicry”).
The film also contains a cameo by original “Night of the Living Dead” star, Bill Hinzman bringing the elements of the past and present together nearly forty-five years after the original film.
“Mimesis” may be an odd title for a horror film, but it’s a fun ride that pays homage to a classic, and that makes it a ride worth taking.
“Mimesis” releases February 12th, 2013. Bonus features include audio commentary with Director/Co-Writer Douglas Schulze and Co-Writer Joshua Wagner.
Sixteen-year-old Melissa Kennedy has been missing for almost three months, and the town of Ridgedale is starting to become unglued. Meanwhile, Sylvia Potter (Lindsey Shaw) wants badly to be in love. That’s when quiet, rich kid Lucas Green (Jamie Johnston) transfers to Hampton Prep and sparks begin to fly. But, what begins as a simple love story soon takes a major twist as police begin investigating Lucas’ involvement in the Melissa Kennedy case.
“Love Me” stars Lindsey Shaw (“Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide”, “Pretty Little Liars”), Jamie Johnston (“Degrassi: The Next Generation”), Jean-Luc Bilodeau (“Baby Daddy”), and Kaitlyn Leeb (Total Recall).
Aside from the mystery and intrigue involved as we discover what’s happened to Melissa, it’s the little things in “Love Me” that actually make this film work for me. Whether it’s the “old fashioned” elements like Sylvia working at a classic movie cinema, friends hanging out on campus or at a diner, the longing to find a meaningful love or the relationship Sylvia shares with her mother, there are human qualities to the characters that make them easy to relate to.
Its also worth noting Shaw’s amazing performance in the film. Her portrayal of Sylvia Potter is refreshing as she runs a roller coaster of emotion as a girl who yearns above all else to be in love. “Love Me” only solidifies Lindsey as an actress on the rise and one that can easily carry a film.
I had the chance to speak with Lindsey about her role and what she liked most about “Love Me”.
What attracted you most to this role?
I really like the genre. When I was younger, I liked a film called “Fear” with Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon. I loved Reese’s character and that’s what I saw Sylvia Potter as in this script. Along that same story line. There’s something about the twist of love story that really gets me. There were also so many unique elements that you don’t see in teenage love stories. It’s old-fashioned in a way, which was something that I really loved.
There was a lot of chemistry between you and Jamie Johnston (Lucas Green).
Jamie and I are total opposite people on every single front, but I think that helped each of our characters. We really took the time to get to know each other and some of that “first phase” awkwardness really comes across well on-screen. In the movie, Sylvia and Lucas are nothing alike and yet, as soon as they see each other something sparks within them. It was very cool.
How would you describe the story of “Love Me”?
It’s a love story that takes a really dramatic turn when you realize that one of the lovers is actually caught up in his own love triangle. It’s a crazy love story with some murder on top.
Several of your scenes are very emotional. Where do you draw inspiration from for those kind of moments?
It comes naturally. Just being there in the moment and breaking down the scene and the elements. Those kind of emotions are things we all can go through inside.
What did you like most about the movie?
I really liked the anticipation and the intense feelings before the drama occurs (like the scenes where she’s at the diner). That whole “first love” feeling. It’s naive but beautiful at the same time. That was fun to portray.
What’s next for you?
A horror film called “No One Lives”. It’s directed by Ryûhei Kitamura and should be released in the next few months.
“Love Me” is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment and include the following featurettes: “Behind the Scenes” and “Stories from the Set.”
Article first published as Actress Lindsey Shaw Discusses New Film, “Love Me” on Technorati.
Nothing is as it seems as an ex-con and aspirant filmmaker set out to manufacture a horror film by scaring real people. However, when things go too far and someone actually dies, the pair decide that killing for real on film is the way to make a truly terrifying movie.
The premise for CUT! is a unique approach to the genre of horror film making. Director David Rountree (along with actor and writing partner David Banks) bring forth a one of a kind “suspense thriller within a horror film” and along the way, manage to pay homage to one of the classic horror films of a generation.
