Nathalie Boltt Puts A Good Sense to the ‘Riverdale’ Maternal Role

ATM: If your character were to look in the mirror, then what do you believe she would see?

NB: I do not think Penelope looks in the mirror with much ease. She probably does not really look into her own soul. If you know what I mean. This would be hard for her to ask the question of “Who am I? Who am I becoming?” This is quite difficult for her to ask a hard question. It is easier for Penelope to plot and move forward. Also, to distract herself with plans of how she is going to get back on top.

ATM: How would you express Riverdale’s civilization such as social life, social norms, and how they operate?

NB: I do not think there are any social norms. I think Riverdale is an extremely twisted place. I feel like teenagers are the off springs who are the normal ones. The parents are all completely out of their minds. Who knows? Maybe this does reflect a lot of how young people see adults. We have all got to a place where things are quite confused, and no one really knows what is good or what is bad anymore. There is a lot of crime in Riverdale. You can get away with an enormous amount of criminal activity without getting caught. The story has a sort of reality where anything can happen. You can get away with poisoning, drug dealing, and murder. In season one, the kids all starting out innocent has rapidly changed. I feel like if you are watching scenes now in Season 3, you feel bad for the kids. You see how things get really complicated easily. If we are not careful, then these children will become twisted like their parents quickly. It is quite a complicated civilization and community in Riverdale if you put it all together.

ATM: What is your character really searching for? Is it power? Is it a sense of trying to internally belong to herself? What is it?

NB: Penelope runs the Maple club. It is a club of domination. It is less about sex, and it is more about control. I am going to speak as Penelope here. I tie it into the fact that I have had this awful childhood where I was adopted as a small kid. I was groomed into the Blossom family essentially to marry my adopted brother. This is very already twisted. You can understand as Penelope I have a weird understanding of life and family. Over the last few seasons, she has suffered a lot. Always fighting with her daughter and the relationships with Nana, Rose, the mother in law are abusive. Penelope has had enough of all this. She is trying to figure out who is she. At the same time, she is getting revenge. She is finding her own power and being a madame. She is a dominatrix and a madame of a bordello that is specialized in domination. This is all about her getting her power back. She was in love with serial killers and understands them. It all makes sense when you try and understand someone who has been controlled and separate their whole life. Penelope is one a path to expressing herself and finding her own power.

ATM: What labels would be attached to her if she lived in our reality?

NB: She is a feminist, but a dark feminist. I would not say feminist hate men the way Penelope does. She has her own personal cost to bare. I would call her dominatrix. This would be a label I put on her. I would call her a murderer. I would call her a victim because of being abandoned as a child, sent to an orphanage, adopted by a very strange family that was out of control. I would label her a bad parent for sure. I would also label her as hopeful. Hopeful is a little bit too sweet. She is in search of redemption. She is a bit of a martyr. She sees herself as a bit of a Jon of Arc or someone who is along these lines. Is she prepared to die for other women to reclaim their power? Maybe.

ATM: What seems to be some of your character’s coping mechanisms?

NB: Penelope coping mechanism on a superficial level is style. She has had a distinct style and dresses with incredible class with an old fashion vintage aesthetic. No matter what happened to her even when losing her house and family, her dignity, her inheritance, she always found a way to look good. She covers herself. She protects herself with this mask of class, style with what she looks like on the outside. She does not conform to any norms. I have a kind of the 20s or 30s aesthetic. Her other coping mechanism is that she is closed and mysterious with what she reveals. There is a quiet to her personality. She will only reveal what is actually going on in her mind when she directly pressed for information by someone. She probably only tells Betty because she is her niece. Penelope has a secret desire to aim for the family because she has lost everyone.

Coping mechanisms are an outer shell for control and a very serene posture and vibe that does not reveal to me. In the end, her coping mechanism is that she has this skill. She has a quiet power in how she gets through to people in her path. This is her ability to poison. She has some secret abilities, and this is how she copes. Planning and plotting are a part of her coping mechanism. In her core, she is playing a chase game here. She has a very clear plan. She is picking off the pieces in her past. So, she can control and win her game. Maybe she is like a chess piece and maybe the queen on the chessboard.

ATM: How would an audience from South Africa view your character and her nonconventional ways?

NB: This is an interesting question. Very interesting. While a household name in South Africa, I was on a show where I played a journalist. She was always on a mission to out the baddies and hunt down the truth. Now, I am kind of the opposite. Now, I am the baddie. Betty is the blonde who is in my case. My fans in South Africa view me so well. This is a real switch around. To be honest, they have been very complimentary of my acting skills. They say “This is incredible to see your range. You seem to be able to play anything. You are so evil on screen now, but so loving in real life.” I go “Well this is acting life. This is a part of the craft.” You take a character and you put it on. You try this skin on. It was fantastic playing the romantic show in South Africa. It is now fun being a terrible villain. They are very proud. I get a lot of “I am proud of you and how far you have come and stuck with it.” There are not a lot of South Africans that have survived the whole international transition. I am very blessed to have done this and have brought my fans with me.

ATM: How would a New Zealand male viewer perceive your role?

