The Dread Central Presents title Imitation Girl is now available on VOD, and in preparation for its theatrical screening series (click here for theaters!), we were fortunate to sit down with indie starlet Lauren Ashley Carter to chat about her career, Imitation Girl, and working with female directors.
Here’s the film’s synopsis: “When an alien takes the form of an adult film star, both must learn to cope with the complexities of being human in this mesmerizing directorial debut from Natasha Kermani, with Lauren Ashley Carter (Darling) in the dual role of Julianna and the imitation girl.”
Directed by Natasha Kermani, Imitation Girl stars Lauren Ashley Carter, Neimah Djourabchi, Adam David Thompson, and Catherine Mary Stewart.
Dread Central: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. We’re very excited to release Imitation Girl. The performances you’ve given even within the world of independent horror have been vast and versatile. What sort of roles do you find you enjoy playing the most?
Lauren Ashley Carter: I choose the roles that appeal to me at the time, so obviously this changes as I get older. They’ve got to be different, otherwise I feel like I’m cheating myself and audiences. I enjoy characters that have to discover the world before they can be in it. I’ve yet to play a character that knows more than the audience. Maybe that’s next…
DC: Horror fans predominately know you as an actress, but you’ve also created your own short films and web series (and that Jackie Chan audiobook!) How do you determine the stories you want to tell as a creator compared to the roles you choose to play?
LAC: I have always been a creator first. I began writing plays when I was about six or seven years old and asking my classmates to act in them. I was appalled by some of the performances, to be honest, and fired a couple of my actors, stepped in and took on the roles myself.
When I was living in NYC, most of the auditions I was going out for were for obnoxious characters: leaky robots that cried in a court house, and badly written, or under written, guest roles on TV shows. Others were for indie films that had no plot, other than awkward living room chats and uncomfortable sex scenes. And then commercial auditions where I’m standing next to some gorgeous 5’10” print model having to amuse a casting director with an anecdote about my breakfast.
Rejection never bothered me, but the boredom and repetition of memorizing crap text drove me fucking bonkers. So, I started to create again. It’s so important to keep your mind fresh and to always have access to your imagination. It’s easy to lose that, and to let your mind atrophy, hustling to pay your bills and memorizing so much garbage. Creating new work is the best way to keep your imagination alive. Even if it doesn’t amount to dollar signs, even if it turns out to be more garbage-y than the garbage you were shitting on, it is rewarding, and it can tell you a lot about yourself.
I like to tell stories about the world I see, and hopefully make people laugh when they look at it through my eyes. Comedy, my own sense of humor and the sense of humor of those closest to me, and also comedy content, got me through the toughest of times. I try to keep it light and have a sense of humor about the darkness because I don’t want to get sucked into the nothingness that’s on the other side.
DC: In Imitation Girl, you play a character that works as an amateur porn star. Given the stigmas attached to sex workers, what drew you to this character?
LAC: I knew quite a few exotic dancers growing up. The least interesting thing about them was that they were exotic dancers. They were all extremely layered women, many of them hurt, drug addicts, mothers, caretakers, enthusiastic, volatile. They are so often reduced to their occupations. I’ve since worked on another project, specifically about a sex worker, and it’s a world that I want to explore more. Porn stars, amateur porn actors, cam girls, working girls, dancers- these are all occupations that I think a lot of us have thought about, maybe even tried for a time. The events that lead women to these jobs, whether they remain long term or not, all of this interests me. The stories of these women’s lives are so much richer than their job descriptions. And maybe if we know their stories, we will see them as flesh and blood.
DC: I actually really hate this question, but the unfortunate reality is that there are so many people that don’t have any insight to how films are actually made. How do you feel working on set with a male director compared to a female director?
LAC: From person to person, as we know, we aren’t that much different. We have more in common than we don’t. The biggest difference I notice in the male/female dynamic is in numbers. When there are more women on a crew, or more female producers, things feel more calm, work gets done efficiently and without panic. I’m talking about my crews, I guess, because I can’t think of a time this has ever happened otherwise. We get compliments after about how much fun everyone had, how stress-free it was, and how they’d love to be back on set with us.
I’ve only worked with one female film director, Natasha Kermani (on Imitation Girl), and she’s brilliant because she knows so much about every department. And I’ve worked with men that are absolutely wonderful, intuitive, caring, sympathetic, patient. Conversely, I’ve worked with men that are careless, destructive, arrogant, and downright sociopathic. So, the jury is out on the stats of all of this…but wouldn’t it be nice if we had the opportunity to know! What I’m saying is, there aren’t enough female directors working.
DC: I couldn’t agree with you more. Last question, something fun. If you had the opportunity to play an iconic horror character in a remake, what character would you play and why?
LAC: Well, I would never want to step into the shoes of an icon, that’s exactly how you twist an ankle and fall on your face, BJ. But if I must, then I’d love to take on Quint from Jaws. That’s pretty much my personality after a bottle of wine, anyway. Just throw me on a boat and roll the cameras.
Lauren Ashely Carter is also the curator for the March edition of Box of Dread! There are only a few unclaimed boxes at the time we are writing these words so sign up now before they sell out and are gone forever! Reserve your subscription by clicking here.
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