Q1) First of all, can you please introduce yourself to fans of UKHS who don’t already know you and tell us how you become an actress and film producer?
Bloody Hello! My name is Diane Foster. The horror movie world knows me as Baby Sister Audrey Miller in the slasher film, “The Orphan Killer”. I am also known for my role as Donna Huffman in the feature film , “IOWA”, and as the Producer for both of those films. I grew up in New Jersey right outside NYC. I have a large family and don’t remember a time when I wasn’t entertaining. When I was 8, my family entered me into the local talent pageant which I won. Every other child had ballet tutus and tap shoes, and I had on a white tank top (guinea-T if your from Jersey) a pair of cool jeans and white cowboy boots. I probably won from sheer originality and that set this fire ablaze in me.
From that point on, I auditioned for every stage show I could, locally and regionally, and then started my quest for the stage in New York. I took lots of dance classes and worked at Dunkin‘ Donuts so I could pursue my singing and acting lessons. Then, I had a great opportunities in my senior year in high school. I was asked to perform in two Main Stage shows at the World Renowned PaperMill Playhouse and had been taking Conservatory classes there with professionals of film/tv/stage for 3 full summers. I received my first real acting award that would capitulate my dream even farther. I played Princess Winifred in the stage version of Once Upon a Mattress at my school in NJ. It was the third year of what is now a very established and prestigious state-wide awards program called The Paper Mill Playhouses’ Rising Star Awards. I won Best Actress for my role at age 18, so that really became my stepping stone for getting real work. I did a lot of Off-Broadway shows and some small TV work while in NY, but knew if i wanted to do film I would have to make the move to Los Angeles, which I did and have never left.
Q2) Which actor or actress inspires you the most?
I love lots of different genres and have respect for many actors. From vintage Hollywood I love Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Sophia Loren, Cary Grant, James Dean, & Steve McQueen. Additionally, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Marilyn Burns, Heather Langenkamp, Drew Barrymore, Chloe Sevigny, Virginia Madsen, Rebecca DeMornay, & Sharon Stone have all been influential in some way to me as far as women in film. I also love the work of Laura Donner as far as producing goes. Those are just several in a list of many that I respect and admire. I am a film fan, so I find myself relating to and appreciating the work of many brave actors and producers who take chances.
Q3) You are an award winning American actress and producer but not many people will know you were actually one of the original members of The Pussycat Dolls. What can you tell us about the experience and did you enjoy it?
Many people probably do not know that. I had just come to Los Angeles and was a really hardworking dancer. I spent my whole childhood in a dance studio, and traveling around for dancing competitions. I had to make my rent when I first moved there as it was a very different experience having lived with my parents for 20 years to living on my own. I got a lot of music video work and took dance classes at the best dance schools in Hollywood. During a class one night, I met the creator of the Pussycat Dolls, Robin Antin. She was enamored by my dancing talent and asked me if I wanted to be in her brand new show that was a vintage Variety Burlesque show. It came at a perfect time for me and of course I wanted to do it. We rehearsed for several weeks and opened at The Roxy in Hollywood to sold out crowds for several weeks.
The show had major celebrities in it including Carmen Electra, Gwen Stefani, Christina Applegate, Christina Aguilera, Brittany Murphy and Dita Von Teese doing her Martini Glass act. The celebrity guests would sometimes tell jokes or sing and then we would all dance and sing and each of us had something special we did with really hot, vintage burlesque style outfits and incredible doll face makeup created by the artists from MAC. The audience was jam packed every night with the likes of Cameron Diaz, Jared Leto, Marilyn Manson, Hugh Hefner, and all his Playboy Bunnies. I would greet Mr. Hefner with a kiss on the head when he came to the show. He liked that a lot. But his Bunnies liked it even more. It was very funny and sweet. I also made sure Christina Aguilera was always ready for the finale.
This was THE ticket to have in Tinseltown. It was an absolutely awesome experience that I am very grateful I got to have. It was with the success of the show, that the creator, Robin, took the group to the next level. At the time, they had asked me to be in the Maxim Magazine shoot they were doing with the group, but I had already signed on and wanted to fully immerse myself in my first starring role in a feature film called “IOWA” by Matt Farnsworth with Rosanna Arquette and John Savage. I decided the best decision was to focus on my film work. Those few moments in the dance studio that night turned out to be an experience I could have only dreamed of. I am proud knowing that I was a part of something that went on to be a multi-platinum recording artist girl group.
Q4) In the 2003 movie, “Descendant” you played Vicki. What can you tell us about the flick and was this your first acting role?
