Scream Queen Debbie Rochon’s directorial debut, Model Hunger (review), has made the rounds on the film festival circuit, whetting the appetites of horror fans… but not everyone could see it. Until now!
Yes, folks – Model Hunger is finally out on DVD, and we caught up with Debbie to ask her all about it. Not just the making of the film and its reception, but what’s NEW on the disc. (We think it’s pretty great that Wild Eye Releasing went all out on the extra helpings!)
In case you didn’t know, Model Hunger is about a former pin-up, Ginny (Lynn Lowry), who has been cast aside by the heartless and exploitative modeling industry. Let’s just say that didn’t sit too well… over the years she morphed into a revenge-seeking, bloodthirsty, broken, batshit crazy woman. When new neighbors Debbie (Tiffany Shepis) and Sal (Carmine Capobianco) move in, Debbie begins to notice strange things going on next door. Sal writes it off as Debbie’s seeing things, but she is determined to figure out what secret life Ginny is leading. Not a good idea!
Dread Central: Model Hunger has been shown on the festival circuit for a couple of years now… tell us about the feeling you have now, as it’s released for everyone to see.
Debbie Rochon: I have to say what is incredibly exciting about it is not just that everybody will get a chance to see it but that it’s actually coming out and how amazing the DVD turned out; the extras are just mind-blowing. I can’t believe that they got that much onto one disc. It is exciting. It’s really packed to the gills, but that was something that was really important to me because… the horrible truth is movies are torrented, but there’s so many extras on the DVD that people will really enjoy them and want to own the DVD. So today is a day of celebration because the child is born.
DC: It’s amazing you waited so long to direct, given all the other things you’ve done in the horror genre, not the least of which is acting.
DR: You know, it was way easier than it should have been, and I’ll tell you why. I’ve worked with a lot of actors and worked very hard with a lot of the actors in a good way, but every actor works differently and every actor needs different things. In the case of Lynn Lowry, what she brought to the table was a lifetime of experience and talent, and she is one of the actresses out there, because not all are, that actually knows the important value of studying, and this is a studied actor; it is a craft. She was actually, ironically, one of the people that required the least amount from me. As a matter of fact, my job was more to give her as much play room as possible and to get everybody up-to-speed as far as rehearsals beforehand, before she got to town, so that they could keep up with Lynn Lowry, and they certainly did. I think in the case of Lynn this was just the type of role that you just let her go, and within a certain amount of takes, some are bigger than others, some are more subtle, it’s just going to naturally happen.
Sometimes I’d ask for another take, sometimes she would, but she’s so studied, and as an actor I totally knew that and I saw it. Really, it’s kind of a dream to be able to have that kind of actor. Being in so many movies, some horribly bad, some amazingly good, the thing I know more than anything else walking into this is casting is everything and actors are everything. You could have a great script but you cannot lift up an actor that doesn’t have the ability to be lifted up to that level unless they’re ready… but it was just fate. The movie has its own being, it’s just so fortunate to have her, I’m fortunate to have her, but the movie as a whole [too] because she drives it and she owns it and that’s really how it went. We had a couple of conversations about the character Ginny herself, and she even mentions this character in the movie, but we really said she is the Blanche DuBois who went down the wrong road, who went down a very different road like the one in A Streetcar Named Desire did, you know? Really, that’s one of many hooks that she used – what would happen if… it turned really, horribly bad? What would happen?
DC: It’s such a female-centric story… tell us about working with a male screenwriter on this.
DR: Actually, James Morgart is one of the very few writers that know how to write for women, just starting right there. He has gone to university and studied history and all sorts of women issues. He knows all about the struggles of women, be it politically, even physically as we see in the movie; in so many ways, he just has a real well-rounded view of women and their struggle. So with the script he was a dream because he allowed me to do things I can’t even imagine many other writers would allow me to do. There were things like, to be brief, the character that Michael Thurber plays, Mr. Winters, the next-door neighbor… he had like a three-page monologue with the character of a deputy, and I said to James that Ginny had the monologues in this movie; no other character should really have them because that is her sort of imprint on the movie. So taking all of that out and simply replacing it with her tending a windmill because the monologue was pretty much the same thing, explaining to Debbie about Ginny and sort of betraying his love for Ginny but his need to tell Debbie about Ginny… so things like this, that’s a pretty big thing because that’s three pages of hard-earned writing he was willing and trusting me to let go… Like I said before, it was all designed not just because these people are talented and would be free enough to do anything with their body and just let it all go and hang out, it’s also about… the show is a TV show at the end of the day, even though it is the Greek chorus, and TV shows lie so we have all of those elements in there and once again who’ll pick it up, I don’t know but I had the ability to do that and he gave me the opportunity to do that so I can’t even begin to think of anyone else who would let me play with their work as much as James did so I will be eternally grateful to him. He was insanely easy to work with as far as creating the script and open to the interpretation, and boy, that made the whole thing so great, I have to tell you.
DC: You alluded to all the extras on the DVD… that’s rare these days. So, what fun extras can fans expect to see?
DR: There’s a fun commentary with myself and David Marancik, he was the younger police officer of the two, and there’s a terrific extra with Voltaire called The Lair of Voltaire and it’s actually hilarious. It’s an interview but it’s incredibly entertaining and what Bombshell put together, a fantastic wonderland, sort of if she was to take her character and expand upon it to have her own show, that’s an extra, I love that, I think that’s James’s favorite but don’t tell anybody, actually you can write that, that’s his favorite. Deleted scenes, myself and Hoffman ended up on the cutting room floor because we needed to get to the story, but you will not miss that if you have the DVD because we have the scenes on there. There’s a music video by The Autopsy Boys, there’s an Easter egg and I’m only going to say the name Harry Manfredini beside the word Easter egg and more. The original teaser and trailers and a couple of other surprises but it’s packed but it’s intentionally packed for the film buff who really gets a kick out of owning a DVD.
DC: So… the inevitable question: Will you direct again?
DR: I definitely will be directing again, but just like this one, it has to be the right project. There are a couple of different things that I’m working on right now and I’m sifting through; we’re going to see which one actually flourishes because as we all know, it’s difficult financially to get the projects made. Even with that said, there are a couple of things I want to do; it just has to be something I’m very comfortable living with for as long as one does [making a] movie. I’m just doing it out of an absolute labor of love so I don’t feel a need to rush to anything.