Night Flight Orchestra Guitarist David Andersson talks “Amber Galatic”

Guitarist David Andersson is probably best known for his work with the Scandinavian metal band Soilwork a band which he has been a part of since 2012. Prior to joining the Soilwork Andersson was hard at work with his classic rock tinged group Night Flight Orchestra who recently released their third album titled “Amber Galactic”. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with David recently about the album, its sci-fi theme and the bands plans to perform the album live.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on how Night Flight Orchestra initially came together?

David Andersson: Me and Björn (Strid, also in Soilwork) first met in ’06, when we did our first Soilwork US tour together. We soon found out that we shared a mutual love for classic rock, so we started bonding over all those classic records, and before the tour was over, we’d decided to start a classic rock band ourselves. It took us a while to find the right people, but eventually we succeeded.

AL: What can you tell us about the upcoming release “Amber Galactic”?

DA: “Amber Galactic” is a concept album in a way, although it doesn’t have a straight narrative. It’s more a collection of stories that takes place in the same universe. “Amber Galactic” is set in a future where humanity is exploring and conquering space, but all the space commanders are women, just like the leaders back on Earth, and the men are mostly concerned with providing the ground service and idolizing and falling in love with those superior women that are always slightly out of reach.

AL: Where did this concept come from?

DA: The space theme was my idea. I’ve always read a lot of sci-fi books, mostly because in science fiction, anything is possible, and the things that you never thought would happen actually do happen. And, in a way, all those classic bands and artists from the 70’s and 80’s had the same totally over-the-top approach to everything that they did that was very science fiction-like, where everything was possible and there was no self-irony or “less is more“-thinking involved. Although the music industry was very different back then, and there was a lot more money, resources and drugs involved, I still felt that it is a shame that no one does those kinds of things anymore, at least not in rock music. It’s always been a dream to do something really epic, and what can possibly be more epic than space? So we decided to give it a go at it and just try to do the most epic, outrageous album possible.

AL: Was there anything new this time around with your writing/recording process?

DA: Nothing changed in the recording process, we’ve always produced and recorded everything ourselves. We don’t have any formula as such; we just meet in the studio, throw up some microphones, have a few drinks and start playing. But I guess we’ve gotten better at playing to our strengths and emphasizing the elements in our music that sets us apart from other bands. Though it’s nothing we’ve talked about, more like something in our collective subconscious.

AL: The band recently released a video for the song “Gemini”, can you tell us about that and why that song was chosen for a video treatment?

DA: Our label, Nuclear Blast, wanted to have “Gemini” as the first video release. It’s a song about a female space commander lost somewhere in space on a secret mission, and a love struck man back on Earth trying to get in touch with her to find out if his feelings are reciprocated. I’ve always dreamed of having an 80’s-style animated video set in space, so when we found Elia Cristofoli, an Italian animator/producer, it was fantastic to get a chance to finally do it.

AL: Are there plans to perform the album live/tour?

DA: Yes, we’ll do an exclusive show at the Rock Hard festival in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on the 3rd of June, and then we’ll hopefully do some sort of European tour in the fall. After that, we’ll see. It’s really fun playing live with The Night Flight Orchestra, and we’re always open for suggestions.

Amber Galactic is available for purchase now: http://nblast.de/TNFOAmberGalacticNB

 

David Bowie, “The Thin White Duke”, Dead at Age 69

David Bowie, who as a singer, arranger, songwriter, producer, actor and painter, influenced countless artists for more than four decades, died yesterday, January 10, two days after his birthday. He was 69.

Born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947 in South London, Bowie always had a fascination with music and spent his earliest years hoping to achieve fame. At age 15 he joined a band called the Konrads, but left them soon to join the King Bees. His first single, titled “Liza Jane,” was released as being recorded by Davie Jones and the King Bees. It was not a hit. He later left the group and joined two other bands, Mannish Boys and Lower Third.

In 1966, to avoid being confused with Monkee’s singer Davy Jones, he changed his name to David Bowie, taking his last name from the great American 19th century pioneer Jim Bowie, who died during the battle of the Alamo. Jim Bowie pronounced his last name “Boo-ee” but David went with the harder pronunciation. In 1969 a friend and he put together a promotional film, which included snippets from many of his songs, including “Space Oddity,” which would eventually hit the top 5 in England. The film was not released until 1984.

On May 30, 1971, Bowie and his wife, Angie, welcomed a son into the world, Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones, who for the first 12 years of his life, was known as Zowie Bowie! Today Duncan is a highly respected filmmaker (“Moon”). In 1972 Bowie radically changed his image, becoming a “space man” and releasing the album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” That same year, singer Ian Hunter told Bowie that he needed one more song for his groups, Mott the Hoople, upcoming album. Legend has it that Bowie sat down on the floor and, in twenty minutes, penned “All the Young Dudes.”

In 1974 he released the album “Diamond Dogs,” which produced two hit singles: the title track and “Rebel, Rebel.” The next year he exploded onto the charts, releasing the album “Young Americans.” The first single from the album, “FAME,” a song he co-wrote with John Lennon, hit number one on the US Charts. Lennon also sang back up on the song. Two other singles, “Golden Years” and the title tune, also charted well. To capitalize on the success, “Space Oddity” was reissued in England and went to number one on the British charts. In 1976 he released the album “Station to Station.” He also left Ziggy Stardust behind and adapted a new persona, taken from the first song on the new album: The Thin White Duke. He also starred opposite Candy Clark in the film, “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”

As the 70’s ended, he moved to Germany, where he did a trio of albums that he would refer to as his “triptych,” : “Low,” “Heroes” and “Lodger.” In 1980 he spent three months on Broadway in the title role of “The Elephant Man,” earning great reviews. The following year he teamed up with Queen to produced the hit song, “Under Pressure.” In 1983 he reached the pinnacle of his success with the release of the album “Let’s Dance,” which produced the hits “Modern Love,” “China Girl” and the title song. He also continued his film career, appearing in 1983’s “The Hunger” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.” Other film roles include the Goblin King in “Labyrinth,” Pontius Pilate in “The Last Temptation of Christ” and inventor Nicoli Tesla in “The Prestige.”

The next three decades were ones of experimentation. In 1989 he formed the group Tin Machine. Following that he began mixing electronic and classical music.

In 2001, he opened The Concert for New York, a benefit for the victims of the 9/11 tragedy, by performing Simon and Garfunkle’s “America” and his song, “Heroes.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and in 2006 received a Lifetime Grammy Award.

On January 8, 2016, his 69th birthday, he released his latest album, “Blackstar,” which is already being mentioned as a nominee for the best album of the year.

David Gilmour to Release New Album, “Rattle That Lock” Friday, September 18, 2015

NEW YORK, July 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ —  David Gilmour has announced that his new solo album Rattle That Lock will be released worldwide on Friday, September 18, 2015 on Columbia Records.  The album will be available for preorder and the first single, also titled “Rattle That Lock” will be released on Friday, July 17, 2016.

Additionally David Gilmour’s first North American dates in ten years were announced today.  The “David Gilmour Live 2016” concert  appearances will take place in March & April with stops in Los Angeles, Toronto,Chicago and New York. Ticket buyers will be among the first to receive the new album, as every ticket purchased online will include a Rattle That Lock CD.

