Starring an eclectic cast featuring Antonio Sabato Jr., Jason London, Alexis Arquette, Tim Meadows and Ann Nicole Smith, Celia A. Fox’s “Wasabi Tuna” focuses on a group of friends whose die-hard mission to assemble the best costumes ever for the infamous West Hollywood Halloween Parade becomes just a little more difficult to pull off due to a drug smuggling mishap and some pissed off gangsters.
“Wasabi Tuna” was produced by Celia’s own new production studio, CAFE Entertainment. Headquartered in a dedicated two story building in the Burbank/ Glendale area, the studio will house production, editing and administrative facilities and is set to be fully operational on June 1, 2004.
Celia took a little time out of her busy schedule to talk a little bit about “Wasabi Tuna” and her brand new studio.
So, how’s the creation of you own studio coming along?
CAFÉ Entertainment Studios is really taking off. It is definitely moving faster than I had anticipated and is growing everyday.
What made you want to start your own studio?
I love the entire process of filmmaking — not only writing and producing films, but also marketing them. Even though the Entertainment Industry has consolidated, I believe that there is an exciting future for a studio that has an edgy, creative approach. I am intrigued by pop culture and street culture and wanted to start a studio where I can incorporate very unique multi-level marketing campaigns tailored for each individual project.
Does CAFÉ Entertainment Studios have any sort of motto?
CAFÉ’s motto is first, to always pay the bills. Second, to make smart, colorful, edgy projects, which have mass appeal and can be targeted to the broadest markets possible. And third, to always pay the bills.
Did your early experiences in stand up comedy help shape your business sense today?
It really did. It was a great learning experience. In stand-up, you are the booker, the marketer, the promoter, and the performer. This really did help me multi-task and get things done. I would also say five years of selling printer ribbon cartridges in the Taft building on Hollywood and Vine was the best training a budding producer/filmmaker could have. Being connected to all different worlds is also key in being successful in today’s marketplace.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a filmmaker?
I am in love with films, the actors, the directors, the shots, the costumes. But, most of all I love the stories. I love the execution of a great story. There are some movies that I watch almost every day.
What was the inspiration for your film “Wasabi Tuna”? Have you experienced a West Hollywood Halloween first hand?
My inspiration for “Wasabi Tuna” was a night I spent in Echo Park where I went into a bar and there were all these hot guys dressed up as gangsters. And I was thinking, “This is great!” Suddenly, they all started kissing and I started thinking, “This is different.” But I thought it might be fun to play with the concept of “gangsters” in LA.
I have had experiences with the West Hollywood Parade. When I first moved to Los Angeles it was in July, and all anyone was talking about was what they were going to wear to the West Hollywood Parade. Since moving to LA, I have been surrounded by so many different types of people who, regardless of their gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, etc., just hang together. It’s very different from Philadelphia.
I lived on Crescent Hts. and Santa Monica, so I witnessed the parade in all its glory. I think it’s the biggest holiday that exists in Los Angeles. I have so many friends that dress up all year round and on Halloween they dress like secretaries.
So, I haven’t seen the film yet and look forward to doing so, but I imagine that you actually shot footage during the Halloween parade. What was that like?
We shot a lot of footage of the West Hollywood Parade, but at the end of the day it was hard to get a couple guys in chaps and whips (who you know are married investment bankers who live in the Valley) to sign releases, so we made up our own parade.
What were some problems in getting this film made? People love to hear war stories.
The problems that come up in getting films made are so immense it’s incredible. It really is almost an impossible task and that, ultimately, is what makes it so much damn fun. I like the problems, because in the problems there are always solutions. The war stories are typical, but the most gratifying thing is beating the system. The exciting challenge is making a movie for 1/8 the money, figuring out how to market the film, and making a decent profit.
How did you assemble your cast?
Most of the roles were actually written for the individual actors. They are all incredible actors and really did give truly amazing performances. I love Antonio in this film and Jason London gave his best performance that I have seen. He is totally brilliant.
Where can we see “Wasabi Tuna”?
It’s playing in theaters in Los Angeles and the surrounding communities right now so check it out.
What’s up with some of your future projects?
More movies, and now we have several projects for television that are currently in pre-production. I am really excited about the future of CAFÉ and the projects in front of us.