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An Interview with Diane Foster, Director and Star of Easter Bloody Easter

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2024

Diane Foster on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Easter Bloody Easter - in a few words, what's it about?

 

Demon bunnies, blood, Easter, a giant jackalope, and a whole lot of fun! The film takes place in Texas around the Easter weekend and follows an ensemble cast trying to uncover the mystery of all the deaths happening in town.

 

Now how did the project fall together in the first place, and what drew you to it to the extent that you also wanted to direct it?

 

It was years in the making as Kelly Grant who plays Carol, and Allison Lobel, our writer and plays Mary Lou, were all in a play together and loved working together so much we were going to take that play on tour. Then those plans changed because the pandemic hit. I have been producing indie films for a long time so I suggested we turn our passion of the play into a film. Allison came up with the entire story and all of it happening around Easter, having a jackalope as the killer and a demon bunny army, and once we read it, we were off to the races. The script was hilarious and it was something I knew needed to be made as there is not much for holiday comedy horror for Easter. Allison asked me to direct and felt I could take what she created and make it happen visually. It was extremely collaborative and allowed us to all work together with our best friends. It has been an amazing few years and we really are so grateful for this experience.

 

What can you tell us about Easter Bloody Easter's writer Allison Lobel, and what was your collaboration like?

 

I love working with Allison, she is one of my best friends. She is quirky and one of the funniest people I have ever known. Also extremely kind hearted and talented as hell! It has been amazing working together and I am excited to do many more. I really give her the credit and kudos for giving me the opportunity to take her vision with the script and bring it to life on screen.

 

A few words about Easter Bloody Easter's approach to horror?

 

It is not typical horror fare. I did not want it to be. First, the script is not written that way. I always tell everyone it's a true horror comedy, which means the comedy is first and the horror is secondary. That is what makes the situations and scenarios that are scary or gory also funny. Also I am an old school and a practical effects fan. I wanted to make sure that all those effects were done in camera and made as an ode to all the films that inspired me as a filmmaker when they had to rely on the art of practical effects and not something computer generated.

 


You also have to talk about your movie's brand of comedy for a bit, and to what extent does it correspond with your personal sense of humour?

 

The humor definitely comes from both Allison and myself. We are both musical theater nerds and enjoy laughing and being silly. The film knows what it is and that is to say, it doesn't take itself seriously. We are a film that has demon bunnies flying through the air and musical numbers at Easter! The film was made to entertain and that's exactly what it does. There is so much strife in the world and I believe my job as an entertainer, among many things, is to take people away and entertain them. I watched a lot of films growing up, and the ones that were my favorite were the ones that I danced, laughed and sang along to.

 

You also play the lead in Easter Bloody Easter - so what can you tell us about your character, what did you draw upon to bring her to life, and how much Diane Foster can we actually find in Jeanie?

 

Jeanie is much more aware of the bullshit meter than I am. I always give people the benefit of the doubt and Jeanie has no time for that. Where we both find each other similar is in overcoming the obstacles and powering through. I have had a lot of things go on in my personal life and having the ability to keep it moving isn't always easy.

 

Do talk about the rest of Easter Bloody Easter's cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Kelly Grant plays my bestie Carol in the film and is a bestie in real life. There is a camaraderie that Kelly and I have like no other. We really are the Thelma and Lousie, the Lucy and Ethel to each other. She is so easy and fun to work with and will try anything that can enhance the film. She is a beautiful person inside and out and I am so damn lucky to know her.

 

Allison Lobel plays Mary Lou and is the writer of the film. She is funny, kind, and an amazing actor. She is so opposite of Mary Lou but has the chops to pull that off and make it look so easy. She is such a great person, really cares about the ones she loves, never ever in a bad mood, and one of my very best friends. I feel so grateful to her for wanting me to direct the film and changing my life. I can't say enough about Allison and Kelly because I love them both so much and feel really blessed to have friends that feel like my sisters for life.

 

Zuri Starks plays Megan, the professional bunny slayer, and the moment I saw her I knew she was right for the role. She added a sassiness and spunk that Megan needed to have, but also a badass attitude of a woman who was taking control and wanting to save the town. She exemplified that and so much more and is so wonderful to work with. She also has the most beautiful smile and is a joy to be around.

 

Miles Cooper played Eugene and he is absolutely brilliant. Bar none, Miles is one of the most talented actors I have ever met, and his portrayal of Eugene had me laughing on set, in the edit, and now for all audiences to see. He is one of my very best friends and like a brother to me. We have a lot of history and anytime I get to work with him is an incredible time. 

 

Zach Kanner played Sam, the town's conspiracy theorist and truly loveable character. Zach is that loveable in person as well, he is extremely talented and knowledgeable of his character and asks questions about how he can bring authenticity to him. Some of the lines that ended up in the film came from him making magic in rehearsals and improvising, and we needed to make sure made it into the final version of the film. 

 

Gavin Lee plays Jim, Carol’s husband and was fully committed to bringing a real sense of kindness and relationship type goals to Jim and Carol. He was also so willing to wear the caveman outfit with enthusiasm and really went on the ride of this film with us. He is a very dear long time friend, a good person, and an extremely talented actor. 

 

From the second I saw D’Andre Noire’s self tape I knew he was Lance. He has an understated self-assured way of being on the camera and I knew that strength would be needed to play that role. He also stayed on set when he was not required to help out with the art department. He was willing to do anything needed to make the film the very best, and that is something that is so rare and we are so lucky to have found him.

