ANDREA EVANS TALKS ‘ROCKING THE COUCH’ & UPCOMING PROJECTS 0 157

Having been in the entertainment business since she was 10 years old, Andrea Evans is no stranger to the highs and lows of Hollywood, but the events of recent years involving the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and the ever growing #MeToo movement have now seen her add another bow to her already impressive resume, as a producer of the new documentary Rocking The Couch. The documentary features interviews with many victims of Hollywood sexual assault, as well as several individuals who were involved in the Wallace Kaye case of 1992 and takes a long hard look at the cases both past and present and the valuable lessons that, for the most part, still haven’t been learnt. With the documentary proving to be a huge success, ThisIsTheLatest spoke to Andrea about why she got involved, whether she might one day move into directing and where and when fans can see her on screen next.

TITL: Rocking The Couch is largely fuelled firstly by the case, led by twelve women who were brave enough to speak out, brought against Wallace Kaye in 1992. For anyone who is unaware of the story, could you sum it up for me and explain ultimately how it’s impacted this documentary?

Andrea Evans: A lot of documentaries tend to follow their own path and that’s exactly what happened with this one. My co-executive producer, friend and director Minh Collins and I were first only going to interview people from the past few years or thereabouts and build the documentary around that, but then my husband brought to my attention the case brought against Wallace Kaye, as you say, in 1992, in Hollywood. The fact he had to bring this to my attention is kind of the whole point – I was an actress, living in Hollywood in the 1990’s and I’d never heard this story, or anything to do with it. The story itself is led by 12 young, aspiring actresses, interviewing with a talent agent at the time who then sexually assaulted each of them. They went to their unions to complain, the unions told them to forget about it and then finally, one of the actresses, who wasn’t with a union, called the police who got involved, and these women took him to court and won.

You would think that that would make news, and that there would be a lot of attention about it, but there never was. When I started interviewing people about the case, they were shocked because I was the first person who had ever contacted them. That became sort of the main feature, the meat of the documentary was this case – how did it happen and why, and also why didn’t we hear anything about it.

TITL: As an actress yourself, is the behaviour and attitudes towards women addressed in Rocking The Couch something you’ve experienced yourself or is it something you just feel passionate about enough to have done something to help stand against it and spread the word?

AE: I think pretty much every actress in Hollywood – and a lot of actors too – we don’t want to leave men out of this, I think it’s a very big issue with and for them as well, particularly with gay men – but yes, we all have stories. My stories, thank goodness, were not as traumatic as some of the stories we feature in the documentary. We did interview me, as well, as one of the subjects, but my stories were not that good in comparison to other people’s so I had to put myself on the cutting room floor – something that I never thought I would actually do, or say I’ve done. We also bring up the fact that, I think we have some interviews with Carrie Mitchum, the grand-daughter of the famous actor Robert Mitchum, where she discusses how we all knew this was going on and that’s true – we all did. If you heard from celebrities who said they were blind-sided or didn’t know about it, they’re lying, because we all knew, and we all saw it. It was definitely something that needed to come out into the light, needed to be addressed and needs to stop.

TITL: Exactly how shocked are you that lessons weren’t, and, as proven by the scores of recent cases made against a number of men in the industry, haven’t been learned in the more than two decades that have passed since the Kaye case?

AE: I think society is changing and that’s why you and I are having this conversation. I think the way society looks at sexual abuse and sexual assault, certainly in the workplace, is changing. And maybe social media has something to do with this, but I think as a society, we are now finally starting to actually pay attention to the victims, to listen to what they are saying. You’re a woman and I’m sure you’ve heard these things before, you know ‘dress appropriately’ ‘You don’t wanna do this…’ It shouldn’t be the way that a woman dresses that makes her the victim of a crime. But yet, so many women, who have been a victim of these crimes, are accused are bringing said crime upon themselves, because there’s something in or about their behaviour, and I think as a society we’re finally looking at that, paying attention to what happened to these women.

My favourite instance I bring up about how society, in more recent times, is how we look at all these instances in the Catholic church. Priests have been accused of abusing young boys, and we never asked these young boys the sort of things that have been asked of women over the years – we took them at their word. Why wasn’t that the case with the women who spoke out? Why weren’t they taken at their word, for all these decades? That’s the more interesting question.

