Friday, November 13, 2020

Interview of Curt Wiser, Director of Cam-Girl

Back on August 2, 2020 I reviewed Cam-Girl on this blog. Even when Twitter shadow banned me, the hits on this entry made that film one of the most popular blog entries of this year. The maker of the film, Curt Wiser, is interviewed on this blog today. His erotic thriller may tickle our prurient interests and present a cautionary tale that may inspire so many out there to behave in a more pure manner. Or maybe not. Either way, read further and enjoy Mr. Wiser, a sensational moviemaker who tells a story so well.

CJZ:  Back in 2016, you made a terrific horror/thriller, "Cam-Girl." What drew you to the horror genre and led you to write "Cam-Girl."

Curt Wiser:  Well thanks for saying that.  I have always been inspired by the horror/thriller genre.  These types of stories are so impactful and effective when they are done right.  From classics such as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "Evil Dead II," "The Shining," and modern films "Hard Candy," "High Tension," and "Phone Booth" motivated my decision to write/direct/produce "Cam-Girl."

The tipping point was on New Year's Eve 2007.  I was at a house party, drink in hand, wondering how I could get my first feature made.  I had made a few shorts that played film festivals and written two feature scripts, but nothing was moving my career forward.  I thought about the first films from some of my favorite filmmakers, "Following" (1998), "Clerks" (1984), "Reservoir Dogs" (1992) and then it hit me.  Like them, I needed to write the most marketable story I could, that would be set in only a few locations.

It seemed that a good way to come up with a contained story with limited locations would be to center it around a character who worked from home.  The idea of a cam girl came to mind.  At that time camming was not portrayed in movies and I knew it would open up many interesting story possibilities.  So I got to work on the outline and the script immediately after that.

CJZ: "Cam-Girl" is such a fantastic film. You seem to play on the fact that we are now living in a voyeuristic society, filled with social media mediums that enable us to take on alternate identities and build on our most prurient fantasies. Is "Cam-Girl" a metaphor or a warning?  

Curt Wiser:  Interesting question.  I feel it is both a metaphor and a cautionary tale.  The way people create new identities for themselves on both sides of the screens, is a big part of what interested me in a story dealing with a cam girl and her clients.  I get the appeal of it, like any form of fantasy or escapism.  However, as with any vice, this can be taken too far.  That is where the danger and conflict comes from.

CJZ:  Our damsel in "Cam-Girl," Gessica (played by Erin Cline) is hardly pure.  She has a dark side. To many, she may seem abhorrent.  Was it difficult to mold the Gessica character into someone we liked, were cheering for, and desired to prevail over the evil that besets her in the film?

Curt Wiser:  Yes, I gave this a lot of thought.  My favorite main characters are complex and have frailties.  People are far from perfect in life, so this adds realism to the story.  The key for Gessica was making her a single mother.  In a few scenes we see how she is a caring mother and would do anything to care for her infant daughter.

Because of that, and how she is going to college to earn a better life for herself, we are on her side.  It is important to me that Gessica be a strong female character.  She defends her home and fights for her life.  Brick, our killer, on the other hand, commits much more evil than Gessica ever does.  But like any great antagonist, Brick feels justified doing these horrific actions.

CJZ:  Erin Cline did a superb job in a role most actresses would not be comfortable in.  Can you tell us about how you approached Ms. Cline with the role of Gessica.  Did she naturally seize onto it...or did you have to coach her into it?

Curt Wiser:  Erin Cline is an exceptional actor I knew from working in the entertainment industry in Florida when I lived there.  She did an audition of one of the emotional scenes involving voice over.  I saw instantly that she could perfectly capture the internal struggle of Gessica and embody the character as I imagined her.

As a professional, Erin Cline did a lot to inform her character.  I stayed out of the way and let her process work for her.  This made all the difference when it came to the performances we got on screen.  The one thing I did during pre-production was give Erin a paperback copy of Candy Girl, an amazing memoir written by Diablo Cody about her past experience as a stripper.  That book was the biggest part of my research to try to understand how a character like Gessica would think and feel, so I thought it might be helpful to Erin as well.

I must say, I am thrilled with all the actors I got to work with and the bold performances they gave.  Joe Coffey did an incredible job as our male lead and was a perfect match for Erin.  That chemistry really showed in the final cut.  It should be noted that I cast Erin Cline first then cast everyone else around her.  

CJZ:  "Cam-Girl" is one of my most successful entries on my blog in 2020.  This is not a film for the entire family and the subject matter may even turn off many viewers.  Still, I definitely see a following for it.  Erotic and chilling is a nice combination reminiscent of Italian horror of the 1970s.  What were your inspirations to delve into erotic horror?

Curt Wiser:  Erotic suspense films like Brain De Palma's "Dressed to Kill" (1980) and Paul Schrader's "Hardcore" (1979) were prior influences on this subject.  I have noticed that several movies dealing with camming have been made since the release of "Cam-Girl," that is a good feeling, it tells me I had a good idea way back in 2008. 

CJZ:  Are there any plans to bring back Gessica in future films?  The ending did leave room for a sequel and Erin Cline's performance and character deserve more my humble opinion.

Curt Wiser:  Let's just say one of our Executive Producers, Odorico Mendes, was very happy that the ending leaves the possibility for a sequel.  Haha, the saying goes, if the producers or studios could make the sequel first, they would.  At the moment there are no plans to make the sequel or reboot, but I would be open to the idea.

CJZ:  Moving on from "Cam-Girl," are there future projects on the horizon?  I see you write, produce, and direct. What can we look for in 2021 from Curt Wiser?

Curt Wiser:  I have two short films, "Woman" and "Man" that are being submitted to film festivals for 2021.  Making these two shorts were a lot of fun and they fit my brand as a writer, dealing with the relationships between men and women.  After those shorts play festivals I will post them online.

Feature wise, I have a few screenplays I am trying to get produced or sold.  One is "Anxiety," about a manic-claustrophobic woman who loses control when she gets locked inside an office building bathroom after hours, along with a male janitor. 

CJZ:  Speaking of "fantasy"...what would be the fantasy project for Curt Wiser? A horror film I hope.

Curt Wiser:  The answer might change every year.  I enjoy working in the horror/thriller genres.  But right now my dream project would be directing a script I call "Rage Moms."  It is an irreverent action/comedy about four suburban mothers who become fed up and fall into a life of crime. 

To watch Cam-Girl free on TubiTV click on this link: Cam-Girl on Tubi

To watch Cam-Girl free on YouTube click on this link: Cam-Girl on YouTube 

To watch the 30 minute behind the scenes documentary on Cam-Girl click this link: Behind the Scenes of Cam-Girl 

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