Travel Plans for 2015? Check out Trafalgar!

It’s not too early to start thinking about 2015 travel! Sure, the holidays are right around the corner, but the greatest choices and travel deals for next year are available right now. In fact, leading international guided vacations company, Trafalgar, recently released its 2015 programs available for sale now and many of their packages have early payment discounts– which means you can save a lot of money!! For example, if you book one of their Europe & Britain vacations, you can save 10% if you book and pay for it by Dec. 18th.

Some of Trafalgar’s new programs include Europe & Britain (which includes 117 vacations across Trafalgar’s 10 travel styles and 44 countries), CostSaver Europe (budget-friendly Europe trips with more experiences that are optional), worldwide At Leisure (relaxed trips with lengthier stays), Family Experiences (action-packed trips for the whole family) and Hidden Journeys (tours with smaller groups). All of the Trafalgar vacations offer unique Insider Experiences like getting to dine with a local family– how cool is that?!

Visit www.trafalgar.com or talk to your local travel agent for more information! Oh and if you happen to be in any of these cities– they are hosting what’s called Travel Talks– FREE event where you can go to talk to travel experts, learn more about vacation packages, savings and even get a chance to win some cool travel prizes! Sign up to one of their upcoming Travel Talks.

Five Finger Death Punch’s Jeremy Spencer talks about his new biography and 2015 plans

Jeremy Spencer is the drummer behind the bombastic sound of the heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch. In the past couple years the band has released two successful studio albums and performed to thousands of fans. To add even more to an already crazy schedule Spencer found time to pen his first book a biography titled “Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem”. The book is a candid, no punches pulled account of Spencer’s life both in and out of the band. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Jeremy recently about the books creation as well as what the band has planned for 2015.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us a little over view of the book and tell us why you chose now to the time to release a book like this?
Jeremy Spencer: It all sort of started around the time that I had just gotten out of rehab. I had started writing basically about my whole life as a way to process and get something outs. It was very therapeutic. Anytime I had some down time I would start writing. Once I had a large amount of stuff I started looking back over it and found a lot of it very interesting. I sent it out to my dad to get his take on it and he thought that some of the stuff I had written could be a benefit to people. He did think it needed to be edited down so I would be ostracized as it was very raw and real. (Laughs) He helped me with that and I ended up sending it off to our management and they loved it. From there they started shopping it around to the publishing companies. It wasn’t anything I was planning on but things took shape and we moved forward. Even though our band is still popular and on the upswing which is not when books from band members normally come out, but that ended up being all the more reason to put it out when we did. I think the story can help a lot of people and the positive feedback has been great thus far. This book has helped me with a lot of different things in so it just been a great experience so far.

AL: Being so fresh out of rehab was it hard to look back at some of these stories you put in the book?
JS: Some of it was horrifying! I wasn’t proud of a lot of it, especially when it was where I hurt someone. Those things made me sad. I have tried to work through things the best I can and I certainly wasn’t proud of who I was during those times. At the same time if I didn’t go through that stuff I wouldn’t be where I am now. I think by being a drug addict it forced me to look at things that I may not have if I was sober. Once you start dealing with the addiction side of things you realize that there is more deeply rooted stuff to also address as well. That for me has been a blessing.

AL: The books layout jumps back and forth between the past and present. Was that something that was a conscious decision or was that idea taken directly from your initial writings?
JS: That was something that happened during editing and was suggested by the book company. I am really glad they suggested that because it’s a bit different. I haven’t really read any books that do that. I wrote sort of chronologically and that has been done so much that we decided to change it up. I am really happy with how it turned out.

AL: Throughout the book you speak very candidly about the other members of Five Finger Death Punch. Was it difficult being that truthful knowing your still going to be working with them on a day to day basis?
JS: For sure. I definitely toned things down a bit as my intentions were not to throw anyone under the bus. I made sure to talk with the guys about anything I may have thought was questionable beforehand. I gave them a chance to read the parts they were in ahead of time if they wanted to just in case there was any worry or things like that. This project meant a lot to me and I didn’t want it to hurt anyone. I had to obviously pull back the curtains some so the reader could get a better feel for the story so if needed I changed people’s names or things like that. I was very cautious about all those things. Again there were a few things that got removed. Some of the things I found hilarious at first we decided to leave out after talking a little bit more about them because ultimately they didn’t fit well with the story. I think everyone was pleased with how the book turned out as no one was exposed too much.

AL: With the book having been out now for a few months is there anything that made it into the book that you sort of regret having in there?
JS: I am comfortable with. I don’t really want to change anything or wished I had done something differently. If that first draft I submitted would have come out it would have been terrible! (Laughs) The book went through a lot of editing. The whole thing was a process as there are just so many different steps you have to go through when writing a book. I have lived my several times over now.

AL: The band recently wrapped up a really great co-headlining run with Volbeat but, have there been any discussions about what the band will be doing in the coming year?
JS: The band has huge plans for next year. Once we get through the holidays we will be heading over to Japan for a run of shows there. After that we have a little time off and then we will be heading in to the studio to make the new record with hopes of a summer release. We also have some plans to do a few spring shows and a European run with Judas Priest. First thing first we have to get the new record done and out.

Imagination Movers’ Scott Durbin talks about touring and plans for new music

Scott Durbin is one of the founding members of the popular kids television show and band “Imagination Movers”. They have a successfully show that currently airs on Disney Junior. They are also constanstly touring bringing their music to fans all over the world. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Scott about their music, their tour plans for this summer and also what the future brings.

Mike Gencarelli: When you guys started “Imagination Movers” back in 2003, did you ever think that you would be still going this strong today?
Scott Durbin: I would have never imagined this that show would be seen in 50+ countries, translated in 12 languages and we are recognized around the world. For that part of it, I would say “Definitely no”. On the other side, we were so tenacious when we started. We believed that we wanted to create something to encourage creativity in kids, modeling problem-solving and create music for kids that challenged them and did not pacify them. This gets them off the couch and gets them moving around and also their brain moving. Even for parents, like yourself, we wanted to make it something that you could listen to over and over without starting to hate it. We also wanted to make it developmental and age appropriate, so it really connects with the kids. So that part of me says “Yes, I knew we were going to be a success”. We are coming from a real place and doing it for the right reasons.

MG: I love that you guys have such strong educational messages in your show and music while still being entertaining and having fun…
SD: I think it is important to balance them both. If there is too much entertainment it can become campy. If it is too educational, it can be a turn off. But if there is a good balance, you can get the best of both worlds. You can teach and the kids will enjoy learning. I started off teaching in elementary education for 10 years. So in those years that I taught, I saw this level of creativity in the kids was just decreasing and I saw this need for creativity. I think part of the reason why we began. We say that there was no “real people” in kid’s entertainment (going back over 10 years now) and we wanted to change that. We wanted to bring strong male role models to kids. As a teacher, you had a lot of kids that didn’t have a strong male role model at home and I found that having that was invaluable.

