Daniela Sea is Smokin’ Hot in 'The Casserole Club' - Interview
Set amidst a group of close-knit 1960s suburban couples, The Casserole Club follows a recipe club among wives (who can do the best casserole?) that devolves from weekly “hostess with the mostess” gatherings into one boozy, campy, spousal swap fest. At the center are a handful of keen actors, including surprising turns by Daniela Sea (The L Word), Kevin Richardson (of the Backstreet Boys fame), and Jane Wiedlin (of The Go Go’s). Directed by Steve Balderson and written by Frankie Krainz (the team behind the women-in-prison homage, Stuck!), The Casserole Club is now available on VOD and DVD (the latter includes the full-length making of doc called Camp Casserole). We caught up with Sea, one of our favorite gender bending actresses, to dish about pantsuits, repression, and vegan casseroles.
I love the mod ‘60s look of The Casserole Club. Did your character sport a pantsuit in the script or was that a special Daniela Sea costume option? You’re the only woman not wearing skirts and dresses.
It was clear to me that Jerome, a no nonsense woman, was of the trouser variety. My friend, costume designer Allison Leach, met me at the costume warehouse and worked with me to put together Jerome’s wardrobe.
I love that your character’s name is Jerome and your husband’s name in the film is Leslie. Is that a wink to gender benders or just a coincidence?
I like to think that Frankie and Steve gave them those names for a good reason, a nod to the future perhaps?
I’m fairly certain your L Word fans will be surprised to see you as a suburban housewife. What do you think your character in The Casserole Club has in common with your character on The L Word?
Jerome and Max are very different people, way beyond the way that they represent themselves with clothing and gender identity. Max is very sensitive and fairly open about his feelings. Jerome plays cover up all the time. She also is an alcoholic, where Max didn’t have a substance issue. Perhaps I am the only through line between the two? Wait, come to think of it, they each enjoy the company of both men and women.
There’s a lot of nudity in The Casserole Club and the way they the love scenes were edited made for almost orgy-like settings. What was filming these scenes like?
On set we had great regard for each other, working as a team to make this film happen. Filming these scenes was like on any other set I’ve worked on: respectful and professional.
You seem drawn to cerebral, sort of dysfunctional films. Why?
I’m drawn to films that take a close look at our culture, and make a point to examine it with heart, ambitious curiosity and hopefully some humor splashed in. I love playing strong characters rarely portrayed in film and TV. It gives my work meaning and deepens my understanding of the world in which I live.
The characters in The Casserole Club are pretty selfish on the surface. How did you see them?
I see these characters as victims of a market capitalist society gone haywire, where repression, consumption, individualism and gluttony rule the day. The explosion of their inner selves is inevitable and messy, causing destruction, pain and ultimate redemption for the lucky few who made it out alive: the few who were willing to actually be themselves. I like to think Jerome lived a full and authentic life, and had a chance, through Lesley’s death, to liberate herself from the monotony of suburban life. I like to think she got published.
What was your favorite part of filming The Casserole Club?
My favorite part of filming The Casserole Club was getting a chance to work with a do-it-yourself ethic, which is deeply seeded in my punk rock-activist background. Each person who worked on this film came with the understanding that we would make this thing together, with full involvement of our hearts and souls. We lived collectively while filming, costumed ourselves, helped in a myriad of ways, and generally made it happen. I am very proud of this aspect of making the film. This is the way Steve works, and I quite enjoyed it. And I love Jerome — her way of being in the world touched me deeply.
What’s your favorite casserole? Got a recipe?
I’m not a big fan of oven cooking, and the only casserole-ish thing I’ve ever made was vegan gluten-free lasagna: Brown rice noodles, cashew cheese and heirloom tomatoes and garlic sauce.
What’s next for you?
This past winter I acted in Austrian director Barbara Albert’s new film, The Dead and the Living, which will premiere this year in one of Europe’s festivals. It’s being edited now. I played a woman whose life circumstance strangely echoed experiences I have had in my own life. On another note, I am incubating a couple of projects, which are at the stage where they are just taking shape. I can’t wait to share them with everyone when the time is right!