Girls and Corpses Presents Escape From Area 51 Starring Donna D’Errico and Chris Browning Interview with writer/director Eric Mittleman Planned release Fall 2020
When conspiracy theorists raid the famous military base Area 51, no one gets in but someone gets out. Sheera, a sexy alien warrior (Donna D’Errico - Playboy, Baywatch), uses a power glitch to escape from captivity at Area 51. Her escape using a portal gun sets off an energy signature which attracts the attention of her arch rival Sklarr (Chris Browning - Bob of Eli, Sons of Anarchy, Agent Carter, Ray Donovan). Now she must elude Jill, an Area 51 scientist (Veronica Farran - Choke, Red Moon Lake) and Sklarr to rescue Kyra, her fellow warrior, and find her way home.
Sheera (Donna D’Errico): An alien hero who has been held captive at Area 51. During the well-publicized raid on the facility she escapes setting off a chan reaction across the galaxy.
Sklarr (Chris Browning): He is the villain who is lured to earth in pursuit of Sheera.
Kyra (Anouk Samuel): Sheera’s second in command who has been watching for intergalactic signals so she can rescue her.
Molly (Chloe Amen): An earth girl who becomes quickly enamored with Sheera and her battles. She gradually gets drawn into the intergalactic struggle.
Earnest (Caleb Thomas): An opportunistic earth boy who must choose between being selfish and self less.
Jason (Zeke Jones): An earth boy stoner who is not really sure where he is but is determined to have fun… and dance.
Dr. Jill Landress (Veronica Farran): The Area 51 scientist determined to track down Sheera (Donna D’Errico) and return her to Area 51.
Q&A with writer/director Eric Mittleman:
Girls and Corpses: How would you describe the genre of Escape From Area 51? Sci-fi or comedy or both?
Eric Mittleman: I’d describe “Escape from Area 51” as a Sci-fi comedy. My goal was to create something unique. Both of our lead actors, Donna D’Errico and Chris Browning are not known for comedy but are both tremendously funny. My goal was to tell an interesting sci-fi story while giving both of these talented actors an environment to create really funny characters.
Girls and Corpses: Why were you interested in making a sci-fi movie? What are the most influential sci-fi movies for you?
Eric Mittleman: I grew up on Star Trek TOS and Star Wars so sci-fi has always been in my blood. This led me to seek out written works from Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury (to name a few). Over the years my thirst for sci-fi grew and I couldn’t get enough. Everything from “serious” culturally significant sci-fi like “1984” to fun stuff like “Barbarella” which definitely influenced this movie.
Girls and Corpses: How did you meet Donna D’Errico?
Eric Mittleman: I met Donna when I was a staff producer at Playboy TV. She was (and still is) the perfect combination of beauty, brains and a twisted sense of humor.
Girls and Corpses: Why did you this Donna D’Errico would be right for the part of Sherra?
Eric Mittleman: Last year I co-wrote produced and directed some promos for a podcast Donna was doing at the time. These promos confirmed something I kind of knew all along. She had crazy good acting chops and was also funny. This immediately sent me on a quest to find projects for us to work on.
Girls and Corpses: Tell us a bit about the other actors in the film and why they were cast.
Sklarr: Chris Browning - I’d seen Chris on Ray Donovan and was already a big fan. Also, he doesn’t get the opportunity to do comedy often so he wanted in from the get go. Overall this was a great match and he delivered beyond my expectations (which were pretty high).
Kyra: Anouk Samuel - Anouk gave a fun audition. Then I looked at her Instagram. She’s not shy which is always a good quality in an actor. She’s working hard to carve out her place in the world and I was happy to hear that she wanted to be a part of this movie. Beautiful, fun and talented she was a perfect fit for Kyra.
Molly: Chloe Amen - When Chloe auditioned I thought she was much older. When I found out she was only 16 it only stregnthened my view of her as an actor. She was the perfect counter point to Donna D'Errico’s Sheera.
Earnest: Caleb Thomas - I hadn’t seen any of Caleb’s Nickelodeon shows so he got the part of Earnest off of his self-tape. I could tell from first look that he’d deliver on this role. Plus, since I didn’t know his prior work I let him play this role a little older and didn’t try and copy his Nickelodeon success. I think his fans will see a refreshing new side of him as he grows into adult hood. They’ll also see what he looks like with scruffy facial hair.
Jason: Zeke Jones - Zeke’s been working on my sets as a production intern since he was very young. I’ve seen him grow up (literally) into a very talented actor, dancer and more. He is also one of the tallest people I know so he had the talent and the height to face off with Chris Browning’s Sklarr. Casting Zeke was that simple.
Kelton Jones & Clint Carney: Donna’s attackers - These two fine actors and friends get an honorable mention as the first humans to face off with Donna D’Errico’s Sheera. I wanted to cast people I knew in these parts so Donna would be comfortable with the physicality of the attack. I also cast them as a wink to the success of their indie film “Dry Blood” where they both worked behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
Girls and Corpses: What is the message of Escape of Area 51?
Eric Mittleman: There is no big message behind “Escape from Area 51.” Maybe the message is things aren’t always what they seem.
Girls and Corpses: What was it like working with Robert “Corpsy” Rhine for the first time? And have you worked with David Sterling before?
Eric Mittleman: I liked working with Corpsy. When I first met him he totally wasn’t what I expected. I expected someone edgy and maybe a bit reckless. What I found was a wonderful, creative and smart business man with a clear vision of what makes good genre entertainment. Originally this movie was just a story about an alien trying to get home. He came up with the Area 51 twist which I think is just wonderful. It gave the story focus and a quick and easy to understand back story. I hadn’t worked with David Sterling either. David was great at providing me with an environment where I could be creative and collaborative with my cast and crew to create something that I hope is fun and a little unique. How about that for unique… a low budget genre movie where the director only has good things to say about his producers!
Girls and Corpses: How did you manage to shoot 16 pages a day? And what is your secret to directing ultra low budget?
Eric Mittleman: Did I shoot 16 pages a day? F**k, I’m tired. As far as my secrets for directing ultra low budget I’ll save those for my book, but here’s a hint… give your actors fun stuff to do and let them create great characters. At this budget one of the few elements that is the same if you have a higher budget are the actors performances so use them and let your team make you look good.