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Words – Lyz Mancini
You may know her as the punky intellectual from Warehouse 13, or perhaps a plethora of memorable indies, but actress Allison Scagliotti dusted off the acid wash and leather bustiers for a sassy-powerful role in the recently released 80s coming of age comedy Losers Take All. Starring Kyle Gallner, Adam Herschman, and Billy Kay (who you probably won’t recognize as the baby in Three Men and a Baby), these dirty-cute dudes form a punk band and attempt to take over Memphis. Allison hangs out with us to discuss the countless projects she’s working on, what it means to adopt the punk mentality today, and her own musical endeavors.

I am so excited to finally get to see Losers Take All after all the hype.

 

I’m really proud of it. It’s the kind of movie I’ve always wanted to be a part of and I’d like to do more movies like it. My favorite movies are the kinds like SLC Punk and Ghost World, of course I love Black Swan but as it relates to Losers Take All, I love movies that integrate music and movies that take place in a certain period and tell the story of a really relatable coming of age character arc through the music so I couldn’t be happier that we finally get to share it with people.

 

It seems like a very ownable movie. I thought of Detroit Rock City or like all boys that I wanted to date in high school.

 

The boys are so great. They’re so charming, you totally believe them as a band and they lived the lifestyle. We shot the film in Memphis which is a city that oozes music from every pore and they were put through a certain boot camp by John Paul Keith who coached them on how to play their instruments. A few of them were already musicians in their own right but in order to really be a believable band they had to live it, they stayed up all night. They drank Jack Daniels for breakfast, they rode around in a van together, it was hysterical.

 

Your character Simone is quite sassy. You’re wearing bras as tops and rocking a faux hawk. It’s very different from anything I’ve seen you in.

 

It is. Simone’s described as punk rock royalty and I was inspired by women like Pamela Des Barres, who I would never call a groupie because there is so much more than that. They are artists in their own right, they live and thrive off of music, and in Simone’s case, she really thrived off of connecting musician together so her role in the movie is to introduce The Fingers to their first record label thanks to her romantic history with the label who happens to be a musician himself.

It’s a very powerful position to be in.

 

I’m not often given the opportunity to play an overtly sexy girl. I’m so used to playing smart punky nerd, and luckily Simone is also smart and also very strong willed. A lot of that wardrobe is actually my own, the acid washed pants are mine, the leather vest. It was a combination of authentic rentals from the period and a little bit of American Apparel because a lot of their cuts are very 80s. This isn’t my first 80s movie, I did one a couple years ago called Endless Bummer that really began my love affair with the period and the fashion was so well suited for my body that when I audition for something from the 80s I just go to my closet.

 

80s punk in film hasn’t been done to death, especially in this vein of a coming of age story.

 

We have gotten the question that didn’t punk die in 1979 and if you set aside the aesthetic of punk, the way the music sounds, punk is a commitment to antiestablishment to challenging the status quo and being DIY. In that regard, independent film is punk rock, feminism is really punk rock. Every generation every decade has a movement of music that embodies those values. In the 60s, Bob Dylan was doing it but we didn’t call it that because the sound was different. So maybe the sound of Bad Brains and Minor Threat isn’t around anymore, but the punk spirit is still alive and well. I’m obsessed with generations of music generationally, how much it tells us about our culture as the sound changes.

 

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Every female character in this film is very strong, they aren’t pushed to the background to aid in the storytelling of boys.

 

Neither of our characters (hers and Tania Raymonde) are dependent on any of the other characters in the movie and were relevant. We have opinions and motives of our own but we end up being really important to these guys. It was a great position to be in and I look back on those weeks I spent in Memphis because I got along with everyone and everyone was so committed to doing this guerrilla style movie and we banged it out and had a great time.

 

The spirit of shooting was movie was punk as well.

Absolutely. Alex shot it in 20 days.

Strong female characters in film is so important now. There’s this fear or backlash against feminism right now, where people are afraid to attach het selves to the word or not totally understand what it means.

 

There are certainly stereotypes and strange labels that are attached to the movement arbitrarily. We need a regime change in a big way. I’ve tried to spearhead that as much as I can.

 

And you are a musician yourself too.

 

I am! It’s so funny because things just started to happen recently like magic. I hesitate to talk about any of this because anything can happen and things change. But there’s this local (Los Angeles) band called Mystik who I have been a fan of for a couple of years I served as a co music producer for this movie I filmed recently called Chastity Bites that comes out on November 2 on Video On Demand for the purpose of connecting LA bands with other cities with the soundtrack. This band Mystik’s lead singer Corey called me and asked if I wanted to sit in for their guitarist who injured himself, so I’ve got rehearsal to join a band finally.

 

Have you ever been in a band?

