The new flick from Jon Knautz entitled The Cleaning Lady (review) is bloodying up home video collections everywhere, and we had a chance to sit down with the film’s star, Alexis Kendra, to get the skinny! Don’t let the title fool ya! This one gets messy!
On the surface Alice seems like a woman who has it all: a gorgeous apartment, a booming career, a stunning physique, and a handsome boyfriend. The only problem is he’s married to someone else. Looking for a way to simplify her life, Alice hires Shelly to clean her house. As Alice begins to confide in Shelly about her illicit affair, their friendship grows… and so does Shelly’s twisted obsession with her new employer. It soon becomes clear that Shelly has motives that reach further than a normal cleaning lady. Shelly wants to cleanse Alice’s entire life and will stop at nothing until she’s done.
Brainwaves: Can you tell us about The Cleaning Lady’s premise, as well as give us a look inside your character, Alice?
Alexis Kendra: The film is about a burn victim maid who becomes increasingly obsessed with a woman whose apartment she cleans. Alice – our protagonist – is a woman who seemingly on the surface has it all: She’s attractive, she has a stunning apartment, a lovely career, she’s in love… but when one digs deeper they realize that Alice is deeply saddened and flawed, which was my goal as co-writer in having a protagonist that was relatable and identifiable; and hopefully we accomplished that. The man she’s in love with is married and she’s in a 12-step program to build the strength to leave him.
BW: You pulled double duty on the film, both starring and writing. The Cleaning Lady began its life as a short film. Did you find many challenges in stretching this out from a short film to a feature length one?
AK: The short was a ball because I got to play Shelly which was really an amazing experience. Just the hours in that makeup chair alone really gave me a huge understand on what actors go through who require SPFX and it ended up giving me a great deal of respect for the actress who plays Shelly, Rachel Alig. But producing the feature vs the short was so rewarding because we had around a 28-day shoot schedule for the feature which we fought for pretty hard because we strive for quality and quality takes time. And the short was shot in a few days so there was a lot more rushing going on there. And we were able to see the makeup in the short for Shelly and make the necessary adjustments for the feature.
BW: You’ve acted, written, and produced over the course of your career. Which one of these brings you the most joy, and could a directional stint be in your future?
AK: I also production designed The Cleaning Lady as well as my first film Goddess of Love and without question production designing a film is my absolute favorite aspect of making a film because as a designer and producer – I have full control over the look of the film – of course with the director’s approval, but Jon Knautz has always been a big supporter of my eye and we work so well together that the design aspect ends up being thrilling. It’s a way for me to truly help in creating the tone of the picture which I have taken a lot of inspiration from horror films like Tale of Two Sisters, Dumplings, Stoker, Rosemary’s Baby, etc.
BW: Lastly, after he release of TCL what’s up next on the work slate for you?
AK: Right now we’re shopping scripts – the director is working on a documentary; but as for the two of us, we shall see!