The “Live 2016” appearances will be David Gilmour’s first live concert dates since the “On An Island” tour in 2006, and will follow his UK and European tour this September/October. All tickets for the North American Tour dates go on sale Friday, July 17, 2015 (exact times listed below).

March 24, 2016 – Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles – on sale 12pm (PST)
http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0B004EE9EA7F4F7C

March, 31 2016 – Air Canada Center, Toronto – on sale 10am (EST)
http://www.ticketmaster.ca/event/10004EEADDA29010

April 8, 2016 – United Center, Chicago – on sale 12pm (CST)
http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/04004EEAA319243C

April 11, 2016Madison Square Garden, New York – SOLD OUT

Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, at all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone.

Rattle That Lock is David Gilmour’s fourth solo album and follows his 2006 #1 in the UK record On An Island. The primary lyricist for the new album is Gilmour’s long-term writing partner, Polly Samson, and it is co-produced by David Gilmour and Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera.  Rattle That Lock‘s striking cover has been art directed by Dave Stansbie from The Creative Corporation under the creative directorship of Aubrey Powell from Hipgnosis.

RATTLE THAT LOCK tracklisting:

  1. 5 A.M. (Gilmour)
  2. Rattle That Lock (Gilmour/Samson/Boumendil)
  3. Faces Of Stones (Gilmour)
  4. A Boat Lies Waiting (Gilmour/Samson)
  5. Dancing Right In Front Of Me (Gilmour)
  6. In Any Tongue (Gilmour/Samson)
  7. Beauty (Gilmour)
  8. The Girl In The Yellow Dress (Gilmour/Samson)
  9. Today (Gilmour/Samson)
  10. And Then…..(Gilmour)

The title track, Rattle That Lock”, will be heard for the first time on BBC Radio 2 in the UK on Friday, July 17and will be available immediately to download and stream worldwide. The song begins with the four notes, created by Michael Boumendil, which precede announcements at French SNCF railway stations which Gilmour recorded on his iPhone at Aix-en-Prevence station.  Samson’s lyrics are inspired by Book II of John Milton’sParadise Lost, which is also featured in her recent acclaimed novel, The Kindness.  The single also features The Liberty Choir and singers Mica Paris and Louise Marshall.

www.davidgilmour.com

David Gilmour Official Store
http://smarturl.it/DGintntl

iTunes
Standard Album – http://smarturl.it/RattleThatLock
Deluxe Album – http://smarturl.it/RattleThatLockDLX

Amazon
Standard CD – http://smarturl.it/RattleThatLockAmz
Deluxe CD + Blu-Ray – http://smarturl.it/RattleThatLockAmzDLX
Vinyl LP – http://smarturl.it/RattleThatLockAmzV

David Keith talks about his latest film “Awaken”

There are some actors who, when you first see them, they stick with you. The first time I saw David Keith on screen was when he played the young Army PFC that spends some time with Bette Midler in “The Rose.” Next for me was his role as Robert Redford’s fellow prisoner (and eventual right hand man) in “Brubaker.” But it was his role as Naval Pilot Candidate Sid Worley in “An Officer and a Gentleman” that made not only earned him two Golden Globe nominations but stardom.

Since then he has had high profile roles in both film (“Firestarter,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Major League II”) and television (“Flesh and Blood,” “High Incident,” “The Class”). I had the great opportunity to meet Mr. Keith in 1993 on the set of “Major League II” in Baltimore and a nicer, more down to earth person I’ve never met. Especially at 11:00 at night on a cold October evening at Camden Yards.

This week, Mr. Keith’s film, “Awaken, co-starring Daryl Hannah and Jason London, arrives on DVD. Mr. Keith recently spoke with me, with that soft Tennessee twang, about his latest role, his work preferences and feeling much better, thank you.

Mike Smith: Give us a brief introduction to “Walsh,” your character in “Awaken”
David Keith: He is a black market organ harvesting surgeon on an island where some bad people are kidnapping people, making them live in the jungle so they can clean out their systems and then harvest their organs for wealthy people who have loved ones who need an organ transplant but don’t want to wait in line for them.

MS: What, if anything, attracted you to the project?
DK: The producer and co-writer (Natalie Burns) is a friend of mine. She asked if I would come do a role for her. I said “yes” before I read the script.

MS: You seem to work equally between film and television. Do you have a preference?
DK: If I could be stuck in one job for the next ten years it would be in a situation-comedy. That is the best medium because it combines the best of theater and the best of film. When you do a play on Broadway you have to sign a two-year contract, but you get sick of it after about three months when you’re doing eight shows a week. When you do a movie, you never shoot anything in order. There’s no audience. There’s no real feeling of the project as one piece like there is in theater. In a sit-com it’s like doing a different play every week. You’re the same character but you’ve got new lines – new scenes – new things to do each week. And the hours are tremendous work – about four to six hours a day – five days a week, instead of fifteen hours a day, six days a week on a film. So sit-coms are my favorite medium. And “The Class” is my favorite sit-com that I’ve ever been on.

MS: You’ve directed in the past. Any intention of getting back behind the camera again?
DK: Yes, but only under my terms. Those were not great directing experiences – I didn’t have the control I needed. I did the best I could with what I had to work with. I have a script I hope to make. I had the money all in place years ago but then the guy who had signed the contract reneged on the contract. That script is still sitting in my drawer waiting for someone to come along and say, “let’s make this movie.” (laughs)

MS: What do you have coming up next?
DK: I don’t actually know what my next job is going to be. I had some medical issues – nothing serious, nothing to worry about – that kept me out of work for the last year. I haven’t worked in a year for the first time in my career.

MS: Everything is good now?
DK: Everything is good, yes. I’m healthy and ready to go. Now it’s up to my agents. I don’t live in L.A., I live in Tennessee. I don’t go to auditions. Somebody has to remember me and want me. (laughs)

David Mackenzie, Jack O’Connell and Rupert Friend talk about “Starred Up”

David Mackenzie’s transfixing new UK prison drama, Starred Up, is now available on demand as well as in theatrical release in New York. The film made its initial NYC  premiere this past spring at the Tribeca Film Festival where I got a chance to speak with Mackenzie as well as the stars Jack O’Connell and Rupert Friend.

O’Connell stars as Eric Love, a 19 year-old inmate who has been deemed too dangerous to serve in a juvenile facility and has been “starred up” to the adult penitentiary. Friend plays a prison counselor who seeks to rehabilitate the inmates through non violent group therapy. The shooting of the film itself took place over four weeks in an actual prison which the filmmakers credited with helping to develop the film:

“You feel it,” said director David Mackenzie, “You feel the strength of those walls and the strength of the metal bars and the doors. It kind of pens you in a bit. It’s perfect for recreating the atmosphere you need for the movie. But you can definitely feel how oppressive that architecture is.”

Consequently, the actor’s substituted trailers for jail cells. “There was nothing else to be in” Rupert Friend described the setting, “and it’s freezing and the walls hadn’t been cleaned or painted since the last occupants so there’s kind of bodily secretions…don’t touch the walls. And the feeling of isolation and frankly, terror, was pretty powerful for everyone. And it does, it plays into the psychology of the thing. It really does.”

