Your upcoming film Scarlet
Samurai: Incarnation aka Terminal Descent: Curse
of the Jiang Shi - how did you approach your character, and how much of you can we find in Ikari?
This is a project that shot a while ago, but had to be re-imagined
due to the FedEx-scandal.
When we shot this movie, it as at a really low point in my life. I'd lost
a lot - my house was going into foreclosure
because I dipped into my personal funds to save
Legend of the Red Reaper, my boyfriend
took off when the $$ and the jobs ran out. I'd moved to be closer to him,
and suddenly I found myself completely alone. Fortunately, I got plucked
to take this leading role, along with some really great actors, especially
(Justin Irwin and Patricia Dunn who were both in
Legend of the Red Reaper!) and flown up
to Buffalo NY. So, a lot of
the vulnerability and fight you see in Ikari
is what I was going through at the time.
did you get hooked up with the project in the first place? And how did you
become a producer on this?
The usual way. There was a casting, I submitted for it. I flew, I
performed, I didn't screw it up too badly.
I wouldn't call myself a producer on this. I'm just pitching in to get
it done. Not a lot of actors take responsibility for their projects.
They show up to set, yak while the director is attempting to get a
vision on screen, and sit back and wait for the fame and glory. When
this project ran into problems, I offered to help. That's all. Sean Wyn
is doing the lion's share of the work [Sean
Wyn interview - click here].
We also have Parish (son of Black Eyed Peas' "Taboo") doing
the score for us. This is his second feature film - his first was
Legend of the Red Reaper
As far as I know, Terminal Descent: Curse
of the Jiang Shi has already gone well into post when it hit a sudden need
for funds - could you explain, and what can you tell us about your
Yes - we were done, wrapped, finished, in post - DONE. As Sean was
editing the movie I kept asking him - why didn't you use this shot, or
that shot? He had no idea what I was I talking about. So I sat down with
him and went through the raw files - it turns out he was missing ALL of
the B camera. Of course, he wouldn't have known that because he wasn't
there to know there were other shots. I got on the horn and tracked it
down. None of the other editors seemed to have ANY footage (which I
found a little odd - in fact I'm not really sure how producer
Sean-Michael Argo [Sean
Michael Argo interview - click here] tracked down the A camera footage, really). David
Williams, the director dug up the source tapes and shipped them to me.
Marked as such, via FedEx. When I got the tapes in LA, stuck them into
my drive, they were all scrambled. We couldn't salvage a frame of
footage. We immediately contacted FedEx and inquired about the (really
low!) insurance claim.
They didn't respond for two weeks. In fact, it wasn't until I started
posting on Facebook about
it that I got any response AT ALL. So I started posting on Facebook.
Finally, our case fell into the hands of a lovely lady in the claims
department, but it was clear HER higher ups were making her jump through
hoops. About a month into this claim, I got a request to send the tapes
to Utah? A week after that, they wanted receipts for the whole film.
Finally, 6 weeks later, they cut a check. Sadly by that point,
everything had to be rushed. Everything cost double. Flights jumped up,
people were no longer available to film, and it was IMPOSSIBLE to reshoot
the missing scenes - the location had changed, actors cut their hair,
moved, became involved in other projects. Props and wardrobe that had
long been wrapped had to be BUILT now, to match previous scenes. It
became a logistic
After running the rough cut by several test audiences (we were all too
close to the project to see what it IS, only what it was meant to be) we
got some great feedback about how to reimagine
the story and the characters. What started out as a group of Urban
Explorers became college students. We brought in Christian Boeving
(who's worked with me on Zombie Massacre and
Legend of the Red Reaper
to play an
Indiana Jones type professor who sends them on the expedition
because they're all failing.
