Kevin O’Brien [Interview]

Today’s interview subject is a truly special human being that I am so happy to have on the site today. It’s the brilliant writer and filmmaker Kevin O’ Brien! His debut feature film, At the End of the Day, was recently released and you may remember us talking about said film just last March. It still remains my favorite film of 2019. It is a poignant and brilliant look into the world of christianity and the absurdity of discriminating against a person because of who they choose to love. It is a powerful story that is done so well by Mr. O’ Brien, and I can not recommend it highly enough to you all.
We were excited to learn a bit more about Kevin’s latest film, and obviously a bit more about him as well. We were so fortunate to be able to steal a few responses from him to share with you all. His compassion is amazing, and he obviously has a serious set of ideals that are memorable and will conceivably lead to even greater projects to come in the near future. And we are so excited to follow him on his journey of creativity, wherever that proverbial road may go. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Kevin O’ Brien!
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When did you first discover your passion for the world of filmmaking? Was it something that you always knew you wanted to do? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?
I discovered filmmaking later in life, in my 30s. I always loved movies, but I grew up in a small town on the Virginia coast in a rather sheltered home, so to me movies were these things created in a far off magical land and shipped to us. I had no idea filmmaking was a career option. I actually discovered filmmaking while on a church staff as a creative director. We often used original elements in the worship gathering, and I started writing and editing them, and quickly fell in love with the entire process, specifically being able to move an entire audience with words, images, and music. A few years in and I knew I wanted to make it my career.
Your debut feature film, At the End of the Day, is truly a magical piece of cinematic art if I have ever seen one. I truly loved it a lot. So, I am curious to know where this story came from? How much of it is based on reality for you personally? I’ve come to learn that you yourself grew up with a very conservative and religious upbringing?
Well, that is very kind, Ron. Thank you. I did grow up much like the lead character, and the “coming of theology” he experiences was very much inspired by my own growth, but the actual story is fiction. However, the dilemas, scenarios, and characters are all based on close friends and their experiences. The stories we hear in the middle of the film (at the Zebra house) are real stories, not written or acted out scenes. Those are the actual stories told by the youth who lived them. That was very important to me from the beginning – to have a sense of authenticity about these relationships.
I like to say that At the End of the Day is fiction, but it’s true. And in many religious circles it’s a current situation. It’s easy to think that our culture has become so progressive and that this kind of rejection is over the top or dated, but for those living in religious homes and communities, it is reality.
While the entire cast of the film was amazing, I recently felt the need to single out Chris Cavalier, who portrays the character Nate, in our recent showcase of At the End of the Day. I am always curious to know how a creator just “knows” when they have found the right person for a role. So, I am curious to know how you came to realize that Cavalier was the obvious choice to play Nate?
Man, Chris is so good. He actually wasn’t who I imagined originally for the part, but from his first audition for Nate, I knew he was it. He was so authentic and real. The main thing I look for in casting actors is if I believe what they are saying, and I believed him right away. He’s such a powerful talent, and a kind spirit. I always enjoyed when Chris was on set. We had a few conversations early on about how he should play Nate, and I think we really found him together.
Now that the film is out there for the entire world to enjoy, I’m certain that there are who will demonize the film based on the premise alone, without actually even watching the film before judging. This is the sad reality we live in. But, I am more curious about the positivity that I am sure has come from the film being out in the world. So how has it been on that level? Have you had fans reaching out about how the film has impacted them?
Yes, the positive stories far outweigh the negative. From the very first screenings, people have told us how much they have felt seen and heard in this movie. They’ve thanked us for telling their stories. I think it’s a perspective that’s very underserved – people who grew up in evangelical religious homes and are looking for their own truth. It’s a very lonely place – I know because I’ve experienced it. Ironically, the social institution of the Church is not very forgiving when you start to ask questions or come out as your true self. For many of these youth in christian colleges, they are forced to remain in the closet in order to graduate, and many of them have no other educational options. We’ve also heard from family members who have watched the film, and though they don’t agree quite yet, it helped them respond in love when their own kids came out to them. It’s been amazing hearing these stories.
What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to share with our readers?
I’m developing a few ideas for my next feature, as well as a series. It really depends on which opportunity presents itself as the next thing that needs to be made. My passions lean toward telling stories of empathy and humanizing the marginalized, so I’m pulled to ideas about immigration and women’s rights.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
My wife, Teresa, who produced At the End of the Day with me, was just honored as the Volunteer of the Year at our kids’ middle school. We have three 7th graders, and she spends a day per week in their understaffed office, helping out wherever she’s needed. I just saw a picture of her by a banner they printed for her, and that certainly made me smile.
Check out Kevin’s brilliant film At the End of the Day on DVD and VOD now. To learn more about the film, check out our previous coverage of the film as a Sunday Matinee.