NB: A lot of what I did was a comedy when moving to New Zealand. This was fun. I just did Happy Together with Damian Wayans Jr. I do love this side. For them to see me play in an award-winning Australian movie production than playing this actress. They would go “Yes, this probably makes sense.” I do not know if you can see it, but there is a bit of comedy in Penelope. She is so complete in this and twisted. It is to the point where I say horrific things to the character Shellie that you can almost burst out laughing. It is like I cannot believe that this is happening right now. A New Zealand audience would be smirking at Penelope going “There she goes again. She is completely mad.” If you saw it from a male perceptive, then they would be a little terrified. She is a male hater on the show. I was also a dominating woman on the comedies in New Zealand. I played the hard-drinking, brash girlfriend in Isidingo.

ATM: What connection do you try to draw while working the Palm Oil Organization?

NB: If you get to know me as Nathalie Boltt and not Penelope the actress, then you will see I have always been a very passionate conservationist and a wildlife activist. The only connection there is the red hair with the orangutan. The orangutan is the key species that are being critical in endangered. I reached out and said, “Can we make it a red hair connection?” This would really raise awareness going “Hey, Riverdale this is Riverdale, but also hey guys have you realized what is going on with the other side of the planet.” A lot of people do not know how their choices of what they buy in North American stores affect third world countries, especially in Indonesia. The oil mayfar. This is where some cosmetics and in cleaning products come from. I am a person who entertains with my madness, social media captions, humor.

Then I go “How about this?” People go “What?” I go “Yeah, this is what happens. You have a choice every single day in what you do and what you buy. We can all team up together and make a difference. I have really interesting fans that if they follow me they do not just get some superficial posting of pictures on set or this outfit or that. The rest of the time I am encouraged to think, to speak, express themselves, and make smart choices. I also think the people who follow Riverdale are the young people who will use their inherent through our inheritance in the world and change it for better.

We are at a time where you see so many smart young people speaking out about gun violence at school, how some politicians do not represent them, or how the environment is in absolute crisis and nothing is being done. I like to be one of those people who goes “Come on let’s say something and make a difference?” If I can help you make a difference, then I will help you run with it and start making a difference. This is my role in a way. This is my other role in a way in life. To use my profile for good. To get back to your original question. I hope that my fans in Indonesia can see this. Even though they are far away, I want them to know that I see them, I hear them, and care about them. There is quite a difference between Penelope and Nathalie Boltt.

NB: What can you admit about the reality of endangered species in Indonesia and how this can transform a person’s emotions?

ATM: It is very real and scary in what is happening down there. We are losing tropical rain forest at the rate of a football field every three seconds. If you can picture what this means. Everyone needs to think about is the rapid break and forests as the lines of the earth. They are being cut out. It is simple to understand that when you lose these lines you die. No matter where the forests of the earth that are being cut down will not have the forest in our area and we die. Going down here and seeing how devasting the Palm Oil industry has been and how quickly we are losing our forests. We need to do something need and change policies. We need to boycott Palm Oil. It became real when I went down there. It is not sad little cute pictures of baby orangutans or other animal species being taken to orphanages. It is not cute. It is just devastating.

You see places that were full of life and they have been replaced by this monoculture that has nothing living in it. It is at a rate that is far that we will eventually lose our rainforest within three years. I am trying to wake people up to this is being real and not made up. I am helping Palm Oil investigation and an engineer to develop an app where you can just scan your product to see if Palm Oil is in it. We are also looking to develop a sustainable Palm Oil plantation. This does not exist yet. At some point cutting your own indigenous forest will stop. This is what you can learn and find from being in the forest. We are not there yet. I am trying to help this, happen.

New Trailer: ‘Wonder Park’

WONDER PARK tells the story of a magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive. 

STARRING:Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Norbert Leo Butz, Brianna Denski and Ken Hudson Campbell

‘UglyDolls’: NEW Trailer and Character Posters

Unconventionality rules in UGLYDOLLS, STXfilms’ new animated musical adventure starring the acting and singing voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton and Pitbull. 

In the adorably different town of Uglyville, weird is celebrated, strange is special and beauty is embraced as more than simply meets the eye. Here, the free-spirited Moxy (Clarkson) and her UglyDoll friends live every day in a whirlwind of bliss, letting their freak flags fly in a celebration of life and its endless possibilities.  In this all-new story, the UglyDolls will go on a journey beyond the comfortable borders of Uglyville. There, they will confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing because who you truly are is what matters most. 

The film is inspired by the unique and beloved global plush toy phenomenon launched in 2001 and features all new original songs from the cast of popstars. 

Also starring in the voice cast of UGLYDOLLS are Wanda Sykes, Gabriel Iglesias, Wang Leehom, Emma Roberts, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX and Lizzo.

Check out posters and trailer below.

In Theaters from May 3, 2019

Netflix acquires rights to Grant Sputore’s ‘I Am Mother’

I AM MOTHER is a sci-fi thriller about a teenage girl (Rugaard), who is the first of a new generation of humans to be raised by Mother (Byrne), a robot designed to repopulate the earth after the extinction of humankind. But the pair’s unique relationship is threatened when an injured stranger (Swank) arrives with news that calls into question everything Daughter has been told about the outside world and her Mother’s intentions.

