I had the honor of talking to Actors Bill Oberst Jr. and Angela DiMarco. They star in The Parish together. The Parish was directed by David S. Hogan and written by Todd Downing. THE PARISH is available March 16, 2021 On Demand/DVD.
“Angela DiMarco (Mr. Bleachers, “Grimm”), Sanae Loutsis (The Black String) and horror staple Bill Oberst Jr (3 From Hell, Synchronic) star in The Parish, premiering on DVD and Digital March 16, 2021.
A widow haunted by the gruesome death of her husband uproots her daughter and moves them to a peaceful rural town. Then the real nightmares begin when she and her daughter stumble upon a long-buried scandal. They team up with the town’s priest after encountering a creepy young boy, a hostile janitor and a blood thirsty nun who will stop at nothing to protect the deadly secrets of The Parish.”
Hi Bill! Hi Angela! It’s so good to talk with both of you. I watched The Parish and I loved it so much. It’s such a powerful film. How did the two of you get involved with film and why did you decide to take on the roles of Liz and Father Felix?
Angela- What a lot of people don’t know is that we are not underplaying it but I do want people to recognize that I’m the executive producer of this film. The reason I think it’s important for people to know that is, for those artists who identify female in this industry. I’ve been in this industry for thirty-five plus years, we’ve been kind of pushed aside for many years, and now we’re finally producing our own stuff, directing our own stuff and getting the recognition for it. I saw this script years ago. My friend Todd Downing wrote it and I knew I wanted to produce it. So, flash forward, years later, I approached Todd with my husband David S. Hogan. I told Todd that we wanted to produce it and he was willing to do some edits with us. We made Liz a stronger character, we made the daughter older, we made the Father Felix relationship more at the forefront of the story. For me, wanting to play Liz, is because I love telling stories of powerful women. I loved that the story also talked about the struggle of grief, let alone an exorcist story. I want Bill to know that my husband and I love him as much as you do. My husband knew he wanted to work with Bill.
Bill- Janel, I’m in The Parish because David and Angela asked me to. I have wanted to play a priest for a while because, I performed in churches for a couple of decades. I have talked to a lot of ministers and it’s a really tough gig, being a priest, a preacher or minister. There’s this mix of weariness and hope that a good pastor has. I wanted a chance to bring that across. He’s got his own demons.
Bill, what did you do in churches, did you teach?
Bill- I had a presentation of the teachings of Jesus. It was called, Jesus of Nazareth. So, for twenty years, I toured it to theaters, colleges, all denominations of houses of worship. My idea was, Jesus couldn’t have been as boring as preachers make him out to be. He had to be charismatic. People had to want to be around him. I don’t mean charismatic in the modern sense; I mean it in the classic sense. So, I just took all the words and what he said about love. I strung them together. I did this first-person presentation. I guess because I was there playing Jesus, ministers would talk to me. I stayed in their homes and a lot of them really unloaded about the difficulties.
That’s amazing. I didn’t know that. Both of you did such a good job playing these characters. There are some intense moments and it wasn’t hokey at all. You delved into the mental health and the stress that Liz had.
Angela- Thank you. Everything you just said is exactly what we were hoping to touch on. When Todd Downing had wrote from a lot of his own truth. When he wrote this script, his wife had just died.
Oh my gosh.
Angela- Yes, he was left with two kids alone. He really struggled with his faith. He struggled with being a single father and what do I do now. He has many veterans in his family and so do I. My mom is a veteran. There is that level of losing a spouse and the PTSD that they go through, but also the spouse who loses that partner. Myself and my husband had gone through our own loss. We lost back-to-back babies trying to have a child, trying to start a family. I thought this is about a family losing a loved one, and how do we deal with it, because grief is grief. We all have suffered it in some way, especially when you reach a certain age. I think we all have suffered it in some way or even currently in this pandemic. We are all dealing with it. I knew that I didn’t want it be a “hokey” horror movie, as you said, Janel. We loved bringing on Bill.
Bill- You get nothing in this life by grabbing. You only get it by giving away. Angela is a strong actress. She knows what the hell she’s doing. I will admit to making judgments about people after you’ve worked with them, for just a little while so you can see if they know what the hell they’re doing. If they do know what they’re doing, then what I’ve learned the hard way is, get the hell out of their way. Give them the scene and all boats will rise on that tide. It was a delight.
I found that respectful how you handled the veteran aspect of the film. Also, the mental health parts. I know a lot of us have been through something in life. PTSD is not easy. I felt the respectful nature in the movie. Angela, did you do any type of research to portray Liz?
