GUY’S GUY: An Interview with Gian Keys of THE LOVE WITCH

thelovewitch_kingofficeInterviewee Gian Keys (above), appearing as Detective Griff Meadows in Anna Biller‘s latest film, THE LOVE WITCH. / Image rights belong to respective owners and not DRC.

The Love Witch marks filmmaker Anna Biller’s triumphant return to the spotlight, after previous genre hit Viva. Find screening dates here.
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With an incredible Rotten Tomatoes score of 95%, The Love Witch “offers an absorbing visual homage to a bygone era, arranged subtly in service of a thought-provoking meditation on the battle of the sexes.” — Rotten Tomatoes, 2016. 
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interview
DRCYou’re no stranger to genre acting. Heading into the new year in the coming months, we are seeing a gradual push for independent cinema becoming the norm. What’s your take on the current state of mainstream cinema?
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KEYSFirst, I’d like to say, ‘Thank you,’ for giving me an opportunity to be a part of DRIPPING RED CINEPHILE.  It seems the big studios do a lot of comic book movies and sequels.  I’ve heard it’s because there’s less risk involved, which makes sense from a business standpoint.  Although, it could mean fewer original movies being made, which can be frustrating to those of us who enjoy a great story surrounded by beautiful cinematography and fantastic performances.  I’ll admit, I do enjoy my fair share of car chases and crazy CGI effects, but I usually prefer a film with more substance, layers, a message, and not simply loud noises to distract me from everyday life. 
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DRCAnna Biller is quite the powerhouse filmmaker. The Love Witch brings a new type of narrative to audiences potentially unaware of the forgotten genre films of the 1960s. What was your initial reaction after reading Ms. Biller’s script for the film? Tell us a little about the creative process with her.
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KEYSWell, I wasn’t sure what to think, because I’d never read anything quite like it. So, I had to read it again.  I definitely liked the character I played — Detective Griff Meadows — because I can relate to him on so many levels.  I spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, so I’m familiar with the idea of having strict rules to follow and being a rather straight-laced kinda guy.  The more Anna and I talked about the project, the more I could see what she was going for.  Initially, it’s difficult to see how all the colors were going to come into play, but Anna had a  clear vision of what she wanted and she explained it very clearly.  I wasn’t overly familiar with movies from the ’60s and ’70s, so Anna gave me a list of films to watch.  This played a big part in helping me to understand how she wanted Griff Meadows to be played.  I’d say we worked very well together.
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DRCGriff, the primary male-lead in The Love Witch, arguably represents the power of masculinity and the early-1960s fear of challenging the patriarchy. His character initially reinforces the stereotype of men being dominant over women, but later changes in the second half of the film. How did you mentally approach the role? In your opinion, what does his character represent?
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KEYS:  I’ve learned a lot from my acting coach, Joe Palese. He talks about how important it is for characters to have a an arch during a film, instead of being one-note throughout the entire piece.  So, things that happen to Griff Meadows need to affect and change him in some way.  He’s a dominant male from the ’60s, but he’s also quite human.  I wanted to combine how men were perceived on film during that era, but also include the human aspect that exists in all eras.  I think he represents a certain type of man — the rugged, masculine, guy’s guy who was raised properly and taught the importance of being honest and doing the right thing.  He also represents the traditional male who’s in charge and probably uses the philosophy of, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’
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DRCThe Love Witch directly challenges the very concept of sexuality, in its unabashed disconnect of sexual physicality and actual romantic connection. Tell us a little about what the character of Elaine, the witch herself, represents, to you, about ‘sexuality.’