Director: Grant Sputore in his feature film debut Screenwriter: Michael Lloyd Green, based on a story by Grant Sputore and Michael Lloyd Green Cast: Two-time Academy Award® winner Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t CryMillion Dollar Baby), up-and-comer Clara Rugaard (Teen SpiritGood Favour), Golden Globe® and Emmy® nominee Rose Byrne (Instant FamilyX-Men: Apocalypse) Producers: Kelvin Munro for The Penguin Empire, Timothy White for Southern Light Films Executive Producers:  Paris Kasidokostas Latsis, Terry Dougas and Jean-Luc De Fanti for Rhea Films, Bryce Menzies, Grant Sputore, Philip Wade, John Wade  Co-producers: Anna Vincent and Michael Lloyd Green

Nathalie Boltt Talks Nelson Mandela, Stereotypes and Cultures

ATM: How can the understanding of climate change help a person understand this issue related to the Palm Oil?

NB: I think everyone understands climate change at this point. You do not have to know the major details. You just have to understand that we have thrown ourselves out of balance as people. Our planet is getting warmer and our weather is changing. Any day you watch the news to see fires, wild storms, and the completely unusual changes in temperature from extreme cold in places where it did not use to have this happen. The danger is people feel overwhelmed and they do not know what to do about it. They think: “I am one person.” You have a teenager at school going “I feel like I have no control over my life because my parents make these choices. So, what do I do?”

A lot of people have told me that watching my post on Palm Oil has inspired them to do their school project on it. They have done presentations and their school has taken on the project, without having known about the issue before. But now know what is going on, so one person has made a difference. This is good because everyone feels involved.

Also, the positive side to social media is that anyone can build their following if they are passionate enough and talk about what they are passionate about. This could be deforestation, climate change, saving species, or getting plastic out of the ocean. We have a voice now through social media. This can be very empowering. You can find your tribe of people who feel the same way. There is so much you can do in terms of connecting with people who can support your cause, finding friends with the same values and voicing your worries. I didn’t have that as a kid, so the Internet is a blessing if you use it right.

ATM: When you were younger why did you not know how to help people?

NB: Because this was before the internet. In South Africa, where I grew up, we had very little access to real information during the Apartheid years. We did not have T.V until late. This was controlled by the government. So, our information about our society, was told to us in the newspapers. We did not know how black people were being treated. I was living in this strange bubble. And when the government changed and Nelson Mandela came out of prison, I realized I had been living a complete lie. I watch what is going on in America now and go “Wow, it is going backward. In terms of integration and compassion and acceptance of all ethnicities and belief systems, we are going backward.” After what I experienced in South Africa, where a society woke up and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that allowed victims and perpetrators to speak and apologize and heal, I feel saddened and extremely frustrated witnessing the enabling of separation that is going on in the US. But I am very hopeful it will change. I know it will. Because we can speak up through social media. Unlike in South Africa in the 80s, where these outlets didn’t yet exist.  The only people who I could speak to as a kid were my school friends and teachers. I could ask my parents how I could help. My mom always made me aware of people in need. At university, my friends, whose parents had been involved int he anti-anti-apartheid struggle, made me aware of what had really been going on in our country. They taught me to question everything, to think for myself, to be proud of standing up for a cause.

With regards to my passion for conservation, my mother helped me speak out about my passion for the environment. She helped me. She has a huge heart and has spent her life connected to animals. Our home was a zoo of saved animals! So of course, that has influenced me. The connection to another species and our natural world is deeply therapeutic.

ATM: Going back to growing up in apartheid South Africa, If the newspapers showed something went wrong, then you believed it no matter what. You did not have anyone coming out saying their opinion whether it was fake or real.

NB: You just ate it all up. Especially as a kid, you trust people. You think this is true. You just go with it and it is only much later you go “Oh, wow. That was nonsense. We believed a lie.” This has made me who I am today. I have great compassion for all communities and cultures. I have a great understanding of how you can be one thing and then turn out and become something different as long as someone just explains to you what is going on. I always encourage people on my social media to not get angry, shout, and lecturer people about anything. This does not start the conversation, but it ends the conversation. It ends up like where we are at in America, where certain groups of people are allowed hate whatever is not them. They are encouraged to fear ‘the other.’ This never solves anything. Fear can lead to violence and violence never solves anything. Never.

ATM: Although we are in the early parts of the 21st century, there are some American people who still believe there are no white people living in South Africa. This is totally not true. I would not blame them. I would blame what society puts out about how Africa is portrayed. How would you explain the social behavior growing up in South African as a white woman?

NB: This is a huge question, but it is a good one. Growing up as a white person, male or female, it was crazy. I finished high school during the last year before Nelson Mandela came out of prison and the system changed. I went to a white-only school. We did not learn about any history in South African that had to do with the Apartheid. We had a very one-sided curriculum. The following year everything changed. I went to a university that was very progressive and openminded. The people that I met there helped me to really wake up.

It was a beautiful time when Nelson Mandela was released from prison – the people fighting for him and for change – we had so much hope. Talking about the time of the rainbow nation. Nelson Mandela developed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which went on to be used throughout the world. This was all happening while I was at university. I felt so privileged and a blessing to see this happening.

