Troma’s Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volumes 1 & 2 are a couple of my favorite movies of the last few years. Instrumental to their likability is star Asta Paredes. Her understanding of the craft allowed her to play her character Chrissy with such a perfect amount of subtle comedy that the films feel like more than just silly social commentary and flagrant farce (not that there’s anything wrong with that either).
She has also starred as the protagonist in the 2015 horror film Socipathia, as well as a number of short films and TV spots. Asta runs Abandoned House Productions with her husband, actor Clay von Carlowitz, where they produce, write, and direct on top of acting. I am happy to have received a few moments of her time for this interview.
First of all I’d like to say Happy New Year! How was your 2018? Busy?
Happy New Year to you! Delightful. Busy? Hmmm, I prefer the word productive to describe it.This past year I would say while my time was occupied it was directed with focus and I even scheduled in time to “just be”. Work/Life balance, man—it’s the best.
Part two of that question is, do you have any resolutions going into 2019 that you wouldn’t mind sharing with us?
Resolutions have never really been my thing per se but I certainly develop intentions for the year. Images to keep me motivated. When talking with friends about this I said this year I wanted to “wear my crown and sit on my throne”. For me it means, I’ve spent the past two years working hard on myself and my artistic voice so now I want to use that power-own it. Sometimes just having a symbolic image to think on gets me to my goals more steadily instead of wrapping myself up in specific things that feel like failures when they aren’t checked off the list. Having said that I’m a list fiend.
What do you think of the response Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High AKA Volume 2 is getting, as well as the response toward your performance therein?
Well the first kind of response is usually around the length of time between the two. (It’s indie film!) After that’s gotten over, people are generally pleased with how extra “Tromatic” this film feels. I’ve only seen it twice in its current form and I would certainly say it reminds me a lot of Terror Firmer in its “Meta-ness”. I’ve also been delighted that some picked up on the Star Wars references I sneaked in. Overall, I’ve felt incredibly lucky over the years to have such incredible fans who’ve really grabbed on to the general badassery of Chrissy, the Pollution Nerd, and her love story with the duck-loving rich girl, Lauren.
You really knocked it out of the park! Did you find working on a Troma film to be a singular experience? Troma seems to operate with the same level of enthusiasm as they did 40 years ago!
Thanks man. I put a lotta love and energy into it so getting love back makes it all the more worth it. It was really a special time. With Vol 2 coming out this year, it’s been a true full circle experience. Troma really gathered magic that summer and not one person on set wasn’t 1000 percent invested.
What has been your biggest takeaway from working on Troma features? You’re not going to go off and direct the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie now, are you?
I’d say it’s make your path. Truly. The industry can be very insistent on what success is and how to get it but it’s less concerned with how to fulfill artists where it matters—your creative soul. Troma was my first major film experience which made it wonderful to instill that nature but a bitterpill when figuring out how to operate in the mainstream afterwards. I’d say in making my own art I’ve been able to find my voice and balance it with the expectations outside of indie cinema. I don’t know about GOTG but I’m certainly open to working on stories about misfits and the power of love in any capacity.
Shifting gears a bit, I’m always curious about my guest’s tastes. I know it’s tough, but what would you say are your top 5 favorite horror movies (if you had to choose)?
Ugghhhhh. That’s so difficult and especially this year since I’ve seen so many new films which I think will endure as new classics. But these are five I can’t help but gut react with. so here goes:
The Baby’s Room
Night of the Comet
Great ones! It’s important to keep goals and to keep looking forward, but now that you have a few movies under your belt, you have officially made a dent in the universe of entertainment. You are on home video and will be remembered. Do you feel satisfied about this fact, or do you feel like there’s still so much to do before you’ve made any sort of lasting mark?
Yay! A dent! Hell yea! I’m certainly content with my career as it is but I think I’ve got a ways to go before I’m “satisfied”. I don’t feel daunted by that at all though, as long as I continue on my terms. Excited for the journey ahead because that’s what it’s all about not just the fancy destinations along the way.
So what are your current goals as an actor? As a producer? Additionally, would you like to continue making genre films, or are you seeking “loftier” work, so to speak?
As an actor I just wish to continue to dig my teeth into multifaceted characters that help me explore my own humanity as well as reconnect with others. As a producer, I wish to help bring forward stories with new perspectives—whether that be the voice of the creator, the visual style or the medium used to convey. In both these realms, I feel I can swim between genre and “loftier” works. Good Storytelling needs no label-it transcends.
Is ‘ASTA PAREDES’ supposed to be an anagram of ‘A SEARED PAST’ or ‘SEARED PASTA’? It has to be one or the other, right?
Damn. You figured it out. Run! RUNNNNN. THEY will be coming for you now…
Haha, thanks for playing along. I would be remiss if I didn’t ask what you are currently working on. So, what are you currently working on?
LIFE. ART. On the output: The Shadow Scarf, Eros Point, The Slightest Touch, and The Creeper’s Curse will be continuing on the festival circuit and beyond. It has been such a blessing to work on and help create these works with such immensely talented people. All these feeding into more. I am also attached to some feature length fare in varying stages of development (as is the nature of this biz), two of which are slated to be shooting scenes this fall and spring. I will also be directing again on one thrilling short under the Abandoned House Productions banner this year. I’m also wrapped up in working on music of my own which I’m especially overjoyed about. Overall I’m really excited to continue to create art with amazing people and more importantly have fun doing it.
Thank you so much for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for the chat! Always fun to reflect.
If anyone wants to keep up with what’s going on with me and my projects they can feel free to follow my accounts for updates.
Official Website: www.astaparedes.com
Production Company site: www.abandonedhousepresents.com