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KEYSAh, yes, sexuality.  Well, sexuality can be weird, awkward, and uncomfortable at times.  Elaine is young, and she’s simply trying to figure out what works for her.  Men and women are quite different, so I think it’s great she’s trying to understand how men tick.  However, in the process…she ends up killing a few.  Uh oh, is that a spoiler alert?  Elaine may have underestimated herself.  I don’t believe she needed any ‘love magic’ to attract Griff Meadows. 
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DRCThe film has been getting insane press and amazing reviews in the past several months. With a bigger spotlight being placed on indie genre cinema, what other types of ‘genre film’ would you like to see hit the big screen? Any dream roles or types of characters you’d like to play in the future?
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KEYSI’d like to see more Film-Noir.  I recently saw La La Land, which I really enjoyed, so maybe a bit more from the Musical genre.  After seeing Ryan Gosling in La La Land, I think it’d be a heck of a lot of fun to learn to sing and dance for a musical.  I took several months of voice training for The Love Witch, so I’m well on my way to singing. Ha-ha!  I’d also like to do a gritty Western, like some of the old Clint Eastwood movies.  I took four lessons on horseback riding for The Love Witch, so I’m halfway there to ropin’ and ridin’.
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DRCYou recently co-created an original series — F***in’ Actors. Obviously a comedy. Tell us a little about the series, and how we can surely get hooked. Where’d the initial concept come from, and what can we see from your character on the series?
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KEYSWell, F**KIN’ ACTORS was originated by myself and my friend, Ashton Bingham.  Ashton’s great with comedy.  We were both in the same acting class, and I approached him on putting together some short comedy scenes, so I could put together a comedy acting reel.  He then got the idea  that we do more with it and possibly create a series.  Actors, and many of the things actors do in order to be successful, are quite bizarre, especially to those who don’t know exactly how the industry works.  We essentially set out to make fun of ourselves doing the varied things actors do.  Ashton and I are very different.  We’re similar to the characters Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play in the Jump Street movies.  A bit of the blind leading the blind.  My character, Chase Anderson, is very high-strung and intense.  He’s like the bull in the China shop, whereas Ashon’s character is far more mellow. We decided to enter our series into a few film festivals, and the next thing we knew, we’d won six awards for Best Web Series.  It blew our minds.  Our main platform is YouTube.  If you type in ‘F**KIN” ACTORS,’ all seven episodes will pop up. 
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DRCWhat can we expect to see from Gian Keys in the future? Any other upcoming projects we’ll get to see on the big screen?
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KEYSGian Keys is working his way up the Hollywood acting ladder.  The Love Witch is the biggest role I’ve had, and it’s leading to some wonderful connections and opportunities.  It’s a bit early to mention projects, because I don’t want to jinx myself.  Ha-ha! Not that I’m superstitious or anything.  Later today, I’ll be doing an interview with Huffington Post about The Love Witch and my career, so I’m quite excited about that.  Gian will continue to pound the pavement and beat the bushes, in order to become a super successful actor.
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DRCLastly, we have to ask — if your character in The Love Witch were to get involved with magic or witchcraft, what would his spell be? To go a step further, what would Gian Keys’ spell be, in real life?
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KEYSGriff Meadow’s spell of choice would be a ‘truth’ spell.  He’d like to be able to tell if anyone is lying, which would help him put away the ‘bad guys.’  Gian’s spell of choice would be a fountain of youth spell — which probably isn’t a spell — but then, his family and friends would be around forever.
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To follow Keys’ career, be sure to check in with his Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram/ DRC thanks Mr. Keys for his time, and wishes him a long career filled with success.

