Welcome to Diane Foster! How are you doing?
Thank you so much for having me! I am growing, learning, and doing well!
I have come to realize that every day is an opportunity for me to be the best version of myself possible. I have grown so much over the last five years and look forward to all that is ahead.
You have had such a journey – tell us more about you AND your company WallyBird Productions.
I grew up the youngest of six children in New Jersey and my parents are still married after 60 years. When I was eight years old, I won the “Little Miss Union” talent contest, and my journey into entertainment began. At 12, I was acting and dancing around the country and started to train professionally in New York City. My senior year of High School, I won the Rising Star Award for Best Actress in New Jersey, given by the world-renowned PaperMill Playhouse for my role as Princess Winifred in the musical “Once Upon A Mattress”. It was a sweet victory against my biggest rival, Anne Hathaway, who was nominated for the same role the same year. It was in that moment that I chose to fully pursue acting as a career. My first big gig was Law and Order: SVU, a standard if you’re an NYC actor, balanced with a few Mike’s Hard Lemonade commercials. After maximizing the opportunities in NY, I got the courage to drive across the country to Los Angeles, chasing my dreams and leaving the comfort of my big family behind.
Those first few weeks in LA were rough. I crashed in a Days Inn Motel and remembered eating a stale TV dinner while watching Halle Berry make history as the first African American woman to win an Oscar. I literally knew nothing about LA, so I signed up for a dance class in hopes to make some new friends. One night after class, a woman asked me to be in a new show she was working on that needed top of the line dancers. She gave me absolutely no information about what I was walking into. What it turned out to be was the original PussyCat Dolls, a burlesque review at The Roxy in Hollywood. We performed to sold out celebrity audiences and it starred Carmen Electra, Christina Applegate, Gwen Stefani, Charlize Theron, Christina Aguilera, Brittany Murphy, Dita Von Teese, and little ol’ me! I was one of the 12 original girls to do all the burlesque and Fosse style choreography that included hunky sailor boys. It was my first job in LA and I was immediately thrust into the world of celebrities. At 21, it was not only incredible fun but an amazing experience. I had continued auditioning during this time and landed a role in the indie film, “Descendant” starring Katherine Heigl and Jeremy London where I would meet my business partner and now ex-husband.
After the Pussycat Dolls shows, I began my foray into producing. I produced the documentary, “Dying For Meth” that followed a young girl who survived an explosion while cooking meth in a van, burning over sixty percent of her body. For three years, we followed her and her family’s addiction while watching her struggle to care for her five years old son and thirteen years old sister. We received the Prism Award in Beverly Hills for outstanding work in documentary and public service. This led me to star and produce in my first narrative feature “Iowa,” a Tribeca Film Festival Official Selection. My first day on set, I found out I was pregnant with my son, Golden, and only twenty-two months later had my daughter, Ivy. It was, and still is the greatest achievement of my life getting to be their mother.
After “Iowa” dominated independent cinemas in NY, LA, and Chicago, we received a call from Jeff Cuban, owner of Landmark Theaters chain. He suggested that with the success of “Iowa” and it’s edgy, gory, and very intense subject matter, that we make a horror film. We began producing the slasher/horror film, “The Orphan Killer” that I starred in, creating a cult following of over 500,000 fans on Facebook. The idea was simple. Blood and sex sell. And did it ever! It became an instant cult classic with over 3 million illegal downloads of the film worldwide. We even sold the mask of “The Orphan Killer” in Sears and Walmart! I was a homeschooling mama by day and a gory blood covered slasher queen by night.
“The Orphan Killer” had us traveling to Europe, Spain and Italy to premiere at festivals to sold out audiences. The crowds would stomp, scream and chant at the screen as if they were attending a heavy metal rock show! When we returned, to get in shape, I began boxing at Glendale Fighting Club. It was there that I trained alongside Ronda Rousey, who would years later enter the UFC. We became fast friends as the only females in an Armenian male gym.
During this time, I started working on the sequel “Bound X Blood: The Orphan Killer 2”. Submerged in the world of MMA and boxing, we were determined to include that as a part of the sequel securing Ronda and “The Four Horsewomen” as supporting actors along with many other well-known wrestlers and UFC fighters. During filming, my marriage of 17 years began to fall apart. It was the beginning of a tumultuous roller coaster ride of divorce, incarceration, and nearly fatal car accident.
