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INTERVIEW WITH DEBBIE ROCHON

Filmography:

  • LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, THE FABULOUS STAINS! (1981) Skunkette
  • BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER (1983) Church goer
  • VAMPIRE'S KISS (1989) Bar patron
  • PARTY INCORPORATED (1989) Trixie
  • LURKERS (1989) Evil host
  • CLEO/LEO (1989) Reporter
  • BAND (1989) Trish
  • LONELY IN AMERICA (1991) Girl at museum
  • REGENERATED MAN (1994) Kelly
  • NEW YORK MEMOIRS (1994) Police woman
  • BLACK EASTER (1994) Resurrection Mary
  • ABDUCTED II: THE REUNION (1994) Sharon Baker
  • TROMEO and JULIET (1995) Ness
  • DEPRAVED (1995) Narrator
  • CYBERVENGEANCE (1995) Princess
  • BROADCAST BOMBSHELLS (1995) Amanda Cross
  • SANTA CLAWS (1996) Raven Quinn
  • RED LIPS II (1996) Holly
  • ALIEN AGENDA: ENDANGERED SPECIES (1996) Megan Cross
  • EVIL AMBITIONS (1996) Natalie
  • THE VAMPIRE'S SEDUCTION (1997) Mary
  • STRAWBERRY ESTATES (shelved, 1997) Theresa Brahms
  • SPLIT (1997) Cyclops
  • HELLBLOCK 13 (1997) Tara
  • HEAD CHEERLEADER, DEAD CHEERLEADER (1997) Coach Riley
  • AIR BOSS II: DUEL IN THE SKY (1997): Lauren
  • RAGE OF THE WEREWOLF (1999): Kessa, the vampire

    BIOGRAPHY: Debbie Rochon started her acting career in 1980 at the age 12 in the punk-rock cult movie hit LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, THE FABULOUS STAINS! Although this film is relatively hard to find, it did mark the beginning for two other film actresses as well, all of which have gone on to become full fledged celebrities in their own right. Laura Dern and Dianne Lane star as best friends that form a new wave band by stealing ideas from Lane's punk rocker love interest. Debbie Rochon plays the girl's biggest admirer, who follows them around from gig to gig.

    Having worked for three months with Paramount Pictures, Rochon realized that this is certainly work she enjoyed. So, saving every penny she could, she immediately started acting lessons. Once she was sixteen, Rochon auditioned for the local acting department in Vancouver's community college. Deciding her money was better spend training in New York City, she moved and has been based in Manhattan ever since.

    By 1988 she had trained at the top theater establishments, including the famed Lee Strasberg Institute, the Michael Chekhov Studio and the Herbert Berghof Studio. Ms Rochon also worked in over twenty five stage production off and off-off Broadway, which no doubt solidified her training. In 1988 she made her first flm in New York called LONELY IN AMERICA, directed by Barry Brown, who is noted for being Spike Lee's editor. Spike did play a cameo role in the film as a favor to Barry. Ms. Rochon was also introduced to the exploitation end of the business shooting two more features in 1988; the gender bending comedy CLEO/LEO with Ginger Lynn Allen and a Marilyn Chambers farce PARTY INCORPORATED, both directed by the late Chuck Vincent. In 1988 director Roberta Findlay (BLOOD SISTERS) also hired Rochon, but this time it was for a very small uncredited role in the occult film LURKERS. Although the part is nothing to speak of, it did however, afford Findlay a chance to meet Rochon and subsequently cast her for a featured role in the 1989 zombie punk film BAND, which has yet to be released. Rochon continued to get acting jobs where she could, doing featured extra work in various films such as the Nicolas Cage vehicle VAMPIRE'S KISS. While waiting for something more substantial, Rochon shot a number of educational films for the New York State School Board. The titles include; HOW TO GET A JOB, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, and SEX, DRUGS AND AIDS co-starring Rae Dawn Chong, the last of which turned up on an episode of THE PHIL DONAHUE SHOW. While the 1992 attempts VALERIE, a psychological vampire movie (ironically starring the leggy Amy Lynn Baxter, who would later shoot two more movies with Rochon), and DO YOU LIKE WOMEN?, a remake of the 1963 French feature AMI VOUS LE FEMME, may have elevated her to leading lady status but never amounted to more than trailers shot to entice potential investors. Rochon was then cast in a film called NEGATIVES, which also featured NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD star Duane Jones. This flick was shut down halfway through the shooting schedule due to an overwhelming amount of bounced checks from the producer. Some footage was salvaged and integrated into another film called FRIGHT HOUSE, but none of the scenes included Rochon. Over the next two years she would work extensively with Troma Studios shooting movie posters, acting in cable skits for Cinemax, appearing as a spokesperson at various Troma functions and playing the harried Edna Purlmutter in a half hour infommercial called THE TROMA SYSTEM, which aired on numerous cable channels including Comedy Central.

