Brigitte Kingsley ('Agency of Vengeance')
'The Rise of Summer!'
When the Rising Dark Agency, a black ops division of the Government headed by Colonel Haggerd (Michael Ironside), suspects that a sudden surge of supernatural activity and violent attacks on Earth are the work of an evil Demon-God capable of destroying worlds, it must call upon the services of super soldier Summer Vale to solve the mystery and prevent the coming apocalypse.
But no one is prepared for who and what they find behind the violent attacks!
Level 33 Entertainment delivers an action-packed sci-fi adventure this summer with the release of 'Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising' on DVD and all On Demand platforms including iTunes and Amazon Instant today.
Starring Brigitte Kingsley (Frequency), Landy Cannon (American Psycho, Catwoman), Michael Ironside (X-Men:First Class, Total Recall, Top Gun), Julia Schneider (American Pie Presents Delta House) and Angel Williams, aka Angelina Love of TNA Wrestling fame, 'Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising' is now available at an SRP of $14.99 to buy and $4.99 to rent in HD.
'Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising' was written and directed by Andrew Cymek (Night Cries) and produced by Brigitte Kingsley.
Sitting down with the oh-so-lovely Brigitte Kingsley, and being that her father worked in the lumber insurance industry, her mother a teacher in the French Catholic school board, then both retired and opened up two Topper's Pizza franchises, I first wondered just HOW did she ever become an actress?! "As a kid I thought the two best jobs in the world were to be a cashier at the grocery store or to be a movie star! When I wasn't ringing in plastic groceries, I was putting on plays. My parents were always super supportive. They never questioned my crazy endeavors ... and still don't! Even when I told them I wanted to go to University for theatre, they encouraged me to follow my dreams. Although my dad did shake his head when I went to class in my pajamas and had assignments of walking around like an animal for a day," she laughs.
Having done TV commercials as a young girl - Oxy, Foot Locker, McDonald's, etc. - in reflection now which one stands out to have been the most career propelling for you? "I don't know if any commercial I did was career propelling, but it was fun to be the Oxy girl for a little while," she smiles.
You were dubbed the "hostess with the mostess" when you hosted the TV series, Game Nation for 4 seasons - but why did you go by the name, "Suki Diefenbaker"?! "Game Nation was such a fun show to do! The producers Jeff and Romano, whom I love dearly insisted on a "fake" name to keep my identity secret. They had issues with a few stalkers with the last host and wanted to avoid future situations. They chose the name "Suki" because it was fun and "Diefenbaker" because it was Canadian! Suki was the first television character I got to play."
Things really got started in the business for you in 2002 when you launched a production company, Defiant Empire Corporation with your business partner, Andrew Cymek. So instead of joining audition lines and waiting for callbacks you took it upon yourself to work for yourself in the business. A bold move, so were there any down sides to your bravery at first, perhaps? "No down sides," she laughs. "Okay, maybe starting our own company put both Andrew and I in a lot of debt for those first few years, but no regrets! I owe both my acting and producing career to that decision in 2002. It's not the easy road, but working with Andrew and playing Summer Vale in four projects with a super fun cast has been the time of my life. It's also allowed me to be a part of numerous other projects and I enjoyed the entire journey - down sides and all!"
Then in 2006 this very same production company produced your very first feature film, 'Dark Rising: Bring Your Battle Axe,' which went on to earn 6 nominations at the Canadian Comedy Awards in 2008! How long had the film been considered by you/the company and were you always going to play the lead role? "I had approached a company called Black Walk to make Medium Raw, which was our second feature. They were interested but wanted to change some integral parts of the film. Andrew and I were very protective of that project and weren't ready to bring on a partner with terms, so instead I pitched the executive producer a low-budget horror film. He was interested and asked me to bring in the script Monday."
"I called Andrew and told him that I had just pitched a project that didn't exist and that he had 3 days to write a low-budget horror film. He came back with Dark Rising - a horror-comedy with a superhero role in it for me to play! The executive producer Mihkel realized it was a comedy and not a horror, but agreed to it anyway and three weeks later we were filming our very first feature film and the Dark Rising franchise was born!"
And, of course, we got introduced to your character, Summer Vale in the series. So where did her name originate? "Andrew created the name so not sure of the origin."
After gaining a cult following the story was brought to TV as 'Dark Rising: The Savage Tales of Summer Vale' (2011). So what do you like filming best: TV or movies? "We actually filmed 'Agency of Vengeance' ['Dark Rising 2'] "and 'Savage Tales of Summer Vale', back to back. We were all staying in cottages and apartments in Northern Ontario for months. The film was so much fun because it felt like an event. The entire town of North Bay got involved and we felt like we were a real part of the community while filming all over the city."
