Darren’s Ballroom owner creates fantasy film


Actor-singer-dancer Darren Lee Cupp has assembled a perfect cast for his biggest film project yet.

“I have been a horror film fan my whole life, so it’s a dream come true to have the cast I have pulled together,” said Cupp, a Broad Ripple resident who owns Darren’s Ballroom in Carmel.

Cupp created “The Emerald Forest” and is the main producer and has a leading role as Ben Thompson. The fantasy film’s proof of concept was filmed in Cleveland and Los Angeles and is still in development.

“This is by far the biggest production that I have produced myself,” he said. “The level of talent and celebrity attached to this project is surreal.”

The story centers on Thompson and his wife, Gwen. Gwen is played by Felissa Rose, best known for “Sleepaway Camp” and its sequel “Return to Sleepaway Camp” and other horror films.

Cupp said after the death of his wife, Thompson struggles and relies on alcohol to get him through the day. 

“One night he meets a stranger that will change his life forever,” Cupp said. “Magically, Ben is pulled into the world of Oz, but not Oz as we know it. Hundreds of years before the arrival of Dorothy, this is a medieval world, run by witches, warlocks and gnomes. Ben will soon find that he was not brought into this world by mistake but rather to discover his true past. With a war raging in Oz, Ben may be the only one that can stop it.”

Cupp said two years ago he was fortunate to work with three ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ actors in another film.

“After getting to know them, I approached them with the idea for ‘Emerald Forest’ and they loved it,” he said. “It has grown from there. I met Doug Jones at a red-carpet event in L.A. We became friends and he agreed to be in my film as well.”

Jones is best known for playing nonhuman creatures in films including “The Shape of Water.”

Cupp has appeared in 19 completed films and has three in post-production and seven in development. For more on the film, visit Darren Lee Cup on YouTube.