Exclusive Interview with FEMME FETALES director Buddy Giovinazzo

Exclusive Interview with FEMME FETALES director Buddy Giovinazzo
Buddy Giovinazzo, Cinemax Femme Fetales, news on A Night of Nightmares (formaerly known as Ginger), and more.
Updated: 06-09-2012

Good old "skinemax" (OK, OK. Cinemax!) is still going strong, as proven with their second season (recently launched) of an original series that's mostly thriller, and sometimes horror. Here's the channel's official word:

"From the creators of Femme Fatales Magazine comes a new late-night anthology series about powerful, sexy and dangerous women. In each of the 13 stand-alone episodes, women find extraordinary ways of coping with their problems, channeling their survival instincts and bringing out their inner guile."


I was lucky enough to chat with Buddy Giovinazzo (who I met when interviewing him for the then-upcoming anthology film, THE THEATER BIZARRE) about how he approaches TV as opposed to film. I thought he had some pretty interesting answers about that, as well as racy revelations on his episode, Trophy Wife.

Staci Layne Wilson: For those who aren't familiar with the show FEMME FETALES, what's the hook? Is it the kind of show that, even if you've never seen it, you can watch standalone episodes?

Buddy Giovinazzo: It's sort of a modern day throwback to the pulp crimes stories of the 40's & 50's. You know, sexy dangerous women without scruples or morals leading men to their doom. My favorite kind, actually. They all have a plan or a scheme, usually about revenge or stealing, and always using their alluring beauty to get what they want. Black widows.

SLW: Did you write the script for your episode? If not, what attracted you to the story and made you feel like you could tell it well?

BG: The story was written by my best friend, Ron Cosentino. It was an idea I had about a beautiful woman realizing that time is passing her by, that she's about to be replaced in her marriage with a younger version of herself, and she's not going to go out quietly. I tried to imagine if Veronika Lake were around today, how would she look, and react. I was attracted to this story because it's a classic set up, older woman replaced by younger beauty, both of them treated like shit by the man in the middle. I also liked the surprise ending. So many of these types of stories are completely predictable and I was challenged by the notion of trying to steer the audience away from the resolution. Thereby giving them a good shock at the end.

SLW:  FEMME FETALES is known for being a sexy, titillating program, but usually the horror or scare-aspect isn't that prominent. Why is it so hard to tell a truly scary story in short form television?

BG: Actually horror plays a very minor role in FF (if at all). It's a sexy crime format and I think the producers wanted to create something that would be timeless and also stand alone from the other horror series that also have sexual themes and characters. One problem of doing a horror story in such a short format (30 minutes) is that horror works best when the atmosphere of the story can be firmly established, and in the short TV format, there just isn't any time to establish or create atmosphere. The stories are completely character driven, so it's difficult to make that work in horror.

SLW: What are some of your favorite things about working in television, as they relate to working in film?

BG: I like the immediacy of working in TV. Everything has to be done NOW and there's no time to delay or to over-discuss. We have a firm air date and the films must be completed by that date. In feature films it takes so long to get anything set up and shot--it takes literally years--and then there's so much second-guessing and fear from the producers--it's really annoying. With a feature you're also working on the film for a year. The turnaround time in TV is really cool, it allows me more time to work on my theatrical films.

SLW: What else are you working on, and what can we expect to see from you next after your FEMME FETALES episode?

BG: I directed a horror film this past December called A NIGHT OF NIGHTMARES that I'm really pleased with. The film will premiere this July at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, and then at the Fright Fest in London in August. I'm currently directing a German crime series in Cologne for German TV, and am trying to find my next threatical project, not sure what that will be, but I'd like to do another horror film.


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