Exclusive Event Report: Dread Central Hosts a Private Screening of MoniKa
Held Thursday, May 2nd, in Hollywood, CA, the Dread Central co-sponsored private industry screening of Steven R. Monroe’s Monika was a resounding success. Read on for photos from the carpet and a few comments from star and co-executive producer Cerina Vincent.
In attendance at the event held at The Lot/Audio Head (in addition to the free-flowing wine from Sarzotti Vineyard) were Vincent (Cabin Fever) and writer/director/producer Monroe as well as MoniKa co-stars Jason Wiles ("Third Watch") and Daytime Emmy nominee and winner Jeff Branson ("Guiding Light," I Spit on Your Grave) and the film's executive producer Aaron Hofmann. Other industry appearances included Shaun Menzie (The Victorville Massacre), Bill Millsap (Jurassic Block), Barbara Nedeljakova (Hostel, Isle of Dogs), Carlee Baker (The Woman), Ryan Dillon (Littlerock) and producer Clinton H. Wallace (Blue Dream).
Prior to the screening and subsequent enthusiastic response to the stylized revenge/thriller (which is slated for a fall 2013 release and also stars Andrew Howard, Elisa Donovan, C. Thomas Howell, Chad Linberg and Lew Temple), we chatted with Vincent on the carpet regarding her experience with MoniKa.
“She's a pretty bad-ass character and very different than anything I've played before, so that was a blast and a challenge at the same time,” Vincent stated of the titular blonde, gun-toting character which she portrays. “MoniKa’s a tough chick,” she continued, “and she keeps her emotions inside. She’s stoic and laser-focused on her mission: to get revenge on the bad guys. She's passionate, too, but not in an emotional way. She's controlled, calculated, and although she's on a mission for revenge, she's at peace with her reality. This is so opposite than who I am as a person. I’m a huge romantic. I'm incredibly sensitive and emotional. I want to cry at everything. Not in a crazy way, but in an ‘everything tugs on my heartstrings’ kind of way.”
“So it was a challenge to maintain that stoic sensibility,” Vincent mused. “There were moments where I felt MoniKa would be rather emotional, but Steven would cut and remind me that MoniKa doesn't cry. Cerina cries. Monika is a bad-ass. So it was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it and am so grateful for the role.”
Of her decidedly different look in the film, “Audiences can expect to not recognize me,” she stated with a laugh. “I’m platinum blonde in it! And it's not a wig! It was sixteen hours of straight bleach. It was pretty crazy. And yes! There is lots of gun-play in the film, and it was so much fun. Steven made me go through some serious gun training for months before the shoot so that I was comfortable, and I got more than comfortable. I ended up really growing to love shooting. Like my character, I grew up in the desert in Nevada. Not to get political, but we're a huge Democratic family, but my dad does have a ton of guns, and I think he's finally happy that I love to shoot [them]. I didn't dig it as much as a little girl, but after playing the role of Monika, I can honestly say I really enjoy it.”
While Vincent has worked three times with Monroe previously as an actress (in 2005’s It Waits, 2006’s Sasquatch Mountain, and 2008's Complacent), MoniKa was her first foray as a co-executive producer.
”It was very interesting,” she reflected of that experience. “The tough part is the huge sense of responsibility you have to make sure that the film a success. You want your investors happy, the cast to be happy, and the fans to be happy. I may not sleep soundly until I know all three of those things have been accomplished! The beauty of being a producer on this, though, was seeing the art come to life. Steven sent me this script about eight years ago, and being a part of taking it from just words on a page to being on set with one hundred people having good, fun work was a great feeling. I’m grateful for the experience, and I want to do more, learn more, and create more.”
As for distribution plans, “All of the details are getting finalized now, but audiences can expect to get it this fall!” stated Vincent. “I’m excited for the world to see it. It's a really fun movie. Great characters. Kind of a mind-trip. It’s stylized and cool, and all of the actors are phenomenal in it! Fans will recognize some of their genre favorites. Jason Wiles rocks it as the lead; Jeff Branson, who was just nominated for an Emmy, is intense and totally killed it. Andrew Howard, C. Thomas Howell, and Lew Temple all bring some comedy with their quirky characters. Everyone is so great. And one of my best friends (who plays my best friend), Elisa Donovan, who is famous for her comedy, is stellar, edgy, and sexy as hell. And Monroe's writing and directing is just fabulous. It's a fun film. It's eerie, sexy, funny, bloody, action-packed, and keeps you guessing. I think fans are really gonna dig it."
Regarding what’s next for the actress in the horror genre, “I’ve got a few things cooking that I'm really excited about,” Vincent told us. “I've been working with a group of dear friends and great filmmakers, and we are writing, producing, and shooting short films. We have one horror picture that will be out this Halloween and most likely be at some fun genre film festivals. It's called Skypemare. I star in it along with two of my dear friends, Ryan Dillon and Annika Marks, and it’s directed by another dear friend, the very talented John Fitzpatrick. We have a great team in place, and we are all genuine friends. I'm actually writing a horror/thriller feature for us to shoot this summer. Fingers crossed that all goes as planned. There will be more on Skypemare soon. I think fans are going to love it!”
Dread Central thanks Hell’s Belles filmmaker Christian Ackerman for shooting the event (with additional photo credit going to Clinton H. Wallace/Photomundo International).
The film is a violent, edgy ride focusing on the forlorn Reagan Tyler, a man who is troubled by visions and premonitions that ultimately lead him to Las Vegas. It's there that Reagan meets the beautiful and mysterious Monika, a young woman who turns out to have been killed the night before he even met her. Reagan is then forced to put the puzzle together of what happened, how she is still present, and help Monika with her revenge on the killers of her younger sister.
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