Having anyone ask you to be the star of their feature film is a great feeling. To have your best friend in the entire world ask – well, that’s just a unparalleled emotion.
Marion Kerr, said best friend, did just that. She had written a feature called Golden Earrings– no small feat in itself – with me in mind for the main character. She asked me to play the lead role of Ronnie and I of course said yes without even glancing at the script. When I did read it, I was struck by two things: one, how incredible of a writer that Marion is, and two: Ronnie is on-screen the entire film. Which meant the film would be resting on my shoulders. Which meant if my performance sucked, I would take the entire film down with me. No pressure. But Marion had faith in me, so I swallowed my fear.
We filmed over nine nights in a cramped apartment full of actors and equipment. Marion had not only written the script, but was also producing, acting and directing the film as well. She never let the pressure get to her and was always there when anyone had character questions or doubts. The film turned out wonderfully. But we weren’t done. Over the next three years, Marion perfected the movie in post production with color correction, ADR and even a little bit of CGI.
We had our first preview screening for family and friends at the New Beverly (of course!) in October a few years ago. My parents drove out from Las Vegas to attend and I showed up just bubbling over with excitement, in a fancy red dress bought especially for the occasion. In addition to my parents and my close friends, two of my favorite filmmakers in the whole world, Rian Johnson and Joe Dante were also in attendance – so the pressure was really on. I will never forget the feeling of sitting in my favorite place in the universe, surrounded by loved ones, watching my first starring role on the big screen. The film was a hit. People were completely caught off guard by how professional and accomplished the film was. Knowing that the audience was mainly made up of notoriously hard to please hardcore New Bev film geeks, the overwhelming positive feedback was assuredly genuine. The comment I heard most that evening was “Wow! You were better than I thought you were going to be!”
Afterwards both Rian and Joe sent me emails congratulating me on the film, and specifically on my performance. I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t quite process it. I am so in awe of these directors’ talent, and for them to not only attend our screening, but to give us quotes to use on our poster and DVD cover…just wow. Stuart Gordon would later add his quote to our box, and compare my performance to Catherine Deneuve’s in Roman Polanski’s Repulsion. I think my brain completely leaked out of my ears that day.
Marion began submitting Golden Earrings to film festivals, and we had our world premiere at the Indie Spirit Festival in Colorado Springs, CO. I actually flew in straight from London to the festival, so I felt like a complete super star – albeit a very jet lagged one. My parents joined me in Colorado and flew out my brother and sister-in-law as a surprise as well. (I could write a whole separate blog on the unflappable support my parents have given my acting career during my lifetime). Again, I was blown away by the positive response from the screening, and we ended up winning the audience award for best horror feature. Golden Earrings would end up screening at the Dances with Films Festival in LA, the Vermont Film Festival, the Filmshift Festival in Boston, Shockerfest in Norcal, and the Big Bear Lake Film Festival.
And the best part about our success? Being able to share it with my friends.
John T. Woods, Lauren Mora, Teddy Goldsmith, Anthony Dimaano and Marion Kerr were all my good friends before the shoot, but going through the process of making an independent film together, from start to finish, has solidified our friendship. I am part of a film that I am extremely proud of, and that pride is only heightened by the fact that everyone I worked with are amazing people – and unbelievably talented.
Golden Earrings is available to buy or stream online, but we haven’t had a distribution offer that we have found suitable yet. I truly believe with all my heart that this film is good. And it needs to be seen. Not only so that it may (fingers crossed!) further my own career, but also the careers of my fellow hardworking filmmakers, who deserve recognition. Please help me spread the word about Golden Earrings – and help me pay off some of the enormous debt I owe to Marion.
In addition to being available for purchase online, we also have copies of the film available for purchase the box office of the New Beverly.