The Truth and Reconciliation commission was essentially: let’s talk about it and let’s not fight about it. The perpetrators and victims were brought together in a court. They were invited to express their pain. As the perpetrator of a crime, if you told the truth, you were given amnesty. A very progressive concept. The healing that comes out of it this is so much more rich and helpful than being judged and incarcerated. For both victim and perpetrator. Because you can look each other in the eye, express your grief and see how flawed we are as human beings. People need healing. They need to say “I am so sorry. I did this because I was instructed to do so by the government.” Or give the reason and motivation for their crime and their deep regret.  The people on the other side are given the chance to express their trauma and say, “I need you to know how much you have hurt my family with the violence that was brought upon us.”  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission trailed around South Africa for three years listening to the pain caused by the Apartheid government. It was broadcast live on TV.  Witnessing it completely changed me and healed many thousands of people and a large part of the psyche of a very damaged South Africa. It was revolutionary and the reason SA did not break into a civil war.

How does this apply to my career as an actor? Well, I have witnessed so much. I have seen people change completely. So, I am very aware that it is possible to be any character you choose as long as you believe and give that person a back story. Why are they like this? What happened in their life to make them like this? Actors are very accepting of people’s any traits.  We are the ones that are fearless of ‘the other’. We are always putting on each other’s skin and trying on someone’s character.

We always need a recipe to create something new and life-changing. I was on this show, Isisdingo (The Need) and the movie, District 9. Isidingo, is one of the longest-running daily dramas in South Africa. It showed the first interracial kiss or relationship. This was huge. It was so cool to be a part of this. You portray something and people see it is possible. This creates change. In District 9, it was this brilliant commentary on the ‘aliens’, the victors to Earth, that were treated so badly, and it was shot in these refugee camps. So, this was a very smart commentary on, not only what had happened politically in South Africa, but also on how refugees are treated globally. It was a privilege to be part of these stories – there is nothing better than to know you are a part of the change of a terrible system that turned into a better system. This is my experience.

Even in New Zealand, I learned about the anti-anti-apartheid movement – information I hadn’t heard while living in SA because the censorship of the news. When I lived in NZ, I learned about how the 1981 Springbok tour was boycotted in New Zealand. Many people believed, quite rightly, that the South African rugby team would not be allowed to tour, as people of colour were not allowed to join the national team.

It was fascinating to see how New Zealand influenced the change of power in South Africa. And the whole debacle was played on the radio in South Africa and Nelson Mandela got to hear about the rugby boycott in New Zealand from his cell on Robben Island.

ATM: There are some things society feeds people that are not true. They so long have wanted to keep us divided. You grow up thinking this race is better or this gender is that way. A lot of what is taught in education today and from the beginning of time is not true. When you go to the source, you realize the lies that society embeds in your head through tests, quizzes, and etc.

NB: Exactly. We have a lot of work to do to open minds and undo the damage of racism and bigotry. For example, the terrible attack on Jussie Smollett. There have been some posts from the Riverdale cast on how we really stand by him. Riverdale is very gender balanced and LGBTQA proud, so I am very happy to be part of that. This also goes for our sister show Sabrina. It is something to be proud of that we do not stand by any of the hate that is going on in the world. We want to be a part of the people who speak out about these things. All of us stand for something positive on the show.

ATM: How was your race and gender in New Zealand assessed once moving there?

NB: Contemporary NZ is predominantly European. So, going from that background, there was nothing unusual about me, when I moved there. Maori is the indigenous culture there, along with an interesting mix of Pacific Island culture, Indian, Asian and so on. I was hoping to be speaking influent in Maori within the ten years living here, but sadly, even though there is now a lot of Te Reo/ Maori taught in the school curriculum now, I didn’t pick it up in my day to day.  It did not happen. It was when I moved around a bit and got involved with some of the T.V shows where I got to mix more, culturally. New Zealand has some historical issues in terms of race relations, but not the same scale as South Africa. I really enjoy being around the Maori friends I made, and getting to learn more about their culture, which is fascinating and proud and very musical and artistic. I was once told I have ‘mana’ after I performed in a series about the part the Maori soldiers played in the Gallipoli war. ‘Mana’ means grace and dignity. I was so moved by this. The Maori culture is based on mana. So, this was very meaningful to me.  

Thank you for your interesting questions. Not a lot of people have gone there with me. I am always open to discussing my background, and cultures.

‘Jay and Silent Bob Reboot’ Open Casting Call

Caballero Casting is now casting background actors to work on the upcoming “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” is now casting in New Orleans, Louisiana. Production is set to start in New Orleans at the end of this month. Producers are looking for people to play Convention Goers, such as “Cos-players, Jay and Silent Bob Fans, and people who just love to be creative and dress up to create their own awesome costumes!”

About ‘Jay and Silent Bob Reboot’:

Jay and Silent Bob return to Hollywood to stop a reboot of ‘Bluntman and Chronic’ movie from getting made. The movie will be directed by Kevin Smith. Smith, made his film debut in the 1994 comedy “Clerks,” funded for $27,000 by maxing out his credit cards.