Rachele Brooke Smith [Interview]

 

Makeup by Cassie Paige, Hair by Garrett Arter, Styling by Matthew Peridis

 

Hello Folks! After a partial break to welcome the Spring, we are heading back into the beautiful chaos that is Trainwreck’d Society, and bringing you some absolutely wonderful interviews once again. Today we have the incredible actress Rachele Brook Smith on the site! We are so very excited to have her grace our digital pages. Long time readers will recognize Smith has one of the stars of a delightful horror film we covered a couple of Month of Horror showcases a while ago, entitled Cold Moon. She appeared alongside the legendary Christopher Lloyd, in the film’s stand out performance. This is how we came to know her, and was only the start of a process of getting to know a damn fine actress who has done so much incredible work.

Rachele began her career at a very young age, competing heavily in the world of gymnastics before moving to the big screen. She goes in great detail about this venture in her wonderful words below. She made her breakout performance with the lead role in the film Center Stage: Turn It Up, the sequel to the smash hit film Center Stage. And she has done nothing but crush since then. She has appeared in everything from Marvel Universe classics, to cutting edge thrillers like Psycho Stripper that is coming this May, which happens to be written and directed by our old friend Jake Helgren!

We are so excited to share some words from one of today’s finest performers that we know you are going to love. So Folks, please enjoy some words from the brilliant Rachele Brooke Smith!

 

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When did you decide you wanted to join the world of acting? What inspired you to want to play pretend for a living? I understand you were dedicated gymnast prior to becoming a brilliant actress? What inspired the change?

Well it all began when I was very little, actually. I grew up a very competitive gymnast & After breaking my hand during one of the best competitions of my life (and having to have surgery on it), I began to realize how truly unhappy I was, and even though it was ridiculously hard, and seemed almost impossible at the time to quit, I eventually did find the strength to so (I don’t think I will ever forget how sad and lost back then).  Around that same time I went with my family to see the movie Center Stage by Nicholas Hytner. This particular film was so powerful for me, I had crazy goosebumps, chills, and so filled with inspiration, I literally couldn’t move. Even after everyone else had left the theater I was still sitting there with an overwhelming feeling of joy, passion, a little bit of fear,  and lots of excitement. I just knew in that very powerful moment that I would never forget this experience. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be just like that girl that I watched light up that screen and inspired me so much. I went from feeling so sad, so lost, so alone to feeling more alive and full of joy and wonderment then ever before. I wanted to do everything I possible could and work harder than I ever had before to be able to move and change people the way that film had changed me.  I wanted to act, dance, and perform more than anything and I wanted to do it for the rest of my life.  After that moment there really was no looking back, i just knew that performing and storytelling was what I was born to do.

I barely slept all through high school because I was to busy dancing and acting all the time. Then the plan was to go to my dream college that had one of the best performing arts programs, then go to LA to follow my dream of being a lead actress. Fun fact, that plan failed big time and I didn’t get into my dream college  (even though I had a 3.9 GPA, captain of the dance line, lead our schools non profit activities, and was in student government all 4 years). After few weeks of complete devastation, confusion, and not knowing what to do next (I was all set up to go to ASU… however something inside me felt awful about making that move) I saw an opportunity to audition for a super intense performing arts scholarship program in LA… long story short, I last minute flew to LA with my mom, auditioned, got in (yay!!!!), and had 2 weeks to move and get all set up in this new crazy big city I knew pretty much no one and very little  about (I mean other than what I saw in movies).