TITL: You’ve said in the past that this documentary presents a “realistic view of what happened” and that it includes “things that (you don’t think) the mainstream media did.” What exactly do you mean by that?

AE: Certainly when we were bringing to light the Weinstein case, I don’t think the mainstream media paid much attention to the struggle undertaken by actresses – and actors – trying to get into the business, and that, to my mind, is where most of the abuse happened. Abuse often happens to the most vulnerable, and because there’s no real path towards becoming an actor or actress, much like becoming a lawyer or doctor, there have been a lot of people who’ve taken advantage of that – people anxious to get their foot in the door of the industry. They’re eager and anxious…and that’s where and when the majority of these people end up in trouble.

It’s easier to get a film about A-List celebrities who are being abused or to get that on the evening news, because we all like to hear about celebrities, but that’s not the case for the majority of these cases. They’re people who are just trying to get into the industry.

TITL: If for instance, the #MeToo movement hadn’t started up and women hasn’t started speaking up, do you think you’d have still made this documentary and released it, or is it something you were ultimately spurred on to do as a result of the outpouring of outrage that came with the accusations and cases made against the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby?

AE: I would love to think that I would’ve made this movie anyway because I do feel strongly about this issue, but I also know that when the Weinstein and Cosby cases first came to light, my partner and I were just having coffee and got to thinking about how someone should really look into this, and could make a great documentary out of it, and we sort of looked at one another and both had the same idea – ‘Why not us? Let’s do this.’

I was inspired by the #MeToo movement and driven to tell what we feel is the true story, and to try and show it from several different angles, including Carrie Mitchum’s remarks that we all saw it. I saw instances in my working career of women that were being approached and maybe took producers up on their approach – I certainly saw that – and said nothing, as did many people. I’m glad now that we can get it out in the open and tell what’s really been happening.

TITL: You co-produced this documentary with your director from The Hit List Minh Collins and Jerry Sommer. What would you say you each brought, in creative terms, to the documentary?

AE: Minh was the director and obviously, having directed before, he was able to pull it all together and put into the shape it is now. Jerry did a lot of the filming as well and the editing. I know from my own part, that it was extremely important to have a woman on board and I went to every interview, even if I wasn’t asking the questions – I wanted to be there to show my support for every single woman, and so that she would feel more comfortable and know that there was someone there who would understand her point of view. They were being brave enough to tell their story and I just wanted to be there to help, in any way I could, to make telling that a little easier for them.

I also sought out a lot of the people you saw and see on the air – I was the one that got in touch with them, and I don’t want to say ‘convinced’ because a lot of the people that came forward, even the people on the Wallace Kaye case – the lawyers, the victims, the very brave policewoman who went in, knowing she would probably be assaulted, but wanted to be there for those women and without her, the case would never have come out – they were all very anxious to tell their story. They wanted the truth to come out and I think it was therapeutic for them. Hopefully, my being a woman helped them with that.

A huge part of why I got involved with this is that I am loaning my celebrity to this movie, in publicising it and trying to get it out there so people pay attention. There are so many good films and documentaries that go completely unnoticed, that don’t get the attention they deserve and that’s a big part of my contribution to this film.

TITL: How has the reaction been to the film so far and, what do you most want those who see it to take away/learn from it?

AE: I have been thrilled with the reaction. Here in the States, it’s been really big – it keeps growing and growing. We’re now being distributed, with Amazon, to pretty much every country that speaks English, and the interest in the UK has been steadily growing as well, which I am very happy and pleased to see. It’s very gratifying – I’ve never been a producer really, I’ve never had this experience of creating something from the very beginning and taking it out to audience and getting their response. I hope the viewers in the UK will check it out, look at it and see our work and let us know what they think. Amazon has been so happy we’re now talking about an addition documentary, so any comments people have, any ideas, I would love to hear them.

TITL: Is there anything you can tell me about this potential second documentary or are you still sketching out ideas etc. for now?

