There is excitement in the air at the Kentucky Theater. It’s almost midnight and the lobby of the Kentucky’s State theater is buzzing with activity. A young man is bounding around the lobby energetically with a small video camera. The man’s name is Eric Butts and he’s recording the premiere of the film he helped make; Zeppo: Sinners From Beyond the Moon. Eric not only produced the film, he helped with the writing, the special effects, and even acted in the film. Now Eric’s excited wanderings finally bring him to rest behind a table where he is peddling Zeppo T-Shirts and promotional material.
Next to Eric, sits actress and filmmaker, Debbie Rochon. Debbie had a principle role in the film and in fact her image is on half of the T-Shirts Eric is selling. The other half bear the likeness of Troma Films’ Lloyd Kaufman who, like Debbie, has a role in this Kentucky made feature. Fans of Debbie Rochon flock to the table for autographs and a chance for a photo, and none leave disappointed. All the while Eric divides his time between selling t-shirts, video taping the proceedings and helping Zeppo writer/director Jerry Williams with last minute issues before the premiere.
Finally it’s time for the show to start and Eric, Debbie, and Jerry enter the State theater auditorium. The crowd applauds wildly as they enter and take the stage to introduce the film. After giving away a few prizes, a quick thank you to the many people who helped make the film, and a round of the near capacity crowd singing “Happy Birthday “ to Debbie (it was her birthday after all) the room darkens and the film begins.
Before all the festivities and the premiere itself, B-Movie Man Nic Brown had the chance to sit down with Eric Butts and Debbie Rochon and chat with them about the reason we were all there; Zeppo: Sinners From Beyond the Moon!
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Nic– Eric, I know Debbie is one of the stars of the new film Zeppo, but how are you affiliated with it?
Eric— WHAT!? What are you talking about? Oh yeah, the three years of my life that have disappeared, yes now I remember!
Let’s see… I produced it, edited it, co-starred with the fabulous Debbie Rochon….
Debbie—Don’t forget you did the music and pretty much everything else that needed to be done!
Eric—She does now how to promote it doesn’t she!
Nic—So Zeppo’s been a work in progress for three years?
Eric—That’s right, it started out as a short film by Jerry Williams which he brought me in on, and the next thing we knew we were re-writing it to be a feature film. We actually finished principle photography back in June of 2006, and we’ve been in post production ever since working on all the special effects that you’ll see in the film!
Nic—Is this the first public showing for Zeppo?
Eric—Absolutely! This is the first time it’s been seen anywhere. I haven’t even seen the finished film with all the credits and everything in it yet!
Nic— I heard that Zeppo was filmed here in Lexington, KY. Is that true?
Eric—You bet! Zeppo was made almost entirely here in Lexington. The only other place was in Maryland where we shot with Conrad Brooks. Other than that, it was all shot right here.
Nic—Debbie how did you become affiliated with this project?
Debbie—Well Lloyd [Kaufman] called me up and said that if I didn’t do this film then he’d never speak to me again! He said to me “these are some pretty good guys” and so I came down realized they aren’t “pretty good guys” they are AMAZING guys and Lloyd really underestimated them. I came on and played Empress Molly and I’ve had such a fantastic time. These guys (she gestures to Eric and then to Jim who is running around in the background) became such good friends of mine. In fact I didn’t just come down for the premiere tonight, I came down to celebrate my birthday with them because I could think of no better way to do it!
Nic—That’s quite a trip for you but we’re glad you made it! Now I have to ask, how big is your part in the film?
Debbie—Oh I think it’s HUGE! I’m in at least 70 minutes of the movie!
Eric—Actually I think it’s more like 100 minutes of the movie!
Debbie—100 minutes of a 90 minute movie?!
Eric—Yep, you’re in every single frame, some of them twice!! (Eric and Debbie laughing as they carry on the exchange)
Debbie—Yeah, and that’s pretty amazing when you think that I was only on the shoot for two days.
Nic—If I wanted to learn more about the film, where could I go?
Debbie—Go to www.hotbabesunder15…. Now wait that’s the other site! You want to go to www.zeppothemovie.com. The site has everything, all the information about the film, the screenings, the cast, anything you’d want to know about movie you can find there.
Nic—So when will we see Zeppo in stores, have you got a distributor yet?
Eric—Well, we’re trying to get it scheduled to show in as many places as possible first, so we can get a better distribution deal… so when will the DVD be available…. Hmmm… I don’t know. Do you want to buy one? I’ve got some in my van! (Laughing)
Debbie—Or, if you don’t want to get it from the back of Eric’s van, it should be out on DVD in about six months.
Eric—Hey, everything Debbie says is true so six months!
Nic—OK. So six months.
Debbie & Eric in unison— Six months! (Laughing again).