Interview with filmmaker Paige Joy. Director of Don't Fall Asleep!
I had the absolute pleasure of getting a chance to talk with up and coming filmmaker Paige Joy on her new film Don't Fall Asleep. Paige is a massive Nightmare On Elm Street fan and decided to pursue her passion into making a spin off film following one of horror's most beloved final girls Nancy Thompson. The movie picks up right after the original and gives Elm Street fans a view into a story that's never been told. What exactly did happen to Nancy between part 1 and 3? I have been following the production of this film and was thrilled when the film's official trailer premiered as well as the release date was announced for September 5th. Read here to see what inspired Paige to make this film, and what fans can expect to this chilling new tale of the first person to ever defeat Mr. Krueger.
1) Which Nightmare movie do you remember seeing first? What drew you to the franchise to begin with?
I think I was maybe 4 years old. Its the typical story, my mom was at work, and my dad was babysitting me. He sat me in front of HBO and A nightmare on elm street part 3 came on. I was instantly hooked. Funny story, I had an advance viewing of Don't Fall Asleep for my parents. My mother has never seen any of the films so I made her watch the original before ours. She was so mad lol I quote "I can't believe my 4 year old watched this."
I was drawn to the series because of Nancy. She was such a strong character, always fighting for what was right and fighting for survival. We all have our personal Freddy's and Nancy showed us that you could fight them. Its the whole Be Nancy Mantra. I think the one thing about the Nightmare films that stands out against other horror films is that there is always a Female Heroine. The Characters were smart, beautiful, and strong. They were really good role models for women growing up. Wes wanted to make sure his leading character wasn't a dumb girl tripping and falling. She was a warrior. So that is what I looked up to my whole life.
2) Favorite sequel in the series and why?
Dream Warriors by far. I think its because it was the first film I saw, it was my first introduction to Nancy. I just hold such a bond and special memory with watching Dream Warriors over and over again. My grandmother recorded it on a vhs for me. I forever have Apocalypse Now burnt into my head (the ending). Because that was what was first on the tape. So every time I wanted to watch Dream Warriors (which was daily) I would forward the tape to the part when the bulls head is getting cut off. Its burned into my brain lol. Truth be told, I still have that tape in a bin in storage.
3) You have cosplayed several characters from these movies. Which was your favorite to do? Any plans on re-creating any others?
Kristen Parker holds such a special place in my heart. She will forever be my favorite to do. There is nothing like running down the halls of conventions scream "you can't take Nancy away from us she's all we have. You stupid bitch your killing us!" lol but by far the fan favorite is Jennifer Caulfield. That was such a process to do. Finding an old tv and gutting it, attaching it to poles, sculpting the Freddy head, and transporting it was so tedious. That thing was so heavy. I totally commend my friends that weekend for helping me. I was strapped into it and could barely move. Seeing the crowd reaction at Horror Hound made it all worth it.
Future plans? I don't think I would cosplay anyone else from Nightmare. I currently am working on the pink power ranger ninja, and a pipe dream is to cosplay American Mary.
4) Top three moments from the original movie for you?
3: Nancy walking in the hallway looking for Tina's body bag. (I went to a school that looked exactly like that and I would play pretend like I was Nancy everyday)
2: The Glen and Nancy bridge scene.
1:When Nancy lays down for her final dream, says the Now I lay me down to sleep rhyme, and you hear her conversation with Glen.
5) What inspired you to make Never Sleep Again?
I'm laughing because everyone is calling it Never Sleep Again. We purposefully didn't name it that because of the documentary, but now looking back we should have named it that.
I always wanted to share what I felt was Nancy's story. Last year during Horror Hound we watched Nathan's film. Confessions of Fred Krueger. Nathan Thomas Milliner is a friend of mine, through Diandra. It sparked something inside me and made me realize now was the time to share Nancy's story. I told Diandra and Michelle that weekend my idea and we kinda joked around about it. When I got home I texted them that I was serious, and that if anyone was going to make a Nancy fan film, it should be us. I wrote the first scene and sent it over. They both immediately came back with a YES LETS DO THIS. Michelle then sent over a several more pages, I then wrote and sent more back, Diandra then wrote some stuff. It was a merry go round of a script for months until we locked everything in. With each week each of us adding more to the script.