"By the time we got around to 'Savage Tales', we were running out of time and money, so it was a completely different kind of fun! Landy (Jason Parks) and I were memorizing 20 pages of dialogue at night and we were blazing through scenes during the day. Some of which were outside in the dead of a Northern Ontario winter ... brrrrrrrrr!"
"We would sing 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' when we had to do a new set up and the crew had to finish positioning the lights before the song was over! I've never laughed so much on a set as I did on 'DR2' and 'Savage Tales.' There was just magic on those sets and so much fun! I couldn't possibly pick one over the other."
In 2008 you then became President of Black Walk Productions and have since now continued the franchise with, 'Dark Rising: Warrior of Worlds' - a one hour drama series for TV! Picked up by the Super Channel 1 in Canada. I can only imagine that your days are always spent either in front or behind the camera! "Yes, every day is one or the other and sometimes both! I ran Black Walk for five years and left after we wrapped 'Warrior of Worlds' to launch the company Good Soldier Films with Andrew Cymek. I still do both just under a new company now."
I've noticed a running theme of wrestlers (WWE, TNA) that are in your films! What first prompted that? "Andrew and his brother Jonathan were wrestling fans and they really liked Christian [WWE]. We heard that Christian [Jay Reso] was interested in getting into acting so Andrew wrote the part of Ricky for him. He was so funny and a wonderful person to work with! We met both Jay Reso and Lauren Williams [Angelina Love] through a mutual friend, Scott D'Amore."
Now as part of Good Soldier Films, we have been treated to ANOTHER film in the series, 'Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising.' But, I'm confused, as isn't this actually 'Dark Rising 2: Summer Strikes Back!' with just a new title? "I know, it's pretty confusing. Good Soldier actually has nothing to do with the Dark Rising Franchise. 'Dark Rising' was created by Andrew Cymek and produced by Defiant Empire and Black Walk. And yes, 'Dark Rising 2: Summer Strikes Back!' was the title for the Canadian release and 'Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising' is the US release of that same movie. It was acquired by MarVista and released through Level 33. They launched it under a different title."
And so why has the 'Dark Rising' part of the title been reduced to the smaller, secondary aspect of the bigger title this time? "The business side of me would guess that it's most likely because it's better to have a film that starts with the letter "A" than with the letter "D" for placement," she wryly smiles.
Regardless of the title switcheroo, having Michael Ironside in this as Colonel Haggerd, the head of The Rising Dark Agency; a black ops division of the Government is a great choice. But was he always your first choice to play that role? "We've always wanted to work with Michael Ironside. He's amazing! Ironically, we didn't think he'd be available so we asked another actor first, whom I'll keep anonymous! But when this other actor decide to back out at the 11th hour and leave us stranded, we were able to secure Michael. We were thrilled."
Indeed, it's Colonel Haggerd who calls in Summer Vale to check out a sudden surge of supernatural activity and violent attacks on Earth in this new story. So, just what does Summer bring to the table this time? Any new gadgets, guns, or team members, perhaps? "You can always expect big guns and a ton of laughs in Dark Rising projects! I think people will love the character of Bulo in Agency of Vengeance as Nug Nahrgang is hilarious!"
"The director had to leave the set a few times because he couldn't stop laughing at Nug's delivery and we would just hear this infectious giggle behind the camera. And as for Dark Rising: Warrior of Worlds, we brought out Colin Mochrie (Whose Line is it Anyway?), Brian Krause (Charmed), Jeremy London (Party of Five), Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall), and many more talented actors to the mix!"
I have to say, when a new demon sub-species brought Summer's wedding to a halt by, well, ** SPOILER ALERT ** eating her fiancee, I honestly thought I'd seen everything in this series! "Poor Paul, he was a lovely man! But Summer and Jason are meant to be and unfortunately Paul was in the way of a great love story so we had to send in a sand worm to eat him!"
I like the way that in Bulo's apartment that you snuck into shot posters of yourself and Julia Schneider from an unpublished photo shoot for 'Dark Rising: Bring Your Battle Axe'! "Thanks! That was Andrew's idea. He also added a few posters from past Black Walk projects 'Phil the Alien' and 'Ham & Cheese'."