Angela- I spoke to my mom and several of my friends who have served, and are still serving in the military. I spoke to a lot of my loved ones and friends that have lost loved ones. Not that I’m the kind of actor who pulls from my own grief and experiences, but I pull from my own emotions. I myself, having lost our son and the two babies before that. I do know, unfortunately what it feels like having someone ripped from you way too soon. In those moments when we were filming, it wasn’t me needing to even think of those moments that Angela personally went through. What Todd wrote and what I knew David and Dominic, our cinematographer was going to create. It was easy for me visually, to just think of the images you see when Liz is having her day terrors or her night terrors. I took it very seriously Janel. It was such a supportive and collaborative group of artists.
Angela, I’m so sorry that you went through all of that. That is just horrible. My heart goes out to you.
Angela- Thank you.
Okay, so what was it like working with the director? I don’t think I knew you and David S. Hogan were married.
Angela- (Laughing) Bill, you go first.
Bill- Working with David was great because David is an actor. He’s an acting coach, so he knows actors and how to pull things out of you. I loved it.
Angela- I’m with Bill, and yes, my husband and I have been together twenty years. We’ve gone through the roller-coaster of everything. We are both performing artists, we also have an acting studio so we’re both educators. So, it made sense he was going to be a brilliant director. This is David’s feature film directorial debut. He’s directed a few short films. It was great, we work really well together. I also act on the stage, like Bill. He knew how to talk to Bill and I. He did really well with our DP and our gaffer. It was great working with him. I hope he directs me and Bill in another film soon.
I would kind of like to see you and Bill direct a film some time. I think because of the collaboration and the fact that both of you are theatre actors. There is so much we can learn from the two of you. Would you both ever consider doing this?
Bill- For me, yes! I really dug the mystery movie of the week aspect. The aspect of Liz and Father Felix together. (Bill breaks out in this amazing mystery movie, let’s go music) He was like, Liz, let’s go, let’s do this. I would be down for a whole series of mysteries that Liz and Father Felix have to solve. I’ve wanted to play with directing myself. I’d love to be directed by David and work with these folks again.
Angela- I have so many ideas.
I’m not sure if it could happen but this sort of ties in with my question for Angela. Will there be a sequel or am I way too excited?
Angela- Yes, first of all, I want to work with Bill again. I started writing immediately after that film. I already have a short film that I wrote for David S. Hogan and Bill to act together in. It turned in to a feature idea for me. I have another feature film, much like The Parish, that I think is powerful. It is another horror film. There is a role in it immediately for Bill. So many of our interviews, we have talked about Liz and Father Felix. I did talk to Todd Downing, and you never say never. I’m not going to say that we won’t have a sequel, and I’m not going to say that we have one. What I can guarantee is that Bill, David, and I will be working together again. As for directing, Bill and I can definitely talk about that.
Bill- Janel, I just want to add, this is why I love working with these people. They wanted to make a movie that is about something. Yes, essentially, it’s a slow-burn exorcism movie, but it’s about loss and grief. A movie, especially a horror movie has to be about something. It’s not enough just to gross people out and scare them.
Yes. I grew up watching horror movies. I think horror movies are works of art. You can learn from horror movies and they can be such an escape from the real horrors in every day life. I think The Parish delivered a powerful message.
Angela- Thank you. I grew up reading all the paperback Stephen King books that I could get my hands on. I love when I can be a part of a horror film that has a really great story.
What do the two of you want to say to everyone that will watching The Parish? What do you want them to know from your perspectives?
Bill- I would like them to forget that its an exorcism film. Pretend your watching a story about people and see where the story goes. That’s the problem with exorcism films, and I’m guilty of it to and I say, oh yeah, I just did a Bigfoot picture. The film makers don’t want it to be just a Bigfoot picture. They want you to get in to the story. I would say, just kind of groove on the characters and see how it relates to your own life and losses.
Angela- I’m going to say, ditto. I hope that people can relate and not feel so alone. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is alright for you to take your time on your journey with grief.
I thank you both so much for taking the time to talk. Thank you, Bill and Angela.
Bill- Thank you.
Angela- Thank you and hi to your pooch too.
(Laughing) Thank you. Bella says Hi (We were in the car. LOL)
THE PARISH is available
ON DEMAND AND DVD (U.S)
March 16, 2021
@ImAngelaDiMarco – Twitter
THE PARISH IMDB