Hello my creepy freaks and naught minx, Dai here talking with Rachel Grubb about life, times, and the awesomeness that is her. Rachel is not only a kick ass actress, producer, writer, director, she is also highly intelligent and such a doll! This is a woman who can be drooled over by men and admired by women, so sit back, relax, and read on to learn a bit about Rachel Grubb:
Heya hun, thank you so much for sitting down with us today!
You are welcome! It’s my pleasure!
You have become a very powerful woman in the industry. You act, write, direct, and you also own your production company Silent But Deadly Productions. That is quite a lot for one person to accomplish! How do you do it? *laughs*
Well, I’ve got a lot of support. I live in Minneapolis, which is a great place for independent film. I started out just working on some student shorts and worked my way up. There is so much going on here, filmwise, that you’ve got a lot of resources and a lot of people to learn from. I owe a massive debt to everyone in the Minnesota film community, because if there weren’t so many film projects here, I would never have been able to get the experience I needed.
Lets us get into some of your works. You won Best Screenplay / Breakthrough at the LA Fest for your short story ‘Why Am I In A Box’. What was that like and can you tell us about the story?
It was about me being depressed after college graduation, basically. I had studied Existentialism, and it resonated with me a little too much. It still does. But I got to the end of my stint in higher education, and I asked myself what it all meant. It is generally considered an accomplishment to get a degree, but to me it just felt like I had completed another year of school, and I wasn’t any more prepared for the real world than I was when I first moved into the dorm. I started thinking about the people that I would have considered to be very accomplished, and wondered if they ever felt the same way. When I was a teenager, I used to hang out at First Avenue, and the people I looked up to the most were the musicians. I started writing a story about a musician standing on a ledge at a hotel, as if he were about to jump off. He gets pulled down by a hotel maid, a college student, who takes him back to his hotel room where he’s very bothered by the problem of which card to play next in his solitaire game. He’s questioning his decisions about his life, and about everything, to the point that he can’t make simple decisions about which card he should play. He thinks he wants to die, but he can’t decide if he should commit suicide or drink himself to death, and if he does choose the drink, what kind of alcohol should it be?
I won the award for this script, and it was quite an honor to win for my first feature length screenplay. It was never produced as a feature. I rewrote the first scene into a short, and my friend Eric Ortiz directed it. He had expressed interest when I told him about the script and my award, and I told him he could direct it if he would let me be in it. I wasn’t really acting back then. I actually went to school to be a writer, but I always had this fantasy of playing the maid role when I wrote it. I never thought it would happen, even if it did get made. But so much has changed since then, and as it has turned out, acting is what I’m known for more than writing!
You later wrote, directed, and starred in a completely different film but it had the same name. What is it about?
I play Ellen Farnsby. She’s named after a character on The Monkees TV show, which I loved growing up. Ellen went to school to be a writer, but she never really became one. Gee, I don’t know anyone like that! *laughs* So she has a job, and she supports her boyfriend while he’s writing his first novel. She kind of has a crush in this younger guy who just graduated from art school, but like her, he’s not really doing anything artistic. So they have this semiformed friendship in which she sees him at the video store where he works, and they talk about the hypothetical art they would like to make. But Ellen gets kidnapped by Paige, a psychotic wanna be novelist, who is the exact opposite of Ellen. She has a lot of motivation to write, while Ellen does not. But Paige lacks Ellen’s talent as a writer. She has written several novels, and none of them have found publication because they all suck. So she locks Ellen in a big white room and asks her to
prove that she’s not all talk. She can either write a great novel or die.
I used the title from my first screenplay, since it had not yet been made when I started working on this one. It somehow fit this one even better.
