Free Passes to Advance Orlando FL Screening of “Hands of Stone” starring Robert DeNiro

Want to see Robert DeNiro’s latest film before anyone else? Click here to get passes to the screening below! First come first served! Passes are limited!

The advance screening will take place on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17th, 7:30pm @ AMC ALTAMONTE MALL

HANDS OF STONE
In: 8-26-2016, Wide
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Written & Directed by: Jonathan Jakubowicz
Produced by: Jonathan Jakubowicz, Claudine Jakubowicz, Jay Weisleder, Ben Silverman
Cast: Robert DeNiro, Edgar Ramirez, Usher Raymond, Ana de Armas, Ellen Barkin, John Turturro
Genre: Drama, Runtime: ~105min
Rated: R
Synopsis: HANDS OF STONE follows the life of Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez), the Panamanian fighter who made his professional debut in 1968 as a 16 year‐old and retired in 2002 at the age of 50. In June 1980, he defeated Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond) to capture the WBC welterweight title, but shocked the boxing world by returning to his corner in their November rematch, famously saying the words “no mas” (no more.)

Bob Gale reflects on working with Robert Zemeckis on the “Back to the Future” series

I’ve been a huge fan of Bob Gale since the year I graduated high school. That year (1978), he and his writing partner, Robert Zemeckis (who also directed), came out with a small film called “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” a movie which detailed a group of youngsters plotting how to meet the Beatles during their first visit to New York City. Next up for the duo was the Steven Spielberg-directed comedy “1941,” an all-star epic featuring an amazing cast including Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Nancy Allen, Tim Matheson and Treat Willliams.

In 1980 the two wrote (and Zemeckis again directed) the outrageous comedy “Used Cars,” a film still on my top ten list of funniest films ever. Things changed for the duo in 1985 when Universal released “Back to the Future,” a film that spawned two successful sequels, earned Gale and Zemeckis their first Academy Award nominations and made Michael J. Fox a star. While Zemeckis continued on his path to Oscar-winning director, Gale continued to write and produce, eventually moving behind the camera himself.

In the mid 90’s, Gale partnered with Sony Pictures to produce an interactive theatre experience called “Mr. Payback.” I was very fortunate to work for Loews Theatres (owned by Sony) at the time and my theatre was one of the trial theatres for the film. Mr. Payback was a cyborg who punished the bad guys when they needed it. As the story progresses, the audience decides the punishments Mr. Payback dishes out to those who deserve them.

This Saturday evening, April 18, Mr. Gale will be appearing at the Kansas City Film Fest, where he will present a 30th Anniversary screening of “Back to the Future.” As his appearance grew near, we spoke about his early films, the resurrection of “Mr. Payback” and if he has any money on the Cubs winning it all this year.

Mike Smith: Hello.
Bob Gale: You called right on time. You score points for punctuality!

MS: 30 years ago your life was about to change. Did you have any idea that “Back to the Future” was going to be so well received?
BG: (laughing) Hell no! We had a hard enough time getting the movie made when we did. It took us almost three and a half years from when we did the first draft to get the movie into production. People kept telling us that it was a time travel movie and that time travel movies never make any money.
MS: Surprise.
BG: (laughing) Yeah.

MS: Your earlier films, among them “1941” and “Used Cars,” are now considered classic comedies with a great fan base. I actually saw “Used Cars” here in Kansas City when it screened at Showarama.
BG: Oh yeah, we did come out to Showarama to talk “Used Cars.”

MS: Can you explain why some films, especially comedies, sometimes take time to be recognized?
BG: Sometimes it has to do with the marketing. People need a reason to go to a movie. If they could figure out a way to do it right every time more movies would be more successful. I mean, the problem with “Used Cars” is that we opened in half of the country the weekend after the movie “Airplane!” opened. And “Airplane!” got all of the attention. And it should have, it was a very funny picture. Also, in hindsight, “Used Cars” was probably not the best title. You mention “used cars” to people and they have a bad connotation with the concept. Maybe if we’d called the movie “Trust Me” (the campaign slogan of Kurt Russell’s Rudy Russo) it would have done better. And Kurt Russell was not as well-known back then as he is now. And of course, older movies are now more easily accessible, with cable television and all the streaming home video. Now it’s not that hard to search out a movie that somebody has talked about to them.
MS: I would proudly put a RUDY RUSSO bumper sticker on my car!
BG: (laughs heartily)

MS: Tom Wilson (Biff in the “Back to the Future” films) famously sings during his stand-up act that “Back to the Future 4” ain’t happening. Any chance he’s wrong?
BG: No, he’s not wrong. Who would want to see a “Back to the Future” movie without Michael J. Fox in it?
MS: (feeling like an ass because I tried to be cute and instead sounded like an idiot) Wow. I didn’t even think about that.
BG: There you go. Besides, what did you think about “Indiana Jones 4?”
MS: Gotcha.
BG: Sometimes it’s best to just quit while you’re ahead, right?