MG: You guys are touring all this summer and through the fall, tell us about what you enjoy most about performing live?
SD: Obviously, we have been so blessed with just being able to travel and meet our fans across the globe. We just got back from the UK. We recently did a show in Dubai. An interesting thing about Dubai is that about 80% of the people there are ex-pats from direct countries. The group that brought us over there told us that most of the Western acts they bring over there, potential 95% of the audience are expats other countries like Australia, UK, Canada, or the States. So essentially they are all Western, but when we played in Dubai the audience was Indian, Philippian, Saudi Arabian and the group that brought us in said that they have never seen the amount of diversity that we brought to one of their shows. So for us, I think being able and being accessible to such a diverse group of people makes it worth it. That was so special. It just showed how four dudes from Louisiana can resonate with a six year old from India. When we tour, we get to meet families and hear stories about how the music has affected them and that is so humbling. We are very fortunate to be able to participate in this. There is a certain glimmer of magic in what we get to do.

MG: On July 27th, you guys are playing after the Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field for a special Christmas in July concert; tell us about that?
SD: I am very excited for this. We got to do it last year and we are lucky enough to get to do it again. The hard part about this is that the Rays are playing the Red Socks. I have a real soft spot for the Rays since I have been following them much more but my dad was a huge Red Socks fan. So I grew up rooting for the Red Socks, so I am little torn here [laughs]. For the Christmas in July, we will probably play about 70 minutes and throw in some fun Christmas songs. We have a really interactive set and the kids have a lot of fun. It is actually really a family concert that moms and dads will enjoy as well. We play live music, so there is so much great energy going around.

MG: Your latest album “Back in Blue” was released last summer which includes second set of songs from season 3; do you have plans for new music?
SD: Yeah, that is a great question. The music industry is changing and how bands get music out to their fans are changing. “Back in Blue” was our first digital release only, so there was no hard copy available. That is something that was so new to us to think that we can’t give you a CD and you have to download it. There are so many great songs from that CD including “Robot Chase Song” and “Have You Ever Seen a Unicorn”. In fact, right now we are actually starting on our ninth album. We did an album called “Rock-o-matic” a few years back, which was a CD/DVD. We created about 35 minutes of additional content with videos, sketches etc and we are looking to do a follow up to that. This time we are going to get our fans to participate. They are also going to get to experience more of the making of the CD and DVD. If you “Like” our Facebook, you can find out more about this.

MG: There hasn’t been new episodes for over a year now; is there a fourth season in the horizon for the “Imagination Movers”?
SD: Right now, episodes are currently are airing on Disney Junior. I don’t know if a fourth season will ever be made. But we are currently working with a production company in Canada right now to create new “Movers” content… So I will leave that at that because I do not know how much I can say right now. Around the corner, don’t be surprised if you are seeing some new content. So we are very excited about that.

Disney Interactive And Harmonix Announce October 21 Release For Video Game “Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved” and Plans for E3

Disney Interactive And Harmonix Announce October 21 Release And Unveil New Content For The Award-winning Music And Motion Video Game “Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved” At The 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)
Experience All-New City Realm and the Game’s Narrative Plus Playable Songs from Drake, The Who, and others in Disney Interactive & Microsoft Booths at E3

BURBANK, Calif., June 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Disney Interactive and Harmonix today announce the official release date for the award-winning music and motion video game, “Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved,” along with new content to be revealed at this year’s E3. The breakthrough musical motion video game inspired by Disney’s classic animated film “Fantasia,” will be available worldwide for Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft and Kinect for Xbox 360 on October 21, 2014.

At E3, the team will follow last year’s standout performance where it received awards from Game Critics for ‘Best Social/Casual Game,’ GameSpot for ‘Best of E3,’ Polygon for ‘Editor’s Choice,’ and Game Informer for ‘Best Music/Rhythm Game.’ This year’s show will set the stage for new multiplayer gameplay and reveal the latest musical additions, along with a vibrant city realm, “The Neighborhood.”

In “The Neighborhood,” players will work their way through a restrained 2D urban cityscape, using music and magic to unleash a vibrant and magical 3D environment by interacting with billboards, rooftops, trains and other surprises hidden within the city landscape. Through this mind-bending experience, players will watch and listen as their movements create bold colors and whimsical music that make “The Neighborhood” a fantastical adventure.

The latest announced tracks from a range of award-winning artists that will appear in-game include:

Depeche Mode – “Enjoy the Silence”
Drake – “Take Care” (ft. Rihanna)
Tchaikovsky – “The Nutcracker Medley”
Police – “Message in a Bottle”
MIA – “Galang”
The Who – “The Real Me”

Additionally, players will be introduced to Yen Sid’s previous apprentice, Scout, via the game’s narrative, who will guide the player as they perform, transform and create music to restore order to the world.

Featuring over 30 tracks – including contemporary hits, classic rock, classical music, and more – “Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved” transports players to a breathtaking world where music and magic combine to transform extraordinary interactive landscapes in entirely new and creative ways.

Previously announced tracks for the title include:

AVICII – “Levels”
David Bowie – “Ziggy Stardust”
Antonin Dvorak – “Symphony No. 9 from the New World”
Fun. – “Some Nights”
Peter Gabriel – “In Your Eyes”
Gorillaz – “Feel Good Inc.”
Cee Lo Green – “Forget You”
Elton John – “Rocket Man”
Kimbra – “Settle Down”
Lorde – “Royals”
Bruno Mars – “Locked Out of Heaven”
Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”
Modest Mussorgsky – “Night on Bald Mountain”
Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”
Antonio Vivaldi – “The Four Seasons: Winter, 1st Movement”

“Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved” will be available worldwide on October 21, 2014 with an ESRB rating of E10+ with lyrics descriptor. For additional information about “Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved,” join the Facebook community at https://www.facebook.com/fantasiagame, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @FantasiaGame and view all videos on our YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/FantasiaGame.

To play “Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved” at E3, visit Disney Interactive located in South Hall, booth #2047 and Microsoft located in West Hall, booth #4100.

About Harmonix Music Systems, Inc.
Harmonix Music Systems, Inc., based in Cambridge, MA, and established in 1995, is the leading developer of groundbreaking music-oriented videogames. Harmonix was founded by Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy, who formed the company to invent new ways for non-musicians to experience the unique joy that comes from making music and have pioneered music and rhythm gaming in the US. For more information please visit www.harmonixmusic.com.

About Disney Interactive
Disney Interactive, one of the world’s largest creators of high-quality interactive entertainment across all platforms, is the part of The Walt Disney Company responsible for the global creation and delivery of interactive entertainment, multi-platform video games, and family-focused content across all current and emerging digital media platforms. Disney Interactive produces and distributes a broad portfolio of content from Disney Interactive Games and Disney Interactive Media. Products and content released and operated by Disney Interactive include blockbuster mobile, social and console games, online virtual worlds, #1 kid’s entertainment destination Disney.com and the #1 Family/Parenting portfolio on the Web.

Disney Interactive is the interactive entertainment part of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS).