The CGI looks really great, but doesn't come close to you in a bikini holding big guns and/or sharp knives! So, what's it like to be on set, battling things that haven't been CGI'd yet, all whilst in a skin tight bikini?! "It's super fun! The best thing about our CGI artist Doug Lentz, is that I can swing a knife in any direction and he'll make sure I hit a demon," she smiles, adding a sly wink.
Now, as we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, please reveal a little behind-the-scenes secret about the filming of this latest adventure. "All the CGI for Agency of Vengeance was done in my living room for a full year. The director Andrew Cymek and our CGI artist Doug Lentz set up a post house in an old farm house that we rented and we all lived together while they worked on the FX day and night. There is A LOT of CGI in Dark Rising for two guys," she laughs. "It was a big endeavor, but it was the only way we could get that quality of work within the budget that we had. We had tons of laughs during that year including dressing up farm cats in crazy Christmas hats for Holiday photos!"
Filmed back in 2011, does it bug you that projects like this take up to 3 years to finally come out for the fans? "Unfortunately, those things are often out of our control. Andrew and I started Good Soldier FIlms so that we can have more control over our future projects. But sometimes delays are unavoidable."
Please tell us more about the provocative front DVD cover art for 'Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising'! "Yeah," she laughs, "I wish I could remember posing for that! I remember doing the 'Dark Rising 2' DVD cover, but I must have slept through this last one," she winks with another smile.
Good Soldier Films is currently in production on 'Night Cries,' and pre-production on the country musical, 'Country Crush' - so what can you tell us about both of those? "Yeah, 'Night Cries' is the most exciting project we've worked on to date. It's an epic journey that we can't wait to share with our fans. It's actually ten years in the making! The concept is based on a short film we shot when Andrew and I were both in school. I auditioned for Andrew and his best friend Rafael Ludwig for the part of Sarah and got the role. We've been working together ever since. When we launched Good Soldier, we felt it was the perfect film to produce under our new company. We have a spectacular cast including Colin Mochrie (Whose Line is it Anyway), Mishael Morgan (Young and the Restless), Angelina Love (Wrestling Star), and Kristian Bruun from Orphan Black."
"Well, 'Country Crush' is a big leap from the projects we normally make. It's a Country Musical starring Jana Kramer with original songs written by Marty Beecroft and Glenn Coulson. Andrew and I were listening to their album on a road trip one day and thought these guys were extremely talented. Andrew started putting a storyline together with the songs and the idea of a Country musical became the second film on our new slate. It was incredible how quickly everyone came on board - it's a feel-good film with a lot of heart. We are filming it in Northern Ontario this fall."
Anything else? "Good Soldier is also in post-production on the feature films, 'The Shadows' written by Adam Tomlinson and directed by Josh Fraiman, as well as 'The Door,' written and directed by Patrick McBrearty ('Bounty Hunters')."
Can we expect a new 'Dark Rising' film adventure anytime soon, perhaps? "It all depends on the fans. We'd love to do 'Dark Rising 3: Summergeddon!' Bring everyone from every 'Dark Rising' project back!"
Please tell us more about Billy, Peanut and Todd! "Ha! I love my cats ... but you forgot about Zombii! Billy and Peanut came with the farm we were renting when we were doing 'Dark Rising 2' post-production. We moved in and they were waiting for us! Peanut was pregnant and along came Todd, Grayson and Drake - I'll give you points if you figure out the meaning of those names," she smiles.
"When we moved out of the farm house we took Peanut, Billy and Todd with us. Drake went with Doug and little Grayson is in kitty heaven. Last year, a sad little 7 week old kitten showed up at our home and Andrew called her Zombii, because she looked like a little Zombie - all frail and full of infections. We brought her to the vet and nursed her back to health. Now they're all part of our family!"
Are you a social media addict, perhaps? "Nope! I do like twitter because we get to chat with fans around the world - but I'm definitely not an addict ... yet!"
Finally, and yes, we ask everyone this question, we here at Exclusive Magazine LOVE penguins! So, we were wondering:
a) ... if you did also? "I prefer the Joker to Penguin!"
b) ... if you had a story about one? "Did you know that the Penguins hired in 'Batman Returns' had their own luxury swimming pool and had half a ton of ice and fresh fish delivered daily? The production went smoothly until animal rights groups discovered they had rockets strapped to their backs!"
c) ... if you would ever include one in your films?! "Absolutely!, Why, do you know one looking for a job?!"
d) ... if you had one as a pet what would you name him/her?! "
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
DVD Giveaway Page!
'Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising' Official Movie Trailer
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