AE: We’re still sketching out the ideas for it, so I can’t really tell you anything about it, but I would love to talk to you about it when it is released. I’m so thrilled that I’m even able to talk about it and that this one has been so successful – that kind of blows my mind, having been a first time producer in particular.

TITL: Looking to the future, do you think the likes of the #MeToo movement can, as we’ve seen make an impact, but one big enough to actually eradicate the sort of behaviour that the documentary focusses on? What more can and needs to be done to ensure incidents like those so many women have spoken out about in recent months never happen again and that those who are actively involved in such are punished in a suitable way?

AE: We’ve yet to see how big of an impact all this has and that’s gonna take some time. Hopefully our daughters and grand-daughters won’t have to deal with this kind of subject, which brings to mind another reason and part as to why we did the documentary. My daughter happened to be on break from school when we were fifteen and she wanted to come to the set. I was a little wary about that – she is not quite fifteen – and I wondered whether or not I wanted her to hear these stories. She wants to go into the entertainment industry so I thought ‘yeah, she should hear these stories’, because the really only true way to prevent these kinds of situations is to truly do everything in your own power to prevent it. Even if the #MeToo movement has a HUGE amount of success, even if it reduces these sorts of problems by 90%, there will still be that 10% where things happen. So the best way for people to eliminate it is to protect themselves and I hope that men and women who want to go into the entertainment industry will watch this documentary and use it as a bit of a cautionary tale. My daughter said she learned a huge amount from watching it, like how to minimise your risk by doing things like not going out for drinks with someone who’s trying to help you break into the industry. Minimise the risk as much as possible, and hopefully that will help that 10% I referred to earlier.

TITL: Where do you go from here then? Do you maybe want to move into the directors’ chair next time or are you happy where you are, producing and giving your name and status to a cause or a film you’re passionate about and eager to help get the word out about?

AE: I really enjoyed the producing. At some point yes, I would love to try my hand at directing and might have a little go during the next documentary just to see how I get on, but my main bread and butter is my acting career. I love it and I love the industry – it pains me to have to do documentaries about such a negative aspect of a business that I’ve been in since I was 10 years old, and that has been very good to me – so hopefully I can help it, and help maintain some of the integrity of this business in my own little way because I really do love it.

TITL: Finally then, in terms of your acting career, have you got any projects in the pipeline you can tell me about?

AE: I don’t know what airs in the UK, and that’s a problem, but I am in series available on Amazon Prime called The Bay – which is so much fun to do. I’m working with a lot of people I’ve worked with before in other situations, and I just came on in season four as a real troublemaker and I believe I will be making a lot of trouble in season 5 which will air next year. People can watch me there.

Rocking The Couch is via all VOD platforms including Amazon and Vimeo now. To keep up to date with Andrea Evans, follow her on Twitter.

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

THE BAND GOOCH TALK ‘MODERN HIGH’, FAVOURITE ARTISTS & ULTIMATE COMPLIMENTS 0 22

They say siblings share most things. For the majority, that means clothes and other day to day items, but for Jared and Jordan, aka The Band Gooch, the one key thing they share and bond over is their love of music. Inspired first and foremost by Green Day, the two brothers have just dropped their new album ‘Modern High’, and are currently working on putting together some tour dates. They spoke to ThisIsTheLatest and spilled the beans on the two venues they’d love to play, their views on social media and how they’d like to start a revolution with and through their music.

TITL: What sets The Band Gooch apart from all the other acts out there today?

TBG: I think there are a couple things that set us apart from other acts out there today. First, we are not making music simply to get rich and famous. That is not our goal and never has been. Our band to us is more than just a rock band, it’s a lifestyle, a culture. To us it’s a symbol of freedom and liberty, meant to inspire people to do and be more. To us it’s a community of people brought together by music, living their best lives, being completely free. The other thing that would set us apart would be our musical taste. There are a lot of acts out there who are into a little more electronic type music. We write music with the idea that, it needs to be able to truly be played live, and sound just as good if not better live. No BS. You don’t see that anymore. 

TITL: As siblings, do you find or have you found that your musical tastes are very similar or different and how have those tastes and influences filtered through into the music you make?

