Darren Stein recalls finding a â€śkindred spiritâ€ť in Joshua Grannell. So intrigued was Stein with Grannellâ€™s life as San Francisco drag personality Peaches Christ, hostess of summer late-night movie series Midnight Mass, the writer/director of uber-bitchy teen flick Jawbreaker even offered to produce the aspiring filmmakerâ€™s first feature-length outing.
Now nearly five years later, Stein is temporarily relocating from Hollywood to San Francisco to make good on his promise. Written and directed by Grannell, All About Evil begins pre-production in February. Here Stein, who is openly-gay, discusses his relationship with Grannell/Peaches Christ, shares his enthusiasm for the project and explains why there has never been another film like it.
(Bay Times) This past weekend your film Jawbreaker â€“ followed by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark â€“ screened in the L.A. debut of Midnight Mass. What was your collective expectation for that experience?
(Stein) First of all, I love the idea of making Jawbreaker a â€ścult film.â€ť Peachesâ€™ vision of making that happen is exciting to me. I loved the idea of seeing how L.A. reacts to Midnight Mass and seeing if it can take off here like it has in San Francisco. I think thatâ€™s a possibility, though I do think the Bridge Theatre and the whole San Francisco community makes it a one-of-a-kind phenomenon. Lastly, Iâ€™m excited because Iâ€™m producing Joshuaâ€™s movie All About Evil. Cassandra Peterson, â€śElvira,â€ť is actually starring in All About Evil. In a way, because itâ€™s my film Jawbreaker, itâ€™s Joshua, itâ€™s Peaches and itâ€™s Elvira, itâ€™s sort of All About Evil. Itâ€™s a way to celebrate the making of that film.
After 12 years doing the film series, Peaches is not only getting to work with her idols through Midnight Mass, sheâ€™s now got them onboard for her first feature-length film. As you mentioned, Cassandra Peterson is involved. Mink Stole is signed on. What attracted you to the project?
Well, it was really Joshuaâ€™s love of cult movies. Heâ€™d created Midnight Mass. Heâ€™d created his own cult movie and horror empire in San Francisco â€” and the underground short films heâ€™d made, like A Nightmare on Castro Street and Season of the Troll. Like I said, it felt like he was a brother of mine artistically. I said to him four years ago when we met, â€śIf you ever produce a feature film, Iâ€™m going to produce it.â€ť Four years ago, I think the idea of making a feature was something he wanted to do, but it gave him that extra push he needed. That someone who had made films had faith in him and could help him bridge the gap, to bring him from the underground and utilize some more professional elements to the film.
Why is All About Evil exciting for you?
Thereâ€™s never been a movie like All About Evil. I think itâ€™s going to be a true, modern-day cult film. I think itâ€™s also going to be something beyond that.
I think itâ€™s going to appeal to the teenagers of today, the kids who shop at Hot Topic. Alternative music has become mainstream. For us, we used to have to go to vintage clothing stores and find those clothes and that music. Whereas today, the underground, the alternative, has been commodified. You walk into Hot Topic, and you can choose your style. Because Thomas Decker from The Sarah Conner Chronicles, is in All About Evil, weâ€™re trying to create this fusion of the cult vixens of the past and up-and-coming teen actors of the future. I think that combination is going to be interesting. It will hopefully forge new ground. It would be nice for this film to get exposed on a larger level, for it to screen in more theatres. It will still feel like a cult film, but appeal to more than just cult enthusiasts, whether thatâ€™s horror fans or teenagers. Then, of course, the gay culture will most definitely love it because that code will be in the movie. My 65-year-old dad read the script, and he loved it. Joshua knows how to tell a story in a very traditionally pleasing way while embellishing it with the edge and underground flavors which make it something different.
With your involvement, I hope you might pull from the Jawbreaker cast and get Rose McGowan involved.
We talked about Rose, but Peaches is more interested in Judy Greer. She was on Arrested Development. She played the best friend in My Best Friendâ€™s Wedding, Thirteen Going on 30, The Wedding Planner. In Jawbreaker, she plays Fern, the dorky girl. I think for Joshua, what appealed about her, of all the girls, sheâ€™s a true character actress. It would be great to get her involved with All About Evil.
For information on how to be cast as an extra in All About Evil, Visit: http://www.PeachesChrist.com.