:Dark Delights: April Burril and JimmyO Burril
Dark Delights by Ladyaslan Presents:
April Burril (Actress) and JimmyO Burril (Writer/Director/Actor)
Ladyaslan: Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Burril. Thanks for joining me here on Dark Delights. What should our readers, or #Babybats, know about you? What inspired you both to work in film together? Do you find separating business and family time easily or is it something one must work at in this type of industry and lifestyle?
JimmyO Burril: It all seemed easy, as April is sort of my muse. When we are on set or on stage together (where we started) we do not interact like husband and wife. We do not pick at each other or fawn over each other. We are there to work. If I am director of the project and April is actress, she shows me that respect. She is very giving, and has little ego to slip on.
April Burril: Our entire experience together has involved big art projects of one kind or another, so working together in film was a natural choice. As to making family and business function, it’s not a problem for us. Occasionally, if we are shooting something particularly nasty or going to have a long day, we’ll have to stash our youngest child with a sitter, but that’s about as complicated as it gets. Jimmy and I have been involved in projects together since even before we dated. We actually met at Harford Dance Theatre yearrrrs ago (1990ish), where we became friends during production. Both of us have such a love of art, and respect enough for each other, that we’d never let outer issues hurt a project. Plus, on the other side, we have a very strong and loving family. The happiness and welfare of our kids is always going to be central to our lives. Maybe there’s a little juggling to do, but I think we manage just fine.
Ladyaslan: Summarize your writings and movie roles in one to five sentences as if you were speaking to someone unfamiliar with you and your work?
JimmyO Burril: If Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) directed a John Waters movie (Pink Flamingos) staring Adam West (TV’s Batman) produced by Mel Brooks, while watching Bugs Bunny.
April Burril: I’m best known for the character Chainsaw Sally. She’s a humble librarian by day…by night she kills people that get on her nerves, but don’t worry—it’s usually in a funny way and they totally have it coming! I’ve also been a witch, a vampire bride, a zombie-killin’ badass madam, a ditzy pain-in-ass that gets killed on a ghost hunt (you know—that character you can’t wait to see die? That’s the one!), a crazy girl with a “final girl” complex, a detective going after toilet aliens…oh, and a coroner. Good times! Plus, I draw stuff, occasionally participate in community theatre, and teach and perform tribal fusion belly dance. Yeah!
Ladyaslan: How did you come to write the 2004 movie Chainsaw Sally? Where did the motivation come to play Sally, and I must ask, what was it like to work with the now late Gunnar Hansen (of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame) and the “Godfather of Gore” Herschell Gordon Lewis (best known from his cult classic hit 1963’s Blood Feast)?
JimmyO Burril: Sally was a web hostess we created to promote my musical, Silver Scream. However, she became more popular than the thing she was promoting. Gunnar found Sally online and wrote her. As time moved on, we became close friends. We spoke on the phone at least once a week, for a while. I miss him dearly. Sally also interviewed Herschell…and when we made the movie, since we were hardcore fans, we invited him to do the movie, and he said yes. He is an amazing gentleman, and we love time with him and his wife, Margo.
April Burril: Oddly, because Sally existed long before the movie, many fans were asking when they could see it before we’d even decided to make the film! I’m glad they did ask…because here we are! Playing the Sally character is really broken down into three categories: Librarian, Killer, and At Home. The librarian (Sally out in the town, trying to act normal) was the hardest for me to play. It’s always been hardest for me to feel comfortable in “super-normal” settings. Of course, that discomfort works fine for the character anyway. Killer Sally is the most fun. Always messy and always a total release of aggression and primal crazy fun. At Home Sally is barely acting, honestly. That’s pretty much me. With lines.
Working with Gunnar was wonderful, of course. His scenes were with our daughter, Lilli Burril. It was her first movie role and he did a lovely job of working with her and making her feel at ease on set. Of course, over the years he continued a relationship with our family to the point that the kids refer to him as Uncle Gunnar. We were all devastated by his passing.
Working with Herschell was a total treat! It was actually our first official day of shooting that we did his scene. Anyone whose done film knows how much waiting goes on in between shots. Well, you need Herschell on your sets. All the time. So many great stories to tell! He kept us entertained constantly. Also, he and his wife are just about the most charming people I’ve ever met. Love them!
Ladyaslan: In 2009’s The Good Sisters, what was the genesis in writing this screenplay? How did Debbie Rochon get involved? (Debbie is an amazing and sweet woman; I interviewed her a few years back on my old podcast—just lovely.) How did you learn of the craft for the writing and acting in this movie; if I may ask?
JimmyO Burril: April and Debbie took a picture together at a convention, and I noticed how much they looked like sisters. Debbie has always been good about promoting indie work that she thought was good, and so we became friendly. I told her about the picture, and asked if she would be interested. She was, and so I wrote the story, word for word for Debbie and April, based on their real personalities. They, when together, have a sister-like relationship. It was amazing to see them together. April learning from Debbie…and Debbie, to a great degree, teaching us all as she is the most knowledgeable person on indie film…the REAL indie film, that I have met. I love her a great deal.
April Burril: Loved working with Debbie! I hope to do it again soon. Since Jimmy answered most of that part, I’ll address the magick issue. Something of interest to readers may be that all of the spells and chants used are based on actual research. There’s no gobbledygook, no bippity-boppity-boo. Some of it is the basic stuff you can find in Llewellyn books, a bit from Aleister Crowley’s Illustrated Goetia, plus various other books of a dark nature. As a practicing witch myself (but a NICE one…not the curse-y kind like the Good Sisters…), I was careful to keep my visualization switched to nice things as I chanted an actual curse at one point. Other times, I used language from the books to put together something that had a meaning, but was essentially harmless or just worshipful (as opposed to harmful). It was an interesting experience.
