Get ready Creampuffs, because The Carmilla Movie is getting ready to hit the internet! The movie, like the hit Kinda TV web series from Shaftesbury, follows the romance between Laura Hollis (Elise Bauman) and (former) vampire Carmilla (Natasha Negovanlis). Set five years after Laura and Carmilla vanquished the apocalypse, the pair are dealing with the fact that Carmilla became a bonafide mortal human. In anticipation of the movie’s premiere on October 26, Negovanlis and Bauman appeared on a panel Thursday, October 5, 2017 at New York City Comic Con. The panel not only premiered the movie’s trailer, but the two leading ladies were also joined by Carmilla producers Stephanie Ouaknine and Melanie Windle.
Negovanlis and Bauman aren’t the only returning Carmilla cast members in the movie. Annie Briggs, Kaitlyn Alexander, Nicole Stamp and Matt O’Connor all reprise their roles from the web series. New cast members for the movie include Wynonna Earp‘s Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Grace Lynn Kung (Mary Kills People, The Strain), and Cara Gee (The Expanse, Inhuman Condition). After settling into a cozy life in downtown Toronto, Laura and Carmilla’s domestic bliss is interrupted when Carmilla begins to show signs of “re-vamping.” The couple must now enlist their old friends from Silas University to uncover the unknown supernatural threat and save humanity – including Carmilla’s.
If you weren’t among the lucky Creampuffs in attendance at the panel on Thursday, we’ve got your back. Read on below for a few key takeaways and some hints about what to expect when the movie drops.
Being on Carmilla is a gift
Both Bauman and Negovanlis couldn’t stress enough how proud and thankful they are to be a part of Carmilla, a series making huge strides for LGBTQ represenation on screen. “It’s been such an incredible journey, and it’s been such a gift to be a part of something that’s making so many shifts and strides in a business that is starting to slowly have more accurate representation. I feel so much gratitude for that,” said Bauman. Negovanlis added that while she “was out before Carmilla,” she said she didn’t realize “how much work there was to do” when it came to representation on screen. “It’s nice to have a fandom that it really resonates with. I’m just so full of awe and gratitude for it. It changed our lives and it changed your lives. How amazing is that and how rare is that” she asked the packed house.
New cast members fit right in
While The Carmilla Movie has many of the same cast members from the series, Provost-Chalkley, Kung and Gee fit right in. “They stepped in and it was like we had been working with them from the very beginning,” said Negovanlis. She went on to say that she’s “sure it was really daunting for them to come into a project where we’re such a tight-knit cast and working together so many years,” but that “we had such a great time working with them.” In particular, Negovanlis said she had “admired Cara’s work for years, so it was really cool to finally get to work with her.” Bauman echoed those sentiments saying that “every year I feel like we just keep adding more wonderful people. These guys were no exception.”
Three cheers for Dom
There were lots of cheers every time Wynonna Earp’s Dominique Provost-Chalkley was mentioned at the panel. “Dom is such a giving actress,” said Negovanlis, who really enjoyed having the Wynonna star around. “I had such a wonderful time connecting with her, both on and off screen. She’s such a pleasure to work with,” she enthused.
No love triangles here
While Provost-Chalkley’s Ell is an ex of Carmilla’s, Negovanlis and everyone on the panel was quick to point out that “there’s no love triangle and there’s no angst.” Negovnalis expounded on that by emphasizing that “Carmilla is over Ell for sure. However, it’s still a weird thing to have to encounter an ex who completely destroyed your heart, and then encounter them again while you’re with the love of your life. On top of that, they haven’t seen each other for hundreds of years. I think it’s less about their actual relationship and the heartbreak, more than other things that happen.”
Facing your past to move forward
Ell’s return and dealing with the past is a big theme for The Carmilla Movie. Windle said that “it’s about choices that you make, as well and facing the music for choices that you have made.” Bauman said the movie really makes you see that “you really do have to heal from your past in order to move into your future.” While Carmilla and Laura are solid in their relationship, that doesn’t mean that having Ell back won’t cause them to deal with some issues. “There’s going to be old wounds and things that need to healed, lessons that need to be learned and that’s what this is about,” explained Bauman.
