Your upcoming movie Model Hunger - in a few words, what is it
Model Hunger is about the emotional and psychological decline of a
woman who has been rejected by the business after experiencing a niche of
success. She is thrown away based on her physical look and with years of
rage her pain explodes via brutal carnage.
After the long and successful acting career
you've had (and are still having of course), what made you finally change
into the director's chaír for Model Hunger- and how would you
describe Debbie Rochon, the director?
Debbie in The Theatre Bizarre
I was given the
opportunity by writer and executive producer James Morgart [James Morgart interview - click here]
something with meaning and that had something important to say. Because of
these elements, and his belief in me, which I will always be grateful for,
I took the project on. It has a lot to say and says it with a vengeance.
Why make a movie
about the model industry, and your personal take on the subject?
not exactly about the modeling industry. It's more about the exploitation
industry à la Bettie Page-type of modeling. Exploitation in film is a very
close relative so it was material I understood very well. As will most
women and it will be appreciated by men as well. I think the pressures for
women are very intense and can lead to neurosis and serious body issues.
Self worth is a big subject but it's because of what we have created that
so many of us walk around emotionally wounded and not in the moment or
able to be happy on a deep level.
(Lynn Lowry in the background)
How did the
project get off the ground in the first place?
It was all
James Morgart's [James Morgart interview - click here]
doing! Once it was decided that this movie was going to be
made I planned the shoot to take place in Buffalo, New York, where there is
a terrific film community and brought on Greg Lamberson [Gregory
Lamberson interview - click here] to line produce.
He brought the entire film together with locations, scheduling, you name
it. He was out boots on the ground during the entire pre-production
process seeing he lives up there and is one of the best work horses and
actually appear in front of the camera in Model Hunger as well, and
what can you tell us about your cast?
I have a cameo and
that only came about because one of my celeb friends had to back out last
The cast for this movie is really off the hook. This was the most
important element to me. The writing was in place, a terrifically
multi-levelled script, a great line producer that made so much happen, a
cast that would hit their characters way out of the park and the DP
Wolfgang Meyer [Wolfgang Meyer
interview - click here] and lighting designer Daniel
Lipski (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2370474/). It is only with a group of people who all are on the ball,
extremely talented and committed that you can really pull off something so
ambitious as this movie is. My female leads were outstanding, beyond what
I ever thought the characters could be, Lynn Lowry and Tiffany Shepis [Tiffany
Shepis interview - click here] devoured their characters and it was such a joy to see. I have some hard
hitting male actors too, Brian Fortune, Michael Thurber, Carmine
Capobianco and Aurelio Voltaire. The supporting cast are ALL fantastic
from Mary Bogle, Michael O'Hear, Robert Bozek, David Marancik, Bette
Cassatt, Suzi Lorraine [Suzi
Lorraine interview - click here], Babette Bombshell... the list goes on. I don't
have a single weak link in the entire cast and I am so proud of that.
Every actor hits it home and it is very rare to see that in a small budget
Tiffany Shepis, David Marancik, Debbie Rochon
What can you tell
us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
creative aspects of the shoot were wonderful. We made a very definite
point of having the set be as performance-friendly and quiet and
concentrated as I would love every set I am on to be. It is also very
important to have this type of shooting situation for the crew as well so
they can do their best work. It is very much appreciated from serious film
people and something as simple as having a concentrated set makes ALL the
difference in the world and sets the tone for high quality work. The
business part of it all was fine in the sense that being a director is a
problem solver in a lot of ways but certainly less appealing to me when it
strays much too far away from the creative. But everything must get dealt
with so what wasn't easy was learned! I had my great friend David Marancik
there the whole time to keep a smile on my face and I am very lucky to
have had that!
Hunger was written and executive produced by James Morgart [James Morgart interview - click here],
in whose Won Ton Baby! you
starred. So what can you tell us about the man and your previous
collaboration with him?
Won Ton Baby! was terrific fun! It
was James' first movie and we got through a very rough shoot in extremely
good spirits. We shot overnights so that we could use locations that were
not open to use during business hours. I loved playing Madame Won Ton and
I love bizarre comedy horror cult films so it was a gas. Everyone on set
was a pleasure to work with. I am very happy I made that movie and it was
just a complete bonus that I would get to know James well enough for him
to trust me with such great material directing Model Hunger. So certainly
a win-win situation! It's not that often you meet people who see deeper
into your person than the visage or image, and he knew I had a lot to say
from having spent what time we did together. He is a really fantastic
talent and I know he will go very far in this business. I'll never forget
the chance he gave me.
You have also worked on your
line producer Gregory Lamberson's Slime City Massacre [Gregory
Lamberson interview - click here]. Again, what can you tell us
about the man and your previous film together?
I have known
of Greg's film Slime City since the late 80s and have always been a fan.
When he asked me to be in the sequel Slime City Massacre I jumped at the
chance. It was a really special shoot for all of us, I was working with
everyone there for the first time and the energy from the entire cast and
crew made it feel as special as it was! We kept in touch since then and
have become friends. His family is amazing and he is a very hard working
person who deserves more credit than he often gets.
we are talking producers, a few words about your producer Shannon Lark [Shannon
Lark interview - click here]?
met Shannon on Mel House's Psychic Experiment, which we both acted in. She
also came on Chris Warren's Imago-set to interview myself and Lisa Wilcox.