We specified the monsters. Since the majority of what we lost was the
footage of the monsters (which is the easiest to reshoot)
we were able to reach a little higher and bring in Jeff Farley who works
on A list films - we collaborated on a project a few years back called The Many Doors of Albert
Whale. He took my vision for a Jiang
Shi - a terrifying undead
monster that's part zombie/part vampire that sucks Chi instead of blood
- and put his own stamp on it - it's scary!!!
The big difference, was that Ikari
ended up with a twin sister. Since we couldn't match the location and
the monsters and we were missing a HUGE chunk of the action, we added in
a twin sister to come save the group. My twin, Feng,
is a martial artist who trains in Samurai swords. She doesn't go to the
terminal because she's competing all weekend. But she keeps having these
visions. She's not sure if they're sent by Buddha or her deceased father
(the family is part Japanese, part Chinese and half Jewish), but she
knows her sister is in trouble, and rushes off, sword in hand, to save
Besides you, Terminal Descent: Curse
of the Jiang Shi stars three other martial artists - Sean Wyn
Wyn interview - click here], Sean Michael
Argo [Sean Michael Argo
interview - click here] and Patricia Dunn. So what can you tell us about the action in the
movie - and how much fun was it to film/fight with these guys?
Well, I'll be doing the majority of my stunts on this next round of
shooting this weekend in NY. However, I've been training with Sean Wyn
(he's also a fairly famous martial arts instructor here in LA - he trains
the stars - and me!). Patricia's action is pretty cool. The guys she
worked with took a good beating, and so did she! She's got her demo reel
on line, you should check it out - she's really good. Of course I met her
Legend of the Red Reaper, and she was so good, I wrote in an extra scene for her as
few words about your director David Williams [David
R. Williams interview - click here], and what was your
David is a dream to work with. No ego, all about getting the work
done, very focused. He's not just a director, he's a producer as well.
He's also got a pretty sick mind! (I say that with a heart full of
love!) I'm a little more PG 13 - and he's NC17 - so we're constantly
balancing each other out in
the blood/guts/horror department. It's been a REALLY good collaboration.
I'd definitely do this
Although, I would like to point out, I wouldn't do this for any other
project. I've been contacted by a bunch of producers asking me to save
their films, or make Kickstarter campaigns. In general, I'm opposed to
that. If you don't have the money to make a movie, OR the fan base to
support a movie, don't make it. And please don't contact me to write,
produce, or kickstart your movie. I won't do it. This project was
special because it was finished.
You just have to talk about your
location, the Buffalo Central Terminal, for a bit!
Yeah - it was built in the early 1900s and began it's descent on par
with the decline of the US railway system. When you step into the main
ticketing area - it's HUGE - you can imagine what it used to be like. I
imagine it bustling with people. If I close my eyes long enough, I can
feel the rush of busy people brushing past me - enroute
to very important meetings, rendezvous, affairs, and such! I love that.
The terminal is majestic. It's 17 stories high and it must be about a
mile long (give or take!). It deserves a big budget movie to put it back
on the map. Special interest groups have been struggling to restore the
building - which as you can see by the photos and trailer are in various
states of decline. It's been pillaged, raped, and needs a whole lot of
love to get back to where it used to be! There's a part of me that
identifies a lot with that building. And I want to save it.
At least by making a movie that exposes it to the world a little
more, we can help facilitate the great work that the restoration society
is doing now.
can you tell us about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?
From the first shoot in Buffalo, to the pick up shots in LA with DeeDee
Bigelow [DeeDee Bigelow
interview - click here], Maria Olsen,
Adrienne Camille and Christian Boeving
(plus a GREAT crew!!) and now to the new people swooping in to save the
day on the NEW Buffalo shoot (we start this Saturday!) It's been one brand
of awesome after another.
far as I know, Terminal Descent: Curse
of the Jiang Shi has already got a release
Hm... yeah, I don't know how that works. We have a distribution deal, but
it's going to be up to the individual territories when they release it. I
don't know why IMDb makes
you put that in, when no one knows when a movie is going to be released
until it's done.
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for the interview!