Geno: Hi Liz! I am so excited to finally get the chance to chat with you. Your short film “SIDE EFFECT” is making its way through all of the international film festivals and you are quickly becoming the “darling” of the horror/suspense world. I have to tell you, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time while watching. You have a very twisted mind and I love it! Great job Ms. Adams!
Liz Adams: Thanks, Geno. I made it for you!
Geno: Liz, you are quickly becoming the “director to watch” with the all of the buzz around your film “SIDE EFFECT.” How does it feel to be racking up all of these accolades and awards at international film festivals?
Geno: What’s it like to be “swimming with Hollywood sharks” in such typically male-dominated film genres like horror and suspense?
Liz Adams: Maybe it is a sign that things are changing for the better in Hollywood, but I don’t think I’ve encountered any special problems because of my gender. Of course, I am a minority as a female director and even more so as a female horror director, but it seems both audiences and industry folks are excited to see someone different up there. If I’m the only woman director at a festival, I use my difference to stand out from the crowd. If there are other female filmmakers there, I love to meet up and make new friends.
Liz Adams: Ha. Ha. You want my recipe? Ok, here goes…
The initial inspiration for SIDE EFFECT was some research I did on the side effects of SSRI anti-depressants and other medications that are being given to quite a few young kids these days.
I think many people would be shocked to learn that the pharmaceutical industry has created the term “homicidal ideation” to describe a side effect for some of their products. (Certain drugs have been linked to both homicidal and suicidal impulses in a small percentage of people who had taken the medications.)
Now, as a storyteller, I became fascinated with the idea that a medication could create an unintended side effect that would cause a normally non-violent person to murder a loved one. To me that is “true horror”.
It’s horrifying, but not super fun, right?
So, I looked at the some classic horror, and put a twist on the my main ingredient, “the babysitter in peril.”
Then I threw in a dash of flavor from an old urban legend, and let it all stew.
After the alcohol boiled off, it turned up a question. What if evil didn’t come from an unseen world of demons, but what if evil came in a pill?
So, I threw it all in a skull shaped pie tin and baked it at 350 and out popped SIDE EFFECT.
(That said, I want to be clear that I’m not against anti-depressants, I’m sure they have helped many people when prescribed and used correctly. I’m just a horror filmmaker with an overactive imagination trying to scare guys in black t-shirts.)
Geno: Any standout memories you have about filming “SIDE EFFECT?”
Liz Adams: My main memory is fun. I had two wonderful producers, Nick Ligonis and Krishna Divine and an incredibly talented crew around me. The baby in SIDE EFFECT is my nephew Gage Minne. It was fun having him be a part of it.
Geno: Curious. I am sure there is some animal rights group out there concerned. Did you eat the turkey?
Liz Adams: Ha. Ha! We didn’t kill that turkey. He died and left us everything.
Liz Adams: That is in the works now. The script is done and there has been some interest from producers. I hope to be shooting sometime this year.
Geno: Congratulations! Have you any big celebrity names you are considering for the cast?
Liz Adams: Right now it is being planned as a fairly small production with an up-and-coming teen cast. If things go the way I hope they do, the cast will become stars because they appear in BLOOD LEVEL.
Geno: This week in US Weekly, Lindsay Lohan states that she is seriously looking for work and even offering to insure herself. Any interest in Ms. Lohan for “BLOOD LEVEL?”
Liz Adams: Geno, of course there is interest in Lindsay Lohan, she is such a talented actress. I really loved her performances in GEORGIA RULE and PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION. Please pass her the script next time you see her.
Geno: I see on Myspace and Facebook that you are friends with Adam Lambert from American Idol. He is quickly becoming a bona fide star. Is it hard for you to believe your friend Adam has struck gold and become a household name?Liz Adams: I am just so proud and in awe when I watch Adam on the show. I think he has a great chance to take it all the way! His performance of “If I Can’t Have You” brought tears to my eyes. Some friends and I were just speculating on how many people will dress up as him for Halloween this year and how surreal that will be.
Geno: Adam Lambert is actually one of my favorite contestants ever on American Idol. Any chance you would cast him in “BLOOD LEVEL?”
Liz Adams: Of course, I would love to work with Adam! I think he is going to be on tour for quite a while after Idol ends, so I suspect that wouldn’t have enough time to act in the movie. My dream is that he might consider recording an original song for the end credits.
Geno: Well, Geno’s World wishes Adam all the best! What other projects do you have in the works?
Liz Adams: I’m currently in the process of writing a new script. This one is an erotic-thriller that takes place in the world of high-tech. There is also a female driven comedy script in the works and I’m directing a friend of mine, Mat Lageman in his one-man-show that we hope to put up this summer in a local theater here in Los Angeles.
Geno: Can’t wait for “BLOOD LEVEL!” Thanks so much for chatting with Geno’s World today. We expect great things from you Ms. Adams! Please come back and chat with us soon!
Liz Adams: It was so fun, Geno, thank you for the opportunity.
About Liz Adams
After more than twelve years as a successful entrepreneur, providing sales and marketing services to the computing resources and nanotechnology industries, Adams negotiated the sale of her business in order to follow her dreams into the world of motion picture production. She completed film school at Los Angeles City College in 2006 and has written and directed several short films for festival exhibition. Adam’s latest project “Side Effect” is a short horror film made during her participation in the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. After serving as Vice President of Development at Independent Filmmakers Alliance in Los Angeles, Adams is currently preparing “Side Effect” for festival exhibition as well as continuing to develop the feature length version of “Side Effect” called “Blood Level.”