In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, director Jeremiah Kipp talks about the gory psychological thriller, Perfect, starring Ashley Tyler. Find out what happens when a murderer becomes so obsessed in finding the perfect someone.
Obsessed by getting the perfect man, Audrey (Ashley Tyler) tries to stitch one together.
Filmmaker Jeremiah Kipp opens up how the story for Perfect came about, the Frankenstein influence of the narrative, and how actress Ashley Tyler approached the main character. Join us as we head into the director’s studio to discuss the craft of visual storytelling.
Villain Media: What attracted you to the story by Ashley Tyler and Anthony Guilianti?
Jeremiah Kipp: I’ve always been drawn to the Frankenstein myth, and relocating the tale to New York City’s present day dating scene felt like a wonderfully uncomfortable fresh take on the premise. The script was taut, witty and morbid — clearly written by my kind of people!
VM: Tell me about the social commentary about body image and perfection within the narrative.
JK: Magazines have fed our lead character’s fantasy. Our sense of the perfect body is so twisted by what we see in the media, which can only lead to pain. Our character will do whatever it takes to reach her idea of the perfect man, and she cuts them up into individual pieces just as she does when making a glossy collage.
VM: Tell me about Ashley Tyler’s character as Audrey. Her views are twisted because everything around her has become warped as well.
JK: Ashley Tyler approached the role with total commitment. The character thinks of herself as pure-hearted in her intent, and all the mayhem as self-care. Ashley never concerned herself with likability, which is a rare gift. Her character was on a mission.
VM: Tell me about casting for the roles of “The Man” and “Hands.” It’s interesting seeing the male roles given the “male gaze” and serving as damsels in distress in a slasher movie.
JK: I loved that we were flipping the script on horror conventions, and these particular actors were so game.
Lucas Rainey is a versatile actor who has acted in many films for me. He’s been a mime, a post-apocalyptic doctor, a preppy murderer, a dabbler in hypnotism, and now a naked corpse that is the embodiment of the perfect man. He understood what we were doing and objectified himself bravely. All the actors were friends.
Kyle Tuck from Black Wake played Torso, I had done TV shows with Cole Critchell (No Wonder You’re Single!) and Brandon Fox, aka Hands. They seemed to have a blast getting covered in blood and goo by our Special Effects Artist Beatrice Sniper.
VM: There’s a Frankenstein-esque nature to the story. Tell me about working with prosthetics and makeup to create the perfect body.
JK: We had all these spare body parts lying around on the set, which was sticky and wet with syrupy blood. Add a smoke machine, and you had an atmosphere that resembled a charnel house.
Beatrice Sniper built us some anatomical props in her workshop and happily brought them to our set in Brooklyn, and with her kit, she made it look like The Man was dead for many days and stitched together piece by piece. All in a day’s work for her, really! She’s so patient and kind with the actors playing victims. She was annoyed I cast a very hairy actor as the main corpse, and it’s a huge challenge adding pallor to that kind of body, but so it goes.
VM: How did Perfect change you as a director?
JK: I had wanted to do a female-centric tale of obsession. Women are usually perceived as the victims in films such as this, or the object of desire. It’s always healthy to look at the world from a different perspective. I’m grateful Ashley thought of me.
VM: What are you working on now?
JK: We are in post on my sixth feature film, Slapface, starring August Maturo (The Nun) and Dan Hedaya (The Usual Suspects). It’s a dark rural monster movie about a child dealing with grief, and he encounters a creature in the woods…and mayhem ensues. We look forward to sharing this with audiences in 2020.
[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Links are highlighted in bold.]