Ladyaslan: Yes, I recall having a great conversation with Debbie about the spells! I was definitely enchanted because I am practicing witch for over 30 years now. #Babybats ^V^
There seems to be a buzz about a new Chainsaw Sally project in the works; what can you share about this long awaited gem?
JimmyO Burril: Sally has had some time off. Now it’s time to crank it up again. Sally is evolving…it will be new…and fun…and non-stop. I hope to continue to make Sally movies, as long as the fans want them. I don’t want to wear out our welcome. I was so happy that we got such an overwhelming response from the fans about the new movie. IT was so fantastic!
April Burril: I can’t wait! I feel like we learn a lot every time we make something new. I’d love to see what happens with the Sally world using the knowledge we’ve gained in our time off. The plot is tight. The characters are fun. And this is not the same old Sally story. It picks up after the end of Season 2 and we will not be in Porterville. It’s going to start off in a way that should really disturb Sally fans. Just hang in there people, you’ll like where it goes!
Ladyaslan: What is the overall theme in your movies and writings? How are you different than every other artist out now?
JimmyO Burril: Oh I don’t know. I am more comedy…dark comedy oriented than flat out horror. I laugh the hardest at non-politically correct, off color, brutally honest comedy. I also believe that the same “thrill” that comes from horror is what makes us laugh. Why else would people laugh on a roller coaster? They “think” they are safe… maybe they are…maybe not. That is my personality in a nutshell.
Ladyaslan: What can you tell us about the Zombie Girl Diary? (It’s been a while since that was asked about huh [evil wink]?)
JimmyO Burril: Really not much. I shot that about five years ago. I never really heard from them after that. I did have fun doing it, though. I met Eliza Jayne who is a sweetheart.
Ladyaslan: Jimmy, before you went solo, it seems you were an artist/designer in special promotions for Warner Home Video from 1986-1990. You also did artwork for Batman, Joe Versus the Volcano, Gremlins 2, and Bugs Bunny’s 50th Birthday. When you look back on those days, what did you learn and would you do it all over again the same way…or differently?
JimmyO Burril: I did…my entrance into the entertainment world was via marketing and promotion. So I may have a leg up there. I would have dome something different…yes. I would not have fooled around so much when I was younger. I wasted time…a lot of time with no direction. I drank a lot. I would have put down the bottle sooner, and gotten busy as a film maker in my 20’s instead of my 40’s. But then, I wouldn’t have the path and experience I have now, so maybe the trail I am taking is the one I should be on. I have no complaints. Great wife, great kids…great friends. That’s really what it’s all about.
Ladyaslan: This question is for April, how did you get the nickname “Ghost”?
April Burril: Hmm…Ghost. For a brief time, in my early twenties when I was trying to figure out what direction to take my life in after a big breakup, I was hanging out a tattoo shop, making friends, and considering an apprenticeship (which I ultimately decided against, only because I had other opportunities)…. My attendance would be constant for a couple weeks, maybe six days in a row, then I’d not show up for a few weeks, then pop back in unannounced. I also tend to be pretty quiet in groups (even more so back then than today). And…always a penchant for spooky stuff. A couple of the guys at the shop started calling me Ghost, and I loved it.
Ladyaslan: You’re throwing a party in a magical world where anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, will show up if invited. Who are the first 10 people you invite?
JimmyO Burril: Sure…Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Gunnar Hansen, Robert Downey Jr., John Waters, Stephen King, Johnny Lydon, Louis CK, Madeline Kahn, and April, of course.
April Burril: Ok, I’ll try not to double Jimmy here, except on Stephen King…because he gets invited twice! Bugs Bunny, Mardi Love, Beats Antique, Ed Neal, Prince, Dave Grohl, Seth Green, Rachel Brice, Freddy and Frank from Return of the Living Dead…Jimmy—chances are the party will be at our house, so I just assume you’ll be there.
Ladyaslan: If you were interviewing me, what’s the first question you’d ask?
JimmyO Burril: What’s your favorite cartoon?
*Ladyaslan: Uh oh [laughs]. I was not a cartoon watcher. As a kid I watched Star Trek and Dark Shadows, however…ZOIKES I have a LOVE for Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry! Ooh duh and South Park…I LOVE Cartman! My mum taught me to read before kindergarten so I had a book in my nose at four and five yrs old. It was always Stephen King. I first read The Stand and Pet Cemetery before kindergarten. Yes, I was the little girl that thought I’d make a great girlfriend for Damien…. [Evil smirk]
April Burril: Yep—that.
Ladyaslan: Yeah, shock I was not a huge cartoon kid. I was around soooooo many bands as a kid, and adults and sets that cartoons just swished right pass me. I had this record player and I would jam out to The Beatles, The Doors, The Sex Pistols, Charlie Daniels, Bonnie Tyler, Moody Blues, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, and Nico…quite the eclectic child huh [laughs].
My last question for you, the obligatory but always fun…WHO inspired you and who did you look up to as a youth?
JimmyO Burril: Batman, Bugs Bunny, Vincent Price, Alice Cooper.
April Burril: Stephen King, Bugs Bunny, Dungeons & Dragons, The Damned
Ladyaslan: Please provide any and all social network links and movie/music web pages below.
**About Ladyaslan: She is a published Gothic poet and horror erotica novelist. Ladyaslan’s second book was released on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and other established book retailers internationally. Check out Lipstick & Absinthe and her other books at the link below:
Official Website: http://www.lipstickandabsinthe.com/