Xenia Ghali talks about hit song “Out With a Bang” and plans for 2014

Xenia Ghali is a songwriter, producer and DJ that has broken through the dance and pop world in Europe and is ready to rock the dance floors in America, Xenia recently teamed up with former Pussycat Dolls member Jessica Sutta on a track titled “Out With a Bang” and Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Xenia recently about the collaboration and her plans for 2014.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us how you got started with songwriting and Djing?
Xenia Ghali: Those started at two separate times for me. I have been studying music since I was very little and am classically trained in piano and flute. When I was 15 I started teaching myself how to play other instruments like the guitar and drums. I joined an indie/alternative rock band and just started writing. We didn’t really do cover songs so that’s when I took my first shot at songwriting. I loved it. As for Djing, I grew up in Athens, Greece and in 2008 I moved to the UK to get my bachelors degree in music composition and technology. While I was studying for I had saved up some money and bought a set of second hand turn tables. I started teaching myself how to spin and mix using vinyl. From there one thing just sort of led to another and I was playing gigs and from there began producing and recording electronic music.

AL: Can you tell us about your new single “Out With a Bang” and what it was like working with Jessica Sutta?
XG: The song is a really fun dance/pop song. It’s one of those songs that just makes you happy and want to dance. It was really important to me when we were working on this song to keep it unrestricted. The song is very listenable and can be played in a club, at home or anywhere really. It’s an easy track to listen to while still being very energetic like Jessica and myself. Jessica and I had great chemistry and she loved the track when she first heard it. It was really great working with her.

AL: Can you tell us about the video for “Out With a Bang”?
XG: I love combining various art forms. Anything that has to do with visual arts I have always been very involved with. This video for me was easy to work on as it didn’t feel like a shoot. It was like we were all just having a good time. Jessica’s team and my team all worked together to come up with an idea for the video that would represent the song for exactly what it is. We wanted everything to be fun with vintage touches but still have it be in today’s style. We wanted the video to be great to look at and make people feel good.

AL: What has been the biggest obstacle for you since transitioning from the music scene in Europe to the one here in the United States?
XG: I think the biggest obstacle for me would have to be bridging the two styles. Music in the States is very different when compared to that in Europe. I come from a very European sounding background which involves a lot of dance and pop. In the states things tend to be more soulful leaning towards R & B and hip hop. Only within the last 5 years or so has there been an influx of European artists making their way to the States to collaborate with various artists. The recent change had made things a little easier for me as people are getting more used to the European dance sound.

AL: What other plans/projects do you have in the works for 2014?
XG: I am actually at a very exciting point in my career and this year is going to be really great. There is going to be quite a few surprises coming. As we speak I am getting ready to release a single which is really exciting. After that there’s going to be more music on the way along with live performances and more collaborations.

Rezzi talks about plans to take over the rap world in 2014

Rezzi is a 16-year-old rap prodigy out of Canada that is being called the next Drake. Media Mikes had a chance to chat music with Rezzi and find out about his upcoming album.

Adam Lawton: What was it that initially sparked your interest in music and performing?
Rezzi: Honestly, it was seeing my idols who I looked up to do it with themselves. Initially it was those like 50 Cent and Eminem. It grew into an array of artists I admire, I see their positive influence they can have on the masses. I decided to take that same path.

AL: How do you personally describe your sound?
Rezzi: I describe my sound as taboo. There is no black and white to my sound, I can’t say I sound like him/her, or this/that etc. I personally feel like there isn’t really any other person who will have my style spot on, in my generation at least.

AL: You released the song “Home of the Brave” in the fall of last year. Do you have plans/are you currently working on new material such as a full length release?
Rezzi: I am actually. I’m working on my tape coming out soon called the “Wall of Words” which is surely something everyone should be looking out for this year!

AL: How has coming from Toronto (a place normally not associated with rap music) shaped your style and career?
Rezzi: It makes you more hungry, in a sense. Toronto isn’t known to be a capital of Rap, as mentioned earlier. Though with that, you get a Rap that is much more heartfelt, if anything Toronto is the place to be for music that puts you in a zone.

AL: You have been featured on Bullyville.com as an advocate against bullying. How did you become involved with that program and what is it about the issue of bullying that you want people to know about or be aware of?
Rezzi: I became involved myself over connection. But what I want people to know about bullying is that it’s something that can impact a life more then what most may think. Being someone who experienced that first hand I can still say I remember those moments like it was yesterday. That shouldn’t be something anyone should go through as a result of segregation or being a puppet of entertainment.

AL: Other plans or projects coming in 2014 that you would like to mention?
Rezzi: A lot of new stuff of mine will be coming into this year and just good progress along with the release of the “Wall Of Words”! Everything else is a surprise behind curtains! Other then that, thank you and thanks to all my fans for their support!

Ray Wise talks about “Big Ass Spider!” and reveals Blu-ray plans for “Twin Peaks”

Ray Wise is a well-known actor in the business. He is known for roles including Leland Palmer in “Twin Peaks”, Leon C. Nash in “RoboCop” and the Devil in “Reaper”. Ray has a great role in the recent creature feature “Big Ass Spider!”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about his role in that film and he also was able to reveal plans for a complete Blu-ray box set of “Twin Peaks”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up working on a film like “Big Ass Spider!”
Ray Wise: I worked with Mike Mendez, the director, briefly before this on a project. I knew that he wanted me to play this military man, which was fine with me. I read the character description and I taught it was good role for me. He is not too over the top and conservative in his approach. It was also a nice contrast to Greg (Grunberg) and Lombardo (Boyar)’s characters. They supply a lot of the humor in the script, which was really well written. Mike Mendez did a really good job with it and I responded well to its humor. I saw a lot of possibilities in it and I thought if he could pull it off it would be a good film. I think he did just that and even exceeded expectations. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the first cut of the film. I think it is very funny and very effective. I think people are going to love it.

MG: You play hard-ass Major Braxton Tanner but you are still quite funny; what is your process for balancing the comedy for the role?
RW: It came intuitively for me. It was sort of natural. That is the way I liked to approach all of my roles actually. I like to find the humorous aspects of the character as well as some of the more dramatic and create that blend. That is way I like do things naturally. Fortunately, it works out most of the times and translates well on screen.

MG: There has been quite the positive response around this film; I have a feeling it is going to stick around…
It is going to have legs…
MG: Literally [laughing]…
RW: Eight legs [laughing].
MG: [laughing] Exactly!

MG: If they decided (and hopefully they do) to make a sequel to “Big Ass Spider!” would you be on board?
RW: Absolutely! Yeah, I am on board. Absolutely!

MG: Tell us about joining the cast of “The Young and the Restless”?
RW: I am playing this Ian Ward. He has come in from out of town as is a past cult leader. He has these individuals that follow him religiously because he has this special philosophy of life that can help everyone achieve their own dreams. They are thinking that he is responsible for the pregnant of the character Nikki many years ago. Allegedly responisble. So, he comes to town to really stir things up. You know, it is another one of those characters for me.

MG: And you are no stranger to playing the baddie like with the Devil in “Reaper” etc; what draws you to these characters?
RW: I think it is because they are always so well-written. When the writers try and write the bad guy, they try and put in a little extra umph in these characters. They add a little extra than a rather bland and mundane good guy [laughs]. I think my own personal physicality and demeanor plays well to that aspect of the writing as well. When you see me, you think “Well he seems alright…but there is something going on here” [laughs]. That suspense and anticipation is really great for the audience.