Jack O’Connell had a similar feeling “because we spent our downtime in cells too it meant I had the opportunity at any point to just imagine it. So our trailers were effectively cells. So if at any point I wanted to research or just be as Eric for a bit, I was in his setting.” Although he also went on to say the prison itself he didn’t find scary, “not when it’s not functioning. From what I can gather from the graffiti and the history of [the jail] itself, it’s had scarier days. Much scarier days than when we were there.”

The cast also had the fairly unique experience of shooting the film sequentially over the course of four weeks which encouraged an improvisational take on the story. O’Connell described this as “a total luxury. I mean I could turn up on set without knowing my lines and kind of just blag it, you know? Sort of story unfolding as we told it and if I ever get to repeat that same sort luxury I consider myself very privileged and I’m sure David Mackenzie, our director, shares those sentiments.” In fact Mackenzie shared on the red carpet that he hoped to repeat the experience on an AMC pilot he was readying to shoot at the time, “I’m asking them at the moment whether they’re prepared to let me do it in this method…we’ll see what happens. But actually because the pilot is set in a very limited number of locations so you don’t have to kind of do all the moving that would normally make it problematic. So if I’m lucky maybe I’ll get away with it.”

The improvisational atmosphere was most evident in the group therapy sessions overseen by Friend’s character Oliver, whom the writer Jonathan Asser based on his own experience with inmates. If there’s levity to be found in the film, it’s here and unsurprisingly Mackenzie described those shooting days as  “a joy” saying “because we shot the film sequentially–So you know, we’d have like four or five days and then we’d get a group scene and…there’s quite a big page count. So the schedule gave me like three hours rather than two hours, so it was like ‘Wow! A luxury here!’ and the way we shot it with those scenes was we had the text but we improvised at the head of the scene and we improvised at the tail of the scene. And we allowed the guys to kind of play with it. So we really felt like it wasn’t written. It had to feel like it was alive. And it was great what they did was you know a real joy.”

For Friend it got especially real in a fight scene, “We just kind of went for it. You know one of the scenes these guys, you know there’s a lot of fighting and we didn’t choreograph any of that…and I won’t say who it was, but I got punched so hard in the eye I wound up in the eye doctor.” Although for Friend, “the most interesting part” was remaining a nonviolent character amongst all the tension. “How is it that this one mild mannered, middle class guy was able to diffuse that tension and make it constructive? That’s what was fascinating” he said on the red carpet,  “Not just theoretically, but actually in the room when this lot are all going crazy.”

Director Mackenzie reinforced this sentiment on maintaining control in the violent group. “It was fascinating to watch how…you often see the escalation of things but the deescalation of things is never like a straight deflation. It’s like you know it’s jagged, jagged deescalation and that was really interesting. But it’s fun and also he’s building connections with these guys and I think that’s where the socialization I guess of Jack’s character is really at the fore.”

When specifically asked what O’Connell brought to the role of Eric, the director had nothing but praise for the up-and-coming actor. “What he really brought to it was a fearlessness and the kind of cojones to really go as far as he could with that character. Without holding anything back and that was what a director dreams of. And because we shot the film sequentially he only needed to worry about the scene he was in. He didn’t have to worry about where it fits in in the jigsaw puzzle…so he didn’t. He tried to kind of forget about the rest of the film apart from the scene he was in. And it was just about the immersion into that moment. And I think it’s great. I’m very happy with what he did.”

Jack himself credited his background for aiding him in bringing rougher characters like Eric to the screen, “I don’t want to offend people here, but I do find that you know your typical actor doesn’t necessarily have you know that sort of life experience, you know in scrapes and you know, I haven’t been in a drama school for a significant amount of my adult life. I was out and about trying to be an actor and also trying to survive I guess and have fun at the same time. So that kind of gave me a bit of a wealth of life experience and I think directors like David distinguish the difference between someone with experience in that field and an actor who’s trying to pretend. And so it certainly was to my advantage that the majority of actors you know aren’t working class individuals from Darby. I mean that meant approaching a role like this, I kind of know the difference between acting hard and perhaps being hard. You know, being intimidating. It’s a fine line but very decisive one way or the other.”

Despite it’s grim setting, when Mackenzie was asked what message he hoped the film conveyed, he responded “Somebody said something about a film that kind of suggests that everybody has a chance, a shot at redemption and the idea that you know, this character has obviously done very bad things but you know, he’s obviously come from circumstances…I think it’s about shining a little bit of humanity into the situation. There isn’t much.”

Starred Up is available on VOD and in limited NYC release. Jack O’Connell can next be seen starring in Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut “Unbroken”.

Toto’s David Paich talks about live DVD and CD “35 Year Anniversary: Live in Poland”

David Paich is a keyboardist, singer, composer, recording producer, and arranger, best known for his work with the rock band Toto. The band has sold over 30 million records and recently released a live DVD and CD titled “35 Year Anniversary: Live in Poland”. Media Mikes spoke with David recently about the live release, the bands staying power after 35 years and their upcoming studio album.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us a little bit about the bands new live CD/DVD?
David Paich: We are really excited about this release and it has been doing great so far around the world as well as here in the U.S. We shot the concert in Poland as we had played there in the past and our guitarist Steve Lukather had been there more recently in support of his solo record. The fans there are just outstanding and very passionate. With the band celebrating its 35 year anniversary we decided to document the show. We originally were going to shoot in Amsterdam however due to a transportation strike things got pushed back and we decided to go with our original idea of shooting in Poland. We wanted to make this release as much about the fans as it is about the band. We are very lucky to still be able to do what we love.

AL: Were there any reservations about shooting/recording a live album?
DP: We always do. We have never really been a great live video band. We are just a bunch of musicians from the valley. We aren’t rock stars like Aerosmith and Van Halen on stage but we knew it was important that this get documented. When you get to where we are in our career things go from year to year and summer to summer. We had actually done a video the year before this one and it didn’t turn out like we had hoped so it was shelved.

AL: Is the DVD compiled of multi-night footage or is this one show from that tour?
DP: This was a one night shot. When you are shooting over multiple nights it tends to make things harder. Normally you say you are playing three nights at one place and you shoot all three nights and pull the best performances. We got very lucky shooting this one night as the crowd was sensational so things worked out great. We put in a lot of preparation before the show that night to make sure that everything went off without issue.

AL: What do you think has kept Toto relevant 35 years after its initial inception?
DP: I think it’s mainly based on the fact that we can still pull this material off. Our musicianship is at a very high level. That’s us up there playing every note, every night. I don’t think there are a lot of bands still out there like us that have the scope and the range that Toto has. We cover a lot of genres and unless you are listening to a DJ or something like that a lot of bands can’t do what we do during our live shows. The way the music interacts with the crowds is just great and fans get to hear what they hear on the records.

AL: Toto is currently working on a new album. What is it that made you guys want to put out new music when a lot of bands from your era are going out and performing just their greatest hits?
DP: It was a combination of things. We had originally thought that our album from 2004 was going to be our last record. Through a bunch of legal stuff we found out that we had still owed our record label one more album. Instead of throwing just a bunch of stuff on there to fulfill our contract we decided to really put our whole heart in this thing and so far it’s turning out to be one of my favorite Toto records. I think the crowds are going to be pleasantly surprised by how much this new album reverts back to the sounds on the band’s first album. We really had a “go for it” attitude and we definitely pushed ourselves.

