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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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.

NIGHTMARE GLAM: An Interview with Tuesday Knight

DRC - TUESDAY INTERVIEWInterviewee Tuesday Knight, alongside Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) [above left] in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master – 1988. / DRC writer Tyler Keeton (above right). / Image rights belong to respective owners and not DRC.


Tuesday Knight is a powerful artist – in all senses of the word. Knight is known as an actress in one of the most influential horror franchises of all time. She portrayed character Kristen Parker, the final girl of the previous film, in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Knight followed in the footsteps of actress Patricia Arquette, who also played Parker in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors. The horror fandom may remember Knight for her legendary performance, but there are layers upon layers of incredible talent surrounding her. Knight is also a fashion designer, crafting incredible pieces for Madonna, Cher, Paris Hilton, and more. Along with her experience in the world of fashion, Knight has also had a successful career as a musical artist. Her most popular single, “Nightmare,” was featured in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (listen above). Knight released an 18-track album, Faith, in 2012, and is currently the lead singer of Rapture: The Blondie Tribute band.
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Over the years, Knight’s extensive acting career has continued to grow, featuring performances in major films and television series. She has appeared in 33 films, and 8 television series. Knight’s career has spanned several genres, not just horror. She has even been cast to star as herself in two films (Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and the 2010 major blockbuster Sex and the City 2). With that many credits, it is undeniable to say the actress has achieved a milestone in the entertainment industry.
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In a brand new interview with DRC writer Tyler Keeton, Ms. Knight discusses the meaning and importance of horror as a genre, her own experiences working with the legendary Wes Craven, and the difference in the modern entertainment industry as compared to the golden age of slasher cinema. It is an absolute honor to have Ms. Knight featured as a guest on Dripping Red Cinephile, and we look forward to working with her again in the future, as her career continues to dominate popular culture. Read the exclusive interview (below).
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DRCFebruary has been deemed Women in Horror Month. As an important icon in the horror industry, what exactly does the word “horror” mean to you? What establishes and sets apart the genre from others?
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KNIGHT:  I had no idea that February has been deemed as Women in Horror Month! I think that is great!  (Laughs) Do people really think I am an important icon in the horror industry?  I really never felt like I was much a part of it, other than doing Elm Street 4. Most of my career has been drama and comedy.  But if people are saying I am an icon in this genre…then, I just have to say I am honored and grateful.  The word “horror” means fear to me; the utter most terrifying moment in someone’s life, or in a situation. What sets the horror genre apart from others? Many things.  There is usually a hero, and not all films have heroes.  It [horror] is usually not driven in that direction. Or everyone just doesn’t win. But 80’s horror has a particular ingredient in the mixture, and that is CAMP.  New horror films don’t have this. It’s always fun to watch something that is a classic, and then to watch the formula in the new horror.  So different.
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DRCWomen in the horror genre often get overlooked in modern entries. You are a part of the timeless Nightmare legacy. What was it like, immersing yourself into the fandom of the franchise, and portraying such a legendary character? Kristen Parker is one of the most memorable roles in the entire franchise. How did you go about establishing your own originality and devotion to the role, after filling in for Patricia Arquette?
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(Knight [above right] with Freddy himself, Robert Englund, in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.)
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KNIGHT: In a way, Kristen was two people — much like Heather Langenkamp’s character.  Patricia and I did two different things. The way it was written in the script for Nightmare 3, Kristen was more of a victim.  She knew nothing of Freddy and what he was about — only that he was terrifying, and that he was using her to kill the kids of Elm Street. So, she was a little green to the situation, I felt. When I came on to do part 4, I was told to emulate Patricia as much as I could. So I went home and watched the film, so I could get a feel.  But, as I read the script, I said to myself that this young woman was no victim — at least not in the same way… I thought I was going to bring some attitude and more strength, and that she was on to Freddy and she would do anything…include sacrifice herself for her friends, which ultimately lead to her demise. Looking back and getting lots of fan mail, I would say I must have done a decent job at doing the role.  There are always going to be fans of Patricia’s, and there are going to be people who liked my version better.  I’d say they were both good.
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DRC: Do you have any memories from set of New Nightmare? What was it like working with the masterful Wes Craven? It must have been quite the triumph being in the presence of a genre legend.