    By 1994 Rochon had appeared in dozens of genre publications world wide. This would be the year she made the much acclaimed film ABDUCTED II: THE REUNION, costarring Jan Michael Vincent and Dan Haggerty. Her dramatic performance in this flick would later earn her the position of first runner up Best Actress in Joe Bob Brigg's 1996 HUBBIE AWARDS. Rochon also made three lesser known films that year; BLACK EASTER, costarring Hammer Heroine Veronica Carlsen, a featured role in the sci-fi flick THE REGENERATED MAN and a cameo in DEPRAVED.

    BROADCAST BOMBSHELLS was the first film Rochon shot in 1995 where she was teamed up for a second time with Penthouse Pet Amy Lynn Baxter. This campy sex comedy did blockbuster business on Pay-Per-View and is still airing to date on countless cable stations. Her performance in BOMBSHELLS prompted MANSPLAT! Magazine to crown Ms. Rochon the winner of their 1997 BARBARELLA award. Once again, both Rochon and Baxter would land parts in the film CYBERVENGEANCE also shot in 1995, but neither one knew it until the filming was complete-none of their scenes were together! Rochon's third film for '95 would be the Raindance Film Festival's Audience Award Winner-TROMEO AND JULIET. In this send-up of the classic Romeo and Juliet tale, Rochon plays Ness, who is loosely based on the nurse character. SHRIEK OF THE LYCANTHROPE began shooting shortly after TROMEO wrapped. Here we see Rochon as the double crossing wife of a psychiatrist. But just as the film began shooting it shut down due to cost constraints. It would bea very busy year taping television appearances for Ms. Rochon. She starred as a copy in HOUSE ARREST, an episode for a Playboy Channel film called NEW YORK MEMOIRS, directed by famed photographer Robert Farber. Other noted guest appearances include NEW YORK UNDERCOVER, THE JON STEWART SHOW and LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN. In January 1996 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD co-author John Russo cast Rochon in the title role of SANTA CLAWS, a story of a B-Movie actress who is tormented by an overzealous stalker. She also costarred in the vampire driven sequel RED LIPS II. EVIL AMBITIONS would be here next film for 1996, where we see Rochon as a multi-media medium who helps the story's hero while channeling the spirit of Mae West through a television! This is also the year for several video releases, Rochon hosts THEATRE DARK, a video magazine that boasts interviews with famous B Movie personalities like Fred Olen Ray and Gunnar Hansen. She also appears in Hugh Gallagher's DRACULINA VIDEO MAGAZINE and has shot a series of "behind-the-scenes" of making a B Movie segments produced by Salt City Home Video for which she acts as host and commentator. The first of this series is called BLINDED BY THE BLOOD and features the work of director Tim Ritter. By the end of 1996 Rochon also completed the extraterrestrial flick THE ALIEN AGENDA: ENDANGERED SPECIES, which just premiered on home video in England. She then appeared on the now defunct Richard Bey show promoting TROMEO AND JULIET.

    For the month of January (1997) Ms. Rochon completed two more films. She costars with B Movie veteran Gunnar Hansen in HELLBLOCK 13 (directed by Paul Talbot), portraying the illegitimate child of Charles Manson who is on death row for a string of barbaric murders she's committed. Gunnar plays the prison guard. The other movie was STRAWBERRY ESTATES, about a group of psychic investigators who document the paranormal activity of a closed down mental institution. Working again with the director from CYBERVENGEANCE, she was hired to shoot the army flick AIR BOSS II: DUEL IN THE SKY. The next film was SPLIT, a project still in production. It's a futurist gangster movie in which she plays "Cyclops", a malformed hit person with lots of character. HEAD CHEERLEADER, DEAD CHEELEADER will also be completed in 1998. Its storyline is best described as a tribute to SCREAM-style horror flicks, but was actually written well before SCREAM hit the theatres.

