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Q&A with Deserted Director Ashley Avis

Continuing our coverage of Mischa’s latest movie Deserted (so current, it just wrapped production a few weeks ago), director Ashley Avis has very kindly taken time out of her week to answer a few questions for us.

What we have with this project is something a little different to normal in the sense that Ashley was not only the director, but also the writer, location scout and I’m sure a million other things. Additionally, most of the crew were friends or relatives, so even in just my brief contact with Ashley, you can tell that a lot of heart and soul was put into the production of this film. That alone makes it one to watch.

As I mentioned, the movie has just wrapped production so we’re still a little while away from getting release info, but I hope the following Q&A gives you a glimpse into the making of the movie. I’m sure that after reading it through, you’ll be looking forward to seeing the finished film just as much as me.

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Deserted seems to be a passion project of yours, how long did it take you to write the script and then get the movie off the ground and into production?

It’s definitely a passion project – absolutely.  I’ve written dozens of drafts of this script over the past three, three and a half years.  As scripts do, Deserted has morphed and changed, ebbed and flowed.

It took about that amount of time (approximately three years) for both financing, and the right team to click into place as well.

What was your inspiration behind the screenplay? 

Death Valley, first and foremost.  A cinematographer I used to work with years ago showed me photos of Death Valley – the outstandingly, varying topography.  Sand dunes, salt flats, mountains, pinnacles – I desperately wanted to shoot something, anything in a place like that.

Most of the screenplays I write start with a location, first.  A place – a theme – and then the characters crawl out of the woodwork.  I love finding them, weaving them.  Watching them talk.  The only thing in Deserted that’s particularly close to home for me is the relationship between Jae and Robin – I’m very close to my younger brother.

   
We’re excited to see Mischa film a movie helmed by a female director, how did Mischa’s involvement come about? 

Thank you, that’s very kind.  Jae is an incredibly complex character, and we needed an actress that could really dig deep into her psychologically.  When we met with Mischa at our home in Venice – she came in with this beautiful openness and great story thoughts and questions about the script.  We were all incredibly impressed.

As soon as Mischa was cast, she immediately flew into her process of getting into and understanding her character.  She did a huge amount of research about women who had been incarcerated, the psychology of a character like Jae.  Mischa was also great to work with on set – she worked incredibly hard, we were constantly talking about finding the truth in the dialogue and the character dynamics.  Her performance truly matches how much she gave herself to the role.  She was outstanding.

Click the read more link below for the rest of the interview.

Read More…

Deserted Movie Stills Continued

Check out more movie stills from Mischa’s latest film Deserted. The film wrapped a few days ago, and as you’ll see from some of the pics, the locations were stunning.

   
   

Also visit the blog of director Ashley Avis and Alchemy Pictures to see the non-Mischa related pics.

 

Operator Trailer

Check out the trailer for Mischa’s upcoming action/thriller Operator. The movie also stars Ving Rhames, Luke Goss and Michael Pare.

Operator Trailer from Status Media & Entertainment on Vimeo.

Operator was recently picked up by Cinema Management Group for all international distribution sales.

You can also click the Vimeo page to watch the new cut trailers for Mischa’s other two upcoming Status Media movies 24 Hours and Checkmate.

Deserted Set Pics

With production on Deserted underway, director Ashley Avis has kindly taken to her website to share some pics from the set. Photos are by set photographer Marcelo Araujo.

   

Gallery link:

> HOME > MOVIE PRODUCTIONS > DESERTED [2015] > ON SET

Along with the photos, Ashley has also written a set blog which will give you some insight into the movie. Here is an excerpt, but make sure to visit the website for the full blog.

It’s our first off day, and we are now through four of seventeen shooting days.  Sprits are so high.  Every part of this cast and crew is outstanding.  The performances are … magnificent.  Every person is ‘bringing it’ and Mischa Barton – our lead – who has quite a bit of complex backstory (our film starts when she is released from prison, having been incarcerated for killing her mother in defense of her father at 18) – is transformational.

It’s amazing to work with a group of people (cast) who so deeply invest in characters.  To see a script that I’ve written … and re-written … and re-written again over the past three years finally come to life is surreal.  To have actors like Mischa, Winter, Jackson, Dana, Mykie, Trent, Jasmine and Tyler … and supporting cast…

The cast includes Mischa Barton (Jae), Jackson Davis (Robin), Winter Ave Zoli (Rosemary), Trent Ford (Troy), Dana Rosendorff (Heather), Michael Milford (Dax), Kelly Brennigan (Jasmine), and Tyler Sellers (Wade).