AL: Do you think your level of experimentation on the upcoming record is what will separate it from your 2004 release?
DP: One of the biggest changes was we didn’t have our bassist Mike Porcaro there or Jeff Porcaro for that matter. We were short handed and some of that work camaraderie was missing. When you bring in new players that can certainly be a big change. Keith Carlock has been great on drums and we have been playing with a number of different bassist’s who all have been given Mike’s blessing. Brining in those new elements makes it challenging but were uniquely bonded through music and it has been going great.

AL: Can you tell us about the band’s upcoming summer tour?
DP: We are doing a co-headlining tour with Michael McDonald for six weeks here in the U.S. We are going to be playing on a few different songs with one another each night and its going to be a lot of fun. We are packing the night with all of our hits and we also went back and grab some other favorites from the inner albums as well.

AL: You also do a lot of work outside of Toto can you tell us about some of the other projects you are working on?
DP: I just finished working with a 16 year old guitarist by the name of Andreas Varady. He is managed by Quincy Jones and he is just a great jazz guitarists. I just finished mastering his album which I believe will be coming out in early August. It’s going to be a really great contemporary Jazz album.

Blu-ray Review “David Lynch’s Wild at Heart”

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, J.E. Freeman
Director: David Lynch
Distributed by: Twilight Time
Run Time: 125 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: April 8, 2014

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Here is the thing about David Lynch you either really love David Lynch or you hate him. Luckily for this reviewer, he has always been one of my favorites. 1990 was an interesting time for the director, he came off the disappointing (yet now cult classic) “Dune” and the controversial “Blue Velvet”. So this wasn’t very well received but is still such a fun and crazy movie that holds up today. Just look at the cast, which speaks for itself including Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, Harry Dean Stanton. Cage is in rare form in the film and Ladd got nominated for an Oscar for her role. If you dig Lynch, Twilight Time delivered a very solid release here.

Official Premise: Adapted from the picaresque novel by Barry Gifford, writer-director David Lynch’s Wild at Heart (1990) is a scarifying road movie starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern as Sailor and Lula, a pair of star-crossed lovers pursued across the American landscape by all manner of horrors. Most are unleashed by Lula’s unhinged mother (played by Diane Ladd, Dern’s real-life Mom), a woman scorned who will stop at nothing to destroy Sailor.

This Blu-ray release is an Screen Archives Entertainment Exclusive and is a Limited Edition release with only 3000 copies produced. “Wild at Heart” looks quite awesome with its 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. Lynch is known for his vivid colors through his films and it is well represented here and quite intense. There is some noticeable grainy at some points, specifically in the dark scenes but it still looks great. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is a major spotlight for this releases as well, specifically with the haunting score by Angelo Badalamenti, which was always a favorite mine. In fact, there is an isolated score and effects track as well included and is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.

In terms of special features here, there is nothing new but the extras from the past DVD releases have been ported over. “Love, Death, Elvis and Oz: The Making of Wild at Heart” is a nice in-depth look behind-the-scenes with some great interviews. There is a short but still cool vintage “Original 1990 Making Of EPK”. Dell’s Lunch Counter  includes over 20 minutes of great extended Interviews. “Specific Spontaneity: Focus on David Lynch” is a look at the director. Not sure why “David Lynch on the DVD” is included ?? since this is after all a a Blu-ray. Lastly there are some TV Spots, a motion gallery and some trailers.

 

David McCallum talks about the 50th Anniversary of “The Great Escape”

Today actor David McCallum is probably best known for his role as Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the long running television series “NCIS.”  If you’re my age you probably remember him best as the smooth secret agent Illya Kuryakin from “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  As someone who had, in the 3rd grade, been scolded often by teachers for continually saying “Open Channel D” into his ink pen, it was a great day when I had the chance to speak with Mr. McCallum about the 50th Anniversary of one of the most popular movies of the 1960s, “The Great Escape.”

To help celebrate this event, Mr. McCallum will be appearing at a benefit screening of the film this coming weekend, November 9, in Omaha, Nebraska as part of Bruce Crawford’s on-going classic film salute.  For information on the event head over to http://www.omahafilmevent.com/upcoming.htm

Recently Mr. McCallum took some time to talk to me about “The Great Escape,” why he enjoys voicing video-games and another upcoming 50th Anniversary he looks forward to celebrating.

Mike Smith:  First off, a belated “Happy Birthday!” (Mr. McCallum turned an incredible 80 years old this past September 19).
David McCallum:  (laughs) Thank you.

MS:  How did you get involved with “The Great Escape?”
DM:  Way back then I had an agent in England by the name of Derrick Marr.  I hadn’t been with him long.  I had been doing an awful lot of television…live television, and working in the theater.  He called me and said that I’d gotten a request to meet with the casting director of the film.

MS:  At the time it was probably the biggest film production you’d been involved with.  As a young actor what were your thoughts when you realized you would be working with such international stars as Steve McQueen and James Garner?  Was it overwhelming?
DM:  Well, thankfully, life has never been able to overwhelm me.  I tend to enjoy and take great pleasure in all of the work that I do.  And back then it was no different.  When you’ve decided that your whole life is going to be as an actor, when you get opportunities to do a wonderful thing, like “The Great Escape,” it’s just a colossal pleasure that you look forward to with great anticipation.  And then you start preparing, of course.  You have to learn all about the character…all of the things necessary.  It’s not about just turning up and saying the words.  And the whole thing was such a beautiful experience.  I knew Donald Pleasence.  We had been very good friends for some time.  And you can imagine how it was for the young actors.  Being able to work with all of those people.  I’m not usually star-struck.  I’m fascinated by the number of people I’ve met working in this profession over the years.  That film was a great beginning.

MS:  Both of your parents were very well known and classically trained musicians (his father, David Sr, was the first violinist for the London Philharmonic – his mother, Dorothy, was a cellist).  Were you ever encouraged to make music your profession?
DM:  My father was a professional musician, my mother, who was a cellist, gave it up early to take care of my father.  I played the Oboe from about the age of eight or nine.  I went to the Royal Academy of Music for a short while but then I gave the whole thing up to go on the stage.

MS:  You’ve done a lot of voice work in video games.  Does that take a different kind of preparation as an actor?
DM:  The best thing about that kind of media is that you get to over-act outrageously.  To me that’s the greatest pleasure.

MS:  “NCIS” isn’t your first hit television show.  What, in your opinion, is the biggest difference in working in television between “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and now?
DM:  I think the ability to record sound and the size of the camera and the fact that it’s now digital and not film.  Other than that nothing’s changed.

MS:  Final question, and I understand if you can’t answer it:  next year marks the 50th Anniversary of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  Do you have any involvement in the upcoming “U.N.C.L.E.” film?
DM:  No, right now I have nothing to do with that.  It’s a whole new venture.  But now that you tell me it’s the 50th Anniversary next year I’ll have to set aside a nice bottle of wine and open it.  Maybe I’ll save it until the movie comes out.

A FANS NOTE TO DIRECTOR GUY RITCHIE

Mr. Ritchie:

I hope by the time you read this you will have contacted both Mr. McCallum and Robert Vaughn and found a place for them in your film.  Both men are in great health and acting today.  I don’t care if you have them walk past Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in the hallway, you must recognize them.  It is their chemistry that made “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  the show it was.  As Leo G. Carroll has passed away more than 40 years ago I will not lobby for his appearance!