MG: Do you enjoy going from a bad guy like those to funny roles in films like “FDR: American Badass!”?
RW: First of all I love Barry (Bostwick) and I thought his FDR was really great! I played Douglas MacArthur, so that might have been the beginning of my military chops [laughs], I am not sure. I enjoyed that experience very much actually. There was a lot of laughs and it turned out pretty well also like “Big Ass Spider!”.

MG: I heard you broke the news about an upcoming “Twin Peak” series Blu-ray; can you give us the scoop?
RW: It will be a new box set of the pilot and episodes combined with “Fire Walk with Me”, the prequel movie. It is everything. Everything! Also included will be deleted scenes from “Fire Walk with Me”. I think David (Lynch)’s original cut of the film was about 3.5/4 hours long, so there is stuff that no one has ever seen that is going to be on this new box set. I think it is pretty great. So stay tuned.

Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg talk about directing of “Kon-Tiki” and plans for “Pirates of the Caribbean 5”

In 1951 the film “Kon-Tiki,” a film detailing the voyage of famed Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, won the Academy Award as the year’s best documentary feature.

Six decades later a pair of Norwegian filmmakers decided to tell the story of Heyerdahl’s incredible 4,300 mile journey across the ocean on a balsa wood raft. The film became the first in the country’s history to receive both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe nomination as the year’s Best Foreign Film.

To celebrate the Blu-Ray release of “Kon-Tiki,” I sat down with directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg. I mention that it’s been Scandinavian Directors week for me, having just spoken to Renny Harlin a few days earlier. Hearing this they question me on Harlin and what he’s working on. Finally the interview begins and the pair talk about honoring Thor Heyerdahl, their national pride and how things are going on their next project, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”

Mike Smith: This has been my week for Scandinavian filmmakers. I just spoke with Renny Harlin the other day.
Joachim Rønning/Espen Sandberg: (both laugh).
JR: How did that go?
MS: Very well. He’s really high on the “Hercules” movie he’s finishing up.
ES: Right, right.

MS: “Kon-Tiki” received an Academy Award nomination as Best Foreign Film. Obviously that’s a great honor personally but did it have extra meaning to you because it was a representative of your country?
JR: it was (pauses)…one of the best moments in our lives. (they both laugh). That’s all we can say. That morning, when we got the announcement. Because it is, in so many ways, the biggest reward you can get as a filmmaker. To be recognized in the US…to be recognized in the world…that meant so much for the film. For “Kon-Tiki” to have that when it goes traveling around the world, it really means everything for the film. And for us as filmmakers. We wouldn’t be sitting here in our production offices speaking with you if it wasn’t for that. Everything comes together.
ES: As for representing the country, absolutely. But that’s not really the first thing you think about (laughs) when you get that news. It was the first Norwegian film to be nominated both by the Oscars and the Golden Globes and that is a huge deal for our country.

MS: How did you get involved with “Kon-Tiki?”
JR: It was a story we’d grown up with. Espen and I began making films together when we were about 10 years old. We grew up in a small town. Thor Heyerdahl grew up in a neighboring town so he always had a presence in our lives. And he is the only Norwegian to win an Academy Award so as a filmmaker he was a huge inspiration.
ES: We always wanted to bring that story…the story of Kon-Tiki…to the big screen. But of course, it was such a huge endeavor. It took four years to finance. It was the biggest film production ever in Scandinavia.

MS: Thor Heyerdahl is probably your country’s best known figure internationally. Did you have any reservations in taking on his story?
ES: We always wanted to tell his story. It was just very hard to finance it. That was the big hurdle. We always wanted to do it.

MS: You’ve worked together for over two decades…(they both laugh)…do you split up the duties of directing? Do you direct together or do you each handle certain scenes?
ES: We basically do everything together, especially in pre-production and post production.
JR: It’s a very collaborative process and it’s the only way we know how to make movies. On the set it is divided somewhat. Espen concentrates more with the actors and I work more with the visuals. And that’s basically not to confuse the actors too much. We try to have one voice in accordance with them. It’s a very collaborative process and it’s how we’ve always done it.

MS: Have you ever had an instance where maybe one of you has yelled “cut” and the other one looks over and shakes his head? (they both laugh)
ES: No! You’d be surprised. Of course we both have different tastes but I think at the end of the day we both find common ground…what’s best for the scene and for the film.
JR: I think it’s actually an advantage to have two heads working. It’s a big deal for us to be unanimous. In front of everybody at least (laughs)

MS: You both are slated to direct the next “Pirates of the Caribbean” film. Can you give an update as to where that project is?
JR: Yeah! We’re in pre-production. We’ve been in pre-production for a couple of months and it’s inching along every day. It’s a dream come true, really, to be able to work with Jerry Bruckheimer and the Disney camp…with these actors and the rest of the crew. They’re the best in the world. It’s coming together. We have a fantastic script by Jeff Nathonson (“Catch Me If You Can,” “Rush Hour 2 and 3”). It’s really funny. And touching. It’s a true adventure movie and, in that sense, it reminds us of the kinds of movies we grew up with…the Indiana Jones films and stuff like that. Those films made us want to become filmmakers.

MS: That’s so cool. That’s almost exactly the same answer that Renny gave me when we talked about “Hercules.” He had grown up enjoying these films so much and finally getting the chance to make one is the ultimate honor. (they both laugh)
ES: That’s it exactly. We really feel great!

Sam J. Jones reflects on “Flash Gordon”, “Ted” and plans for “Ted 2”

Sam J. Jones is best known for the lead role in the 1980 cult classic “Flash Gordon”. Sam recently appeared in the the Seth MacFarlane directed live-action film “Ted”, as himself and stole the show. Sam took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about his work on “Flash Gordon”, “Ted”, plans for “Ted 2 and his work in the security business.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect on the fandom that surrounds “Flash Gordon” over 30 years since its release?
Sam J. Jones: It has been wonderful and is such a blessing. We filmed it in 1979, so that is 34 years ago and was released in Christmas of 1980. We are talking about three different generations here. It is amazing. It has had a good run and it has opened a lot of doors for me. I have traveled all over the world. It has even continued in the film “Ted”.

MG: Queen’s score in the film is so iconic, how do you feel that it works in the film?
SJ: It really complemented the film well. Queen was huge, obviously but it also opened up doors for them as well at the time. Combine their amazing soundtrack with the great visuals and you have a winner. All that creativity came together and produced this unforgettable visual experience.

MG: How often are you approached with people screaming “FLASH!! AAA-AAAHHH!!” and how do you respond?
SJ: Well, I get real close to them…then I head butt them [laughs]. No, it is fun it really is. Sometimes people walk by me on the street and don’t even say anything just scream and continue walking. They don’t even wait for a reaction. That sort of thing happens a lot.

MG: I wanted to ask about about you being originally signed up for seven “Gordon” sequels. Is that true?
SJ: I think it was a couple sequels at the time, yeah! Like anything else they decided not to pursue it. It has been optioned a couple of different times over the years with various development deals for a sequel, so hopefully that will happen soon. I would love to be apart of it again.

