Monday, January 4, 2016

Clark's "Bitches" Are Back and Even "Crazier"

Crazier Bitches in Pre-Production

Clark's "Bitches" Are Back and Even "Crazier"

(from Sag Harbor Express Online from October 18, 2015)

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By Danny Peary
It would make a great campfire story if there is a maniac on the loose or if you’re locked in a haunted house at Halloween. Seven women–sisters of the Alpha Kappa Pi sorority–and their best gay friend reunite for a weekend to celebrate their pal Alice’s birthday. But at the remote ranch where they settle for leisurely days of gossip, girl time and grub, something soon seems amiss. They learn that years before someone massacred several girls at this ranch and that killer is still at large. Will the same thing happen to them? Sure enough, one by one they are cut down, victims of the particular vanities they flaunt in each other’s faces. And as the fun-filled weekend turns into a race against death, they wonder: will any of them make it out alive? That happens to be not a spooky tale but the plot of Crazy Bitches, a sly, witty slasher film parody that you might have seen earlier in the year at any one of twenty-five film festivals, on the Web, VOD, or DVD/Blu-ray. Perhaps your curiosity in the film was stirred up last February when I posted at Sag Harbor Express Online my interview with its talented director-writer Jane Clark (the ultraserious Meth Head) about her popular movie.
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Did you miss Crazy Bitches, nevertheless ? No problem. Clark tells me that this weekend, the weekend before Halloween, Oct. 23-25, iTunes will be selling downloads to own for 50% off the regular price–just $4.99 for standard definition (SD) and $6.99 for high-definition version. Moreover, from October 23–November 1, for the low price of $1.99 you can watch the director’s commentary on the making of the film, a montage of scenes that were deleted, and an outtakes reel.
And if you saw Crazy Bitches and are dying to find out what happened to the survivors—and to see if the director can miraculously revive the dead characters you liked best (surely you wanted I Am Cait’s Candis Cayne and Go Fish’s Guinevere Turner to have more screen time, right?)—Clark has some really big news. She has announced plans for a sequel, Crazier Bitches, with a fundraising campaign at the IndieGoGo sitehttp://igg.me/at/CrazierBs
She revealed the sequel’s enticing plot: Two years after the slaughter at Hallowed Spirits Ranch, two survivors, Alice and Minnie, have finally settled into a semblance of normalcy, but when they join a planning committee for Logan’s Kindergarten Christmas Show and mommies begin behaving badly, old passions–the deadly kind–get stirred up and the killing starts again.  They wonder: will any of them make it out alive?
 Blond Minnie tries to get in touch with the other side.
Blond Minnie tries to get in touch with the other side.
Be sure to watch the video of Clark talking about her new film at the Crazier Bitches web sitehttp://www.Crazierbs.com She gleefully informs us that almost her entire comely cast is returning, no matter that most of their characters were killed off. Earlier this month, I was able to chat via email with two of my personal favorites from the original, Guinevere Turner (who cowrote the screenplays forAmerican Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page) and the up-and-coming Liz McGeever, who will be back and crazier than ever.
Guinevere Turner in "Crazier Bitches."
Guinevere Turner in “Crazier Bitches.”
GUINEVERE TURNER INTERVIEW
Danny Peary: Where did you grow up and when did you start acting and writing?
Guinevere Turner: I grew up in New York state-ish (long story). I started writing when I was very young, like 9. Obsessively I kept a diary every day for about 7 years. Every single day. Like a little psycho. When I hit puberty I got really into iambic pentameter and wrote a lot of poems. I studied fiction writing in college, and then wrote my first screenplay having never read one and it became my first film, Go Fish. Acting I did in high school, but I’ve never studied it.
DP: What had you done prior to Go Fish?
GT: Graduate from college and be a temp. I type fast.
DP: Do people today connect you to Go Fish or do they think of you primarily for all the writing you have done since then?
GT: It depends if you are talking to a lesbian or a bro. What’s fun for me is that the avid fans of Go Fishprobably haven’t seen and will never see American Psycho, and ditto in the reverse for avid American Psycho fans.