David Schwartz talks about scoring “Arrested Development”

David Schwartz is known best for scoring the TV series “Arrested Development”. He was nominated in the 2013 Emmy for the Outstanding Music Composition for A Series for Original Dramatic Score for the show’s revival on Netflix. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about his work on the show.

Mike Gencarelli: Were you shocked when you found out that you were nominated for an 2013 Emmy for the Outstanding Music Composition for A Series (Original Dramatic Score) category?
David Schwartz: More surprised than shocked. It was particular great to be nominated for Arrested Development. Comedies are rarely nominated in the Original Dramatic Score category. I think the category represents a lot of great music this year, so I’m proud to be a part of it.

MG: Working on “Arrested Development”, how does it compare to be working on the first run of the show and now the Netflix series?
DS: It’s been a little different in some ways we were doing all 15 shows at once. In the first three seasons, we’d usually have about a week to turn around a show, finish it, and then immediately start on the next one. During season 4, we were often dealing with multiple shows at the same time. The episodes being longer also allowed me to further develop some musical ideas which wasn’t possible in the shorter format.

MG: What was the most challenge aspect of working on season four?
DS: After six years it was a challenge to get back into that musical head space. Once I had rough cuts and was writing it for real, it all came back to me.

MG: Going from a TV series like “Arrested Development” to a documentary like “Gonzo: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson”, how does it compare?
DS: The Gonzo documentary was a really fun project. Alex Gibney, the director, really encouraged me to write bold and wild music in the spirit of of Hunter Thompson himself. Often documentary music is subtle and plays in the background. Alex inspired me to write bolder and more challenging music for this film.

MG: Tell us about your work with Lucy Schwartz on her upcoming full length record?
DS: I’m very proud of the work Lucy and I did together on her new Timekeeper record. I think these are her best songs yet and we had a great time producing this record together.

MG: Of all the great scores of 2013 so far, what has been some of your favorites?
DS: I’m still catching up on this year’s scores. I was a big fan of Michael Dynna’s “Life of Pi” score and Thomas Newmann’s score for “Skyfall”

MG: What else do you have in the cards for this year and on wards?
DS: I’m working on the soundtrack album for Arrested Development. It’s going to have some extended versions of the more popular songs from Arrested. There are some scoring projects in the works, but I won’t talk about it and risk jinxing it until it’s final.

David Lowery talks about directing “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”

With a solid background of pretty much every behind the scenes job in Hollywood, it was obvious it would’nt be long before David Lowery began directing. With an impressive resume’ of short films and features under his belt he has now delivered “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” a classic film in the tradition of “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Badlands.” The film opened in limited release today (August 16) and to celebrate that opening I spoke with Mr. Lowery about his inspirations, misquoted songs and the proper use of the word “Malickian!”

Mike Smith: What was your inspiration…where did you come up with the story…for “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints?”
David Lowery: It really came from a lot of different places but one of the main inspirations were the old movies about lovers on the run. I love the idea of outlaws…the idea of a young outlaw couple on the run from the law. Those movies have always appealed to me…been inspirational to me as a story teller. I love the mythology of the outlaw. I love how America has been built on outlaw mythology. I wanted to make a film that would participate in that tradition. So the inspiration was very simple when I decided what I wanted to do. I wasn’t looking to reinvent the wheel. I just took the basic concept, the basic archetypes of a guy, a girl, a policeman and a couple of guns and tried to find a new way to present them.

MS: For a young director you got pretty lucky in nabbing two Oscar nominated actors for your two leads. Were Casey and Rooney your original choices and how were you able to cast them?
DL: I wrote the script with no actors in mind. I wrote it in a vacuum, not knowing who was going to be in it. But when we finally had the opportunity to select a cast Casey Affleck was the first person I wanted to meet. I sat down with him and we talked for about an hour or so. We got along really, really well and the next day he wrote me and said he wanted to do it. It was so wonderful to have my first choice not only able but so willing to do it. And we had gotten along so well in our talk that I felt like I had known him for years. For the character of Ruth I wasn’t sure if I wanted an established actress or not. Maybe I could go to west Texas and find someone who had never acted before…who really was a woman who lived in a small town. I wanted to find someone who was really a natural. While I was thinking that, Rooney Mara’s agent wrote me and asked if I could send the script to her. This was about a week before “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” came out and I never believed in a million years that she would be willing to go from this huge, David Fincher film to doing a tiny independent film in Texas. But he assured me that she would be interested in it. She read it and wanted to meet with me. I sat down with her, we talked and then she said yes. It was really a great and unique situation where both of the people that I wanted the most and who were the first people I met were the ones who wound up in the movie.

MS: I’m sure you’ve seen that you’re getting a lot of comparisons to Terrence Malick with your visual style. As a director was it important to be able to tell the story “visually,” in addition to presenting the action that was going on on screen?
DL: Absolutely. I love dialogue and I love listening to people talk when the dialogue is good. But more than that I love visuals. And I love to let the visuals do the heavy lifting in a movie. This film was very carefully designed to look a certain way and to feel a certain way. There’s no denying that if you go outside at a certain time in Texas and put a 25mm lens on a camera it’s going to look like a lot of other movies. Texas has a very specific look that a lot of filmmakers have used in the past. It’s very suggestive so you use that kind of imagery when you want to suggest something. If you want to suggest a timelessness…If you want to suggest an epic-ness. And Terrence Malick is someone who has used that kind of imagery quite a bit. I’ve certainly loved his movies. I’ve loved all his movies. But at the same time I never really thought about it while we were making the film. I knew that we were using “Badlands” as a jumping off point as far as the story goes but when it comes to visuals we really went in a different direction. Even though there are some things that are, to use a word, “Malickian”….there are some things that are similar to what he’s done about 10 minutes into the movie we go into a completely different direction. So it’s kind of a nice surprise to be compared with him because I do love his work and I’m flattered to be compared to him. But we were going for something completely with our visuals.

MS: The film has a very unusual title. Casey Affleck recently told Jay Leno that it came from a misquoted song. Is this true and, if so, what was the song?
DL: I don’t know what the song was because it was on a CD that a friend had given me with a lot of old folk and country music. And none of the songs were listed…it was just track one, track two, track three…there were no titles or artists. I don’t know what it was but I need to find out (laughs). I heard it years ago, long before I made this film. And I got that phrase stuck in my head. Misheard lyrics stuck in my head with the idea that they would make a great movie title. A strange movie title but a great movie title! And when I started writing this movie I wanted it to feel like an old folk song. And I thought there would be no better way to set the stage for this movie than to have the title sound like the lyrics of an old folk song. That was really all there was to it.

MS: What are you working on next? Do you have anything in the pipeline?
DL: Yes. I’m writing a lot of different scripts right now and I hope to be making another movie soon. One of the movies that I’m working on is an adaptation of an article in “The New Yorker” that Robert Redford is going to produce and star in and that I’m going to direct. I’m working on that scripts very quickly right now because I’d like to turn in a draft soon and see what he thinks.