Supporting cast includes Jake Busey (Clay), Sebastian Bach (Archer), Gerry Bednob (Lizard), Heidi James (Calico), and Lance Henriksen (Hopper).

Visit Alchemy Pictures for more.

Mischa filming Deserted

Hooray! We have some news.

Mischa is currently on set filming a movie called Deserted. It is another indie project, but the person behind it is a 27 year old female writer/director called Ashley Avis, which I think is really cool.

Here is brief synopsis:

When twenty-four-year-old Jae is released from prison for killing her mother, she returns to her childhood home in small-town Ridgecrest.

The desire to go anywhere but there prompts her to agree to join her brother on a road trip out to Death Valley … which results in getting them hopelessly lost in the most stunning, but unforgiving topographical terrain on the planet.

It appears that the movie is due to wrap on January 25th.

Here are a few pics from the set, shared by director Ashley Avis and Mischa herself on Instagram.

Deserted Deserted Deserted

Mischa Wrap-Up

As I mentioned in the previous update and as I’m sure you’re all aware, things have been pretty quiet on the Mischa front lately. There haven’t been any major news releases or appearances, so in lieu of having several dedicated posts, I’ll give you a quick rundown of some of the smaller headlines from the last few weeks. Most of this will be film related as that’s really all the news that I’ve seen.

Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain opened in the United States in limited release and is currently due for home release on February 3rd, 2015. This movie took many years to get released, and after the incredibly long wait, it seems that Mischa only has fleeting screen time. So that’s a bit disappointing. The subject matter is still significant so it should be a good project to check out anyway. The reviews of the film have been generally positive.

– Release dates for Throwdown and Mining for Ruby were mentioned on the site previously. Both these titles have since been released on DVD and VOD. I think by now you all know how much I appreciate Mischa’s work, but unfortunately, both these tiles are really flat. It is my recommendation that you only watch these if you happen to find them at a really good price. Thankfully, Mischa only has very limited screen time, but these two titles join a growing list of some very disappointing releases.

– The next movie due for home release is Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard. I’ve not seen this yet, but once again, it appears that Mischa’s screen time is limited. The movie has a relatively solid cast and the premise should attract the zombie fans out there. This title is currently slated for DVD release on February 3rd, 2015, the same day as Bhopal.

– Other titles due for release in 2015 are 24 Hours, Checkmate, Operator, American Beach House, Hope Lost, L.A. Slasher and The Hoarder. I’ve not seen confirmation of release dates for any of these titles, but I would expect most of them to also be DVD or VOD only. L.A. Slasher, The Hoarder and Hope Lost appear to have the best chance of a wider release.

– I did leave out one title from the above list, and that is a small movie called Starcrossed. It had a very limited production budget, but everyone involved with the project appears to be very connected to it. So I feel like this is the one project to really look out for. One thing that can make any movie way more impressive than having a large budget is heart. Again, I haven’t seen specific release details for this, but I’m assuming 2015 is the goal.

– A couple of other tidbits… IMDb has recently updated Mischa’s management information. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but if Mischa has indeed changed management, we may see a different approach to roles moving forward.

– One other small thing that may or may not mean anything is that Mischa and Julie Plec recently started following each other on Instagram. Julie Plec is the series developer/creator of The Vampire Diaries, The Tomorrow People and The Originals. Plus she has worked on Kyle XY and the Scream movies. As I said, this may not mean anything at all, maybe they just know each other somehow. But in a perfect world, I would love if this meant that Mischa and Julie are looking to work with each other on an upcoming project. Or even an existing one.

– Finally, we move onto current news, which is a new project called Deserted… check above for details.

I think I’ve covered everything, but let me know in the comments if I missed a project or any other significant piece of news.

 

Hope Lost Trailer

Here is the trailer for Mischa’s upcoming feature Hope Lost. This is the movie that Mischa shot in Italy earlier in the year.

The subject matter is quite dark and there is some disturbing imagery, so just a warning to some of the younger fans out there.

HOPE LOST-HD from Ambi Distribution on Vimeo.

In other news, I know it has been a while between updates, just things have been very quiet on the Mischa front. I will do a wrap-up post for all the small bits and pieces of news that have come out over the last couple of months in the very near future. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

Professional Hairdresser Nov 2014

Check out the November 2014 cover photo of Mischa from her shoot for Professional Hairdresser magazine in conjunction with Inanch London. Mischa has been a client of the Inanch salon for years, and this shoot is a stunning representation of their new Gold Class Hair extensions range.

Visit the Professional Hairdresser magazine website for a behind the scenes look.

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And if you think the cover is stunning, wait until you see the whole shoot. I’ve posted a few teasers on Twitter over the last month or so, and I can’t wait until I can post the whole thing.

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