RED AS BLUE takes place in the 1980s. When I made NUNE, which is an adaptation of RB, I updated the two main characters’ names: “Briana Enright” is actually “Beverly Enright,” Nune Lusparian is “June Lusparian,” Kimberly and Vaunt are the same. There’s a social reason for why Nune is named “June” in the 80s version.
When I wrote NUNE, I modernized Beverly, the “deep cheerleader” to make her more accessible. I couldn’t keep the same names or hobbies for her, so I made her current: she’s a cheerleader that listens to electronica, is a fashionista and smokes pot. Whereas the 80s Briana (Beverly), is just your straight-up preppy battling with a lot of societal clashes.
The casting process for Briana was difficult. I needed someone very pretty, athletic, could play tennis and could act. Most of the girls I found who were “cheerleader” types really wanted commerciality. They didn’t like the idea of playing a lesbian or bi-sexual girl. The most perfect types for this role didn’t want the risk. Casting for Briana Enright was hard because I was literally breaking a mold.
The girls who felt they understood Briana really didn’t. They thought they did but they did not have the life experience. So when Jessica came along, she brought something rather priceless.
The first actress I cast for Briana didn’t work out. She was a terrific actress and a natural. I loved her acting a great deal but there was a lot of prepping to get her to be ready in four weeks. It was over professional reasons that I had to let her go.
When I met Jessica Lauren, I knew she exceeded my expectations. She came with such a wonderful attitude and prepackaged with a lot of elements. Meeting her for the first time was a joy. She’s extremely pure and self-effacing. Her mom, Pamela, is drop-dead gorgeous. They both came to the audition together. I asked Pamela if she was auditioning too and she laughed.
For me, recasting was like being on rebound in a relationship. After watching my characters die by letting two of the leads go, I was afraid to emotionally over-invest. And this was hard for Jessica because she was EXTREMELY excited. She basically assumed she got it before she even auditioned. She fell in love with the story at first sight and said I had written a story about her life. Everything that was in the screenplay—she had experienced in high school. I almost didn’t believe her because it was just too unreal.
But what made Jessica so perfect was that she had experienced the character’s life story. Not only this, she is an American beauty. I mean, she’s from Dallas, Texas, and you can’t get more real than that. The film helped liberate and gave her soul succor.
Well, I gave her the part.
You know how they say that if you see a deer on the road, expect two? That means you have to stop, pause and wait for the other one to dash across the road.
Well, when Jessica came, so did Brianna Joy Chomer. I waited for both of them to line up. First came Jessica, and then a week later, Brianna came. They appeared as a combo—like a two-for-one. I actually couldn’t believe it. When I met Brianna, she had just told her agent that she was tired of being typecast into cheerleader roles. She’s a very beautiful girl—but she wanted to play a dark part. And then NUNE appeared.
Brianna is a natural. Her acting is a bit beyond. Both of these two girls together are like a nuclear explosion.
Brianna’s enthusiasm was unreal. When she likes a part: she puts herself totally into it. Nothing is lukewarm. She started drawing suicide marks on her arms and rehearsing and taking images of herself to show her friends. They thought she was crazy.
I thought this was endearing because just a few weeks earlier, I was thinking of drawing red marks on the previous Nune-girl’s forearm—and that actress wouldn’t have gone for it. She just wasn’t serving the character. So when Brianna was doing this on her own—I felt like something had aligned between the heavens and us. But I was afraid to believe it. I laid low.
Brianna did a lot of strange things that were totally in sync with NUNE. She was often two steps ahead of me—sometimes it felt like a mile. I quit trying to catch up with her and gave her very little direction. This was because I respected her creativity. I knew she needed a really strong director. I guess some people think a strong director is someone who always has something to say. Well, I had nothing to say. I enjoyed watching her read the mind of Nune.