In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, actress Alyssa Kempinski talks about her must-see horror/comedy, The VelociPastor. With the quirky movie living up to its interestingly wacky title, Kempinski reveals what it was like fighting ninjas and shooting against a dinosaur.
After a devastating family tragedy, a priest travels to China to find deeper spirituality, but instead is endowed with an ancient ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first, he is horrified by his newfound superpower, but a local prostitute convinces him to use his newfound gift to fight evil – and ninjas.
With the The VelociPastor now on VOD, Alyssa Kempinski talks about playing the role of Carol, performing alongside Greg Cohan, and mentions how the dinosaur reveal came about. Check out our review as Kempinski and I head on over to the actor’s studio to discuss the craft of filmmaking.
Villain Media: How did you become involved in the project?
Alyssa Kempinski: When [Brendan Steere] came to me with this, I was taken a little aback. It was very different. I was excited because I wasn’t so familiar with this world of film. I didn’t know a lot about creature features, grindhouse, or any of those kind of things. [Steere] gave me research materials. It was an exciting exploration of movies that been done before. At the same time, I was trying to do my own thing.
VM: Carol starts off as a struggling hooker before developing into a romantic interest and an action star. What interested you about the role?
AK: I didn’t know that much was going to be happening. I knew it was going to be a wild ride. We shot most of it in order. And so, you get more into the character. You get more into the state as you’re shooting the film. It was exciting to be on that journey. Of course, I want to be fighting! I would kill to be an action hero! [Laughs]
VM: There’s this montage of Carol and Doug Jones developing their relationship. Doug is so awkward putting his arm around Carol. Tell me about building the chemistry between you and Greg Cohan.
AK: My experience with Greg was so wonderful! I cherish him as an acting partner for that reason. He’s so game for anything! There’s this seriousness about him. He’s such a character. We were in the rehearsal process before we were shooting. It was special and amazing. During our rehearsal, I said, “I don’t know a lot about God,” and Greg responded, “I don’t know a lot about dinosaurs.” We found that in an improv. When we shot those montage scenes, that was improv for the most part. We’re wondering around, I had a bag full of clothes. I kept changing in public restrooms into different outfits. We were doing all that. That was all him! It was amazing!
VM: Tell me about the first reveal of the dinosaur. You sell the scene, which involves prosthetics and make-up, with such shock and awe.
AK: For me, I try to take myself a little seriously. This movie was a little bit hard for me. It was a fine line of being good at bad acting and then just being a bad actress. The first reveal of the dinosaur was a really difficult and interesting scene. I even remember the direction I got. We shot it in Brendan’s backyard.
VM: What was more of a challenge? The romantic scenes or the dinosaur scenes?
AK: I’m not sure honestly. The special effects didn’t affect me vey much. I didn’t do much with them. I didn’t have to deal with the suit at any point. [Laughs] I actually struggled with the final fight. I really struggled with that scene because I had been directed the entire film to act seriously. I was struggling with how to find the humor in the death scene, but still be serious. My Mom thinks the death scene is pretty funny! I think that’s my radar for knowing that I did it well. My Mom freaks out when she sees me next to blood, even though she knows it’s fake. But she finds it funny! So I guess I did my job well!
VM: How did The VelociPastor change you as an artist?
AK: I realized that our challenges come in many shapes and forms. This movie was so silly and so fun to shoot. It was as fun to shoot as you imagine it would be. We all had just graduated college. We were in our early 20s. It was essentially like summer camp but productive. To have all this positive response all three years later has been crazy. I learned not to take myself so seriously as an artist as I do. The contradiction there is important.
VM: How can the readers of Villain Media find your movie?
AK: We’re going to be on Amazon Prime. The DVD and Blu-Ray is coming out soon.
VM: What are you working on now?
AK: I am doing lots auditioning. I did shoot a new TV show with Zoë Kravitz. It’s going to be on Hulu called High Fidelity. It’s based off the movie with John Cusack.
[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Links are highlighted in bold.]
The VelociPastor is now on VOD through iTunes, Comcast, Spectrum, Dish, Vudu, Amazon, Fandango and Sling. A Blu-ray release will follow September 17.
By Jorge Solis