Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Cast Of "Anne Darling"

TAG LINE: Tonight, a lonely writer, a mother and a dreamer will try to escape sadness by partying, romancing and having sex with strangers.

SYNOPSIS: Daniel hopes to break out of his depression by having sex. So he calls a chat line and meets Marnie. Their encounter becomes more intimate than they expected -- she reminds him of his mother, he reminds her of her son. Both are haunted by family troubles. Later, Daniel's friend Charlie sets him up with Maggie, a young writer who wants to run away from her ill mother. They offer each other a way out, but first they have to break their family bonds. Will Daniel break his new bond with Marnie?

Norman Yeung [also writer/director] ("Resident Evil: Afterlife", "Todd and the Book of Pure Evil")

Norman works in film, theatre, and visual arts.

Films he has written and directed include "Marnie Love", "Hello Faye", and "Light 01", which have screened at international film festivals, on Movieola Channel, Mini Movie International Channel (Europe), and on Air Canada.  He was Second Unit Director on "The Tracey Fragments", a feature film directed by Bruce McDonald.

As an actor, Norman's recent film and television credits include a supporting role in "Resident Evil: Afterlife" (Sony/Screen Gems), a series regular role in "Todd and the Book of Pure Evil" (SPACE/CTV), and roles in “Rookie Blue” (ABC/Global) and “King” (Showcase). He recently played the role of Hassan in Theatre Calgary and Citadel Theatre’s production of “The Kite Runner”.

Plays he has written include "Pu-Erh", "Oolong", "Theory", and "Lichtenstein's an 8: A New Formula to Quantify Artistic Quality".  "Pu-Erh" premiered in 2010 at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto and was nominated for four Dora Mavor Moore Awards, including Outstanding New Play.  "Pu-Erh" was a finalist for the 2009 Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition.  His performance piece “In this moment.” premiered at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in 2012.  His opera “Black Blood” (Norman Yeung, librettist; Christiaan Venter, composer) premiered at Tapestry New Opera Showcase in 2012 in Toronto.  He was a member of Canadian Stage's BASH! artist development program and fu-GEN's Kitchen Playwrights Unit.  He was a member of the 2011 Tapestry New Opera Composer-Librettist Laboratory.  He is featured in the book "Voices Rising: Asian Canadian Cultural Activism" by Xiaoping Li.

Since 1993, his graffiti and street art can be found under bridges, on freight trains, behind warehouses, in transit tunnels, and on living room walls, from New York City to Brisbane.  He has exhibited his paintings and drawings in such venues as FRCP/Galerie Youn (Montreal), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Art Gallery of Mississauga, Board of Directors (Toronto), Milk Glass (Toronto), and curcioprojects (New York City).  His painting and illustration clients include LVMH, Bruce Mau Design, National Film Board of Canada, MTV, CBC, Eye Weekly, Rice Paper Magazine, and many more.  He was featured on CBC Radio 3's "MAKE: Next Generation Canadian Creators", CBC's ZeD TV, MuchMusic, MTV, and in numerous publications and documentaries.

Norman has lectured at Central Technical School (Toronto) about urban art, at Lord Byng Secondary School (Vancouver) about a career in the arts, spoken at The Humanitas Festival (Toronto) about responsible casting of minorities in media, and received a Toronto Clean and Beautiful City Appreciation Award for his mural work.  He was a playwriting mentor for the 2011 Paprika Festival (Toronto).

He holds a BFA in Acting/Theatre from the University of British Columbia and a BFA (Honours) in Film Studies from Ryerson University.  He was born in Guangzhou, China, grew up in East Vancouver, and is currently based in Toronto.