Jared: For the most part our music tastes are very similar. We are both very into classic rock, punk rock, a lot of 80s and 90s stuff. That’s the foundation of what we do. We differ in other things. For example I’m into Enya, I love Brad Paisley and things like that. Jordan is way into Lord Huron, Young The Giant and other acts like that. Having a foundation of similarity with different flares really makes creating music fun and interesting for us. We go the same direction, but keep it interesting. 

TITL: What would you each say the other brings to the band? 

Jared: We each bring personality I think. I bring passion I think, sometimes probably a little too much for the band! I can get a little OCD with things, but that’s okay. I do a lot of the melody work, a lot of guitar and bass, foundation work and lyrics. Jordan brings the flash and style. He is really good at spicing up bass lines, adding good guitar solos or spicing things up a bit. He also brings a lot of passion in his own way. He is more relaxed and easy going which is good to have, it keeps it loose and we all have fun. 

TITL: Family relationships are hard at the best of times, so how do the two of you deal with any personal or artistic differences that might cause tensions within the band? 

TBG: We are super close in age and we are extremely close but also have always had differences growing up. We prefer it this way. We can have a huge fight and disagree on everything, which has happened multiple times, but at the end of the day, we are still brothers so things get resolved easy. Anyone else is not so easy, people get pissed, bands break up and that’s that. 

TITL: Which three bands, collectively, would you say TBG is most influenced by? 

TBG: First and foremost Green Day. We love their music, and their live presence is second to none. Second would be Metallica, for the same reasons. Third would probably be a general collection of 80’s rock mixed with artists ranging from Enya to Metallica new or old. 

TITL: What can you tell me about your new album Modern High?

TBG: Modern High is a rock album about Modern Society. It talks about the good the bad and the ugly about life in the modern age. We have more luxuries than ever, yet people seem to be more stressed out and anxious than ever. People seem to care more than ever what other people think about them, they have distractions everywhere they look, expectations to manage, and life is just chaotic all the time. Modern High is an album of anthems preaching liberty. Fuck the modern age, what other people think, it doesn’t matter. What matters is doing what you love, being your best, and being happy. Too many people spend time living for someone else. Fuck that. It’s your life, live it your way. Start the business, make the album, marry that girl, do whatever you want. Just don’t spend your life trying to please everyone and stop measuring your life by likes and follows. Modern High is a classic punk album preaching liberty.  

TITL: Could you pick a favourite track from the collection? What is it about those songs that mean and matter so much to you?

Jared: Mine would probably be “Rebel Inside”. That is one of the more personal songs I wrote. It’s about my wife, and finding perfection in her imperfections. 

TITL: Are there any summer/fall tour plans lined up to promote the album? 

TBG: We are working on that now! We are going to be booking some shows around the west coast later this year and/or next.

TITL: Which venue anywhere in the world would you most like to play and who would you choose to support you?

TBG: Probably the Emirates Stadium or Old Trafford, both in England. We’d of course want to play with Green Day but I think they are a little too big to support us, so we’d support them! If we had to choose a supporting act, I don’t know; I think we’d find someone we like who puts on a good show and bring them along. 

TITL: You’ve already been praised by the likes of Ghost Cult Magazine and PunkNews.org, but what’s the biggest thing anyone has or could write/say about you? What is or would be the ultimate compliment? 

TBG: The best thing is when someone who has never been to a show before, or hears our music for the first time reaches out or comes up after a show and says; “I just found this song, it is AMAZING!” OR “You guys are way better than I expected – I had no idea you guys were this good. I thought you’d be okay but you guys are an actual band rock band!” Or: “You guys sound way better live than you do on your album!”Or: “You guys put on an actual rock show, that was amazing, I feel bad I haven’t come yet! I did not expect this at all!” These are all real quotes from people, and these are the best compliments. When someone listens to our music, or comes to a show and has a great time. 

TITL: To what extent has and does social media impact your ability to reach an audience? How much of your following might you say has come as a result of you posting/sharing your music on the likes of Twitter and Facebook? 

