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Grisly Grisell

The film Grisly Grisell is written and directed by a young adult sister team, Mary Bowen and Faustina Bowen who are answering the call to tell good stories through film.

During the Wars of the Roses, the Red Rose's Copeland family enters a marriage contract between their brash son, Leonard, and the White Rose's Dacre girl, Grisell, beginning a microcosm of the English Civil War.

After a horrific accident in which Grisell is wounded at the hand of Leonard, she is left so disfigured that she is no longer marriageable thereby ending the betrothal. 

Teaching us that beauty indeed is more than skin deep, Grisell's virtues shine through and transform her disfigured countenance which in the end wins the heart of the most unexpected hero who undergoes a transformation of his own.

Grisly Grisell

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Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep In Grisly Grisell

Performed by Catholic families for children and those who are children at heart, this film stars Abbey Erskine in her first major role as Grisell Dacre and welcomes back Michael Bowen as Leonard Copeland.

They are supported by a cast of young actors and their parents.

This film proudly showcases another awesome score by Music Forge including a surprise "pop" song in the credits.

Filled with chivalrous knights, picture-book castles, and an undercurrent of innocent romance, where of course our "Cinderella" lives happily ever after, Grisly Grisell is a Catholic film the entire family will enjoy and be pleased to add to their good family movies collection.

Young Adult Time Travel Books

Grisly Grisell Historical Context

Grisly Grisell is set in a confusing time of English history, but let me try to explain the situation. The king is mad, as in insane. The queen is French. Although the king and queen do have a son, half the people of their nation do not believe that the child is truly their son.

As they have just come out of a one-hundred-year war with France, the people still have some prejudices against the idea of a French queen and will suspect her of anything.

This side of the war supports the Duke of York, the king's brother, and the White Rose. Grisell's family is on this side of the war.

The White Rose adherents hold that the Duke of York ought to rule alongside the king as his advisor and heir. This is in fact what ended up happening, the present Duke of York's son becoming the king after the war is over.

The Red Rose holds that the Prince of Wales is the true son of the king and queen and, therefore, the rightful heir.

This is the first of two times that the British people suspected such a thing of their king, the second being the Old Pretender some three hundred years later.

2. Watch Grisly Grisell Trailer Here!

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3. What Others Are Saying About Grisly Grisell

Grisly Grisell Review

Your Grisly Grisell Reviews

Share your thoughts with others. We're sure other fans would love to hear all you have to say about Grisly Grisell!

Audience Reviews

Click on the links below to read more Grisly Grisell movie reviews. They were all written by other Industrious Family Films Fans.

Fantastic Retelling of a Beautiful Story 
Recently I watched Grisly Grisell for the first time and found it a wonderful movie! The story is very touching, focusing on the beauty of forgiveness …

An Enthralling Tale Of Devotion 
My young family and myself all very much enjoyed Grisly Grisell. The plot themes of steadfast love, true beauty of the heart, and the motivations of sinister …

Good Job on Exploding Scene 
I watched your LIVE premiere of Grisly Grisell . I thought that you did a good job on the movie. I thought that you did a really good job on the blowing …

Five Stars 
The movie was awesome! Mary Bowen is an amazing director. She and Faustina did a great job! There was so much laughter between scenes. We have so much …

Click here to write your own.

4. Behind The Scenes With Grisell (Abbey Erskine)

Actress Abbey Erskine with Director Mary Bowen doubling as hair dresser.

Acting in Grisly Grisell was a great experience. I really enjoyed every shoot day. Mary and Faustina were organized and made being on set very entertaining.

I’m going to start off by saying how much I admired Grisell. She was very humble and obedient to her stepmother. Although her stepmother was mean to her, Grisell never complained or showed any disrespect.

My favorite shoot day was the day we filmed the explosion scene at Castle Noz. Despite getting stuck in the tower three times, it was a fun day.

My favorite scene in the movie is the scene where Grisell leaves the convent to live with her stepmother because she did not have a dowry. It's a pivotal part and right before Grisell’s life took a wild turn.

