Wicked Channel Interview-The Soska Sisters


This interview is a culmination of three separate interviews I did with the sisters. With American Mary hitting the theaters soon and on home video, I wanted to give you guys some questions you have read before and some that you have not that were part of a third interview that we held on to for the release of Mary. No matter what your opinion is of the Soska Sisters one thing is for sure, they have a lot to be proud of. With American Mary part of the Screamfest label in the US, expect a huge deal when it is released. Until then, enjoy this interview and who knows we may one day get interview 4 from all things Soska.

1. Let’s talk about your next big film… American Mary, what can you tell us about the plot, storyline and anyone from Hooker in it? ( Well beside you two) The girl on the slab looks a little like the Dead Hooker. Is there a set in stone release date?

S: The next film is AMERICAN MARY. We have had it for the last two years and while we were working on getting HOOKER out there, finishing our documentary – PLEASE SUBSCRIBE – and all sorts of other fun stuff: Women in Horror Month, the Massive Blood Drive, talking to lots of incredible people, and trying to work on as much creative stuff as possible (there are six new scripts ready to go) – we were trying to get a start on the next feature. MARY is a very special, very personal piece to us. It relates to where we really are and what we have been through to get to this point, actually I think it is very relatable story in these times of harsh economic security and how hard it is to make it in this sometimes harsh and unforgiving world. There are a lot of transformations in the story – it is an extremely prosthetic heavy piece, but it is also a very intimate look at people and what it is to fully express yourself. Some of it deals with things that will make people very uncomfortable to watch because it explores subculture and forces people to see the humanity of people that society would most commonly label as freaks. I can’t go into the full details about the story, but we already have an incredible team coming together on this.

We like the idea of having a film family. There is a group of ‘nice people who know their shit’ that we have in that family and that is how team members are added. It makes all the difference in the world, especially on those long days when you get the movie, sleep deprived crazies. The teaser was shot, cut, and colored by CJ Wallis of FortyFPS Productions – he played Goody Two Shoes in HOOKER as well as doing almost all the post-production, creating soundtrack and original music pieces, and much of the marketing for the film. He is very talented, smart, and kind – I have been possessed by this new project and that makes for a lot of conversations about MARY. We had the prosthetics team – sisters, Katie and Alyssa Satow of AlyKat FX – do the effects that you see in the teaser. I wish I could tell you the incredible new members to the makeup and effects team – I’m still pinching myself at the level of talent and enthusiasm. The blond on the slab is a wonderful actress by the name of Paula Lindberg. We had worked together on a short called BADGIRLS and she was just lovely, we knew we wanted to work together again and this all just came together beautifully. To have an actress read something so off center and bring such a haunting rendition, it’s just indescribable. She is going to be a lot of fun to watch in the feature.

2. What made you want to tackle a music video, and how was the experience?

S: I have to admit, we have yet to be at the helm for a music video. The newest videos are from CJ Wallis and we were fortunate enough to come out to be a part of it. The band, THE SCARLET ENDING, led by twins Kayleigh and Kaleena Goldsworthy, is just so fucking cool. It was weird because we are very similar to them; they’re in the music industry and we’re in the film but their experiences and stories are unsettling identical – but that’s what you get when you put two sets of identical twins together. Having said that, our first music video will be released for the 2011 Women In Horror Month for the Massive Blood Drive. It’s going to be insane and here’s a sneak tidbit – two sets of twins.

J: It was a great experience.We very much enjoy working with CJ Wallis and we very much enjoyed working with THE SCARLET ENDING. We would love to direct a music video ourselves. We do place a lot of importance in how our music and imagery work together, always putting much thought into the soundtrack we use for our films. It would be very exciting to see what we could come up with for a music video.

S: The goal of Twisted Twins Productions is to create new projects that are unique, funny, and horrific in at least some aspect. Not to say we are going to go out of horror, but if we did do something in another genre – it would probably still be widely considered a horror. We have quite a few other scripts that we are excited to get started on. They’re pretty fucked up and we’re really proud of them. We would love to grow the company to where we can have a full team working on the next big project. I’m very much a control freak when it comes to projects, I want to be involved in its creation and development to its final cut, so I’m not sure about taking other people’s projects. But back to the working with NPWKTS thing, if I meet someone who has incredible work, I would do anything in my power to help get it out there.

J: We hope to grow the company. I’d like Twisted Twins Productions to be known world wide. We have a lot of ideas and will make films for the rest of our lives. There are just so many films we have in our bag of tricks. I think we’ll always have a special place in our hearts for independent work. After all, it really is where everyone starts. It’s always exciting to see the very first film anyone makes. When you see El Mariachi, you can already see so much of Rodriguez’s style, even with such a modest budget. I would like to stay independent, though it would be silly not to look into joint ventures in the future. I think it would be fun to collaborate with another production company. I have really enjoyed our projects made in association with FortyFPS Productions.