During this very intense year program (which was one of the hardest but best things I have ever done) I couldn’t audition for anything or have an agent. As soon as I finished the program I got signed to a dance agency and tried to get in with an acting agency but got turned down and was very discouraged. A couple weeks later I saw a sign on the wall for auditions for the lead girl in Center Stage: Turn It Up (the sequel to the very film that changed me as a little girl). My initial reaction was thinking there was no way this could have been happening. It seemed so surreal, almost not even possible. I will never forget the moment, sitting at home in my room after justifying all the reasons not to go, when I had this overwhelming feeling that I had to go. It was so powerful that it honestly felt like it pushed me out the door and to the audition. I had that feeling through the next month or so, and what seemed like a rollercoaster ride of emotions of my childhood dream being so close but yet so far away. I ended up having to go in 6 different times for that role, then finally got the call that I booked the gig. After what felt like forever, I got a call from one of the agents that turned me down saying that Sony Pictures wanted to book me to play Kate Parker in Center Stage: Turn It Up and that I would be leaving to film in Vancouver in a couple of day (haahhhhhh… hahhhh . haaahhh.. Ya that was me screaming in my car.. Probably not very safe for me to be driving right then).  It was a literal childhood dream come true, I was about to play the lead in the sequel to the movie that changed my life as a little girl, I was going to get to be “that girl” that inspired me so much. This crazy, beautiful, overwhelming, and to me somewhat miraculous experience was what has shaped my entire brand and company. All I want to do is to use this story to inspire others and be “that girl” to move and change anyone’s life I possibly can through the arts, performing, and storytelling.

Here is a video where I talk all about this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIEfBRizMeU

 

 

 

Cold Moon was an absolute gem of a film, and you were definitely one of the biggest highlights of the film, in my opinion. How was your experience working on such a beautifully dark project like this? What was it like bringing Belinda Hale to life? 

 

Working on Cold Moon was such a dream come true for me (both literally and figuratively). For several years I had been obsessing over playing a southern bell character… so when this script came my way and when I auditioned for it… the whole processes honestly just felt so meant to be it was kind of crazy. Yet another experience, similar  to my “center stage” story, of how our thoughts effect what happened in our life experience.

Cold Moon is a suspense thriller that I play a southern Belle who is the happiest, sweetest, most full of life person you will probably ever meet. She was one of my very favorite characters to play… especially since I feel that every character I play rubs off on me a little.. and man while I was filming that movie I felt happier than I think I ever have in  my entire life.  I especially loved getting to work with one of my very favorite directors, Griff Furst, as well as Christopher Lloyd, Josh Stewart, Candy Clark and so many more phonemail talents.

We are huge fans of SyFy original films around here, having talked with so many great folks who have worked on some of their titles. And you’re in that grouping as well! I thought Atomic Shark (which also featured our old friend Adam Ambruso!) was so much fun! So how was that experience for you? Was it as fun to work on as it was for us to watch?

I love love love acting in (& watching) action-comedy films and playing opposite Jeff Fahey, Bobby Campo, and Adam Ambruso on this kick-ass new SYFY film.

Its always so fun to play a bad-ass character like my character, Gina Delamo. It was both such an awesome and challenging experience. I have been dying to do action roles/films for a long time now… so this was another big dream come true for me, one that I visualize everyday and talk everyones ear off about all the time. Its just the coolest feeling when what you think, dream, and slightly obsess over all of the sudden becomes your reality.

I had to do a lot of crazy intense stuff, one of which was a really cool fight scene with one of my female co-stars (Sooo fun). Due to my athletic background I really really love playing bad-ass action hero characters like I got to play in this film and I just can’t wait to do more like it.

It was also so fun to play “Gina Delamo” again in the unofficial sequel Nightmare Shark that came out recently.

 

 

You have worked on projects that have shot all over the globe, from Vancouver to Puerto Rico, right back to L.A., etc. So in your experience, what has been the most exciting location you have worked in thus far? 

