John Waters films.
Right now, Stole (born Nancy Stoll in Waters’ beloved Baltimore) is having a ball touring the country as part of the Peaches Christ Experience in 4D, a wild throwback to the days of fright-master William Castle, who dressed up his often less-than-stellar films with totally immersive events and gimmicks at every screening. While you won’t have to worry about electrified seats (as in The Tingler) at All About Evil, almost anything else goes. “First of all, Peaches is fabulous. He’s such a dear and he’s really fun. We work really well together. Also, it gives me a chance to connect with people in a way that I can’t unless I’m there in person. I love meeting ... can I say it? I love meeting my fans.”
She’s excited to visit Phoenix for the first time (outside the airport), but she was concerned. “Are you illegal,” she asked. “Am I allowed to be talking to you? Cohen doesn’t sound Mexican, so I’m probably safe.”
Stole became a cult film icon through her frequent collaborations with her good friend Waters, including unforgettable work as Connie Marble, Divine’s nemesis in Pink Flamingos, Divine’s daughter Taffy Davenport in Female Trouble and poor put-upon divorcee Dottie Hinkle in Serial Mom. Since then, she has become the go-to woman with gay filmmakers like Q. Allan Brocka, who use Stole’s fame and popularity to enliven movies like Eating Out 2 and 3.
“It’s been almost twenty years since we made Serial Mom, but I’d say (I get recognized) far more for Serial Mom than from (John’s) earlier films. I love Dottie Hinkle. The older people remember me from Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble, but the younger people remember Serial Mom,” she explained. “John creates these characters that do things we would all love to be able to do, but you can’t live like his film characters. You’d have no friends, you’d have no life,” she laughed.
“The great thing is that All About Evil brings me full circle. I made a film with Natasha Lyonne called But I’m a Cheerleader, where Bud Cort and I played her parents. We thought she was gay, so we sent her to a camp to make her straight. We kind of tortured her. So in All About Evil, Natasha gets to get me back.”
Stole is also an accomplished musician when not acting. “I’m in the recording studio with my band working on our first album, and I have to tell you, that’s making me happier than anything else. We’re having so much fun.” She describes her music as an eclectic mix of rock and swingy jazz. “Some of it’s moody and atmospheric and some of it’s more rock-y. You know, I should be on my third or fourth album, but I’m just starting on my first,” she admitted. “I’m feeling a sense of urgency.”
She’s excited for people to come out and enjoy the pre-show, in which she promises a duet with Peaches Christ. “But it’s all about All About Evil, it’s not about me. I love the film. I think it’s very funny, and I don’t like horror movies. I sort of watched it looking through my fingers.”
All About Evil: The Peaches Christ Experience in 4-D will screen at MADCAP Theaters in Tempe this Friday September 17.
Interview by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.