MS: Any chance they’re ever release the Eric Stoltz footage? (NOTE: for those readers who don’t know, when Michael J. Fox was originally unable to star in “BTTF,” the role of Marty McFly went to Eric Stoltz. Apparently the filmmakers were not happy with Stoltz’s performance and made a deal with the producers of Fox’s television show, “Family Ties,” that allowed Fox to do both the series and the film).
BG: We’re not in a big hurry to do that because it would make Eric look bad. We’re not interested in shining a light on the guy and saying, “Jesus, see how (bad) he was?” We never destroyed the footage. Maybe it will be released after Zemeckis and I are dead. We felt it was of enough historic value that we wouldn’t authorize its destruction.

MS: Last “Back to the Future” question – if you had a chance to get into the DeLorean, where would you go?
BG: (laughs) What day is it? Every day you read about something and you wonder, “Gee, I wonder what really happened back then?” I have to say, I would really love to watch my parents on their first date. There is just something so sadistically voyeuristic about that. I would also like to go back in time to attend a lecture by Mark Twain…I’d like to go to some of the great, old World’s Fairs, to see what they were really like. I’d like to be a time traveling tourist.

MS: I worked for Loews Theatres back east and we were one of the theatres that had “Mr. Payback.”
BG: Wow!
MS: In this day and age, with everything being so interactive, is there any thought of bringing that process back?
BG: I’ve got a DVD where I recorded a couple plays of the show and I periodically take it around and show it to people and say, “Hey, we can do this. We can do this now.” But people still don’t get it. Eventually I think that they will. I do hope so. We were definitely ahead of our time with that thing.

MS: You’ve written for comics. Is it easier as an artist because you don’t have any time constraints? Where normally you’d have a 5-hour movie, now you can just stretch it out over enough issues?
BG: Every medium that you work in has its own rules and restrictions and conventions that you need to be aware of. So is it easier to write for comics then for movies? Not necessarily. There are certainly a lot fewer people that you have to deal with to get to the point where somebody pushes the button and says “let’s go” but you also have the matter of them saying, “OK, we want this series to be finished in four issues” when you thought you were going to have five or six to do it in. Again, you still have marketing to deal with and all kinds of crazy stuff because what it looks like from the outside is never the same as when you get in there.

MS: Finally, what are you working on next?
BG: I’ve got a television pilot I’ve been trying to get off the ground. This year has been so…everyone has been so crazed about “Back to the Future” and its 30th Anniversary…it seems like I can’t get two uninterrupted hours to work on something where I’m not interrupted by a phone call or email or an interview regarding some of the events were putting together for the rest of the year. There’s a fabulous book coming out, on or about October 21st, that is pretty much the definitive “making of” about the trilogy. You’ll see plenty of photos of Eric Stoltz in that. So for everybody that wanted to know what it looked like with him in it, they’ll get a taste of it.

MS: Quick follow-up that just hit me…do you have any money on the Cubs winning the World Series this year? (NOTE: In “BTTF II,” Marty travels to the year 2015 and is surprised to learn that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series that year, beating Miami).
BG: (laughs for a while) No, but interestingly enough, the Miami Marlins…the guys in their promotion department are big “Back to the Future” fans…they’re planning most of their season off of “Back to the Future II,” saying they’re going to rewrite history and win the World Series, not the Cubs. They’re going to do a big promotion at Marlins Park on September 25th (sadly, the Marlins play the Braves that night, not the Cubs). We’re going to go there and throw out the first pitch and they’re even going to make their uniforms look like the way we depicted them in the movie. Now when we made Part II, there was no baseball franchise in Florida, so when we created them we thought they would be the Miami Gators. The plan that I heard was that they were going to make Miami Gators uniforms for that night. But would I ever bet on the Cubs? Not a chance! I’m from St. Louis.
MS: Cardinal fan.
BG: That’s right.
MS: Wow, it must have hurt for you just to write that the Cubs won the World Series.
BG: Not at all. It’s a great joke! But look, here’s the deal. If the Cubs actually get into the World Series, Bob Zemeckis and I will be hailed as visionaries! But if they choke, the joke will remain funny for many more years to come.

MS: Thank you so much for your time. It’s been a real pleasure to speak with you.
BG: Thank you, Mike. It’s always a pleasure to speak with a “Used Cars” fan.
MS: I work for the local electric company and I deal with customers every day and I often find myself quoting Jack Warden to myself.
BG: (in a gruff Jack Warden voice) You don’t know dick!
MS: Exactly. That and “what are you, a f***ing parrot?!”
BG: (laughs)
MS: Have a great day and thanks again.
BG: You too, Mike. Bye. (continues to laugh as he hangs up the phone – I must say it feels so great to hear someone who makes you laugh think you’re funny).

The “Back to the Future” event with the Miami Marlins on September will raise money for Parkinson’s research. Media Mikes would like to ask its readers to please take the time to learn about the disease by visiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation at www.michaeljfox.org Thank you!