David Mickey Evans reflects on the 20th Anniversary of “The Sandlot”

Even if I had never seen 1993’s “The Sandlot” I could have quoted it line by line for you. I coached youth baseball for 15 years and it was, by far, the most quoted baseball film on the field. “You’re killing me, Smalls!” “You’re an L7 weenie.” And, of course, “you play ball like a girl!” Nothing like enjoying the good sportsmanship of 13 and 14 year olds. But if you’re going to be a ballplayer you need to talk like a ballplayer. And at one time, writer/director David Mickey Evans was a ballplayer.

Now touring the country in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of “The Sandlot,” Mr. Evans has behind him an impressive resume of filmmaking. I first discovered his work when I took in 1992’s “Radio Flyer.” Inspired by his own turbulent childhood, the film was a moving look at the bond between two brothers dealing with a brutal step-father. (NOTE: I met Adam Baldwin, who played the step-father in the film, this past summer and I told him the same thing I told Mary Tyler Moore when I met her after seeing “Ordinary People” – – -“I HATED you in this film.” He thanked me.) The next year saw the release of his most popular film, “The Sandlot.” Since then he has written and/or directed popular sequels to both “The Sandlot” as well as in the “Beethoven” series. During our pre-interview conversation I discover we both not only played baseball as kids but were huge fans of the popular sports books of the 1960s and 70s written by Matt Christopher. We also talked about the game of baseball and our love for it. That’s where the interview begins.

Mike Smith: I know you’re a big baseball fan. Did you play when you were younger?
David Mickey Evans: Oh yeah. We occasionally played organized Little League but you had to pay money and we were really poor. So most of the time we’d play in park leagues. You’d have the dude that owned the local bar getting you T-shirts…kind of like “The Bad News Bears.” I was really good. I played in quite a few local leagues near Pacoima (California) in the San Fernando Valley. I was on the Cardinals…the Giants…I was on the Indians, which was a big team, when I was about eleven. If memory serves…I wonder if you can find this on the Internet…I think I hit .560.

MS: Was “The Sandlot” inspired by any of your childhood baseball memories?
DME: Here’s the thing. The “A-Ha” moment for me was an incident I remembered from when I was a kid. The kids on the block didn’t like my friends and I. They would beat the crap out of us all the time. There were playing baseball one day and they hit their ball over the fence. They told my little brother to go get it. They said if he did then we could play with them. Of course, they had no intention of that. They just wanted their ball back. And there was a big dog on the other side of the fence named Hercules that went after my brother and bit him…ripped his leg to shreds. It was a bad memory. But one day I was in my car and I thought, “wait a minute…what if these guys were all buddies? What if that ball was worth $3 million?” I’ve got a movie. None of the kids in the film are any kid I knew. All of the kids are an amalgam of EVERY kid I knew. But what I like to say most about the film is this. When Walt Disney finished Disneyland in a year and a day and he’s walking down Main Street U.S.A…and still, today, of all the parks Disneyland is still the best…and he has some dignitaries with him. Now Main Street U.S.A. is modeled after the way Walt Disney remembered growing up in Marceline, Missouri. It wasn’t actually his boyhood home but it was the one he identified with. The dignitaries say to him “Walt, you did it. This is exactly the way it was back then.” Disney tells them that it’s not. It’s the way it should have been. “The Sandlot” is the way I wanted my childhood to have been. That’s not how it was. Luckily God has given writers a time machine…a pencil on paper. (My work phone rings) Is that a flip phone?
MS: Yeah, it’s my work phone.
DME: Where did you get that? (laughs) I didn’t know they still exist!

MS: One of the questions my son asked me to ask you was if any of the boys you played with went on to play professional baseball. Was there a real life Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez?
DME: You know there’s always that kid. I remember one or two kids from grade school…when you get to about third or fourth grade you start recognizing them…they’re just BETTER athletes. Or students. You just start noticing them and you want to be like them. You wish you could kick that kickball as far as they can. And that kind of kid is specifically on whom I built Benny “the Jet.” And here’s something else. The “Jet” nickname didn’t just come because he was fast. When I was a kid I took karate lessons for a little while and I studied with the Urquidez brothers. The most famous of them is Benny. They called him “the Jet” because his hands and feet were so fast. I saw him a few years ago. He’s got to be 60 and he could still clear a bar! He’s an incredibly fit and ridiculously athletic man. (NOTE: Now age 61, Benny “the Jet” Urquidez amassed an incredible professional fighting record of 49-1. He trained Patrick Swayze for his role in “Roadhouse” and can be seen in the film in the scene where the monster truck gets driven through the auto dealership). I always admired him when I was a kid. He was like a super hero to me. That’s why Benny got “the Jet” in the middle of his name.

MS: Are you surprised at the response “The Sandlot” still gets 20 years later? How many memories it triggers in a person. I mean, 20 years before it came out I was the kid riding with my friends over to the next town to play baseball all day. In the neighborhood we’d play all day until our moms called us in for dinner. In 1993 it was my son doing the same thing. And I’m sure 20 years from now my grandson will be doing it.
DME: I don’t know if I’m surprised. Obviously you can’t predict that kind of reaction. You just have to go for it as a filmmaker and if it stands the test of time….what else is there? It still stands the test of time and I’m incredibly grateful for that. That means I did my job. And I’m satisfied that I did my job right. This is also the only one of my films where the studio left me alone…they let me do it the way I wanted to do it. It wasn’t committee filmmaking, it was me. My crew. My cast. But you can never predict that. I wish I could. I would bottle it, I would sell it and you would never see me again (laughs). I had a guy come up to me in Springdale, Arkansas and he had (12) copies of “The Sandlot” on DVD and he asked me to sign them. While I was signing them he’d say, “this one is for me, this one is for my wife, this one is for my kids, this is for my grandkids and this is for my great-grandkids.” Four generations right there. I gave that guy the biggest hug. That was better to me than winning an Oscar. I was in Utah earlier this year at the location where we shot the film. The Utah Film Commission had re-built the backstop, cleaned up the field and made it look exactly like it did on the original field. They could only seat 1300 people for the event and they sold out in 11 minutes! They dedicated a historical marker to me and the film. I’m serious, they can keep the Oscar!

“The Employer” starring Malcolm McDowell, Billy Zane and David Dastmalchian gets June 7th release date!

“The Employer” starring Malcolm McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange,” “The Mentalist,” “Entourage,” “Franklin & Bash”); Paige Howard (“Adventureland”); Billy Zane (“Titanic,” “Back to the Future,” “Dead Calm”); and David Dastmalchian (“The Dark Knight,” “Saving Lincoln,” “Prisoners”) gets a release date starting June 7th!

Director / Writer / Producer Frank Merle (“Carnage, Chaos & Creeps,” “Gnaw” ) and his new psychological thriller “The Employer” show just how-far five applicants are willing to go for a job at the mysterious Carcharias Corporation. Anticipating their final interview, they find themselves trapped in a room where The Employer (Malcolm McDowell) leaves them with only one choice: survive. It’s kill or be killed in this Darwinian game of wits and the one who makes it out alive… lands the job. The plot is complete with twists and turns leaving the audience asking themselves, “How far would I go?”