I enjoyed acting most with Faustina. She is very enthusiastic and fun to act with. My favorite part of a shoot day was the costumes and singing VeggieTales.

The hardest part of acting Grisell was remembering what lines to say. There were days they filmed a lot of scenes and I would get confused about what lines I needed to say for each scene.

When I saw the complete movie for the first time, I really enjoyed it. It was kinda strange seeing myself so much but I thought the movie was really good.

5. The Making Of Grisly Grisell

When we were brainstorming for our third film, Grisly Grisell came out on top because the girl in me was attracted to the fairy tale aspect of this story and I knew that we could pull off a picture book telling of the classic while improving our sets.

I also wanted a chance to let one of my actresses have the spotlight as I had noticed her talent in previous films even though she had only been an extra in Outlaws of Ravenhurst and Max & Carlota.

The most challenging part of this film was working with gun powder and creating Grisell's post-accident make up.

Costumes For Grisly Grisell

For this movie, we really wanted some nice costumes for our characters. We had fun using color to distinguish character couples and families. We were excited to do this because sometimes it's hard to follow who goes to who and which character is which. With a visual reminder, we hope that our mainly children audience can follow the storyline easier and know which characters belong to each other.

Besides the red and white rose tunics separating between Red Rose and White Rose for the men, we also had themed colors for the couples.

Lord and Lady Salisbury wear purple and sit in their purple curtained hall. Lady Whitburn wears red, which Grisell accents with the red in her navy blue dress.

The use of color and investing in a steamer really helped make the costumes look crisp. My only disappointment with the costumes is the fabric choice. The material is Halloween costume quality and did not reflect stage light the way I wanted it too.

Michael Bowen as Sir Leonard
Kathleen Bowen as Lady Salisbury
Declan Bowen as Squire #2

Grisly Grisell Budget

Total: $8,683.68

With the budget that we were working with however, we are very satisfied with the overall look we were able to achieve.

You have just seen some of our costumes and below you will find pictures of some of our favorite sets. We will be investing in higher quality costumes for main roles and average material for less important roles in our next film. And...amazing sets!

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Favorite Sets From The Movie

During the early preproduction stages of Grisly Grisell, we decided we were going to focus on investing the most in sets.

Like the costumes, our sets supported the characters by taking on different hues. These colors highlighted the character's emotions and attitudes.

Grisell's Chamber

One of our best sets was Grisell’s chamber. We made it look homey, yet simple because this was a time when Grisell was not being given much by her step mother. We had our floor loom in the corner to suggest industry, while Grisell herself is spinning a roving which is piled in the basket beside her.

Hanging from the wall we placed some drying herbs with the compounds just beneath to show her medicinal knowledge learned at the convent. We were fortunate enough to borrow a very ornamental Prie Dieu. It features a beautiful piece of tapestry!

Convent Exterior

We wanted the nunnery to really play its part well, even though it takes such a small part in Grisly Grisell.

Since the religious at that time were well-known for their knowledge of medicinal herbs, we had the hand grinder which Sister Avice uses in the scene.

The walls we left bare and white to impress the nuns’ religious poverty. Although they live in a spirit of poverty, the nuns are portrayed filled with happiness and exultation as they enjoy flowers and their life of prayer.

For the outdoor nunnery of Wilton, we actually found a convent near us in California.

The Discalced Carmalite Nuns of Sacramento were kind enough to allow us to film at their beautiful convent. As these nuns live cloistered lives, we did not get to see them and just went, shot and left.

The road was a little steep and scared some of our actors and moms, so we will have to scout our unknown locations a little better next time!

Whitburn Dining Hall

The Whitburn Dining Hall was another fun set. We wanted to make the feeling stoic and gloomy, especially in contrast to Salisbury Hall.

The walls are hung with burgundy red to match the lady of the tower. The place is also ill-lit, setting a dismal gloom on the place.

We were quite happy with the effect of these efforts. The gloom and deep colors set the stage for Lady Whitburn’s bitter temper and constant fault finding.

Interior Bruges Inn

For the Bruges Inn, we wanted a clean tavern, showing the days when a person could walk into one and not meet high spirited revelry.