Probably Puerto Rico just because it felt like I was on vacation with my friends while at the same time getting to live my dream of making movies.

If you were handed the chance to star in the biopic of any important figure from American history, who would it be? 

Cleopatra – because she fascinating and so was the time she lived in.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I play a really feisty character named “Taryn” in an awesome new film called Psycho Stripper.

I also play a lead character in a new movie called The Missing Sister. This character was so fun to play because I got to play a doctor (I come from a very big medical family so this was really fun for me) but she also is a big kick boxer so I also get to do a lot of really cool fight scenes which is always my very favorite to get to do.

I also play the lead girl in a new film coming out called The Last Exorcist where I play a very tormented girl who has to figure out a way to overcome a ton of tragedy. I also play opposite Danny Trejo in this film and since then we have become the best of friends and I could not be more grateful for his friendship and his example, he is truly a hero of mine. I really feel like this film will blow everyone away and I can’t wait for it to come out.

I also produced and am starring in a new series called, “Class Act”

I also have a very big project in the works with my own production company “Disruptive Productions” that I know will change the game and take people by a very big surprise. I can’t say much more than that right now but I can say that if you want to be a part of the movement they can join at DisruptiveDare.com and get their very own wearable reminders to help them disrupt doubt and be their own hero at DisruptiveApparel.com

And I would love to help anyone and everyone and people can connect with me on my instagram www.instagram.com/rbrookesmith

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The love of my life.

Sunday Matinee: William [Film]

 

“Star academics, Doctors Julian Reed and Barbara Sullivan, fall in love with each other and with the idea of cloning a Neanderthal from ancient DNA. Against the express directive of University administrators they follow through on this audacious idea. The result is William: the first Neanderthal to walk the earth for some 35,000 years. William tries his best to fit into the world around him. But his distinctive physical features and his unique way of thinking–his “otherness”–set him apart and provoke fear. William’s story is powerful and unique, but his struggle to find love and assert his own identity in a hostile world is universal–and timeless.” – Big Time PR

 

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William is a tale that is old as time, no pun intended. Or is it? It doesn’t really matter, I suppose. The fact is, that this is a film that expresses the turmoil of the human condition that we all know and face within our lives. It just takes a very literal idea, and puts a brilliant metaphorical twist on the subject of what it means to be human. Which, in fact, becomes symbolic in a way as we are dealing with a character who does not believe in anything that can be perceived as metaphorical or a simile in any way. This is the paradox of the entire predicament that is concurrent throughout the film. William is a very well done examination into not only what it means to be human, but the struggle within ourselves to truly understand who we are. The idea that said struggle can occur because you derive from a species of human that has been extinct for a 35,000 years is obviously a very specific form of tragedy, but it is similar to a plethora of other bits of confusion that exist within the human mind. Overall, this is a film that will eventually leave you with more questions than answers, which I personally never see as a bad thing in this type of context.

The film’s writer and director, Tim Disney, has been quoted saying, “We Sapiens are not as special as we like to think.” Which I truly believe is absolutely spot on, and his work in bringing the character of William (brilliantly portrayed by Will Brittain) to a modern setting proves it beyond a reasonable doubt. William is a Neanderthal. But, he is also human. He carries the same sort of emotional baggage that even us Sapiens most likely consider to be our own invention. Again, I truly believe that in speaking metaphorically about the differences and similarities of Neanderthals and Sapiens is a very enlightening way to begin to realize that none of it really matters. Whether it was 35 minutes ago, or 35,000 years ago…none of us truly know WHY we are here. There are plenty of well thought out scientific studies, as well as less thought zealot like beliefs, that attempt to tell us HOW we arrived here. But, there isn’t a soul existing on this planet, and most likely any other, that can tell us why the human condition exists. The brain is an organ that named itself. Think about that for a moment.