At the time, the only focus I had was survival in a now single mother world and starting my life over. I was in therapy for my PTSD and healing the years of physical, mental, psychological, and verbal abuse I went through in my marriage. It was in therapy that getting back to my roots became so important. My therapist asked me “besides having your children when were you your happiest?” Well, that was a good question. I am naturally a very happy and positive person, but I struggled to remember when I had last felt happy and free. My answer was: when I was 18 years old, doing shows, taking extensive acting, singing, & dancing classes, and had just won the Rising Star Award! My therapist suggested going back to acting class.
Through acting class and projects, I have met a huge community of like-minded people whom I’ve created long-lasting friendships and many great projects with, including four short films, several documentaries and features. I went on to star in rock legend Glenn Danzig’s music video for “Last Ride” and his directorial debut feature, “Verotika”. Everything was moving in the right direction and then it stopped at an extreme halt with the tragic accidental death of my only brother, Walter in 2017.
Wally, as we affectionately called him, was fifty-four years old and a father of four. He worked his whole life at the Sunoco gas station in Short Hills, NJ that he would eventually own. He was an avid softball player and bar fly and simply put, everyone loved my brother. Over 1,000 people attended his wake, some complete strangers who he had helped during his life came to offer their condolences and praise what an amazing man and friend he was to so many. I was angry and depressed and upset that this world took him away from us with no notice or reason. His death has had the biggest impact on my life. Since we were kids, my mother would always say, “family is first and most important”. My five siblings are my best friends and we lost a son, husband, father, brother, and friend. During this time, as I struggled to get back to my own reality, I was working odd jobs to support my life and two children on my own and continued getting producing jobs.
For many years, I wanted to start my own production company so my projects could have a banner and team of people behind them. I thought long and hard about what the name would be and in one moment it hit me like a rocket, a childhood name we called my late beloved brother, “WallyBird”. Walter was tall and lanky, with a giant smile and an infectious laugh. To honor my brother’s life that was cut too short, WallyBird Productions was born.
Do you have anything currently in the pipeline we can look forward to?
There is SO much going on at WallyBird Productions!! We have two features in post, a feature film musical in development, a documentary in post, a documentary filming, a short filming, and several music videos in post or in development.
What is your favorite thing about running your own company and your least favorite?
The most exciting and fulfilling part is working with people from all walks of life and being a part of telling their stories. It is a fact to me that altruism makes you a better person and creator and in helping others I find the balance of healing and bettering myself. The least favorite part is probably always trying to come up with funding for projects. I truly wish I had a money tree and that it was specifically for creatore! A woman can dream!
You are also an actress yourself, what is one role that challenged you the most and why?
The feature film that I directed, produced and starred in “Easter, Bloody Easter” was challenging because of all the hats I wore on it. It stretched me as a person and entertainer and really helped me develop an understanding of who I am in each of those roles. It was all encompassing and took all of me to make. There were benefits of that but also a very big learning curve as it was immense pressure. At the end of the day, if it’s deemed good or bad, that lands on. me and I have really taken the time to bring it to life that I believe fans will be excited about and want to watch every Easter and Halloween. I love acting and will continue doing roles as I do more directing as well.
Being someone that makes films – what is your all time favorite movie?
Dirty Dancing! I have watched it at least a few hundred times. I love music, acting, and dance so it hits all the buttons for me. It’s a classic and I’m always down to watch it. I also love movies of the 70s that were centered around story and character driven.
What does the rest of 2022 look like for you? Any goals you are trying to hit?
Yes!! I am trying to get healthier in mind, body, and spirit. I am actively working on getting in exercise at least 4-5x a week, eating healthier, keeping wine drinking to a social minimum, and really spending time with myself, getting to know myself. That part is not easy for me because I am a social person but have realized how important it is to recharge and be at my best mental self being by myself. I am also in development on a movie musical and it will take the next year of my life putting it all together. I am excited about all that is ahead and know this season is part of my journey to learn, grow, and shine.
Thank you so much for chatting with us! Where can we find you on social media?