Win a Blu-ray of Guy Pearce & Robert Pattinson’s “The Rover [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of Guy Pearce & Robert Pattinson’s “The Rover”, Media Mikes is excited to giveaway one (1) copy of the film on Blu-ray to our readers. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite post apocalyptic film. This giveaway will remain open until October 3rd at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to all of our Media Mikes readers worldwide. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Fueled by engaging performances from Golden Globe nominee Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential) and Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga franchise, Cosmopolis), The Rover is set in a world 10 years into the general collapse of society and follows hardened loner Eric (Pearce) as he travels the desolate towns and roads of the outback. When a gang of thieves steals his car, they leave behind a wounded Rey (Pattinson). Forcing Rey to help track the gang, Eric will go to any lengths to take back the one thing that still matters to him.

Robert Davi talks about “The Goonies” and “The Expendables 3”

Robert Davi is no stranger to the spotlights of Hollywood. Davi whose career started in the mid 1970’s has appeared in everything from television series to feature films. He is probably best known however for his role as Jake Fratelli in the 1985 cult classic “The Goonies”. At the age of 62 Robert shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Media Mikes had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Mr. Davi recently about his venture in to music as well as his upcoming appearances in the films “Doonby” and “The Expendables 3”.

Adam Lawton: Which did you start with first, Music or acting?
Robert Davi: I think they both sort of happened at the same time. Film and music was a concurrent thing in my Italian-American household growing up. In school I really enjoyed language and reading during literature class. Around 8th grade I found my voice and that carried over in to high school. I had a huge passion for both singing and acting. I started performing and actually placed first in the New York State Music Association contest as a voice soloist. From there I started to study opera. I always like to say that in and Italian-American home there are two figures, the Pope and Frank Sinatra and not necessarily in that order. (Laughs) The acting and music really went hand and hand when I first started.

AL: When your acting career started to take precedent was music performance still always in your mind?
RD: Yes. In the back of mind it was always there. You can actually see that with some of my performances like with the character of Jake in “The Goonies”. Those scenes where I sing opera were actually all improvised. Singing was a fun thing to add to that character. I actually told Richard Donner and Steven Spielberg that I wanted to make the character a frustrated opera singer who no one listens to except Sloth down in the basement. (Laughs) They thought the idea was pretty funny.

AL: What do directors think when they realize you have the ability to sing as well as act?
RD: I haven’t really done a lot of films with that yet. Besides doing my recent album I have kept that side of things pretty quiet. I haven’t been out auditioning for Broadway plays or anything like that because I have always had a certain game plan. The first time I actually performed on film outside of the scenes from “The Goonies” was with Chazz Palminteri in “The Duke” which I wrote/produced/directed and appeared in. I wanted that character to be my foray or transition in to the parts of my musical life. I was ready at that point and this film was me dipping my toe in the water. Of course that led to my album “Davi Sings Sinatra- on the Road to Romance. I love performing music.

AL: With music moving to the forefront of your career do you see yourself slowing down in the area of acting?
RD: I have been pretty busy with the acting still. I did a film called “The Iceman” which came out recently and I just got back home from Bulgaria where we were filming “Expendables 3”. I also have a few other films coming out soon and am working on some other projects as well. That includes a script I wrote about music that I will also be in. I do love the music and I think I get more of a kick out of music right now. There is nothing like communicating through a live performance. It’s the best. I have been able to headline the Venetian in Las Vegas; I opened for Don Rickles at The Orleans which was something I had always wanted to do. We really kicked ass that night and I got several standing ovations. It’s been great.

AL: Can you tell us about the new Christmas song you have coming out?
RD: It’s called “New York City Christmas”. The song is really a tribute to New York. How this all started was a gentleman had come to one of my shows and he wrote a tremendous review of the show. This guy’s dad was actually the guy who ran the famous Copa Cabana night club. He had this song he had written and his uncle new I was a singer so he mentioned my name to him. He ended up coming over to my house to play the song for me. It sounded sort of like a bad Bob Dylan song. (Laughs) However there was something in it. I knew if we could do it as a swing tune with a big band that it could work. It’s hard for people to accept a brand new Christmas song but I feel this has a classic touch to it and if it gets the right attention it will have a shot. The artist Steve Penley did the cover art for it and he did a terrific job. I think the song is going to be a great lift for New York City.

AL: Can you give us some info on the film you did recently titled “Doonby”?
RD: The people doing the film came to me about working on it. I knew they were hitting a subject matter without being preachy in anyway. Instead they were showing things from an alternative view. It took on the prolife issue and really looks at it differently. The film shows us how each life matters. That appealed to me. The film wasn’t judgmental in anyway. I was able to wear a cowboy hat and have a little bit of fun with the role. (Laughs) It was quite a bit different than another film I did recently called “The Iceman”. On that film I was able to work with people like Ray Liotta, Michael Shannon and Winona Ryder. The film is the true story of Richard Kuklinski who was a serial killer for the mob. That was a really cool film to work on. “Doonby” was also fun but in a different way.  Writer/Director Peter Mackenzie had such enthusiasm.