Grisell works here with smoke always misting the set, which we provided with a bee smoker.

This was to give the effect that Grisell goes from her position of honor as a lady to being a common laborer who has nowhere better to stay than a common inn.

The beam we built with 2x4s nailed together. We placed some kegs on the table along with a pumpkin on the table to pay homage to the Cinderella nature of the story.

Mini Village

The mini village idea was one of the most ambitious ideas yet. We bought small cardboard buildings and green screened all the outdoor scenes onto these backdrops.

We had fun getting different buildings to represent Holland and England. Our favorite Holland scenery was the bridge, armory and the windmill.

The cardboard buildings gave a very pleasing pop-up book effect.

With the mini buildings, we were able to create little villages and shoot at Salisbury castle, Bruges, and Whitburn Tower on all the same day!

Our chapel, too, was a little cardboard building which we were able to green screen rain over.

Grisell's Chamber at Salisbury Castle

Grisell's accident occurs at Salisbury Castle. This is her room after she is injured. We wanted to give the effect that Grisell's sickroom is one full of calm and peace.

The Salisburys themselves wear purples. We put up blue curtains and had a bouquet of lavender in the corner (to suggest a soothing scent). We are very happy with the effect.

The Shoot Days

For this movie, we were fortunate to have been able to rent a garage for a studio. This made things much easier because we had a place to apply makeup, a small dressing room for the actors to change in, as well as sets we could set up and leave until we were done using them.

We also decided that, at the beginning of every shoot, we would start with stretches, a team-building game, a prayer and then move into the studio to start shooting.

This worked great! The actors had a chance to play with each other before getting to work, and everyone entered the day with an attitude that they were there to have fun.

The shoots themselves were very smooth. We had ironed out a lot of the lumps through trial and error and were able to eliminate much of the headache we experienced in the past.

The actors cooperated, we knew what angles looked more professional, and we were committed to asking the actors to redo until it was satisfactory.

The result: a movie about our top book suggestions for tween girls that everyone was proud to be a collaborator in!

Involving The Audience In The Cover Poll

We asked and you answered. Fans chose this cover for Grisly Grisell.

We used roses as part of the symbolism in this cover. Notice that Leonard is holding a red rose while Grisell is holding a white rose.

The less popular cover with the fans was this Grisly Grisell movie cover.

Running this poll got the audience involved and it made post production fun.

6. Grisly Grisell's Red Carpet Premiere Was Old Hollywood Style Complete With Glamour And Fan Fare

After much preparation and excitement, Grisly Grisell finally premiered May 12, 2022! We had a formal red carpet premiere at our local movie theater.

After watching the movie, the guests were invited to join us for an after-party with cake and hor d'oeuvres. We hosted a silent auction and danced throughout the evening.

To view the premiere photo gallery, visit this page...

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7. Meet The Cast Who Brought Grisly Grisell To The Screen

While making our movie from our top book suggestions for tween girls, we were very excited to welcome back old and new cast members.

They all put a lot into the movie. Thank you, everyone, we couldn't have done it without any of you! Meet the faces of the Grisly Grisell cast, old and new, below.

Abbey Erskine - Grisell

Introducing Abbey as our heroine from our favorite of all book suggestions for tween girls, Grisell, in Grisly Grisell!

Abbey has been with us since our first film, Outlaws of Ravenhurst, but this was her first casted role.

We were very glad to be able to highlight this young actress’s talents with you in Grisly Grisell!

Michael Bowen -  Leonard

Michael made his third appearance in Grisly Grisell as Sir Leonard.

He has done a great job portraying the hero of the story.

In Outlaws of Ravenhurst, Michael starred as Sir James Gordon. In our second film, Max & Carlota, he took the lead role as Maximilian.

Thank you for joining us, again, Michael!

Todd Grover - Ridley

Welcome to our filmmaking productions, Todd!

Todd is one of our newest actors and is appearing in Grisly Grisell as the squire Ridley.

In this role, he is Grisell's single support, encouraging her to be brave as well as smuggling her out of the country when things get too dangerous for her to remain. Great job, Todd!