Negovanlis went on to say that “Ell is a ghost, so she hasn’t really changed. She’s been confined to the house that we see them in. So that’s also different because she’s had centuries to stew on things, whereas Carm has had this whole life and whole outside world. Now she gets to have this love and amazing life and gets to be human. In a way I can see why Ell would be a little peeved.” Ouaknine added that the film is really about see the progress Carmilla and Laura have made in their relationship. “It really is about how they work together in a mature, loving relationship,” said the producer.
A more private perspective
The Carmilla Movie really sheds some new light on the characters given that Laura is no longer doing a vlog. Now, “the characters don’t have time to think about what they are going to say before they say it necessarily,” explained Bauman. This means that “it’s them in the most truthful setting. There’s so much awesome stuff we get to play with in that,” Bauman enthused. She said this also means that “we get to see our relationship from a more private perspective. A lot of our favorite scenes were when we were in the background, and a little more intimate, and we get to delve into that more here.”
The return of an ex-girlfriend could easily have fallen into old tropes on other projects, but Ouaknine and the Carmilla team made sure that wasn’t happening here. “Something that was really important to us as we were developing, we really thought long and strong about the lesbian ex psycho trope, and how not to fall into that,” she said. She went on to explain that “it was really, really important to us that Ell was never motivated by ‘Oh I want you back. I love you Carmilla!’ It’s more ‘you took something from me, and I’m here to collect.’” Windle added that Ell is “a very three-dimensional character, and you can really see her perspective and have empathy for her. She’s a great antagonist but not a two-dimensional evil.”
No room for angst
Another trope the movie avoided was having angst as the source for conflict. Ouaknine said Carmilla and Laura have a healthy working relationship in the film and “they get to be more intimate.” Windle added that “That was a big thing for us. You don’t want the conflict in the movie to come from angst in their relationship.” Ouaknine joked that it’s not like Carmilla hasn’t done angst though. “Season 2 was all angst. We’re over it,” she said.
Pack it with gay
While Ouaknine admits that “we’re not perfect,” Windle did remind the crowd to continue to “make the media you want to see.” For Carmilla, that meant “it was important to us to add more queer women of color to the cast,” said Ouaknine. She also said one of their creative consults joked to just keep adding “more gays” to the cast and “let’s just pack it full.” Ouaknine did note that other than Matt O’Connor’s Kirsch, every cast member is non-binary or a woman.
Bauman and Negovanlis’ insights are invaluable
“We’re really lucky because Elise and Natasha, at the second or third drafts, come in and voice their opinions about what they want to see changed,” explained Ouaknine. She said hearing from the two stars “only makes it better because they know these characters so well.” Negovanlis added that “Elise and I always talk about how we love that we can meet up on a weekend, and spend an entire day going through a script together, and talking about it. For this particular relationship, and these characters, it is important to spend time together to make it feel authentic.”
Laura and Carm, a normal couple?
“It was so great to see these characters without imminent death in the future,” said Bauman of Carmilla and Laura’s relationship in the film. “Just getting to peek into their life and their home was fantastic,” she said. One area though that had them confused was the amazing apartment the couple share in the film. “It was really nice. We were a bit confused as to how they afforded it,” joked Negovanlis. Bauman sarcastically suggested a “ye olde vampire trust fund?” Producer Windle chimed in that obviously “these guys have taste, man. They know how to find the right deals!”
A killer soundtrack
The Carmilla team was also able to give some more news about the movie’s soundtrack during the panel. While Windle said she and the team were grateful for all suggestions made by fans, and that even if they didn’t use all the bands, they got to discover a lot of great new music because of it. “We have a lot of really amazing queer and feminist identified bands,” on the soundtrack said Ouaknine. She went on to say that Teagan and Sara and Uh Huh Her will both be on it. Ouaknine also said this was the “first time we had a composer for the series,” and that means there’s even a specific Laura and Carmilla theme.
Are you excited for The Carmilla Movie? Sound off in the comments below!
The Carmilla Movie will be available to fans who pre-ordered beginning Oct. 26. It will be available for streaming On Demand starting Oct. 27 and screening at theaters in 30 cities across Canada on Oct. 26.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.