Fight Like A Girl: An Interview With Emilie Autumn!

Hello Snarklings! The Lady of the Manners has been flouncing with glee around Gothic Charm School headquarters, because not only has she been listening to the new Emilie Autumn album Fight Like A Girl, but she was also given the opportunity to interview Emilie for a second time! So without further wittering or waiting, on to the interview!

Gothic Charm School: You’ve described the Fight Like A Girl album as “the Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls Broadway musical”. What made you want to take your music to an even more theatrical level?

Emilie Autumn: The FLAG album is actually only a small part of the “Asylum…” musical that I’m writing at the moment. The real thing will be far too epic to fit onto one CD, or even two. Really, I was always meant to create a musical, and this story was always meant to become one. It couldn’t not.

Gothic Charm School: What ARE some of your favorite musicals? (I now have the irresistible image of you performing “Just You Wait” from My Fair Lady!)

Emilie Autumn: Ha! That is a damn good image indeed! But even better would be my singing “Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like A Man?” I planned to perform that ages ago but just haven’t found the time… It’ll happen, I’m sure. It has to. In any case, I adore the musicals I’m sure you’d expect me to, “Les Mis”, “Phantom”, “Miss Saigon”, and one not as many people know about but is one of my favorites, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Aspects Of Love.”

Gothic Charm School: On Twitter you mentioned your announcement of the West End FLAG musical. Has the script been finalized? When will casting and rehearsals start, and do you have any “dream casting” thoughts?

Emilie Autumn: I’ll be working on the script and the music for the bulk of the next two years, and even that is an extremely short time in the real world to create something like this, but I’m impatient to show this to the world, and to perform in it, so I’m speeding up the clock as I usually do, just to make my life a bit more insane. I don’t think I’d know what to do in a relaxed working environment… Of course I do have a dream cast, but I wouldn’t dare speak of it. At this moment I can only confirm myself and the Bloody Crumpets.

Gothic Charm School: What was it like working on The Devil’s Carnival? I understand that it was a very short shooting schedule; did that make you nervous? Did recording your vocal tracks for the movie feel very different from how you record for your own projects?

Emilie Autumn: It’s true that the process of creating every aspect of the film was very quick, and this is a marvelous testament to everyone’s brilliance and professionalism who worked on it, from the actors to the camera people and make up and FX crew. Everyone did more than their part, and all for the sheer love of the project and wanting to be a part of something truly creative and unique, something they could respect. This mad schedule did affect everything from the long hours that we worked to the recording of the music, which was, to answer your original question, not different at all from how I record my own music, because I did my own recording for this, as well due to lack of time to fly me out to L.A. to record in the studio with everyone else. It saved a couple of days and a fair amount of money for me to do it myself, and to let Darren and Terrance take it from there.

Gothic Charm School: How long did the application of the makeup for the Painted Doll costume take? Did you work with the costume designer to create the look?

Emilie Autumn: I didn’t know it at the time, but I was the very first actor to sign onto the film, about a year before we even really got started. During that time, I developed the character of Painted Doll with the guys (Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich). I don’t mean to sound as though I’m taking credit for the character – I’m certainly not. But I definitely had a good deal of input and the allowance to express what I thought she should behave and look like. This was crucial to me because, as you know, I don’t generally act in films precisely because I’m usually not interested in being a part of something I have no control over, as would be the case in many film projects. However, it was relatively easy to give control over to the guys as they’re clearly brilliant, but at the same time, I didn’t want to play someone I wasn’t in love with and didn’t identify with. For example, it was extremely important to me that Doll was not classically gothic in any way. She is macabre, in the exact same way as I myself am, but I was very against her wearing any black at all. I wanted her to be iconic — I didn’t want her to be cliché, something that could have easily happened if a character like this were in the hands of a different team. Once we were all on the same page, Darren knew that something really special, sexy, structured, and dramatic would be needed for Doll, and that’s when the absolutely brilliant Mildren von Hildegard, designer and creator of the legendary “Mother Of London” fashion line, was brought in to design and build the final costume. There was definitely some back and forth going on to settle on the design (Darren and I wanted as much skin showing as possible, naturally), but the credit goes to Mildred, whom I’ve admired for years — she was the only one we trusted to create Doll’s corset and outrageous dress, and I’m proud to wear her work. The fucking incredible makeup and prosthetics took around three hours every day to apply and one hour to remove, and the conversations that happen after you sit in a chair with the same person applying prosthetics to your face every single day for that many hours…well, that could be an interview of it’s own…

Gothic Charm School: I understand you just finished shooting your first ever music video, for “Fight Like A Girl”! Any particularly funny stories from that production?

Emilie Autumn: I haven’t yet finished — we are actually in the midst of it now. I’m not sure whether any of these stories will be safe to tell by the end of shooting…

Gothic Charm School: I know your fans were constantly speculating about what songs from Opheliac would be turned into music videos; is there a song from that album you wish you could have found the time and/or budget to film a video for?

Emilie Autumn: All of them! And I still will, because I certainly don’t go by any label’s rules of album cycles and what should be released and when. I see all of this creative output as happening, really, in the same time – I don’t view it linearly, as businesses do. It’s all relevant, right now.

Gothic Charm School: In some ways you’ve become the pop-culture “face” for talking about bipolar and manic depressive issues. Is that something you set out to become, or was it a case of feeling so strongly about a topic that it influenced your creations and conversations? And are there ever times that you wish you could take a break from it and not talk about what it’s like to struggle and (from what I’ve seen) frequently triumph over those issues?

Emilie Autumn: You are definitely dead on in your suspicion that I simply felt so strongly about the topic that it influences my creations in virtually every way, but, once I realized what was happening, how this aspect of my work was affecting people in a positive and powerful way, I definitely shed any reservation I still had and really just let it all out. I don’t regret any bit of it, and the thing is that I do feel I have the power not to talk about it. I can always just…not talk about it. If it’s asked about in an interview and I feel like focusing on something else, then I just do. It’s very important to realize in this business, even at my sort of underground cult status (I’m definitely not a mainstream success nor have I ever tried to be), that you, the artist, have ultimate power. Learn to say no, and mean it. In the end, it’s your message, and you decide how you want to say it. No one can make you do anything. You can’t be a victim of your own press.

The Lady of the Manners wants to extend heartfelt thanks to Emilie for graciously agreeing to do another interview with Gothic Charm School, and to Melissa King for organizing everything!

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