TBG: Twitter zero. I think we have one but we are never on it. We do most our marketing on Facebook and Instagram. The thing with social media is it’s an amazing tool for reaching people all over the world. We can share our brand and our story and connect with fans and that is really fun. We love talking to people that find and like our music. The problem is, everyone is always getting crap thrown in their face and it is distracting, so the market is super saturated. Also on a personal note, we hate social media because it is addicting and we think at this point it’s more of a problem and a distraction to society than a solution. So it sucks. I am not sure how much of a following comes from it, probably a pretty good amount. But we really don’t spend as much time on social media as we “should”. 

TITL: Looking further down the line, where to you want TBG to be five, ten years from now? When they write the history book of music, what would you like to see written about the two of you and the music you left/shared with the world?

The Band Gooch: Good question. At the end of the day, we aren’t doing this for money and fame. If we wanted that we’d do pretty much anything else, there is almost no money and no fame in this business. We do this because it is WHO we are. This is our life’s work, and whether or not it works out for us tomorrow, next year, five years or after we are dead it doesn’t matter. This is WHO we are and it is what we do. We are doing it because we want to show people you CAN do what you love, and you SHOULD do what you love. That there is more to life than money, likes and follows. The world needs a revolution, it needs to get back to its roots and that is why we exist. We just so happen to make awesome rock music, so what better way to start a revolution? 

For more information on The Band Gooch, visit their website or give their page a like on Facebook. Their album Modern High is available now.

COOPER VAN GROOTEL TALKS NEW FILM ‘GO!’ & ACTING INFLUENCES & INSPIRATIONS 0 34

With his latest film GO! premiering at Cinfest Oz later this month, there’s little doubt that Cooper Van Grootel’s career is on the rise. Having been acting since before he was a teenager and as an individual heavily influenced by the great work and legacy of the late Heath Ledger, Cooper’s passion for what he does comes across in every role he takes on and every performance he gives. Ahead of GO!’s premiere, he spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about his favourite memories on set, the one TV show he’d have loved to have starred in and the one piece of advice he’d pass on to upcoming actors.

TITL: You’ve been acting for several years now, but was there ever a time, growing up, that you considered taking another career path or has it always been about performance and film/TV work for you?

Cooper Van Grootel: I began acting when I was about 11 years old, but before then I always wanted to be an AFL player, which is the Australian Football League, equivalent to the NFL in the USA. However, once I started acting, I couldn’t think about anything else and it’s been my passion ever since.

TITL: Which one film or TV series, you watched, made you ultimately realize “Yeah, I want to do that”?

CVG: This is a funny one. I was actually extremely fascinated by the movie Coraline; its story-line, the characters, the way the film was created and put together so well. It kind of sparked a fire in me that made me want to do what these characters were doing. Whatever that meant. So I began my search for a film school, where I found Filmbites, a film school in Perth run by Hallie McKeig. I stuck with Filmbites for 7 years up until I was 18 and that’s when I left for America.

TITL: Which actors might you say most inspire and influence you when it comes to your career and your work? What is it about them that encourages and motivates you so much?

CVG: Heath Ledger. I think I can really relate to that guy in a lot of ways. We’re from the same home town, we left Perth for America with the same burning passion, Hollywood. Heath Ledger is a really motivating person, proving that if you set your mind to something, it can be achieved.

TITL: Can you recall the first project you ever auditioned for?

CVG: I’m not 100% sure what my first audition was for, but it might have been a short film back in Perth, when I was 11 years old. I didn’t get the role, but the whole process of auditioning in front of people, with a camera, a blank room and just your imagination, fascinated me. 

TITL: Do you find the audition process comfortable or is there always an uncertainty/air of pressure around each one?

CVG: For me, it’s a bit of both. I find it super exciting just being given the opportunity to express my ideas in this craft and give it a shot, but at the same time, it can make me nervous and anxious. I just try and have fun with the whole process.

TITL: Your break-out came in 2014 with The Legend Of Gavin Tanner. Can you recall your favourite time on the show, and are there any lessons/particular experiences you’ve taken from that period and continued to learn/grow from as a result? 

