Your new movie is called Dead Hooker in a
Trunk. In a few
words, what is it about?
Jen & Sylvia Soska
Sylvia: Dead Hooker in a Trunk is a dark comedy, classic
grindhouse throw-back film that follows four character from different
walks of life - Junkie (Rikki Gagne), Goody Two-Shoes (CJ Wallis), Geek
(Jen Soska), and Badass (me) - as they discover a dead hooker in their
trunk and, for various reasons, can't really just go to the police to
remedy the situation.
Jen: That is exactly it.
CJ Wallis, Rkki Gagne, Sylvia and Jen Soska
What exactly were your
inspirations for the film's premise and plot?
S: Jen and I have been fans of horror and movies since we were little
girls. Rodriguez and Tarantino's Grindhouse
was out at the time and we absolutely loved it. Jen came up with the idea
for a fake trailer entitled Dead Hooker in a Trunk, and then we
thought up the rest. We wanted to make something that was insane and fun
to watch that also had some of the elements from movies that we have loved
our whole lives.
The fake trailer was such a success when we showed it that people
started asking about the feature. We expanded on what we had and added a
little more insanity and the film was born.
J: We were very inspired by Rodriguez's El Mariachi and his book
Rebel Without a Crew. It tells the story of what he went through
making his first feature, the ups and downs. The struggles. It's
incredibly inspiring. I highly recommend everyone read it. And,
additionally, keep their own account aka diary/journal during their
title, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, is pretty much as simple and
in-your-face as it is ingenious and addictive. Who came up with it and
S: Jen did. She is a wise woman. We knew going into it that we needed
something that caught people's attention from the get-go, then we had to
have a film that would surprise people and keep their attention. That
said, the title itself has turned off a lot of people too. They hear the
name and either they smile and get excited or they get a really disgusted,
upset look. It's interesting.
J: Being totally unknown filmmakers, we knew we needed to have
something that would be unforgettable. Dead Hooker In A Trunk
sticks in your mind, for better or worse, whether you love it instantly or
hate it. But, you don't forget it.
You have not only written but also directed the
film together. Have you clashed a lot on set?
S: I clash with Jen the way best friends who have spent their entire
lives together do. We were pretty good, but when we had to talk things
out, we would go for a little walk away from set to discuss our thoughts.
We did pretty good - probably because we had such busy, long days - there
wasn't any extra time for spats.
J: Like all killers, we prefer to have no witnesses, ha ha. If we
disagree or want to have a little talk, we go for a walk or talk about it
later. Everyone has disagreements and if they tell you otherwise, they're
lying. It's easy to get passionate about a project you care so much about.
Sylvia's actually wonderful to work with. We think in a very similar way.
We can usually reach an agreement easily. Thankfully.
you describe your directorial style?
S: With Jen, we do a tag team thing. We each pick certain scenes that
each of us will be the main director for, but we still plan out everything
with the other to make sure we will both be happy with how things turn
out. Jen is really good with people, so she does a lot of the scheduling
and figuring out things with the actors. After I write a script, I have
the whole thing - how it should look and how it should play - in my head,
so I do a bunch of running around and talking to the crew to get things
J: Definitely. We're pretty lucky that there are two of us. If we're
needed in two places at once, and I'm sure fellow directors know what I'm
talking about, we can confidently deal with two situations at once. It's
very liberating. I always know things will be fine if I leave to something
to Sylv. And vice versa.
We're very hands on in our style. We love to be involved in absolutely
every aspect of filmmaking. That is, in part, one of the reasons we did so
many jobs on this film. We wanted to be part of it all and it was a great
opportunity to showcase everything we can do. It's highly unlikely we'll
ever get that chance again. You have a lot of freedom with your first
project and you really ought to take advantage of that.
Since you are
identical twins and I have no real life experience whatsoever but seen way
too many bad
movies, I just have to ask this: Which one of you is the evil twin?
S: Jen is. I bought her a tank top proudly sporting I'm the Evil
Twin. She claims the shirt is misdirection on my part, but isn't that
exactly what an evil twin would say?
J: Ha ha, Sylv's totally the evil one. She could rival the Punisher.
