Casey Killoran Talks Viral Beauty (Interview) [Update]

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[Update] Casey has informed us that the film is premiering at the Frozen Film Festival, 1 – 4 February, 2017. Viral Beauty set to be screened on Friday, Feb. 3 @ 9pm- Weyerhaeuser Auditorium.

On December 20, the star of Viral Beauty; Casey Killoran took time out of her busy day to have a chat with Mike’s Film Talk about the film.  We talked about altering your appearance for a role  and the challenges of wearing two hats on a project; executive producer and actor.

Virtual Beauty follows Marsha Day, an average young woman who advertises for a date on the Internet and ends up getting millions of subscribers. We are privy to her ups and downs as fame comes courting and we learn that there is a price to be paid regardless of where fame comes from.

Ms Killoran gave us some background on the film. It was written by her one time flatmate Elizabeth Lam, who is the sister of the film’s director David Tyson Lam.

The Interview:

Mike’s Film Talk: Hello Casey! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I’ve got to say that I loved the film, its message,and what you brought to the role.

Casey: Thank you.

Mike’s Film Talk:  No problem! Now right off the bat, I’ve got to ask you what, apart from aspect of producing and starring in the film,  drew you to the project?

Casey: I think that the message and the story of the film is something that is so current and so “right now.” We were working on it over two years ago and even then it was something that was just starting.  I hadn’t seen anything like that before. The emersion of the Internet and one person’s journey that was so personal. You get to really follow their journey and learn what happens to someone who stumbles onto fame versus actively searching for it.

We see what happens to them when they become famous and this is happening right now online. People promote themselves and do that sort of thing. Once they “hit” and their stuff goes viral, they are catapulted into this stardom and it is so different from what it used to be.

Mike’s Film Talk: Yes.

Casey: Stardom used to be a secondary thing. People who wanted to act or sing focused on their craft. They worked at being good at what they did. They practised to become proficient at their passion and the fame came later. Right now, fame has become warped.  Which is what drew me to the film.

Mike’s Film Talk: I think the film shows that brilliantly. The film really shows that this is the “era of the Kardashian.” No talent needed, we’ll just make you famous to sell all these products. (Casey laughing.)  So how did you prepare for the role of Marsha?

Casey: The film actually started life as a short. I started working on it three years ago and then the short was put on pause. I went away and started doing my own stuff. The writer then went away and was working on her own thing.

I actually lived with the writer for three months.  She got to see me and how I navigated being an actor and producer in New York City. She picked up a lot because, while she is a writer,  her expertise is in the tech field. She does tech security. She thought it was interesting seeing me navigate the entertainment industry and she (Elizabeth Lam) was inspired to “sort of” make Marsha based off me and my experiences.

I was much heavier then and when she left, I lost a bunch of weight. I lost a significant amount of weight and that was when we stepped away from the short. She then came back and was “I wrote this whole feature length film, do you want to do it?”

I read it and was, this is so good but I can’t play this role, I’m not overweight anymore! What am I going to do? So the director; David, approached me and asked, very kindly, “Would you gain weight?”

(Casey laughing.)

It was a real battle for me. I tried several approaches. “Can we re-write it? Can she have another problem besides the weight? Isn’t there something we can do?” And they were like, no. They did say that they were not asking me to gain all the weight back but, a significant amount had to be put back on.

The reason was they needed me to look overweight enough that people would notice. My character could not be “celebrity thin” she had to be a slightly overweight girl. Heavy enough that people would say, “Why the ‘F’ does she get to be so popular.”

So I said okay and gained so much weight in about two and a half months. I ate oreos and just really messed up my metabolism. My poor body was like, “What are you  doing to me?” I had lost all that weight and then put it back on and now I’ve lost it again…

Physically the transformation was a huge part of it.

Mike’s Film Talk: Yes.

Casey: It was also interesting that as I was physically changing myself…I gained over 30 pounds, I noticed that I was being treated differently when I got so heavy over such as short period of time. I took all the pent up hostility and animosity that I was getting and brought it to the role.