How to apply:

Love Jay and Silent Bob or Bluntman and Chronic? Dress up as them!!
We are currently casting background for Kevin Smith’s new film starting production in New Orleans at the end of this month.
ROLE: CONVENTION GOERS We are looking for Cos-players, Jay and Silent Bob Fans, and people who just love to be creative and dress up to create their own awesome costumes!

Costume Requirements: Costume must be homemade, not store bought. We welcome creative variations of color, pattern and shapes but the overall look must still be recognizable as the characters Jay, Silent Bob, Bluntman or Chronic. The more creative the costume, the greater your chance of being featured – mix them with other themes or famous pop culture characters! Show us your skills!

SHOOT DATES: March (After Mardi Gras)
Multiple Costumes? Send pics of them all!
No Costume? Make one!
Submission Process:
Submissions should be sent to:
All submissions must include:
Your name \ Your age \City, State of residence \ Contact # \ Photos of you in costume

Newport Beach UK Honours Kicks Off BAFTA Weekend With Celebration of UK Creative Talent

In a star-studded celebration of the best of UK talent from film, television, and music, the Newport Beach Film Festival kicked off BAFTA weekend with the Newport Beach Film Festival UK Honours on Feb. 7 at The Langham London.

For 20 years, the Newport Beach Film Festival, one of the fasted growing luxury lifestyle film festivals in the United States, has included a dedicated UK showcase during its 10-day program.  Starting in 2015, the film festival and Visit Newport Beach partnered to elevate the connection to the UK industry by honoring talent via the Newport Beach Film Festival UK Honours held in London just ahead of the BAFTA Awards. Honours include Arts Champions, Breakout Talent, Artists of Distinction, Icons, and Outstanding Achievement in Cinema.

2019 Newport Beach Film Festival UK Honours Honorees


Stan & Ollie – Jon S. Baird, Jeff Pope


The Favourite


Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, All or Nothing), John Llyod (Blackadder, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)


Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey, The Trip), Lily Cole (Balls, Snow White and the Huntsman), Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones, Fortitude), Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey, Liar), Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey, A United Kingdom)


Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth, The Bisexual), Ellie Bamber (Nocturnal Animals, High Resolution), Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Ready Player One), Louis Ashbourne Serkis (The Kid Who Would be King, Mowgli)


MediCinema, Women in Film and Television

Sara Colangelo to Direct ‘What is Life Worth’ Co-Starring Stanley Tucci

MadRiver Pictures has announced that Sara Colangelo (The Kindergarten Teacher, Little Accidents) will direct the true-life biographical drama, What Is Life Worth, and joining Academy Award nominee Michael Keaton (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Spotlight) is Academy Award® nominee Stanley Tucci (A Private War, Spotlight, The Lovely Bones). Academy Award winning producer Michael Sugar (Spotlight) will produce alongside MadRiver Pictures Marc Butan, Sean Sorensen, Max Borenstein, Bard Dorros and Keaton.  Kim Fox will executive produce along with Riverstone’s Nik Bower and Deepak Nayar.  Principal Photography will begin in New York in April.

Colangelo directed the acclaimed feature, The Kindergarten Teacher, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, where Netflix acquired and subsequently released on October 12. At Sundance, Colangelo won best director and the film was the runner up for the Grand Jury Prize.  Previously, Colangelo wrote and directed, Little Accidents starring Boyd Holbrook, which earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for ‘Best First Screenplay.’

Stanley Tucci, © Gerhard Kassner

Tucci can currently be seen in A Private War starring Rosamund Pike and Jamie Dornan. His other film credits include The Hunger Games films series, Academy Award® winning film Spotlight, and The Lovely Bones, for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

What Is Life Worth is an Erin Brockovich/Spotlight-type story of Ken Feinberg, a powerful insider D.C. lawyer put in charge of the 9/11 Fund, who in almost 3 years of pro bono work on the case, fights off the cynicism, bureaucracy and politics associated with administering government funds to victim’s families and in doing so, discovers what life is worth.

Mona Marshall Talks Sex, Erotic Art, and New Web Comic

ATM: You annotated readings while an English major in college.

MM: Yes. I was greatly influenced by Existentialism. I was one of those naïve midwestern kids. I grew up without the benefit of a mother from the time I was 14, which is when she died. I felt different which is the artist kind of thing. I never got along with my older sister. My dad died when I was 21. I was alienated from the family. My sister and father dealt with bipolar issues, but no one back then knew what this was. I went to college thinking here was Enlightenment, especially studying literature. I was extremely disappointed. As most 18 years old’s who are serious, I felt very helpless. I have always been into history and liked reading about the French Resistance.

This was the heart of Existentialism in a way. Here you had a group of people fighting against an overwhelming obnoxious force trying to take their lives and their country. These people never gave up. At this time, I read a book by Albert Camus called the Plague. All the truth has been written, how to deal with each other, how to be caring. Yet we continue to make these horrific mistakes. As a very young and naïve person, I felt helpless. I read the Plague and in it, he talks about once you are aware of the absurdity of the world you have four choices. The first one is to commit suicide.

