Recently, Latin Horror’s Jennifer Ortega attended the premiere for ‘Stray’ at The Vista Theater in Los Angeles. Before the screening, she chatted with the cast and director of this Supernatural Sci-Fi Noir film.
Jennifer Ortega: How did you first get involved with Joe and the film?
Miyavi: I got an offer from Joe. I had no idea what the film was about. Joe told me that he saw ‘Unbroken’. He offered me to play Jin. I love his passion and his vision. The world that he creates is very very special. He has a sensitivity. That’s the part I really love.
Jennifer: The film deals a lot with family and loss. It’s just not like a film about superpowers. It’s deeper than that.
Miyavi: Yeah, I love that about the film.
Jennifer: Do have any other feature movies you’re working on right now or new music
I love his (Joe Sill) passion and vision. The world that he creates is very very special.
Miyavi: Yes, mainly music, but I just shot the ‘Maleficent’ sequel last year in London. It is coming out next year in 2020.
Jennifer: I’m so excited for that.
Miyavi: It’s thanks to Angie. Angelina Jolie brought me here. I did ‘Unbroken’ with her.
Jennifer: You’re an actor as well as the musician. I’m a fan of your work. I know you have lots of fans.
Miyavi: Thank you. Thank you. I’m trying to be. I don’t know how you say it…it’s…I slap the strings. I am a guitarist, but I can’t be like Eric Clapton or B.B. King. I act, but I can’t be like Leonardo DiCaprio or Jack Nicholson. So I just try my best and I tend to find my own way.
Jennifer: That’s what makes you special. You’re your own person and your talents are your own.
Miyavi: Thank you.
Joe Sill – Director
Jennifer Ortega: Your producer Eric Fleischman told me that you not only directed the film, but also did the visual effects which is beyond impressive.
Joe Sill: I did quite a bit. I wasn’t the only one but I did about 350 over say 450 shots.
Jennifer: It looks amazing. I can’t believe that you did that. That’s a crazy amount of work.
Joe: It was an unhealthy amount work.
Jennifer: Where did the story originate from?
Joe: The story originated from a lot of things. For me it’s a love for many genres most of which I think you’ll find a mesh of. It’s like a hybrid film. Noir as a genre or Sci-Fi Noir as a genre and more Japanese influences from anime films. I was trying to take those genres and put them together. The film from an emotional standpoint, it definitely was a story about family and the many different ways a family struggles. You have a character who is struggling to find her way in the wake of a traumatic loss in her family. You have a young woman who had a lot of love in her family and recently lost somebody very dear. And you have another character who has been bereft of a family for a long long time and is trying to seek a kind of retribution and an emotional kind of retribution for her having been abandoned. So a lot of it has to do with just the many perspectives of family.
Jennifer: I love that you cast Japanese actors in Japanese roles which I think is so important.
Joe: I think it was appropriate for this film not just for the Asian influences obviously, but also the fact that these characters do feel like outsiders in their hearts. I think for a lot of these characters being immigrants or visitors, I think that was very reflective regardless of race or ethnicity.
Jennifer: It’s so lovely to meet you I’m so excited for people to see this.
Karen Fukuhara – “Nori”
Jennifer Ortega: What attracted you to the role?
Karen Fukuhara: I think I was just very interested in playing a character that’s been kept in for a very long time. The premise was very interesting. I love that she was from a Japanese heritage that had a lot to do with my background as well. And the supernatural element was very interesting. Nori is very family oriented especially because she hasn’t seen the outside world. I connected with her on that level with her closeness to her family. I have a very close relationship with my mom and my grandmother.
It’s so exciting because a lot of my Japanese friends couldn’t believe I was working with Miyavi. It’s a really big deal.
Jennifer: Miyavi is in the film with you. He is a Japanese rock star. What was it like working with him?
Karen: I had so much fun doing the sequences with Miyavi. It was such a shock to see his name on the call-sheet and it’s so exciting because a lot of my Japanese friends couldn’t believe I was working with Miyavi. It’s a really big deal. He’s amazing and incredibly professional. It was just an amazing experience and I’m very lucky to have worked with him.
Jennifer: How was working with Joe as your director?
Karen: Joe was awesome. This part came right after ‘Suicide Squad’ and I was still very new to this industry. He believed in me and was tremendously helpful. Whenever I had doubts or questions he was just a phone all away. He made sure we were on the same page about everything. It was an incredible experience.
Jennifer: Thank you so much, Karen!
Ross Partridge – “Jake”
Jennifer Ortega: Tell me a little bit about your role as Jake.
Ross Partridge: I play a cop who is stuck in between two worlds a little bit. He’s going through things with his wife and then he gets this case.
Jennifer: How was working with Joe Sill?
Ross: When I first got the script, on paper it seemed ambitious and I was a bit skeptical at first. But as soon as I sat down with Joe I saw he was such a consummate person about his vision. I knew if anyone could figure it out, it would be Joe. Joe is so visual and I love that. I come from a similar background in how I like to tell stories. He’s such a perfectionist and comes from a place where he sees the whole picture. That’s rare and not a common thing for a young director.
Jennifer: How was working with Christine Woods?
Ross: When you’re doing a low-budget, indie film you hope you’re around people you like and everyone on the crew was really wonderful. From the first moment I came on set Christine came right over and she was very lovely and we worked together so naturally.
An orphaned teenager forms an unlikely friendship with a detective. Together they investigate her mother’s murder, and uncover the supernatural force that proves to be a threat to her family.