 

 

Now, this isn’t a sociological blog, so I don’t plan to dive too deep into the previously mentioned subject matters. It is suffice to say, I truly loved this film. I loved the imagery of my beloved Pacific Northwest, I loved everything that it stands for from a societal stand point, and I truly felt that everything from the cinematography to the brilliant wordplay and performances of everyone involved was handled quite perfectly, even down to an ending that, at first, felt a bit rushed and clunky, but after giving it some real thought, turns out to be the exact way it all needed to go.

William Brittain is absolutely stunning as the titular character. His matter of fact speak does not come off in a manner that we are accustomed to knowing of when it comes to Neanderthals. Brittain gives an emotional depth to a stereotype in a way that I have never seen before. And Susan Park was an absolutely delightful surprise. I truly wasn’t expecting her character to be much more than an object in which the film was using to pull more emotional depth out of the character of William. While this does turn out to be true, it was a mistake to disregard the brilliant writing of Tim Disney, and the incredible acting chops of Susan Park. Legends like Maria Dizza & Waleed Zuatier churn out some amazing performances that should not surprise any one in the least, as well.

I truly believe that William is a must see film. And I also believe that this is exactly the type of film that should be viewed with an complete open mind, and plenty of follow up conversation amongst those close to you. Ask the real questions: What does it mean to be human, really? How far removed are we actually from such a species as Neanderthals? Should Encino Man be remade into a high school drama ala Riverdale? All jokes aside, I truly cannot recommend this brilliant film enough. See it as soon as you can!

 

William is in theaters now at the Village East Cinema in New York City and Laemmle Monica Film Center in Los Angeles. 

 

Check out the trailer for William via YouTube on the FilmStop Trailers page:

 

Saturday Special: Soldier of War [Film]

 

“Deep in the forest, two boys discover the entrance to a secret military bunker hidden since World War II and inadvertently awaken an undead soldier, who embarks on a grotesque, ritualistic killing spree. A police investigation begins, but one by one the police and other locals are murdered. Only a World War II veteran holds the secret to stop the killings, but will anybody believe him?” – Uncork’d Entertainment

 

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Folks, as you all know, we love a good scar around here. Our love for the world of horror is deeply engrained within the site. But alas, we are not simply a horror only related website. In fact, sometimes we delve into some pretty heavy shit, possibly trying to make a laugh out of certain subjects from time to time. I state this only because I feel as though all of these aspects our little site are seemingly similar the story that is Soldier of War. This film is a true thrill ride of an experience with plenty of gore and frightening imagery, but also has a not-to preachy but worth acknowledging dramatic center that one could reasonably draw the comparison of zombie soldiers to POWs long since forgotten in the world. But, it’s also a lot of fun! With some incredible imagery, and a story that seems to be only slightly off from a realistic timeline, this is just a film to be watched for the pure enjoyment of cinema viewing itself.

 

Legendary Emmy Award nominated actor John Rhys-Davies turns out yet another fabulous performance as the man that “all these damn people should have listened to!” who we always love to root for within a film because it makes us feel smarter, and even more, good about ourselves and smarter than we truly are. Which is another brilliant part of cinema viewing that Soldier of War manages to bring out so perfectly. The visuals of Soldier of War are absolutely stunning and worth the length of the film itself. You’re really going to have some fun with this one, Folks!  There is just so much to enjoy, and I can not recommend it to you all enough. Strap in for a few good scares and just a damn good time!

 

Soldier of War is available now on VOD and DVD wherever you stream or buy quality cinema.

 

 

New Music Tuesday: Tom Speight – Collide [Album]

 

My oh my, Folks. Do I have an absolutely tremendous record to talk to you all about today. Tom Speight has not only created one of the finest albums of the year thus far, but one of the finest albums I have ever heard. I am not kidding. I honestly believe that based solely on the 13 tracks he has given us with his debut full length album Collide, we are witnessing the evolution of the next big pop star to come out of the United Kingdom. This is even without looking back on Tom’s earlier work, which I surely will, and I am certain it is fantastic as well.  I simply cannot imagine a world where Tom Speight doesn’t start to dominate the charts and, more importantly, the hearts and minds of audiences across the globe. He’s already left his mark everywhere from Brazil to Bulgaria, so it’s not hard to believe that he is proverbial eagle that is just waiting to soar.