Some of us do this directly with drugs or alcohol. The second is to extrapolate yourself from the absurdity. You become a hermit, isolate, and begin to live off the grid. The third is to click off your awareness and become a part of the absurdity. The fourth is to find meaning in what you do, being responsible for yourself, and in doing so you make changes the world. This idea appealed to me and this was my salvation. I still thought I was going to be an English professor at this time. I realized how political it was and I stopped lying to myself about wanting to be an entertainer. A part of this decision I owe to my first husband. I said, “I should go out for a play this year.” He said, “Why don’t you get up off your ass and do it?” So, I thank him for this and my last name. I am a very creative and reflective person. I’ve loved performing from the time I was small. They said I could hum before I could talk, and I believed them.

I wrote and made up songs as a kid. I was a heavy set, wore glasses and never felt a part of anything except when I would sing, dance and write. Fast forward to coming out to LA wanting to be a serious actress. This was kind of a joke. I should have gone to New York. I was teaching at a private professional school for young actors. One of my 5th graders was taking a voiceover workshop with the late Daws Butler (voice of Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Cap’n Crunch. His mom kept nagging me to take his class. said “You should do this. You would be really good at it.” I did not know what voiceover was. I took her advice, walked into Daws Butler’s workshop, and was blown away! I thought “I can be anything doing this. I am not limited by age, sex, or ethnicity.” Woah this is heaven for an actor.

ATM: When you annotate you go through the piece of work to highlight what is important. This is usually done with a highlighter or pen. Do you agree that your show South Park highlighting the hypocrisy in America is like annotating a piece of literature?

MM: South Park says, “If you are not walking the way you talk, then you are a part of hypocrisy.” We can all be hypocrites partly because of ignorance and partly because we can be a stubborn jackass. Stop pointing the finger at someone else.” Annotation for me, I’m referring to an annotated edition of a Sherlock Holmes book I read many years ago. I’m a big Sherlock Holmes fan. (There is a Robin William story that goes with this) is: let’s say you’re reading a line and you are not sure what it really means in context. An annotation gives you an historical and event time frame: this came at this time and this is when such and such happened. It is a reference to so and so. If you read a lot of early literature, especially the Romantics, the Greeks, Homer, etc., they used mythology so much. You might annotate which myth or character they are referencing and then get a better idea of how it relates to the reading. I guess you could say South Park annotates current events and society. Things happening today which will become history tomorrow.

ATM: It analyzes the world and society. The controversial things that happen.

MM: What they really do is point out hypocrisy, which we need. If we are going to be sitting there talking about how awful we are, then we better be looking at our part in it. We are only looking at it, instead of trying to make this better. We are a part of the problem and not the solution. In Adventures with Puss and Dick, I am trying to point out the problem and look at the possibilities of solutions. “If we cannot see someone else’s point of view, then we are missing the chance to relate and communicate.”

ATM: We all should see everyone’s point of view. Some of your characters change into each other’s bodies. They changed gender positions, which allowed them to see various systemic differences. We need this because sometimes if someone taps into reversal psychology or when something is done from a different perspective, then they see it differently.

MM: Absolutely. It does not necessarily mean you have to agree. If you understand a point of view, then you can begin to make a compromise. If you look around at the people on social media, then you see they can be very vitriolic. Most people are not interested in making a connection; we are more interested in getting across our point of view. This is not communication, this is soapboxing. Looking back at my years on South Park I realize that the show has been quite an influence in how I think. Going back to the story about finding comfort in Existentialism – the thing is our lives have meaning on a daily basis.

How we treat each other every day has meaning and repercussion of great consequence, and we may never know exactly how. It’s like throwing a pebble into the water: you see those ripples and the go on and on spreading outward. That one action reaches out in so many ways. Every time we treat someone poorly, this reflects on society as a whole. Every time we treat someone with kindness, or we are caring, this reflect on society too, and it makes a difference. They both have impact on the world around us.

I have been thinking about this and how our actions impact others, because that has so much to do with my animation project. The episode we’re using in the pitch is the last episode on the web comic: Stop! Enough!! Time’s Up!!! It’s timely given what’s come down in the last couple of years.  About two weeks before we were ready to record voices, I was working on the script. I suddenly realized that I needed to create a real antagonist. Then, like a bolt of lightning it hit me.

Inside every one of us, there is that fearful and nasty voice that gets to us sometimes when we are the most vulnerable and susceptible to listen and then there’s a real danger of doing what it wants! This is how the character Dreck (which means “shit” in Yiddish) was born. It is an amorphous character that comes out of whomever is in conflict and in a hoarse whisper tries to bring out our worst “Oh, go ahead you know you want to do this; it’ll make you feel so good! They deserve this because they’re in your way and you’re so much better!” This is a voice of fear and dread that we all have with in us.

ATM: This character sounds like the starting effects of depression.

MM: That’s exactly what Dreck can turn into despair and depression. If you listen only to that voice, then you are drawing only on your input. This tends to make our worlds smaller and smaller and it sets up a barrier to anything that is different. Dreck brings out the egotist and the bully. It wants us to believe we are the end all and be all. It tells us we are a king as we transform into a tyrant. This is our fear and insecurity at its worst. Playing this character was so intriguing. Acting as a villain was fun! Being a villain. . . not so much.