CVG: The Gavin Tanner set was just a whole bunch of fun, everybody was having a great time. I think with every role you book, you learn a lot about yourself. I remember having to get up at 6am to shoot and my mum was there with me every day to watch over me, so I learnt that my parents are so loving and supportive of this craft. I am very grateful for that.

TITL: You are perhaps best known for playing Brayden in the series Mystery Road, which was and is a huge hit with an impressive cast. What was and is it about the series, do you think, that has helped it to become so popular?

CVG: Mystery Road is an incredible TV show with some of the best acting I’ve ever watched, it truly blows me away. I think it has done so well because of its suspenseful moments and heart-breaking issues which are highlighted in the show about Australia’s society. It really does keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. I’m so grateful to have worked on such a professional shoot.

TITL: Your latest film GO! is having its world premiere on August 28th at Cinefest Oz. Do you ever get nervous ahead of big events like that and feel at all anxious about what those in attendance, including critics, and what they might think?

CVG: 100%! I’m very excited and nervous at the same time. I hope people enjoy the film as much as the cast and crew enjoyed making it. I think Cinfest Oz will probably be one of the biggest film festivals I’ve been to so it’ll be a whole new experience for me; I can’t wait! 

TITL: What can you tell me about the film and who you play in it?

CVG: A good way to describe GO! is kind of like the original Karate Kid but go karting instead of karate. A teenage boy, Jack, moves to a small town with his mum. Jack discovers a passion for go karting, where he meets a mentor who shows him the way of the sport. I play Dean, the antagonist of the film. It was an amazing opportunity and I tried my best to find the heart in the character even though he was the antagonist, as my goal was to do this character justice. One of the craziest parts of the experience was having my hair bleached white – it added to the character and was a lot of fun going through that experience with production.

TITL: How did you find working with the likes of director Owen Trevor and your co-stars Francis O’Connor, Dan Wyllie and Richard Roxburgh?  Any fond or favourite memories from your time on set?

CVG: Working with such professionals was daunting, but at the end of the day everybody wants to do a good job and I think it’s important that you feel comfortable and relaxed. That’s what Owen and the other actors brought to set. I could really be at ease and was able to explore and play with my character. I remember one of the first days shooting, I had to punch Will Lodder, who plays Jack. After I delivered the punch, I slicked my bleached white hair back into place and from that point on, it kind of became a character trait where in multiple scenes, I slowly slicked my hair back in a menacing way. I think it worked well and Owen loved it.

TITL: Of all the roles and characters you’ve played so far, which one stands out the most and why?

CVG: I recently shot a short film here in LA, called Pink Elephant. I think this role stands out the most because I proved to myself that I can achieve my goals over here in America; it’s just a matter of believing in yourself and setting your mind to it. I made so many great friendships on set, life-long ones I hope. That and I finally got to play the protagonist!

TITL: If you could star in any TV series or film, past or present, which would it be? Which actors/crews would you most like to work with?

CVG: I would love to have been on Breaking Bad. Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston are two of my favourite actors. They made that show so exciting – I am truly envious of their work. Heath Ledger was going into directing before he passed; he had an amazing vision, so I know he would have been an incredible director and it would have been an honor to have the opportunity to work with him.

TITL: Are there any upcoming projects in the pipeline you can tell me about?

CVG: I just had an audition in LA sent to a director so I have my fingers crossed at the moment!

TITL: Away from acting, and particularly after long periods away from home/on set, what activities or hobbies do you like to pursue? How important is it for you to have that “unwind, me” time?

CVG: I love to surf. Surfing is another passion of mine, but I never wanted to pursue it professionally though. It’s a great way to clear your mind and rid bad energy or thoughts. I think it’s vital that you have an outlet away from acting. Acting can be physically and emotionally draining, so for me, surfing helps keep the balance. I also like to play the guitar. 

TITL: Finally, as someone who is gradually becoming more established in the industry, what advice would you give to those starting out? What one piece of advice that you were once given or have heard would you pass on as encouragement and for motivation?

CVG: Try not to worry too much about the future, focus on giving your best performance and enjoying your time in the now. 

You can keep up to date with Cooper by following him on Instagram.