AL: You also just finished work on “The Expendables 3”.  What can you tell us without giving anything away?
RD: I have known Sly for many, many years now. My 12 year old son is a huge “Expendables” fan. He just loves those films. This was a film I had to be in! (Laughs) In the film I play the character of Goran Vogner who is head of the Albanian Mafia. That is a great group to be a part of.

AL: What type of process do you take when preparing for your roles?
RD: With every role I do research. For instance for my character in “Doonby” I talked to a friend of mine who is the head of the FBI in that area. I talked with guys who were transplanted in to that area in an effort to pick up a subtle type of accent. The rest of the role comes from your imagination. Some roles do require more research than others. If I have played a similar role in the past there may be less prepping needed. For “Expendables 3” I had never played an Albanian mafia character before. I was able to consult with people from that world and learn their mind set and behavior. Those are some pretty tough guys.

AL: Looking back on your work in “The Goonies” did you ever expect the film to be still relevant almost 30 years after its initial release and what was like working on that set?
RD: I remember very vividly while we were still shooting Richard Donner telling me that this film was going to be a classic like “The Wizard of Oz”. That film was such a great time and everyone who worked on it was just so wonderful to work with. The only real pain in the ass was Joe Pantoliano. (Laughs) he and I went at it which was good for the movie. That’s actually how we got the roles. During the casting of the film they were pairing guys up and he and I got matched up together. What you see in the film is what we were. That line from the film about Francis’s toupee was completely improvised. (Laughs) Anne Ramsey was lovely also. I told her that every time my character spoke I wanted her to slap me. (Laughs) Everyone was just great and getting to work with guys like Richard, Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall all on this one film was amazing.

AL: Besides your Christmas single are there any other projects of yours we can be watching for?
RD: I am working on another album which should be coming out next. I have a film that I wrote called “the Voice” coming out. Of course “The Expendables 3” is coming out on August 15th. I will be working on some other shows as well as touring Australia with my music. I have a bunch of stuff going on worldwide and new stuff pops up every day.

 

Escape the Fate’s Robert Ortiz talks about new album “Ungrateful”

Robert Ortiz is the drummer for the heavy metal band Escape the Fate who in May of this year released their fourth studio album titled “Ungrateful”. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Robert recently to discuss the album and the bands current tour with Five Finger Death Punch.

Adam Lawton: What have things been like for the band since signing with Eleven Seven Music?
Robert Ortiz: Well it’s been interesting. They have really backed us as we have had a rough year sorting out new management and it’s been kind of hard to get all of our visions across. We are now with 10th St. which is kind of like a partner with Eleven Seven. Since joining with them full force, everything has been moving forward and on track. It’s obvious that they are working hard to make sure that all of our art gets out to as many people in as many ways as possible.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands current tour with Five Finger Death Punch?
RO: Well were really fucking stoked on it! Five Finger Death Punch is personally one of my favorite bands out right now. They are really killing it right now and it’s a huge opportunity that they are giving us. So far their fans are definitely connecting with us and it feels like our first tour again. Were having to win new fans over again every night and it’s been just amazing.

AL: Now that the album “Ungrateful” has been out for a bit are there any songs from the album that you really enjoy playing live and if so why?
RO: It’s very weird because there are songs you love to play because of the energy and there are songs you like that are slower but more emotionally involved. The songs off “Ungrateful” are very uncomfortable to play. They are not hard but just awkward. I can’t play them as freely as most our old shit. While I love playing the songs I am thinking a lot while I am playing them. “Fire It Up” is probably my favorite though. It’s the epitome of what I just explained.

AL: Can you tell us what it was like working with Patrick Stump and Mick Mars? And will the track you did with Mars ever be available?
RO: The track we did with Mick will most likely not ever see daylight. It’s very rough and we have kind of moved on from where our heads were at during that time. But I can tell you it was fucking amazing working with him. It was crazy to be around such a character. Patrick Stump is a fucking genius. He looks at music in such a different way. Patrick focuses so much on the heart of the song and what it is about. We sat down and figured out exactly what we wanted to say. From there the melodies came very easily. It was just so simple but, coming from guys who love to riff it was such a different approach. He is so fucking good!

AL: Does the band have any other plans for the remainder of 2013?
RO: As far as I see right now tour, tour, tour. We have a very special one coming up early next year that has yet to be announced. I know our diehard fans will lose their when the news is released so be on the lookout for that.

Win Two Free Tickets to see Robert Redford in “All is Lost”

To celebrate the upcoming release of Robert Redford’s latest film “All is Lost”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway two free tickets to see the film in theaters. If you would like to enter for your chance to win this great prize, please leave us a comment or send us an email with your stories of survival or worst fears. This giveaway will remain open until October 28th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Academy Award® winner Robert Redford stars in All Is Lost, an open-water thriller about one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea. But with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.

Written and directed by Academy Award nominee J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) with a musical score by Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), All Is Lost is a gripping, visceral and powerfully moving tribute to ingenuity and resilience.

All Is Lost opens in NY and LA October 18, nationwide October 25th.

