1428 Elm: Tell us about your upcoming film “Stasis.”
‘Stasis’- PraxiScope Productions
Nicole Jones-Dion: . It’s the story of a teenage girl who sneaks out of her house to go party with friends. She blacks out and when she comes home, her doppelganger is already in her bed.
Originally, we pitched it as a horror film to the investors but they wanted something that was sci-fi. So, I went back and made the story about time travelers from the future and they were animating the corpses of the newly dead.
The girl that OD’s is not dead and her body is possessed by a time traveler. She wants to get her body back so she is like a ghost in this world. She needs to stop the travelers who have their own agenda to get her body back.
1428 Elm: Do you feel that it is harder to get your foot in the door as a woman writer with directorial aspirations?
Nicole Jones-Dion: It’s funny because I have had so many people read my work and then go back to the title page and say, “I can’t believe this was written by a woman!” And I think why? Because you only think women can write rom-coms and sappy dramas? Who is to say that women can’t write genre films? Look at ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’ That was written by a woman (initial draft before James Gunn). We’re just as capable of writing fun, four quadrant action genre pieces as men are!
Gender used to be a turn off but now it is opening doors for people. Hollywood is realizing that they need more women. Use your gender to get in the door but you have to earn your place once you are there. If the quality is not there, if you don’t have the talent and the skills, you are just going to get booted right back out.
1428 Elm: Horror has always been the genre where the smarter, stronger female is the survivor. Do you feel the genre is ahead of the curve in terms of gender?
Nicole Jones-Dion: That is an interesting question. I think you are right. Nine times out of ten, the last survivor tends to be a woman. Often, she gets to that place not through superior strength but through her skills. She is cunning or intelligent. This differentiates horror from action thrillers like “John Wick.” So, I think in a lot of aspects, horror was ahead of the curve.
1428 Elm: We’ve established your relationship with Pearry Teo and it seems like there is a theme with mentors in your working life. I have read several interviews where you have mentioned that Sean S. Cunningham, the creator of the Friday the 13th series is your mentor. How did that relationship start?
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Nicole Jones-Dion: I was introduced to Sean four years ago and he was looking for someone to assist him with a script he was developing . It’s a horror/comedy called ‘The Headless.’ While I was helping him with that, Sean told me he had these directing workshops that he was doing and he suggested I come join him. At the time, he knew nothing of my directing aspirations.
I went to the workshops and he kind of took me under his wing. Finally, I told him that I wanted to get into directing and he was like the wise, old mentor, full of stories and advice. I have worked on four or five projects with him now. They are in various stages of development.
I don’t know if you are aware of this but he is working on rebooting ‘House.’This film is very much a product of the 80s. Our challenge is how do you keep that same fun, quirky sensibility but give it that modern twist?