Angela DiMarco Interview: Mama Scream Queen

Angela DiMarco is a celebrated actor, director, producer, and Seattle, Washington native. She landed her first feature film role at age ten and went on to study in a BFA program, with a focus on Commedia del Arte, before moving to Los Angeles. Angela returned to her hometown in 2012. And, along with her husband and business partner, David Hogan, launched Mighty Tripod Productions and Mighty Tripod Acting Studio. These days Angela directs and produces short films and feature films. She also teaches and offers private coaching to actors all over the US.

I was fortunate to meet and work with Angela on the set of “Brides to Be” (2016). Today, I’m excited to find out what she’s been up to for the last couple of years. Angela, thank you so much for taking your time to interview with me. I know you’re busy. Last time we talked, you mentioned that you are currently in production.

Sharon: Can you tell me a bit about what you have in the works?

Angela: I am currently in the play, “Mrs. Caliban” at Book-It Repertory. I am stepping into the 4-inch heels of Estelle, who is sassy, secretive, and soul searching. This play is a cross between “The Shape of Water” (del Toro, 2017) and a very dark sitcom. I also just wrapped a pilot for a hilarious comedy, “Suddenly Closer”. Again, bringing to life a very saucy mom role in a queer sitcom about family. I really hope to film more of that in the future! And lastly, I have three films in the festival circuit right now. “Neshamah,” “STAY,” and “Kitsune.” I played very different roles but each film has a very important and powerful story. From dementia, loss, true love, and family.

Sharon: What is it about the horror genre that draws you in as an actor?

Angela: I have always loved horror! As a kiddo I would scoop up any paperback Stephen King from the book store… and that was me at eight years old. Then around that same age, I got to witness “The Hunger” (1983, Scott) for the first time, on laserdisc! And all the Nightmare On Elm Street movies! I was then sucked into all things vampire and very interested in the “making of” when it came to horror-filled storytelling.

Sharon: How about as a producer? Do you take a hands-on approach?

Angela: I often wear way too many hats because I want to make sure that everyone on set feels taken care of. I have the nickname “Mama DiMarco” in both the Theatre and Film community, for this very reason. But I like being hands-on, so my team (cast and crew) know that I am always there for them and approachable. I think filmmaking should be collaborative and inclusive to all the artists involved.

Sharon: What are some of your more recent favorite horror films from Mighty Tripod

Angela: We actually don’t only do Horror films but I have starred in many horror/thrillers. As for Mighty Tripod Productions, many of our films have stories about loss and how one navigates that darkness. From our award-winning film, “ALWAYS,” (DiMarco, 2018) which I also wrote and directed. And our feature film, “The Parish,” (Hogan, 2019) is a supernatural thriller about a woman losing her husband at war. Loss is its own horror and I feel it is important to make others feel seen and less alone. I love when our films, horror, comedy, thriller, or whatever the genre, allow others to relate to the characters and get pulled into the story.

Sharon: I’ve watched your film, “The Parish,” several times since it came out. Paranormal horror is a personal favorite, and I love so much about this film, from the cinematography to the special effects. Your relationship with Sanae Loutsis, who stars as your daughter Audrey, is comfortable and natural. It makes your mother/daughter relationship authentic on film. You also have a great connection with Bill Oberst Jr., who plays Father Felix.

Being on set can be stressful. How do you build that kind of easy rapport with your fellow actors?

Angela: I appreciate you supporting our film so much! I was the executive producer on “The Parish” and David, my partner, was the Director. So, again, lotsa hats were being worn. But I always want to create a fun space to create. A loving and safe space to tell difficult stories. And I run a professional set, which all of the above starts with good relationships. Whenever I produce and/or direct, I cast and bring my own crew that I trust and connect with. I want all the artists involved to be invested and excited in what we are creating.

Sharon: How do you pick the horror scripts that you produce? Are you ever involved in the writing process?

Angela: We don’t really take pitches but we get them all the time. I still try my best to read everything that comes my way. And it’s true, I’ve produced many films that I fell in love with. But we are actors first and foremost. We started producing for ourselves, to create dynamic roles we wanted to dive into. So we primarily work with writers/filmmakers we know. And we’ve now produced almost two dozen short films and three feature films.

Sharon: I see that Mighty Tripod is currently producing a horror/comedy starring your partner and husband, David Hogan. From what I’ve seen in the trailer, I have to say that he is frightening as “Mr. Beachers.” Those eyes. Wow! What can you tell us about “Mr. Beachers?” I see it’s currently in production. Do you have a release date in mind?

Angela: This is a co-production with our friend, Tim Carpenter. He is an amazing writer and director and we loved his script. Tim was very open to my suggestions, as a producer, I always want strong female roles. He changed a lead role to a woman, which I stepped into. The role of Tess is a single mom who helps others get back on their feet. David plays the title role, Mr. Bleachers, an imaginary friend… who isn’t that imaginary. This film has horror, and touches on racism and the importance of your chosen family. “Mr. Bleachers” is just two days away from wrapping, but the pandemic keeps getting in the way.

Sharon: What are some of the things that stand out for you as strong elements in horror production? In other words, what is it that makes a movie scary, other than obvious elements like blood, gore, and jump scares?

Angela: The REAL factor. Things we can imagine happening to us, which make your skin crawl and your dreams become nightmares. But also the UNBELIEVABLE, when done well, it makes you think that the impossible IS possible. That can be horrifying. Perfect examples: “Jacob’s Ladder,” (Lyne, 1990) “Serpent and the Rainbow,” (Craven, 1998) “The Hunger,” (Scott,1983), and all Stephen King!

Sharon: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Angela: Would love any positive reviews for “The Parish” on IMDb and Amazon, especially since you’ve seen it so many times. We had an awful experience, with a local person, who made some fake accounts and posted awful reviews, which affected our IMDb. But they used one of their connected film accounts and we pretty much found out the group of people involved but it never got resolved. I wish we all could support one another and the hard work that goes into making a movie. But so many people compare and despair and rather knock others down.

Sharon: Unfortunately it isn’t just horror that can be cut-throat in this industry, but that’s another topic. I could write a book. Where can fans watch your movies and get updates?

Angela: IMDb is a great place to check the things I’ve done and what’s coming up. And the internet is always your friend to see where the films or shows are airing/streaming/screening.

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