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Raven De La Croix

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Raven De La Croix

Interview conducted by Labroche

What has been your reaction when William Winckler presented you the "Double-D Avenger" project?

I am periodically asked to be involved in various creative activities, and feel grateful to represent an energy that people like to have around in their projects. I learned in life that "one cannot take every boat that passes and waves to you" and I learned that 'personal interest' in anything you undertake is 'senior' to remuneration. In other words, "Follow your dream or excitement above all else!". So I turn down a lot but take up with what seems fun and productive. So many cool things ... so little time! I had people try and sway me from the DD project because it was a 'gamble' and the budget held no financial promise and so on ... but because of the way I felt about Bill & Dezzi and the script ... I went ahead and lent myself to the film. It proved my instinct was correct.
The second film promises to be funnier than the first! Now I have two parts to play and it will be fun!
I met Bill Winckler and liked him right off. Great person. Honest and straight forward. Funny and sweet.
His bride Dezzi, a perfect compliment to each other. We were graced to be at their wedding and it was very beautiful and heartfelt. She is an amazing performer herself. A star singer (opera as well as any style) in her country or anywhere when you hear her voice! She doubles and triples in skills in "The Double D Avenger" as well as Bill Winckler himself. I read the script and I just happened to have been 'found' by Bill in time to meet the cast in a "read through" rehearsal. The people were sweet and the characters funny. "Al Purplewood" was fabulous and "Pirate Jugs" was excellent and funny. All the characters were full blown and ready to roll!
I LOVE comic books anyway and this to me was definitely one! So, Dr. De La Croix I became {giggle}!

It seems you’ve had a lot of fun playing your part, did you enjoy acting in this movie?

YES! I only wished I could've giggled my way through the whole thing but Bill found me late in the casting. He originally wrote the part for a Groucho Marx gay male and didn't change it for me. I wrestled with it at first and then sort of 'fitted the skin of this character over me' and it all came out wacky and I had fun doing it. It seemed that the lines were aimed at 'side speaking' to Russ himself ... which I thought to be an interesting synchronicity as Russ had a habit of immortalizing certain things within the script and within the story. Especially when Russ was 'ticked off' at a person ... he would lay in dialogue to insult you ... and certainly did this in "UP!" in my case.
He had issues with my spirituality. Other people found it sensual in a natural sense. Kitten was more his cup of tea, as she found it fun to unleash her breasts in her mashed potatoes at a family Thanksgiving dinner regardless of who was at the table.
Where in Winckler's case ... he had me ... De La Croix ... calling in all Russ Meyer’s prior lavish leading ladies by name and side commenting to Kitten (as both of us have taken care of him during the latter stages of his life ... her more so than I) about "killing two birds with one stone" and "getting the coffin down those stairs". As cold as it seems ... it is not intended the way it can seem on the surface. It is rather the hidden story of what he is going through by no fault of Kitten or I but by the one who 'took over' his fortune and keeps us all away from ever seeing Russ alive again. THAT is a story.

What is your best remembrance of your Meyer's period? Does acting in "the Double D" reminds you of this?

Well, first I was discovered in a restaurant by Samantha Monsieur, who was casting for the famous Eddie Foy Casting for 20th Century Fox. At the time I was a Record Promoter under Steve Topley for LAX &Far Out Productions home of WAR; Jimmy Witherspoon; Ronnie Laws; Eloise Laws; Tanya Tucker; Lee Oscar; Lonny Jordan, Aalon, etc. I had never heard of Russ Meyer but Steve Gold &Jerry Goldstein of Far Out Productions (manager & producer of WAR etc) LOVED his work and told me it was a comic book and that I should take it.

I went to meet with Russ at his Hollywood Blvd office (at the time) and later found out how extraordinary it was for Russ NOT to have asked to see my body before filming. Not being an exhibitionist ... it was normal for me that he didn't as I wasn't aware of his style of films. I had never viewed even one of any of his other films until three years ago when I saw "Faster Pussycat Kill Kill!" ... at an Awards Convention with Forrie Ackerman &William Shatner amongst other film greats. (That classic film ... more popular today than ever ... is where I learned the beginnings of what later turned out to be my accurate perception of Russ's psyche in his film making paralleling his own personal concepts about women, romance and 'how it was for him or men he knew (of)' in full cartoon clarity ... guts and all!) So any one who knew Russ found the factor of no "visuals" before filming ... almost unbelievable. YEARS later he told me he didn't ask because after interviewing over 400 women for the part ... and he liked me ... he figured if he came up against something un-photographable he would work around it but mainly he said he knew I was 'pure material' for film and didn't want to blow it by possibly scaring me away by 'checking the goods'. So he trusted his instincts and according to him ... he proved 'right'.
Bottom line ... Russ's Psyche underlines his films differently women are dangerous, not to be trusted, they take you and leave you dead or alive ... or the women are brutalized and rise above and victims are left ...
The Double D Avenger is nothing like working with Russ. It's a whole different ball game and Bill is a lot more flexible and allows the artist to be themselves and doesn't have a "scripted agenda with his players psyche" for revenge {Giggle}. Bottom line ... Bill underlines the silly part of the American psyche in regards to sex and women in spoof ... more of a Benny Hill American style, instead of a bloody horror and dead naked folk. These parts are more like a comic book/soap where the character is eliminated but without the visuals of garish deaths.

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