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KNIGHT:  Do I ever have memories!  I remember the night before I was to shoot the funeral scene, where Heather’s husband had been killed.  We had the big earthquake here in Los Angeles… and that had been a trend in Wes’s film. It was the scariest thing I had been through, and I just remember grabbing my dogs and running across the street to my Mother’s house.  When we got to set and we had to emulate the fact there was an earthquake, we just felt like Wes made a deal with the Devil and he was going to make people really feel this movie and show that Freddy was coming back. Working with Wes was just a wonderful and valuable experience.  He is a true genius to the genre and he will always be the man who made us like our Nightmares a little bit better. (Smiles) I will never forget the phone call from him asking me to be in the film… I was just so taken back by it.  He made me feel that I had made something of myself, since he had seen a couple of my films and really liked them (Mistress & Calendar Girl), and he loved what I did with the role of Kristen in Dream Master.  He told me I portrayed her like she was meant to be in the original script of Dream Warriors.
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DRCAside from horror, what does acting itself mean to you? What advice would you give to aspiring actors or actresses, attempting to break into the industry? Is there anything you would tell your younger self if you could do it all over again?
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KNIGHTI wouldn’t tell myself to do anything different. I have had such a great and wonderful career in film and music.  I couldn’t be happier. Acting means the world to me. It’s my true love. What advice would I give to people getting into the industry? Well, it has changed a lot since I started.  It used to be about star quality, and you could tell if the camera loved you. Now, it’s about gathering a bunch of children and molding them into products of marketing routine and putting them on camera and, when they are done, they spit them out. It’s so different. You would just have to have the thickest skin…and you can’t give up.  You can’t feel defeated, because once you do, you will start to hate what you loved so much. And when you do have success, you have to treat it like a business.  Tell yourself, “Alright, I am getting up and going to work just like everyone else.” If you have a moment where you think you own the industry and you don’t work for it, it’s over. (Smiles) Let’s just say the industry can be a “NIGHTMARE”.
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DRCSome may not know about your music career. Are you passionate about the other side of the entertainment industry?
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(Cover art for Knight’s 2012 studio album, Faith.)
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KNIGHTThere are many sides of the entertainment industry.  I have been so lucky to have had success in just about every aspect that I have tried. Music was great, that is how it all started.  I got to work with such great people, like Quiet Riot, Aerosmith, Billy Idol, and record 5 records of my own, not to mention many songs for film and television — that people might not even know is me. Then, when I got into acting, that really became my main focus, and that was all I wanted to do.  I was very blessed to have done what I have and to have worked with who I have worked with. Then,  as I was working on my series 2000 Malibu Road, I was making toe rings and anklets, and I was just doing it for fun. My dear friend and co-star Drew Barrymore told me that I really needed to do something with my designs, so that is when I started my first jewelry company. So I have been around, and I love every aspect of being creative.  I just love making art.
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DRCIn such an extensive filmography, what has been your most favorite experience or role? Is there anyone you would love to work with in present day?
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(Knight [above left] alongside co-star Drew Barrymore [above right] in 2000 Malibu Road.)
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KNIGHTI think my favorite role ever was playing Joy on 2000 Malibu Road.  She was everything I wasn’t, and I got to wear this brown wig and a fat suit every day, and those are the roles that actors really love. (Laughs) What a cast on that show.  The director of the series was Joel Schumacher, who is a master at making beautiful films.  And working with Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Beals, Brian Bloom, Scott Bryce and Lisa Hartman was just so much fun.  We became a small family. I also got to know and work with now director Guy Furland, who was Joel’s assistant then. I was then hired on two films outside of the series that he directed, which were The Babysitter and Telling Lies in America. As for who I would love to work with today that I haven’t…I guess would be Charlie Hunnum.
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DRCHorror fans are some of the most loving and charismatic individuals you’ll ever come across. As many would so love to know, what are some of your own favorite horror films?
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KNIGHTI love horror. It is my favorite genre of film.  And they range from decades.  Who doesn’t love The Twilight Zone or Night Gallery?  And I love films like Dolls, Gravedancers, Carrie, Dolly Dearest, Dead Silence, and so many more.
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DRCTell us a little about your jewelry line. Some big names in the industry have worn your pieces.
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KNIGHTThe fashion world is something I like to punctuate my acting and singing career with.  It is just something a little different. I have designed for Madonna, Cher, Britney Spears, Xtina, Drew Barrymore, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, and just so many others. It’s a lot of fun, and I plan on doing it again real soon.
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DRC: Lastly, every actor or actress has his or her own “this is it” moment. What was yours? When did you know you wanted to devote your life to the entertainment industry?
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KNIGHTI have been writing music since I was 11.  And my father was a very famous song writer. I used to sing and dance for Frank Sinatra, Rick Nelson and Dean Martin, when they came over to the house.  So, I kind of always knew what path my life was going to take.  (Smiles) I guess it was more of a natural environment.
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Tuesday Knight continues to wow, after thrilling audiences in so many facets for years. Be sure to follow Knight’s powerful surge of femininity on Twitter and IMDB.