We’ve recently been lucky enough to speak to some of the cast and first up is our interview with Debbon Ayer.
Debbon Ayer has previously starred in indie hits including Garden State and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and plays Jarod’s mother Martha in Death and Cremation.
HUG: Can you talk about what you feel is the main story of Death and Cremation?
DA: I feel the main story is about a group of lost souls who find what they need, in this brief period of time. Martha finds her strength and the backbone of her moral fibre by doing the right thing in the end. Stan and Jarod fill a void in their emotional life with each other. Jarod needs a mentor, it’s just too bad the mentor is a serial killer.
HUG: How does your character fit into this story?
DA: When you see Martha’s life, her struggles as a single widowed mother, and her bad choices in looking to fill her own lonely void, you can see how her son gets lost in the daily grind and misplaced avoidance of her responsibilities, until she essentially loses him.
HUG: Can you describe the tone of the film and also who it might appeal to?
DA: It feels to me like a cult thriller/horror film. Stan is so fantastically played by Brad Dourif, so layered you actually have a soft spot for him, even in his taking on Jarod as a “son”. And Jeremy is such a nuanced actor, he brings sympathy to his role as well.
HUG: Martha is described as a nagging mother. Is your character likeable and do you think she is sympathetic?
DA: I do think she is likeable, and she is not a nagging mother so much as a stressed single mother, who is shouldering a lot and not doing that well, but the best she can. She is totally sympathetic because of her circumstances and her love of her son, truly a deep and soulful love. Also the love she had for her husband is palpable in a couple of key scenes.
HUG: I understand you are a mother yourself, did this help you in playing Jarod’s mother and was there anything in particular that you brought to the character that wasn’t in the original script?
DA: Being a mother helps me with everything I do. The love one has for their kid is so real and deep, basically you would do anything for your kid, and Martha does everything for Jarod. She just doesn’t do it that smartly at times. I hope I brought a lot to the character- compassion, depth, ditzyness, humour. On the page no character is as full as when you get hold of them in your little fists.
HUG: Jarod is bullied in the film, how do you feel about the way the film approaches this problem and what it has to say about this kind of behaviour?
DA: Kids are mean, and on the one hand, one is kind of is glad when the mean ones get their due! I mean that’s what movies do for us, right? Cause, sadly, kids are mean in real life and mostly don’t know how severe the cause and effect is on people.
HUG: You’ve worked on a number of fascinating independent films, what have been your favourites and why?
DA: Well, Death and Cremation is right up there cause it had all the good and none of the bad. Fantastic director who loves acting and actors and such a dedicated crew!! I loved working in most movies I have been in. Lets face it, Eternal Sunshine is a genius. Garden State so bitter sweet and beautiful. And to work with Bruce Robinson who is one of the smartest director/writers around, has been cool.
HUG: You have worked as both a producer and an actor. Are you also interested in directing?
DA: I am, though I am not sure I will get to it in this lifetime!
Embedded below is the trailer for Death and Cremation.