With an amazing storyline, an ensemble that includes Dahlia Salem, Sam Scarber, Suze Lanier-Bramlett, Gabrielle Stone and Academy Award winner Victoria Sampson at the helm for sound editing, CUT! is sure to be one of the most anticipated horror films of 2013.
I had the opportunity to speak with both director David Rountree and Dahlia Salem, the beautiful actress who plays Chloe Jo in CUT!.
Director David Rountree
What’s the current status of CUT!?
DR: We were originally planning for a Halloween release, but then we had Victoria Sampson come on board to do post audio. She’s an Academy Award winner who’s work includes films going back to ‘Return of The Jedi’, ‘Pirates of The Caribbean’, ‘Donnie Darko’ and ‘Bad Boys’. She has about 200 films to her credit and won the Academy Award for ‘Speed’. When she signed on we pushed our release date back a bit.
How did you and David come up with the idea for CUT!?
DR: David and I had written a comedy script a few years ago and were looking to start filming it during the summer of 2012. I wasn’t a fan of just sitting around so while we were waiting we came up with the idea of making something while we were in pre-production. We started talking about movies like ‘Blair Witch’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’ and came up with the concept of two guys that live together and want to make a cheap movie just to have fun. The goal was they would be very professional but then as it unfolds, things go wrong.
We figured we’d have a quick turnaround time and could get it out there and have fun doing it. So we started planning it and really spent a lot of time working on the opening scene. Once we shot it, our distributor looked at it and was very excited. He told us that if we can do this, we’d have a real shot at knocking it out of the park.
Our production immediately turned upside down and we really set this project into motion. What began as a straight forward horror movie became more intelligent during the process and is now a film that makes you think a little along the way.
It’s become a solid suspense thriller inside of a horror movie.
What’s the story of CUT!?
DR: The original idea of the movie is for the characters Lane and Travis to make a horror film. But when things go bad and someone actually dies, they have to make a decision. The footage they have is so amazing that either they turn themselves into the police for murder or run with this plan.
Tell me about the connection of the film to “The Hills Have Eyes”.
We created the role for Suze Lanier-Bramlett where she plays herself as a former actor turned director. Originally, the plan to have both she and Dee Wallace Stone. Both of them were in the original ‘The Hills Have Eyes’. Dee was involved in another film at the time but we were lucky and her daughter, Gabrielle Stone came on board.
What’s your next project?
DR: I’m working on a baseball story with the Orem Owlz, a minor league team in Utah. I’ve been collaborating with the owner there about doing a story similar to Bull Durham, about a real life of a baseball player in the minor leagues.
Dahlia Salem as Chloe Jo
How did you find out about this role?
DS: I was introduced to David Rountree by a mutual friend, Mike Simon (who also plays Adam in the film). David told me about the film and I thought it was interesting and very creative. It was also a labor of love for both he and David Banks and I wanted to be a part of that kind of collaboration.
What did you like most about the script?
DS: What I liked most about the script was the concept of it being a horror film within a horror film, and it was unlike anything I ever worked on. My character (Chloe Joe) is an accessory to the vision and deception of Travis (David Rountree) and Lane’s (David Banks) plan.
These guys take things to the extreme for the risk and excitement, as well as the potential success they can receive for what they’re creating and getting away with! Chloe Joe I imagine, was attracted to their drive and goes along for the ride!
What was it like working with David Rountree?
David Rountree is a consummate professional, as well as fun and easy to work with! David is such a good director in that he allows each actor the freedom to create what they want in the moment. It was very raw, and each character in CUT! fits in like a puzzle. I’m really excited to see the end product.
Are you a fan of horror movies?
DS: I certainly am! It’s a fascinating and mysterious genre. I’m a huge fan of John Carpenter’s Halloween, my favorite horror film of all time.
What other projects are you currently involved in?