The next time I saw her was on Joe Hollow's Disciples [Joe
Hollow Interview - click here], where she was hard
at work producing his film. On Model Hunger she is in charge of all the
press and web materials and even though we haven't rolled out a lot of
press yet, we want to wait till it's closer to being completed, she is
doing a really terrific job!
Debbie Rochon with Wolfgang Meyer filming
$64 question of course: When and where will Model Hunger be
released onto the general public?
2013 is the best answer I
can give you.
After your experiences
with Model Hunger - will you ever be lured back to directing ever
It would have to be something equally special as far
as the material goes. It would have to be something that I would die to
direct. Directing for the sake of directing isn't my thing. I love the
creative process but the film lives with you for so long that you better
be 100% committed to it before you sign up. I don't look at directing as
something of a light job, so it would have to be a highly unique project.
Let's go back to the very beginnings of your
career: What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive
any formal training on the subject?
I have studied at 3 of
the top studios in NYC for 15 years starting in the mid 80s. I would love
to go back to school for it seeing it's a very pure form of the art. Time
doesn't permit at the current moment. I got the bug when I worked on Ladies
and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains! as a teen extra with one line
Can you still
remember your first time in front of a camera, and what can you tell us
about that experience?
YES! I remember very well that while
I had no idea what I was doing, whatever I was asked to do I did 110%. The
first AD would give me very nice feedback and that made a huge impression
on me! I'll always be grateful to him for taking the time to do that.
One of the first films of yours
was Roberta Findlay's very last, the as-of-yet unreleased Banned -
anything you can tell us about that one?
Only that it
should be released! I was an extra with one line in her film Lurkers
(titled Home Sweet Home when we were shooting it) and her next film
Banned (1988) started shooting almost right away. I LOVED the film, my crazy
punk/new wave character, and it's a cinematic shame this
punk-rock-body-switch-comedy was never released. I think people would get
a HUGE kick out of it and I would love to see it on DVD one day SOON. I
guess there is still hope, it took over 25 years for Ladies
and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains! to come out! All it will really take is a huge amount
of people wanting to see it, which might change her mind but that takes
awareness of the film's existence. With Ladies
and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains! that was shown on TV
once or twice in 1984 so there were enough bootlegs floating around to
have a cult following. Then Rhino released it, God bless them.
I guess no
Debbie Rochon interview would be complete without mentioning
right? So would you care to talk about your work for the company for a
I have known Lloyd Kaufman and Troma
since 1992. I
have made a few films with him and have done a ton of TV and promo/comedy
stuff as well. I love him and was just in his current film Return to
the Class of Nuke 'em High,l so the legacy continues! I have been a long time
friend of Lloyd's and we work together quite often together on other
people's movies as well. Of course he had a cameo in Model Hunger!
As fate has it, you have been in one of my all-time
favourite movies, Gladiator
Eroticus ... so you just have to say a few words about that movie and
your other collaborations with director John Bacchus!
that's pretty funny... I worked with him on a number of the sexy parody
films they did - Playmate
of the Apes, Erotic
Survivor etc. I always had a
blast! That was because I was always on the non-erotic end of things,
shooting the comedy scenes with the other 'non-erotic' players. They were
always a lot of fun. Had a blast!
Wrath of the Crows
other past films of yours you'd like to talk about?
worked with many people I adore so I always hate this question because I
end up leaving out a person that means a lot to me. But I will say that
making movies with Ivan Zuccon [Ivan
Zuccon interview - click here], a director in Italy, has been a highlight
of my career (Colour from the Dark, Wrath of the Crows). Also Jon Keeyes
(American Nightmare, Nightmare Box) is another director I love to work
with. JimmyO Burril is great to work with as well, I base this on how I
like to work as an actor. There really are many more people that I love to
work with as well but this would become just a list. If they are creative,
have vision and know how to work with actors then I am a huge fan! Love
working with Mel House and met the amazing Cunningham brothers (Tim and
Sean) when I made the soon to be released Sick Boy. Also another stand out
is Richard Marr-Griffin [Richard
Griffin interview - click here] who directed a movie I am very proud of called
Exhumed to be released soon!
future projects you'd like to share?
Soon to be released: Nightmare
Box, Sick Boy, Exhumed,Solid State, Sick, Wrath
of the Crows, Disciples, Imago, Tales of Poe, Billy's
Cult, Gallery of Fear
and a few
more but I don't have the dates for them yet!
In pure volume,
your filmography is nothing short of impressive. What keeps you going?
of your films are of the horror variety - a favourite genre of yours, and
Yes horror is the shite because it forces you to
use some of your deepest emotions. The stakes are always high, life or
death usually, and that's the stuff I love to do (and watch, I also love
You have been called a scream queen at more
than one occasion. Does that label at all bother you? And how would you
describe yourself as an actress?
I only describe myself as
an actress. But others call me a Scream Queen. I don't care too much about
it, it's just a label and people are obsessed with them.
Actresses (or indeed
actors) who inspire you?
Movies inspire me more than any
one person because it takes a 'village' to make a piece of art. The
Road Warrior, True Romance, The Warriors, The Shining,
Taxi Driver, Shutter
Island are some of them.
Speaking of - films you really deplore?
made with no heart and soul. I'll take a good-bad movie (because it was
made with love and for all the right reasons) over bland BS any day.
Filmmakers who have influenced
Lynch, Cronenberg, Jarmusch are my top faves, many
more inspire me too.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
have done very well my friend.
for the interview!