Allison Scagliotti ("Warehouse 13", "Losers Take All", "Chastity Bites", "Drake & Josh")

Cara Gee ("Empire of Dirt", Toronto International Film Festival 2013 Rising Star)

Janet Lo ("Cracked", "The Listener", "Diary of the Dead", "To Die For")

Janet Lo is currently creating a play about Madame Mao. Earlier this year, she appeared in a pilot entitled Second Jen. For 30 years, Janet Lo has been an actor in Theatre, Film, Television and Radio. She has worked internationally, portraying roles across Canada as well as appearing in Los Angeles and China. She travelled to Shanghai as part of the Red Snow Collective, after debuting the role of Lily at Theatre Passe Muraille. Stage highlights include Tout Comme Elle (Necessary Angel/ Luminato), Pu-Erh (K’nowTheatre), Hana’s Suitcase (the Grand Theatre), M. Butterfly (MTC/NAC and ATP), Amazon Dreams (Factory Theatre), Powder Blue Chevy (Theatre Tamahnous), Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles and Shall We Join the Ladies? (Shaw Festival).

With her theatre Company, Vandalay, Janet co-produced  Powder Blue Chevy for Summerworks 1993, and A Language of Their Own in 1997, which she also directed. Both pieces centered around Chinese North American characters and created employment and skill-building opportunities for Asian Canadian actors and stage technicians.

Film and Television Credits include Satisfacton, Cracked, The Listener, The Clark Rockefeller Story, The Border, Diary of the Dead, Kojak, Missing, Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy, Madtv, City of Angels, Nikita, Prince Street, Riverdale, Robocop, Kung Fu, To Die For, Montreal vu Par: Vue D’Allieurs.

What is "Anne Darling" about?

NORMAN: We will all feel deep sadness. Many of us will feel something more profound than sadness, a depression that will prevent you from moving forward. But you must. How? You can distract yourself with booze, smokes, parties, and sex, but those are only temporary bandages. “Anne Darling” is about breaking out of sadness to become happier. And you never know who you’ll meet tonight – that stranger you’re about to dance with, that woman you’re about to hook up with for anonymous sex… they might be your key to happiness. Even if the woman reminds you of your mom. Woops! Tonight, all the characters in this film will feel the happiest they have felt in a long time. “Anne Darling” is about hope.

ALLISON: The escapist techniques of artistic urban young people. Smoking, sexing, and that awesome moment when someone holds a mirror up to your bullshit. Or something like that.

JANET: Since other people will be answering this question, I will answer who is Marnie [the character I play]. Marnie is a woman who is basically lonely. She is now divorced 3 years and her son moved away when that was happening. She also suffers from depression. Since the divorce, she no longer has the same circle of friends that she used to when she was part of a couple. So she meets people on chat lines. One night, she meets a man on a chat line, and after feeling a certain connection with him, invites him over for a mutually agreed intimate encounter. When he arrives, she is surprised to see that Daniel [Norman’s character] is not what she imagined (add suspense music here).

Why do you want this film to be made?

ALLISON: I want talented cats like Norman to bring their art to the world. Maybe this is cliché, but I worry that we'll never hear beautiful music, read beautiful words, see powerful theatre and film because the tools of distribution are still largely controlled by Johnson & Johnson. Or Rogers. Norman has brought his art to the streets, to the canvas, to the stage and screen, and “Anne Darling” deserves a place in his canon of completed projects that deserve an audience and various ribbons of recognition. Also, I wanna do an art house short.

CARA: I want this film to be made because it's exactly the kind of film I would want to watch. Straight up. Norman Yeung is one of my favourite artists and to be a part of his vision is an honour. He is seriously the most amazing human and we should all be so lucky to see what goes on inside his brain.

JANET: After being in his play “Pu-Erh”, I would love to be in another project with Norman. He is absolutely lovely, and I would love to share the screen with him in a kind of role that I am not usually cast in. So that is very exciting to me.

NORMAN: These three women are making me blush in areas that aren’t supposed to get red. The appreciation is mutual. We’ve assembled a highly talented and rather babely cast whose chemistry is genuine. The crew is pretty hot, too. We trust each other as artists and care about each other as friends. This good will and shared spirit can be rare for some productions; now that we’ve got it, we will fulfill it. “Anne Darling” is a self-contained short film that is one chapter of a bigger story. Each of the characters, and new ones, will have their own chapters, and their narratives will intersect. Making this a feature film is the bigger goal, but first I’d like to make this chapter happen.

