Interview: Traci Lords Dissects The Challenges Of EXCISION

Juan J. Espinoza, Contributing Writer
After a successful festival run and a US release on home video Richard Bates Jr's Excision hit Blu-ray and DVD in the UK, giving us the opportunity to talk about the film with star Traci Lords. Here's what she has to say about this striking American indie.

Twitch: Where do you place Excision in your body of work, what attracted you to this particular screenplay?

Traci Lords: My agent sent me the script and the short Excision is based on. I was impressed with director Richard Bates Jr. vision. The role of Phyllis was one I had not played before. The emotional journey of this mother was exciting to me.

What did you bring to the character of 'Phyllis' that wasn't in the script? How was working with first time director Richard Bates Jr.?

Ricky and I had a very collaborative relationship. We sat down and worked page by page to really find the emotional honesty of the character. I think I managed to bring some humor to this very stern woman.

You've played a lot of roles in fantasy and sci-fi oriented films but this is the first time, I think, you've played a middle-aged married woman with two troublesome daughters. How did you approach this? Did you bring your own experiences as a mother to the part? Do you think the movie does a good job at portraying the difficulties of being a mother?

While I've played mother roles in the past - most notably in Novel Romance and Certain Guys - my children in those films were toddlers. This is the first time I've played the mother of teenagers.

The layers of this character were really interesting to explore. The struggle Phyllis has trying to "fix" her family was great to play with - the anger, denial, loathing, horror and most of all love! Wow! This was such a juicy role for me as an actor. Physically I gained fifteen pounds to play Phyllis. And I'm so glad I did. The "softness" really helped me disappear into her.

How do you compare the story and themes conveyed in this film to the other movies you've made in the horror genre or to other movies being made today in that genre? Do you think Excision is a horror film, per se? Is it a female-horror movie?

Excision is the scariest kind of horror movie. It's the emotional, psychological journey that is really frightening. Ricky Bates Jr. did an amazing job building the story. And yes! It is fabulous to have the leads be female!

Your character and AnnaLynne McCord's are front and center in the story, the story sometimes seeming to be a duel between the two of you. How was working with McCord, who is much less experienced than you?

AnnaLynn did a fantastic job. It was a brave performance and my hat's off to her. I look forward to seeing what she does next.

You wrote and directed Sweet Pea back in 2005. Was that experience important to your learning process as an actress? Did it change the way you work alongside directors and other performers?  Are you going back to the director's chair anytime soon?

Directing Sweet Pea made me a better actress. I just really got to experience every facet of film making. It made me realize that as an actor I am but one ingredient! An important one, but only one! It left me hungry for more. And yes, I will do that again. Maybe with the lovely and talented AnnaLynn.....
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  • mightyjoeyoung

    "giving us the opportunity to talk about the film with star Traci Lords."
    Good interview Mr Espinoza, just wished you got the chance to ask her about the upcoming MacGyver film....she was in the original series.

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