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Sundance: Rose McGowan on Finally Finding Her Calling as a Filmmaker and How Celebrities Ruined Crowdfunding

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire January 17, 2014 at 10:22AM

Nineteen years after effectively launching her acting career at Sundance with Gregg Araki's "The Doom Generation," Rose McGowan is back in Park City to launch her directing one with her accomplished directorial debut, the short film "Dawn."
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Rose McGowan on the set of "Dawn"
Rose McGowan on the set of "Dawn"

You have one coming up if I'm not mistaken.

Yeah! Gearing up.

What can you tell me about your feature debut?

It's about these two girls. One of them is dressed kind of like a Brooklyn hipster girl and the other ones going to be kind of like a California Coachella girl. These two girls are in the final night of a reality show competition to see who gets a walk on role as an actor on a TV show. And of course they both think they are going to be Oscar winners from it.

I'd like to find something that's gender neutral because I feel like I’m very feminine looking but my brain is fairly masculine. And even though "Dawn" is about a girl and what happens to girls, I’d like to think it's from neutral directorial perspective.

How far along is the feature?

I have half the financing. I want to do it in the next five months….

Are you going to hit up your fans via crowdfunding?

As an actor with a lot of money I feel like you should fund your own stuff. I feel like—not that I’m financially in the same position as those who crowd funded their own movies -- I feel like that’s a little shocking to me, frankly. I feel like it kind of ruined it for people who could really use the money.

Back to why you're directing now -- was there a film that marked a turning point for you? A film you worked on that turned you off of acting?

No. Actually the power went out in my house seven months ago. It went out for ten hours. I couldn’t get out of my house, the garage door was locked…I started actually thinking about my life and I had the realization that I’ve been in the wrong job this whole time and I never liked it. It doesn’t mean I’m not good at it and it doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects of it I enjoy, but it’s not what I’m meant to do. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to continue doing it because it's also fun, but so is gardening, so whatever. A little less gardening.

"As an actor with a lot of money I feel like you should fund your own stuff."

Do you ever see yourself directing yourself in the foreseeable future?

No. I have respect for people who write things for themselves to star in and direct themselves in. Much respect. I just personally don’t have any desire to do that. That’s not what interests me. Because I can interpret lots of things and I have interpreted lots of things and I have interpreted almost every emotion that one is meant to interpret at one point or another. So that part doesn’t interest me entirely.

How excited are you to be bringing "Dawn" to Sundance?

My second job was at a movie theater when I was 14 and my first job was at a funeral home moving bodies. So my second one was at a movie theater and they had me stand outside the theater. Looking back on it, I was the lure for people looking to buy tickets. So that's not unlike what it feels like to be like an actor anywhere, trying to drum up interest for someone to see a movie you are in. You feel like a lure. But to be there not as a lure, to be there in a solid capacity, as a creator is a hugely different experience.

Are you nervous at all?

Yes, of course. But not as nervous as I would be if i was going as an actor. Scratch that. I’m not nervous. I’m excited, I have nervous energy out of being excited. But to be honest, if I was going as an actress I would be.

Actors turned filmmakers face an especially tough time when trying to make a break for it in a new role. Do you worry about what preconceptions people have of you?

It doesn’t really weigh on my mind. It definitely has occurred to me, but it’s not my issue. Stereotypes are in place often times for a reason. And there’s exceptions to every rule. And hopefully, I’m an exception.

This article is related to: Rose McGowan, Shorts, Short Film, Filmmaker Toolkit: Shorts, Sundance 2014, Sundance Film Festival, Interviews





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