The Movie Waffler Interview - Cult Star Turned Filmmaker Honey Lauren | The Movie Waffler

Interview - Cult Star Turned Filmmaker Honey Lauren

honey lauren
Cult actress Honey Lauren discusses her career and her new role as director.

Whatever happened to cult film star Honey Lauren, star of such cult classics as the Vice Academy series and Satan Was a Lady? You only have to attend a short film festival to find out!

Now a talented filmmaker, Lauren’s latest film Wives of the Skies – about stewardesses of the ‘60s - has been winning awards all over.

We spoke to Lauren about her career.

wives of the skies poster

Where is home for you Honey?

I live in Los Angeles, California…. Specifically Pacific Palisades!

And was the goal always to be an actress (before you were a filmmaker)?

Yes, being an actress was the goal and I’ve been fortunate to have a huge body of work over the years.  I’m still acting along with the writing and directing.

And you rather quickly snagged roles in what can be considered a series of cult films. How did you end up a staple of the genre?

Well, so much of casting is type casting and when I was coming up, I really didn’t look like anybody. I had this naturally jet blue / black curly hair and my skin is super white, almost blue. The agents and casting directors really didn’t know what to do with me. It’s a different world now where looking "Ethnically ambiguous" is actually a category, and a desirable category, both of which didn’t exist in this world at that time. People fear what they don’t understand and so it was the genre world that opened its doors to me.

Have you a favourite film experience among those credits?

I do! I starred in an independent feature with an awesome director, Tamara Hernandez. The film was called Men Cry Bullets. I played opposite Jeri Ryan. This film was amazing and went on to be a festival darling, winning top prize in many festivals including SXSW. Also, I have to say, working with the legendary Doris Wishman was incredible. I was the last Wishman Girl and starred in her film Satan Was a Lady.

I imagine getting to work on Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula in the early '90s was a highlight. How did that one come about?

This is actually a true and funny story. The breakdown service that casting sends to the agents only (not actors) put out casting, looking for dark haired, period looking women, etc. They did this over and over. Their last casting they put out publicly and said “Did they see everyone?” I literally called the casting office at 20th Century Fox and told them, they did not see everyone and that they should see me. They did. I got lucky on that one!

After you felt you’d pay your dues to the Vice Academy series, you shifted gears to directing. Had that always been the goal, to one day direct your own films?

Well, technically it was years and years and many films and TV shows later that I started directing. I loved the Vice series and that director, Rick Sloane, was kinda genius. He was inspiring in the same way as Tamara Hernandez. My directing came only after I found some success with my writing.

And what did you learn from the films you’d acted in that you applied to the films you directed?

What I mostly learned is that actors really do like being directed. As an actor, I have many times experienced a lack of direction from some of the directors I worked with. So really, talking to the actors, getting in at least some rehearsal and never insisting an actor do a specific blocking if it’s uncomfortable… work with them.

And each of your shorts would seem to be getting not only longer but more ambitious as you went on; when did you know you were ready to step up to bigger fare like Wives of the Skies?

This script was a semi-finalist at the Slamdance screenwriting competition. At that time, it was called “American Stewardesses”. So, this attracted funding for me to shoot this. I knew doing a period piece would be challenging but I wanted to take it on. One of my features I may be doing soon, possibly directing, is also a period piece and I felt shooting Wives would be helpful as a way to graduate onto bigger projects. Once I committed to it, I was totally ready and then I knew I just had to make it.

Why this story?

You know, I never write straight up autobiographical pieces, but it’s fair to say that much of my writing contains some elements of my life, as is the case with Wives of the Skies. My husband always told me I am a “Good girl drawn bad”, and because of that, I’ve always had to deal with and see through the lens of the projection that has been placed on me by both men and women. This film is a sort of allegory for my life.

And at any time did you consider starring in the short yourself?

Yes, I did! I guess it’s fair to say I always write parts for myself. Right after I wrote the script a few years back, someone offered to produce Wives for an anthology of four short films to be produced, sold and packaged together. We couldn’t work out scheduling so I had to pass. Once I decided to do it in 2019, I knew I needed to cast it age appropriate. These women were retired by 30!

And you’ve another horror vet in the short, Rachel Alig. How did you and Rachel meet?

Rachel Alig and I met working on a film for the fabulous Paul McCarthy! We did several films for Paul for several years! And that was an experience I am so grateful for and that will stay with me forever. Then Rachel and I worked together on other projects as well. After seeing Rachel’s work on the very first day we had rehearsal at Paul’s studio, I thought of her for the Fran role. I needed someone to play this “for real”, and Rachel, I knew, could do this. Aside from her amazing performance, to me, she really looked like a throwback to the era. She’s beautiful and authentic looking. So refreshing in this era of plastics, blown up lips and cheek implants.

Having won so many awards, people are going to be very keen to see this. Where can they catch it next?

We are just starting the festival circuit as you know. We started in January.  Some of the upcoming screenings are:

April in Los Angeles, IndieX Film Festival at Raleigh Studios… I don’t have the exact date on that but it will be on their website soon.

The New York Cinematography Awards will be screening it in NYC on June 29th at the Dolby Screening room for their Golden Eagle Awards:

The Geelong International Film Festival in Australia July 17th -21st

American Golden Picture International Film Festival, Jacksonville Florida

And we will be playing with many others. We are getting invites every week so we will keep you posted. Or go to my facebook page or our website