DP: Was it your plan back then to write projects for yourself?
GT: No, not really. I ended up in Go Fish because I knew it would be a long commitment for an actress and that I wouldn’t back out or go away.  I am in American Psycho because it was just funny that the character went to Sarah Lawrence like me and that she says she’s not a lesbian.
DP: I really liked Go Fish, but did you care if men liked it?
GT: Not even a little. But I’m glad you did.
DP: Your character is pretty and full of personality, the “perfect date” regardless of sexual orientation. I’m curious if you got fan mail from men as well as women.
GT: Yes, from both. But mostly young lesbians who either realized they were gay when they saw it, were inspired by it to come out to their families, or just got super thrilled to see themselves on screen for the first time ever.
DP: Your movie received praise and remains a seminal LGBT film, so what kind of film opportunities did you have at the time?
GT: I had to work for it. A lot of people perceived that film to be sort of a doc–although every word is scripted and the characters are not same as the actors. Also we (me and director Rose Troche) felt people thought we only had that one trick, that “look how lesbians really live” trick, and didn’t have other stories to tell, or that we would want to tell only lesbian stories.
DP: After Go Fish, did you consciously decide to move more into writing than acting or did it happen naturally?
GT: I would have taken acting over writing in a heartbeat!  You get so much more attention!  But I am better at writing. I love both though, and always wish I could be acting more than I do.
DP: I ask because of Go FishThe L-Word, and The Notorious Bettie Page, do you find it harder or less enjoyable writing about men than women?
GT: Ha, ha, I love the idea of me holding my nose and saying “Ewwwww!” out loud when I have to write a male character. But, no, not at all. Same thing. I naturally gravitate toward women, being one myself, but I know a lot of men and even like some of them, so writing men is satisfying too. Mostly l am interested in representing under represented and/or over simplified identities.
DP: Did you and Mary Harron have interesting conversations about men and male serial killers when adapting and, though I hate this word, “reimagining” Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho?
GT: Ha, ha. Why would you torture yourself by using a word that you hate?  We talked a lot more about men than about serial killers, really. Bateman is a serial killer, yes, but that is just really a hyperbolic representation of his Man-ness. About men and how they compete and commodify, that was the focus. And how gay it all seems.
DP: Considering how few movies in Hollywood history have allowed women to have women friends and have conversations with each other, do you relish writing about groups of women interacting in your scripts–and acting in a movie like Crazy Bitches, which has numerous women heading the cast?
GT: Yes!  Living for that Bechdel test! I used to hang with film festival programmer friends and watch submissions–literally 50 percent of them were a bunch of white guys in their 20s and 30s who are old friends and think they are funny. And inexplicably have a gun.
DP: I would think you and Jane Clark realize that about the only genre, other than women-in-prison movies, that has consistently shown women interacting is the slasher movie, in which one by one they are killed off in brutal ways.  Did you talk or even joke about this?
GT: We haven’t, actually, but we will now. Also, I’m seeing Jane tonight and you have given me an idea to share with her–next movie is “slasher movie in prison!”  Jackpot.
DP: Did you know Jane before being in her movie?  What did she say to you about Belinda when she offered you the part?
GT: I met Jane at a party and she told me what her movie was called and then I said she should put me in it. I’m sure in her head she was like “Who the F is this chick?” But then she sent me the script and I said, “No really, you HAVE to.” And she did. She told me Belinda was like Blanche Dubois–fragile, but powerful, but tragic, but hot.
DP: Your character has basically two scenes before meeting her demise.  In the first she comes across as vain and arrogant; the second, she comes across as vain and arrogant and, after spending five minutes with her “friends,” deflated and vulnerable.  Is that how you saw it?
GT: Yes, exactly. It’s all an act but it’s gotten her this far, at least with people who don’t know her well.
DP: Obviously you took the part knowing how little screen time you had, but if the character was a longer part, what would you have liked to explore about her?
GT: Interesting question. Perhaps her relationship with her sisters. There’s gotta be some serious complexity there if you’re willing to have an ongoing affair with your sister’s husband, and under the same roof!
