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Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
By James Whittington, Sunday 11th October 2020
FAITH MONIQUE INTERVIEW PHOTO

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.

HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?

FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and exploitation cinema?

FM: I'm not a big fan of any genre, I just love movies where the actors are relatable, truly embodying their characters! I'm not sure if the following films are in the horror category, but I love "Django Unchained" by Quentin Tarantino, "Get Out" by Jordan Peele, and my favourite movie of ALL TIME is "Joker" by Todd Phillips, starring Joaquin Phoenix! I was not aware of Grindhouse, Blaxploitation cinema until I began my research and character development for "Death Ranch". I watched "Foxy Brown", "Blacula", and "Scream Blacula Scream" for the first time. I loved them!!

HC: How did you become involved with Death Ranch?

FM: I submitted for the role of "Angela Cobbs" through the Nashville Casting Calls Facebook page! My former acting teachers encouraged our class to join casting FB groups because many casting directors are on social media. I'm so glad I heeded their advice!

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it and what did you bring to the role of Angela?

FM: I fell in love with the story and the character as soon as I read the script. Every word had meaning, and I soaked them all in! Our Director, Charlie Steeds really put his heart into each line, and it shows! Angela was and still is so special to me; the love for her brothers, her strength, her boldness, and her toughness really spoke to me. My desire was to create a real human being with real feelings and emotions. I wanted to make sure I was grounded, not just speaking her lines but really making them come to life.

HC: This is your first big role in a feature film, were you nervous on the first day on set?

FM: Yes, this is my first big role in a feature film, and I wasn't nervous at all on the first day! The day before shooting we had a table read and afterwards, we all went out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings and watched some NBA basketball; that really broke the ice! We all got along really well and had an instant connection! The first day on set felt like a real-life situation; it didn't feel like a movie set at all! It was a super fun and relaxed atmosphere!

HC: The way you portray Angela reminded me of Pam Grier and Adrienne Barbeau which fits with the era the movie was set, what's it like playing such a strong character?

FM: It was inspiring! Angela's tenacity and willingness to do whatever it took to protect her brothers prompted me to work as hard as I possibly could to truly embody her. Out of all the characters I have portrayed over the last 4 years, Angela Cobbs is by far my favourite.

HC: It has some very strong and controversial language in the film, how did you all deal with it on set?

FM: You're right about that, but we were all there to do our jobs which was to act! For me, the strong and controversial language was simply part of the story that was extremely necessary. One could say that the strong language is another character within the film! It was a movie set with characters, not real life, so honestly there was nothing to deal with. The language didn't make me feel uncomfortable at all; we were all just acting!

HC: The movie is very violent to say the least, was it fun to shoot?

FM: It was extremely fun to shoot! Such a blast! We all got along so well! It was like the United Nations on set! LOL! There were 3 different countries represented on set: America, UK, and Australia! We laughed and joked constantly! It was an experience of a lifetime!

HC: Will you be nervous when the movie has its world premiere at Grimmfest?

FM: Not at all! In fact, I'm filled with anticipation! I can't wait for people to see the film at Grimmfest! I hope they enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!

HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?

FM: I have 3 different National TV shows that I worked in over the last 2 months, which will air in the spring! They are currently in post-production. Also, I am working on my own show, which I have written, directed, and produced, entitled "The Crazy Musician". Shot right here in Alabama, where I currently live, it is a web series which will air online in the summer of 2021. I have 1 more episode to shoot and I am in the editing stage now!

HC: Faith Monique, thank you very much.

FM: Thank you so much! This was an absolute honour! I hope you are staying safe, many blessings!


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