Robert Trachtenberg talks about working on American Masters’ “Mel Brooks: Make A Noise”

Robert Trachtenberg is the Writer, director, producer and editor on the latest American Masters special “Mel Brooks: Make A Noise”. Robert has made several films for “American Masters” including specials on Cary Grant, Gene Kelly & George Cukor. He is a bestselling author (“When I Knew”) and award-winning photographer. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Robert about his work with Mel Brooks and his love for photography.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up working on “Mel Brooks: Make A Noise” for American Masters?
Robert Trachtenberg: Susan Lacy, who is executive producer of the series, had secured Mel. She thought my sense of humor would pair up nicely with his, so she called and asked ifI’d like to direct the film.

MG: What is it like working with a legend like Mel Brooks?
RT: The old saying, “comedy is serious business” is true: he’s very professional, actually very “Old Hollywood” in the way he runs things. We’d meet once a month, film for as long as he could stand, and then do it again the following month.

MG: How much footage was shot to make up this 1 1/2 hour special?
RT: We shot about thirty hours of interviews just with Mel alone over a four month period.

What is your favorite Mel Brooks film?
RT: Probably YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN – I think it’s the most fully realized of all his films.

MG: How long did it take to get that excellent shot of Carl Reiner & Mel Brooks?
RT: They gave me ten minutes! Guys who cut their teeth in live television have zero patience for an entire shoot – they expect everything to happen fast.

MG: How does this compare from your American Masters specials for Gene Kelly and Cary Grant?
RT: This time my subject was alive so that made a big difference. It’s impossible to compare in that Mel required a completely different approach – I knew if I asked the questions correctly, I wouldn’t need to rely on critics and academics in the interviews, for example. I really wanted Mel to tell his own story, firsthand. If I did my job right, he would be honest and candid about what worked and what didn’t in his career.

MG: I am a big fan of your photography; what does it take to get the perfect shot?
RT: I think the ability to work on your feet – you go in with one idea, and then it can quickly morph into something completely different due to a variety of factors. And you have to be malleable to that.

MG: I have to ask what was it like photographing Larry Hagman?
RT: Perfect example – for some reason I thought he’d be serious, and he couldn’t have been more of a lovable goofball.

MG: Do you have plans to write and direct more in the future?
RT: Definitely. I love that Director’s Guild health insurance!

Robert Redford, Stanley Tucci, Brit Marling and Jackie Evancho talk about new film “The Company You Keep”

Opening in New York and Los Angeles on April 5th, “The Company You Keep” tells the story of Jim Grant, a former member of radical sixties group The Weather Underground. Thirty years ago the Weathermen were involved with a bank robbery that turned fatal and Jim is brought out of hiding when another former member (Susan Sarandon) finally turns herself in. Jim must go on the run from both the authorities and a young truth-seeking journalist (played by Shia LeBeouf) to clear his name and reunite with his young daughter (Jackie Evancho). Along the way, he turns to other ex-Weatherman played by an array of veteran actors including Julie Christie, Richard Jenkins, Sam Elliot, Nick Nolte and Chris Cooper. Redford, joined co-stars Stanley Tucci, Brit Marling and Jackie Evancho at a press conference in New York this week to discuss the film.

What do you want people to take from this movie about the legacy of the Weather Underground?
Robert Redford: “There are a probably a number of things to take away. To simplify, I’d probably say the first thing would be that they would think. Some films are made not necessarily to think but it’s like eating cotton candy. You have a wonderful ride and then it’s over and that’s all you really want. And other films are designed in a way to at least make you ask a question afterwards. Or think about what’s happening and maybe start a dialogue with someone. I think maybe that’s what I’d prefer, it’s not always possible. So that’s would be the first thing and the second thing has to do with a criticism that I have for my own country. I don’t think we’re very good at looking at history as a lesson that we learn, so that we don’t repeat a negative historical experience. We’re not good at that. And looking back in time and saying ‘Well, this happened then, what can we learn from that?’ I just think it’s an American tradition to be so busy pushing forward and driving forward and doing, doing, doing. They don’t look back and say ‘Gee, what could I learn from the mistake that I made before?’ So I guess the hope, that’s all it can be, is the hope that you look back in this moment in time–which, by the way when this happened, I was of that age. I was of them in spirit. But because I was starting a career in the New York theater as an actor at that time and I was also starting to raise a family, I was obligated to that task so I wasn’t a part of it. But I was certainly empathetic to what they were doing. I thought it was a wrong war. I thought that it was a war that was going to cost unnecessary lives. It was also a war that was designed by people that had never gone to war. And it had a lot to with kind of a tragic history of the United States with the mistakes it’s made, they never seem to learn by. So that was my own personal criticism about my country and my history. So I guess I would hope that you would look back
on this time, it’s not about what happened then because it’s about thirty years later…There’s a wonderful poem by Yates, one of my favorite poems, there’s a line that says because he was so sick of what was happening to Ireland. He could see that calm Ireland was about to be disrupted by vandalism, by revolt, by revolution and that Ireland would never be the same. And so he was bemoaning that by taking a conservative stance. So he says…’The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity’. And I thought that was a nice thing for me to play with. Because people who were filled with that passion and intensity were all older and look back. They’re trapped by their past because in order to stay free from the law they go underground with a false name. But how long can you live without you true identity? And that’s what interested me to tell that story not then but now.”