She just seems much sweeter on the outside and I seem a bit meaner because
I got one of those bitch faces. If I'm not putting in an effort to
smile or look happy, I look pissed off. I really can't help it.
Wallis doesn't only play one of the leads and has I don't know how many
other behind-the-scenes functions on the film, you have also collaborated with him
quite frequently in the past. What can you tell us about him?
S: CJ Wallis is stupidly, overly talented. He's a great actor, he
directs, shoots, soundtracks, and cuts amazingly well. Our original Goody
Two-Shoes dropped out two days before our first shooting day and, due to
the material and us paying for the film out of our pockets, no one else
could be found. I saw him do a cameo in one of his shorts and it was
exactly what I wanted Goody to be. I asked him to be in the film and he
said yes. That night we wrote the script with Goody as a guy and I
couldn't imagine the film in any other way.
The three of us became really close working together on the film. His
and my friendship became romantic a few months in, we decided that we
shouldn't do anything about it until filming was finished, but it turned
out to be the real thing. We've been together ever since. CJ, Jen, and I
all live together. We understand each other as we are all extremely
passionate about film. We have this joke that Jen and I make the
crotch-driven guy movies and CJ makes the artful tearing-invoking chick
flicks. We do collaborate a lot and I think the three of us make a unique
mix with our individual interests.
J: We're very lucky to have met CJ. Not only is he a great friend, he
is an amazingly talented film maker and composer. His taste and style are
polar opposites to ours. Which is a very good thing. He's introduced us to
music and films that we probably would have never sought out ourselves. As
well, we've introduced him to the films we love. He hadn't seen many
horror movies until we came along. Now, he's pretty much see 'em all. It's
a great blend. It's arthouse meets grindhouse.
film also features actress and stunt woman Rikki Gagne in a lead role. A
few words about her?
S: Rikki is amazing. She was our third Junkie. Our first left town
unexpectedly, our second wasn't available for all the shooting dates. We
had met her on set a few times and our Hooker, Tasha Moth, had really good
things to say about her. We hired her and in the first scene we shot, she
argues with Badass then leaves to pick up drugs. She was so good - her
acting is so effortless and her movement is captivating. She becomes a
character with every aspect of her being. She is also one of the sweetest,
most fun, and hardworking ladies I have had the opportunity to work with.
You don't often meet a performer that is not only an exception actress and
stunt woman, but Rikki is that rare mix.
J: Rikki is not only an extremely talented performer, but she's a great
friend and wonderful person. She's just so full of life and she's the kind
of person you love spending time with.
What can you tell us about
yourselves as actresses? And does it make things easier or harder to be
both in front of and behind the camera?
S: I think it helps anyone who wants to direct to have acting
experience. It helps you understand the process better. The more jobs you
know how to do on set, the more useful you can be. We started acting when
we were little girls - the whole Olsen twin thing was a big push to get
work. I have enjoyed creating characters and acting as one of those
characters is a thrill. On Hooker, it was a lot of work setting up
the scene, getting everything scheduled, buying props and costumes, going
over the scene with the crew, deciding on shots, all the while in your
makeup and costume about to get in the scene. I truly love acting, but I
am going to step away from it for the time being. I have a lot of stories
to tell, but unfortunately not all of them are about the misadventures of
J: I'd say it makes things easier. It gives you better perspective.
Sometimes actors can be too much in their own heads, but when you do so
many other things, especially direct, you see the bigger picture. You have
so many things on your mind that you don't have time to over think
anything and your choices are more natural.
in a Trunk also features a performance by Robert Rodriguez-regular
Carlos Gallardo. How did you get him involved in your project, and what
was the collaboration like?