The track list that makes up Collide is a real whirlwind of emotion. Tom comes in at about an 11 with the opening tracks (my favorite 3 tracks, by the way) “Waiting”, “Little Love”, and “Strangers Now” with anthemic chorus lines and a beautifully progressive build ups. He drops it down to around a 7 for a while with some beautiful ballads and perfect showcases of his impeccable ability to write the hell out of a song. And then it is back to 11 again with the clear stand out single “My Name” that will inevitably be played amongst a crowd of 20,000 people, microphone pointed to the crowd that is echoing his every damn word. I sincerely believe this will happen. Then, just to bring it all around, the opus that is “Evermore” pieces together all the elements that we had come to love about Tom through the 13 tracks.

If I haven’t made myself crystal clear, here: I fucking love this album! And again, I see nothing but wonderful things happening for Mr. Speight in the near future. I firmly believe that the unfortunate medical issues that have held him back in the past are the only reason that his name hasn’t yet infiltrated the American airwaves as intensely as at least one other UK born sensation. We all know who I’m talking about. No need for name dropping. He’s great, but dare I say Tom Speight is the best singer/songwriter in the world of pop music that I have heard in several years. He’s already selling out his own shows, and amazing audiences as a supporting act, but look the hell out people. Tom is here to dominate!

Collide will be available on April 12th, 2019, wherever you buy music.

And look for Tom out on the road through 2019. Here are some UK dates to look out for:

April 17th – Dublin @ Whelan’s

April 18th – Cork @ Cyprus Avenue

April 20th – Belfast @ Voodoo

April 23rd – Birmingham @ The Cuban Embassy

April 24th – Bristol @ The Louisiana

April 25th – Manchester @ The Night & Day Cafe

May 2nd – Leeds @ Hyde Park Book Club

May 3rd – Glasgow @ The Hug and Pint

May 4th – Edinburgh @ Sneaky Pete’s

May 5th – Newcastle @ Hit the North Festival

 

Check out this wonderful video for “Strangers Now”:

 

Kelli Maroney [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all today here at Trainwreck’d Society. Today we have some wonderful words from a person who has been consistently displayed a brilliant amount of perfection as a performer over the last few decades. It’s the legendary Kelli Maroney! This is a person who has appeared in so much of our favorite things over the years, specifically she is a legend in the world of horror films, and even more specifically, she is an iconic figure from one of my personal favorite non-horror films of all time, which is the brilliant Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Seriously Folks, the plethora of work that Kelli has done is incredibly impressive. We talk specifically about three different projects in this interview, and it was so informative and exciting to learn about these projects. But, I have to state that you need to look even further into the career of the incredibly talented Kelli Maroney. She’s one of the best in the business.

I am so damn excited that Kelli was able to take some time to grace our digital pages with her wonderful responses. This is an interview for the ages here, Folks. Maroney is such an inspiring figure that has made me feel so honored to know that she was even remotely interested in being featured on our humble site. So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the brilliant and remarkably talented actress Kelli Maroney!

 

When did you first discover your passion for the world of performance? Was it something you that you always knew you wanted to do? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day? 

My mother and I loved watching old movies on TV with Bette Davis, Susan Hayward, and all those fabulous stars. I gravitated towards the weird, big surprise–Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, I Want to Live!, The Birds (Yes, she actually let me watch that! I was even shocked that she did!). Then I did a little scene in the 4th grade–no big deal, just in class–and got a huge laugh! I was hooked! What a great feeling! So, ever since then I’ve been torn between being funny and being scary.  I always knew this was my world. It’s the place I feel at home and where I belong. As a kid my goals were: Princess/Queen, The Virgin Mary/devout nun, or Movie Star, so becoming an actor was actually the most realistic choice of the bunch!

What was your very first paid gig as a performer? And was there anything thing taken from that experience that continues to influence your work to this day? 