Brit Marling was also intrigued by the idea of aging activists in this film:

Brit Marling: “
…When I read the script I was really moved by the idea of the Weather Underground and how it’s not set back then but it’s set in present day as this group has sort of come into age of wisdom and experience and are looking back wondering about the radicalism of their youth and did they make the right choices? And would they do it differently now? Which, I think my generation is grappling with a lot of the same ideas. So I was very attracted to that part of the story.”

Redford likened his character’s thirty year evasion of the law to that of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, a favorite story of his:
Robert Redford:  “I just thought from the time I was a little kid that was one of the greatest stories. So I saw similarities in Shia LeBeouf’s character is inspector Javert in Les Miserables and then I am Jean Valjean in the sense that I go to prison for something I’ve done that’s wrong, I escape, I take on a new identity to escape prison time, I live a clean life, I have a daughter, the daughter means everything to me…I had to give up another daughter before she meant too much for me to give up, that was painful, I don’t want to make that mistake again. So here it is, this means everything to me and yet there’s someone on my tail that might expose me in a way that makes it impossible for me to have the true love of my daughter and a clean, clear life. So that was the complexity that sparked me to make this film.”

Behind Shia LeBeouf’s reporter is his editor as played by Stanley Tucci who spoke about his role:
Stanley Tucci: Shia and I worked one day and we went and did it. But the scenes are very straight-forward. I think that, you know, he is the sort of classic curmudgeonly, exhausted editor. I think particularly in this day and age, he’s an interesting character because he’s the last of a dying breed. You’re not going to see those guys too much anymore.
Redford: …Just want to add something, he talks about the energy–Shia’s energy, which is extreme. Shia has a fast mind and a fast tongue. And for Stanley to work with that and still be the character he had to play. He had to be a man in control within an industry that was going out of control, which adds it’s own dynamic, but the fact that he could manage the energy by creating a counter-energy. As Shia got more crazed, Stanley, if you watch the film, Stanley goes the other way. So it creates a dynamic. When Shia slows down, Stanley goes for his throat. I just enjoyed watching.

The youngest star of the movie, Jackie Evancho is better known for her musical success since she was introduced on tv’s “America’s Got Talent”. Seeing her perform on TV prior to filming, Redford knew he’d found his screen daughter.
Redford:  “I said ‘Woah wait a minute, what’s this?’ because I don’t watch much television, so I look at this and then the camera–she’s singing Puccini! And I’m thinking ‘How does that work?’ And so the camera pulls back and there’s this symphony hall and there’s this huge orchestra in this symphony hall and this creature standing there just belting this music out there. It was so powerful…If somebody who has that composure, who can do that in front of that kind of an audience, with that kind of register, with that kind of complexity, maybe that could work. So anyway, to make a long story short, I contacted the agent, the casting person, I said ‘Find out who this person is, where she is.’ They find out she lives in Pittsburgh with her parents, they live a normal life except when she had to do these shows and they went out and taped her. They taped her, I don’t think they knew what was going on. Jackie can speak to that. They sent the tape back, it was clear she didn’t know what was going on and I thought, I don’t care, there’s something–I’m going to take this chance. She was hired on Tuesday, she came, we filmed on Wednesday. We filmed the first day I met her and I can only tell you, from that point on I figured I am one lucky man, because she turned out to be absolutely lovely…We just played together we just became people who could play together, who could have fun together and improvise together. So I ended up the beneficiary of a risk taken on Jackie.”
Jackie Evancho: All I can say was I was extremely honored to have a chance to actually act with you guys. That I was really really excited that I got the role and I just really had a lot of fun so, thank you.

Being only twelve years old, Jackie was asked if she was familiar with the name Robert Redford or his most famous films.
Jackie Evancho: Well, my dad, he always talked about it with his brothers he just would like goof around and stuff. So when I heard the name, I wasn’t very familiar with it, I shouldn’t say “it”! …The only thing that I knew was my dad was like ‘He played a cowboy.’ And that’s all I knew. I actually thought that it was an amazing honor.

Did you during the making of the film have any positive thoughts about the country and journalism?
Robert Redford: Positive? I don’t about positive so much as valuable. Because I consider journalism as so valuable. I would almost–I don’t want to be too much ego here–but I would almost take it personally if journalism failed itself. Because that’s the one avenue we have to the truth. So if I’m going to portray journalism in a film, it’s tricky business…Then you want to at least give it it’s due. Then describe the threats that are maybe against it. So in this case, the idea of Shia’s character was to me more interesting if it was complicated by the fact that is he going after the story for his own personal advertisement? Is he going after it for just getting the story? He should dance with that as he moves forward and what should be unmistakeable is what he learns about himself. In his pursuit about finding somebody else, what does he learn about himself that may change him? That was exciting to me but you have to be careful, I think you have to be careful about when you’re dealing with journalism… You have to test certain things and then back away and let the audience go with it. What they’re going to do with it.

