Its amazing when you start to delve into the world of independent film making just how much talent there is out there, and Debbie Rochon is probably, unarguably “the Scream Queen”, having been successful in the indie film scene since the 1980's, now bringing to every role and project, the confident presence of one who knows exactly who she is and what she wants!
We chatted with Debbie recently, asking her about her career and the indie horror film scene…..
I started by filling in the gaps for any of our readers not familiar Debbie's work and career, asking how she got started and what had moulded Debbie's love of the horror genre?
“I became interested in movies because of three months of extra work I did in 1980 as a pre-teen on a rock n’ roll movie directed by Lou Adler in Vancouver, B.C. Itstarred Diane Lane, Laura Dern, Ray Winstone, members of The Clash and The Sex Pistols. I worked on the movie as a featured extra for all 3 months, everyday, and just fell in love with it! The movie was called Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains! And I have been dedicated to and fascinated by film ever since. I ended up in horror movies by chance in a lot of ways; they were just the movies I happened to be cast for starting in the late 80s in NYC – and I loved it, plus I was a big fan of the genre watching horror movies every night at that point so it seemed like a perfect match.”
You have appeared and starred in over 200 films, that has to be the kind of career many actors can only dream of! Is there a secret formula to success?
“The only secret is not accepting no for an answer. Someone can not cast you, I don’t mean you stalk them and torture them into giving you the role, thus involving the cops, I just mean have ten irons in the fire and maybe one, maybe nine will catch fire! It’s just not having the headset that giving up is an option. You can even take breaks, to refresh yourself that’s what you need. During your first decade, or more, you have your day job so you will be forced to have time away from your goal but it ends up being very healthy. It can make you want it even more if that’s what is in your heart to do. How hard are you willing to work for this? How long are you willing to dedicate to this? Is there a time frame you are giving this or are you a lifer? Have to be a lifer to get through some of the really hard knocks you get in this business. Plus, it’s never a good idea to get the police involved when trying to land a role. A litany of restraining orders never got anyone a good film job."
Model Hunger is going to be your first directing debut, can you tell us a little about the film?
“The film is truly a woman’s film in message, but a guy and gal’s film in terms of story, brutality, characters that develop and drive the film. It was written by James Morgart who created a really stunning script. The story oscillates around a woman, Ginny, who was rejected from the modelling/acting world after having some success, because of her body type which was ala a Bettie Page or Marilyn Monroe-esque as the boyish look that Twiggy portrayed became the new definition of beauty. If you think about it, this has never changed only gotten worse in the industry. Not just women but men are having a lot of eating disorders because of this. Well, Ginny tries to go on with her life but ultimately becomes eaten up by the rage and anger and soon becomes a serial killer of young women who idolize this degrading image pressure. It stars so many great actors. I was blessed with a cast from GOD. Lynn Lowry eats up the role of ‘Ginny’; Tiffany Shepis just knocks her role ‘Debbie’ out of the park. Our supporting cast is so solid I am truly humbled having watched them work. We have Brian Fortune, Aurelio Voltaire, Carmine Capobianco, Mary Bogle, Suzi Lorraine, David Marancik, Michael O’Hear, Kaylee Williams, Michael Thurber and even more amazing talent, it’s always hard to mention every actor without it just looking like a list but I have never worked on either side of the camera before and seen such detailed and stellar performances. We are now in post where we have to pull all of our elements together so it will be a very exciting road, never without pain, but with gratitude and true joy of serving the movie and all of the creative people involved by making the best film possible.”
Is moving into directing and more film making a conscious decision, or just another string to your bow?
“Actually I look at it as neither! It was really the subject matter that grabbed me and convinced me to want to helm this. I felt like I could give a lot and really know exactly where the actors needed to be for this story. Whether I will direct again I will decide when I am finished the editing process. But my goal is to really serve the film; it’s message in a brutal and creative way and serves all of the talent on both sides of the camera that worked so hard, that we will end up with something to be proud of.”
The internet has without a doubt opened up the film making and entertainment world, so work can be viewed by many many more people, whilst this has to be a positive, is there also a negative with low quality work flooding out, making it harder for the good stuff to be seen?
“It’s interesting but it has always been this way. Only now our VOLUME of movies has just increased 100 fold. There has always been the situation, even when everyone was shooting only on film, where you had to make many movies before there was one that turned out great. Only now it’s just so overwhelming it’s impossible to keep up with the movies being made on the micro budget to low budget to ‘regular’ budgeted Indies. I think the event that changed the playing field as much as product volume is the fact that you had a lot of first time filmmakers giving their films away for free just to be distributed. I am not saying that was wrong of them! But it helped save distribution companies money in a time when how people were watching movies was changing rapidly and it just became glutted with a lot of free product. Many things factor in but at the end of the day, the positive thing is that filmmakers who would not have ever had a shot at making their dream come true can now.”
You must have worked with some very creative people during your career, which ones do you admire and find inspiration from?
“I have! I always sort of cringe at a question like this because it can really become like a list and God forbid if you have forgotten someone! But I can say that I have learned very different things from very different directors and people and I cherish all of it. Even the bad have a way of teaching you what you don’t want or don’t want to be around. The good can expand your mind and really open your eyes and heart to creative possibilities. Of course then there are situations that are very corporate and what you learn there can simply be things from the business side of it all. And waste, you see a lot of waste there. But no experience is worthless. And nothing is ever wasted.”
It’s the start of another new year! What does 2013 hold for Debbie Rochon?
“I have a number of films and appearances coming up and all will be found on my web site for those interested! I am focused on the completion of Model Hunger. I want to complete my book which has taken a back seat for the past year but now I am back to working on it. There will be some really great DVD releases to look for in 2013: Nightmare Box, Wrath of the Crows, Exhumed, She Wolf Rising and others that will be announced as I know more!”
We always like to end our interviews with a few fun questions and so……
If you had to spend the night in a very haunted house, who would you choose to spend it with you? (no husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, significant others civil partners allowed!!) – “Johnny Rotten. Would be simply a riot to see what this very sharp tongued and very smart man would have to say to any spectres that may show up! “You think you’re special cause you’re dead?” The possibilities are endless…!”
Have you made a New Year's Resolution? – “NO. I don’t make them but I have goals I set through-out the year. If I need to change something I do or try to. I have no regrets.”
If you were a cartoon character, who would you be? – “Wile E. Coyote. You can keep knocking me down but I will just think of more creative ways to come back! And I love ACME Corporation. They have some really cool stuff.”