In Return To Nuke ‘Em High, a young couple, Lauren and Chrissy, face their worst nightmare. Their high school glee club has suddenly mutated into a vicious gang of psychopaths. With the clock ticking, Lauren and Chrissy have to fight off The Cretins and save their school at the same time. Actress Catherine Corcoran sat down with our man on the scene, Jorge Solis, to talk about her role as Lauren, working with Lloyd Kaufman, and her expectations with the movie’s upcoming premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
Bloody-Disgusting: Tell me how you became involved in “Return to Nuke ‘Em High.”
Catherine Corcoran: Casting Networks. It’s a casting site that a lot of actors are part of it. It tells you postings to local castings. They did a post about Troma. I heard about Troma but didn’t know about the company. I did some research. Again, I was convinced that I was not their type and they were not going to hire me. The part I usually book are young, middle girls. Somehow it ended up working out.
BD: I understand you had to go through nine callbacks for your audition.
CC: Nine callbacks! Yeah! The first audition I booked myself, I was really nervous. I called, told them it was a family emergency, and didn’t show up. It’s so awful! So they rescheduled me and then I went this time. I had never navigated in Long Island City before and I got lost. I was about an hour late. I’m always a little late, but an hour late is a record. I was convinced I wasn’t going to get the part. I went in and did my thing. They seemed to like it enough. I ended up leaving and called my Mom. I told her, “I didn’t get the part. Maybe they’ll let me intern for them because they seemed kinda cool.” I ended up getting a callback and nine later, I got the part.
BD: Tell me about your role as Lauren.
CC: In the original, they have two protagonists, a jock and a cheerleader, Warren and Chrissy; typical B-movie style. We’ve modernized it a little bit. Because we’re in the 21st century, it’s now a lesbian couple, Chrissy and Lauren. Lauren comes to town and she is the new girl. She comes from a wealthy family. She comes in and shakes up Chrissy’s world a little bit. She ends up taking on Tromorganic Foodstuffs Conglomerate, who is the new villain in the film.
BD: Tell me about playing your scenes off of your co-star, Asta Paredes, whose role is Lauren’s lover, Chrissy.
CC: Asta’s the greatest! She’s awesome! Many times, we got the same callbacks. We became good friends right away. We actually kinda went through the process together. We just kinda went out on a limb, basically trusting each other, and started hanging out. I guess they saw the chemistry involved because they ended up casting both of us. It’s kinda fun to act with a girl who’s now my best friend, and also great to work with.
BD: Because the Troma films, such as Mother’s Day and Poultrygeist, are known for their trashiness, nudity, and low-budget, how did you prepare yourself for a role like this?
CC: Well, it was my first sex scene. I knew I had to prepare physically for that. I didn’t want to be on camera and not look my best. I’m already a health nut, so that worked out to my advantage.
Also, what was really cool about low-budget filmmaking is that we shot on the fly. Lloyd Kaufman is a big proponent on rehearsals ahead of time. We actually got to develop the script before shooting. It was nice to have a creative say in the writing process. A lot of the jokes, the little gags, developed through rehearsals. It’s probably the most creative I’ve ever gotten to be on a set. I actually really enjoyed it!
BD: Tell me about Lloyd Kaufman as a director.
CC: He is a fabulous director! He is really an actor’s director because he allows you to do the rehearsals. He allows you to excel and grow. He will say he actually doesn’t do anything but that is totally false. He leaves it up to the actors, which I think is great. It’s a really great style for the actors because everybody comes in with their own process, techniques, and ideas. We got very lucky we had a phenomenal cast who worked really well together. Lloyd was open to bouncing off ideas and playing with us.
In the shooting stage, everything was actually blocked out. Because this was the first film he shot on digital, everything went ahead on schedule for the most part. If we shot it on film, we’d have to get it on the first or second try. In digital, we have this room to do more. It actually worked to his and our advantage because the film is now in two parts, not just one. It was a cool experiment to go on a new frontier with him and also to work with someone who is so open-minded creatively.
BD: Tell me about the documentary, Occupy Cannes, which you participated in its promo video.
CC: We’re shooting it at the premiere of part one at the Cannes Film Festival. We will be attending, which we are very excited about. What’s going on with the Cannes Film Festival these days, what it wasn’t originally, it’s become a corporate haven where you need a lot of money to get there. You need a lot of money to show your film. It’s not so much an independent film festival anymore as it is a film festival now owned by huge companies. If you are a truly independent artist and trying to get your voice heard, you don’t have a shot at being heard at Cannes. We’re documenting our struggle at the Cannes Film Festival as a low-budget film company. We’re trying to see if we can get our voice heard, get some buyers out there, and some notoriety. It’s a stretch but we believe in what we did. It’s worth showing.
BD: What are your expectations with the audience when the film premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in May?
CC: I really have no idea! I haven’t seen it a finished cut of it. But I know I’m really proud of it. I know it had a few screenings, one in the School of Visual Arts in New York and the other at USC in California. I know it was received very well at both places. They specifically asked the cast and crew not to come; to not sway with the opinions. We got great reviews! The one I liked the best said it was the next “Superbad.” I don’t know if it’s that great, but I think it’s awesome somebody thinks that it is.
If you asked me a year ago, that I would be premiering my film at Cannes, I would have laughed in your face! I’m really excited about it! I’m sure the cast and crew are excited about it as well. It’s going to really great! I can’t tell you how blessed I feel it has this much of a following already.
BD: The “Return to Nuke ‘Em High” poster was created by Justin Osbourn, from Slasher Design. Tell me about seeing yourself on the poster.
CC: That was crazy! When the poster came out, that’s when it started to sink in. This is real! The poster is stunning! It reminds me of the “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” poster. I think it’s so cool how it’s setup. It’s so cool to have Asta and I on the cover. I never would’ve have guessed we’d look like that.
I will say all the ladies got a very nice boob job on that poster! I’m pleased with that. I’m sure all the other girls on the poster are too. It’s a beautiful piece. He’s incredibly talented.
BD: What are you working on now?
CC: I am working for Troma. I have a couple other indie films, television series in the works. Nothing finalized yet. I can’t really say. I’ve been working with a great management team, who really understand where they see me going and where I want to go as an actress. A lot of my fondest memories is still with this film, which again I’m still proud of. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen with it.
Interview by – Jorge Solis