DS: I just finished working as a guest star on the ABC drama, ‘Body of Proof’. I play an assistant district attorney and there’s a chance that she can return which is pretty exciting. The episode will most likely air sometime in March.
I also do a lot of voice over work. I do narration for a show called ‘Big Rich Texas’ on the Style Network. It’s a different animal all together not being on the camera side. You can be very creative with your voice. I love that kind of work as well.
What do you like to do when you’re not acting?
I love yoga, tennis and teaching acting to children. A friend opened a children’s weekend acting program in Orange County, and I was a guest teacher. To watch kids come out of their shell to create and learn, was such a great experience for me.
I’m also doing a bit of writing, collaborating on a script I wrote loosely based on true events in my life. It’s a “dramedy” and I hope to create it into a TV or Web series. We’ll see, it’s feels pretty challenging! I have to really commend David Rountree and David Banks in wearing so many hats for CUT! with writing, acting and directing! They truly inspire me.
Article first published as A Slice of CUT!: David Rountree and Dahlia Salem Discuss Unique Horror Film on Technorati.
It’s the end of a very productive year. One that included electing a president and dodging the end of the world. It was also one filled with writing many blog articles as well.
In addition to my own regular rants about everything from Spiderman to politics, I had the chance to speak with a variety of artists about their latest projects; be it in film, television, books or music.
As I wait out a nuisance December snow storm, I thought I’d take a look back on just some of the highlights I’ve had this year. For me to mention all 213 posts I’ve written in 2012 would be impossible, but rest assured I do love every single one of them!
Ladies to Watch:
I have been extremely fortunate to have met so many wonderful and talented women this year. Here are just a few of the ladies you need to watch in 2013.
Ashley Watkins: Ashley and I originally connected to discuss her role in the horror movie “Pelt”, one that pays homage to the classic slasher films of the 1980′s. She is amazingly good in the lead role of Jenny, where she runs the gambit from being deathly afraid to hilariously funny. (Hint: The film is available to stream on NetFlix: watch her in the campfire scene).
But it’s Ashley’s performance in the short film “Beside Her” that really had the biggest impact on me. This film runs far, far deeper than just two women involved in a relationship. Ashley is breathtaking in the role of Rachel Moretti. If you get a chance to see this film on the festival circuit, I highly recommend it. I can not wait to see what 2013 brings for her.
Carrie Carnevale: The writer and director of “Beside Her”. I have to admit that I never was a big fan of the so-called “short” movies. I mean, how can you possibly get your point across in that short of amount of time? But Carrie’s vision about the lives of Dr. Rachel Moretti and Sofia Rios changed my mind. As the tag line says: “In one brief moment in time, their love for each other is measured beyond the norms of their everyday lives.” I have to agree. Watch out for Carrie in 2013!.. Now if only I can get her to become a Seahawks fan….:)
Elina Madison: I spoke with Elina a few times over the course of the year. She is one of the coolest, most down to Earth people you’ll ever meet with a huge new year in store! Be sure to watch for her in HUFF! coming out in April.
Gabrielle Stone: You will be hearing a lot from this lady in 2013. She’s the daughter of Dee Wallace (ET/Cujo) and Christopher Stone (The Howling) and has no less than four movies already slated for release in the new year.
Jenna Stone: Not only is Jenna a great actress, but she and I share a metal connection. You see, she played the role of someone in the crowd at a RATT concert for one of their recent music videos and I was actually in the crowd at a RATT concert back in “the day”. Watch for her in “HUFF” and “Edge of Salvation” coming in 2013.
I started this topic on my blog after I met Lisa Jey Davis. Her story moved me so much, not only because of what she’s been through during the course of her life, but her positive outlook is something I think every one of us needs to have.
Today, Lisa owns her own company, writes blogs and articles for various websites and even records videos with inspirational thoughts for the day.