    Debbie Rochon is also a published writer. Her work has appeared all over the world in such publications as THE JOE BOB REPORT, PHANTOM OF THE MOVIE'S VIDEOSCOPE, TV SCENE, SCAN, DRACULINA, FANTASTYKA, SCREAM QUEENS ILLUSTRATED, DRIVE IN CINEMA, MASTERS OF KUNG FU, DARK GALLERY, CHILLER THEATRE MAGAZINE and FEMME FATALES. Also, you can check out her on-line B Movie radio show on the World Wide Web at: Psuedo.com, click on the show Illumination Gallery. Debbie Rochon's home page is at: B-movie.com/debbie.html

    HOW DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST ACTING JOB?:

    My very first acting job at age 12 was a fluke. A friend of mine told me that some production company (Paramount!) was holding open auditions for a movie called LADIES AND GENTLEMAN: THE FABULOUS STAINS!. I went in and the casting director took a polaroid of me and asked if I was willing to dye my hair jet black and platinum white to look like a skunk. Of course, this all sounded thrilling at that age so I said YES, of course I would! So I spent the next three months shooting a movie and being bitten, no, eaten alive by the acting bug!

    WHAT IS YOUR WEIRDEST ACTING EXPERIENCE?

    Probably the weirdest thing I've done is a film called AMERICAN ODYSSEYS. When I was hired to do the film I was told it was an "educational" film. I went upstate New York to shoot it with a number of other actors and actresses in my age group so I felt comfortable and had no reason to think anything was amiss about it. Once we get up to the location the director tells us that he wants the girls to stand in this corral which was used for horses. Then he throws a couple of horses in there and they start copulating! For the record it's very dangerous to be near horses when that's happening. It didn't take too long to figure out that he was making some sort of exploitation film which didn't require anyone to take off their clothes, just be standing around bizarre happenings. I think the guys were asked to stand in a pen with copulating hogs. Very strange.

    RECENT WORK:

    The last picture I shot was HEAD CHEARLEADER, DEAD CHEERLEADER. It was fun but challenging because my scenes were the first to be done and I'm completely alone in all of them! I do talk to the other characters on the phone, but the only other performer I got to actually talk to was a turtle. It was directed by Jeff Miller, he co-produced HELLBLOCK 13 with Paul Talbot, and Michael Smith once again did all my special effects makeup. Michael was great, he had to build a plaster cast of my front bodice without ever having me there to make the mold from. It looked really good. SPLIT has been in production since August 1997. We shot about " of the film but stopped so we can raise money to finish it. We should be wrapped by Summer 1998. It's a very costly picture to make and the director won't sacrifice a scene just to get it in the can. I know it'll be incredible, a festival winner. It's just a matter of staying connected to my character during the long breaks inbetween shooting.

    WHAT DO YOU THINK OF GENRE FILMS?

    Without a doubt genre films are my favorite to watch and act in. I just love great films, period, but my favorites are the Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy flicks. A movie like PERFORMANCE is an incredible film, and I do have a lot of non-genre favs, but when I go to the video store two out of three of my rentals will be more like THE ABYSS, JACK FROST and ALIEN AUTOPSY instead of the mainstream Hollywood titles. I'm a big supporter and fan of independent films, too, both genre and non-genre. I like to champion talent regardless of what their budget or restrictions are.

    ADVICE TO ACTORS & DIRECTORS:

    Well, my advice to actors is to get as much training as possible. Learn about yourself and what really makes you tick. Make friends with the dark side of yourself! Don't be afraid to really examine the part of you that normally most people deny they have! These are your tools. Go to therapy! This is a wonderful way to explore your feelings and tap into the memories that will serve you later as an actor. Take the time to figure out how you feel about things, EVERYTHING! Working on yourself this way combined with a good technique and your work will be genuine and honest and that's when true inspiration comes. Something directors should keep in mind, specifically at the ultra low budget level, is to take as much time working on the performances as you do setting up the shots. I've been in situations where a shot can take forty-five minutes to light and prep and if the actors simply remembered their lines in the first take the director moved on to the next scene. I don't mean tell the actor how to act, but talk about the scene, inspire the actors with thoughts and ideas about the scene. Remind your actors what the conditioning forces are and that will give them numerous things to work on. I've directed a couple of stage plays but I have never directed a movie so I won't pretend to know how to give technical advice. I'm strictly speaking from an actors point of view.

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