MG: Also can you talk about how your voice being dubbed over in the film?
SJ: We filmed the entire project in London, England and one week in Scotland. After filming you always have to go back and do ADR to fix the vocals. So I didn’t head back, I was working on other projects at the time. So they went ahead and got another actor to try and match my voice. It is what it is. I am sure next time I would rather find a way to get back there and do it myself.

MG: Tell us about how your role in “Ted” came about?
SJ: It is pretty simple, Seth MacFarlane called me and said that when he was eight years old he saw “Flash Gordon” and it changed his life. He knew then that he wanted to be a creative guy in the business and that was his inspiration. So he called and said he had this script called “Ted” and if I would be interested and I said “Of course”. At first, he wanted me to play myself but it turned out to be a parody of myself.

MG: What was it like getting back into those tights again after all those years?
SJ: It was fun. It was great working with the cast with Mark Walhberg, Mila Kunis and Patrick Warburton. Actually Patrick and I used to be in acting classes together, so it was good to see him again. It was Seth’s first time directing live-action and he did a fantastic job. He was always very prepared each day.

MG: Going from film business to security business, tell us about your current work?
SJ: It has been natural transition for me. I was a marine before I was an actor, so the background was there before I was in the movie business. So I got married and started having our five children and things slowed down a bit since there is a lot of downtime in the film business. So I wanted to fill that void, so I talked to my wife and decided to do that I was already trained in. I went and took some additional specialized training, actually the same as the Secret Service and the State Department. I started working the Los Angeles area, then I worked in Katrina and excelled in security operations. From there I got an invitation to move to San Diego to help run the Cross-Border Security Operations into Mexico. So that is what I have been doing for the past eight years now. I love it because when a film project comes up, I am able to drop everything and do the film. So it works out.

MG: “Ted 2” is planned for release Passover 2015, any word of a return for you?
SJ: Yeah, of course. Seth already asked me to do it. He mentioned that they will be filming in the Spring of 2014. So I can’t wait for that!

Christian Jacobs talks about “The Aquabats! Super Show!” and plans for Season 2

Christian Jacobs is lead singer for the California ska band The Aquabats! and is also the Co-Creator of the popular children’s television show “Yo Gabba Gabba!”. Season 1 of “The Aquabats! Super Show!” was recently released on DVD and season two of the show will kick off in June on The Hub Network. Media Mikes had a chance recently to speak with Christian aka “The MC Bat Commander” about the show and what we can expect from season 2.

Adam Lawton:  What made you decide to take The Aquabats! from the stage to television?
Christian Jacobs: That was an idea we had early on. The band started in 1994 and by 1999 we had already shot a pilot for Disney/Buena Vista Television. I had grown up acting and being around television and when I wasn’t playing in the band I was doing production for music and skateboard videos. The whole idea behind the band was very organic and the idea for the show was something that just clicked in my head. I thought it would be cool if we were like a punk rock version of The Monkees. I didn’t want it to be a band that was put together by the studio and playing songs written by Neil Diamond. I wanted this to be about guys who were friends that played songs together in the garage. We were never trying to change the world or anything with this band we just wanted to have fun. We knew the days as a band would be numbered so taking it
to television was a way to keep things going. We have been around now for almost 20 years and the fact that this stuff is now just coming out is really weird. I think the main reason we stay together as a band is because of the television show. We don’t go on tour much anymore but we are always playing together. We just kept going hoping for the show to come along. I got a lot of questions from friends and family as to why I was still doing this band. Now that the show has finally happened I feel vindicated.

AL: Was it hard adapting the bands live show in to a television format?
CJ: For me that was the trickiest part. I was always a fan of shows like “Ultraman” and “Batman” so the tongue and cheek aspect of things was the easy part. The hard part was how we were going to build the music into the show. We didn’t want it to seemed force which tends to be the case with a lot of shows that evolve around music. We decided to skip over the band aspect of things and went right for a musical type approach. Yes we perform on the show but we don’t talk about it or glorify the fact that we are a band. It leaves a lot of things unanswered and I like it that way.

AL: How did working on this show compare to working on “Yo Gabba Gabba!”?
CJ: Scott the other co-creator of the show and I have been friends for a long time. We had both been trying to get “The Aquabats!” show off the ground for quite awhile. We decided to focus on this other idea we had and see what would happen with it. It seemed like with “Yo Gabba Gabba!” nothing could go wrong. “The Aquabats!” was totally the opposite. I have never had something move so quickly and organically as “Yo Gabba Gabba!”. This show was born like a magical unicorn and the “The Aquabats!” was like the hunchback with one eye. (Laughs) Working on “Yo Gabba Gabba” gave us a lot more energy to put towards “The Aquabats!”

AL: Can you give us any ideas as to what’s in store for season 2 of “The Aquabats! Super Show!”?
CJ: Season 2 of the show kicks off in June and we have some really cool stuff happening this season. We have pro skateboarders Tony Hawk and Eric Koston playing some roles n the first episode and they are not skateboarding which is pretty funny. Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo has a very pivotal role this season. Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance helped us write a couple episodes and he actually directed the last episode of the season which was really cool. I think the biggest thing for season 2 is that it deals with the back story of “The Aquabats!” Each separate member of the band has their own recollection of how the band came together and that’s fun because it ends up leaving more things unanswered. There’s going to be some new villains this season, some crazy chase scenes and a lot of stuff we weren’t able to do in season one. It’s a bigger season for sure.

Shirley Jones reflects on her career, musicials and plans for upcoming memoirs

Depending on your age you’ll have different memories of Shirley Jones. For my parents era they will be of her roles in some of the most popular movie musicals of all time, including “Oklahoma,” “Carousel” and “The Music Man.” If you’re my age you remember her best as Shirley Partridge, working mom and vocalist on the popular television series “The Partridge Family.” Young people today remember her as the randy Grace in the comedy “Grandma’s Boy.” No matter your memory, it’s safe to say that Shirley Jones has had one of the most incredible careers in the history of entertainment.

Born outside Pittsburgh, a lucky bus ride put Ms. Jones on the path to stardom. Intending to become a veterinarian, she instead walked into an audition for the musical team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. So impressed was the casting director that he called both gentlemen at their homes and had them come listen to her sing. Two weeks later she was on Broadway and the rest is history. Twice married (to the late Jack Cassidy, father of her sons Shaun, Patrick and Ryan) and currently celebrating almost 36 years with comedian Marty Ingels, Shirley Jones has certainly lived an incredible life.

Media Mikes spoke to Ms. Jones recently in conjunction with two upcoming events. The first is a benefit screening of the film “Carousel” in Omaha on May 24th. The second is the upcoming release of her autobiography to be published next month by Gallery Books.

Mike Smith: How does a young girl from Pennsylvania end up becoming an Academy Award winning actress?
Shirley Jones: (laughs) It’s a stroke of luck. I was very fortunate at my first audition in New York. I was actually on my way to college to become a veterinarian. I wasn’t going to be in show business I was going to be a vet. I had graduated from a small town high school. I went to an audition for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s casting director and he called both Rodgers and Hammerstein to hear me. I sang for them and two weeks later I was in my first Broadway show. That’s how fast it happened. I spent three months in the Broadway production of “South Pacific.” Then they flew me to California to screen test for the role of Laurey in “Oklahoma,” and that’s how that happened. And it all happened in less than a year.