S: I love Carlos - he is such an identity in the indie scene and one of
the nicest guys in the world. We had Rodriguez's book - Rebel Without A
Crew - about creating his first film, El Mariachi, indie style
on set with us at all times. It was a great resource for the things you
may have to deal with while making your own flick and it was a big
inspiration in creating Hooker. A filmmaking friend of ours, Jeff
O'Brien, knew about our crazy little indie and was friends with Carlos, so
he told him about us and we got to talking. Carlos was so supportive of
what we were doing. There is a cameo part as God in the film and we asked
Carlos if he would be interested. He said yes and did it out of the
goodness of his heart. He gave us so much advice. Working with someone
whose movies you have watched a million times - I mean, he is the Mariachi
- and getting to have them work with you on your own project is more than
any first time film maker could ever ask for. He is a true professional
and downright nice guy.
J: It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. To read about
Carlos and Robert making El Mariachi and then getting to sit down
and chat about it? Priceless. It was just so surreal and Carlos is so very
sweet. Some people may get detached and forget how hard it is for indie
filmmakers out there, but he's not that way at all. He's supportive and
everything you'd hope he'd be.
A few words about the rest
of your cast and crew?
S: We had the hardest working cast and crew ever. There was little to
no money to draw people in and they still came in and worked their asses
off. Almost everyone who was cast was also crew in some way. Everyone did
everything to make the film work. Our Hooker - the actress and stuntwoman
- Tasha Moth was incredible. Once you see her fight scene in the film,
you'll understand. She is tough as they come. Our Cowboy Pimp - John Tench
- is probably the classiest and most talented guys around - I will love
him and his work. We had so many talented people - James Bell (Weirdo),
Michael Schaldamose (Helpful Man), David Barkes (Motel Manager and FX),
Nicholas Baric (Cop#1), Hugo Steele (Cop#2), Eric Alexander Steel (Random
Guy), Maja Stace-Smith (Badass double for Cowboy fight), Denton E. Winn
(1979 Dad), Dahlia Moth (1979 Badass and Geek), and so many more. Our
stunt team was insane, our pyro team was insane, our stunt horse (Libero)
was also insane.
J: I really have to thank our fellow producers, Loyd Bateman, Mary Ann
Vangraven, Don Charge, and our parents, Agnes and Marius Soska. Loyd
brought his insane stunt skills and fellow performers to the project. Mary
Ann was not only our key make up artist, but she was there every single
day and there till the bitter sweet end. Our parents have been incredible.
You read about people thanking their parents for all their support and
when I was little watching the Oscars I always wondered why people would
go on and on about their parents. I thought, "they're your parents,
of course they support you." Our parents have gone above and beyond
to support us. They never gave us the
We're very grateful.
For your film's soundtrack, you
have gathered quite a few indie bands - who's on the soundtrack and why?
S: We wanted to keep the film as indie as possible and are lucky that
there is so much talent locally here. We had Fake Shark-Real Zombie!,
Incura, The Awkward Stage, The Stalls, Ione Sky, The Titan Go-Kings (a
girl punk band from Japan), The Belle Game, and original music from CJ
Wallis and from Adam Nanji. They have great music and it was nice to
include it in the film to help broaden their audiences.
J: As an independent project ourselves, it was important to us to have
that independent spirit reflected in the music. We sought out the very
best the Vancouver indie music scene has to offer.
Hooker in a Trunk was shot in Vancouver, Canada. Why, and what can you tell us
about the (independent) movie scene in that neck of the woods?
S: There is more talent here than there is work and I think it makes it
a hot spot for independent film making. Every type of location is here
from city scapes to rainforests to desert which makes for convenient
shooting. I don't know if you have ever had the chance to come to our neck
of the woods, but it's beautiful here and the people are really friendly
and hard working. A filmmaker's paradise.
J: Vancouver is filmed in a lot, but rarely is it ever filmed AS
Vancouver. We love our city and wanted to showcase how great and beautiful
it is here. Vancouver is to us as I suppose Maine is to Stephen King.
and your film's website, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, whatever else?
S: We have pretty much everything on our site http://www.twistedtwinsproductions.net
- from movies, to a store, to a blog that says what we're up to next.
We encourage people who are interested in the film to contact us through
the site and we'll try to get Hooker to a festival or screening
J: We're also on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/twisted_twins
Hooker in the Trunk is your debut feature as directors. What can you tell
us about your film expeciences, both in front of and behind the camera,
prior to this?
