|Owen: Debbie, how
are you? I think I have been a blithering
fan ever since 'Hellblock 13'.
Do fans writing you give you a lot of
Debbie: Wow, that
is such a nice thing to say! It's amazing the
wonderful things that fans say to me and it
really helps me through the rough times.
Seriously, I have always said if it weren't for
the kindness of the fans it really wouldn't be
worth it! Some days you get the notion to just
quit and then you receive an amazing letter at
the post office that tells you that your work is
appreciated by somebody and that's enough to get
you excited again.
Owen: First off I just want to say you are a miracle
Debbie. I mean you were a homeless teen in
Vancouver, dropped out of school in 7th grade,
and here you are at the top of your game.
Talk about triumph over adversity! Did
having that strong "I'm going to be a great
actress" vision save your butt?
Debbie: Yes a
strong stubborn will saved my butt for sure. The
experience of being told I was good as an extra
at age 12 had A LOT to do with it. I just
happened upon a role in "Ladies and
Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains!" and as
trite as it may sound, that compliment made me
proud for the first time in my life up until that
moment. I think the assistant director who said
that to me probably saved my life seeing I was
homeless and things could have gone one of a
million ways for me. I have always been very
strong-minded and that's what has kept me in the
game so long. I don't think of why I can't do
something but how I'm going to try and make
something happen. I've had a lot of failures but
my strong denial abilities just allow me to plow
through the bad stuff! The only thing that truly
tripped me up was my accident in 2002 when I had
all my fingers on my right hand almost completely
cut off on a film set due to carelessness on the
part of the production. I was in a pretty deep
depression for a long time after that. I am just
now starting to feel better but will be forever
disabled to a certain degree. I had 2 operations
and have recovered a decent amount of agility and
movement in my fingers.
Owen: That sounds horrible. I knew you had been
injured but I didn't know what it was. Did
that experience make you more cautious when
it comes to dealing with the
technical and prop aspects of low budget
Debbie: Yes I am
very VERY cautious when working with people. I
have made a few people completely rewrite their
contracts before I will sign them! One of the
scariest things these days are the filmmakers who
don't want to take responsibility for their own
sets! Can you imagine running a set, which is a
place of work, and expecting people to sign
contacts that says they're not responsible if you
get hurt while making their film? That's insane.
I strongly suggest to anyone out there working on
non-union films not to ever sign any contracts
that make such statements!
Owen: I love that your career has embraced the gamut of
indie film --- from the sexploitation flicks, to
parody, comedies, T & A
horror, straight on
horror... What about the independent
scene makes it preferable to Hollywood's A-list?
Debbie: Well I
have always said I would love the paychecks that
the Hollywood folks get! But I love the
characters in the indie scene. You never get to
play crazed, evil bitches like you do in this
genre. And that is without a doubt what I love to
do most. So I would have to say the great
characters and wonderful devoted fans make this
indie world worthwhile for me.
You really do seem to love it a lot. Is
that what bonded you with pal Joe Bob Briggs and
your eventually stint as a columnist for the Joe
Well that's a long story but he was aware of my
writing in the early years of Femme Fatales
magazine. He needed someone who could write short
gossip column like items on what was happening in
the genre scene. He loved Melissa Moore's
writing, she did the column before I, but she was
better at long form plus I think she was just
about to move into the country and raise horses
at that point. So when my stint with FF ended in
1994 he called me up and I wrote the column until
he folded The Joe Bob Report a few years later.
What is your typical determining factor
when choosing projects? Is a big juicy role
or a big juicy paycheck more tantalizing to you?
eases the pain living in NYC there's no doubt.
But even still I really don't take something just
for the money anymore. I have to be excited about
it. And it doesn't have to be the lead. The
character just has to be something I feel I
haven't done before (at least not that EXACT
character) and something that sounds FUN. It can
be hard work fun, not literally ha-ha fun but fun
to me is hard work in a satisfying role anyway.
Your commitment to your roles is quite
well known and highly respected. First off,
what is the craziest/most unusual thing you
have ever done to prepare for a role and
secondly, where do you draw the line...and does
that line sometimes blur?
silliest thing I have ever done for a role is go
to the zoo and watch apes move before playing an
ape in "Play-Mate of the Apes."
I have studied victims for roles like
Jennifer in "Nowhere Man"
and studied psychopaths for roles like Jane in
I studied Lewis and Martin comedies before
shooting "Dr. Horror's Erotic House
of Idiots." On Both "Nowhere
Man" and "American
Nightmare" there was a blurry line
after we would finish shooting for the day. There
was also that sort of feeling while I was playing
a victim in "Abducted II: The
Reunion" because I just got into it
so much it was exhausting.