As a teen, I had the enormously fortunate big break of being cast in a popular ABC Daytime Soap Opera, Ryan’s Hope! It was one of those things that only happens in the movies, and when it does, you go, “That would never happen.” But, it did! I was attending a summer conservatory program to be a classical stage actor and ended up with a plumb TV gig in New York City within two weeks of landing there. And I learned everything on that show. The actress who played my mother, Louise Shaffer, could have had me for breakfast but instead taught me how to act on a three camera stage and guided me in creating a character, crying on cue, giving interviews and making appearances–you name it, I learned it all from her. She is an unbelievably generous actress and person and one of my favorite people to this very day. I’ll never be able to repay her for her kindess and care. From her I also learned the power of giving a damn about your fellow performers, creators, and crew, and that may be the greatest gift of all. Nothing goes further towards making a film or TV or stage play or anything than supporting you fellow cast and crew.

One of the genre’s you have done some truly exceptional work in happens to be one of our favorite genres, which is the world of horror. I am curious to know how you enjoy working in the world of horror? What sets it apart from the plethora of other genres you have worked in? 

Thank you! I didn’t consciously gravitate towards the genre in the beginning, but I always say that you don’t choose Horror, Horror chooses YOU. I’m a no-holds-barred type and so feel comfortable with things getting wild. What I loved about the field was and is the individuality and rebeliousness of the producers, writers, directors, SFX, and everyone involved in the making of the project.  It’s courageous and spirited to have a vision with not enough money or time to lavish on it and still be determined to realize it and do it in their own way. The talent that I meet in Horror are brilliant, original and complex thinkers with creativity, kindness and humor to burn. It’s much more of a family than any other genre, Vulnerability is a requirement. People are using the medium to say something about life and the human condition and that requires opening to one’s deepest fears and loves in a completely non-judgmental way. The audience may judge but the fillmmakers are all just about love and acceptance.

 

 

 

One project you have worked on was the very unique project that was directed by a past interview subject known as Jim Wynorski, entitled Chopping Mall. I am curious to know how your experience was working on this project? I have heard that it was a kind of weird one?

Well, it was guerilla filmmaking in that we could only use the Galleria Mall when they were closed for the night and had to put everything back so they could reopen in the morning. I have no idea how our crew did that to this day. All hell broke loose every night of shooting, with things exploding and us running around breaking things, etc. No one had any idea we were making a movie called Chopping Mall. First we thought we were doing Robot, then Killbots and then when we heard what the actual title was going to be we couldn’t believe it. No one is chopped?! So as a young performer i learned the concept of marketing and what sells very quickly! I had a great time working with the cast and crew and have many friendships from Chopping Mall to this day. Barbara Crampton is a jewel of a friend and I met er on that set.  And I love playing the badass final girl and always will because it’s awesome.

Beyond the world of horror, you had an absolutely wonderful appearance in the legendary comedy, Fast Times At Ridgemont High. I am always curious to know what it is like to work on a project that eventually becomes a true cult classic. When you were working on this project, was there any indication that something was special about this project? Anything that would have led you to believe that you were being a part of something special? 

I feel like I DID know, although I have to take into account that it was my first time to Hollywood/LA and first time at the veriy iconic and impressive Universal Studios, so all that could have combined into feeling that it was special. However, from the time I read Cameron Crowe’s book through auditioning in NYC I knew it was the first time that these kinds of things that high school kids go through were being explored on film, so I knew it was daring. By the time I got to the set the first day it was obvious to me that we were involved in something extraordinary, with the true story of how Cameron Crowe infilterated a high school undercover (making it based on real people!), and Director Amy Heckerling coming out of NYU, and all the gifted and serious young actors. There was so much talent just walking around set all the time! It was edgy enough that Universal considered not releasing it at all. You know something is important when everyone fears and rejects it-haha! And yet, today my cheerleading outfit is in the Universal museum and Fast Times is in the Library of Congress, so mission accomplished.

 

 

You appeared alongside our dear friend Catherine Mary Stewart in another cult classic, this time in the sci-fi realm, in Night of the Comet. This was a truly wild experience of a film that I truly enjoyed. So, sort of the same question as before, but I am more curious to know how it was to work on a project like this? What it as much fun to work on as it was for me to watch? 

