LOWLIFE, the genre infused horror crime film, that’s being hailed as the next Pulp Fiction, just had it’s European premiere at FrightFest August 28th. In anticipation of the film’s premiere, we had a chance to speak with actress Nicki Micheaux about her character Crystal and what it was like to work on the film.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Nicki, thank you so much for speaking with us today! To start things off, could you tell us a little bit about the film LOWLIFE and your character Crystal?
Nicki Micheaux: LOWLIFE is this crazy mash-up of genres. My character Crystal owns a motel and is a recovering drug addict. The daughter I once had I kind of sold back when I was strung out on drugs and I’m now trying to get her kidney, only to find out how bad of a situation I have put her in. I’m now basically going to try and save her life. I take my dead husband’s shotgun and join up with other lowlifes and head out on my mission.
NC: What was it about this script that made you want to be a part of the film?
NM: The first time I read it I kept turning the pages because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. When each one of those chapters ended I was just like ahhhh! Then you start over on another chapter and you get the story from a different perspective and you get to the end of that one and you are like ahhh! Every moment made me want to know what was going to happen next! I also loved how the stories all wove together. I was curious as to how that was going to be executed since it’s like five different genres (laughs). I also love working with director Ryan Prows. When we work together it’s almost like we are playing. It’s like we jump into the sandbox and I’m like, let’s do this! I don’t know what this film is going to be because I’ve never seen anything like this, but let’s go do it! (laughs).
NC: Was there any type of research that you did to better understand your character?
NM: The main thing I researched was that in my mind she was a hoarder. It wasn’t part of the script but I thought it informed her character in terms of not being able to let go of things and kind of manifested into where she found herself in life. The hard part was making sure the character wasn’t going to be this badass person shooting people right from the star. This was a woman who was just taking her first steps into something really courageous and I needed to be true with where she was in her experience.
NC: What I found interesting about the film was it was a unique study on addiction. It shows that people who are sober still have struggles, just like anyone else, and things aren’t perfect just because they gave up whatever they were addicted to.
NM: Yeah, it leaves certain marks on you. Crystal is really struggling to get beyond the mistakes of her past and she feels so guilty, every day is a day of guilt. A lot of people have commented on the film in that it has a heartwarming, satisfying and emotional ending. I think that’s because you can identify with the simple, hard journey that this woman is on. Forget all the blood and the guns and all that other stuff, there are parts of this story that are very human.
NC: The film deals with a lot of societal issues and I felt like your character was one that faced a lot of those issues and grew stronger as the film went on. Was it important to you that Crystal had this strong femininity about her?
NM: Oh definitely – that was one of the reasons I wanted her to grow into her strength. I didn’t want her to come out and boom, pick up a gun and be a badass. Ryan Prows and I had talked about it because in earlier versions of the draft she was a little more badass off the bat and I told Ryan that this needed to be a process. I really wanted to show her taking steps to get all the way to the end, really having those moments of strength, and really being there for her daughter. It was really important for me to have that growth in the character since that was going to be her journey.
NC: You mentioned that you have worked with director Ryan Prows in the past, but what was it like working with the rest of the cast?
NM: It was really cool! I mean I knew most of the crew because we all worked on the short together. Working with Ricardo Adam Zarate, Santana Dempsey, and Shaye Ogbonna, everyone knew to just get down for the cause because it was a down and dirty shoot. They actually demolished that motel because of how disgusting it was, and that’s saying a lot for LA (laughs). Most of the cast and everyone on the crew was an extension of networks of friends. The fact that people like this film is so astonishing and amazing.
NC: Last, but not least, are there any projects you are working on that we should be keeping our eyes out for?
NM: Yes! We just wrapped shooting on LAZARUS, which I believe will be on Netflix, which is really super exciting. And look for me to eventually, someday, get enough money to direct my own movie.
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