I had been working for the production company that made the film so I got an opportunity to audition. I had done small no speaking parts on TV and in films in NYC, but this was my first film role where I would have dialogue and most likely would not be cut out of the edit. This was the film I met The Orphan Killer creator and my producing partner Matt Farnsworth on. He was playing Katherine Heigl’s incestuous brother and my boyfriend. Jeremy London was the star of the film loosely based on stories of Edgar Allen Poe. It was a great learning experience and a good group of professionals to work with.
Q5) You then played Donna Huffman in “Iowa”. You also co-produced this with Matt Farnsworth and you were awarded best actress at the Midwest Independent Film Festival for your role. How much fun did you have on-set and did you enjoy playing this character and find it rewarding also producing the movie?
“IOWA” was a project of passion. After I had met Matt Farnsworth, we decided to make this film he had been writing. We spent at least two years doing research on the topic of meth in the Midwest. Since I grew up in New Jersey, I didn’t have the knowledge of the problem meth was becoming in America’s heartland. Matt’s family is originally from there and he had seen first hand his Grandfather’s hometown deteriorate because of meth abuse. It was inspiring to me to try and make a film that could touch on a taboo subject. This was way before the success and concept of the show Breaking Bad. Matt and I were some of the first filmmakers to document the problem in Iowa. Since we were doing research for the film, we were lucky to get a contact to a girl who would forever change our idea of meth and what we would put on film.
The police department in Centerville, Iowa had us meet Amber McNealy from Ottumwa. Amber was burned over 60% of her body in a rolling meth lab. That means a meth lab in a van. She had been dealing meth and doing it for years and one night an explosion blew the van up she was in and the chemicals exploded all over her. She explained to us that she was literally pulling her skin off as she was tearing off her clothes from the explosion. It left her what she called a Meth Monster. She was so intriguing upon our first meeting, that we documented her and her family’s life over a year period. That research became the documentary, “Dying For Meth”. It was nominated for a Beverly Hills based Prism Award along side the famous NBC’s “The More you Know” and CBS Cares campaigns for our outstanding service to the public in our quest to gain meth awareness. That was a real honor. “Dying for Meth” ran exclusively on Current TV which was ex-Vice President Al Gore’s network at the time. We were ready then to take on the responsibilities of a feature. Making “IOWA” was surreal. John Savage, who I idolized from the Deer Hunter played my father and Rosanna Arquette, who I idolized from Desperately Seeking Susan played Matt’s mother. It will forever be the greatest learning experience I have had on a film. We had a big crew of about 60 and several celebrities in roles, so as producers and stars ourselves, there was a tremendous pressure to get the job done properly, on time and on budget.
It was a time of change for me, as i learned on the first day of Principal Photography and my birthday that I was pregnant with my son. I had an extremely difficult role in Donna Huffman going from naive girl to full on drug user. I was really young and had horrible morning sickness. It certainly worked on the days I had to play strung out, but the straight days were a lot harder because I felt like total shit. Luckily, it ended up beautifully and I got a lot of great advice from Rosanna. “IOWA” was selected as an Official Selection at Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Film Festival and was the “Must -See” movie of the festival. It premiered to sold out screenings during the festival and was very well received. It was released in theaters in NY, Chicago, and Los Angeles. It is a film that I am very proud of to have made and been a part of. It was ahead of the curve as far as subject matter and completely original. I have heard many times that it made people think twice about using meth. I knew then, that I had done my job.
Q6) You now have huge cult following based on your performance in “The Orphan Killer”. Please tell us all about this film, Diane and how much fun did you have playing Audrey?
What a trip this has been. I have always been a horror fan, but I never knew what an impact this film would have on my life. The Orphan Killer is a cult slasher film that has amassed almost 400,000 Facebook fans and legendary status. It was a concept creator Matt Farnsworth had wanted to do since we made IOWA. He grew up watching the 80′s slasher flicks and was told after IOWA he should make a horror film on the advice of the Cuban brothers of Skechers, Dallas Mavericks, and Landmark Theaters fame. The film itself was a complete struggle to make having shot for six weeks and scrapping most of it only to go back and shoot another four. It took almost two years to put together after we finished shooting and it was in the second edit process that we knew we had something special and that it was the movie for fans of classic slasher and gore.
Matt was very clear about making sure all the money was put on screen and that most of it went to creating the kills. From the start, he wanted to make it an homage to the slashers we grew up idolizing but having Marcus Miller stand on his own as a NEW vision for the Slasher genre. The story is about two kids who watch as their parents are violently murdered one night. They go to live in an orphanage and the sister is adopted while the brother is left to rot at the hands of the nuns and priests. The brother comes to find his sister years later killing everyone in his maniacal path. I play Marcus Millers’ baby sister, Audrey, whom he is hellbent on capturing to teach her family loyalty in cruel and unimaginable ways. Audrey is a very strong female role and also a very physical one.