I DON’T DO REALITY: An Interview with Gabrielle Stone

Gabrielle interviewInterviewee Gabrielle Stone (above right) in Harrison Smith’s Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard – 2015. / DRC writer Tyler Keeton (above left).  / Image rights belong to respective owners and not DRC.


Actress Gabrielle Stone was destined for a life in creative energy and force from the start. As the beautiful daughter of esteemed horror icons Dee Wallace (E.T.CujoThe Howling, Rob Zombie’s Halloween) and Christopher Stone (CujoThe HowlingLove Me Deadly), it was only a matter of time before the young starlet embarked on her own path to success. Stone’s most recent feature, Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard (Harrison Smith, 2015), was a modernized entry into the zombie sub-genre of horror, and featured her acting alongside her mother. The film was met with acclaim from fans and critics alike, arguing it offered a fresh take on survivalist and feminist cinema. Check out the trailer (above).
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Independent horror cinema has seen quite the evolution in the past few years, with several entries leaning towards a throwback to classic plot lines and monstrous entities. As February 2016 has been deemed the 7th Annual “Women in Horror Month,” it was important to DRC writer Tyler Keeton to interview a powerful female — not specifically bound by the confines of the genre, but all corners of the entertainment industry — who has her groundwork laid out and knows exactly where she plans on going. Ms. Stone has also recently acted in Cut! (David Rountree, 2014),and Speak No Evil (Roze, 2013), the latter of which featured her in a chilling lead role.
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While Stone has strong roots in horror, she does not want to be known as a strict genre worker. In a new chat with DRC, the lovely actress speaks out on acting as a powerful force and artistry, shares her experiences growing up with acclaimed actors for parents, and spills some of her upcoming projects. Check out the interview (below)!
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DRCWhy is acting so important to you? How does it feel seeing your work on screen?
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STONE
I love acting for so many reasons. I love creating art that makes people feel different emotions. And it’s helped me heal and get through some difficult hardships of my own. Some roles have really been like…therapy for me. When you can use what you love to make other people feel, there’s no better job in the world.
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(Gabrielle [right] alongside mother Dee Wallace [left] {image does not belong to DRC})
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DRCIn a world so riddled by and obsessed with popular culture, what was it like growing up with internationally successful actors for parents? Were you allowed to see their films as a child?
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STONEI saw all their “appropriate” stuff as a child. It baffles me when I hear kids were seeing Jaws and A Nightmare on Elm Street when they were five. I think I saw Scream when I was thirteen or fourteen…and didn’t sleep for a month. So I definitely watched E.T., the new Lassie series they did, her series Together We Stand…but Cujo, The Howling…those all came later. I think I saw The Frighteners when I was a little younger, because I was on set for all of it. So I did see that in theaters when it came out. But once I saw Cujo, I started to love the genre, and as I grew up, definitely fell in love with scary movies. 
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(Stone in Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard.)
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DRCYou are quickly building a legitimate and credible portfolio of acting credits. Director Harrison Smith is full of quirky, fresh takes on classic horror cinema. What was it like working with him on Zombie Killers? Are there any wild stories from set?
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STONEI love Harrison. He’s a great director, who has become a great friend. Zombie Killers was an absolute blast. He’s super easy to work with, and really lets you have fun and trust your instincts. Stories from set? Most (stories), I would probably get a ton of people in trouble if I told! (Laughs) I do remember absolutely freezing my ass off during the scene with Mischa (Barton) and I. It was 7am…in a bra…and refrigerated blood. I was like violently shaking and shivering. Harrison kept saying, “Don’t worry…you just look really scared!” 
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DRCSpeak No Evil was one of your first feature-length acting credits. How did you land the role? How did that film influence your current stance on staying in the industry? 
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STONEIt wasn’t my first feature, but my first starring role in a feature. The casting director, Helen McCready, recommended me to (director) Roze. That film was such a blessing. I absolutely loved the whole cast and crew, and Roze and I are good friends now and have worked together twice since. It was a huge learning experience to see that I could handle a film that I was in, in every scene. I’m really proud of it. (Smiles)
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DRCAs a powerful female on the rise in the world of horror, what is your reasoning behind horror being so important, as an art form? Who are some of your biggest female influences in the genre? Is there any particular actress you’d love to work with?
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STONEI don’t really view myself as a female on the rise in the horror genre. I get offered a lot of horror roles that I turn down if the material isn’t strong. It has to be the right horror for me to want to do it. I don’t want to get stuck in any specific genre as an actress, because I love many genres. The horror fans, though, are insanely awesome, and I love being able to be a part of the horror world. It’s so cliché, but once I saw Cujo, I knew I wanted to be an actress. I think my mom’s performance in that film is mind blowing. There’s a ton of people I want to work with…the list grows daily. (Smiles)
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(Stone’s mother, Dee Wallace, in The Howling.)
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DRC2016 is full of new releases. Are there any films you are most looking forward to seeing?
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STONEI’m definitely looking forward to seeing a lot of the festival films that were at Sundance this year. Outlaws and Angels. I’ve worked with the director, JT Mollner, on three shorts, so I’m excited to see his first feature. I’m such a huge movie fan.
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DRC: Are there any other projects you’re working on this year?
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STONEI’m currently raising the last funds to direct my first short titled, “Stay.” Super excited to jump behind the camera, although I’ll also be acting in it. I just finished two films. Dance Night Obsession, with Sabrina Bryan and Antonio Sabatto Jr., should be out sometime this year. Also a drama/fantasy, Ava’s Impossible Things, that I am beyond excited to see. There’s also a ton in the works that I can’t talk about yet. I’m so excited for what this year is looking like so far! 
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DRC(Laughs) The time has come. Every reality star has his or her own shallow tagline on the series’ opening credits. What would your tagline be, as a fearless lady in the business of film?
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STONE: (Grins) “I don’t f****** do reality.”
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Gabrielle Stone is truly a young force to be reckoned with. Follow her current and future projects on Twitter and IMDB, and look forward to seeing her face on the big screen time and time again.