DP: Was it fun being killed off in such gruesome way?  The movie’s a parody and the way you are killed will make some people laugh, but was Jane “serious” when filming it or smiling all the way through?
GT: Well it was “fun” if you consider lying in the dirt while people walk around you and kick up dust into your nostrils, and flies buzz around the fake blood on your face. But really, it was kind of fun. Jane is never “serious” like “humorless.” She keeps it light and airy on the set. Doesn’t show stress, doesn’t freak out, smiles often.
DP: So if Belinda was killed off—and also had her expensive shoes ruined—how is she in Jane Clark’s sequel?
GT: Two words: blonde wig.
DP: I read in your bio that you currently have four films in development as a writer.  So how does acting in Crazy Bitches and Crazier Bitches fit into the progress of your career?
GT: Well, I’m just very happy to have the opportunity to act, especially working with Jane, who is now my friend. We will have fun and the role is so delicious to play.  I always hope someone will see my work and want to cast me in their next movie. People are so much more likely to put you in a movie if they just saw you in one!
Liz McGeever in "Crazier Bitches."
Liz McGeever in “Crazier Bitches.”
LIZ McGEEVER INTERVIEW
Danny Peary: You went to the University of Georgia. Are you from that area?
Liz McGeever: I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but my family moved to a suburb of Atlanta when I was an infant to escape the snowy weather, and that’s where I grew up. Athens was about an hour away from my parents’ house.
DP: Prior to majoring in drama in college, did you want to be an actress?
LM: I was cast as Sandy in Grease my senior year in high school, which planted the seed! Yet, I began college as a Journalism major. Only after taking an Intro to Cinema class and seeing Red, the French/Polish film by Kieślowski, did I decide to change my major to Drama. The film was vastly different from anything I’d ever seen, and its way of story-telling really resonated with me.
DP: Your bio says your favorite roles were Nina in The Seagull and Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Did you act in those in college or after? From those two plays, I’d think at the time you were more attracted to theater than film, am I right?
LM: Virginia Woolf was during college, and The Seagull was post-college in Atlanta at PushPush Theater. At the time, yes, I was more attracted to theater—that’s what I had most experience doing. Also, both roles had so much to them psychologically. It was the first time I really dove into exploring a role so deeply, and it was very satisfying emotionally and creatively. With both Nina and Honey, I felt like I could have kept on discovering new things about them for years, but eventually a play ends and you have to move on!
DP: When you lived in France and studied in London—as an exchange student?—had you given up on the idea of becoming an actress or were you acting in Europe, too?
LM: I never gave up on the idea of acting, but I was also extremely curious about traveling. At that time, I had never been abroad, and I was yearning to explore and discover another culture. I was also learning French, and wanted the chance to put it to use. Both Avignon and London were study-abroad programs where the focus was cinema and French, and theater, respectively. So, I was still acting in classes, and also going to see shows on the West End and at the Avignon Theater Festival, which is one of the biggest in the world. On top of that, I travelled to the Berlin Film Festival, for a political cinema class, which was very exciting. Getting to see the world and meet different people truly helped form the person I am today, and deepened my reservoirs as an actor.
DP: When I watched you in Crazy Bitches, I got the impression that someone discovered you and encouraged you go be a movie actress. Am I totally wrong and in fact you always had confidence in your talents and pushed yourself?
LM: I have always believed in myself, and, yes, I have been pushing myself all along, always knowing that this is what I should be doing. I do whatever I can to stay busy—ongoing acting classes, indie films, short films, commercials, writing/producing/acting in my own short. Whatever will fuel the fire.
DP: Your bio lists a few independent movies. Were you thinking of indies as a place to learn the craft and be seen, a stepping stone to bigger Hollywood productions, or did you feel that was where you belonged?
LM: Honestly, that’s what was offered to me at the time, and I gladly obliged! I feel like one could have a very fulfilling career doing only indie films, but I do see them as a stepping stone to the bigger productions I aspire to as well.
DP: Your bio says you are best known for your lead role in Queen Sized, which is popular with devotees of Lifetime Movies. You were cast as Liz—was that a stretch?