Faustina Bowen - Lady Whitburn

Faustina will be making her third appearance as well in Grisly Grisell.  

She greatly enjoyed portraying a thoroughly ridiculous and somewhat humorous villain in our rendering of the top of our book suggestions for tween girls as Lady Whitburn.

In the past, Faustina had the roles of Mammy Abel in Outlaws of Ravenhurst and Carlota in Max & Carlota. Thank you for joining us, again, Faustina!

James Phillips - Pierce Hardcastle

Welcome back, James!

James acted Squire Pierce Hardcastle as well as King Edward V in Grisly Grisell.

Formerly, James has acted Godfrey in Outlaws of Ravenhurst and General Miguel Maramón in Max & Carlota.

You always bring so much laughter and fun to the set. Thank you for joining us again, James!

Isabella Treskon - Thora

Introducing Isabella!

We are very excited to share with you the talents of this young actress in her first role as Thora in Grisly Grisell. In addition, she also plays Lady Margaret of York.

She is very enthusiastic. Keep it up, Isabella!

Stream Outlaws of Ravenhurst

Stacy Phillips - Mother of the Maids

Introducing Stacy!

Although this is her first time acting, Stacy has faithfully made sure James arrived on time ever since his first scene in Outlaws of Ravenhurst.

Thank you so much for joining us this time, Stacy, and all your support in the past!

You are a perfect Mother of the Maids in Grisly Grisell.

Thomas Erskine and Becket Bowen - Sid and Samuel

Thomas and Becket appear as Sid and Samual in Grisly Grisell. Welcome back, guys!

Formerly, Becket and Thomas were buddies as the Gordon and his "twin", Joel, in Outlaws of Ravenhurst

This time the two had fun being the thugs who are Lady Whitburn's little sidekicks and execute her every wish. 

Becket has also appeared on screen as Colonel Miguel Lopez in Max & Carlota. Great job rocking the bad guy role, you two!

Kathleen Bowen - Lady Salisbury

Introducing Kathleen as Lady Salisbury in Grisly Grisell!

In all movies past, Kathleen has been a major part of making things run smoothly behind the scenes as well as being an extra, but in this film, she will make an appearance as Lady Salisbury.

Thank you for joining us, Mom! We wouldn’t be here without all your support, and we can’t wait to see you shine in Grisly Grisell!

Matt Bowen - Lord Salisbury

Welcome back, Matt! Matt is filling the role of  Lord Salisbury in Grisly Grisell

In the past, Matt has acted as Sir Angus in Outlaws of Ravenhurst in which we beheaded him on the Castle Noz dance floor.

Thank you for joining us again, Dad!

Eleanor Treskon - Sr. Avice

Welcome to our set, Eleanor! Eleanor played the role as Sister Avice in Grisly Grisell.

Sister Avice is a refuge of Christian virtue who teaches Grisell to love the good and desire to please and serve God through her fellow men. 

Of course, there are many other actors who we have not listed here. Each of them gave it his all, and we are very proud of all of their performances!

8. Grisly Grisell Music Score

Grisly Grisell was sent off to Music Forge in late 2021. We were very pleased with the Max & Carlota Soundtrack which was produced by the same composer.

He has done several beautiful pieces for this movie. He even came up with a surprise pop song for the end credits: Love is a Beauty.

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9. We Hit The Road With Grisly Grisell, Visiting 3 Catholic Parishes Along The West Coast

Michael and Becket Bowen sit at our product table at the St. Joan of Arc showing in Post Falls, ID.
Michael Bowen signs his autograph on the back of a fan's movie cover at the showing at St. Joseph's in Tacoma, WA.
Mary and Faustina Bowen stand at the table at the North American Martyr showing in Edmonds, WA.

In September after the movie's release, we took Grisly Grisell on tour and visited three Catholic parishes across the western United States. Director Mary Bowen, 1st assistant director and actress Faustina Bowen, actor Michael Bowen, and actor Becket Bowen enjoyed showing the film and having a meet and greet with attendees at each event. Besides collecting donations, we sold copies of our films and signed autographs for our fans. 

As part of our VIP treatment, we presented our members with a small fall themed gift.

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