An Interview with Marion Kerr – By Brian Morton

If you’re a monthly reader of Rogue Cinema (and if you’re not, why not!?!), then you probably read a review in April for a short called, I Fucking Hate You, and then last month you probably read the review for a cool movie called Golden Earrings. And, you’re asking, what do both movies have in common? Well, that would be very talented actress/writer/director, Marion Kerr. This amazing actress has graced the stage and screens (both TV and movie) and, with Golden Earrings, seems to be set to take over behind the cameras as well! I thought that it would be cool to take a moment of her time to chat, before she becomes too famous to talk to a lowly movie reviewer like myself.

*   *   *

 BM – Thanks for taking the time, we all really appreciate it.

MK – No, thank you. BM – How did you get your start?

MK – I always enjoyed acting, but basically became really serious about it while I was in college. I graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Drama and I studied drama in a wonderful EAP program in London, England. So after all that, I knew I really wanted to be an actor, especially in the medium of film/TV. As a filmmaker, I studied at the New York Film Academy, really to try and work on being a better actor for film, but I found that I really enjoyed the film making process and wanted to do more of it, after the program ended. So my first couple years in L.A., I messed around a bit, making little shorts here and there with my friends and working on other people’s films. Just trying to get some experience and see what I liked and didn’t like and learn as much as I could.

BM – Since you’ve working in all of them, which medium is the most challenging, film, TV or stage?

MK – I suppose I think it really depends on the role more than the medium. All three have their individual challenges. I’m just finishing a play right now, and after not having done one for a year or so, I was reminded vividly what a different medium it is, compared to film and television. But it’s just like using a different set of muscles. The difficulty, I think, always lies in the role that you’re playing.

BM – Your movie, I Fucking Hate You, was done in an improvised way. How difficult was it to make that movie?

MK – Well, first of all, IFHY, isn’t MY movie. It’s really Zak Forsman’s movie. I was just lucky enough to be a part of it. 🙂 And I found it to be one of the easiest film making experiences I’ve ever had. The trick was really in the preparation. We talked at length about the characters and really solidified their backgrounds and roughly what the basic plot of the film would be. And then from there we just sort of leapt of the cliff and went for it. We worked scene by scene, discussing motivations, etc, but we really just tried to keep exploring and seeing where these characters would lead us. It was incredibly rewarding but you did have to constantly stay focused on the scene before you because you didn’t have words to rely on. You just had your character and thinking about how they would react and feel honestly in this given situation.

BM – You wrote and directed Golden Earrings (one of the best movies I’ve seen this year!), is that the direction you’d like to take ultimately?

MK – Perhaps in the long run, yeah, who knows. Right now, I enjoy acting tremendously, but I find that my real joy is as a story teller. And for the majority of my life, I’ve been able to and enjoyed "telling stories" as an actor. And occasionally as a writer and director. I suppose if I didn’t enjoy telling stories as an actor anymore, perhaps I’d be keen to focus on writing and directing more. But right now, I’m enjoying sort of focusing on one and dabbling in the other.

 BM – Did you ever consider yourself for the lead in Golden Earrings?

MK – You know, it’s interesting how many people asked me that. Several people I gave the script to assumed I had written myself this amazing part and, of course, I was going to play it. But honestly, it never seriously occurred to me. I had known Julia Marchese for several years and I sort of knew that this was her part. My biggest concern was with the story and ultimately I felt that Julia would be much effective in the role of Ronnie than anyone else, myself included. And actually, I had thought the part of Sara was going to be much easier to film than it ended up being. I thought, yeah, this’ll be great, I’ll be in the first ten minutes of the film and then I’m home free for the rest of the shoot. Unfortunately, since shooting chronologically rarely happens, I ended up filming my scenes sporadically throughout the shoot rather than all of them in just a few days. So I felt like I was in front of the camera much more than I ever intended.

BM – There aren’t a lot of female writer/directors in the indie industry (let alone the mainstream), is it more challenging being a woman in this business?

MK – I don’t think so. I haven’t really come up against anything yet that’s been more difficult for me as director because I’m a woman. Now, I’ll admit, I haven’t been at this very long, so perhaps it’s lack of experience talking, but it’s never been a problem for me. And I don’t really consider myself a "female writer/director", so I never really think about it. I’m just an indie filmmaker like the thousands of other indie filmmakers out there.

 BM – If Sabi Pictures decides to do a follow up to IFHY, what direction would you like to see the story head?

MK – Oh man, I don’t know. I suppose honestly, I would like to see what Ron and Carol were like when they were a couple. Or maybe how they first met. They seem so different as people, I think it would be really interesting to see what they would have been like as a couple.

BM – You’re in the new movie, Zombie Strippers (which may be the best movie title of the year), what was it like working on that set?

MK – I only worked on the film for a day, but it was a lot of fun and one of the most bizarre looking sets as you can imagine. They were shooting in an abandoned old hospital in L.A. and the place looked like zombies had taken over. They had tons of people in the most amazing zombie make-up, blood all over the walls, people getting eaten. It was exactly what you’d expect from a zombie film. Didn’t see any strippers on my day, though. Sorry, boys.

BM – What are you working on now? What’s next?

MK – Right now, I’m submitting Golden Earrings to as many festivals as I can. We’re still doing a little post work here and there on the film, so it’s not completely finished but it’s almost there. I’m also working on other projects as an actor. I’m just finishing playing "Desdemona" with L.A. Shakespeare Company in their production of "Othello". I worked with Todd Haynes in a recent commercial he shot for "Heineken". And I’m gearing up for the L.A. premiere of "I Fucking Hate You" which will be on May 30th with the New Filmmakers Festival.

BM – Cool, thanks again for taking the time to talk with us.

MK – My pleasure.

*   *   *

If you’d like to find out more about Golden Earrings or Marion, you can check out her website, Marion Kerr.com. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for this awesome indie actress…and the sequel to I Fucking Hate You should be very interesting! We here at Rogue Cinema wish her all the luck in the world, and hope that she doesn’t forget all us little guys when the big time comes calling…which we’re sure it will.