After premiering at this year’s HollyShorts Film Festival, the black comedy short Lunch Ladies has been garnering rave reviews from fans and genre veterans alike, including scream queen Tiffany Shepis and Puppet Master creator Charlie Band. We recently caught up with the filmmakers behind this wicked little film and it turns out a full-fledged Lunch Ladies feature might be on the table!
Director J.M. Logan (special effects artist, The Dentist, the Wishmaster series) notes, “From the minute I read the script, I knew this was a project aimed directly at the sweet spot of horror fandom – and if people like what we did with a stand-alone short, hopefully they would be in for a feature as well! If we are fortunate enough for people to be equally entertained and grossed-out, we’ve done our job.”
Written and produced by Clarissa Jacobson, the film stars Donna Pieroni (Feud, Jawbreaker) and Mary Manofsky (Criminal Minds) as Seretta and LouAnne, two lunch ladies whose mundane life is consumed by their devotion to Johnny Depp. After winning a cooking competition sponsored by Depp, the two receive a letter from the Hollywood icon himself, congratulating their work and offering the chance to attend one of his concerts. Under the assumption that Depp will hire the two as his personal chefs, Seretta and LouAnne’s hearts soar… as does their growing discontent with the students of Melvin High.
This isn’t Donna Pieroni’s first run-in with Depp; she made her film debut in 1990’s Edward Scissorhands. “I was an extra in the movie. Tim Burton handpicked me out of the crowd and ended up giving me a line directly communicating with Johnny Depp himself! I worked with Johnny the whole day, ended up getting a close-up and was also in the preview for the film as well!”
“That day changed, quite literally, everything! One of the most extraordinary days of my life. I was suddenly eligible for my SAG card which ended up being no less than a sheer life-changing event, to put it mildly! Getting my SAG card is what brought me to Los Angeles way, way earlier that what I had planned. The only word that comes to mind in getting to star in a film that revolves around Johnny Depp? Priceless.”
While the short runs only nineteen minutes, writer Clarissa Jacobson reveals that Lunch Ladies was scripted as a feature that she intends to bring to life. “The short was made as a proof of concept. The feature was written first. In the full-length script, there’s a lot more twisted hilarious murders… a lot more Johnny Depp love… and a lunch lady arch nemesis, home ec teacher Ms. Crispin (aka Crotchface Crispin) and her ass-kissing 13-year-old sidekick Kylie Maplestein, President of the Crock Pot Club.”
Noting the film’s similarity to John Waters’ Serial Mom, Jacobson says, “I just wrote what I find funny. I’ve always had a quirky sense of humor but after the film came out, people started telling me they saw influences of all the artists I loved… John Hughes, John Waters, Wes Andersen, Tim Burton, the Cohen brothers… so it clearly seeped in!”
Lunch Ladies has been named as official selections of the Tulsa American Film Festival (Oct. 11th), the Nightmares Film Festival (Oct. 19th) and the Atlanta Horror Film Festival (Oct. 21st). For more on this hilarious short, check out the Lunch Ladies website as well as the official Facebook page!
Synopsis: For the past twenty years, obsessed Johnny Depp fans and fraternal twin sisters, Seretta and LouAnne Burr, have shared a miserable existence as high school lunch ladies serving up rubbery chicken parts, ammonia-treated government meat and whatever else the cash-strapped national lunch program sends their way. This year is going to be different: The twin’s Cheesy Burger Bites recipe is the Grand Prize Winner of Johnny Depp’s Cook for Kid’s Charity Event. Convinced this is their ticket out of high school hell town and that “The Depper” will hire them to be his very own Personal Chefs, their dreams are shattered after a snotty head cheerleader pushes them one step too far. This forces the Lunch Ladies to ask themselves – WWJD? What would Johnny do?