What are the similarities/differences between you and your character?

ALLISON: Similarities? Maggie and I are both young creative chicks who like music and PBR and think Norman is good looking. We both take care of our family. We both want to invigorate our careers. Differences? I'm a grown-up child actor who does not live with her mom anymore. Not that there'd be anything wrong with that.

CARA: Hahahah I don't want to take anything away from my cred as an actor, but this character is pretty much exactly me. Charlie and I are both party monsters always at the ready to wingman a pal. Also, Norman and I are best friends in real life.

JANET: Well, I'm a mother. Other than that, not a lot of similarities. I have, in the past, in a previous life, had bouts of loneliness, but I was never able to just have a physical encounter and not want it to be more. Or perhaps for Marnie either, although I'm sure she will want to keep a relationship with Daniel, just have it not be a physical one.

NORMAN: This film isn’t autobiographical, which is what many people assume when the actor is also the writer. But having felt stuck in my life, and seeing a surprisingly large number of friends deal with depression, I understand why Daniel would want instant stimulation. It’s easier to get drunk and distract ourselves from problems than it is to solve them with professional help. Differences? I’ve had relations with older women but I knew their names. And none of them reminded me of my mom. My relationship with my mom is completely unsexual. Sorry to be boring, guys.

What is your opinion on crowdfunding?

ALLISON: It's the future. The system of ad-based content generation is broken, long live Kickstarter and Indiegogo and RocketHub. In an era where the tools of filmmaking are available to nearly anyone – you can shoot a movie on your phone, edit it using free software on your computer, distribute it on YouTube, and promote it on Twitter – it makes sense for independent creators to skip the bureaucracy of taking meetings with people who majored in business in the late nineties and speak in corporate euphemisms. You want to make something? You tailor it to the people who want to see it and promise them levels of involvement in exchange for their bucks. Boom. Socialized art making.


JANET: Crowdfunding, as a concept, is wonderful. With the internet and social networking, it is a great way to get your ideas out to a very large group of people around the globe. The drawback is that there are so many projects out there that I get quite inundated with requests and may not pay attention to them unless something really exciting catches my eye.

NORMAN: Asking friends for money is excruciating. Otherwise, crowdfunding is genius.

What do you think is the key to happiness?

ALLISON: In my mind, happiness doesn't look like a key. It looks like a tiny dot of paint on the end of George Seurat's paint brush. If you're lucky you get a lot of those tiny little micro moments of happiness collected over your whole life. I don't know. I'm 23 and trying really hard to figure it out and also sound eloquent in interviews.

CARA: I think that for the most part, the key to happiness is deciding to be happy.

JANET: Strangely, just being happy. I do believe that being happy is a muscle that one needs to use or it will atrophies. There are people that have said to me, yes, I know that I have all these things (gotten all these gigs, have great friends, etc.) and I should be grateful. And I say fuck gratitude, just be happy. Exercise that muscle.

NORMAN: Asking friends for money is excruciating. It totally blows and sucks mad hard, dude. I’m hating every moment of what feels like begging. But when some friends do contribute, I’m struck by emotion. I almost cried to Aaron Kopff (one of our producers) when our buddy donated to our Kickstarter: “He’s not rich! I can’t believe he donated so much!” Other friends too, any amount. For what? So I can “make” a “film”? But it’s not about money. It’s not about film. It’s about their faith in me, their belief, their support… I am absolutely nothing without my friends. My happiness is the people who care about me, and I care about them. This Kickstarter experience has instilled in me a new generosity; I want to return the support to my friends, whether monetarily or just being there for them. I guess crowdfunding can be a happy experience after all.

Say something nice about another member of the AD cast?

ALLISON: Everyone in the cast is this totally titillating blend of attractive and intelligent. I have talent crushes on ALL of them. And I'm jealous of Norman's pompadour.

CARA: I'm going to do my very best to get Norman to add a scene where I get to make out with Allison. What a babe.