MS: And they say show business isn’t easy!
SJ: (laughs) I know. But you know something, I’m not sure that could happen today. It was just the time…where I was…it was one of those things that happen rarely. I was the only person put under personal contract to Rodgers and Hammerstein. I was never under contract to a studio.

MS: What was that experience like…to have your career guided by two genuine legends?
SJ: incredible. It truly was incredible. It was so great for me. I did three shows while under contract with them. By the time I got into movies the studio system was over so in a way it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because then I went on to do everything, from television to films and everything else. And Rodgers and Hammerstein were so wonderful to be with and work with. They produced the movie version of “Oklahoma,” not the studio. We did some shooting at MGM but the majority of it was shot at Nogales, Arizona. They were on the set every day for seven months.

MS: You’ve appeared in some classic movie musicals. “Oklahoma.” “The Music Man.” “Carousel.” Do you have a favorite among them?
SJ: My favorite score is “Carousel.” Without a doubt, of all the things I’ve done, that’s my favorite. I think it’s some of the most beautiful music ever written. In fact, Richard Rodgers always claimed it was his finest work. When I perform in concert I always open with “If I Loved You” and I close with “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” To me it’s the most beautiful music. The movie is wonderful, though I thought it could have been a little bit better. We had a very old director (Henry King, director of films like “Twelve O’Clock High” and “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing”) but a great cast. Frank Sinatra was scheduled to play Billy Bigelow. We had done all of the rehearsals…even all of the pre-recordings, which is what we did back then. We had spent three months in pre-production. We were going to shoot the film in two separate processes – regular Cinemascope and Cinemascope 55 – and when Frank got to the set in Maine he asked why there were two cameras. Henry told him we would be shooting each scene twice. Frank told him, “I signed to do one movie, not two,” got in his car and drove back to the airport. So I got Gordon MacRae on the phone, who was in Lake Tahoe doing a nightclub act with his wife, and I said, “how would you like to play Billy Bigelow in “Carousel,” and he said “give me three days I have to lose ten pounds!”

MS: What a great call. I’m a big Sinatra fan but I can’t see anyone but Gordon MacRae in that part.
SJ: Me too. And that voice. Nobody sang like Gordon. He had the best voice of all time.

MS: You won an Oscar for your role in the film “Elmer Gantry,” a role many of your musical fans may not have expected to see you in. How did that part come along?
SJ: It was an incredible role. Burt Lancaster fought for me to play that part. By the time I’d finished doing musical motion pictures – “Music Man” hadn’t come out yet – Hollywood had stopped making musicals pretty much because the European market wasn’t very receptive to them. My career was pretty much over. When you were a singer at that time they didn’t consider you an “actress” so to speak. I went and did some television, which was looked at as a big step down for movie actors. They were doing some wonderful dramatic shows like “Playhouse 90” and “The Philco Playhouse.” But I had some wonderful roles. I had a great part opposite Red Skelton in a “Playhouse 90” show called “The Big Slide” and Burt Lancaster happened to have seen me in that part, playing an alcoholic “Sunshine” girl in the Mack Sennet era. And he loved my performance. And after he saw me he fought for me to play the role of Lulu Bains in “Gantry.” He called me while I was in San Francisco doing a nightclub act with my husband Jack Cassidy. I pick up the phone and I hear, “Hello, Shirley, this is Burt Lancaster.” I said, “sure it is” and I hung up! (laughs) Thank heaven he called back and said, “No, this IS Burt Lancaster.” He told me to go get the Sinclair Lewis novel “Elmer Gantry” and look at the role of Lulu Bains. On your day off he asked me to fly to Los Angeles and meet with the films writer/director, Richard Brooks. Of course I did as he asked. I flew in and met with Richard Brooks, who originally did not want me for the part. He had somebody else in mind. He was the writer/director but Burt was the co-producer and he was very definite about having me play Lulu, which was so great. I got the part. Richard Brooks would always shoot his films in sequence so I wasn’t due on set until the middle of the film. But Burt would have me come on set every day to watch the other actors and to watch how Richard Brooks directed. On my first day of shooting I had to do the hardest scene in the film – standing in the house of prostitution and telling the other girls how I had met Elmer Gantry – and I didn’t have one bit of direction from Brooks. He sat in his chair smoking his pipe like I wasn’t even there. I went home that night in tears thinking he was going to fire me. I didn’t have to work the next day and they screened the rushes of what had been shot the day before. Brooks called me afterwards and said, “Shirley, I owe you an apology. Not only are you going to be great in the film but I predict you’re going to win an Academy Award.” And that’s how that happened. Burt was the one that got me the part and it changed the course of my whole career. My career would have been literally over had that not happened. But I went on to do 20 more feature films after that.

MS: And now, of course, it’s time for the obligatory “Partridge Family” question.
SJ: (laughing) Of course.
MS: What do you think it is about the show, and the music, that it is still popular some four decades after it first premiered?
SJ: Well, it was really a new definition of a television series. I was the first working mother on television. I was actually offered “The Brady Bunch” first and I said “no” because I didn’t want to go into a television series and play a regular mom taking the roast out of the oven. But when I was offered “The Partridge Family” I thought it was very unique. The fact that the whole family was working together musically but you still had stories about the kids and the mama…I loved the idea. And the fact that David, my stepson, was going to play my son was just great. It also gave me an opportunity to stay at home and raise my kids, which was something I couldn’t do making films because I was constantly away on locations everywhere. When they were younger I could take them with me but now they were school age, which was another reason I wanted to do a series. And the agents and managers at that time were all telling me, “Don’t do a television series, Shirley, because if it is successful you’ll BE that character for the rest of your life.” They were pretty right about that but it was still great for me to do.

MS: They don’t make as many film musicals today as in the past, but some of the them are pretty well done. “Les Miz” comes to mind as a recent achievement. What is your opinion on the movie musicals of today?
SJ: I thought “Les Miz” was wonderful, but I’d also seen the Broadway show and thought it was divine. Everybody in the film was wonderful. Hugh Jackman is one of my favorite performers. When I was visiting Australia he and I did bits from “Oklahoma” together on stage. (NOTE: Jackman starred as Curley in an Australian production of “Oklahoma” in the late 90’s) He was just great. But they don’t do that many musicals anymore, as you know. But the ones they do do I think have been successful.

MS: You’re publishing your memoirs next month. What was it like to sit down and review your career?
SJ: It wasn’t easy (laughs). In fact I thought “do I really want to do this?” But it came out very quickly and easy. All of the things that have happened I was fortunately able to recall for the most part. And all of the people that I worked with…I worked with some of the greatest movie stars of all time. I’ve had two incredible husbands. Both crazy, but wonderful. I’ve got three incredible sons and an incredible stepson. I’ve got twelve grandchildren now. And I was an only child which makes it even more interesting.

Cinderella’s Tom Keifer talks about solo album “The Way Life Goes” and tour plans

Tom Keifer is best known as the charismatic front man for the popular 80’s rock band Cinderella. Tom still performs regularly with Cinderella who celebrated their 25 year anniversary in 2011. Tom’s newest project is a solo effort which has been in the making for quite some time. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Tom recently about working on the album and his upcoming tour plans.

