Sunday, April 20, 2014 18:22

Casting Abbey Karr

September 20th, 2010

Director’s Notes: Part 3 of 3

In the case of casting Abbey Karr, the opposite was true of Mike Kalinowski’s situation.  Due to the nature of the plots in both Inner Beauty and The Shed, it was important that the female characters be played by separate actresses.  And we of course found a very talented leading lady for both productions (please check out Jennifer Christa Palmer’s Bio Page at the Shed Site for more info).

Abbey Karr behind scenes of "Inner Beauty" Movie Set

Of course, with the character “Gwen” in Inner Beauty, she’s a very attractive “twenty something” young woman, who is looking to meet the man of her dreams… on the surface, she’s this shy, “nice girl you bring home to meet the folks”, but she’s also got this kind of ”operator” quality – this “seductress in hiding” aspect to her, with a lot of sensual tools at her disposal.  But only to the extent that we all have those qualities, as just part of being human and going through the dating process at some point in our lives.

Abbey Karr - Behind scenes on "Inner Beauty"So the role required a very attractive actress, but somone who could be very complex emotionally.  Because of the nature of the story, and because this story would first be released as a short and seen out of context with the larger feature film, I felt we would be taking a risk with the audience misunderstanding what we were trying to say.  In my discussions with Jaime Jessup, the writer, it was extremely important to me as a director, that the character of “Gwen” come across as a very likeable, sweet girl, and not as a typical Hollywood stereotype of a “bimbo” or as a two dimensional character.

Again, without revealing too much, I wanted whatever actress we went with to be able to pull off being this gorgeous, flirtatious but modern woman- beauty and brains… and yet not be seen as a vixen.  Sexy, but also, old fashioned.  Otherwise, we would be saying the wrong thing with the piece, and delivering the wrong message about why were doing this type of story.

Abbey Karr gets ready for a take on "Inner Beauty" - Julia Gessinger on SlateThis was Abbey’s first work on a Starfield Studios production, and the first time I’d met her.  To be honest, I was told she was known more for her modeling work – but it very quickly became clear to me in the first round of auditions that she had excellent instincts and skills as an actress.  In all her sides, the subtext and emotion were there, and she really got the character and just nailed how to play her, with this great mix of vulnerability and strength.  There were some key ideas I gave her to play with, and she took the direction immediately well - when I asked her to play a different choice here and there, she sensed exactly what I was after, with her questions about the character.  And she very quickly put these new changes into “Gwen” at the auditions, and brought them ready to go as well on each day of shooting.

Abbey Karr and Mike Kalinowski Behind scenes on "Inner Beauty"

Also, during casting, there was just this explosive, natural chemistry between her and actor Mike Kalinowski who was one of our strong callback choices for “Mike” at that point.  So we just had her read in various key emotional scenes with our top male lead candidates, and ultimately, the footage didn’t lie… it was just her and Kalinowski that were right for these two characters.

You see them together on screen, and you think to yourself instantly – here is a girl you could see falling for a guy like Mike and who could end up staying with him forever.

- Douglas Pritchard, 2010

Mike and Abbey View a Take

Back to Director’s Notes Part 1, 2

View Abbey Karr’s Bio Page

  • Share/Bookmark

Casting Mike Kalinowski

September 20th, 2010

Director’s Notes: Part 2 of 3

Behind Scenes of "Inner Beauty" the MovieKnowing that each story was going to ultimately be a scene in a larger feature film, I was now looking for actors in each short that could grow with the production as it evolved in that direction.  Someone who could “deliver the goods,” so to speak on both short films, but who also had the chops and could step up to the plate when we developed the feature.  And this went for many of the supporting cast in both films as well – I even created roles in some instances, to include certain really talented people who made it to callbacks, so that we could develop a relationship that would transcend the shorts and continue into the feature process on Manslaughter

Mike auditions for the role of “Mike”

So, by the time Mike Kalinowski auditioned for the role of “Mike,” we were now auditioning male actors at the same time for lead roles in two productions: Inner Beauty (originally titled “Gwen, Amber & Stacy”) and of course, The Shed.   As mentioned before, these  would be filmed back to back, with just two weeks allotted for each from pre-production to wrapping principal photography (pickup shots, ADR with actors and audio post excluded).   

