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Exclusive: Co-Writer/Director Mark Jones Talks Scorned, Scary Women

“Scorned,” the latest from Anchor Bay Films follows in the tradition of seductive, horrifying thrillers but still manages to turn the sub-genre on its head by putting in unexpected twists and turns. The co-writer and director of the film, Mark Jones, was able to speak to ShockYa about the process behind “Scorned” and what makes the psychotic femme fatale such an alluring villain. “Scorned” is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as On Demand across select cable providers and for digital download on iTunes, VUDU and Xbox.

How did you come up with the idea for “Scorned”?

Mark Jones: Probably [from] dating a lot of females that are somewhat crazy [laughs] to be honest…”Misery” was a movie I always liked and I [thought to] take that, make it a young person and put it in [a] somewhat contemporary [setting], and that’s basically it. I think that there needs to be a movie made about a girl like this.

You’ve written and directed other films, like “Leprechaun.” When you were writing and directing “Scorned,” were there any particular challenges?

Mark Jones: Production, there was. We shot it in Ohio and it was a tough shoot because of the weather. From a practical level, I wasn’t used to Ohio’s climate and one thing that surprised myself and some of the people that we flew in from LA is that we [didn’t] have 12 hours of night. When you’re shooting at night, there are usually 12-hour days. The sun doesn’t go down until 10 and it doesn’t come up until about six or seven, so you have about eight hours of night. So we didn’t really know [this] until we started shooting…so we had an accelerated schedule. It was tough; I think we pulled it off, I think we did a great job, considering. But weather was a factor; we did get rained out a couple of times and that was pretty much the tough part.

AnnaLynne McCord and Billy Zane are the two leads; what was it like working with them?

Mark Jones: Well, AnnaLynne was terrific. I make a prediction that AnnaLynne–I wouldn’t be surprised if in some movie somewhere, she gets a nomination. I think she surprised me [with] how good she was. I saw her work on “90210” and I’ve seen different things she’s done and I’ve met with her and I was very happy initially that we had someone of her caliber…but she nailed it. She brought…a bunch of levels to the character and she was absolutely perfect. I couldn’t be happier…She’s a total professional…everything’s about the movie, that’s all her concern[.] She’s a cat lover like I am, so we bonded over cats.

Billy was great. Billy is an incredibly creative guy and I actually had a lot of fun with him. He’s…very eclectic and he’s an interesting guy; he has a lot of levels to him. But again, he’s terrific. The camera rolls and he does his stuff and he always brings a little extra element to something that I didn’t expect.

As you were saying before, “Misery” and other films like “Fatal Attraction” have these female characters that are both very alluring but also very frightening. What do you think draws audiences to these types of characters?

Mark Jones: I think it’s the fact that they’re out there and that when they’re exposed in a weird way, people have a sense of relief, like, “It’s not just me that finds these people or think that people have these levels to them.” I think it’s a sort-of collective consciousness–there are people out there like this and people are fascinated. It’s the same reason people are fascinated with crime, true-life crime stories, serial killers, things like that. It’s an area most people aren’t in, so they can look at it like voyeurs. It’s the same reason people stop and look at car accidents. You almost feel safe that you’re not sitting there tied up in front of this girl. “Misery” worked because we [as an audience] went, “Oh my gosh, could that be me that’s sitting there with broken legs and there’s this crazy girl keeping me in a house?” I think there’s this relief factor that, “I’m so glad that isn’t happening to me.”

What do you think people will love about “Scorned”?

Mark Jones: I think it’s unpredictable, it’s got a kind-of a twist ending that I like[.] It does’t end the way you would typically see these movies end. I think…you’re fascinated to see where it’s going because I don’t think it’s predictable. I think that’s what people will like about it. Just when you think you’ve seen the worst, it keeps ramping up.

Scorned Blu-RAY

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Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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