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DG Nov-Dec 05 - Leanna Chamish - Vamping It Up & Dressing It Down PDF Print E-mail
Written by Written by Joe Sherlock   
Nov 28, 2005 at 07:00 PM
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DG Nov-Dec 05 - Leanna Chamish - Vamping It Up & Dressing It Down
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Perhaps best-known for her sexy roles in STAKES and VAMPIRE SISTERS, Leanna Charmish is a multi-talented actress from Baltimore who is busier than a beaver it seems. She slowed down for just a moment to tell us about some recent projects.

DG: While you are based in Baltimore, you recently travelled to los Angeles for a project called "Her Morbid Desires. How did that come about?

Leanna: In June 2004 I made one of my periodic trips to LA just to network and have fun. I knew film director Don Glut was having a DVD signing session at the famous Dark Delicasies horror bookstore in Burbank to promote his just released film "Countess Dracula's Orgy of Blood". I'd been corresponding with Don by e-mail and really wanted to meet him and the cast and crew. I had a wonderful time finally meeting Don. But the real stroke of luck as that director Edward Plumb also came to the signing. He and I had a fantastic time chatting and I gave him my headshot and a demo reel. Later, he contacted me by e-mail and phone and we started a fun and interesting correspondence which we still keep up. Anyway, eventually, he asked me if I was interested in being in his film "Her Morbid Desires". Of course I jumped at the chance! The script was excellent, for one thing. Plus Edward Plumb is an amazing person I really wanted to work with. In addition to having loads of talent, he's organized, honest and decent. He keeps his word and follows through on everything.

So now, due to a chance meeting at Dark Delicasies book store, I am in a film with the likes of Brad Dourif, Ray Bradbury, George Kennedy, William Smith, Ron Moss, Brinke Stevens and Ken Foree, among others. Del Howison, the owner of the awesome Dark Delicasies book store also has a role. By the way, if you haven't gone but get a chance, visit Dark Delicasies-- it's horror nirvana!

Edward gave me the role of "Leather Vampire", which I think he came up with just for me because of an outfit I have that he liked and wanted me to wear. Early in my e-mail correspondence with Edward, I sent him a picture of me signing autographs at a convention and I was wearing this sexy, skimpy vinyl dress that looks like it is made of leather. Edward thought the outfit was fabulous! So when he cast me in the film, he told me to bring that dress! Most of the other girls in the film were costumed by Edward, but I brought my own.

I'm so thrilled that some of my lines made it into the trailer for "Her Morbid Desires", which can currently be seen on the internet at http://bloodbyte.com. Everyone keeps telling me that my lines in the trailer really wake them up and have a lot of intensity. I've been getting lots of compliments about it. You can also see lots of production photos on the website.

The scenes I am in were shot at McCadden Space studios in the Hollywood studio district, near Highland and Santa Monica. Edward and his construction crew converted the plain soundstage into an elaborate throne room for the queen vampire. They built it in one day, the day before the shoot, and I watched the set go up. Very impressive!

I had a great time on the shoot! I enjoyed the work itself and well as meeting the cast and crew who worked at the time I did.

I really got to meet and know everyone, because Edward Plumb asked me to interview other cast members on camera for the behind-the-scenes portion of the DVD release of the film! Edward knew I do interviews and videography for behind-the-scenes for Timewarp films and I also do live TV sometimes, so he thought I'd be a good choice for the job. Edward assigned me a cameraman, the talented Tony Copolillo, to shoot me as I interviewed people. During breaks between movie scenes, I'd run around set, corner an actor, Tony would fire up the camera and we'd interview folks. My prize interview of the day is my session with William Smith, who most people think of as Conan's Dad, or the tough guy from the Clint Eastwood film "Any Which Way You Can", or from "Rich Man, Poor Man." William was an interesting interview subject and I was awed to be interviewing such a legend who has had such a long and fascinating career. There were a lot of other special guests on set who made appearances in the film. There was writer George Clayton Johnson, who wrote the first "Star Trek" episode that aired, Twighlight Zone episodes, the original "Ocean's Eleven" and "Logan's Run". Meeting him was really cool, and he has a cameo in the film as a man smoking a hookah. Peter Atkins was on set - he wrote the screenplays for "Hellraiser 2", "Hellraiser 3", "Hellraiser 4" and Wes Craven's "The Wishmaster'. Peter plays guitar in the band that is seen playing for the Queen of the Vampires in her court. Peter really plays guitar, and is playing on the music track! Saxophonist Jack Lancaster was there playing in the band in the throne room scene. He wrote the music you'll hear in the scene and he has played sax on live tours with Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, Cat Stevens and Phil Collins. Also there was David Manning, who is writing the score for "Her Morbid Desires"-- his credits including writing music for "Desperate Housewives" and the score for the musical "Reefer Madness". And Andrea Gaspar, the violinist in "Her Morbid Desires" also played the violin in "Hannibal" and has played live with Jerry Goldsmith.

