We have talked about this before [click
here], but do bring us up to speed: Your new movie Marla Mae,
what is it about?
Marla is a 20-something waitress in a steady relationship. She gets
offered free birth control from a family friend turned doctor. The birth
control isn’t what she was told it was and has severe consequences for
those close to her.
What were your inspirations when
writing Marla Mae?
I wanted to write a horror story
with emotional elements that women could relate to. Birth control is more
often than not the female’s responsibility in a relationship. We really
don’t have that many affordable options out there, especially places in
the country where Planned Parenthood has been defunded.
Do talk about your film's
approach to horror for a bit (as in suspense vs sudden shocks, atmosphere
vs all-out gore and the like)?
I’m calling this a
chick-flick horror for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons is the
horror to drama ratio. I wanted a healthy balance of suspense and
all-out-gore, but I also wanted to have some really dark emotionally
charged things in there as well.
What can you tell us
about the look and feel of your movie?
Overall it’s very
serious and dark, feeling-wise. I’ve been stewing on how to describe the
look of the movie for a while. I’ve settled on “dream-like”.
There’s a lot of warm lighting and graceful cinematography, but we got
some dark and rawer footage too.
You also play the
title role in Marla Mae - so what did you draw upon to bring her to
life, and have you at all written her with yourself in mind?
was a really difficult character for me to write. Marla and I have a lot
in common, so in a sense I can relate to her and can imagine what I would
do in situations like hers. Marla starts out a lot nicer than me, she’s
forgiving and polite, but due to the things that happen to her she really
changes. She ends up being a lot tougher than me.
I knew I wanted to play Marla from the beginning, but about halfway
through the first draft of the script I had to put that out of my mind
because I kept censoring the things that Marla was doing or saying. For
instance, while writing a sex scene I realized that I would have to act it
out. So, I rewrote it and had Marla keep her shirt on - that’s when I
knew I just had to write it without myself in mind and decide if I still
wanted to play her when it was done. In the end, Marla takes off her shirt
during sex like a normal person, but I decided I wanted to play her
can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
movie has a pretty small cast. Two of the roles were filled by some really
old friends before I even started auditioning. I’ve known Samuel Mikolon, who plays
a rapist in the movie, since we were 11. And I’ve known Travis Johnny
plays my onscreen boyfriend since we were 12. I have some physical scenes
with both of them, so it was awesome to have guys that I trust and am
really comfortable with. I wouldn’t have cast them if I thought they
wouldn’t do a good job, but both Sam and Travis worked really hard on
their parts and gave way better performances than I’d anticipated. I
held some open auditions to fill the rest of the roles.
Strangely, I had a TON of guys come out to the auditions and hardly any
girls. I couldn’t pay actors, and I needed a whole month commitment from
them, so that really limited me.
I know everyone probably just wants to hear about our bank-robber turned
actor… Jason Stange was the first person I cast from the open auditions.
He came to the first one I did in Olympia. He nailed it. He was willing to
work for free and his schedule? “Free as a bird” he said. I actually
rewrote a lot of "Dr. Lourdes" scenes after Jason auditioned, he
brought a lot of depth to that character and a very subtle creepiness that
is hard to pull off.
Palmer Chase, who plays "Detective Wirtz", came to an audition I
held in Seattle. He’s a trained actor who’s been doing mostly local
projects. I could tell once we started rehearsing that I’d made the
right decision in casting him.
And about a week before we needed to start rehearsals, I still didn’t
have a girl to play “Jules”. I was kind of freaking out. Nobody that I
auditioned was what I was looking for, or even close. There was one
actress who I really wanted, but her schedule wasn’t going to work. I
thought we were screwed, but I held one more last minute audition and
Katie Hemming showed up. She had a really good audition and was super
flexible and committed.
The rest of the cast were extremely last minute additions, or crew members
who stepped up. Brandon Roberts, our producer, plays Jules’ onscreen
boyfriend. Our special FX guy Raleigh, plays Marla’s coworker Ryan.
Everyone in our crew was an extra at some point. I think we used every
single person’s car in the movie too.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was crazy - we managed to film the entire movie in 15 days. Week one was
overnights, hardly anybody knew each other and we had to maintain a really
tight schedule. There were some tense moments, but we managed to get
everything we needed in time. At the end of week one we shot our first
blood gag - it was the last shot of the night. I think that loosened
everyone up and got everyone excited about the project. I think during the
rest of the shoot we just were a lot more comfortable with each other. Or
I was anyway - kind of a good thing since I had to be naked and covered in
blood for a lot of week two. I hope everyone was as comfortable with each
other as I was...
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
currently running a fundraiser to secure post-production funds, right? So
what can you tell us about your campaign?
We’ve got some
really cool perks. I wanted to make things for our contributors that were
more personal and special than what most campaigns are doing. One of the
perks that I’m really excited about is Making of Marla Mae: the
zine. It’s basically my journal throughout the entire movie making
process. It’ll be cool for fans, but is also going to have a lot of
useful tips for first-time filmmakers. Ya know, learn from my mistakes
kind of thing.
Any idea yet
when and where Marla Mae might be released onto the general public
We’ve had a little distributor interest, which is
awesome, but we’re just focusing on post-production right now. We want
the movie to be at its height of perfection when it hits festivals.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
right now - post production is taking up all of my creative energy. Best
way to find out about projects in the future is to follow me on Twitter:
movie's website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
out our teaser - it’s here:
for the interview!