888 4 GAY NEWS or 888-442-9639

FilmOut San Diego: Jane Clark and her "Crazy Bitches" are coming to town

SAN DIEGO, California -- Expect a wild and crazy night next week when writer-director Jane Clark and her cast of "Crazy Bitches" come to town for FilmOut San Diego's monthly screening.

Clark is expected to bring along most of the stars of her new film -- Mary Jane Wells, Blake Berris, Guinevere Turner, Cathy Lynn DeBuono, John W. McLaughlin, among them -- to the screening that starts at 7 pm Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the Landmark Hillcrest Cinemas. The question-and-answer session afterward is expected to be quite lively, and the "Crazy Bitches" entourage will make an appearance at the after-party at the nearby Harvey Milk's American Diner.

FilmOut audiences will recall Clark for her impressive debut as writer-director of "Meth Head," which swept all the major awards from the 2013 FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival. She follows that up with "Crazy Bitches," a horror comedy about seven ex-sorority girls and one fabulous gay guy who head off to a remote ranch for a week of gossip and grub. What could possibly go wrong?

In a Q&A with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, Jane Clark talks about what motivated her to tackle this genre and why it is important for the straight filmmakers to feature LGBT characters in her movies.




Q: “Meth Head” marked your directorial debut, and that movie ran away with all the major honors at the 2013 FilmOut San Diego awards. Why was it important to you to follow that “real life” movie up with the “Crazy Bitches” satire on slasher films?

A: “Meth Head” was (and continues to be) an emotional journey. It is a hard film to watch and you can feel the weight of it in a theater with an audience. So every Q&A is a difficult experience. I’m not sure I ever got through one of them without fighting back tears. I am glad the film has such a strong impact, but I needed a breather and I thought a fun, fast, slightly absurdist, satirical, comedy, horror film would just be a hoot to make and fun to screen. And honestly, I didn’t choose the genre, the concept drove the genre for me. It just seemed the perfect situation with which to take a stab at vanity.

Q: What was the inspiration for the story line? Are you a horror fan? Or do you have some hidden agenda with sorority girls? LOL!

A: The inspiration is my own relationship with my girlfriends. I had lunch one day with a friend. She was talking about herself and building herself up, but in the course of it said something that unintentionally hurt my feelings. And I remember being surprised at her thoughtlessness, but at the same time completely aware she had no idea what had just happened and she certainly never intended to hurt me. So I started thinking about vanity and thinking that vanity was the flip side of insecurity many times. That was the genesis, and somehow the horror genre seemed to work with it, despite the fact that I had never made a horror film, nor hadn’t watched much horror in recent years.

Q: What do you want audiences to remember about the film after they leave the theater?

A: The fun of it.

Q: Let’s talk about casting. Some of your “Meth Head” alums are in “Crazy Bitches,” including Mary Jane Wells, Blake Berris, Candis Cayne and John W. McLaughlin. Did you write parts for them, or did you require them to audition for their roles?

A: I wrote roles for all of them. As well as several other friends - Victoria Profeta, who plays Kyle’s sister in “Meth Head” (and was in two of my shorts), Cathy DeBuono, who plays the intervention person, Eddie Daniels, who was the lead singer of the band that is featured in the bar scene and David Fumero, who was the lead in my short film, “Carrie’s Choice.”

Q: And does familiarity with actors help you as a director?

A: It does. Every actor brings their own strengths and work process to the rehearsal process and the set. If someone is new, then there is a learning curve to understand how they best like to hear direction and what their confidences and insecurities are. If I already know how to best give the actor what they need we can kick into the intimate work much more quickly. It also means that there is a trust level already in place that helps the process as well. On a personal level, as a group we are together for long stretches of a day and when we are already friends, it just makes it more fun.

Q: Talk about the fabulous gay guy, BJ, who ends up invited to spend the weekend with the former sorority girls? How does he fit into the equation, and what was the purpose of his character. And was BJ always meant to be an Indian-American character, or did that evolve after casting of Andy Gala in the role?

A: I’ll be honest. I was hanging with Wilson Cruz one day (who was also in “Meth Head”), and I was telling him about “Crazy Bitches.” I said, “Hey Wilson, do you want me to write you a role?” and Wilson said yes. So I figured, every group of girls has their GBF right? Why wouldn’t he be an honorary member of the sorority? So I wrote the role for Wilson, who BTW has the most beautiful skin (BJ’s vanity is his skin/his insecurity stems from having been picked on because of his ethnicity). Just as we were going into pre-production, Wilson had to pull out due to responsibilities at GLAAD. When Andy came in to read for the role, he adjusted the dialogue to fit his ethnicity and we kept it when I hired him.

Q: As a married, straight woman, your films always seem to have an LGBT component to it. And your first two movies have played the gay film festival circuit. So why is it important to you as a writer and director to feature LGBT characters in your movies?

A: The world is filled with all kinds of people. It isn’t just a straight white world. And god, wouldn’t it be boring if it was? So, I write what I know and about who I know. I also like to include characters of color. I like to include older characters (I wrote a role for Edith Fields, who plays the Gramma in “Meth Head,” but she was also unable to do it.) and I make sure there are good roles for women.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I have several projects in different stages of development.

“Slate & Kelly” is a fish out of water detective story about a gay guy and a lesbian who are thrown together against their better judgment to solve a string of murders in a drag club. That project will be shot in Paris and has a great French cast on board. I’m currently looking for the U.S. leads.

I am also working on a new horror film to star Candis Cayne as a glamorous actress, caught in a murderous intrigue. It is in script stage, but I'm hoping will go into production pretty quickly, because it is really cool and can be made on a tight budget.

And I have a project called “Angel’s Tread,” which is a spooky, sexy romance set in New Orleans. It’s my biggest budget so may take a few years before I can get that financed.

THE DETAILS

FilmOut San Diego is screening "Crazy Bitches" at 7 pm Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the Landmark Hillcrest. Flawles San Diego and Gossip Grill are co-presenters.

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased online HERE. Two things to remember: The box office takes only cash and there is three hours of free parking in the garage if you get your receipt stamped at the theater concession stand.

There will be a Q&A after the movie and an after-party following that at Harvey Milk's American Diner.

* * *

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.