Mike’s Film Talk: I was going to ask about the weight thing and about how hard it was to do it. You seem to have worked out a system…

Casey: It was still a lot of work and a lot of focus. Then everyone steps away from the production when it finished filming. And I was like, “Oh great. I now have about four months to lose all that weight again!” (Laughing.) Now I have to go to the gym everyday…

Casey Killoran as Marsha Day

Mike’s Film Talk: Well you certainly couldn’t relax and take time off.

Casey: (Laughing) No I couldn’t.

Mike’s Film Talk: I was reading in the film’s notes that you ate real cat food…

Casey: Yes.

Mike’s Film Talk: Was that a last minute request by David or did he give you some time to work up to it.

Casey: It was always a kind of joke that was thrown around. And I was like David… The thing is, it was only in one scene. We never really sat down and discussed it but I was invested so I thought, “If I going to do it, I’m doing it.”

It really did help the scene though.

Mike’s Film Talk: I agree!

Casey: It’s become a talking point. People ask, “What was it like?” I always answer, “what do you think?” So it was funny.

Mike’s Film Talk: I found myself wondering what brand of catfood it was under the “fake” label. I decided it was “Fancy Feast.”

Casey: (Laughing) I’ve actually forgotten what brand it was. We picked it up from our corner bodega so I can’t tell you. I don’t really want to know. Going into the store and seeing the stuff and thinking “I ate that.” (Laughing)

Mike’s Film Talk: So…How was it? Was it really horrific or was it not that bad?

Casey: It was like, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. It wasn’t like I would eat it again. (Laughing) It wasn’t completley gross, it was more the thought of eating catfood that actually made me gag. It just tasted like a really bad pâté or something which I don’t like anyway. So it was so gross. I’ve always had a cat so…

Mike’s Film Talk: Yes I’m a cat person as well. Fun facts aside, how much of the film was actually scripted? Was there a certain amount of improvisation going on?

Casey: Well, we had a pretty full script when we started. I came to set, off-book, everything memorized and was ready to go verbatim, word-for-word, but as we went on, we noticed somethings just cropped up. For me though, I pretty much delivered everything that the writer had down for my character.

There were things that were added on as time went on. On the days when I was not working in front of the camera, I was producing and, I have to say, I never tried to blend the two functions. I was never both.

What happened was the writer wrote everything for the other characters but on the day, David was like, “Okay not do it this way, or that way.”  Which was good as you got to know the person almost automatically. They had a two second intro but you knew who they were immediately.

Mike’s Film Talk: I was also going to ask, I cannot find the original source, about filming the movie. I read somewhere that a variety of devices were used, like smartphones and laptops, to record the film.

Casey: It’s funny you should ask. We did do some practise runs where we recorded things with a laptop camera.  But in the real takes, everything we used was film with our very nice cameras. Each shot was “downgraded” so it looked like an iPhone or a webcam.

Mike’s Film Talk: Oh brilliant!

Casey: Yes our DP Edna Luise Biesold who did an amazing job. She would come in before the script was done and say, “Okay we need to study the lens of the phone and the laptop, what are the dimensions and dynamics, lighting (is it more green) and all that.

I have to thank her for getting everything so right. Everything was downgraded to make it look just right. She gave each shot a little bit less quality, after shooting  so well, to give us what we needed. She did a brilliant job making it all look so real.

Mike’s Film Talk: I agree. It all looked spot on. I remember the first scene where Perez Hilton shows up, his nose is red and he seemingly has no makeup on. It certainly felt like iPhone footage. The way the film ends…it seems to be hinting that there could be a part two?

Casey:  Yes, it kind of has, but we’re not sure if we want to venture down that road just yet. The open ended place where we leave the characters i open for discussion. I mean the director is still coming up with ideas! David will say we can have them do this…He has about a thousand more ideas, he still says, “Oh we can have them do this.”

The writer is already working on other projects. One of which is another feature length film. We are looking at our next feature, which has nothing to do with “Viral” but there is always the possibility of going back.

It would be a different scenario. In this film we did not have a “blockbuster” budget and if we came back, the world would be that bigger so maybe we could increase our budget to match that. Of course that would all depend on how well Viral Beauty is recieved, and it actually is being received very well…

We have discussed it but there is no script as yet.

Mike’s Film Talk: If people want to see the film where can they find news about where it may be premiering?

