Naomi Grossman, of “American Horror Story” fame, brings a fresh take to vampires in Bite Me.
When Sarah, a real-life vampire, gets audited by the IRS, the last thing she expects to get out of it is a date. But James, her hopelessly romantic IRS agent, thinks she’s other-worldly. As an unlikely attraction sparks between the two misfits, they are forced to confront whether they have the courage to commit the terrifying, radical act of falling in love.
There’s plenty to sink your teeth into with this exciting new rom-com from award-winning writer and director duo Naomi McDougall Jones and Meredith Edwards. Bite Me stars an impressive cast, featuring Naomi McDougall Jones (Imagine I’m Beautiful, Boardwalk Empire) who also wrote and produced the film, Christian Coulson (Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, Mozart in The Jungle), Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story, Ctrl, Alt, Delete) and Annie Golden (Orange is the New Black, Cheers).
Check out my Q&A with Naomi!
How did you come to be a part of this project?
Naomi: Naomi McDougall-Jones (who stars as “Sarah”) actually wrote the role with me in mind. Which is incredibly flattering— for a long time, no one wrote even a post-it note for me! The way she tells it, they did some table-reads back in New York before I was involved, and my character, “Chrissy” never quite worked. The reason why, according to Naomi MJ, was that I just wasn’t playing her yet! Which again, was not only complimentary, but a little daunting: she has this idea of what “Naomi Grossman would do”… But what if Naomi Grossman doesn’t actually live up to her idea of Naomi Grossman? Who’s going to do a better Naomi Grossman than me? All this is to say, Naomi MJ found me by way of a mutual friend, Natalia Fedner (an amazingly talented clothing designer, who actually designed my dress in the vampire ball). She pitched me the script (which was solid, so it could have sealed the deal on its own), but then closed with the aforementioned compliments. Done and done!
Are you a fan of vampires?
Naomi: Sure! I’m a fan of all characters. The more colorful and quirky (if it’s a comedy), and damaged with real pathos (if it’s a drama), the better!
These aren’t your typical vampires, what makes the vampires in this film different from ones we’ve come to expect?
Naomi: Right, these aren’t mystical beings that come out at night. These are actual, real-life people living in NYC, and everywhere else for that matter, who “get their energy from blood.” And honestly, I believe it! Having just survived almost 2 years of this awful, isolating pandemic, I can honestly say, I get my energy from other people! So, yah, different strokes for different folks— we’re all wired differently— who am I to judge? Vampires exist! They teach yoga, and kindergarten, and fall in love with their IRS auditors! Who knew?
Were you expecting fangs and prosthetics when playing Chrissy?
Naomi: I mean, I’ve come to always expect prosthetics. And yah, I’m playing a vampire, so of course there’s gonna be fangs. I pride myself on being a chameleon, shapeshifting and disappearing into my roles, so if makeup and teeth help me do that, bring ‘em on!
What was it like working with Naomi Jones as the writer and your costar?
Naomi: She’s fantastic. So smart, such a good actress, and what a self-starter! This whole movie is hers! What’s more, she really puts her money where her mouth is. She wrote a book, titled “The Wrong Kind of Women,” all about the systemic exclusion of females in film. So who does she hire as the department head of every single aspect of her production? A woman! I love that. She’s the change she wants to see in this world!
You’ve done a lot of projects since Bite Me, when did you film this and why has the release been delayed?
Naomi: That’s more of a producer-question, but I imagine it’s due to Covid (like everything in the world). Plus, time is money… If you don’t have money (which they didn’t), these things take time! We shot it in the summer of 2017… It premiered at Cinequest, followed by their “Joyful Vampire Tour of America” the summer of 2019… I imagine, had the world not shut down in 2020, we’d have been talking about this then. But no, we’re just starting to wear pants and leave the house again! So, that’s the timeline.
Is there anything else you want to add about Bite Me?
Naomi: Just to watch it! Support indie filmmaking! Support female filmmakers! Support sweet, love stories!
Are you working on anything else that we should keep an eye out for?
Naomi: Well, if the Bite Me timeline is any indication, there are things we can control, but most things we cannot (particularly in this business, and especially as an actor). So it’s really hard to say. Since there were no humans around to keep me going through Covid, I looked to myself to create. (Being creative is my other life-force.) So, I wrote a 1-hour comedy special, a companion-piece of sorts to my 2 prior solo-shows, titled “American Whore Story.” It’s a fast-paced, fan-friendly anthology of autobiographical tales: pre-Pepper, post-Pepper, as Pepper. That’s currently in the works. Other than that, I also shot another indie film called Replica with Mickey Rourke— but like Bite Me, it’s low-budget, and time is money, so there’s no telling when we’ll see that. Or at least it’s not for me to say. But, best to follow me @naomiwgrossman, and I’ll let folks know when I can!