You’ve got to love the fact that the press junket for Adam Gierasch’s latest extreme horror film was held in a bar – in the middle of the day. (Not only was press allowed to imbibe, the open tab certainly was encouraging of vice.)
As the jukebox played and the fermented juices flowed, I sat down with Gierasch and company to ask a few questions about Fractured (formerly, Schism).
The movie’s main male stars – Callum Blue and Vinnie Jones – were not able to attend the event, but that’s okay… we had the lovely and talented actresses, Nicole LaLiberte and Ashlynn Yennie, to chat up.
LaLiberte plays wild sex kitten Marlena, while Yennie takes on the tamer (though no less-clothed) character of Brandy. It’s interesting to think that maybe the roles would have been reversed. “I got the script and there were two female characters. One was Marlena and the other was Brandy. I initially auditioned for Brandy,” LaLiberte told me. “Marlena’s character seemed a lot more dynamic,” she added.
Yennie was glad to leave the “dynamics” to someone else. In the film she plays the sweet and innocent girlfriend to Blue’s demon-cursed character. “I really wanted to do this film, especially since Human Centipede was so extreme,” she revealed. “It was crazy when I first saw the movie because I didn’t work with Nicole or Vinnie and didn’t see any dark parts of the film [when shooting]. My character Brandy has the only ‘normal’ role in the film,” she laughed.
After speaking with the ladies, we got down to the nuts and bolts with co-writer and director Gierasch.
Dread Central: You are working with the lovely Ashlynn Yennie in this film, and you have some other great actresses and actors… Were these pulled from your pool of friends that you’ve known for years?
Adam Gierasch: No, not at all! I saw Ashlynn on television one night, and the next day I went to the casting directors and asked, “Can we call her in? Would she come and read?” And so she came in, auditioned, and got the part just like anybody normally would.
DC: Wow! So also, she’s nude – I’m mean, totally. There’s actually a lot of nakedness in this film.
AG: (Laughs) Yes, I tried to be fair about it.
DC: Yes, you did! Callum Blue is also nude in this film. Did you have any trouble with the actors [and on-screen nudity]?
AG: No. Not at all.
DC: Really, they were all okaywith it?
AG: Absolutely, 100%.
DC: All right, what’s your trick- how do you get them to take their clothes off?
AG: You tell them beforehand they’re going to. And that was the thing, I needed people who were going to be willing to do that because it has to do with Callum’s character – in the first scene with Ashlynn he’s very much an innocent, and so I wanted them to be having this very innocent, very vanilla sex, and that was very important. Then with Nicole later on…. it’s defiantly NOT vanilla. I wanted to be able to show that and show different kinds of sex that you would have under different emotional circumstances.
DC: When you write screenplays like this with your wife (Jace Anderson), does that help you with these sex scenes?
AG: Oh, no, we fight about it! I’m always dirtier, and she says, “No, no, no!” Originally there was one scene in this… there was a visual effect that I wound up cutting before we shot… there was a line in the script where I said “Jace, you have to write ‘vaginal lips part,’” she said, “NO! Absolutely not!” It’s not in the script, she vetoed it. In [writing] the scene that involves Nicole, it was difficult; she’s always more conservative than I am – she wanted to write it tastefully.
DC: Well, there’s a balance.
AG: There is, but I know that I’m going to shoot it. It’s not distasteful, but I want it to be rough, you know?
DC: I also think that nudity like that is required in this film because it shows vulnerability that is also subliminal. Plus, if they had their bras on or something, it wouldn’t work, right?
AG: Yes, and it’s also just not honest. That’s just – no one leaves their bra on when they’re having sex. I mean, maybe somebody does, but… you see it all the time in movies! As soon as that happens (shakes head) it feels bad, like the filmmakers aren’t being truthful. In this I wanted to show sexuality – really the characters’ sexuality – for what it was and sort of a variety of different things.
DC: This movie was originally called “Schism,” which may be a more apropos title, but why did it change?
AG: Ah, the dreaded question. It was the foreign sales company. I was just very grateful that I got to keep the movie intact and didn’t have to cut anything out. Really, I felt like, it’s just a title – as long as the content is in there, I will live with it.
DC: How did you come up with this story? I feel like it’s horror noir, but it’s also very psychological too.
AG: Jace and I were going to go visit her parents, and I did everything I could to make sure Jace did not get on the plane; so we did not go see her parents. I felt very guilty, and I thought to myself, “Am I damned? I tricked my wife, that’s horrible! How can I be ‘that guy’ who did that?” I just started thinking about damnation, damnation, damnation; and all of the sudden this idea popped in my head for this film. Although our character’s sin in this story is MUCH worse than telling your wife, “Now, please don’t get on a plane; we’re having car trouble!”
DC: Callum Blue, whom I’ve always loved from “Dead Like Me,” is great in this movie. How did he first become involved?
AG: He was with my agency; they sent over his reel, and after I watched it, I invited him to the house. He made fun of my giant skull collection.
DC: He didn’t see the naked cowboy picture, did he? [an infamous oil-on-velvet painting owned by Mike Mendez, which is on display at every Gierasch / Anderson house-party.]
AG: Yes, he did.
DC: And he still did the movie? Wow! (laughter)
AG: Yes, I think I showed it to him, and he was laughing, like, “This isn’t going to dispel the gay rumors!” He’s not at all gay.
DC: Ultimately, what do you hope horror fans will take away from Fractured? What do you have to say for those who haven’t seen it yet?
AG: Please see it. It’s not like most horror films. In every other movie I’ve done, some people go to a house, a hospital, a mansion, and get chased around by ‘Something Bad’. This movie, it’s got a very different plot structure, much more like an old detective movie. I wanted to do that and mix in noir with surrealism. I feel like it’s really something different, and I hope people dig it. This is the first movie I’ve made where I feel like it’s “Me”; whereas, I felt like many of the others were just a hollow shadow of who I am as a person.
DC: Interesting you say that because I do feel like this is your most mature, fully-realized work to date, and it can only get better from here, right?
AG: (laughs) Your lips to God’s ears!
Fractured tells the story of Dylan White. After awaking from a coma with no idea who he is, Dylan creates a safe and and normal life for himself. It doesn’t last long as horrifying visions start to interrupt his waking moments. Following clues that take him to the dark and blood-splattered underbelly of New Orleans, Dylan meets his arch nemesis, Quincy (Vinnie Jones), and soon finds that both his life and soul are in danger. FRACTURED is a trip to the dark side, noir-style: bad men, bad dames, bad sex, and bad intentions.
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