There’s something mysteriously cool about Kimmy Kim and Frutron and their Hollywood is Hard Channel. These talented ladies had me in stitches with their antics (perhaps it’s because I’m a sucker for wedgie videos). I posted just a few of my favorite episodes from their channel to go along with my interview with Frutron. Be sure to check them out!
I’ve been a musician for 25 years but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be writing about, (much less speaking to) artists like John Taylor (Duran Duran), Steve Howe (Yes, Asia), Steve Hackett (Genesis), Lita Ford or Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan (Survivor).
I also spoke with Nathan East, who for years played bass for Eric Clapton; Steven Adler from Guns N’ Roses (who now has a new band and is the healthiest he’s ever been); Greg Howe (who grew up on the same streets as me in Easton, PA and has a new band for 2013: Maragold) and Doug Marks (the man who first taught me how to shred with his Metal Method guitar lessons).
These, and many other interviews were the ones where my hands were literally shaking as I was dialing the phone numbers. These are the artists whose music had a major impact on me.
Speaking of music, it just wouldn’t be proper if I didn’t give a shout out to two of the coolest guys I met this year. David Banks (an actor, musician and true metal-head who you will be hearing about in the movie CUT!) and Dee J Nelson (a phenomenal south paw guitarist who also has big things planned for 2013).
As a non-professional, uncompensated writer, I hope that you found my articles and rants to be beneficial and had as much fun reading them as I did writing them. Feel free to comment on some of your favorite articles below.
I hope you’re along for the ride in 2013 and wish you all the best the New Year has to offer!
Charlie O’Connell and Natasha Alam have some serious chemistry going on in HUFF, a twisted take on the fairy tale classic “The Three Little Pigs”. O’Connell is creepy in the role of Huff, an unfaithful husband and abusive step father to three teenaged daughters living in poverty in California.
When a drug deal to set him up for life goes awry and the daughters leave with the money, Huff takes out his anger on those around him in a mad attempt to retrieve his loot. His only weakness? An asthma induced need to use an inhaler which may give the girls a fighting chance of survival.
Natasha Alam is amazing in the role of Laci, Huff’s beautiful mistress. Her sexiness and charm is equaled by the way she is freely able to express emotion on-screen during troubling situations; particularly when she is being threatened by Huff.
“HUFF” (being released internationally as “Big Bad Wolf”) also stars Marie Bollinger, Elina Madison and Elly Stefanko.
I spoke with Charlie and Natasha about their experiences working on “HUFF”, a film set for world-wide release next Spring.
What did you like most about the role of HUFF?
CO: I’ve always loved horror and slasher movies. I normally play a really nice guy or a jock, but definitely not a villain, so getting the chance to do that with “HUFF” was something that I really liked. Also, in some horror movies (ones with a Jason or a Freddy Krueger), those guys wore masks. I enjoyed the fact that I got to play a really evil guy who didn’t wear a mask. I didn’t have anything to hide behind, except for the inhaler that I had to work with.
How was it working with such a great cast?
CO: Everyone did a great job. Elina (Madison) has done a few of these types of movies before and played it like a veteran. Marie (Bollinger) was great as well, particularly in the scene where I’m in the bedroom with the youngest daughter (Elly Stefanko) and she steps in to protect her. That was a great scene.
Were there any challenges to shooting the film?
CO: We were shooting close to Valencia, CA and I remember it was so cold. Those last scenes where I had to run around with my shirt off could possibly have been the coldest days of the year in LA [laughs]. The weather was probably the hardest thing to deal with.
Any funny stories to share?
CO: I’d have to say the scene where Marie carries Elly on a huge, long trek was the funniest.There’s a quick cut in the scene which works perfectly because she just couldn’t carry her anymore. I had already wrapped for the day but wouldn’t leave because I wanted to see it. I remember taking bets on when she was going to drop her. She must have carried her at least 500 yards that day. But that’s the kind of trooper Marie was. And when she finally did get finished, Paul (Morrell, Director) said: “Great! Can you do it one more time?”.. [laughs]
What’s your favorite scene?