Release Dates
• May 19th: Special Screening at SoCal Horro-Fi Film Festival, Big Bear, CA
• June 7th: “On Demand” available from Comcast, Cox, TimeWarner Cable, Brighthouse, AT&T
U-verse, Verizon FiOs, Charter Cable, and more. Computer and device users gain access via
Amazon Instant Video, Apple iTunes, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network
• July 2nd: Blu-Ray and DVD available at Wal-Mart and Amazon.com

Special Recognition
• Official Selection: Shriekfest Film Festival
• Winner, Best Thriller: Illinois International Film Festival
• Official Selection: LA Independent Film Festival
• Winner, Jury Award: Geneva Film Festival
• Special Invitation: Big Bear Horro-Fi Film Festival (May 19th, 2013)

Learn More About The Film At:
www.Facebook.com/TheEmployerMovie
www.TheEmployerMovie.com

David Mazouz talks about working with Kiefer Sutherland on the TV series "Touch"

David Mazouz stars opposite of Kiefer Sutherland on Fox television show “Touch” where he plays the character of Jake Bohm an emotional disturbed 11 year old with the ability to predict the future. The show is set to start airing its second season at the end of February and Media Mikes was fortunate enough to be able to talk with David about how he first got cast in the role and what it has been like working alongside Kiefer Sutherland.

Adam Lawton: What was it that interested you in wanting to become an actor?
David Mazouz: I was actually only about 6 years old when I started taking classes. I don’t think I knew what I wanted but I loved the class and I went for 3 hours a week for a year before my commercial agent saw me and asked my Mom if we could meet. When I started going on auditions for commercials, I loved that too and the more I auditioned and began booking things, the more I loved it.

AL: Can you tell us about the process you went through to get the role of Jake Bohm?
DM: It was a 6 audition process over the course of about 6 months. It was put on hold after my first call back because Kiefer was in New York doing a play on Broadway. I knew the Casting Directors because they hired me for a television movie before. For the fourth audition, they flew me out to New York to read with Kiefer. The last 2 were in Los Angeles. There were times where I really didn’t know if it would go any further so every time I got to go to the next step I was really excited because I loved this character and the script. When I eventually found out I got the role, I was on vacation in Palm Springs for a holiday. I was in the recreation room with my best friend and we were playing a game and his Brother came in to get us and take us back to the room where there were other friends of mine and my Sisters and they all watched while I took the call from my Agents. I was in shock and so happy that I screamed.

AL: Has it been difficult for you playing a character that for the most part doesn’t speak?
DM: Actually I do speak in the voice over’s but, I think it was easier to not speak in the first season because everything was so new and I was really getting into the physical character of Jake; how he walks and behaves. I do love speaking in general and people tell me I talk a lot. I don’t want to spoil Season 2 for the audience but I’ll just say that Season 2 is different in many ways than Season 1. It’s easier in some ways to not speak because I don’t have to learn lines. But more difficult because I have to show what I’m thinking and feeling through my facial expressions and actions and behind my eyes. I have to make the audience understand what I’m thinking and feeling just visually. So when I’m acting I usually just try to feel the things Jake feels so that I can show that to the audience and they can understand me.

AL: What’s has it been like working with Kiefer Sutherland?
DM: In one word, it’s Awesome! I really love working with Kiefer. I feel so fortunate to be working with someone who’s had so much experience in film and in television and who also started acting when he was young. I knew from the first time I met him, that he was someone who I could learn so much from. Kiefer is a very hard worker and he’s very smart too. He can tell what works and doesn’t and he is very natural. I am lucky because he’s always been willing to teach me things and he’s been patient and kind. In that way he’s a lot like a father to me because he really leads me to learn the lessons I have needed to learn on the set, not just about acting but about how conscientious he is and prepared before he gets there. He’s also encouraged me musically because he’s a musician and knows so much about that. He actually bought me my first guitar for my 11th birthday. Even though our show and our characters are serious and intense, he’s always cracking a joke right before we start so he’s always made me feel very comfortable. The other thing that is special about working with Kiefer on “Touch” is that he’s not just the lead but also an Executive Producer. I’ve learned a lot about what it looks like to have the responsibility of those two jobs together. I have a lot of respect for Kiefer and working with him has been a fantastic experience for me.

AL: What has been your favorite part thus far about working on the show?
DM: That’s an easy question! I love the crew, the other cast members and my Studio Teacher. Everyone I have been working with from the Directors and assistant directors, writers, producers to wardrobe and make up to sound and lighting, props and of course my teacher who I spend all day with have been so much fun. Everyone is really good at what they do. I am lucky because I have been able to learn about each person’s job and how each job is important to what the show ends up looking like. Because I do the voice over’s, I’ve also learned about that with the people responsible for post production. It’s all so interesting and we have all become like a family. I really do love coming to work every day so I can say hi to everyone. You get to know people pretty well when you spend that much time with them. I feel like if they aren’t really good and happy about being there it could be very different and not something you look forward to. We’ve celebrated birthdays and holidays and have private jokes and handshakes. For me all those new relationships and learning from them have been the best part of my job.

AL: Do you have any other projects coming out that we can be watching for?
DM: I did a horror film that is in some film festivals right now but that was over the summer between Season 1 and 2. There is also another film in the works that doesn’t have a start date yet. I haven’t had a lot of time to do anything else because of the commitment I have to “Touch”. I have been auditioning for some things that I can’t talk about right now and some things are possibilities that I’m hoping will work out if the timing is right. I love working and hope that I just keep getting to do interesting roles like this one.

R.I.P. David R. Ellis – Flashback Interview for "Shark Night 3D"

I was very saddened to find out that David R. Ellis has passes away on January 7th, 2013. He was the director of action films like “Shark Night 3D”, “The Final Destination” and “Snakes on the Place”. Here is our interview from August of 2011 with the late director to chat about working on “Shark Night 3D”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally become attached to “Shark Night 3D”?
David R. Ellis: I had done “The Final Destination”  in 3D which ended up doing really good. Those attached to the “Shark Night” project wanted to make this film in 3D as well. I had been attached to the project for some time prior to the film being made. I was the only person out there that had done a full live action 3D movie. They brought me in to meet with the producers and I pitched to them what my vision for the film was. They immediately attached me to the film and from there they started to pitch the film for funding with my name attached to it.

MG: What can we expect from the film?
DRE: There is a lot of comedy and fun in this film. It’s not a horror but it is a scary. The film is rated PG-13 however we really pushed the envelope with what we could get away with. The film plays like an R rated movie but we just don’t cuss or have boobs in it. We don’t really need that to make a scary movie. I don’t think boobs are that scary. Maybe some are. (Laughs) During our test screenings we made people jump and scared them but they also had a lot of fun with the movie. We spent time developing the characters and we have a great young cast. I like finding young actors and giving them a shot such as Chris Evans who I had in “Cellular”. I think everyone in this film are going to be big stars in their own right and I was very lucky to get them before they broke out.

MG: We have spoke to the whole cast and they have been telling us that you are one of the best directors to work with and you have this unique approach to directing; can you tell us about that approach?
DRE: Well I pay them to say that [laughs].  No seriously, when I cast actors I cast people who have the ability to adopt the part and who can get into the role. I like to then give them free reign in designing that character from what they want to wear and what props they may want to use. Making a movie is not brain surgery so my sets are a lot of fun to work on. I come very prepared and we have fun while getting our work done. At the end of a movie it’s sad because we made a new family and you have to leave that. Keeping everything light is key. Appreciating everyone working on the film for what they contribute and not yelling and or screaming is important as well because at times we were shooting in miserable conditions but by keeping it fun everyone stepped up to the plate and did a great job.