The voice of VenMar, is Dreck’s counterpoint and as such gives us a better reality check and acts as the voice of enlightening inspiration. While we all have access to the Dreck that is inside us, we also have access to that energy that gives us inspiration (VenMar). The challenge is that we sometimes have to ask for direction, shut up for two minutes, listen, for the guidance and then take action, even when fear tries to stand in our way.

Having Dreck as the antagonist, allows my main characters Puss and Dick, in their various characterizations and situations, to make mistakes when they are influenced by Dreck, but it’s Dreck who we love to hate. It was a good device, definitely an inspiration. I was smart enough to ask for guidance and wise enough to listen and take action when it came.

ATM: Because you are a certain gender you do not have to move through society with what is told to you about this gender. The social norms for genders are created at birth. You do not have to live by them.

MM: We all have male and female aspects. I have a marriage counselor on board. I want to make sure our storyline includes transgender and same sex couples, and that our stories are well informed about various types of relationships. Because the relationships will be inclusive to any and all types, the story lines are endless. We were talking about the project with two of our friends who are lesbians, gal pals, but not a couple. and they came up with a good story line. Two women living together having their period at the same time; the perfect setting for hilarious havoc. 

One of these women had read something in a magazine about a male who had breast cancer. After they had been treating him with estrogen, he found himself becoming more sensitive. His body awareness and reactions were suddenly much more dominated by his female aspect than his male. Before his treatments it was “Eh, I gained a few pounds.” After his treatment, he gets paranoid about weight gain and is hyper-aware of his body.

Because there are all kinds of interesting stories out there, expanding the scope of the project was a good idea. There are so many possibilities and more people can relate. This expansion came partly from a conversation I had with someone who is transgender. Looking at all kinds of relationships and how they impact all of us open our minds and hearts.  The time is right.

ATM: It is time to see projects like this in our society. They are a mirror of how society is and give a new kind of way of thinking.

MM: Exactly. It is time we start being inclusive, instead of exclusive. What is normal? Normal is whatever you are.

ATM: It is subjective.

MM: Absolutely. The more society can understand this the more harmony we will have. There is no normal. Hopefully there is acceptance and love.  That requires better communication, which is also the goal of my project.  The more we can understand each other, the better we all can live together.

ATM: We live in a society where you can always tell someone something, but until you experience it or see the reversal of it, this is when you get it or understand it. We get this new frame way of thinking.

MM. The conversation I had with the person who is transgender really made a difference in how I think. I’m grateful I was open-minded enough to listen (Dreck and VenMar-VenMar won and so did I) I had sent this person an audition for the voice of VenMar. After reading the audition lines, they basically said that they hoped I would not take this the wrong way, that some of the dialogue was insulting.  They were referring two one of VenMar’s lines where he is talking about the differences and inherent conflicts between men and women: “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Women have a vagina and men have a penis.” They said, “I am transgender, and this is offensive to me.” At first, I thought, “What?” This is actually from a song I wrote. At first, I felt defensive and then I thought If I add the word “Most” – “Most women have a vagina and most men have a penis”. This one little word opens a whole world of possibilities. I thanked them their input and hope to use them as a consultant once the show is on the air.

ATM: What are some traits that can be perceived or stereotyped as masculine tendencies?

MM: The qualities of aggression and competition seem to be more male. Women tend to be kinder and gentler. That doesn’t mean woman can be strong and men cannot be kind.  But women tend to nurture more; we have the bodies that produce babies within them.  Doesn’t mean men cannot bond with and be loving to their children.  If you want to get ahead in this world, then you also need to have that kind of strength that men seen to have naturally. My husband is a great example of having both strength and tenderness. He is definitely a guy, a straight guy. He also has a gentleness about him that is seen as a female aspect. He genuinely likes women. I do not mean just because he finds them physically attractive. He likes and respects them. He likes that women are not afraid to talk about things. I fell in love with him because partly because he was still friends with the two women he was in relationships with before me. There is a difference between liking women in a sexual way and liking them because you respect them and what they have to say. He doesn’t objectify them. This was one of the things I found attractive about him. A lot of men do not allow themselves to entertain that feminine aspect because to them it does not feel masculine enough, or they’re just afraid if it.

I think this is why a lot of straight guys get homophobic. Just because a guy is gay does not mean you have to fear him vice versa with women. Women are a little bit more open. We can display affection much more readily to other women than a guy can to a guy. This is not to say guys need to become more feminine.  Allowing that gentle side to come out means your confident enough to be comfortable with all of yourself.

ATM: What if we mixed the two? The softer and the aggressive side.

MM: It’s all about balance. Knowing when to be strong and when to be gentle; life-long lessons in living. Part of it is not fearing and acknowledging both aspects. From the time I was a little girl, I hated dresses. I like wearing pants because they are more comfortable for me. There are a lot of guys out there that find much more freedom walking around in a robe. I mean look at men from the middle east. Does this make them any less manly? No, this is what makes them more comfortable. I think each of us needs to spend more time finding balance within ourselves rather than trying to dictate what others should or should not do. I was and still am a bit of a tomboy.  As a kid my favorite toy was a dump truck.  I loved filling it up with dirt and dumping it out like I was building something.