CO: Probably the one where the guys come to the door to get the drug money. When it comes to horror movies that may not have the biggest budget, it’s the little things that become the most important: the editing, finding out what works and what doesn’t work, the death scenes. That particular scene flew so well. It was such good violence right off the bat. But that’s what kind of movie this is. It’ a bloody/slasher/thriller. When you see that scene you say, “Holy S%iT! I’m in for something here!”
The scene of you with Shay (Elly Stefanko) near the hay stack is pretty creepy too.
CO: Yes, the crossing from far and then coming up on her! Elly did a great job. It was the first film she’s ever done and she put a lot of work into it.
What do you liked most about seeing the completed film?
CO: One of the things I enjoyed the most was seeing which takes were chosen and which ones were left on the cutting room floor. I really like to see what works and what doesn’t make it.
We also did quite a few screenings of the film at festivals and I found myself crouching at times because it was so creepy. Paul did a great job.
What attracted you most to the role of Laci?
NA: It was a great chance for me to really showcase my acting skills and give me the opportunity to do more action and drama.
What was the audition process like?
NA: It was awesome. I felt really good about it. Initially, there was another actor auditioning for the role of Huff who was a lot shorter than Charlie. He was a great actor, but just didn’t look right for the part. When Charlie came in, we complemented each other so well.
Were you at all inhibited by the risqué’ bedroom scene?
NA: Not at all. Prior to this role, I had worked on ‘True Blood’ which has very racy, skin showing/revealing scenes. That was my first experience into sexiness and being racy and it made my scenes in ‘HUFF’ that much easier.
How are you able to “turn on the tears” so easily?
NA: Before I actually had a child of my own, I couldn’t feel that emotion and know how to play those kind of roles. It just didn’t feel natural. But, after having my daughter and now having those feelings, it was an amazing discovery. To play a role like this you need to have some kind of experience of what it might feel like to lose someone. For the scenes where Charlie wasn’t letting me go, I based that upon past bad relationships. You usually can dig into your past and re-live that emotion again.
How did you get started?
NA: I was going to school at the University Uzbekistan (my home country where i was born and raised), but civics and mathematics didn’t really agree with me [laughs]. Although I am interested in that now, back then I wasn’t interested at all. I was more drawn to fashion, acting and being a designer; something that was creative. So I was studying at University and at the same time going to college to study fashion design.
After about a year and half, the opportunity came along for me to go to Milan and become a model. I quickly jumped on that and went out to discover the world.
What projects are you working on now?
NA: I just finished a guest-starring role for an episode of ‘Body of Proof’ which was a wonderful experience. The episode should air sometime next year.
I’ve also just finished writing a pilot for a fast paced spy show called ‘Canary’. It’s like Mr.and Mrs. Smith Meets Alias /Kill Bill and Bond movies all mixed together. It’s action loaded and I’m really excited about it.
Article first published as HUFF: Charlie O’Connell And Natasha Alam Discuss New Horror/Thriller on Technorati.
Whether she’s playing the role of a teenage friend (Edge of Salvation), rocking out at a hair metal concert (RATT music video) or running for her life from a drug-dealing step father (HUFF); Jenna Stone is an actress who can do it all. In real life, she’s one of the most talented and down to Earth people I’ve ever met.
2013 will be a good year for the beautiful, young actress. With two films already slated for release early in the New Year, there’s no denying Jenna Stone is an actress you need to keep your eye on.
In this cool interview, Jenna talks about her role as Styx in the soon to be released horror/thriller “HUFF” as well as story line for the feel good movie, “Edge of Salvation”. We also discuss her “metal head” connection and the multiple music videos she’s appeared in over the course of her career. One that’s just getting started.
How would you describe the story of “HUFF”?