4. What would you tell any young person thinking of starting up their own company and making a first film?

S: I always tell people not to give up on their dreams. If you work hard, really fucking ‘Ihavenomoneyandsociallife’ hard, you will succeed. You can’t fail if you’re doing what you love. Learn everything you can, try to know about as many jobs on set as you can, and watch movies from all over the world. Listen to DVD commentaries, read books on film making, learn from the people you dig watching, and most importantly make something that is very you. We don’t need remakes, we need interesting originals.

J: I would tell people to not waste a ton of money on film school. Go make a film. Nothing compares to the hands on experience of actually being on set. Set experience and familiarity is important. I’d recommend watching your favorite films and listening to the director commentary. After all, who better to learn from than the directors you enjoy? I’d also suggest watching everything you can get your hands on. Good or bad, you can learn from both. With bad films it’s vital to be able to recognize why it was bad. Bad acting, bad editing, uninteresting characters, poor shots, whatever. It’s helps you not repeat those mistakes in your own work.
Before setting out to make your own film, you should have an idea you love. And I really mean that. You will be talking about that film for the rest of your life. During the lowest points of your filming adventure, your faith in that idea will keep you motivated. Surround yourself with good people. You’ve potentially got the best days of your life ahead of you, but you will also have some very tense and stressful times. You don’t want anyone on set making that experience any more challenging. When picking the name of your production company, really think about it. Think how will you market it. Will people remember it? It’s the first impression you give of your company and work. It has to be right.

5. Looking at the trailer for American Mary, this looks like a hard R. Or NC17, would you ever let the MPAA see this and cut anything to get a theatrical run?

S: A lot of the blood and gore will be medical, so I’m not sure what they will have to say. As the teaser implies, there will be unconventional surgeries – nipple removal and cliterectomies are not the usual cosmetic surgeries – but, with shows like ER and HOUSE on prime-time that pushed the gore envelope medically, I feel that won’t be their problem. There are a lot of sequences in the film that are going to have people shocked. There is one sequence in particular that is insane, like holy fuck what the shit is that. We’re very excited about that sequence.

I don’t know what they will give it. It goes to some very dark places, but at the same time the script has a dark humor throughout and, despite the seriously flawed characters, there is a very special story there. There is glamor and fun. I don’t want to cut anything out, but I am already preparing to defend what is in the film.
J: It should come as no surprise that we aren’t big fans of censorship. Censorship encourages ignorance. Simply because you don’t see violence doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Art imitates life after all. I find it funny when a film gets slammed for being too violent and whoever says, “that would never happen in real life!”. Well, I disagree. Just read the paper. Fucked up, horrible shit happens every single day, all over the world. I don’t think it would ever be a concern for us to avoid certain subject matter because of the MPAA. If we end up with an R, so be it. We may have to make some sacrifices to get our films a theatrical release, but I guess that’s why they have director’s cuts, right?

6. This is a question; I am dying to ask the both of you…Do you think Hollywood gets off the hook too easy for its crimes? I mean they commit murder or etc..and do what 21 days in jail.

S: That’s why I’m in the game, too many bodies under the floor boards, I need Hollywood to keep me out of jail. But seriously, I think we as a culture need to really look at crime, prevention, and punishment. Any time something wrong happens, look around at the situation and why it was allowed to occur. When people act out and hurt people and destroy lives, we need to keep it from happening again. I had a job at a major company and a customer started stalking me. He was fifty one and disgusting, I was twenty one and terrified. I ended up leaving my job, leaving my apartment, and not leaving my room. It went on for a year and a half before my situation was deemed severe enough to warrant a peace order (the Canadian reversion of a restraining order) and even then it only lasted for a year and then the freak was free to stalk to his asshole heart’s delight. He had a file an inch thick of previous complaints from dozens of other women he harassed and still there was no real punishment. There are hardly any repercussions for being a cancer on society. In celebrity cases, a lot of it seems to be substance abuse-related horse shit. It would be nice for people like that to get the help they need instead of an indifferent shrug and a slap on the wrist.