Tell us about the film you have recently done ‘Tales Of The Dead’
I’d love to! I met Tim and Lisa Rasmussen from Haunted Autumn Productions through an open casting call. I felt right away that they were great people I would love to work with. They had this idea for a feature film that was 5 short stories that gave a nod to old school horror. They cast me as Laurie in a segment called “The Reckoning Of The Werewolf.” They made me their casting director, and I referred several more actors to them. Another female role came up in another segment called “Walpurgisnacht,” and they asked me to play that, too. Then, they needed a last minute shoot with an actress with long dark hair, and I said, what the heck! I’ll play that one too! That was Augmenta, the character Tim described as a “cenobite ho.” She’s topless, and she has some crazy F/X makeup. They ended up using her in two different segments, so I’m in four of the five. They tried to get me into the fifth, but they couldn’t figure out how! The film is
available on Amazon.com, and you can also order it directly from Haunted Autumn Productions at HauntedAutumn.com
The most recent to be released is ’13 Hours In A Warehouse’ where you played Ghost #2 and you are also featured on the DVD cover. This film has generated a lot of buzz! What are your thoughts on it?
Oh, I loved working on that! It was great fun. I got to work with Paul Cram, and that’s always fun, because he’s a very good friend of mine. The makeup was fantastic. I got to work with Crist Ballas, who is an incredibly talented makeup artist, and a great guy. I had to go sit in his chair every day for about three hours while I was getting ready, because the makeup was so elaborate. He would tell me all about how he had worked with David Lynch, and he showed me some of the photos of the makeup he did for Jackie Chan and Jet Li in “Forbidden Kingdom.”
I was very pleased with how the film turned out. It is the kind of movie I like to watch myself. The story had elements of horror, thriller, drama, and comedy. I appreciate the way women are portrayed, too.
We touched a bit earlier on your production company Silent But Deadly Productions. You co founded it with fellow actress Brooke Lemke. How did it come about and what projects are you currently working on?
SilentButDeadly Productions came about when we were working on “Tales Of The Dead,” actually! I had met Brooke when we were extras on another local feature. She was on “Invasion Iowa” with William Shatner, which was how she got interested in filmmaking. Brooke was one of the actors I had cast in “Tales Of The Dead.” When I first met her, she was new to acting and trying to get more film work. I recommended her for the role of Mary, and we worked together on that. We had such a good time acting together that we wanted to keep making movies together. We pretty much decided on set that we wanted to start our own production company. It seemed like just a pipe dream, at first, but within a week, we had begun taking steps to make it happen.
Brooke has been so wonderful to work with. The two of us have accomplished so much since we met. Our first project was “Why Am I in a Box?” since I already had the beginnings of a script. Then Brooke directed two shorts, “Young Eyes” and “A Broken Family.” All of our films are now in post production, and we have loads of plans for next year. We want to get our movies out to festivals, and start on some new ones. We had a shadowing program in which we invite young girls, who are interested in film, to visit our set so they can get an idea of what movie making is like. I know when I was a kid, I had no clue how to get involved with filmmaking. The closest thing I had was community theatre, which was fun, but not really my thing. It never would have occurred to me to pursue film back then. This gives the girls an opportunity to see what it’s like on a movie set and find out if it’s something they might be interested in doing.
Queens Of Scream The New Blood’ is a book with interviews from some of our most influential women in the industry today (Not yet released). Congrats for being recruited as part of it! What’s going on with it?
Thanks! I’m so excited to be a part of that. The book is coming out next year, most likely next fall. I’m confirmed to be in it, along with several other lovely Scream Queens. Three of us are from Minneapolis Nikki Homicide, Scarlet Salem, and me. It’s also got Heidi Martinuzzi, Monique Dupree, Sarah from Fatally Yours, and Ingrid Pitt. She’s such a classic Scream Queen! She was in so many great Hammer Horror films, and the original “Wicker Man,” which is one of my favorite films. I’m especially psyched about this book, because it’s going to focus on the unique talents of Scream Queens. We sometimes get stereotyped as bimbos who can’t act, so they get naked in horror movies. We do that, of course, but that’s not all we’re good for! I do work on low budget indie movies, but I still work hard to give the best performance I can. I have a true love for quality horror, and I’m interested in the production side of things, too.
What are some of your thoughts about the industry today?
I think the future of horror is independent film. And probably the present. Hollywood so rarely gets it right. I think the future of the industry will see viewers looking more and more to indie horror for something original and scary.
Any last words for me and our fans?
If you haven’t done so already…watch BATTLE ROYALE! It’s the best movie ever!
Thank you so very much for talking today!
Interview: Rachel Grubbs