When you are playing an insane character (like
Jane Toppan in 'American Nightmare)
what is the most important thing for you to keep
in mind to stay in character?
must always stay in character. You have to focus
on whatever puts you in that state. It will wear
off after time, and then you have to find
something else that works. Nothing will
constantly work so everyday you make a movie like
that is a new struggle with your method. Some
days it's easier to get there and some days it
feels really impossible. But it's also important
to let it go if you have a huge amount of down
time and just rest your mind otherwise you would
REALLY go insane and that's not the point of
Owen: Do you have a favorite role of yours when you've
watched the movie and said, "Man, I nailed
it! Better yet, give me your five
favorite performances for the Debbie Rochon
performance time capsule.
Death Defying Acts
Witchouse 3: Demon Fire
Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots
so hard; most films are great
memories for their own reasons!)
You've also had a close association with Lloyd
Kaufman and the Troma Studios bunch (with films
like 'Terror Firmer' and 'Tromeo
and Juliet'). What did
that intense period of working with them
teach you about making films?
Debbie: I have
known Lloyd since 1992. He'll always be a great
friend. I have learned so much from him I have
forgotten what I knew without him in my life! But
film related I would have to say he taught me to
take chances. He's really like an absurdist
painter in a crazy way. You can act big and dumb
and that is not what Troma is about. You have to
combine a grounded character with HUGE choices
and that makes it funny. You can't play the jokes
in Troma movies or it doesn't work. I think he
has taught me to take big risks.
Owen: Since you are so respected for your acting and
commitment to roles how much freedom do directors
give you with character? Is the initial
vibe you have with the director a big factor in
your choosing projects?
the directors give me total freedom with my
roles. I have worked with a few good directors
but I would like to work with more good
directors! Directors who give you direction and
can actually improve your performance. That's
what I hope for and enjoy. I do like to be left
alone a certain amount but I always would much
rather have input from someone with a vision who
knows what they're doing.
Somewhat tying in with that it seems so
many actors these days have a desire to
direct. Is that something you want to do in
the future and if so, what have learned in front
of the camera that will come in handy behind
Debbie: Well, I
have not been bitten by that bug yet. I do not
under estimate what it takes to be a great
director! But I certainly know a lot about
filmmaking. I have learned about what sort of
coverage I like and one needs. I know enough
about editing to know instantly (even without
trying to think about it) if we have shot enough
to actually cut the scene together. I have a very
good visual instinct so that has always helped
me. I use that a lot when I create new characters
I like to draw them. Unless it's a very small
one-day role then I usually just show up and
I'm curious too, your popularity
hasn't really manifested in that sort of false
"No more nudity for me!" kind of
stance. Care to comment?
Debbie: I have
never had a problem with nudity but I don't
especially enjoy it either! It's really just part
of the job! I think if you want to get into the
film business it's almost a prerequisite. Even
big budget movies have it. Films imitate life and
life has nudity in it. ;)
Owen: You've made well over 100 films to date.
That's amazing. Do you have some sort of
ultimate career goal?
Debbie: You mean
number wise? That's a great question! Maybe I
should stop at 300? Thats a nice round
What are you working on currently and what
projects do you have lined up in the future?
Debbie: I am currently shooting "Raptureous"
with Kamal Ahmed (ex Jerky Boy), I will be headed
to Buffalo for 5 weeks to shoot "Poultrygeist:
Attack of the Chicken Zombies!"
directed by Lloyd Kaufman. I just shot a couple
of shorts, one directed by Neil McCurry called
"Possessed" and one
called "Black Jack's Magic Room"
co-starring Michael Risley. I have been working
on my show at Fangoria TV called Trailer
Park, which features hilarious trailers
from sci-fi and horror films of the 50's and
60's. And other very cool projects in the
works including a possible sequel to American
So what is something that scares Debbie Rochon in
Debbie: Ticks. I
really, really hate ticks.
Owen: What's some small bit of trivia or detail
about you that will shock readers of this
Debbie: I'm a sex change? That's not true. Maybe the fact
that I'm a homebody and love to cook? That's
true. I used to be a hit-woman? That's not
true. At age 16 I put myself through finishing
school and was taught how to work a runway.
That's true. Anyone shocked yet? If you go to www.CoffeeShopofHorrors.com and buy my new brand of
coffee you'll live longer? That MIGHT be true! ;)