 

Working with these tremendous actors was a dream come true. There was a genuine trust between myself as the director with all these very talented people. It was also amazing to get to be part of the ensemble with them. I am truly inspired by each of them. They were all showing up bringing everything to their A game every single day, ultimately finding and bringing these characters to life in their very own ways and I could not be more grateful. Working with great actors makes my job even more amazing.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

We filmed in the valley areas of Los Angeles on private ranches that resembled West Texas. Filming was 17 days with six day weeks. It was exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. Every day on set was like playtime, and that is always my goal when creating a set environment so that it is friendly, open, and ready for magic to be created. Everyday I would have a meeting at the beginning of the day almost like a football coach. One of my favorite chants we would do on set is “We need MORE BLOOD!”

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Easter Bloody Easter?

 

It's been incredible and beyond my wildest dreams. We have so many reviews and mostly really great ones that really “get” the film. The audience response has been unreal and the film even has a crazy great score on Rotten Tomatoes. It is mind-blowing because we really are a tiny film that made giant marks because of the amazing team involved. I am so excited for audiences to continue to find us and watch us any time of year, not just at Easter.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

I am always working! I love creating so there is a lot on the docket. I have the next installment of the Easter Bloody Easter franchise, so a lot more demon bunnies ahead. I am directing a movie musical in development called SAT - stupid ass test. Yes that test! That is with Mark Vogel that composed Easter Bloody Easter. I am acting in and producing a female comedy with two very dear friends, Maria Bertrand and Meg McCaig, called Got Daddy Issues, and I am working on my first ever solo record - writing songs and singing!!

 

What got you into acting in the first place, and have you received any formal training on the subject?

 

I started dancing at age 8, and it quickly became my passion and obsession. I was early to acting at around the same age and took conservatory classes at the Papermill Playhouse every summer. Anne Hathaway was a fellow student of mine and we actually were both nominated for the “Tony Awards of high schools”- the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award for Best Actress in my senior year and her junior year both playing the role of Princess Winifred in the play Once Upon a Mattress, just at different high schools. I won the award and it gave me the confidence to create a career around it. I moved to LA and continue to pound the pavement!

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Easter Bloody Easter?

 

I was a professional dancer and did a ton of theater growing up but always wanted to do film. In 2001 I moved to LA not knowing anyone. I first started dancing to make my rent and landed a gig in the original PussyCat Dolls show at the Roxy. It was before they became a girl group.

 

Then I did a film with Katherine Heigl and my first starring role and producing job was the Tribeca Film Festival official selection Iowa with Rosanna Arquette, and John Savage played my father. After that, I starred in and produced The Orphan Killer and its sequel. Got to star in Glenn Danzig's video for Last Ride and his directing feature Verotika, and then in 2018 started my own company, WallyBird Productions. Since 2018, we have successfully produced 17 different projects.

 

Do talk about your production company WallyBird Productions, and the philosophy behind it!

 

WallyBird Productions is committed to fostering equality and diversity on every project with an emphasis on high entertainment value and substance. For years, I was the only woman on set or on set with mainly no diversity. I wanted to change that so the sets we work on and the films we make reflect the world we live in and can move the needle forward for inclusion. When you see it, you can be it. I firmly believe that. When we are given an opportunity to put people in leadership positions, we choose to highlight underrepresented communities in front and behind the camera at WallyBird.

 

Under the WallyBird banner, the company has made the films SHIRi, winner of the prestigious Stage 32 Short Film Contest which screened at the Oscar qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and Raindance in the UK, Make A Wish, accepted at over 130 film festivals worldwide and seen on Bloody Disgusting TV, the documentary I Am America about the Immigration Center for Women and Children (ICWC) and awarded a 15K grant to give back to the ICWC for underprivileged and undocumented youth as part of the Women Excel Project, the short Dissonance that donated fundraising efforts to The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ young people under 25, the feature My Home Unknown that premiered at Dances with Films at the legendary Chinese Theatre with a harrowing and deeply real look at the homeless epidemic, Sorry Dumpling, short film and official selection at BAFTA & LA Shorts Fest, the short film and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Brown Sugar Days, Cut Me If You Can, and the original horror comedy feature film Easter Bloody Easter.

 

How would you describe yourself as an actress, and how as a director?

 

I am open and flow easily. I am a true collaborator and know how important it is to give and receive in both areas. I love getting to do both on a project and find it fits my personality perfectly because I enjoy coming up with solutions and really getting to the nitty gritty of a scene or character. I always come from the emotional place of what it is really saying.

 

Filmmakers, actresses, whoever else who inspire you?

 

Ava DuVernay, Lena Waithe, Melina Matsoukas, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah, Ryan Holiday, Carolyn Myss, Marilyn Monroe.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Dirty Dancing, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Gremlins, Singing in the Rain, any Italian horror, Marvel movies, any Christmas movie, Easter Bloody Easter :)

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Check out wallybirdproductions.com

 

On Instagram:

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WallyBird Productions on YouTube https://youtube.com/@WallyBirdProductions

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Thank you all for supporting my film and the amazing group of artists it took to make. It's a miracle to get a film done and out in the world, and your support of it and me means the world.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

Amazon UK

Vimeo

 

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!