’s brilliant directorial debut ‘Blood Moon
’ is an engaging and gripping tragedy that’s worthy of being seen. Written by Oscar Nominated Nicholas Kazan
, ‘Blood Moon
’ stars his daughter, Maya Kazan
’), Frank Medrano
(‘The Shawshank Redemption
’) and James Callis
(‘Battle Star Galactica’, ‘Bridget Jones
Kokin also produced and directed second unit on several award-winning films that include the ‘The Usual Suspects
’, ‘Captain Abu Raed
’,’The Way of the Gun
’ and ‘Mortdecai
Haunting, yet stylistically beautiful, the story follows a young woman who is raped and how she executes retribution on her attacker. It explores the transition from of a perky, pretty teen-ager to someone who is forever warped from abuse and degradation. ‘
’ is a culturally relevant story and a reminder that the issue of rape is too often ignored, especially in a country where abortion sharply divides its people and where women have to pay for their own rape kits to gather legal evidence – the equivalent of having to pay the police to dust for prints in a robbery.
Kokin first learned of ‘Blood Moon
’ in Larry Moss
’s Master acting class. It was written and produced in the 1980’s as an off-Broadway play and starred a teenage Dana DeLaney.
Kokin reflects on the story and working with Kazan:
Moss’s comments on the piece were so provocative, that I was compelled to run out and read it the next day. Even now, the ending continues to haunt me. I knew if I could get this play made into a film, it would be impactful for viewers…
It was an honor to work with Kazan, because I have so much respect for him as a filmmaker. His support was a blessing, and his material gave me tremendous confidence, because I knew it could hold itself up.
I felt like we were on the same creative plane. We went through the screenplay word-by-word, and always agreed on the nuances that we found interesting and humorous.
Writer of ‘Blood Moon
’ Nicholas Kazan
shares the history of ‘Blood Moon
’ and its adaptation to film:
I couldn’t make a living writing for the theatre, so I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I started to write for film, and eventually was fortunate enough to get some films made. Over the past 15 years, I’ve mostly been writing my own scripts and selling them when I can. That’s how I enjoy my life.
The play on which this film is based was done in New York in 1983. First I wrote plays in Berkeley, for the Magic Theater; subsequently most of my plays have been done in New York and Los Angeles. This play has been produced in New York, Washington DC, California, and many other places. It will have have a run again in New York in the spring.
One of the difficult things about a play is that you can’t edit it. In film, you can edit it and pick the best given take of any moment. You put all the best takes together and, you hope, end up with something fairly reasonable.
Why did you write ‘Blood Moon
I was told this story in college about a girl who was raped, which is essentially the first act of the play. I didn’t even know if it was a true story, but it stuck in my imagination. And then the second act of the play, the woman’s revenge, was my dramatic conceit.
How has the audience responded over the years?
Some people receive it as a piece of theater - especially when it’s well done – and the response has been very good. Occasionally, there have been a few people who are horrified by the second act. In the theatre, what the protagonist Mayna does is justified. It has its roots in Greek myth. There’s an ‘eye for an eye’ quality to it.
Was it challenging to change ‘Blood Moon
’ into a screenplay?
There are some things that work better in theater than they do on film. In the film, we had to intercut between the two acts, which you obviously don’t do on stage.
There’s a tradition of tragedy on stage, where you watch in horror as you realize what’s going to happen. That’s the definition of tragedy – you’re horrified, and then you watch it happen. That’s the first act of the play, then in the second act, you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you know she’s going to do something. You don’t know what it is until the very end.
In the film, we had to intercut between the two acts because the first act, the tragedy gradually unfolding, just didn’t work as well on film. In the theatre, you’re having a communal experience where you’re witnessing this awful thing. On film, you’re not a witness. By intercutting, we brought an element of tension to the whole that made it work.
What has been the overall response to ‘Blood Moon
Sometimes there were nights when people didn’t understand what was happening until the play clearly revealed it. There were other nights when people got a sense of it earlier. You would know it because someone in the audience would go ‘oh my God!’ with a gasp. It was really similar to the way that laughter is contagious in an audience. One person would gasp, and then you’d feel other people wondering what they were gasping about. And then they’d go ‘Oh My God’ and get what was happening on stage. The play worked either way: it’s a communal experience, so it didn’t really matter when the audience “saw” what was really going on.