Oh, as long as we're talking about music, I should mention that Ron Moss, who stars as Dracula in "Her Morbid Desires", wrote and sang the hit song "Baby Come Back" in late 1970s with his band Player. Ron's really handsome and is world famous now as a soap opera star on "The Bold and the Beautiful".

DG: Many fans will know you from Don Dohler's movies like Stakes and Vampire Sisters. You played a lead in "Dead Hunt" - can you tell us about that?

Leanna: My character's name is Raven Rinaldi and she is an actress, a "Scream Queen". She's invited to a party thrown by a bunch of horror movie fans who contribute to a movie review website. She's their special celebrity guest, and after the party, all the people are planning to head over to a horror convention and spend the whole weekend there. But they never get the chance to go... members of the group start getting killed in gruesome, creative ways. The killer has rigged it so that there is no escape from the building they are in, an industrial warehouse. It's a tense, cat-and-mouse game as the horror fans, and me, the Scream Queen, try to elude the killer.

Incidentally, in "Dead Hunt" I'm wearing the same sexy little dress that I wear in "Her Morbid Desires". Directors love that dress! Thank goodness they want me as the actress in it, too!

DG: Save that dress! You also find yourself in lots of non-horror stuff like tax videos, corporate stuff, commercials, etc. Where might we see you? What was the wackiest thing you've had to play?

Leanna:The wackiest role I played was that of a transgendered person! I played a woman who began life as a man, and had the whole chop-chop operation done. The film is a gay romance picture, and my gender issues provide a little "Crying Game" kind of twist. I approached playing a transgendered woman by overdoing the femininity and make-up. I figure that's how someone who always wanted to be a woman may have idealized womanhood. That film's not out yet, but I'll let you know when it is.

Recently, in a commercial, I had to be covered in Vaseline! The spot was for a Maryland airconditioning servicing company called Blue Dot. The premise was that I am a Mom in my house and sweating like crazy because the air conditioning is broken. The baby is fussing because of the heat and we're miserable. So in order to make me look sweaty, the poor, poor, producer had to rub vaseline all over my hair, face and body-- I'm sure he hated every second of doing that! And then he asked me to run around the yard outside to get even more miserable looking! Anyway, I've had fake blood on me and its no big deal, but Vaseline... wow, I thought it was icky feeling and it was hard to remove from skin, hair and clothes! And when they handed me the baby for the commercial, the kid almost slipped out of my greasy arms! The experience was a little unpleasant, but I was happy to do it. Plus I get to tell everyone that the producer got me sweaty and gave me a baby - that gets people's attention!

DG: Wow!

Leanna: If folks really want to see me, they can move to Maryland and watch all the many commercials I am in or watch Maryland Public TV during a pledge drive! But seriously, of course, you can rent the Timewarp Films like "Harvesters", "Stakes" and "Vampire Sisters." I appeared in a Discovery Channel show called "High Priestess" that still shows up on-air from time to time. I did a promo piece for Comcast cable which they said might air all over the country, but I have no way to track that -- look for me claiming to me a VP of Marketing for Comcast (if you see it, let me know!). I am in one national commercial which might still be running on the GOLF CHANNEL, in which I'm encouraging people to buy a special pass package for golf courses all over the country.

Oh, and if you are in high school or have kids who are, you might hear my voice on the "World Revolutions" series of history videos. I narrated about 10 of them, I think.


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