Robert Carlyle talks about his role in film “California Solo”

Robert Carlyle is a wonderful character actor known for his role in projects like “Trainspotting”, “The Full Monty”, ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”. In his new film “California Solo”, he plays a washed-out ex-Britpop rocker-turned-farm worker. This role is honestly one of his most revealing and honest to date. Robert took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about the role and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Where did you pull your inspiration for Lachlan MacAldonich in “California Solo”?
Robert Carlyle: I was fortunate, in the respect, to have known a lot of people who are involved in that world like the Gallagher brothers of Oasis and Ian Brown from The Stone Roses. It was interesting for me to then try and realize what their live would have been like had they fucked up and ended up on a farm in Los Angeles. The role was written very honestly and also believable. He doesn’t like to talk about his past rocker life and just works on this farm. So it was interesting for me to re-examine that aspect of the character. The only similarities between Lachlan and me are that we both have failed at points in our career. But it was very interesting for me to dive into a character like him.

MG: Did you know writer/director Marshall Lewy before he wrote the role with you in mind?
RC: No I didn’t at all. I read the script and I remember thinking about halfway about the role that it is wasn’t going to be me, it better be somebody really fucking like me [laughs]. I spoke with my manager after reading it and found out he wrote it with me in mind. Well maybe not so much with me in mind but with the characters that I have played in the past. Lachlan certainly shares a lot of emotions with characters that I played back in the UK and still do to this very day. I am kind of known for that, in a sense, that I am able to give characters voices that maybe do not have one.

MG: The film has quite the emotional journey for Lachlan, was it a challenging character to portray?
RC: It certainly was! I think there are 96 or 97 scenes in the film and I am in 96 of them [laughs]. So that was a bit of an ask. I was a little bit concerned about that and spoke with Marshall about it. He stuck by his word and thought that it would work well. He believed we needed to see all aspects of this character. You see the certain side of the charm that Lachlan has got. Then you see the hopeless side of him, due to the way his drinks. But overall you get to see all aspects of this man, which I think makes it very interesting.

MG: Your are known for your chameleon-like ability to portray a wide range of characters; do these roles always find you or do you seek them out?
RC: I have been very lucky with that aspect and I am fortunate. I have never been the type of guy who would go around and knock on doors. I just look for roles that have honesty and really challenge me to do something different.

MG: You also sing the title song for the film, written by Adam Franklin, tell us about that?
RC: That was actually the scariest part of this role [laughs]. In the end though, it was kind of liberating. It was shot towards the end of production in the last few days. I didn’t use a voice coach to find my singing voice. I didn’t even know what my own signing voice was. But what you hear in the film is exactly what we shot. Plus Lachlan was never meant to be a singer. He is the guitar player, so he didn’t need to really have a perfect voice. However, I was quite pleased with it.

MG: How was it going from a role like “California Solo” to Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold in “Once Upon a Time”?
RC: It is quite a leap. It is fantastic to be on a show like that. In the early 90’s, I wanted to take on roles that were very different from what I did last. I wanted to build up a background with good versatility. As the years have gone on, I hopefully have shown that I am able to play parts like Rumpelstiltskin and he is a culmination of that. He is the most out-there and certainly the most theatrical role that I have ever been given. So I am just looking forward to continuing that and hopefully playing it well.

Robert Z’Dar reflects on the cult status of the “Maniac Cop” series

Robert Z’Dar is known best for playing the role of Matt Cordell in the cult series “Maniac Cop”. Robert took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about his films and also what he is currently working on.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect on the cult status of the “Maniac Cop” series?
Robert Z’Dar: It’s been amazing. When the first 2 films were released here in the states theatrically it was great. Going to places like the airport people would know who I was but they didn’t know my name. It was kind of funny. They would say “there’s that guy”. I still sign a lot of autographs these days. We got introduced to a whole generation recently that loves the films. Over the last 3 years this whole new cult following has been established.

MG: Can you tell us any stories from the production of the films?
RZ: While we were working on “Maniac Cop 2” I was on set the first day of shooting and we were in thiswarehouse. I was reading while the other cast was eating because I couldn’t really talk or anything as a slit hadn’t been cut into the mouth of my makeup. Robert Davi goes over and says that he doesn’t think there’s a hole in mouth and that they should probably feed the maniac because he looked like he was going to kill somebody. I go over mumbling asking if they are going to cut a hole in my mouth or was I going to have to kill them. Everyone started laughing and the makeup crew came over and gave me a slit so I could eat and talk.

MG: Were you approached to do a 4th film?
RZ: Yes, they wanted me to do a 4th one however I can’t do all the same stunts I used to be able to do. I did all my own stuff except for the burn scenes in the first films. I had been with the American Stunt Association for about 15 years. That’s probably why I am so banged up now. I have two metal hips and now they want to give me a metal shoulder. As I was about to do the film I was diagnosed with neck cancer. I was given about a 35% chance to live. I did a lot of praying prior to my treatments and everything went really well. The doctor couldn’t believe how well I have healed. As of right now I am cancer free. I am getting back in to shape and I have a bunch of movies that I am ready to start work on.