Adam Lawton: What prompted you to decide that now was the time to release a solo album?
Tom Keifer: There never was a set time frame for me to do a solo album. I had first started thinking about doing one in the mid 90’s when Cinderella broke up for a bit. The album has been a work in progress for years. I started writing back then but never really recorded anything. I finally started recording in 2003. I did this independently as I didn’t want to deal with a label. From the time we actually started cutting tracks till now took almost 10 years. That was something I never intended. It is finished now and it’s a good window of opportunity because Cinderella decided to take a break from touring as we have toured hard the last 3 years. The timing worked out really well. Things just sort of happened as I didn’t have a plan 15 years ago that now would be the time to release this. (Laughs)

AL: With the album taking so long did you find yourself going back and making changes to some of the older material?
TK: It was a constant process. Once the songs were selected we would work on those and then go in and record a few more. Then we would go back and rework the older ones. There were quite a few periods of time where I wasn’t working on the record because of touring with Cinderella. Those breaks from the record were really great periods of objectivity. That’s not something you normally get. We made all of the Cinderella records in 6 month time frames where we worked 6 days a week. This album was much different because there was no label behind it. I could push save on Pro Tools and come back to it in a few months.

AL: Do you prefer working on an album like this that is more open ended as opposed to having that push to get it done by a certain time?
TK: I really like how this record came out and I left no stone unturned. I think everything came out real well. However I don’t think anyone is ever 100% happy with a record. There is always stuff you hear that bothers you. It was cool though to have the luxury of time but there are parts for me that I like more than others.

AL: Were the songs that made it on to the album more recent ideas or are they a collection of works from over time?
TK: Everything had been written prior to 2003. I picked about 14/15 tunes and usually from that point on I don’t write anymore for a record. I had a collection of songs dating back to the mid 90’s so there was a large body of work to choose from. I picked 14 that I thought were the best and fit together the best. I always seem to have a song somewhere. (Laughs)

AL: What led you to choose “The Flowering Song” as the album’s first single?
TK: It’s hard to pick singles sometimes because then you start thinking. (Laughs) For the first rock single that one was pretty unanimous between me and my wife who I co-wrote the song with. My friends and management all liked the feel of that track and eventually the label that picked up the album chose that song to be the first rock release. People really liked that track from first listen and we didn’t try to over think things.

AL: What are the tour plans for the release?
TK: We will be back out on the road starting in May. We will be working our way east after we hit the west coast. We are taking things one day at a time and how the record does will really dictate how long we are out for.

Dolph Lundgren talks about new film "The Package", TV series "Rescue 3" and "The Expendables 3"

Dolph Lundgren has always been one of my favorite action stars. Whether he is kicking ass as Drago in “Rocky IV”, Andrew Scott in “Universal Soldier” series or most recently as Gunner Jensen in “The Expendables” series – where he goes the action follows.  His latest film is called “The Package”, which puts him head-to-head with wrestling legend Steve Austin.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with him about this film as well as his upcoming TV series “Rescue 3” and plans for “The Expendables 3”.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about about how you got involved with “The Package”?
Dolph Lundgren: As usual you read the script and then talk with the director. I liked the script because the character they thought about for me was interesting. He was a little more colorful, kind of crazy and unpredictable.

MG: What is your technique for getting into a character like The German?
DL: A lot of it if you good script is usually done for you. They have explained in the script already that what he looks like, in this case, the fact that he is dying from a disease and is becoming desperate but at the same time he is becoming educated and has a way with words. So you just work with the material and put that into the different scenes. By working on the scenes then you come up with ideas like make-up and clothing ideas. When you are on the set also a lot of it comes from working with the other actors and the director while shooting. The more colorful the character is the better described he would be in the script and that would make it easier for an actor to fall into that role.

MG: How was it going head-to-head with Steve Austin?
DL: It is always fun to work with other actors who can fight. I have done it a few times now with Jean-Claude Van Damme, (Slyvester) Stallone and Randy Couture. So with Steve Austin it is the same. He is a guy that doesn’t need a stunt double. You get to do more on the film with the actual performer, so it is fun and also it looks better in the film.

MG: What do you enjoy most about being an action hero and how has that role evolved for you over the years?
DL: I think it stayed the same for quite a long time. “Rocky IV” was my first big movie. I didn’t really plan to be an action hero, I just wanted to learn about acting. I was doing some modeling also at the time and before that I was an athlete and studying engineering. So this kind of came out of left field. So after “Rocky IV”, I think it stayed the same for like 20 years. I also lived in Spain for about 10 years to bring up my kids away from Hollywood. I got divorced a few years back, so when I came back here in 2009, I got right back into the role and did “The Expendables” and then “The Expendables 2”. Now I am trying to find roles that are a little more interesting and fun to show different sides of myself. Let’s see how that goes. I am doing a action series now for television. It is more about rescuing people than killing then [laughs], so that would be new for me.

MG: What can you tell us about that show?
DL:  Sure, It is called “Rescue 3”. It is based on this elite multi-agency task force in California which saves people. I play get to play the leader of this unit. What is interesting is that you’ve got 20 episodes to develop the character instead of 90 minutes. It is going to be fun to see what kind of things I can pull out of that and how the audience will react to it. Also one of the producers is from “Baywatch”. I am not sure how much running on the beach I will do…but we will see…hopefully not too much [laughs].

MG: Playing such iconic character like Drago in “Rocky IV”, Andrew Scott in “Universal Soldier” series and now Gunner Jensen in “The Expendables”, what has been your most memorable role in your career?
DL: I always remember “Rocky IV” since it was my first film. It has a lot of memories attached to it. The same with “The Expendables” since it has such a great cast, its special. I am back with Stallone again. I think those are the two that really jump out and have been a big milestone in my career. Then I have done some small roles recently like “The Package” have been a lot of fun.

MG: Also last year you did a film called “One in the Chamber” that I enjoyed as well.
DL: Yeah, thank you! That is another one that I kind of took out the turns a little bit. I did another project that is a similar smaller part last year called “Rush” with Randy Couture. Now that I have this TV series coming up, I am trying to play more roles that are I would say are a little more “normal” and close to myself. Since that is what I am doing in the series, so I am trying to get used to that a little more.

MG: Speaking of playing different roles, I loved your character recently also in “Small Apartments”. You got to do more comedy because you were a riot.
DL: Thanks man! I actually have this reality series coming out this June called “Race to the Scene”. The show is based on actual movie locations and memorable movie scenes. It is going to air on Reelz. It is very comedic for me and is like one big skit. So we will see how that works out also.

MG: Any update on your next directorial effort “Skin Trade”?
DL: Yes, I am still working on that. It is something I wrote a few years back with a friend of mine. I am trying to work it into the schedule. This year is very busy with the series and then possibly another “The Expendables”. I am trying to find the right co-star. I wanted to direct it, so I wrote it to play the co-lead. But the lead, the main character I want to cast somebody. So that is the guy that I am looking for. I am sure it will work itself out soon and we will find somebody.