I did all my own stunt work which was very demanding. I also suffer through a grotesque amount of pain and suffering. I have stated in the past, that this role changed me as a person and I stand by my conviction. It was a metamorphosis for me as an actress and a woman. Beside my starring role as Audrey, I produced the film. We shot most of it in my hometown of Union NJ and the surrounding areas. Everyone opened their arms to us and was happy to have us shooting there. We had some incredible locations and beautiful helicopter shots to tie all that gore in a bow. After we finished the film, we thought it would be fun to have The Orphan Killer start his own page on Facebook. Originally TOK, which is what we call The Orphan Killer for short, began posting pics of his murder from the movie on FB. People thought this guy is a nut. He must be real because I have never seen this before. Before you knew it, the page had grown to 11,000 fans wanting to know what these gory pictures were from.
We decided we would release a limited number of DVDs and Blu-rays to test the market. The results were astonishing. People bought the movie and we were sold out of the Blu-rays before you could blink. The thing we didn’t realize was that online piracy would take over quickly. We have over 2.5 million illegal verified downloads of the film. Because we are completely indie and not a studio, it is incredible that so many people have cared to watch it even if it is illegal. I don’t condone stealing artists work whatsoever, but with the changing times and the internet, we don’t want to take for granted that people have so many options to watch now and the fact they watch our film is tremendous. It has made TOK a social media monster and for that aspect of it we are grateful.
Q7) I believe the film is banned in Germany, what do you think about this and will it make people want to watch it even more just out of curiosity?
I believe that the film became banned in Germany from the internet as well. We received a letter from the German government stating we would be arrested if we tried to sell or proliferate the film in any way and that TOK was being banned for “glorification of violence”. It may also have something to do with Marcus burning a picture of the Pope Emeritus. With the ban, it has catapulted the film onto a level that many independent films don’t ever get. It is banned in Germany along side some of the greatest in the genre including Dawn of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Hostel 2, and The Evil Dead. To say we are honored would be an understatement. I am pretty sure that today there is no other completely independent horror film that has been banned in a country they were never released in.
Q8) If you were stranded on a desert island, which three items would you want to have with you?
Easy! My husband and two children. We are a fun and crazy group and would spear fish together to eat.
Q9) What are you currently working on and when will we see you again on the screen as a sexy, Scream Queen?
I am currently working on the worldwide release of The Orphan Killer in proper channels. We want the fans and new consumers to be able to find the film where they live and in their stores so that they may enjoy it and share their enthusiasm about the movie with their friends and family. We have an incredible Special Collectors Edition coming out in Switzerland and Austria that avid collectors any where in the world can buy. It has a lot of special features including a gorgeous media book filled with incredible photos and a hand written letter in blood from creator Matt Farnsworth and much more. We plan on doing several of those Special Editions.
While the film is being released, I am also working on Special Features for a near future release of the Behind the Scenes of TOK (Behind The Murder). It’s coming together brutally and I am getting really excited about releasing the footage of the hard work it takes to make a film and how we did it. We are not sure of a release date just yet but we will keep everyone posted. The Official Mask by Trick or Treat Studios is hitting stores this month like Hot Topic, Morris Costume Shop and Spirit Stores. It‘s a Killer mask that is completely original.
The fact that it’s new means you will be totally unique at your next Halloween party and there are going to be a lot more TOK’s trick or treating this year! Additionally, the murder crew is in talks about the sequel to The Orphan Killer. We are very aware and happy that the fans want more TOK bastardizing their psyches and we want to bring it. You will be sure to see more cruelty from the remorseless one. Check out www.theorphankiller.com and JOIN so you can win free stuff and make sure you keep up with all the news from the TOK murder crew.
Q10) Finally, Where do you see yourself in five years from now and is your future just in acting and film producing or would you love to direct?
I see myself having made at least another film which most likely will be TOK 2. I see having two children who are five years older than they are now and that is kinda crazy! I look to be making lots more films that I act in and/or produce. I am not really sure about the directing aspect yet. I am sure I could engage that part of me already being a creative producer. Ask me in five years.
Thanks again Diane. I really appreciate your time and this opportunity to interview you for UKHS. Keep up the great work and good luck for the future.
And cruel thanks to you Dean for asking me such great questions and for your interest. I really appreciate it.