Yes! Again, there was that sense of something special happening. Catherine Mary Stewart and I didn’t even audition together but from the second we started working it was as if I’d always known her. That kind of chemistry is pretty unique. I remember feeling that the story and our work was respected on that set. Maybe because the producer Crawford/Lane through Atlanic Releasing) was an actor, or the fact that Thom was so hands-on and available 24/7 throughout shooting, or that we had an excellent crew led by Gordon Booz (RIP) or because there were so few of us actors on-set–I don’t know for sure, but I felt comfortable being able to go deep and then to be silly the very next minute. And best of all, Catherine Mary Stewart, who is a dear friend to this day.

 

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to share with our readers? 

I have a film coming out called Exorcism at 60,000 Feet, and two others, Blowing Up Now and A Well Respected Man heading for the festival circuits. I’m going to be shooting a revenge film soon if all goes well with the financing, and I’ll be in Canada April 26-28 for a Horror convention.  All my appearances are immediately scheduled on my website: http://www.kellimaroney.com

and on my social media: Facebook.com/officialkellimaroney, The Official Kelli Maroney Facegroup Page, www.twitter.com/kellimaroney, www.instagram.com/kellimaroney.

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

This question! Also, my followers on social media post who say some hilarious things. And the Springtime–it’s gorgeous in Los Angeles now. And animals always. My cat Purrsephone and everyone else’s pets, too.

New Music Tuesday: Richard James Simpson: Deep Dream [Album]

 

Hello Folks! I have to say, since my departure from only writing about music close to a decade ago, I rarely have the experience of listening to a full album and thinking, “Well, that was a fucking experience!”. But, I have to say, listening to Richard James Simpson’s sophomore release Deep Dream was indeed a motherfucking EXPERIENCE. I wasn’t just listening to the normal singer/songwriter love affair that I have become accustomed to and have fallen in love with over the years. No, I was sent on a god damned journey listening to this beautifully produced and satanic collection of rhythms and fears that were delightfully packaged as an “alternative rock” album. If “alternative” were to be something that is still packaged as an actual genre of music, this album is definitely something that goes even further beyond that weird ass wave. There is something different about this collective. There is something special hear. It obviously can’t be defined. It is noise. It is beautiful fucking noise. It is a collection of sounds. Wonderful, delightful, and David Lynchian worthy sounds.

There are indeed elements of Deep Dream in which you think that the tracklist is simply coming around to a more recognizable sound, like when “Mary Shoots ‘Em First” comes on and you feel taken back to a the confusing yet recognizable times that we called the 1990’s with the an obvious grunge ode, but fear not dear hipsters, the weirdness comes back instantly. And dammit if it isn’t fucking beautiful! It has been a while since I have heard an album describe in a press release as “sonic”, and it actually range true in any sort of way. But when it comes to Simpson, I feel as this is entirely accurate, and yet, a bit of an underselling.

 

The ballsy attempt to make “I Couldn’t Be Happier” as the lead off track from the album was a genius and sellable idea. But, the seemingly 80’s anthem rock turned truly weird as fuck track “Free” is bound to be the best track that this album has to offer. Yes, it is catchy yet dark in a way that melds a couple of decades of the past together like melted barbed wire, but it is the epicenter of the entire album. After listening to this entire album even the utterly hip and weird “Half Brother, Half Clouds” with its abundance of pterodactyl screams can’t waver my mind from loving the more simple elements of this wonderfully bizarre album. Don’t get me wrong, the entire thing is wonderful. As I said before, Deep Dream is more of an experience than it is an simply an album. And overall, no matter what it is that you decide to find the most joy out of this album for, you are going to know that this is a wonderful experience. I guarantee it. And if you don’t, well, that’s on you. Please figure out what is wrong with you if those obvious Devil nostril exhaustion don’t fuck with your mind just a little bit. The Sabbath like riffs of “Job” should be enough for you, you god damned psychopath.

 

“Deep Dreams” will be available wherever you get your music on April 12th, 2019.