Have you ever seen I am Nancy, Heather Langenkamp's documentary? In it she talks about how Nancy doesn't get the same love as other horror heroines and Freddy. We wanted to show the world, and show the horror scene that Nancy is a force to be reckoned with. That her story and character matters to the horror buffs. We feel like there is that unknown of what happened to her between the 1st and 3rd film and we wanted to show how she became who she was.
6) Don't Fall Asleep focuses on the timespan between part 1 and 3 for Nancy. What can fans expect with this movie? Will there be references to the original?
Don't Fall Asleep is the untold story of Nancy Thompson. We want to make it very clear that this is not your typical horror film. Think more along the lines of New Nightmare. In our film fans can expect to laugh, be scared, be proud, but also be sad. There are some really amazing actors on this project, and there are some scenes between Diandra and Chad (our male lead) that are so sad. The chemistry of the entire cast was just so amazing.
We wanted to bridge the gap, and our film picks up directly after the first one ends. There is so much we are going to explain, so many things that never got explained that we wanted to piece together. I can't spoil anything but something I can say is, who ever the wardrobe supervisor was in Nightmare 3 totally missed the mark on Nancy's grey streak. We even explain why it flips sides.... The fans are in for some super cool surprises that we can't wait to see the reaction to.
There are going to be several references to the original in the first half of our film. Our film takes place right after the first film, and then right before the third film. So there will be references from both films in ours.
7) Best memory on set?
I have 2.
Calling action for the first time on set and seeing Diandra in those pajamas was so surreal. She was no longer my friend, she was Nancy. And to call action on my baby, my project, something I have dreamed for my entire life..... it was just amazing and emotional.
The other best memory was just getting to hang out with our cast and crew. We are so fortunate to have an amazing crew and cast. The down time (though there wasn't many) was great. Vicki Andronis is playing a character in our film that I cannot talk about until after the premier, but she is by far one of the most amazing actresses I have ever seen. Her comedic timing on stuff was great. She plays a very serious character but inbewteen takes we were cracking up laughing. We were all crying with laughter from her. After our film comes out we are going to release a blooper reel, behind the scenes footage, and deleted scenes and I cannot wait for you guys to see her comedy on camera lol.
8) Top five favorite horror movies and why?
5: IT (ummm pennywise still haunts me... "They all float")
4:The Ring (so scary)
3: The exorcist (anything about possession just really freaks me out)
2: Scream (the fact that it could really happen, and that Wes directed it, just holds so dear in my heart)
1: Nightmare on Elm Street (obviously lol)
9) What appeals to you about Nancy?
Her strength and beauty. She was and is a fighter. She put others before herself. Shes into survival. In my darkest moments I think "What would Nancy do?"
10) What's next in line for you?
Sleep. Lots of Sleep. This past year has been such a whirlwind. I told Diandra, Kim, and Michelle that we need a girls vacation trip. I would truly be lost without them, they are my best friends, and even though we talk everyday, I think we need a nice beach with mimosas lol
We will be launching our film production company this fall, and we have a short film lined up to film this October, contractually I am not sure what I can say about it, other than its a psychological thriller and original idea. So next up is just to rest before we start our next project. We have a bin of ideas and over the next 2 years want to start production on them.
Thanks so much for having me and I cannot wait for the fans to see Don't Fall Asleep!
- Thank you Paige! Amazing to see more women kicking ass in the filmmaking business. Also side note, I called Don't Fall Asleep Never Sleep Again more than once during this interview. Dear Lord...only me ha, ha, ha. Thanks Paige! Can't wait to see this movie!!!