There are few short horror films that I really get excited about...and Call Girl is one of those few. It is a scary suckerpunch that you don't see coming and it left me wanted so much more! I was able to score an interview with the director of Call Girl, Jill Sixx Gevargizian and one of the stars of the film, Little Miss Tristan Risk!
DEVIANT: How do you like working in the genre, Jill?
JILL SIXX: I love it! I've been a fan of horror ever since I was a little kid. Before I even knew what horror was I just wanted to do anything that was scary. Like, play hide and seek at night, explore the woods or whatever. I liked to push myself in every possible way!
DEVIANT: I've read that you love Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it's your favorite horror film of all time. Would Leatherface be considered your favorite horror movie villain...or do you have another favorite?
JILL SIXX: That's hard...but, it probably would be Leatherface. I like the base of his character which so many people have been based from. He's the momma's boy type. He's more like a vulnerable villain. He doesn't even have any malicious intent...he's pretty much a victim to what he's been through his whole life. You know with Leatherface, he's always got his family around him pretty much telling him what to do while he cowers. He's very much like a little boy with a repressed sexuality who never got over that torment. I like the vulnerable villains like that. The ones that are more human instead of just some monster that's just going around killing people.
|BEHIND THE SCENES of CALL GIRL: Brian Hicks - DP, Jill Sixx - Director (photo courtesy of Anna Perry)|
DEVIANT: And you, Tristan? What's your favorite horror film and villain?
TRISTAN RISK: My favorite horror film is definitely Jaws! But, my favorite horror film villain? Usually, I find humans to be the most villainous. Creatures and paranormal things can be written off as being true to their wild nature or paranormal proclivities...but, humans usually are the worst for being horrible to one another. If faced between a psycho human and a great white...give me the great white any day!
DEVIANT: Nice! Great answer, Tristan. Talk about your long road to finally getting Call Girl premiere here at HorrorHound Weekend.
JILL SIXX: It's been crazy! It's pretty much all been through going to all of these types of conventions and meeting people. That's why I always tell people who ask "how do you do that?"...I say that it's not that you just do something and that's it. It's about networking...and that kind of thing takes years of meeting the right people and then, at one point you're finally at the right place to do something cool with it. I met Laurence (Harvey) at Texas Frightmare in 2012 and just became friends with him while keeping in touch through Facebook and meeting up at conventions. He actually offered to be in the film. When I first got the script and I sent it to him to get his opinion on it, I was so intimidated by the idea...as far as directing him. I was like...what the hell am I going to say to Martin Lomax??! *laughter* But, then after getting to know him over time...I got much more comfortable. Then, Laurence posted on his Facebook one day that we were looking for the female role, when I was just thinking about casting a local talent from Kansas City, and Tristan (Risk) commented on his status. Then, my whole mind just started going crazy with the idea. I was thinking that there would be no way that she is serious...and if so, I got get a whole new plan and raise way more money and figure out how I'm gonna do all of this! So, I had to be pretty blunt with Tristan when I first met with her because I needed to know what kind of budget we would be dealing with. But, she was way excited...especially when she met Laurence. I mean, anyone who meets Laurence is just---like, you see him in his film and he's the scariest character ever, which is like that momma's boy character...but, he's just the most polite, sweetest gentleman.
TRISTAN RISK: Really wish I could've been part of the premiere! I actually became aware of Call Girl because Laurence, Jill and I are all up in each other's news feeds on Facebook and Twitter. It's kind of like how back in the day the phone company would have the party lines you'd listen in on. *laughter* So, when Jill was looking for an actress and Laurence was attached, I messaged him. I asked him if he thought I should throw my name in the hat and he gave me encouragement. So, I dropped Jill a line. Laurence is so sweet!
|FROM LEFT: Laurence Harvey and Eric Havens (photo courtesy of Anna Perry)|
DEVIANT: I know, right?! I actually got a chance to meet him at one of the Days of the Dead and he was just standing there in his blood-soaked doctor's coat looking all freakin' scary. But, when we approached him...he was just the nicest guy.
