DEBBIE ROCHON: BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS

Bog Creatures was just released on video, and it seems to be getting pretty good reviews. How was the shoot itself?
Grueling! (laughs) Fun, but grueling. We shot in the woods in Upstate New York for nine-ten days, and it was bug central. Every sort of bug you can imagine. It was grueling in the sense that you had to hike to the location every day. We stayed in a really nice bed and breakfast, but it was at least a two-hour drive from New York City. Up near Bovine, New York. (laughs) Which is actually near where (director J. Christian Ingvordsen) lives, for any stalkers who want that information. It was near this very small lake. Lots of trees, forest, it was very hot that summer – this was right before September 11. We shot in August 2001. That was a really humid month. Very humid. We didn’t have the luxury of a trailer, or car, or building to cool off in. Obviously we had to do our own make-up and hair. The production did provide wardrobe, but you’re constantly battling your make-up dripping off, and keeping your energy up and hiking into the woods.

What kept your spirits up?
Working with Chris and Matt – their energy and positive outlook is contagious. When they would get a shot they liked, they were positively vibrating with joy. And just being around that, as opposed to being around any sort of negativity, or people who consider everything a hassle – whether you’re changing equipment or you’re humping 35mm cameras up the side of a mountain – anybody would complain. But these guys do a lot of work for other companies – individually – so when they do come together and make their own movie, they’re there out of the sheer love. I think both of them are big fans of horror movies – this being their first one together. They were so into it, like they were doing something that was different.

It is different, yet has an old-fashioned feel to it.
In the sense that it was a man-in-suit, comedy-horror film – but there was no gore, no sex – there’s no swearing. It was this sort of homage to the innocent monster movie. It has a traditional feel to it, and a traditional structure to the story. Lets face it: the professor and his sister are having this lengthy conversation with a creature that only speaks old High Danish! They’re having a philosophical discussion about why the Bog Creatures are here (laughs)! Luckily there are subtitles, so we can all enjoy the conversation. It was a real original experience – which is saying a lot considering all the stuff I’ve done. It just had this real family vibe, a camaraderie to it. I think that all the young actors in it were really, really good.

Which isn’t something you always get.
Yeah, and which is the difference between the ‘80s and now. In the ‘80s it was very campy to be not that much of a method actor. And (horror movies) were fun, people looked forward to them. I don’t know if it’s because of the popularity of movies like “Scream,” but now you see actors taking horror movies very seriously and using horror as a stepping-stone. You just get very high-quality actors.”

How’d you get along with your young co-stars?
Well, life imitated art in this sense. I really don’t interact with them on-screen, and so, the kids created their own clique and created a bonding experience, which left me on the outside. I definitely got along with them, but I was the outsider. Knowing from experience that you can use these things to your advantage, I never tried to change the dynamic that sort of naturally happened. And they all definitely had the feeling like, “Oh, this is Debbie Rochon – who the hell is Debbie Rochon and why does everybody care so much that she’s Debbie Rochon?” Like they would know anything I’ve done, or care about anything I’ve done – and I think that’s good. It added to the believability of it. I had nothing but good experiences with them.

Did any of them cop attitudes on set?
No, there were no attitudes at all. Everyone was into the movie. There were some weird things, of course. One incident sticks out the most. This one actress was supposed to do – it’s not a nude scene whatsoever – the joke is she’s in a bra. She’s telling a fellow “pretend I’m a man” and she’s in a bra and obviously she has breasts, you know? They’re shooting that scene at the end of the day – it was the last scene of the day – but they’re setting up and the director says, “Okay, you’re set with your costume, you have a nice opaque bra…” and that’s when she told them she forgot her bra at home. Not earlier in the day, of course, when anyone could rectify the situation and buy one. So they had to scrap her taking off her shirt at all. Being the type of movie it was, they weren’t going to ask her to do it topless.

Lucky for her.
Right! Any other movie they would have said ‘Hey, that’s your problem – you have to take your shirt off and now you have nothing!” But because of the style of movie, it wouldn’t have made sense. I think she was very lucky in that respect, considering what so many of us have had to do for our work! I think it was pretty ridiculous. Because, later on, cut to my scene where (another character) is bathing me – giving me a sponge-bath – and the director’s like, “If you could cross your arms because we can’t see anything – no nipples or anything – would you mind doing it with your shirt off?” And then when the guy’s peeking through the window, that sort of hashes that joke. It’s not much of a joke, if I’m sitting there fully dressed washing my hands, but it’s funnier if you give him something to work off of. So I said, ‘Sure, not a problem,” and just did it. I don’t know, some actresses don’t even want to get into a bra. I guess times have changed.

Was this bra-omission calculated, do you think, or an honest mistake?
You know what, you feel like it’s calculated, but it could just be me being jaded. It could be very innocent, but I do feel that actresses are very, very uptight in the United States. In North America – might as well go the whole nine yards. We’re taught to be uptight – she’s not alone. So I think it was more likely calculated.

Why do you think sex is still so taboo in the U.S.?
I could take hours describing the series of events that lead up to this. Basically, when we’re young our parents are uncomfortable talking about sex, let alone being naked at home. That’s shameful. We’re ashamed of everything, being a sexual person when we’re young. We’re taught to be embarrassed and ashamed about everything that has to do with sex, including girls’ menstruating and the way girls are brought up by their parents. Then just fast-forward a little bit going to school and all the neuroses that the kids have been taught to have are brought into the schoolyard, and the kids start coming down on one another. If a girl starts developing early, she’s ridiculed. If a girl does not develop, she’s ridiculed. And it just goes from there and everyone becomes more and more self-conscious, self-loathing. Right? This is the only country that has anorexia – or one of the few – other countries these neurotic diseases don’t even exist. Bulimia, anorexia – these are all United States-borne illnesses. These are all just reflections of our puritanical upbringing. We can’t talk about anything, we can’t talk about death, we shouldn’t talk about sex and we don’t want to talk about taxes! (laughs) So anyone who does want to do nudity, in film or in theater, you’re branded as bad – bad – B-A-D. No one wants to be branded bad. Everyone wants a shot at a Spielberg movie. I guess they’re thinking Spielberg doesn’t like nudity. I’m simplifying, going for the common denominator here. If Spielberg doesn’t like nudity, then nobody should do it. And that’s how you simplify the whole equation.

The interview continues in part three of DEBBIE ROCHON: BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS>>>




Posted on August 17, 2004 in Interviews by
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