Anyway, I wanted to make something that I could afford as a micro-budget that I could shape into a creepy, genre, horror thing. There’s nothing more creepy than something like this. You don’t need to have any blood, guts, or gore. You don’t need to show any of the violence. There was also the school shooting stuff. Boys will go out and shoot people. What do girls do? Girls self-harm, or they bully other girls, usually. As well as slut-shame or fat-shame or whatever the f**k kind of shame it is that week. Boys will go shoot things up, but what about family members? What if I was a sister or a mother? How would I feel about Daisy Coleman? How would I feel about the girl who was murdered? The rage that most women walk around with on a daily…people don’t understand it. I’m in a constant rage walking around. They all want us to be nice and be cute and say “Thank you” and “Smile! It’s not so bad!” Sh*t like that. I wanted to show a very rage-filled girl trying to get some kind of closure, and she doesn’t know what to do with her grief.
I would say those types of movies are supposed to be about a woman getting revenge, but it’s really just a way of exploiting women even further. So I was glad that this was a revenge story rooted in a woman’s point of view, instead of being written by some old dude, haha.
Exactly. Also, that she’s conflicted about it. She doesn’t feel great about herself, but she’s having almost an emotional break. Remember, she’s a teenager, too. So her frontal lobes aren’t fully formed. She knows she’s been trained to be really pleasing. She knows that being pleasing is not necessarily something that gets you what you want in life. It doesn’t rock the boat. She’s sick of it. She wants to f***ing rock the boat. In doing that, she knows what she’s doing is wrong, but it’s an impulsive piece of behavior. A friend of mine, who’s a sound guy, said a really funny thing a long time ago. He said, “Whenever I walk past a gang of teenage girls, I always get so scared.” I’d never thought of that. I said, “Why do you get scared?” and he said, “Whenever I walk past, they start laughing. I always know they’re laughing at me.” I was thinking about that when I was writing this. In a way, teenage girls are terrifying to men, and women are terrifying to men. Men have all this bravado and machismo that covers it all up. They’re scared of us!
“…wanted to make something that I could afford as a micro-budget that I could shape into a creepy, genre, horror thing.”
I showed this film at Montclair University because Lise Raven teaches there and she’s a really wonderful filmmaker. There were maybe 100 teenagers in the audience–like late teens, 17-20 something. When it got really dark, when Rosie was doing her speech, there were a couple of boys in the audience who just kept laughing. Some other kids in the audience yelled at them to shut up, which is really interesting. Then, I got on stage, and we did a Q&A. I said, “Oh, I didn’t realize I made a comedy.” I literally called them out and said, “Is there something you want to say about the film?” They were like, “No, no,” and got all quiet, and I said, “No! Feel free! This is a forum for discussion. Let’s talk about it.” It’s just classic, like when you call out a guy for cat-calling you on the street, then they’re embarrassed. It was definitely that they were threatened by Rosie.
I wanted to ask, just from a filmmaking perspective. You have a casting director named Mellicent Dyane, and I wanted to know how you found her and did you work together with her in casting the film because I think the cast is fantastic.
Thank you for saying that! She’s incredible. As far as the casting goes, the way I found Marc Menchaca was I’m friends with a guy called Scott McGehee. He’s a director who did What Maisie Knew and The Deep End with Tilda Swinton. He invited me to a party at his place. Marc Menchaca happened to be there. I had already started thinking about this story, but I hadn’t put pen to paper yet. I saw him, and I was like, “That’s the guy!” I’d seen him in Anja Marquardt’s movie, She Lost Control, where he played one of her clients and was very creepy in it. I’d seen him in some other things, and he was very nice and very normal, and I thought, “That’s exactly what we need.” I went up to him at the party, and I said, “Hey, I have this idea,” and I just threw him the logline idea. He said, “Oh, that sounds great!” I then said, “Problem is, I haven’t written it yet, so give me six months, and I’m going to write this for you.” He said, “Okay.” He didn’t put me down or anything, but I don’t know if that happens often and people don’t follow through.
So, I wrote it and sent it to him, and he said, “Yeah, I’ll do it!” within 24 hours, which is incredible. That was just very lucky. I reached out to a lot of casting agents, and they wanted five grand or ten grand to cast it. These are people who are looking to get names in it. I knew I wouldn’t have the budget to really hire a name. If you get a name, sometimes you can get funding, but even then, it might add on more money to get a name. Sometimes it’s better to use a no-name person or a person like Marc, whose star is rising. He isn’t a name. He’s a face. People look at him and go, “Oh, that’s that guy!”