JILL SIXX: He's also into freak shows and the history of freak shows. He wrote his college thesis on it and his background is performance art, not really acting. That's why when you see him in Human Centipede 2, he never says a word in it...and he's still so incredible. Super intelligent man. Whenever he goes to a horror convention in Chicago, the Art Institute invites him in to speak. The horror community has no idea what he does in his personal life. Love Laurence.
TRISTAN RISK: Laurence is awesome! I think it's criminal how under-used he is in cinema and not just when he plays crazies and sickos. He's a fantastic actor. I'd love to take a workshop from him if he ever taught in my part of the world!
DEVIANT: How has the reception been, so far, for Call Girl?
JILL SIXX: It's been really good. This is actually the first time we've ever shown it and everyone came up and said all these great things about it. So much good feedback. I've been also sending it to filmmakers who I admire to check it out whenever they have time, just to see what they think about it. A lot of people have written me back with great things. Everyone compliments Laurence! I run this thing in Kansas City called Slaughter Movie House where I screen independent genre films and that's where I made so many friends like John and Jerry through their films...so, I can call upon talented people like that for advice whenever I'm wondering what the hell to do next. The whole time I felt like I was this fraud and I didn't know what to do next...but, the only way you can learn to do this is to actually DO it. And that's with anything, really.
|BEHIND THE SCENES of CALL GIRL (photo courtesy of Anna Perry)|
DEVIANT: And especially because you were kinda thrust into this role as a director. I read that you were originally a producer of Call Girl and then the director backed out...so, you kind of just jumped in.
JILL SIXX: Yeah, it was getting really disappointing just thinking that we weren't gonna do this thing anymore...especially after getting so excited about it in the first place. So, I kind of just got the guts, finally, to just ask the writer, Eric Havens, if I could direct it. He was going to direct it, initially, until he just decided that it wasn't his thing. He's a close friend of mine so, it was really cool...but, weird at the same time because these are his words that he wrote so, if I wanted to tweak anything in the script I would get really nervous because at the end of the day Eric is my friend, first and foremost. But, he trusted me and ended up loving the finished product.
DEVIANT: What was it like directing Tristan Risk and Laurence Harvey?
JILL SIXX: It was definitely intimidating. I had spent a week with Laurence out in LA while he was shooting Human Centipede 3 and that's when I decided that I could be comfortable with him, after seeing him work. But, with Tristan I was still really nervous. I didn't know if we were gonna get along or what was gonna happen...I mean, I'm really shy and awkward around people at first. Which is weird that I would even try to do all this stuff. But, Tristan and I have pretty similar personalities so it was really cool. She would stay with me whenever she was in town so we would just kind of do our own thing and hang out or whatever. The night before we shot, we were hanging out and I just voiced how nervous I was about the next day...just on the verge of crying. And she said something that totally smoothed everything over...She said that everyone is here for the same reason and we wanna make the best thing that we can so there's nothing to be nervous about. Tristan is just the sweetest girl.
TRISTAN RISK: Aww...thanks! Jill was so great to work with and Laurence was in good spirits the whole time. Laurence and I were both worried about potentially injuring one another, but it went smoothly. No blows exchanged, no blood shed...but, a lot of smiles got cracked!
DEVIANT: Talk about your experience doing Call Girl, Tristan...versus something huge like American Mary.
TRISTAN RISK: Well, American Mary had much more to shoot with a larger budget...but, this was just as tight! A condensed version, if you will. Most say Mary was a skinny shoot but, if that's the case, then Call Girl was bare bones. It was such a whirlwind with so much to shoot in such a short time. I don't think I've been on a shorter film shoot! But, if anyone ever tops that...I'll be impressed and consider them a potential Time Lord. *laughter*
|Tristan Risk takes a break from all the horror (photo courtesy of Anna Perry)|
DEVIANT: Who inspires you?
JILL SIXX: What really inspires me is coming to things like this. Meeting everyone and all the filmmakers who show their films here and travel around with their films and just seeing how passionate everyone is with their art is really inspiring. And just getting the opportunity to meet everyone makes it all so personal. But, as far as the inspiration for Call Girl, it was the anthology short that was interesting. The stuff like the V/H/S films and ABC's of Death...I think it's cool how it gives the opportunity for short films to be seen by mainstream audiences. Typically, they're only seen by people who come out to stuff like HorrorHound Weekend or film festivals. Half the people don't even really know what short films are and what goes into making them. A lot of people think they're like 45 minutes long...so, whenever I tell them that my film is only 6 minutes...they look all puzzled.