JS: It’s a twisted version of a fairy tale based on “The Three Little Pigs” where Charlie (O’Connell) plays Huff (the Big Bad Wolf) and Marie (Bollinger), myself and Elly (Stefanko) are his step-daughters (the three pigs): Brixi, Styx and Shay. Everything starts off innocently enough with Huff and the girls having a family moment reading scripture together, but you quickly find out that this is not a normal household.
Huff is actually a drug dealer and our mother (Elina Madison) is unaware of the abuse he’s been taking out on his step-daughters. When she does find out, she decides to take his drug money and give it to the girls so that they can run off and start new lives. Huff of course, is not too happy when he finds out about it and so… bloody pursuit ensues! [laughs]
How did the role come about for you?
JS: I was originally called in for the audition. During the call back, I went in a did a chemistry read with Randy (Blekitas), who plays my boyfriend, Woody. That went extremely well. From there, I went to the table read. I was a bit nervous at first because it was such an intense script, but everyone there was so cool and relaxed. It was a lot of fun.
What can you tell me about your character, Styx?
JS: Styx is definitely the free-minded one. She’s independent and strong and does her own thing. I really love her attitude. Through all of it, she just stands her ground. She has very strong beliefs about what should and should not be done in certain situations.
Some of your scenes in ‘HUFF’ were pretty physical. How do you prepare yourself for that?
It varies from scene to scene. As far as Styx the character goes, I was able to connect with her easily so that helped a lot. For the more physical and scary scenes, everyone was on the same page as far as not wanting to be prepared for what was coming next. It was exciting to not know certain aspects of what was going to happen (like where Charlie would be coming from when he was chasing me). What physically took a toll, aside from how cold it was while we were filming was the hair dragging. But I wanted it to be as real and genuine as possible, so we just did it. For me, it’s about the moment.
Tell me about another one of your recent films, ‘Edge of Salvation’.
JS: ‘Edge Of Salvation’ is the story of a family who is losing their home and at the same time adopting a young boy who lost his parents. It’s about how the emotion and dynamics of a struggling family are affected when a new family member in introduced. It’s a faith-based, coming together story that’s very honest and real.
When you see yourself on-screen, are you able to separate yourself from the performance or do you critique it?
JS: I try to sit back and just take the story in as a whole. It’s always interesting to see which scenes they choose for the final cut.
Jenna Stone Music Videos
What do you find most intriguing about doing music videos?
JS: Music videos are always fun to do because they’re their own unique thing.
* The Spill Canvas: Staplegunned
How did this video come about and where was it filmed?
JS: I was called in for an audition and told what the video was going to be like. It was filmed in this old, creepy house that had been used for horror films.
What’s the story behind this video?
JS: For me, I think they took the words from the song and made it more on the darker, almost morbid side as far as imagery goes. It created the mentality of kids that age and why they feel the way they do about someone they love. It gets kind of crazy sometimes. [laughs].
* The Fray: Heartbeat
Were you already a fan of the band prior to this video?
JS: Their first CD was one that my Mom and I would blast on repeat when we would drive from Dallas to LA. I had worked with the director before on another project so when he told me who it was and asked if I had heard of them I said, “Of course!” [laughs]
What did you like most about this video?
JS: I like that it’s two different stories, so it kind of has the double meaning. The scenes we shot were all pretty much candid and real. It was a really fun shoot.
* RATT: Eat Me Up Alive
JS: This video is supposed to be a live, concert-styled performance and I was one of the people in the crowd. It was a lot of fun. I got to meet the guys in the band and they were very cool.
What was it like when you first decided to become an actor?
JS: I remember my parents were a little surprised when I first told them that I wanted to get into acting. But we started doing research and I began taking acting and modeling classes. Eventually, I met a manager who encouraged me to come to LA and since then, I’ve never looked back.
While growing up, Elina Madison recalls being at her grandmother’s house watching TV and being so enthralled with what was on that she turned to her grandmother and told her that she wanted to become an actress. From that moment on, she’s never looked back or lost sight of her dream.