J: People aren’t really held accountable anymore. Maybe in the Old West just shooting someone if they piss you off is a step too far, but I bet you people thought more before they went around pissing people off and doing dumb shit. I honestly wish we had a Punisher out there. Some big badass, mother fucker just looking for anyone who steps out of line. I think we’d really see a decrease in crime. Um, well, not, vigilante crime, of course, but y’know, the other stuff.
Hollywood itself really lives in a fantasy land. Their reality is so different from that of everyone else. They go out and get followed. People write pages speculating about their lives and reveal their most intimate details. It’s really a strange obsession with what other people are doing and they’re really not doing anything all that different from everyone else. They clearly get preferential treatment. It must be difficult to make human mistakes while you’re being watched by the whole world.

7. Being twins, you guys ever fooled a date or boyfriend?

S: In high school, I once dated this boy for two weeks and it was really just not for me, and he got very attached and I wasn’t there so I knew I had to break it off. Problem was, he was an emotional guy and got teary when I tried and I really don’t have the heart for that shit. So, I had Jen breakup with him for me. No pre-warning, just say no. He cried for like two hours, Jen was pissed at the set-up, but still did it. I don’t feel bad because he didn’t notice it wasn’t me. I still owe Jen though, she’s really been saving it up.

J: Nah, we’re not that evil. Well, mostly not. And we really have opposite tastes in guys. I imagine that’s good ‘cuz we’ve never fought over the same guy. Fooling boyfriends seemed like a lot of work for little results. We’d require a bigger audience. Sylv was once working on a play and they hadn’t ever met me or known I existed. She arranged that I take her place with a co-conspirator. It was terrifying because the whole time I kept thinking, “this is stupid. I’m gonna get found out. it’s so obvious.” But everyone was totally cool with it. Only ONE girl came in and stared at me like I was Charles Manson. She whispered to her friend, “who IS that girl? That’s NOT Sylvia.” Sylvie came the end and, naturally, hilarity ensued.

8. We share quite a few things in common, but one of the biggest is music. So share with us, what have you been listening to lately?

S: Oh my God, this new artist who is going to be on the soundtrack for AMERICAN MARY called Beck Goldsmith. Her stuff is haunting and lovely. THE SCARLET ENDING, of course, is one of my new favorite bands. Their song – CITIES BY THE OCEAN – is one of my top five all-time favorite songs. I could end a television series on it. BOX FIVE is an adorable, quirky band fronted by Mary Bichner who my dad and I have been listening to for a couple years now. I’m really digging what KANYE WEST has been releasing. MONSTER may be one of the greatest songs ever. RUNAWAY is breathtaking. The things that he is doing with artful imagery and his live performances on SNL absolutely floored me. He’s really raised the bar. I wish everyone put that kind of effort into their art.

J: Lots of Beck Goldsmith. Especially as of late. THE SCARLET ENDING, particularly the two songs from the videos, have been stuck in my head lately and the only cure for that is a lot of listening. Dr. Horrible’s Musical Blog. The soundtrack to Phantom of the Paradise. I like to listen to stuff that I want to perhaps use for sound tracking. I’ve been listening to the Best of the 80s, Ennio Morricone, My Morning Jacket, Frank Sinatra, Rammstein… wow, I like stuff that really doesn’t fit together, ha ha.

9. Congrats on the trailer for American Mary. What was the budget like for American Mary and how long was the shoot?

S: Thank you very kindly. Twisted Twins Productions is two today! The budget was modest given everything what was involved in making it. I just loved the clinic and all the atmosphere it had. We got in after it closed in the afternoon, and after a long application process – amazing team involved – and we ended up shooting at 3am. I’ve heard that that is the Satanic Witching Hour, so it was a weird hour to be filming at. Pretty long day, but totally worth it. I just couldn’t stop staring at Paula in her Ruby Realgirl skin. So pretty and utterly off putting at the same time.

J: The budget was modest, but still a substantial increase from what we had for DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. AMERICAN MARY is going to be quite a different beast. We’ve done Grindhouse and loved it. We’re far from done with it. However, we want to treat our audiences to a completely new and unique experience with MARY. This film will be filled with things never before seen or attempted. Our tell tale dark sense of humor will still be present along with a twisted style.

10. What was the last movie either of you were offended or affected by? In the same question, what was the last movie that blew you away?

S: The last movie I was affected by was definitely ANTICHRIST by Lars Von Trier. It is so dark and disturbing and interesting to watch. Like some dark philosophical nightmare. Some of it is hard to watch, but it is very engaging and beautiful at the same time. MARTYRS blew me away. No other film I have watched since even touches what it did to my brain. It stayed with me for weeks afterwards, like some song you can’t help but hum.

J: I don’t offend easily. In my time, there has been only one film that really put me off. MEN BEHIND THE SUN. Real animal cruelty, especially cruelty done for little other than to create controversy, really pisses me off. The cat and rats being so horribly tortured was inexcusable. I understand the director’s desire to realistically show the evils of war, but he made himself no better than those he wanted to make a statement against through his actions.
I’m not sure what was the last film to blow me away. Maybe PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. From the moment I saw it it became a cult classic to me. It also has further advanced my desire to make a cult classic horror musical.