DEVIANT: Yeah...I gotta say, that 6 minutes wasn't enough for me. I was so into it that I wanted so much more. I could totally see this turning into a feature-length film with so much more stuff.
JILL SIXX: The writer of Call Girl is actually working on something that I think is really really cool. I'm not sure if we're gonna do it or not...but, who knows? Someone should give us millions of dollars to do it. *laughter* A feature is just so intimidating because I think of how much we spent on 6 minutes...it feels crazy to multiply that by 90 minutes or whatever. *laughter*
DEVIANT: What's the last good horror film that you've seen?
JILL SIXX: I really liked Kiss of the Damned...I caught it one night on Netflix. I kind of barely heard about it and after I watched it I was wondering why no one that I knew who saw it ever told me about it! It's kind of a vampire film...but, everything that Twilight isn't. It's incredibly sexy and it really reminded me of those 70's vampire films. Really cool! And I found out that it was written and directed by a female director, too...which is pretty awesome. Xan Cassavetes, I think her name is. Good stuff!
DEVIANT: Yeah, and I really don't mean to separate the genre like this...but, it's really cool to see strong female filmmakers like the Soska's, Mary Harron and Jennifer Lynch doing cool stuff like that upcoming anthology XX. And it's cool when a film like Call Girl comes around made by a female that still manages to be stronger than some of the male-directed stuff. It maintains some really cool horror sensibilities and doesn't hold back any punches. It really manages to grab the audience by the throat and leaves them wanting more.
JILL SIXX: Before the Soska's came out, someone asked me to name my favorite female film director...and I could only name a couple at the time and I just thought that was so sad. I kinda feel like that XX film is a response to the V/H/S films not having any females. People might not like what I have to say about this...but, I feel like in order to make things equal...you really have to make it all EQUAL. If you have an all female anthology...then, it's the exact same thing as it being all male. And I just believe that if you want things to ultimately be equal...whether it's race, sex or whatever it is...you don't label it one thing. Make a film with both.
|CALL GIRL CENTIPEDE: Laurence Harvey, Brian Hicks, Jill Sixx and Tristan Risk (photo courtesy of Anna Perry)|
DEVIANT: Any plans for distribution? People really need to see these cool films.
JILL SIXX: I'm not too sure. I think it would be cool to package them all together like a little anthology, or something, because I don't think putting it out there as a short film is an easy sell. Short films are tough in that way...they're usually a good way to practice your skills and putting your stuff out there for more stuff and maybe turning it into a feature down the road.
DEVIANT: So, with that said...what's next for Jill Sixx and Tristan Risk?
JILL SIXX: I'm writing a couple of ideas but, I really wanna start shooting another short as soon as possible. I wish that I had a script ready right now...but, I wanna direct something that I have written next and with finishing this film I'm kind just starting work on that now. But, it's funny...when it came to shooting Call Girl, I couldn't wait until it was all finished in order to enjoy this part of it...but, now that it's all done I kind of wanna jump back into it before I fade away. *laughter* I just feel that if you want to keep doing this, you have to have some momentum. But, I do have a project that I was second unit director on...a bigger film that will come out at the end of the year that I can't really talk about yet. And I also got to act in a couple of smaller indie things. I love trying everything!
TRISTAN RISK: I've got a few spells being woven for sure...which I'm not permitted to say yet. But, I can tell you that I'll be voicing a character on the animated Chainsaw Sally show alongside April Burril, Chris Judge (Stargate SG-1) and Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). I'll also be playing Rebecca in the upcoming feature, Love Sick!
DEVIANT: Sounds really awesome, ladies! Can't wait to check 'em all out! Thank you both so much for doing this interview!
JILL SIXX: Thank you!
TRISTAN RISK: Thanks so much!
Seriously, guys! Do yourself a favor and try to catch Call Girl when it comes to your town!
|The lovely Jill Sixx Gevargizian and a Deviant (photo courtesy of some dude named Craig)|
Thanks for reading,