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Nita-Josee Hanna Discusses Bullying the Bully in “PSYCHO GOREMAN”

Saturday, January 23, 2021 | Interviews

By JOSHUA “PROMETHEUS” SCAFIDI

PSYCHO GOREMAN is a film that not only knows exactly what it is – it’s also totally comfortable with it. It’s astoundingly silly, fun, and brutal, but not without a ton of charm. For fans of the 1990s Power Rangers series (or the original Super Sentai series its based on) the film’s many nods to the Tokusatsu genre will not be lost on you! One of my favorite things about the film is Nita-Josee Hanna, who plays eight-year-old Mimi. Throughout the entire runtimes, Mimi pretty much bosses around and bullies this giant alien monster who is hellbent on destroying the planet – and it’s hilarious. I had the opportunity to chat with Nita about her role, what it was like being a kid on such a gore-soaked set, and her favorite horror films!

PSYCHO GOREMAN is streaming now! I have a few specific questions for you, but first – what can you tell us without spoiling too much?

So, PSYCHO GOREMAN is a kind of horror/comedy. I play the role of Mimi, and you can see how sassy, witty, and smart this little eight-year-old girl can be. One day Mimi and her brother Luke [Owen Myre] are playing a game they invented called “Crazy Ball,” and they end up starting to dig this hole and they find a gem. Now this gem controls this big scary monster called PG, and during the film Mimi controls PG, and they go through amazing and sometimes scary adventures with him. I bet this movie will appeal to a very big age group, from young adults to old adults, because there are some horror and gory parts in it, but there is also a lot of comedy and funny parts in it. I think people are really going to like it. I can’t wait for people to finally be able to see it!

I thought it was hilarious, and I thought you did a great job as Mimi.

Thank you!

Now, it was both written and directed by Steven Kostanski. What was it like working together?

It was amazing, I couldn’t ask for anything better in a director. He was very sweet and had a lot of patience. Especially for working with younger people such as Owen and myself. He was always accommodating and respectful. Anytime we were stressed, or worried, or tired, he would make sure we were okay. He would ask if we needed water or food or a quick five-minute break. He was amazing, I would love to see myself working with him again in the near future.

You were what, twelve-years-old when you shot the film?

I was twelve when we filmed it, yes.

The movie is pretty brutal, so I have to ask – did you know what you were filming?

I did know. They did tell us when we could and could not be on set just because some things were a bit too much. Really, when I saw the prosthetics they made, it scared me less – so, it was pretty cool for me to watch. So, sometimes I would just ask to go on set to see the gory stuff. I’d say fifty percent of the time I wasn’t even there on set. They would film it on my day off, or when I just wasn’t there.

I love the way that you boss PG around in the film. In fact, you’re the one that names him PG. How much of that is your actual personality, and how much of Mimi was an act?

A lot of it. A lot of it was my own personality. I think that’s mainly why I did well with Mimi and caught so many people’s attention. Because it looked so natural. If I get into a mood Mimi turns on automatically. Sometimes I can be a little bossy or a little sassy, but I think that goes for all of us. Steven, the director, allowed me to put so much of my personality into it, I think that really shines in the performance and added a lot to the film.

Mimi was hilarious. What did you do for inspiration?

Well, there wasn’t a lot of inspiration going into it, other than I kind of created Mimi in my head. I thought of this little, bratty girl, and after a while, it just came naturally. Sometimes I had to shut Mimi off, in my normal day.  

So, you almost became Mimi?

Yeah, practically.

PG is played by Matthew Ninaber. How did he take being pushed around by little Mimi? Was he a good sport about it?

Off set, I remember, he would always joke around like, “if you didn’t have that gem, I’d be killing you right now,” or “I would have got you there!” He was such a sweet guy. He has kids of his own and he really knew how to work with Owen and me. Working with a little twelve-year-old girl can sometimes get annoying, I completely see, but he would never be disrespectful, mean, or rude. He was great to work with.

You mentioned Luke, your brother in the film, played by Owen Myre. What was that dynamic like?

We bonded really, really well, really quick. We even sometimes would fight on set or play fight off set, and then get yelled at because our wardrobe was ruined. It was great working with Owen, he’s such a great actor.

One of my favorite parts of the film is the song you sing toward the end. It was so funny, and your performance of it had me dying laughing. Who came up with that song?

I’m not sure who wrote the song, but it fit so perfectly in there. I’ve been singing since I was three years old. So, it came off very naturally for me, and I thought it was very funny.

Are you a horror fan, Nita?

I’m a very big horror fan. Horror and comedy are probably my favorite genres. Horror is my number one.

What’s your favorite horror movie?

I’ve really been into all the Purge [movies]. I’ve been downloading them and watching them over and over again. That, and I really liked Hush, too. That was a spooky one. Oh, and Truth or Dare, that was really spooky.

How do your parents feel about you being in the horror genre?

I don’t think they mind, really. I’m very thankful to have a very supportive family and everybody in my community has been very supportive and they’re so proud of me. That’s what getting me such a long way, knowing I have such strong support back home.

If you could say one thing about the film, what would it be? Sell it to me…

Man, that is one heck of a question! Um, I would say…get ready for the ride, because it’s a pretty crazy movie!

I’ll co-sign that! Well, I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for your future projects! I loved your performance in PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN, you did a great job! Thanks for your time, Nita!

No problem, thank you!

PSYCHO GOREMAN, available now in theatres, On Demand and digital from RLJE Films. For more behind-the-scenes goodness, check out our interviews with actors Mathew Ninaber and Steven Vlahos, and also writer and director of the film, Steven Kostanski.

Joshua "Prometheus" Scafidi