S: As an actor, you have very little control over the final project or
what your involvement in the film will be. I was looking over my resume
and everything was either sexy twin this or sexy clone that
and that's fine and flattering, but it wasn't what I was passionate about
doing. Now that I am writing and directing with Jen, I feel that I am
making the films that I want to see and want to be involved in. There's
more creative control over what is going out, actually it's almost like
absolute creative control, and that makes me very proud of the product.
That said, I can work for the rest of my life in this field and still be
J: It was primarily just hot chick or hot twins roles.
Which are good and fine, but we strive for a little more than that. I
always think that actors spend so much time trying to book roles they
don't even really want to play. The only real way to be able to play the
roles or tell the stories you want to is by making them yourself. It's an
amazing feeling. I just love it.
What made you go into directing in the
first place, and did you recieve and formal training in filmmaking?
S: We wanted to make something cool that we would enjoy watching. Being
identical twins, we found we were just getting the same roles offered to
us over and over again. We went to film school to turn our martial arts
training into skills that could be utilized in the stunt world. The stunt
program was amazing and the rest was so disorganized that it was a severe
waste of time and money. The school pulled our funding for our final
project and told us to just merge with another group. That simply wouldn't
do. Jen came up with the idea for a fake trailer called Dead Hooker in
a Trunk and we were off to hire a cast and crew and get everything
organized. The school had a list of everything too inappropriate for
projects, so we threw it all in there and a couple they forgot to mention
for good measure. The reaction was half the audience walking out and the
other half cheering so loud that you could barely hear the lovely
offensive shit we put in it. And so, Dead Hooker in a Trunk
born and our directing career began.
J: Ha ha, what she said.
future projects you'd like to talk about?
S: We have a couple that might start any time now. We're shooting a
teaser trailer for one, American Mary, that we'll be showing at our
Vancouver screening on August 13th, then posting online everywhere. The
teaser will be a nice juicy hint of the unique horror of the new film. We
also have one called Bob that we pitched a couple weeks ago and are
just waiting to hear back from the production company about. It's a coming
of age, (extremely) dark comedy about two friends. There is something very
different about their relationship, but we can't say too much til we get
J: We have so many projects we want to do. We have a film called The
Man Who Kicked Ass which I'm very excited about. It's a re-imagining
of Westerns as you know them with a new twist.
have influenced you?
S: Robert Rodriguez for sure. He's my hero. I love the work from
Quentin Tarantino, Mary Harron, Tim Burton, Peter Jackson, Eli Roth,
Takeshi Miike, and John Carpenter. I'm such a horror nerd.
J: Definitely Rodriguez. He's so inspiring. I can't wait to meet him.
All the ones Sylvie said, but I also love Joss Whedon. A lot.
Your favourite films?
S: American Psycho is my favorite. Jen and I always quote it at
the most inappropriate of times. I also really dig The Classic, Suicide
Club, Martyrs, the Mariachi-trilogy,
Edward Scissorhands, and The People Versus Larry Flynt.
J: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, American Psycho, Batman
Returns, Twins, Suicide
Club, and The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.
And of course, films you have really deplored?
S: Oh God. I hate chick flicks. They insult vaginas everywhere. Crossroads
was a pile of shit - we wanted to make Hooker the anti-Crossroads
girl-roadtrip movie. Most romantic comedies where sad women try to
find a man to 'complete' them irritate me. Sex and the City
which promotes women acting selfishly and obsessing with men is probably
the piece of work that I deplore the most. I think it has soured an entire
generation of intelligent women who are now bimbo-clones.
J: Bitch Slap. It was total crap farm. And I fucking hated Catwoman.
She's been a long time hero(ine) of mine and it was terrible to see her
portrayed so pathetically. I actually have a killer re-vitalization script
else you are dying to tell us and I have merely forgotten to ask?
S: You have been very thorough! I guess the only thing left to say is
that if you like this film, pass the word along and tell your friends. If
you want to see this film, but haven't, send us a message through our site
and we'll do our best to bring the Hooker to a theater or film
festival near you.
J: We're Tauruses.
for the interview!
S: Thank you for having us!
J: Yes, thank you so much!