MG: How much of the film features animatronic sharks and how much was CGI?
DRE:  It’s probably 40% animatronics and 60% CGI. We used the animatronic sharks when they had to interact with people. When a scene was really difficult we used the CGI sharks.  The CGI has really come a long way and looked great, especially since I was directed the second unit on “Deep Blue Sea”.  The technology from then to now is amazing. The sharks look great!

MG: How do you “Shark Night 3D” differs from your other 3D film “The Final Destination”?
DRE: This one was more difficult because we were shooting on the water. When you are using 3D cameras you have one camera for the left eye and one for the right. They are very bulky and underwater they are very big so it’s technically tough for the crews. I think 3D films need to be shot in 3D nd not converted in post production, as I feel you don’t get the depth. I call that ‘2 and a half D’. What they have now that we didn’t have for “The Final Destination” are 3D monitors. You get to watch everything in 3D as its being shot. Before you had to shoot then put it into a computer and watch it in a trailer later on.

MG: Can you tell us the story behind the issues with the film’s title?
DRE: The working title of the film was “Shark Night 3D”. We were always hoping that we would come up with something that was catchier. On a weekly basis we had production meetings where I would try and get the crew to suggest different titles. Ultimately when the film was bought after we were done there was some research to change the title but in the end the film is what it is and the title was fitting.

MG: Do you prefer shooting in 3D or do you find it more difficult?
DRE: I love 3D and its depth. I think a lot of films use the really gimmicky type 3D that throws stuff into the audience. We didn’t do that. We used the 3D to put the audience inside the world of the shark and to have the sharks in the audience. The gimmicks work for some movies as 3D is an interactive experience. I think 3D is a great application and it’s going to be around for a long time. It may not be for every film but for the right film if it’s used correctly it’s an awesome experience.

Director of “Tourist Trap” and “Puppet Master”, David Schmoeller talks about his new film “Little Monsters”

David Schmoeller is the director of such horror classics such as “Tourist Trap”, “Crawlspace” and “Puppet Master”.  David has a new film coming out in 2013 that is a different type of horror film called “Little Monsters”.  Media Mikes had some time to chat with David about his new film and also reflecting on his horror classics.

Mike Gencarelli: You are known for your work with monsters but tell us about how your new film “Little Monsters”, tells the story of a different kind of monster?
David Schmoeller: The horrible crimes of patricide or matricide or any of the cidas (fili, frati, parri) are familiar and fascinating subjects of literature and cinema. But the crime of children killing children, in this case, two ten-year olds killing a three-year old – for no reason at all – and then being released at eighteen with new identities, seemed to me to be a fresh and challenging subject for a movie. The opening of the film – the first four shots of the movie, actually – are difficult to watch, but I thought it important to set the stakes as high as possible: we don’t see the murder itself, but the immediate aftermath, the horrible results of a senseless murder. Because of the unusual subject matter, the only way “Little Monsters” would ever get made is if I financed it myself. So, I did. I’m glad I made this movie. I hope it is appreciated.

MG: Where did you come up with the idea for the film?
DS: “Little Monsters” is very loosely inspired by the circumstances of a real murder case, the Bulger murder in England in 1993. In that case, there was so much outrage when the murderers were given new identities and released when they turned 18, that the government passed laws that it was illegal to reveal their identities. So, we know very little about what happened after they were released. I just thought it would be interesting to write a story that speculated what would happen to child murderers if they were adults – and released.

MG: Tell us about your role of Wakefield?
DS: It’s just a funny cameo I played – a silent bit as the retired cop that Carl lives with. It really started during the Empire International days when we shot our films in Rome, Italy. We could only take a handful of American actors because of the cost – and we would pick up the rest of the actors in Rome. So, the directors – and producers – would sometimes cast themselves in small roles – basically because we could speak English (with no accent). I’m not an actor – but I have been in half-a-dozen movies – but, it has to be a really small part – little or no dialogue. We actually shot the scene with sound – with me actually telling this really corny jokes…and I am so dead-panned, Charles and the crew were cracking up. I’ll put the scene in the DVD extras…it’s so bad it’s really funny.

MG: How can you reflect on creating some of horror most beloved films like “Tourist Trap”?
DS: It’s always rewarding when your work from so many years ago grows in appreciation. So, that makes “Tourist Trap” particularly rewarding – since it was my first film – and my oldest. And in the beginning, it wasn’t immediately appreciated. It had what was then called a “regional” release. The distributor struck 50-100 prints and it went from region to region. There wasn’t much advertising. It was a different time. The film was released onto the world – and the world yawned. It wasn’t until a few yeas after it’s theatrical release that Tourist Trap starting playing on TV and slowly began to make some impact – which came, I think, primarily because it was mis-rated by the MPAA. Instead of the usual R rating that horror films need – and generally receive – “Tourist Trap” was rated PG (or PG-13) or whatever the milder rating was. What that meant was that “Tourist Trap” could play on Saturday afternoon TV. And parents across the country were telling their kids – “I have to do the laundry, go watch TV.” And across the country, seven years olds went into the living room and started watching this crazy movie with screaming mannequins with gaping mouths and baby blue eyes – and it scared them to death. And then they would tell their friends and interest in Tourist Trap began to grow. Earlier this year, Jonathan Rigby released his book: “Studies in Terror, Landmarks of the Horror Cinema and Tourist Trap was one of 130 landmark horror films from the beginning of film to present day. In the year 1978, three films were listed: “Halloween”, “Cronenberg’s The Brood”, and “Tourist Trap”. Pretty good company, I was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Fantaspoa Film Festival in Porto Alegre, Brazil earlier this year. And they screened most of my films. It was very rewarding that every screening was sold out – and that most of the people were YOUNG people – and the screenings were subtitled in Portuguese. “Tourist Trap” (and “Crawlspace”) still screen in 35MM in art houses across the US – even though the prints are starting to fade. [David Schmoeller starts the New Year with a guest appearance at the famous Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin where a 35MM print of TOURIST TRAP will screen at 10pm on January 1, 2013. Check it out here]

MG: And how about “Puppet Master”?
DS: “Puppet Master” is a slightly different story. Again, I am happy to make a film that is remembered – or still around for whatever reason. I wrote and directed the first “Puppet Master” – and created some of the puppets. The face of Blade was actually our homage to Klaus Kinski – if you look closely enough. But the concept and original story came from Charlie Band. And the franchise is due almost completely by Charlie. I’ll take all the credit people want to give me for that film…but be aware that it really pisses Charlie Band off when they do. That is why he took my “A Film By” credit off – and put his name – ABOVE THE TITLE – on the new Blu-ray versions of Puppet Master. It is now: “Charles Bands’ Puppet Master” – the classic first film. Charlie is getting insecure in his old age. 😉

MG: How do you feel that horror genre has changed over the years?
DS: The changes in the horror film really reflect the changes in the film business itself: lot’s of remakes and sequels and cannibalizing the past. I suspect the more original horror films today come from foreign countries and – in the US – from indie filmmakers. To make a truly original horror film today, a filmmaker would have to figure out the zeitgeist (global financial worries & problems – not exactly an exciting topic for a horror film) –or whatever – it would have to be something we really haven’t seen or experience – and that would never receive real financing, because it won’t have been tested. Tough times for films…