Casey: They can follow our Facebook page, we have an instagram account, a twitter account and we update the big news all the time.

Mike’s Film Talk:  I just wanted to ask you, looking at your credits, this looks like the first time you’ve been in the role of executive producer. How did you like it?

Casey: Well, I’ve executive produced before, for shorts, but this was my first feature length film and I loved it. It is a lot of hard work but it is such a different quantity of work. A short is roughly over a couple of months, here and there, while a feature is over two years. It is a big chunk of your time and it is constant until someone buys it.

I’m really glad I liked the story so much. I did learn very quickly never to try doing the producer’s job while I was acting and vice versa.  That was my number one rule and the other producers all agreed with it.

When we had business meeting it was the business side of things that were discussed and not the acting. I was part of a team and I really enjoyed the aspects of producing. I really like details and have no problem talking to people I don’t know.

David has other things that he does better than I do so I left those things to him.

Mike’s Film Talk: Looking at your other credits, you’ve got Gross People, a short, that is in post production. Have you got anything else coming up in the near future?

Casey: Hmm. In the near future. We have that, Gross People we are working on another project, minus Liz as an executive producer but we are adding on the DP on Viral Beauty and we are working on a new piece right now. We have been writing for close to three months now but it is still in “baby form” now.

Edna is taking a short sabbatical right now but the topics we’re turning to now are more about taboo subjects and bit more serious and darker.  But, we will still have comedy in there because the three of us will naturally err on the side of levity. Although we’re also very intense (Laughing) so we don’t mind taking really dark subjects and shining a light on them.

The Wrap Up:

The interview ended with a look at that “lighter note” and we asked Casey which comic scene was her favorite in the film.

She responded that it was not the cat food scene  and while she did like acting with her cat, her favorite bit was getting egg smashed in her face. Casey also like the “racist rant” which is, she says, so far from her. She also liked dancing with her cat.

We both agreed that not only was the Internet moving ahead at frantic speeds but that gaming and technology are also advancing at amazing rates. Virtual Reality was discussed and the idea that not only would robots become a daily thing but that the Star Trek Holo Deck was only one step away.

For those who have not seen the trailer, have a look now and see what we have been talking about.

Perez Hilton Talks ‘Most Likely to Die’ and Horror

Perez Hilton
Prior to the film ‘Most Likely to Die’ being released on on Friday the 13th (of May) Mike’s Film Talk spoke with Perez Hilton, who plays Freddie in the “throwback” slasher film. As we set up the interview, the celebrity blogger/columnist producer and actor spoke of his excitement over the film finally being released.

It should be pointed out that despite what must have been a hectic blitzkrieg press schedule, Hilton was not only gracious but fun to speak with. His enthusiasm for the project and his joy at being reunited with the film’s star Heather Morris (from ‘Glee’) was evident from the moment we started talking.

Perez: Hi Michael! How are you?

MFT: I’m fine. How are you?

Perez: I’m very excited that fans of horror films and slasher pictures are finally going to see this film.

MFT: I loved the film and watched it three times..

Perez: You watched it three times?!

MFT: Yes. I kept thinking that it was a throwback to films like ‘I Know What You did Last Summer’ and really enjoyed the feeling of nostalgia.

Perez: You know, I think it may have been written in the ’90s. I could be wrong, but I think it was. I believe it was written in the 1990s and not produced until 20 years later. Which is kind of awesome as it’s like a time capsule, almost. Written so long ago and produced in the 2000s. In the teens.

MFT: I’ve got to admit to being a fan, of your blog and I thought after seeing that film that you just killed it as Freddie. So, lets talk ‘Most Likely to Die’ and what drew you to the project.

Perez: Well, the honest answer is that I’m excited, and hungry, to do more acting work. The reason for that is twofold: A) I love acting and B) it gives people a chance to see me in a different way. And if you want to have longevity in Entertainment, you have to keep re-inventing yourself.

In my case, it’s not even a re-invention. It is a return to myself, a reconnection with my roots. This is what I went to school for. I studied acting in college and that was what I wanted to do when I left high school and came out to Los Angeles. Life sidetracked me though; wonderfully, I love my day job  and I love getting to do cool things like this.

