Annie Gaybis Actress, Singer, Dancer

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D. O. A, yep, that’s the name of the movie I just completed. Adapted from a 1950 B & W by the same name that has become a sort of cult feature in film noir. Well, I have great hopes this one does too.

Directed by Kurt St Thomas for Houndstooth Films, the screenplay captured the year 1949 with dialogue that comes right out at you just like in those late night movies on TCM. So much fun to be wardrobed in vintage clothes and the hairstyle of that time period not to mention the hats, gloves and pumps.


Here's a still from D.O.A.  I am alongside our star--actor John Doe (who is the co-founder of the LA punk band "X")--shooting at the absolutely gorgeous Whetstone Mansion. And oh, btw, that red bruise you see on his cheek, I didn't give it to him--make-up did!

Shot on location in the beautiful town of St Augustine--known as the oldest city in America (Ponce De Leon and all that jazz). We shot all over the town. The picture with John Doe our lead in front of the car (which was supposed to my characters town car) was shot at a sprawling estate from the chocolate manufacturers, The Whetstones. This estate was so sprawling you couldn’t even see where their land ended and it was right behind this major tourist attraction called, "The Alligator Farm." I wonder who was their first The Alligator Farm or The Whetstones?

We had to stop action a few times when an announcer was taking his tour-group around to explain thru a very loud MIC, "All about the alligators" to different tour-groups. By the way, if you go there, honest to g-d they have a zipline that will take you high above but still over a bunch of open mouths who probably would be thrilled to see you fall in their lagoon. I'm just saying.... 

The Cinematographer was brought in from London--Peter Berglund whose credits include the recent "A Star Is Born" (well I just wanted you to know which version) and "Iron Man 1 and 2."

I am thrilled to say that this is "the first" time I have ever worked with my husband, John Byner, on a motion picture. He plays (if you saw the original movie) Majak--a man so evil that even I playing Catherine Phillips, a socialite but evil to the bone as well, says, "I never want to know what that man is thinking." We didn’t have any scenes together but it was great just having the chance to be on location doing the same project.

All the majority of my scenes were with John Doe (also a well known musician and founder of the L.A. punk band, "X") He has countless credits. When they told me who the lead was going to be I thought they were using the name John Doe to keep the real stars name a secret, and then to my surprise, I looked him up and tah-dah a host of things he has done as a songwriter, actor, etc.

He was wonderful to work against and gave me so much range to deliver my character. He told me this is his "first lead" and all I can say is I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing this role, except the original guy Edmond O'Brien, but John made it his own.

One of the longest shoots was at this private airport in St Aug with a 1939 plane. It was painted Elizabeth Arden Red and the owners had shellacked it for two days. It was a beauty. I think we shot till 3AM. Its funny how your adrenaline kicks in just when your feeling a bit fatigued...or...wait a minute maybe it was the Coke (as in Cola) I drank at 2AM but I was wired for sound.

With Paola Duque. Maybe you can see a hint of the plane in the background.

What I liked about the entire shoot was that our director had a vision and everyone on the crew to the actors on board was totally with it. There were no egos. Of course, "there is always one," as John Doe said to me as we were shooting our scene in the middle of the night at the airport. This one actor, who was very very good--a New York actor that I would bet has studied the Meisner Method or Actors Studio Technique. Well around 1 AM we were now ready for him and he wanted to know his motivation for driving up, getting out of his car and delivering a couple of lines. What did James Cagney say, "You plant your feet on the floor...You look them straight in the eye... and you tell them the truth."


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