LM: This was such a fun movie to work on, and it was a stretch because I was cast to play this conniving, back-stabbing girl. Everyone I knew was shocked and couldn’t believe I played such a role because I’m a friendly, easy-going person. It was pretty darn fun to change it up and play that part, though, letting the dark side come out.
DP: How did Crazy Bitches come about and where did it fit into your budding career?
LM: A friend of mine was already cast in the movie, and Jane asked him to suggest some friends for the role of Minnie. He thought of me, and so Jane called me in to read. I had never met Jane before, but had heard great things and knew that she was a serious filmmaker. After all, she had just made Meth Head. I got the script and the sides the night before, read them after I got off work at 1 a.m., prepped the role, and went in the next day to meet Jane.
DP: How did you like being in a cast with almost all women?
LM: I absolutely loved it. I had not met any of the other actresses prior to filming, and now I consider them all friends. We had such a blast working together.
DP: Was it a hard and/or fun shoot?
LM: We were way up in a canyon in Malibu—a place that’s been deemed “sacred grounds.” There was a veritable teepee, where people come to have spiritual gatherings, as well as a farm with pot-belly pigs, llamas, and goats. It was such an exotic environment to me, and because we had several night-shoots, it felt like being at camp, surrounded by friends.
DP: Minnie comes across as naïve and a bit “out there.” Is it hard or easy to play characters who aren’t as bright as you are? Or did you think Minnie was brighter than she lets on?
LM: I approached the role thinking that Minnie is much brighter than she appears. Minnie has a deep spiritual connection to the people and the environment around her. And sometimes simply saying things that are “out there” with extreme conviction, makes her come across as a little flighty, but in fact, I think she’s in touch with something much larger than the average person is.
DP: I think Minnie’s best quality is simply that she’s a nice person. But when she seduces Cassie—were you surprised to find that scene in the script?—Jane has “Crimson and Clover” playing on the soundtrack with the lyrics “I’m not such a sweet thing.” Is she not as sweet as we think?
LM: Minnie is a sweet, considerate person, always looking for the good in people, and has an innocence about her, so yes, I was surprised when I read that scene! What?! Yet, on the other hand, it made sense to me because nice people who usually follow the rules, so to speak, still desire to explore, be rebellious, and take risks, and I think that’s what she does.
DP: Did you put all the puzzle pieces together so you understood the mysterious ending or did Jane have to explain who killed who to you?
LM: Ha, it was mysterious indeed. I’m trying to remember my first impression—I don’t think I quite pieced it together at first. I knew who was involved, but I wasn’t sure who the mastermind was. Still not sure who that is…but we’ll find out in Crazier Bitches perhaps!
DP: What was your reaction when you heard Jane was making a sequel to Crazy Bitches and you were returning as Minnie?
LM: I loved it! I had SO much fun playing Minnie—her dialogue cracks me up, the character itself cracks me up—and once I read the script, which is even funnier and scarier, I was in!
DP: Do you think Minnie will be the same in Crazier Bitches, or will she wise up and come across as stronger?
LM: Hmm, that is to be determined, I suppose…
DP: What do you look forward to most about the sequel?
LM: I look forward to reuniting with the returning cast members, as well as digging into new adventures with Minnie. It will be my first sequel, so I am excited to follow Minnie along this path and see how she changes.
DP: Working with Jane, did you pick up anything as an actress and filmmaker that has helped you with making your first short, The Lemon Tree?
LM: I remember watching Jane on set and was in total awe of her—rallying this big crew, the unimaginably long days, edits to the script, the thousand decisions she had to make. And through it all she remained calm and took the time to really get in there with the actors to make sure we were on the same page. To top it off, she had a sense of humor through it all! That’s when I started thinking I’d really love to do this some day.
Link to Indiegogo: http://igg/me/at/CrazierBs
I hope all you movie fans who are or know baseball fans, will order a copy of my new oral history of Derek Jeter. http://www.amazon.com/Baseball-Immortal-Career-Quotes-Immortals/dp/1624141625

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