11. Would you ever be down to pose for Playboy if they made an offer?

S: That’s funny because there was an opportunity to potentially have piece written for the magazine, but it went away and I’m not even sure how real it was. It did make me think about nudity and what situation would make me interested in doing it. There are certain films where they use lots of nudity and sexuality and it fits so well in the story – like BOOGIE NIGHTS – but I’m a director and I write what I direct. Are Jen and I going to write lots of naked parts in our films? Not likely. We want to be known for the quality of our work, not that we might be naked in the next one. Would we do Playboy? An interview for sure. A nude photo shoot – not likely.

J: It’s just not what we’re about. We want our work to speak for itself. If we wanted to just peel off our clothes to get easy attention, we’d be entirely different beasts. We would love to be interviewed by Playboy, but a nude shoot would be doubtful. In a time where everyone has a sex tape and celebrities step out of cars without wearing panties, we’d like to take the path less traveled and attempt to get by by hard work, ambition, and talent.

12. Do you think Hollywood is truly fair? Example M Night has made three major bombs in a row. Do you think they would give a female three chances with a big budget? Also, when was the last time George Clooney was in a major box office smash and he gets 25 million a film. Do you think they will give a female 25 million a shot even when she is not selling tickets?

S: Wow. That is just so fucking true. It goes like this, certain things equal certain profit margins. An M Night movie might be able to guarantee a certain profit margin because of the market that will go to the theaters to see him, or buy his DVD, or rent it through Video on Demand. Maybe it bombs in the theaters, but people might shamefully watch a poor film in the safety of their home on the whim of a button push. Would they give that same opportunity to a female director? There is a work ethic for women that I took from my beloved PREACHER comic series. The antagonist, Herr Starr says ‘Kill the women first.’ He is being asked what to do in a terrorist situation and he says that you kill the women first because if there is a woman on the terrorist team, she had to be so much better than any man at that job that they had to have her there. You have to work so hard to get anywhere in this industry. I like to think that if Katherine Bigelow made a few stinkers, she could still get funding.

J: There seems to be a real trend in Hollywood where either big budget films get made or people get behind independent, unique, clever indie films. I don’t know why M Night keeps making the same shit. I was already pretty done with his films when I saw SIGNS. Why would aliens that have are weak against water go to a planet that is mostly water. What? It wasn’t raining someplace where they landed? People toss around 20 million salaries like they’re no big deal, but it’s still 20 fucking million dollars. I don’t think women should just get breaks based on their gender. That being said, I don’t think people who consistently let down their audiences should be given so many opportunities to continue to do so. Film makers owe a great deal to their audiences. Yes, one should always be making art for themselves, but without an audience you have nothing.

13. Do you think the internet and for that matter, horror fans are shallow?

S: I think it’s impossible to pigeon hole anything as broad as the internet and the masses of horror fans with that kind of label. That said, there are definitely shallow sites and people but that can be said for everything and everybody. Right now we’re in the dawn of a new age. The internet is the fastest growing medium – fuck, even Blockbuster is going under because no one goes to the video store anymore – and information and entertainment can be accessible more quickly and that’s going to be really cool. People, including horror fans and film makers, that know how to utilize this medium are going to be able to bring what their passionate about to the public at the fastest pace in history. I suppose, to link in the shallow aspect, we have to be aware that even though we can put things out there more

J: Ha ha, I suppose they’re no more or less shallow than any other genre’s fans. I do think that horror is often not taken seriously as a genre and reasons people often give is that horror movies are all shitty and stupid and filled with bad acting, tits, and blood. If all horror movies were like that, yes, I guess horror fans would appear shallow. However, when I look at the horror genre, I see a whole lot more than blood and tits. Yes, of course, there’s room for that, too, but horror films can be every bit as clever, thoughtful, and well done as any other film genre.

14. When a male director films female nudity, you have to think unless he is gay, that he’s into it. What about a female director filming nudity, is it a turn on?

S: I think men and women are both incredibly attractive. I know from being an actor what it feels like to have a nude scene that serves a purpose in a film and what it feels like to be the entertainment for the perverts for the day, so when I write nudity into a script – ‘American Mary’ has quite a bit – I make sure it’s to have a strong image that makes the scene. When it’s done right, when everything comes together perfectly, and that nude scene happens it can be very sexy. Thinking of the technicality and getting everyone’s comfort levels up, makes it more like work on the day. I don’t think I can feel turned on by it until I’m watching the finished film.

