Already a successful comedian and podcaster, Precious Chong’s breakout role may be her take on an 80s obsessed stalker in director Zach Gayne’s dark “thrill-omedy” Homewrecker out July 3rd in Drive-ins and VOD July 7th. Gayne and Chong had worked together previously for Funny Or Die and it’s clear that the two of them have a shorthand together. Throw in the writing and acting talents of Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes) as an overly nice millennial in the midst of a relationship crisis and just let the fireworks fly! The two actresses are in nearly every scene together in Homewrecker and their love/hate/kill relationship is electric…and even a little bit sweet.
When we spoke, Precious was hilarious and open to talk about anything: including her famous family’s appearance on Celebrity Family Feud, filming Homewrecker in her own house while her kid was upstairs (which many of us can now relate to), and how she and her father, Tommy Chong (Up In Smoke, Color Out of Space), both happened to have two horror movies come out the same year and premiere at the same film festival. Homewrecker is a short, brilliant burst of a movie with explosive performances by both Precious Chong and Alex Essoe. So please, go to the Drive-in this weekend or check it out next week at home after the thunder cracks of roman candles have finally stopped scaring your dog.
Michelle is an interior designer and newlywed to Robert. Linda lives alone and fills her days with painting and exercise classes. Seeking a new friend, Linda coerces the reserved, deferential Michelle into visiting her home for a spontaneous interior design consultation. Once inside, it quickly becomes clear that Linda has something far more sinister on her mind than throw pillows.
Dread Central: You and Zach had worked together before but how did Alex Essoe come into the picture and help you guys write it?
Precious Chong: They knew each other before me and Zach did. Then Alex had seen some of the stuff I had done with Zach and wanted to figure out a way to work together. We landed on this and it seemed like the perfect thing.
DC: Alex gave you guys some genre cred with Starry Eyes and she was cast as Wendy in Doctor Sleep a little bit after you guys shot. Did you guys kind of go method during Homewrecker? Did you get along with Alex?
PC: (laughs) No method. We clicked really well on set, I really loved working with her. She’s such a good actress so it made my job pretty easy in terms of just really connecting…it’s pretty much a two-hander so thank God we had that chemistry. We totally lucked out in terms of Alex’s niche in the genre, she’s pretty famous for Starry Eyes. Then she got Doctor Sleep which was a huge coup for everybody.
DC: You shot the movie in your house, right?
PC: Zach had pitched the idea and I was going to renovate my kitchen anyways. So, we thought, oh great! We can kind of trash my house…
DC: So that sledgehammer in the movie probably got used for some other things, you got to do some demo with it, too.
PC: Yes, the sledgehammer! And that was a trip figuring out one that was the real one and one that we could use that wouldn’t hurt people.
DC: How much of your character Linda’s 80s memorabilia was actually yours or did it all come from Zach?
PC: Funnily enough, it was from Zach. It was his older sister so he knew about Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and then the board game was based on games his sister had. The board game we made up. That’s not an authentic board game, we made up Party Hunks.
DC: Was it fun art directing and doing set dec in your own house? Did you keep anything the same after shooting stopped?
PC: I did! It was fun but it was crazy because it was too many jobs. To have to be in a scene and then try to set dec as fast as I can the room we were going to shoot in next was kind of insane. A lot of the stuff I had in my house because I have quirky taste. The pink curtains are still up and a couple things we got from the thrift stores I still use.
DC: Now, fans of Homewrecker can just come to your house for the tour. Linda looked like she was a blast to play but also emotionally exhausting. Was she hard to shake off at the end of the day?
PC: It was so immersive. My son was here so I could’t be completely nuts. I shook her off eventually but she’s a fun character to play.
DC: I can see your character living off a steady diet of game shows. You were in Celebrity Family Feud not too long ago, how was that experience?
PC: Zach actually came and watched it in the studio audience. It was hilarious and surreal and so much fun. I’m close to my family, but you don’t often do activities like that with your sisters and brothers and your Dad – to all be in that same bizarre experience where you’re competing on a game show. The lights were so bright and it’s all so fast. You can see why people lose it in that situation. It’s sensory overload.
DC: I know your Dad came aboard this as a producer but have you joked about the fact that you’re both in two horror movies that are coming out in the same year?
PC: I know! Isn’t that crazy? So we shot Homewrecker and then I was in L.A. doing a play and my Dad was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m in this movie that Nicholas Cage is directing. It’s this horror movie and we’re gonna go to Portugal.’ Then I found out that it’s Richard Stanley. Then we ended up being at Fantastic Fest at the same time and I got to meet Richard Stanley and I watched his movie. Our showing was at midnight…so we got to see his movie Color Out of Space and I got to see my Dad’s performance. Then, we watched Homewrecker. It felt comforting in a weird way. Richard Stanley is so nice and so kind and the movie is great. And I’m a huge Nicholas Cage fan, he brings such craziness to everything he does.
DC: I’m so glad Richard Stanley came back to direct but a Nicholas Cage directed version of an H.P. Lovecraft story would be something I’d be interested in seeing…
Homewrecker is in select Drive-in theaters July 3 and on Digital/DVD July 7