The son of an actress and a filmmaker, Orson Oblowitz spent his youth being L.A and NYC, much of which he captured on his camera. His skills with a lens led to Orson being selected as a Nikon Junior Hall of Fame recipient, and later, entry into Emerson College where he studied film and photography. Orson’s first film – which, not surprisingly, features his actress mother (Rosemary Hochschild) in a lead role – is the strikingly-beautiful thriller titled “The Queen of Hollywood Blvd” which was just released on VOD from Dark Star Pictures.

Orson recently discussed this film and more via an exclusive interview.

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Filmmaking, inspiration, and the cast

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to become a filmmaker, how did you achieve the big break and how did “The Queen of Hollywood Blvd” come about?

Orson Oblowitz (OO): I grew up around the Movies. My mother was an actress, my father an artist and film director. It kind of was this common language we could all relate to. In general, I just enjoy the craft of filmmaking. I’ve always obsessively watched films as a kid, and I think my mom showing me a lot of more mature content as a kid, pushed me to want to make more extreme films.

Orson Oblowitz is the creator of 'The Queen of Hollywood Blvd'. / Image via Clint Morris, October Coast PR, used with permission.
Orson Oblowitz is the creator of 'The Queen of Hollywood Blvd'. / Image via Clint Morris, October Coast PR, used with permission.

Also, my dad would have VHS movies like “A Clockwork Orange” and “Desperado” just laying around so I would watch all of them at night.

I haven’t really had the “big break” in traditional Hollywood terms. I don’t even know if that exists anymore, I guess with people like Ryan Coogler doing films like Creed it does. Pretty sure they would rather lock me up in an asylum then give me a big Hollywood film after seeing “The Queen of Hollywood Blvd.” Hahahaha!

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Photographs. That’s what inspired it. I was doing some work on the Blvd as it went through a transitional time when big developers were working on building it up. This film is about that tug of war between old and new.

MM: Does it go without saying that you’re a Tarantino fan and what other writers inspire you?

OO: Of course, I am. He is a master at what he does. He lives in his own orbit, I’m happy to hear people make comparisons about k while she did work at our home growing up, so his dialogue was always ingrained in my psyche.

the films, but that was never the intent. I think his films made me look into a lot of the movies that influenced him and I found myself quite obsessed with a lot of the same movies and pulling from those influences for Queen. I remember my mom would listen to the Pulp Fiction Soundtrack. David Lynch, P.T. Anderson, Scorcese, Paul Schrader, Cassavates, Elaine May, Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson, Takashi Miike, Sion Sono, Lynne Ramsey, Patricia Highsmith.

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MM: Can you tell us about the cast and how you got the wonderful Michael Parks?

OO: Rosemary Hochschild, who plays Queen Mary, is my mother, so I already had the inside tract to her. Haha. But for the others we just got really lucky. I really love the ensemble and how they came to be as a whole. Ana Mulvoy Ten auditioned for us and blew us away. Ella Thomas read the script, loved it, and we went out and met, and she just had an amazing take on the character.

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Roger Guenveur Smith I’ve been a fun of since I first saw “Do The Right Thing,” then subsequently “The Huey P. Newton Story.” He is a master. We got so lucky he said yes and was just a pleasure to work with. Jon Lindstrom Is a friend, we were neighbors, and he is just another great actor who really brought it. Jon Sklaroff who plays Percy is a dear friend, and he is also the reason we got Parks. He took the script to Michael’s son Jimmy and hooked it up. I owe him a lot for that, not to mention Jon’s great performance as well.

Career, advice, and future aspirations

MM: Career wise, where do you aspire to be as a filmmaker in ten years and what advice can you give to those who are just starting out as movie makers?

OO: That’s a hard one, because I question more where the world will be in ten years. I’m trying to stay optimistic, I try to focus day by day. Honestly, in ten years, I hope I still get to make films as fun and uncompromising as this one.

My advice is to find something you are obsessed about, think about it all the time, when you can’t stop thinking about it anymore because you’re going to explode, start writing the script. FINISH THE SCRIPT! Now take that cellphone in your pocket out and go make a movie.

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