Recently Latin Horror’s Jennifer Ortega chatted with Executive Producer, Jim Nelson, about his newest project, horror thriller ‘The Cleaning Lady’.
Jennifer: Cleaning Lady is very scary! I have to stop watching these movies when I’m alone!
Jim: Did you leave a light on when you went to bed?
Jennifer: Sadly, yes. I wanted to start by asking you a little bit about your background and how you came to “The Cleaning Lady”.
Jim: I have a financial background, but over the years, I have worked with lots of people that have been in the music and movie business. A childhood friend of mine owns Blue Collar Productions, and he’s done a lot of work with Ron Howard on some of his films. So I have been pulled into some of these projects, and about five years ago I met Alexis Kendra and Jon Knautz. Jon has directed a few films. I am an avid reader. I love to read, and I started asking them if it was okay if I could read some of their scripts and they handed me ‘The Cleaning Lady.’ I live in Orange County, and I was actually up in LA, and they gave the script to me on the way home. I just pulled into this bar and sat down and started reading the script and the bartender came over to me and said boy you know that must be good because you haven’t looked up the whole time. I thought this is the best thing that I had read that they had written so far and I just knew that we had to pursue this through.
Jennifer: I had heard excellent things about the film, and I know that one of the distributors is RLJE. I always like the movies that they’re behind so I knew it was going to be good and it was. I mean it’s fascinating because it does explore relationships and makes you think a little bit about the people that you allow into your life. It is much more than a horror movie. It is like a psychological thriller.
Jim: I’m so glad to hear you say that because we didn’t have any intention of making a slasher film and I’m really not even a big fan of slasher films. I was so attracted to this project because I thought it was smart and intelligent and it’s really the story of obsession.
Jennifer: yeah which I think is very also relatable in this day and age with obsession and beauty. I found that all very interesting and I love that Alexis not only wrote it, she’s in it and I was reading the notes, she also did the production design!
Jim: She did a lot on this. We all had to wear a lot of different hats during the project and Alexis boy she has the strength of 10 women. She did so much for this project. She was really the master organizer of the production itself. I kmow it spunds corny and I know every time you see award shows and people get up there iand say I just want to thank the crew. We had the best crew ever. Well they are all liars because we had the best crew.
Jennifer: That’s what I love about independent filmmaking. When you have such a good script and have a good film that people are passionate about the work that much harder, and I think you do like create these bonds with the crew and everybody working on it because they’re very invested in it. They want it to be the best it can be. Like you said the writing is so smart and the characters of Shelly and Alice… it’s so interesting. I was immediately drawn into the film, and Rachel Alig is terrific as well. I don’t know how she came to be in the movie or how they found her, but she was perfect.
Jim: The female leads are strong characters. They are total opposites in some ways and they’re similar in some ways. Alice is beautiful like a Barbie and on the other hand, Shelly is scarred all over her face. So they kind of play meet in the middle and try to fill a void for each other and then it just sort of evolved into that obsession. I think the flashback scenes are phenomenal. Joanne McGrath did an amazing job.
Jennifer: It’s really strange who you find similarities with and it’s definitely not as intense as the film hopefully, but a lot of people are suffering from a lot of the same issues I guess. I thought it was great. It is really a smart movie which I really appreciate because I love horror and now there’s almost a resurgence in horror with an elevation of storytelling. I think it’s always been there but now people are starting to recognize it more because it’s so much more than that and when it has it a really smart intelligent script I think it just makes it all the scarier.
Jim: We had our world premiere at the Fright Fest. I was talking to this one filmmaker in London and he started talking about his film and how he hardly spent any money making it and he was all about the numbers and how much money he’s going to make and I saw the movie and it was so bad. I walked out. He only cared about money and then moving on to the next project which is easier to do today because anybody can pick up a digital camera and go out and start building things and organizing shots.
Jennifer: When I talk to people like that it just hurts my soul. So I appreciate your film because I like a good story and I want to be scared. I know some people are out there just trying to make money and don’t care about the final product, but when you have a film that people put a lot of thought into It’s much more of a joy to watch so thank you. I hope that that you, Alexis and Jon continue to work together in the future because I think this is an excellent trio.
Jim: You know they have some outstanding scripts in the pipeline, and there’s another one that I’m just in love with that I’m hoping we can pull it together. Jon and I are working on a project right now. It’s a true crime story, and the judge is allowing us to tape during the trail.
Jennifer: That sounds incredible. when that comes out I want I want to talk to you again! thank you so much and tell Alexis and JOhn that I really enjoyed it and it did scare the hell out of me especoally I watching it late at night .and I’m an idiot for doing that I mean everything was great the look of it the way they shot it it all just came together so nicely and it’s just a really intelligent scary ass story.
Jim: I really appreciate talking to you.
On the surface, Alice ( Alexis Kendra) seems like a woman who has it all: a gorgeous apartment, a booming career, a stunning physique, and a handsome boyfriend. The only problem is he’s married to someone else. Looking for a way to simplify her life, Alice hires Shelly to clean her house. As Alice begins to confide in Shelly about her illicit affair, their friendship grows… and so does Shelly’s twisted obsession with her new employer. It soon becomes clear that Shelly has motives that reach further than a normal cleaning lady. Shelly wants to cleanse Alice’s entire life and will stop at nothing until she’s done.
Company: Image Entertainment
Running Time: 90 min
Cast: Alexis Kendra, Rachel Alig, Elizabeth Sandy, JoAnne McGrath, Mykayla Sohn, Stelio Savante
Director: Jon Knautz
Written by: Alexis Kendra, Jon Knautz
Producers: David Bahnsen, David Hanson, Alexis Kendra, Jon Knautz, Daniel Nelson, James F. Nelson, Cathy Nokes, Laurence P. Nokes, Laurie Sweetser, Robert Trout, Charles Tyson, Michael Tyson, Robert Wallace