 

No, I’ve just been playing for myself for years, I did the open mic circuit in Toronto when I was filming there. Cherie Currie from The Runaways, I got to work with her own Warehouse 13 last year, and she is beginning s new tour. I was just talking to her today and she told me to set aside some time for her date at The Viper Room so she can pull me up on stage. I’m so excited. Music has been a huge part of my life since I was a child, I started playing piano. Then when I moved to LA I picked up a guitar and taught myself there and presently I’m a student at the College of Berkeley online,I just finished their Masters certificate in guitar and I’m in the middle of their small certificate in vocal styles.

 

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I can imagine this movie inspired you to create music.

 

Oh massively, that was my only complaint was that Simone never got to pick up a guitar and have a cameo performing with The Fingers. But I think we should lobby for a college tour. I could take over the guitar part for Kyle because he’s a great singer but he learned how to play guitar for the movie, so I can help him out.

 

After you were cast in Losers, they sent you a playlist of all 80s music from that punk era.

 

I would listen to that everyday, I still listen to it now. Alex sent me a playlist with Beat Happening, Husker Du, Minutemen, Alex Chilton. When I did Endless Bummer, that other 80s movie, the beginning of my homework was compiling a huge 80s playlist and it spanned from Susie and the Banshees and The X to more mainstream stuff like Divo and The Cure. Music and film can be such perfect pairings for the potential for storytelling and theme and tone.

 

Especially in the 80s everything was very strong. He fashion was in your face, the music was loud and over the top, all of it.

 

You can throw out any decade and I would probably say I wish I had lived then. Like the hot jazz of the 20s or the sexual revolution of the 60s. Just not before women could vote, I would not be interested in that. I will fully entrench myself in an era of music. So right now I am really into Delta Blues, Muddy Waters, Louisiana Red, that kind of stuff and that’s where my guitar playing is leading as well. Although the albums that are on repeat for me right now are Deep Valley, Haim’s new album, they are so fantastic. We had a mutual friend way back in our early teens in LA so it’s so awesome to see all their hard work pay off. I love Mystik, obviously, the band I’m potentially joining. I go through whole obsessions with music, like a couple of years ago, all I would listen to is 90s grunge. Fabric posters of Kurt, and only wore flannel.

 

Tell me a little about the projects that you have going on now and the transitions you’ve gone through.

 

Transitioning never stops, you never stop learning and growing and aging. There is a struggle always when the business sees you a certain way and you see yourself a different and way and having to convince people that you’re the right one for the job. I get the deep-voiced intellectual a lot, but I’m an actor and I make music and I write poetry and I’m into a lot of things. I do like to develop content on my own with my friends. Right now, I have a Kickstarter for a short film called Anne Darling from Norman Yeung ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/normanyeung/anne-darling) that will hopefully shoot in Toronto in December. It’s very artsy and very different from anything I’ve done.

 

This is random, but I have to tell you that you are on my favorite Party Down episode.

 

That show is so brilliant, I had the best time. I had auditioned for Rob Thomas a lot but we never had the chance to work together but we had this great respect for each other, Then one morning I got a straight offer for the show and I had never been cast to play a ditzy rich bitch before and I was shocked and nervous. Pre-Glee Jane Lynch, could not have been warmer or more funny. I never have a hard time keeping a straight face but when JK Simmons laughed in response to Adam Scott doing his “Are we having fun yet?”it was everything I could do not to break.

 

I heard that you are on a really large billboard on Hollywood and LaBrea for PopPhysique.

 

Yes, I am! Not sure where to put that on my resume. That happened through social media, actually. I was going three times a week a few years ago because I needed some exercise and I became addicted to it. I used social media to talk about how addicted to it I was, and the creators reached out to me and said you seem to be an enthusiastic client, would you like to be the new butt? And I said “hell, yes!”

 

I also did a photo shoot for something called Project Mermaids, and it was a dream come true for 8-year old Allison. Project Mermaids seeks to be a photo book, the proceeds will benefit Saveourbeach.org. These two photographers, Angelina Venturella and Chiara Salomoni, shoot these breathtaking photos underwater and on land in various settings of celebrities. It was so cool to be a mermaid, and also the fact that its for such a good cause.

 

Lastly, going back to Losers Take All, where do you see your character in the future?

 

I thought of Simone as rock’s impure patron saint. In my imagination, she continues to climb the ladder, maybe making some Patti Smith style music of her own. Maybe she starts managing bands. Better yet, maybe she becomes the Pamela des Barres of the punk era and documents her escapades with The Fingers, The Despots, Husker Dü, and wherever that takes her!

 

Rent or purchase Losers Take All on iTunes or Amazon!

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/losers-take-all/id589480456

http://www.amazon.com/Losers-Take-All-Aaron-Himelstein/dp/B00FJD1JJO

 

 

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