MG: You mentioned “The Expendables 3”, can you shed any light on it?
DL: Nobody has approached me but I have just heard little things like they were working on a script and aiming to shoot in the Fall. But I do not know any particulars right now. I think within two months or so it should be all settled since they have to prep by June the latest if they are looking to start shooting in September.

Marilyn Ghigliotti reflect on her role in “Clerks” and on news of “Clerks III”

Marilyn Ghigliotti is best known for her role of Veronica in “Clerks”. With the director, Kevin Smith, announcing that “Clerks III” will be his final film, Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Marilyn about the news and reflects on her role in the original “Clerks”.

Mike Gencarelli: How can you reflect on Kevin Smith’s latest news to make “Clerks III” his last film?
Marilyn Ghigliotti: Well, it would be great. I think a lot of people really want to know what is happening with the characters anyway. I do not know if Veronica would be brought back or not – it would be really nice if she was. I am constantly asked that question about a third film. I was just lucky enough to work on the first film and play that character that everyone loves. In the same respect, I like the fact that fans are curious but I only know the same as them right now [laughs].

Mike: Why do you think these characters resonate going on 20 years now?
Marilyn: I think because they are believable. Everybody can relate to these characters. I am thinking because Kevin Smith had a lot of things against him but he beat the odds and was able to make this film possible without a studio. Since then it has just grown over the years. I have even had a nine year old girl come up to me and said that she loves the film [laughs].

Mike: Reflecting back on “Clerks”, at what point did you realize that this little film wasn’t going away?
Marilyn: It was when we were all at Sundance, which is when Miramax bought. Brian (O’Halloran) and I knew that the meeting was going on and we waited on pins and needles to see what was going to happen. When we got word it was bought by Miramax, where were really excited. Even then though, we didn’t know what to expect but we knew it was going to be a little more than we anticipated.

Mike: Do you have a highlight of working on that film?
Marilyn: All of it really. Next year is 20 years since it was filmed, so it is quite a long time. It was just a great experience. I remember we went in very late to shoot and at the time I was working at a salon as well. So I would be lucky to get an hour or two sleep after shooting before going off work. During shooting we got to meet the town drunk that would come in and buy cigarettes very late. We had hot bagels that we weren’t really suppose to have. So things like that.

Mike: Did you have any challenges with the sharp and quick dialogue for Veronica?
Marilyn: Oh yeah! I kind of trip-over my tongue naturally. You can even see, during the scene when Dante is painting Veronica’s nails. Kevin had enough film that he probably could have done a few more takes but I just kept tripping over my tongue. Even though, I come from theatre, which includes a lot of lines to memorize for a stage performance. For me learning lines is always a stressful thing. I want to be able to say them correctly as they are written.

Mike: Did you ever get approach for a role in “Clerks II”?
Marilyn: No, it never did. I did get to go to the premiere out in Red Bank though. I can see why she wasn’t in the film. But I could also could have seen a little cameo with her in it as well. There are many possibilities that I can see for Veronica in “Clerks III”. I know that Kevin writes his stories on how he is feeling at that moment, so it could have nothing for my character as well. But I am still hoping.

Mike: Besides acting, telling us about your work as a make-up artist?
Marilyn: Before I started acting, I was a practicing hair stylist in a salon. At a certain point, I was looking for something new. I was always interested in the entertainment field growing up, in some respect. I always wanted to take dance lessons as a kid and used to always watch musicals. I just ended up falling into it and I am happy I did. My parents brought me up telling me to get an office job or become a secretary to have financial security. Nothing against my parents but I am glad that I fell into this.

Mike: Tell us about what you have planned for next year?
Marilyn: There is one project called “Geek USA” that came about from the sound guy, Phil Bladh, who I worked with on “Alien Armageddon”. It was based on his prom when he was in High School. I was originally supposed to play his mom but there was a scheduling conflict. So I just play a store clerk and hopefully the scene isn’t cut [laughs]. It was fun though! I also just did a day on Neil Johnson’s latest film “Starship: Rising”. He was the director of “Alien Armageddon”. It was only one day but I love getting to work with him and he puts me in these roles that you wouldn’t normally expect to see me in. So, that was fun to do and I like getting to show range.

Corri English talks about her role in FEARnet’s “Holliston” and Season 2 plans

Corri English is the star of FEARnet’s “Holliston”, created by Adam Green and Joe Lynch. The show completed it first season this summer and will be returning for it’s second in 2013. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Corri about her role on the show and the plans for season 2.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up on the show “Holliston”?
Corri English: I had worked with Adam a couple of times. I did a series of holiday claymation webisodes he did for American Eagle. The series was called “Winter Tails” and he had me do some voice work on those. Shortly thereafter Adam was doing one of his infamous Halloween shorts and needed someone to fill in for Daniel Harris because there was a scheduling conflict. We had a great time doing that and became friends. “Holliston” has had a couple of incarnations so when he first started putting that together he brought me on board to do the show. It was really exciting to work with Adam again and see the show come to life as I had been attached to it for about 2 years prior to shooting.

MG: What do you enjoy most about your character and how does she relate to yourself?
CE: I know Adam pulled certain parts of our personalities in to the story. He made my character an aspiring country singer. I am actually a country singer. For the audience I know things are a little bit blurry because we all have our own names. At times they may not know where the characters end and where we as real people begin. I feel like anything on the show can happen and that is something that I really love. Initially Adam told me about the role and how I would be the girl that was always breaking his heart and that the audience would probably end up hating me. However, until that happens though they are going to torture me. (Laughs) I think in season 1 Adam found out I was up for anything and has really ran with that in season 2.

MG: What do you think it is that makes the show work?
CE: I think for fans of horror there are tons of those references going on within the show. Also though for people who may not necessarily be horror fans there is a whole lot of other stuff going on. Adam did such a good job of creating characters that I am sure everyone can relate to at least one of the characters on the show. I think there is so much heart and real life emotion going on that it makes the show interesting. There is a lot of reality in the show.

MG: What was a highlight for you of season 1?
CE: Laura and I had so much fun with the market basket episode. That was something that came out of rehearsal and Laura not being able to say those lines as English is not her first language. Sometimes little quirky things would come up and she couldn’t tell the difference. They would just let stuff like that go on forever. There were a bunch of really great guests on the first season as well. Tony Todd was great and also getting to meet John Landis was awesome.

MG: Can you give us any updates on season 2 of the show?
CE: We just finished filming. We shot most of the show on sets here in Los Angeles however for the last episode we actually shot in Holliston, Mass. We finished up with a found footage episode so we are running around the woods “Blair Witch” style. It was a fun way to wrap up the season. I am really excited for fans to see the new episodes because it dives much deeper in to the characters and their relationships. When we got done with the table read we were all laughing and crying. There will also be an animated episode this season as well as a holiday special which bridges the gap between the 2 seasons.

MG: Can you tell us a little about your band Broke Down Cadillac?
CE: We are a country/rock band that works out of Nashville. We have a ton fun doing it and we also have had quite a few opportunities to write songs for television and films. It’s really great when I get to put the singing together with the acting. I get to sing one of our songs on the show this year which I am very excited about.