I’m a true horror fan and love the genre. I was also pleased to work again with Heather Morris, I worked with her on ‘Glee’ and there were so many things that appealed to me about the project.

MFT: Wow, you are almost the perfect interview. You answered about three questions before I could get to them. One thing you mentioned was Heather. How pleased were you to work with her again?

Perez: (laughing) Very pleased she is such a great actor. AND a great dancer as well…its not fair. (laughing again)

MFT: Did you get a chance to do anything with Jake Busey?

Perez: No. He shot all his scenes before I even started.

MFT: Congratulations on those screams your character came out with. You are apparently a master at what I call the “Tom and Jerry Scream.”

Perez: (Laughs.)

MFT: Are you looking to do more horror?

Perez: I would love to. If I’m going to spend more time doing movies, I want to have fun and horror films are so fun. I’m very honest, realistic and objective; I’m not a super-star by any means. I’m not even that famous or anything. I”m known by people but there are not people banging down my door saying, “Work with me!”

But, if I have a choice of spending a few weeks of my life working on an Indie drama or an Indie horror film? I’d rather do the horror film:  A) Because it is more fun and B) Fans of the genre are so passionate. The business is such a crap shoot. You may love working in Indie drama but no may ever see it. But with horror, there are those loyal fans who will see almost every horror film that’s out there.

MFT: Very true.

Perez: Like this film for instance. There is a certain novelty factor in it;  “Oh Perez Hilton is in this” and “Look, it’s Heather Morris from Glee.” Apart from that though I would love to do more because I am truly a fan of the genre. I would love to do a big budget horror film that became a franchise. That would be rad but to be honest I just want to keep working. That is the goal of any entertainer. I want to keep entertaining people for as long as possible.

MFT: Well, watching the film it seems there is room for a sequel, is that something that, you would be interested in?

Perez: Really? A sequel? Listen, I had so much fun working that if my character lives in the film, I’d love to!

MFT: Moving away from “Most Likely to Die” it looks like you are very busy at the moment. Working on ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie‘ and a couple of other projects. How did the AbFab film go?

Perez: I don’t have a huge role in that, it’s a cameo, but I am such a huge fan of AbFab. In the ’90s I was all about horror movies, talkshows, Madonna, ‘Sex in the City’ and ‘Absolutely Fabulous.’ So even if they cut my screen time down to 5 seconds I’ll still be happy.

MFT: Back to ‘Most Likely to Die,’ I’ve got to ask this; I’ve never gone to any of mine, have you attended any of your class reunions?

Perez: Oh my God, it is so funny that you’re asking me that. Because my 20th [class reunion] is happening this year, in September…And I don’t want to go. I’m not going and instead I’m planning my own. I’ve sent out an email thread and invited anybody who wants to go to meet me in Vegas instead of Miami. A few people have already taken me up on the offer.

It really is much better to meet up in neutral territory and at least in Vegas I can be guaranteed to have a good time. So I’m doing that.

MFT: So, have you got any upcoming projects?

Perez: Well, I’ve got the “AbFab” movie and I’m also in two sitcoms where I have cameos but they have not been announced yet, so I can’t say which two. But be on the lookout. I’m so grateful, thankful and lucky to have been able to do so much more acting lately.

MFT: Well, that’s our high sign to stop. So, thank you Perez  for taking time to speak with us today.

Perez: Thank you!

Perez Hilton is impressively natural in  ‘Most Likely to Die’ and he as well as the rest of the cast make this nostalgic gem well worth watching. The film premieres on Friday the 13th this month via a limited theatrical release and on VoD.

Mr. Hilton is re-visitng his roots and will be doing a lot more acting, in several other projects. Check out his work in this slasher film and see just how good he is.

Most Likely to Die poster
‘Most Likely to Die’ May 13, 2016 premiere

Most Likely to Die (2015): Slasher Nostalgia on Friday the 13th (Review)

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Written by Laura Brennan and directed by Anthony DiBlasi (Last Shift, Dread) ‘Most Likely to Die’  could be seen as a “#FlashbackFriday” slasher film. A nostalgic look at a genre that has sliced and diced countless teens and 20 somethings since the 1980s. The film will be released on Friday the 13th in a limited theatrical release and on demand. 

