Clark Collis
February 05, 2018 AT 04:26 PM EST

Lauren Ashley Carter has proven herself a highly watchable presence in a clutch of genre films over the past few years, including Joe Begos’ telekinesis thriller The Mind’s Eye and Mickey Keating’s twisted haunted house tale, Darling. Now, the actress is pulling double duty on the science fiction film, Imitation Girl.

“We have an alien that lands in the desert and she is an imitation of a real woman who lives in New York City,” says Carter. “During the film we watch these two parallel lives of the ‘imitation,’ who is found by a Persian brother-sister duo, who take her in, and try to help her, and figure out where the hell she’s from, and then we also see a real woman in New York City who is a failed concert pianist turned amateur porn star.”

The Imitation Girl shoot was split in two.

“The half with the imitation was all in New Mexico,” says the actress. “Most of that is in Farsi, and it was freezing, but it was a really cool time. And then, about a year later, we filmed the other half of it, which was in New York, and there was a blizzard, and I had a terrible flu, and and we had a million locations. But it worked out well. It was really nice to have the big break in time, because then I felt very different as the two characters, and I didn’t have to rush, jumping from one into another. There were a couple of moments that we shot both of them together, and I was running around, and changing my hair, and putting on different clothes. Working with a body double was really strange, because I follow myself a couple of times in the film, and that was very very weird and surreal, to actually feel like I’m following myself. But was a really nice experience.”

Imitation Girl is written and directed by Natasha Kermani, whose credits include the web series The Mentors, on which Carter was a producer. “From the deserts of New Mexico to the streets of New York City, I’m endlessly grateful to every person who was involved with Imitation Girl,” says the filmmaker, via email. “It truly took a village.”

The film is released March 16 on VOD and is also receiving a limited theatrical release on April 20. Imitation Girl is being distributed by Dread Central Presents, the new horror label from Epic Pictures, whose upcoming slate also features the Penn Jillette-starring Director’s Cut and the documentary To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story about the stuntman-turned-beloved horror actor. “Imitation Girl is a very important movie for Dread Central Presents,” says the label’s Director of Distribution Rob Galluzzo “It is not a horror movie, at all. But from the very first viewing, I was completely mesmerized by the story that Natasha created, and realized this was a great, unique new voice in indie cinema. That’s the main reason I wanted to help get this out into the world. With the Dread Central brand, we want to push it to new places and see if we can bring people just outside the genre to experience something equally weird and interesting.”

Carter’s own upcoming projects include the creepy clown horror-comedy Gags and the serial killer movie Artik, which costars Jerry G. Angelo, Matt Mercer (Contracted: Phase II, Beyond the Gates) and Chase Williamson (John Dies at the EndVictor Crowley, Beyond the Gates).

“I play the wife of a serial killer who thinks that he’s ridding the world of bad people,” says the actress of the latter film. “He’s this delusional man, and I play his equally delusional wife, and we have a collection of foster children that we’re getting money for from the government, that I use to farm my sunflower field. [Laughs]”

Exclusively watch the trailer for Imitation Girl above and see the film’s new poster by artist Johnny Tabor, below.

Johnny Tabor

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