ATM: Were you?

MM: Yes, a career creating little boy voices, like Izzy on Digimon.  Seriously, I just remembered being fascinated by making the truck move.  It held my attention much more than playing with dolls.  As an artist, I find the form of women beautiful.  Men, too. But there’s something about the earthiness of women that is intriguing. Most of my erotic drawings are about this balance of male and female and take the form of women within the penis. This concept of male and female enriching one another is the seed of creation that became the idea of Adventures Of Puss ‘N Dick-A Survivor’s Guide To Relationships.

I do narrations for ABC Mouse. There was a book we read a couple of sessions ago called Bear Bunny. It is a book about being okay with whoever you are on the inside even if you look different on the outside. It sounds a lot like being okay with being transgender, gay or just like doing things that people don’t expect, just because you look a certain way. It is so delightfully written. I bought the book. I read to kids at Descanso Gardens and this wonderful dinette called Base Camp every month. This has now become one of the books I read.

ATM: What is the artistic nature that flows through your erotic art?

MM: Something happened to me in 1991. I went to Cabo San Lucas and saw the solar eclipse. This was quite moving, but a couple of days afterward we went out on the rocks where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. I had a moment. It is hard to explain. It was a though I could feel the struggles of humanity. It was an epiphany, truly awesome and it left me inspired.  We human beings are struggling, trying to live a spiritual or meaningful life in a world that is very material. All people, throughout history have had to struggle to survive and it is that determination to be and become that makes the human experience so beautifully joyful and tragic. It is a celebration of the spirit. 

When I got home, I started doing a series of drawings called Women Emerging. I have them riding on dragons, in dragons and coming out of flowers, and rocks. This led me to drawing the erotica I mentioned.  It embodied the idea of yin yang was based also on my relationship with my husband.  A relationship based in love, friendship, mutual respect and sexual attraction. Once again, there’s this idea of balance and acceptance in relationships and how struggle can lead to resolution.

Most of my erotic art is of this nature. I will send you some photos of it. Shortly after this, I began drawing these wire dancers with a drafting pen called a rapidograph. The drawings started as squiggles and then became people and then became wire dancers. I was inspired while listening to some Latin music at a concert. Then I got hold of some actual wire and started rendering the dancers as wire sculptures. The essence of their movement represents the celebration of life. They can be either female or male and they are meant to be moved, by both artist and patron. If you go to my website into my store, then you can see I have done them as earrings and pendants.

I have also made them larger and as fairies, angels and as all kinds of animals and sold them.  Some people have bought them to put in their gardens.  I love thinking about the progression from the initial inspiring event to how they grew from drawings to sculptures and the essences of them being a celebration of life.  This is also the feeling I have about the relationship my husband and I have, where you work through the struggles and you each grow, both as individuals and as a couple. The original title for The Adventures of Puss and Dick-Survivor’s Guide to Relationship was Sal-Mo.

ATM: Sex is like a work of art. Your emotions are like a splash of paint that goes on a canvas. The two contenders are immersed in their art and if deep enough gets in the formation of origami. The deeper the splash the higher your chances are of making collages, portraits, and murals. Their expression is what makes them make different pieces of origami. So, everyone takes the form of Picasso, Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Frida Kahlo, and others. But the art does not have to always make it to the canvas, not everyone wants to be a painter. Sometimes people want to draw stick figures and not portraits or collages.

MM: Both sex and art have room for all. They both have universal appeal. That’s so important. I was going to name my characters Sal and Mona. But those names did not have a universal meaning. Then, once again, the light of inspiration clicked on and I realized the name Dick is both a nickname for Richard and a can be a nickname for a penis. Puss can be a term of endearment for a female and is also the nickname for a vagina.  So, Puss and Dick became the names of my leading characters; they represent, in a playful way, every male and female.  With slight changes they can represent all ages, ethnicities and even time frames. I based her on Betty Boop. You know the cartoon character from the 30s. They had to be attractive, appealing to everyone.  Everyone had either a penis or a vagina, whether you’re gay, straight, or transgender. If you have both . . . well, that would make a very interesting episode.  

Special Event in Celebration of Jonas Åkerlund’s LORDS OF CHAOS

Gunpowder & Sky’s special event last night with Vice Studios in celebration of Jonas Åkerlund’s LORDS OF CHAOS starring Rory Culkin at St. Vitus in Brooklyn. Special guests Black Anvil, the black metal band, performed.


Opening In Theaters February 8th and On Demand February 22nd

Synopsis:A teenager’s quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the 1980s results in a very violent outcome. Lords of Chaos tells the true story of True Norwegian Black Metal and its most notorious practitioners – a group of young men with a flair for publicity, church-burning and murder: MAYHEM.

Directed by | Jonas Åkerlund

Starring | Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Sky Ferreira, Jack Kilmer, Valter Skarsgård

Written by | Dennis Magnusson & Jonas Åkerlund, based on the book of the same name

Co-Produced by | Vice Studios, 20th Century Fox, Scott Free Productions and Insurgent Media

 Official Trailer