Elina found that there weren’t a lot of opportunities to act in her home state of Wyoming so she eventually made her way to Los Angeles where she has since become a sought after model and actress and been awarded the title of “scream-queen” based upon her memorable roles in the realm of horror.
In one of Elina’s latest projects, “HUFF” she plays Lorelei, the dysfunctional wife of Huff, an abusive and asthma suffering stepfather who’s involved in a lucrative drug deal. Seemingly oblivious to the abuse that’s going on around her, Lorelei (a stripper by trade) delivers one of the most memorable lines in the entire film:
‘We need the money and the pole’s not going to dance by itself.”
Lorelei eventually comes to her senses and realizes that she has to get her children out of there. She secretly takes the money intended for the drug deal and gives it to her daughters to flee and start better lives for themselves. This series of events triggers a chain of rage-induced asthma attacks as Huff attempts to locate the three runaways and recover his money. Elina’s amazing, emotional scene on the couch with co-star Charlie O’Connell (Huff) sets the mood for the entire second half of the film.
“HUFF” will be released domestically in April and under the title “Big Bad Wolf” for international markets.
Elina’s resume includes roles in “Halloween Party” (a dark comedy available now on DVD), Barracuda, and The Corporate Cut Throat Massacre. In addition, you can also find Elina playing the Mother in the promo / trailer for Alicia Keys’ children’s educational app: “The Journals of Mama Mae & Lee Lee.”.
Elina’s next film role will be as the wife of the Prince of the undead in Creep Creepersin’s Dracula.
Aside from her beauty and acting prowess, Elina is one of the most down to Earth and coolest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with.
gJg: What’s the premise of HUFF?
EM: HUFF is actually a twisted version of the story of “The Three Little Pigs” with Huff being the wolf and the daughters being the three little pigs. Huff also has asthma which goes along with the lines of the story of “huffing and puffing”. Huff is up to no good and making a deal with drug money that’s not his. My character finally has had enough and realizes that she has to get her children out of there. So she steals the money, gives it to them and tells them to leave. It’s because of her actions that there are some unbelievable consequences.
How did you prepare for the role of Lorelei?
EM: Lorelei is just so caught up in her own little world. She’s an alcoholic mother in denial about what’s going on between her daughters and Huff. I’ve done some crazy characters before, but never one this complex. Getting into that kind of mindset took some work.
Tell me a little about your next film, Creep Creepersin’s Dracula.
It’s a different spin on the classic story but it’s also more about the perception of Dracula and the reality of everything. I play Francine, his wife who you don’t know whether is a “good” wife or an “evil” wife up to no good. Everything is taken completely different depending on how you’re looking at it. It’s scheduled to be released in January.
What other projects are you currently working on?
EM: Right now I’m shooting a show for Spike TV called ‘Urban Tarzan’. I play a well to do wife who didn’t go to college and got married for money and have been enjoying a life of leisure. My husband and I live in a big house and we’re going through a divorce. He wants me to take this horrible deal and I wind up fighting him for the house. He ends up putting a crocodile in the swimming pool hoping i jump in and don’t notice. [laughs]
It’s funny for Spike and has that crazy element to it.
THIS GIRL IS ON FIRE
Elina Madison is a rising star who will be seen all over the world in the coming months! Her career is truly on fire.
- In April 2013, she’ll star as the desperate mother and abused wife Lorelei in Huff (with Charlie O’Connell).
- She plays an edgy, flirtatious Cave Girl in Halloween Party a twisted comedy (just released on DVD).
- In January 2013 Elina stars as Francine, the beautiful and loyal wife of Dracula in Creep Creepersin’s Dracula.
- Look for her in the highly acclaimed film Barracuda, starring opposite Christine Oldham as the well to do socialite “Lisa.”
Also coming in 2013 Elina plays the lead Alana Wilson, a caring mother and housewife in Ramone Menon’s psychological thriller The Black Tape.
Article first published as A Conversation With Actress Elina Madison on Technorati.