After years of watching and reviewing Debbie Rochon movies, I finally got around to asking Debbie for an interview after watching Ivan Zuccon's Wrath of the Crows. Debbie kindly answered these questions by email in July 2013.
How did you come to first work with Ivan Zuccon on Colour from the Dark?
"Ivan had contacted me to play Lucia in Colour. At the time I hadn't heard of him so I watched his previous films and was really impressed with his style and vision. It was pretty easy to say yes to working with Ivan after seeing his work. He has the understanding that film is a visual medium and tells his stories with such a unique style. Sounds pretty obvious but many film makers do not tell a story with visuals and don't have such a deep understanding of cinema as Ivan does. Plus the script was really amazing. This was a character that I was so excited to play. I am forever grateful I had the opportunity. I'm very proud of the final outcome."
What were your expectations when you flew out to Italy to make Colour, and how closely did they match what you found?
"I had very high expectations, because, as I said, I knew I was walking into a situation where I would be working with a very talented director and crew. The cast was extraordinary as well. But working one on one with Ivan I have to say it surpassed my expectations. His only concern while making the movie was the movie itself. There is no ego on his sets. There is no worrying about how he will go about selling it. While shooting he is only functioning as a pure artist and he enjoys every part of it. This makes for a perfect situation for any actor. He knows what he wants and knows what is best and loves collaborating. It was one of the highlights of my acting career."
As an actor, what are the contrasting challenges and opportunities of something serious and quite powerful like Ivan's films vs the broad comedy of, say, Troma films?
"I have made a lot of serious films but often they are not as widely seen as they should be. That being said, I do enjoy comedy quite a bit. Comedy allows you to make very big choices and really have fun with them. Like absurdist theatre. I have always loved working with Lloyd Kaufman because he also allows for a lot of collaboration. Not only is it fun working with Lloyd but some of my lifelong friendships are because of Troma. Tiffany Shepis, Trent Haaga, Doug Sakmann, Gabe Friedman, Jamie Greco and more including Lloyd himself. Ivan and his family, crew and Italian cast are much the same in the sense that they become family. You admire them, trust them and sincerely love them. The seriousness of Ivan's films is just as engaging. His sets are perfectly run so that you have the ability to really do your work and the work is what's respected and nurtured. I love working on the subject matter that he chooses. Very demanding in a great way and very gratifying when it all comes together."
What is your take on the allegorical/metaphysical nature of Wrath of the Crows, and what ideas were you able to bring to the character of Debbie?
"You could describe Wrath as a combination of Anagogic and Topological interpretations of the story Ivan is telling. Set in a visceral, violent, horror-friendly setting it has a pretty powerful punch and is equally beautiful as it is brutal to watch. In my opinion it gives a wider variety of people the ability to enjoy a film like this. It completely delivers in a visual capacity as it does in a 'film that has something to say' capacity. This is exactly the type of film I enjoy as a viewer. I hope it finds the great audience and distribution it really deserves. I also think with these qualities going for it, it will be the type of film that will stand the test of time as the subject matter is timeless itself. The role was written for me, and that's a pretty big compliment in itself. After reading the script I felt that, for my role to forward the film and to represent a female very different from the others, I needed to focus on the anger that comes from betrayal, which is where my character first turns the corner that leads her down the path where we find her."
How has Ivan progressed as a film-maker in the five years between Colour and Wrath?
"He has always had the most incredible eye for film. I think he is growing into a film maker that can't be denied. You can look at his first films and see incredible talent, this is very rare. But with time and certainly his most recent film he is tackling not just subject matter but creative visual story telling to a true masters level. To me his is a true master of cinema. One of the greats of this time."
You worked with several of your Wrath co-stars on your directorial debut Model Hunger: what can you tell me about this - and when will we get to see it?
"Model Hunger was written and produced by James Morgart. We completed principle photography and the film is almost hitting the picture lock stage of post-production. It's a great tale of what becomes of a woman who was rejected many years ago by the modeling and acting business because of her body shape - she is not a size zero (Twiggy-like). Lynn Lowry plays the lead Ginny to perfection, a vengeful woman who has taken to 'evening the playing ground' by torturing and devouring young women who idolise and attempt to personify this unattainable idea of beauty. Tiffany Shepis plays her new neighbour who has a lot of psychological problems of her own but is convinced something evil is happening next door at Ginny's. Tiffany is really incredible in her role. Wrath star Brian Fortune, who plays Colin in the film, is also brilliant. I couldn't be happier with the entire cast - every character is played perfectly in my opinion. I am so proud of this cast. I can't wait for people to see all of them in this movie."
website: www.DebbieRochon.com (also: www.ModelHunger.com)