The cast includes: former ‘Glee’ regular Heather Morris as Gaby, the world class professional poker player, celebrity blogger/columnist Perez Hilton as filmmaker wannabe Freddie (who spoke with Mike’s Film Talk about being in the film) Jake Busey as Tarkin, the caretaker (in a blink and you will definitely miss him cameo).

‘Most Likely to Die’ also has  Chad Addison, Tess Christiansen, Tatum Miranda,  Ryan Doom,  Johnny Ramey, Marci Miller,  and Jason Tobias as the rest of the former classmates who face the wrath of a former student bent on deadly revenge.

The plot deals with a group of friends who get together for a “pre-party” just prior to their 10 year reunion. As they start bonding, while wondering where two of the group are, they remember a classmate they bullied who is not there.

All are in danger as a madman, or woman, hunts each reunion guest down and kills them in the manner of their senior yearbook predictions, “most likely to…” and Gaby teams up with her  friends to fight the killer.

‘Most Likely to Die’ is a fond look back at the slasher format. It is reminiscent of ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer,’ ‘Friday the 13th’ and so on.  There are a number of deaths which are impressive in their execution and at least one is pretty unique (it involves a head-butt with a hat).

Busey’s presence is possibly a nod to his status on the El Rey! network horror series From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, and most likely the reason his character is on screen such a short time,  it would have been brilliant to have a bit more Busey though.

Morris proves that she does not need Ryan Murphy or ‘Glee’ to perform. The actress has got chops to spare and shines in this interesting little walk  down memory lane.  All of the cast do well and the big surprise is Perez as Freddie.

As Hilton pointed out in his interview, he started out with plans to work as an actor and now is getting back to it.  Watching him in this film it is apparent that the man has the ability and believability to continue.

Not only does the man have some impressive chops in the film, but, he manages to do a great “Tom and Jerry” type scream of horror not once, but twice.  Ripping out these screams is not easy and Mr. Hilton does so almost effortlessly.

There is not an overabundance of gore in the film, although the FX are impressive and pretty realistic in most cases. (There is one boo-boo with a broken hockey stick though…) Timothy A. Burton does a cracking job on the cinematography and DiBlasi also does a brilliant job eating the film.

By the end of the film, the killer has worked busily through the group and there is room for a sequel, or two, if the film does well.  ‘Most Likely to Die’ has a message, “Do not bully children because one day a bad man/woman will come back for revenge.”

There is a rumor that the filmmakers wanted a YouTube personality in the film, something quite popular at the moment (See Bad Night for an example of the type film that features YouTube stars in leading roles.)

The film premieres via a limited theatrical release and on VoD on May, Friday the 13th.  Until then have a look at the trailer and see what you think, whether it is worth a look at the cinema or watch on VoD. either way, give it a look. Perez and Morris kill it. A 3.5 star film out of 5, just for those Tom and Jerry screams alone.

Most Likely to Die (2016): A Killer Reunion (Trailer)

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MarVista studios brings “Most Likely to Die” out in theaters on May 13th (Friday the 13th).  Starring Jake Busey (“From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series“), Heather Morris (“Glee”) and Perez Hilton, the film follows Gaby (Morris) at her high school reunion and it turns out to be a real killer event with her former school friends dropping like mangled flies.

Written by Laura Brennan and directed by Anthony DiBlasi  the film features an alumnus who is  holding on to an old grudge .The victims are all being murdered in the manner of their yearbook descriptions, only now they all seem to share the same one, “Most Likely to Die.”

Texas Hold ‘Em Champ Gaby realizes that the only way to survive this reunion is to find the killer herself. With a list of suspects that includes the Class President, the Jock and Class Clown, Gaby must find out who is killing off her classmates or die trying.

Check out the trailer:

 

 

Teen Choice Awards Not a Teen Choice At All?

Teen Choice Awards Not a Teen Choice At All?

YouTube “star” Shane Dawson (Shane DawsonTV with well over six million subscribers) has come out, along with quite a number of others and declared that the Teen Choice Awards is not a teen choice at all, in fact, the whole thing is a con. Dawson says that he knows this is a fact since the YouTube celeb won an award on the show in the past.