Mike Kalinowski as "Mike"I had envisioned possibly going with two different actors for the lead roles in both shorts, but the plot I had in mind for the feature film really required the same actor playing both roles due to the story arc of the larger movie.  There were a few really wonderful guys who we narrowed it down to in callbacks.  All had the leading man quality necessary for the role of “Mike,” but the decision to go with Kalinowski rapidly became an artistic choice driven by the ideas that were developing around “The Manslaughter,” and how the shorts would fit as scenes within the larger context of that.

What it really came down to though, was that Mike Kalinowski demonstrated the unique blend I was looking for in playing both parts… He had that “Boy Next Door” charm you would associate with these kind of characters.  But for me as a director, the casting of Mike as “Rob” in ”The Shed” and as “Mike” in “Inner Beauty,” was in both cases, casting against type, which I’m also a big believer in. 

I really like subtle performances, where it’s all about the subtext with the character, which is so important in these type of thriller pieces we’re doing here… you have to build to a climax and keep the audience guessing at the outcome- and Mike is great at pulling that off, and also perfect at handling the physical side of any performance. 

And Mike has a brilliant sense of comic as well as dramatic timing- Don’t let those good looks fool you into pigeon holing him into one type of role or another… He’s very versatile.  In many ways he kind of reminds me of Cary Grant and every thing I’ve seen and read about him.  He’s very physical like Grant, and has the same type of rugged good looks- but like Cary Grant, he’s incredibly funny on set as well, and always has a ready to go, fun-loving attitude… he’s really great to work with.  There’s not a lot of fuss or muss involved – he can just turn on the character like flipping a switch.  And yet there’s just this really honest quality about him when he works with his female leads- you just get this true sense that he’s in the moment, take after take. 

Mike Kalinowski as Mike in Inner Beauty Movie - Elevator Promo ShootNow of course, having said all this, they’ll be just NOOO living with the guy… I’m laughing as I write this of course, but seriously- I just hope we can get the feature developed before he becomes too big of a star and is completely booked for the next decade- As is the case with a lot of the great talent who auditioned for us with both shorts, Mike is on fire right now.  His star is rising fast, as I knew it would the moment I first saw and heard him read… I feel lucky that we have him in both “The Shed” and “Inner Beauty,” and definitely look forward to working with him again soon.

Back to Director’s Notes Part 1

Read Director’s Notes Part 3: Casting Abbey Karr

View Mike Kalinowski’s Bio Page

  • Share/Bookmark

The Official “Inner Beauty” Blu-Ray

August 26th, 2010


Inner Beauty Blu-ray Disc

Inner Beauty

The perfect man, the perfect wine, it’s as though she’s in a perfect dream where time stands still…  in Mike’s house, their love will last forever.  If she can just get past all the remodeling he’s doing to the place.  But Gwen will quickly learn that with Inner Beauty, it’s what’s inside that counts… 

Starfield Studios Presents: Inner Beauty 

Written by Jaime Jessup, Directed by Douglas H. Pritchard
Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Casque of Amontillado”


Coming Soon!

Now Accepting Pre-Orders 

$17.95 Blu-Ray  or $11.95 DVD


Official Release Date: October 1, 2010
Estimated Ship Date within 10-14 days After This

BluRay will include the full un-rated version of the acclaimed Horror Short, plus these Special Features: 

  • Making of Featurette
  • Interviews with Cast & Crew
  • Behind Scenes Photo Gallery
  • Storyboard Artwork
  • Gag Reel
  • Original Score by Dani Donadi
  • Original Music by Ellen & Bernd Marqaurt


  • Share/Bookmark

Inner Beauty Advance “Style A” Poster Released

October 21st, 2009
What Wakes You in the Middle of the Night?

Inner Beauty - "Style A"

Our new official release poster for ”Inner Beauty” is out!

Check out the Teaser Style A and Advance Style A on the Movie Poster page:


-Douglas Pritchard
  Director of “Inner Beauty” – October, 2009

  • Share/Bookmark

Official Release of Teaser Poster

October 19th, 2009


What wakes you in the middle of the night?

Inner Beauty - "Teaser"

 Inner Beauty Advance Poster

(Advance Poster, no title)
Creepy version to create
buzz for Halloween.
Watch the movie, then come back
and examine the poster text…
…then, let us know if you can spot what the stuff bracketing the date is?
  • Share/Bookmark