Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Rise Of A New Terrifying Killer: My Interview With “Velvet Vengeance” Actress Dani Bliss Gavit

Dani GavittVelvet Vengeance” is a film that I have talked about a lot recently. It was a short film that I reviewed last year and have been excited about even more in learning of the feature length adaptation currently in progress. The film is in the early stages of pre-production but the two pivotal characters that make this project so exciting have already been cast. Those two roles feature very strong female characters on opposite sides of the equation. There is the determined, innocent spirit driven by a need for justice that transforms into a sort of modern day warrior princess and then there is the dark soul that embodies true evil set out on an endless, vicious bloodlust in classic slasher fashion. This clash of forces is what sets at the core of “Velvet Vengeance” and the fact that both characters are played by two strong female actors as forces to be reckoned with is what makes the story fresh in horror cinema.

There have been very few films that have featured a female slasher in the concept most associated with Michael, Jason or Leatherface. Dolly is set to give rise to that very representation of evil as Dani Bliss Gavit is set to take on the role of the ax wielding, brutal slasher wearing a baby doll mask and racking up a sick body count. Dani Bliss Gavit is a true fan of horror with a love of Independent films as you will discover in our interview. Dani had the privilege of being a judge at the Phil Anselmo (Pantera) Housecore Horror Film Festival in San Antonio as well as being a avid competitive runner and burlesque performer. She also has a thing for duct tape as she mentions in our conversation. Now Gavit can add the gorific title of homicidal psycho killer to that ongoing list of awesome! There is a lot about this young newcomer that is both fascinating and inspiring to any generation both in and out of the horror community as I found out in our interview.

ASouthernLife: You are taking on the role of Dolly in "Velvet Vengeance", how did that come about, what was the audition like?
Dani Bliss Gavit: I did a photo shoot with Jeremy at a friend’s funeral home a few months back and it was such an awesome and fun experience. We did some pretty cool shots and I got to sit inside a casket and learned how to use the embalming gear. That was my first experience working with Jeremy and it was great, he made me feel at ease and was great at directing me on what to do next, and it really showed in the photos. A few months later he offered me the role of Dolly and I was thrilled. I did not have a formal audition.

ASouthernLife: Had you seen the short film prior to casting?
Dani Bliss Gavit: Yes, I had seen “Velvet Vengeance” at the Bloodbath Festival in Dallas prior to being cast as Dolly. I really loved the film, it’s a great fusion of action and slasher film. I also loved that it had a female killer, Dolly is truly a force to be reckoned with.

ASouthernLife: The feature adaptation is going to take a bit of a different approach to the story, how does that effect your character? How do you see Dolly?
Dani Bliss Gavit: I really like the new take on the original script. Dolly is going to be far more threatening than the original and is far more amped up. She will truly be a horrific villain.

ASouthernLife: Dolly is a pretty pivotal character in the story that Alice faces, Andee is going through some rigorous action training, how are you preparing for the role of Dolly? Learning any killer ax wielding skills?
Dani Bliss Gavit: I do a lot of strength training, I take aerial silk classes which helps build my upper and lower body strength. I run and do military style obstacle courses and mud racing which involves climbing over traverse walls, crawling under barb wire, jumping over fire and carrying heavy objects uphill and downhill. I also take kickboxing and yoga. I probably should start working on my ax wielding skills, could be fun!

ASouthernLife: If given the opportunity to choose, do you have a style of Doll mask picked out for the character?
Dani Bliss Gavit: I find porcelain dolls to be the scariest, the ones with the glass eyes that seem to watch you from every corner of the room, that would be the style that I would go for.

ASouthernLife: Has preparing for this role made you want to do more acting in the future?
Dani Bliss Gavit: Yes, absolutely! I love acting, especially anything that involves action and lots of blood. It is a fun and rewarding experience and you get to meet lots of awesome people and seeing the end product is always exciting.

ASouthernLife: What are some of your favorite horror films and who are some of your favorite directors?
Dani Bliss Gavit: My favorite director is Sam Raimi. I am a huge fan of the Friday the 13th films and the Evil Dead films. My favorite horror movies would have to be Trick r’ Treat, Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer, Nekromantik, Tod Browning’s Freaks and Cannibal Holocaust. My taste is a little eclectic, I enjoy a little bit of everything.

ASouthernLife: Is there any subgenre of horror your more into or is it just horror in general that you like?
Dani Bliss Gavit: I love all horror. My favorite subgenres are slasher films, the gorier the better, and I love backwoods hillbilly movies, I also love zombie movies and silent films and foreign films, the French have been putting out some excellent movies such as “Martyrs” and “Inside”. I also really love the exploitation films of the 70s such as “Blood Sucking Freaks” and “The Sinful Dwarf”. I really do love it all!

dani gavitt 1ASouthernLife: You are also a competitive runner and a burlesque dancer, First what attracts you to competitive running?
Dani Bliss Gavit: I love the running community, everybody is very supportive and positive. Running helps you explore places you would not usually get to go. I’ve run through cities, on overpasses, across bridges, in state parks, and out in the woods. Life slows down when you’re running and all of a sudden you notice things that you haven’t seen before and would have missed if you had just been driving by.

ASouthernLife: Now as far as the Burlesque dancing how long have you been doing Burlesque and what attracted you to the art form?
Dani Bliss Gavit: I have been performing burlesque for the last six month and have two years of dance training. I love dancing and performing and the freedom that goes with burlesque and how it has implied sexuality and is completely respected as an art form.

ASouthernLife: Do you find that even now with the more mainstream appeal that Burlesque has received that people still have misconceptions about what it is?
Dani Bliss Gavit: Yes, I do believe that there still are some misconceptions about what it is, I’ve seen protestors outside of burlesque shows with signs stating that burlesque is a sin and evil. For the most part though, burlesque is very well received and when I tell people that I am a burlesque dancer they are usually curious about it and rarely judgmental.

ASouthernLife: Name one thing about yourself that most people would not know unless they got to know you?
Dani Bliss Gavit: I have an obsession with Duct Tape and can make almost anything out of it. I make and sell Duct Tape purses, wallets and other accessories.

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