With the award winning “Wives of the Skies” now available on Amazon Prime Video (courtesy of Hewes Pictures), I was able to speak with writer and director Honey Laurens. Laurens, a prolific and notable cult actress has unleashed her third short, which she describes as an ode to “randy stewardesses.” Lauren’s “Wives of the Skies” has garnered over 30 awards, and features a great cast including Rachel Alig, Maddison Bullock, Sebastian Fernandez, and Drew Brandon Jones, and she speaks enthusiastically about her newest work.
Wives of the Skies is your third short film as a writer/director, what inspired you to make the move and go from acting to adding writing and directing to your resume?
First of all, thank you so, so much for having me!
I first started writing films so I could write parts for myself that I really wanted to play. I remember I had completed a film, (MEN CRY BULLETS), that had a great run and I was so very inspired by the writer/ director of that project… for me it was quite an education. I also had so many ideas of my own and after reading literally hundreds of scripts in the course of my career, I decided to write one. My writing was really well received and I optioned my first script within months of writing it.
What inspired you to write and direct Wives of the Skies specifically? What were some of the influences on the film and its creation?
This for me is never an easy question to answer. I’m not really ever sure where the ideas come from. I can tell you though I see stories in images. And I was introduced to these vintage, 1960’s Stewardess outfits on Ebay. They were being bought and sold and bid on almost exclusively by men and that stayed with me.
I felt like I stumbled into this fetish, counter-culture world. And I was so intrigued by it… I’m influenced by what I see around me. Recurring themes, “Good girls drawn bad,” that stigma attached to sexy woman and what the world projects on to them. My entire life and career has been shaped by the projection of what people thought I was just by the way I looked; as with these women. So, I’m definitely influenced by what’s happening around me. Life equals art, I guess.
How would you say your directing style may differ from others, especially given your background as in acting?
I’m not sure my style of directing does differ from others…I do love to work with the actors and as an actor, I cannot tell you how many times directors just… don’t direct us! And I promise you, actors love to be directed! I also like to rehearse. I made sure we had at least one rehearsal. Also, I spent months going over every detail of the script. I shopped for the props, location scouted, wardrobe, everything. This was a period piece and it was so very important that everything was completely on point. I wanted it to feel like you stepped into this world… like this was found footage.
Wives of the Sky is fairly light-hearted in tone for most its runtime, but it does take a bit of a turn (which won’t be spoiled here), how did you decide to go with this way of approaching the subject and themes in this short?
I realize there’s an almost “hyper-real” quality to the film, but everything was played “for real”… and by “light hearted tone”, I think you mean there was a lot humor… In life, even in the darkest of times, I see humor all around me… The actor’s all did their jobs so well… bringing so much nuance to the performances…. This film was a love story… between the woman really… And Derrick (Played by Drew Brandon Jones), we believe his transformation at the end… He was brilliant.
Story is really important to me and while this is a twenty minute film, I still hold to the three act structure. I wanted this to be a complete film unto itself…
What would you say was a challenge in making this short that you are glad you overcame?
Funny… The biggest challenge, I thought turned out to be the very thing that went absolutely without a hitch…It was certainly the Kinbaku aspect of it… I needed it to be legit and look beautiful. The actresses were totally up for the challenge. In fact, every actress I auditioned said they would be fine with it… (I showed them pictures at the audition)… Mostly, I was lucky to be able to get Master “K”, the Kinbaku Master, he’s world renowned… We did rehearsals in his rope dojo, and the actresses knew they were safe. It also gave us an opportunity to work out the designs so when we were on set, we were ready to go.
What would you say was the best part of making Wives of the Skies?
I love working with all the cast and crew and feel absolutely lucky to have them. I’ve made some super wonderful relationships with these people and I’m so grateful for that.
As I live through this pandemic and all that’s happening in the world, it really brings it home for me what’s really important in life… people and the bonds we create.
Why have you chosen to place this story in this time period? What kind of extra challenges were thrown at you while planning this setting (costumes, decors, etc)?
This era of the “sexy skies”… was the 60’s… I thought that because it was a period piece it would be so, so challenging in terms of the costumes and the sets… We got very lucky in both departments. The budget on this film was not huge so I only had my department heads for only a couple days before we shot. I had to go out and shop the cloths, location scout and find most all the props, etc., which was a really good education for me. But again, we got lucky.
We found an AirBnb for the hotel room… it really looked mid-century and with my just bringing a couple chairs for color and design, it was pretty much finished. As for the Stewardess hotel lobby, Maddison Bullock, who played Marcy and was also a producer on the film, she got us the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. We dressed the Theater lobby and shot it to make it look like a hotel lobby… And Davey Robertson, our DP lit it perfectly. As for the props, I used my Mom’s plates and I had sculptures and even the radio was vintage 60’s! For the costumes, I shopped good will and and had someone make the Stewardess uniforms. Drew Brandon Jones… those were all his own clothes!!! He’s really dapper.
What is something you would like to tell other aspiring filmmakers who may have a short film waiting for production with some themes that may be a bit unconventional?
I’d say commit to your vision, 100% … And don’t be fearful of what people might say or think…. Who cares? I put a lot of thoughts into my scripts but I never second guess… that’s the death of it!
What are some of your upcoming projects you can discuss?
I have a feature coming out that I play the lead in. It’s called SWEET TASTE OF SOULS… It’s a “social horror” film. It was a whole lot of fun to make. I actually play two parts in it, I don’t want to spoiler alert it here (laughs). It will be released in a few months. I also have a novel I’m releasing in early 2021!
Thank you so much for having me!