J: Absolutely. I’m not sure why so many women feel they’re not allowed to be openly sexual. A man has no problem saying, “yes, that’s definitely a turn on.” It doesn’t make them a slut or anything. It just means they’re open and comfortable with their own sexuality. And confidence is very, very sexy. When filming any scene, I want to feel during filming what I want the audience to feel when they watch the final cut of the film. If we’re filming a sex scene and nudity, if I’ve done it right, I should be the first one turned on.

15. I know your soon to be major stars, there is just too much hype about you guys, this sucks but you have to do it…its kill, fuck and marry…you have to pick one for each and details if your game, ladies the choices are Jarred from Subway commercials, Pat O Brien(the Access Hollywood guy who left that underage girl those sex messages on her phone) and Rush Limbaugh.

S: I would kill Pat because I just can’t fathom fucking him, I would hate-fuck Rush with a strap-on to help him be more open-minded, and (I don’t actually believe in marriage – but for this question) I would marry Jarred because he probably wouldn’t give me too much lip and would probably keep the house in order and bring me sandwiches.

J: Hmmm… let’s see. I’d marry Rush because I’m sure I could stress him out to the point of a heart attack and hopeful death with my conflicting views and strategically placed back talk. I’d kill Pat, most likely by creating a poll and allowing horror fans to vote on the method of death or send in their own suggestions. And I’d fuck Jarred because I heard he’s started to put the weight back on and could use a good work out, ha ha

16. If this movie does not make you stars, are either of you down to get Mel Gibson on the rebound? What about Tiger Woods?

S: It’s a real shame since they had so much going in their relationships, like some really cute text messages and phone calls. It must be weird to fuck up so much as a human being in your personal life and have it be an international daily news item.

J: When I was little, some one like Mel seemed like he was unstoppable. Like, no one could destroy his career. I don’t believe in this world that anyone is completely guilty or innocent. Most people don’t just go around making stupid decisions because they’re bad people. Somehow, in some way, they think they’re in the right. It’s like watching the Discovery channel. You’re rooting for whoever you’re watching. If you’re watching the zebra family one week, you want them to get away from the lions. If you’re watching the lions, you want them to rip the shit out of the zebras. That being said, I don’t really condone either Tiger or Mel’s behavior. Though, I do think there’s more to both stories than we know. It’s hard for the media to tell a story without picking a “bad guy”. I’m sure everyone will hate Tiger and Mel until they move onto the next bad guy. I hope both of them are able to make amends and move on. Everyone’s in the shit sometimes, Hugh Grant, Jude Law, Brittney Spears, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr, Alec Baldwin… Who knows who’ll be next.

17. Does negative press upset you? If someone trashes your movies, or just harps on the fact that its low budget or females..does this upset you..or do you just brush it off, and say fuck them? In the same question, do you read all your press and reviews?

S: The first few times I read anything negative, I took it personally. It sucks when someone says something mean, but you really have to consider the source. I try to read everything that’s out there because if someone takes the time to watch our movie and write about it, the least I can do is check it out. We have had an amazing response. No, utterly fucking unreal is more like it. I pass on all the reviews and check out their sources – I try to get the word out on the ones that stick out to me.

J: We try to read everything. It’s the least we can do. We’re so grateful to have people watch our film and review it. It goes a long way as far as getting the word out and sending future Dead Hooker fans our way. We really can’t thank the reviewers enough for checking out DHIAT and telling the inter~world about it.
We’ve received a tremendous amount of great feedback for the film. Of course, we’ve had people shit on the fact that it’s independently made, but that is as much a short coming as it is a part of the film’s over all charm. It’s hard to read a review where someone shits over something you’ve put so much of yourself into, but I’ve become much better at brushing it off. Now when I read something upsetting, I do brush it off and consider it their loss. There is no perfect movie out there. Even my favorite films have received their fair share of knocks. It’s all got to do with perception. I’m very happy with having so many people like Dead Hooker. It’s them that we made the film for, after all.

18. Are you guys going to strictly be horror, or are you going to branch out into other genres?

S: I love horror. We will branch out to tell different stories that may be considered mainly another genre, but I think there will always be horrific aspects in every work. When I witness something strange or upsetting, I like to put it into a script. When I was a little girl, I saw a kid get hit with a baseball bat and his eye popped out of it’s socket. That inspired an eye pop scene in Hooker.

J: I think horror is where our hearts are, but we won’t ever limit ourselves to sticking with one genre. Who knows what the future holds? I think there will certainly be horrific aspects in everything we do, heck, even if we did a “kid’s movie”. We’ll always bring our dark sense of humor with us, wherever we go.