WGTC: So were you guys Troma fans before you signed on to Return To Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1?
Asta Paredes: Yeah, this is something we’ve been asked the entire time we’ve being doing this movie. Honestly, we’re actresses, Catherine has more of a film background, I have more of a theater background, and we both auditioned through a casting call. They went through formal casting ventures for this.
I did make a list of four things I have to do before I stop acting, though. I want to star in a cult movie, I want to star in an ensemble cast type show like Fringe or Lost, I want to be in a Joss Whedon picture and I want to be in a Lorca self-produced/self-starring production. One out of four ain’t bad, in the right order!
I saw this and the ad said “Chrissy – attractive, not so innocent.” I’ve seen so many long paragraph descriptions of characters, but I said, “You know what, I want to audition for that.”
Catherine Corcoran: The thing I liked about the audition was that I didn’t know much about Troma, but I was really excited. They called me in, I researched the company, and I was immediately like, “There’s no way in hell they’re going to hire me.” I’m very aware of how cutesy I read and the work I’ve done when I was a child performer, so I was like, “There’s no way, but let’s see what happens” – but I chickened out. I called, made a family emergency up, but luckily our phenomenal casting director Chelsea was great and re-scheduled me. After that I showed up an hour and a half late because I’d never been to Queens before, so I had the wrong address and got lost – yet still, I walked in, did my thing, and walked out. I remember after being on the phone with my mom going “I do not have this part, but maybe they’ll let me intern for them.” Nine call-backs later and I guess they saw something! Troma is pretty great like that. They take risks on people.
Asta Paredes: Catherine and I have good training, we both have a great acting foundation. I had the training to be ready with a classical monologue, a song, whatever. When I was auditioning, a girl was getting ready to sing “Part Of Your World,” because they wanted a talent or something, and I was ready to do that. When I got up there, Chelsea told me, “You can do a monologue, you can sing a song, you can tell a story,” and at that exact moment I decided to tell a story about the first time I did acid. Anybody that would hire me based on a story about my first experience with LSD – I didn’t have to bullshit them. I owe them everything.
WGTC: So I have to ask – what did the green, radioactive goo actually taste like? There’s plenty of scenes where characters have it in their mouths – did Troma make it palatable?
Asta Paredes: Gluten free vanilla pudding! I’m allergic to gluten. I was actually diagnosed with Celiac’s disease two months before I was cast in this film, so all the other green goo in the film is made with cream of wheat and food dye, but mine had to be vanilla pudding.
Catherine Corcoran: Fun fact! Both of us were having food issues on set because I’m a vegetarian and Asta is gluten free, so basically whatever she could eat I couldn’t, and vice versa. She could eat a steak, I couldn’t. I could eat a sandwich, she couldn’t…
Asta Paredes: One night they made breaded chicken and it killed both of us!
Catherine Corcoran: We were really excited about this pudding because we were so starved! Yet, we only had one take with it.
Asta Paredes: We were like, “Dammit, it looked good? Fuck!” We wanted to do it again!
WGTC: Was that the scene where you kind of fed her like a baby bird?
Catherine Corcoran: Yeah, oh yeah. It was sexy!
Asta Paredes: It was delicious. Any sensuality reading from that was all like, “Fuckkk, food! There are fats in this!”
Catherine Corcoran: Somebody asked me about my favorite scene and I was having a hard time pinpointing one, but that may be it.
Asta Paredes: We had a makeup artist for a day on that shoot. We felt like we were taking glamor shots.
WGTC: Now I know you’re both professionals, but I still have to ask, was it ever uncomfortable shooting some of the more “demanding” scenes? You take a lot of risks playing these parts. Not only that, but as an actress, do you think it’s important to take risks?
Asta Paredes: I wasn’t afraid at all of anything I did, but from some of the responses, and Catherine can tell you this too – we’ve had some pretty creepy responses, emails, messages, and other things. A retrospective regret in the sense of like, “Wow, the movie hasn’t even come out yet and people just pictured a Troma movie and respond a certain way,” that gets creepy. I’ve gotten phone calls I never expected to get.
I had formal training, and that training put in my head to be provocative but not risky. It was two different things. I realize the most important lesson I could learn was to be Bill Murray. You should be yourself in every movie – just be your fucking self. My whole inspiration for this movie was Bill Murray. I watched Meatballs and Ghostbusters on loop, and I just kept thinking, “Just be a version of myself and be comfortable with who I am, and that will break me free from the typecasting I had before.”
Catherine Corcoran: I think as artists we have a responsibility to take risks, and a lot of times what happens in the setting our society is in now, where you must go to school and get a formalized collegiate eduction, not that that’s bad, of course you should be educated, but it creates this sense of right and wrong. When you’re making art, or film, there is no right and wrong. If you want to question something, it’s your responsibility as an artist to do so. That’s why I felt so comfortable doing this stuff.
I went in being very nervous about what my professors or peers would think, but at the end of the day I’m so proud of the questions we posed. I think Troma addresses the issues of sexuality really beautifully and proudly, in a way that society doesn’t. In rehearsal one day we just talked about boobs and sex scenes. After sex scenes in movies women always cover themselves, but when you have sex, and I don’t mean this to be crude, but when you have sex, you’re everywhere! As artists we owe it to be as authentic and to show real life as closely as we can. If that means we have to use this strange and satirical format to do so, then that’s how we have to do it. If there weren’t radical risk takers, we wouldn’t have the art we have now. Monet was a risk taker. People looked at his paintings and thought they were insane, but now they’re known as beautiful art.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Asta Paredes and Catherine Corcoran for their time, and be sure to catch Return To Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 on the festival circuit if you can, but if not, hold tight for an official release date!