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Jess Weixler • John Hensley
DIRECTOR: Mitchell Lichtenstein

Poster artwork THE CONCEPT:
Dawn (Weixler) is an active participant of her high school chastity group. A stranger to her own body, the innocent Dawn discovers she has a toothed vagina when she becomes the victim of a sexual attack. As she struggles to comprehend her anatomical uniqueness, Dawn experiences both the pitfalls and the power of the living example of the 'vagina dentata' myth.

U.S. RELEASE: January 18 2008, Limited • Rated: R


I knew nothing about 'vagina dentata' before they handed me the script. I hadnt done a lot of sex scenes before, so I wasnt fully prepared for doing that either. I went and met with Mitchell, and he was incredibly smart and so sweet and gentle, and he told me he was trying to make a dark comedy. [I thought] how cool is it to have the opportunity to play a part thats never been played before. I started to see her as a superhero, somebody with an anatomical uniqueness that has to learn to use her power for good.

JOHN HENSLEY (Brad, Dawns step-brother who lusts after her):
I honestly never saw Brad as a bad guy necessarily as much as a victim of circumstance. I think that a lot of his outlook on life was shaped by his first sexual encounter in the kiddy pool [with Dawn]. He has been secretly in love with her and has never been able to capitalize on it, for want of a better word. I think to a certain degree you have to own your bit of a story, and be willing to tell that bit without apology.

WEIXLER on shooting her first sex scene:
The first one was hard. It was the rape scene in the beginning and it was hard for a mixture of elemental reasons, because it was freezing in the water that we were in, and we were in a cave that was dirty. And having to feel like you have to protect yourself from being assaulted does take a lot of adrenaline to get through a day like that. But everyone was very protective over me and wanted to make sure I felt safe and comfortable.

Any time Ive done a sex scene the comfort level of the other person is always paramount to me. Jess was fantastic, she was a real soldier. I think shes phenomenal in this movie. I think its one of those roles like Susan Sarandon in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where you think they are so unique and good in it that you cant imagine anybody else being able to facilitate the story.

WEIXLER on whether she considers the movie a Horror film:
I would consider it a dark comedy. I think its being marketed right now in the trailers a little bit like a horror movie. It has horror elements, but its not a movie that feeds off of gore, even though it has some gore.

I had no idea that the myth was so pervasive in different cultures. I honestly thought that regardless of where the seed of the story had come from that its so cool that Mitchell had taken it and expanded it in this way. Its actually rooted in legitimate myth.

WEIXLER on finding out that she had won the Special Jury Prize for her performance in Teeth at the Sundance Film Festival:
I was flying to San Diego to make another movie, and when the plane landed a stewardess had heard from the desk that I won and came on the plane and said, We have to get you on another flight to Utah immediately, you just won an award. It was totally fantastic to get to share that with strangers!

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #692, February 2008 cover

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