JANET: Like I said, I would love to be in another project playing a character that I feel Norman wrote specifically for me. A couple of years ago I was in a play with Cara called “Tout Comme Elle”. Although we will not have any screen time together in “Anne Darling”, it's great to be in the same project together again. I met the rest of the production team recently and they are just fabulous. And fun.

NORMAN: The way Allison conducts herself intellectually, artistically, and style-ly makes me die thirteen times before noon. If anyone took Cara away from me, I would destroy them, then take a DeLorean back 2,000 years and destroy their whole lineage. Janet is like a cross between my older sisters and my mom, which I find very comforting. No, I don’t have any Freudian family issues, but I do miss my family. Misty Fox is the sweetest and I want to play her best friend in a show ‘cause it would go over stellar. Omar Alex Khan gives us hope that we can remain cool forever.

How does working on an indie project differ from a mainstream one?

ALLISON: It's more relaxed. We don't have the thrall of a standards and practices department, and we're DEFINITELY not getting network notes about "tone".

CARA: The level of professionalism is the same, the only difference is cash money.

JANET: The indie projects that I have been involved with seem to have lots of heart. They all have been passion projects for the producers and they surround themselves with artists that share this passion as well. As a result, I've never received as much respect as I have on these projects. Everyone involved wants to be there – they are either working for no pay, reduced pay or deferred pay, but they believe in the project and want to give it their all. And they are lots of FUN.

NORMAN: You’ll probably wear your own clothes on an indie project.

What else do you do besides acting?

ALLISON: I play music and pretend I'm a rockstar. I take dance class and pretend I'm a ballerina. I write poetry and pretend I'm Charles Bukowski, just without all the misogynistic alcoholism.

CARA: Watch hockey with Norman Yeung.

JANET: I am currently creating a play about Madam Mao. And I am a Mom. So these days it's all about being a Mom in one form or other. Go figure.

NORMAN: Watch hockey with Cara Gee. And Meredith Cheesbrough.

What are some of your favorite indie projects?

ALLISON: That I've worked on? “Losers Take All”. “My Name is Jerry”. “Redemption Maddie”. “Reliance”, which has yet to grace the internet. That I've seen? “SLC Punk”. “Zombie in a Penguin Suit”. A Sam Taylor-Wood short called “Love You More”.

CARA: I'm pretty stoked about “Empire of Dirt”, my film that's opening at the end of November. We just premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, which was the most exciting thing of all time. I hope people check it out.

JANET: At the beginning of this year, I was involved in a pilot called “Second Jen”, a comedy about second-generation kids and their immigrant families. It was so much fun and I got to play a crazy Mom. Here is their website:

NORMAN: “Wild Style”, directed by Charlie Ahearn, 1982. Fab Five Freddy, Lee, Lady Pink, Zephyr, Grandmaster Flash, Rocksteady Crew, Cold Crush Brothers, Busy Bee, Double Trouble, DJ Grandwizard Theodore… Are you kidding me? A gem of an ultra-indie, ultra-low-budge, ultra-important film. Is it in the Library of Congress? It will be. Also, I really enjoyed being in Seth Mendelson’s video for Bad Passion’s “Get Results”. It’s on YouTube.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

ALLISON: How lucky we are that this is our job. I get to live my life from one character to the next, filling the in-between spaces with music, dance, theatre, art... I can't believe how lucky I am. That, and I really miss Lou Reed.

CARA: Check out our Kickstarter campaign and toss us some coin. Even the smallest bit helps and we are all eternally grateful. This will be a really cool film and I believe it's worth investing in.

NORMAN: Kickstarter is all or nothing, so if we don’t reach our funding goal, then we will get $0 to make this film. If you contribute (please and thanks!), you'll get a nuanced, emotionally honest film with odd relationships that will make you consider your own choices to be happier. You’ll also get cool gifts in return. Stuff you can wear, use, and boast about. Also, I always call John Hoff III by his full name.


Thank You to Norman. Allison, Cara, Janet for doing the interview.  I wish you all the best with "Anne Darling" and future projects. Spread the word about Kickstarter: For all things "Anne Darling" visit