Indie Horror Month: Exclusive Interview with Maya Parish – Midnight Son

Sometimes in the world of independent filmmaking, working on your own terms means that people have to take on multiple roles to ensure the success of a project. Such is the case for Midnight Son .

Being an ambitious project from first-time feature director Scott Leberecht meant that every cast and crew member had to come into the project with a special passion for creating this spellbinding journey about Jacob, a lonely young man struggling with his growing hunger for both blood and answers about himself.

Actress Maya Parish recognized early on that Leberecht’s unique vision for Midnight Son (review here) was something very special, and she was ready from the very beginning to take on a role bigger than the one she plays on screen.

“I absolutely believed in Scott’s story since day one because I saw just how different it was to anything going on in horror,” said Parish. “He had such a unique vision that I knew I had to do what I could to make sure he got to make this movie. So I came on board as a producer to help raise money for production because I had to make sure this story was told.”

Indie Horror Month: Exclusive Interview with Maya Parish - Midnight Son

“Scott and I met years before there was ever a first draft of Midnight Son through AFI after he saw a short I was in. He said to me that he knew he wanted to work with me in the future and had this idea of a character for me named Mary just from my performance in that one short film. Fast forward a few years, and imagine my surprise when I hear from him out of the blue and he asks me if I would be Mary for his first feature. How do you turn loyalty like that down? He could have just done auditions for the part anyway, but instead he always had me in the back of his mind for this movie,” Parish added.

Even though the actress knew she’d be part of Midnight Son before even reading page one, Parish said she was relieved to find Leberecht’s depiction of Jacob’s love interest so much more than just another stereotypical “Young Hollywood” type.

Parish said, “I think Mary has been a seeker all her life, but she’s never found the answers she needed. Even though she has a somewhat defensive nature, beyond that there is a deep vulnerability lurking inside. She’s the kind of girl that tries to live the Hollywood lifestyle, but it hasn’t really worked out for her, which has left her very lonely and maybe a little insecure, which is why I think she’s attracted to Jacob. She recognizes he’s just as lonely as she is.”

“I think Mary ultimately helps Jacob and vice versa, too. They’re a very good balance for each other in a dark kind of way. I think Jacob needs access to some kind of life force through Mary, and he provides the intimacy she so desperately needs,” Parish added.

From a producer’s standpoint, Parish was quick to recognize that while she and the other performers in the film had to accomplish something special on camera, much of the magic seen onscreen in Midnight Son was also greatly due to the tireless efforts of an amazing director and crew behind the scenes. “This film was definitely guerrilla filmmaking for everyone involved, and the only reason I think we actually succeeded was because everyone had 110% dedication to this project from the start. I had never really experienced that before on any other set I’ve been on before or since.”

“There was such an amazing collaborative spirit on set from beginning to end, but at the end of the day it was Scott steering the boat along the entire time. He was such a great leader for all of us and really knew as a storyteller what he needed from us as actors and worked with us to get really great performances. I find what he has accomplished with this movie very inspiring as a professional working in the industry,” added the actress.

Even though being a producer is a huge responsibility in itself, Parish explained that when it came time to become Mary during filming, she checked her producing duties at the door until the movie wrapped. “I didn’t really wear the producer hat on set. My time on set was strictly being Mary so I stepped back into the producer role once we wrapped and only then. To really serve Mary any justice, I knew I needed to focus on being an actress while we were in production. It can be hard to balance both so that’s why I think it was important, at least to me, to separate the two while we were filming.”

Now with Midnight Son set to debut later this week at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, Parish reflected on her experiences fondly, even if the road wasn’t necessarily a smooth one from start to finish.

“Filmmaking at any level is always a learning process,” said Parish. “And while I think we all may have gone into Midnight Son somewhat idealistically and maybe a little naïve at the beginning, this long and sometimes daunting journey to get to this point was well worth it in the end. I can’t wait to see what people’s responses to Scott’s work will be when the movie comes out.”

For more visit the official Midnight Son website, befriend Midnight Son on Facebook, and follow Midnight Son on Twitter!

Midnight Son – Trailer
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Indie Horror Month: Exclusive Interview with Maya Parish - Midnight Son

Heather Wixson

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