MG: What are your thoughts on the proposed “Maniac Cop” remake?
RZ: Everybody wants so much money for the rights. Greed has gotten the best of a lot of people and that’s the reason why there haven’t been more films in the series.

MG: What do you like most about working in the horror genre?
RZ: I have done 4 or 5 horror films. I seem to play a lot of bad guys. Over the past 5 years or so I have gotten some really great roles in some independent films. There is one called “Precious Mettle” which is in the process of securing financing. The film is a great dramatic, who done it? type film. I play a firefighter whose buddy is killed. It has a number of twists and turns. The cast is made up of quite a few well known old school actors.

MG: What do you think has been your most challenging role to
date?
RZ: Every movie I do I try to pull something that will showcase my craft while at the same time entertaining people. However my biggest challenge was beating cancer.

MG: What other things do you have going on?
RZ: I did a film called “Drummer for the Mob” which was produced by Bruce Koehler. The film has some great locations that are old mob type places. William Forsythe is in the film and he is just such a great actor. That film should be coming out sometime in the fall of this year. I also have one called “Ring of Fire” that is in the works as well. There is just a bunch of stuff going on right now. I really love my work.

Robert Englund chats about new film “Lake Placid: The Final Chapter” and reflects on playing Freddy Krueger

Robert Englund is known best for his iconic role of Freddy Krueger in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series.  Robert is such a legend in the horror genre.  He is co-starring in Syfy’s “Lake Placid: The Final Chapter”, which airs on September 29th.  Robert took out some time to chat about the film and reflect on his career and his alter ego Freddy Krueger.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with “Lake Placid: The Final Chapter”?
Robert Englund: Well, I’ve been involved with the SyFy channel several times over the years. I’ve pitched projects to them and recently I just pitched a reality show to them, and I’ve done TV movies for them. Every boy has to fight his giant snake, his killer bees, and when they called me to fight giant alligators, I signed up. I was at a premiere for a film in Barcelona with my wife and all I had was a tuxedo, and a dress suit, and a couple of shirts, and a couple of pairs of underwear when I got the call for Lake Placid. So I went directly from Barcelona, with hardly any luggage, to Sofia, Bulgaria. And there is a lake just outside the capital of Bulgaria, that’s exactly like, it’s the exact same kind of geological features as Maine. It’s got that rocky shoreline and the exact same kind of pine trees. It’s amazing, I thought I was – I was looking around for lobster rolls it looked so much like Maine. I showed up and there was the lovely Elisabeth Rohm, who I had a crush on since the first time I saw her, you know, in court on Law and Order. And Yancy Butler, who I’ve known – not known, but I’ve run into over the years at Comic-Con and things because she had such a huge fan boy following with Witchblade, and we just all got to work. We worked real hard, real long days, because we were losing Indian Summer. We had a little bit of Indian Summer in the beginning, and it started getting pretty cold. We were all on the water all the time. Because that’s where the gators are, but yeah, it was really fun, you know, and the coincidence was when I got there and got picked up at the airport. It was guys I’d worked for years ago, you know, in a giant snake movie. So now they have a big huge studio, over there in Eastern Europe, and they’re doing real well. In fact they shooting, Expendables right when we were wrapping, Expendables 2 came in and used a lot of our crew towards the end. So things are hopping in Romania.

MG: Tell us about shooting this film, was it difficult on a low budget?
RE: Well, yes and no. What you have to understand is, if you’re shooting in Detroit or you’re shooting in Louisiana. Or you’re shooting in New Mexico, you know, you get these great tax rebates. And the same thing happens in Europe. Sometimes it’s just because it’s so beautiful there and you get this enhanced production value. And even though we had to pay to fly everybody over there, there’s already a huge studio and production company in Sofia, Bulgaria. They’d been shooting a couple of Lake Placids there. So you get a big bang for your buck, which is nice. So you work hard and there is that problem of language with the foreign crew that you’re dealing with. And also just explaining yourself, or your taste, or trying to describe what you might require in terms of wardrobe or something. Because sometimes idioms can get convoluted. And so you’re always dealing with that, but I’ve done a lot of movies in Europe now. So I’m kind of an old hand at that. I did a giant snake movie with these guys years ago. And even they had realized that Anaconda had a huge fan base, you know, the J-Lo film. And they already, a low budget version that we’re doing, they had a better snake effect than the movie Anaconda. Because that’s how fast and how quickly the technology grows in CGI and animation right now. If you watch a movie like Starship Troopers now, with my friend Casper Van Diem, you know, it looks old fashioned now. You can actually see the same bug getting shot, that they’ve used over and over again. Because CGI was so expensive back then. It’s kind of like the old cowboy movies where you see the same Indian getting shot off a horse as he circles the wagon train. And they show it like maybe 2 minutes later in the sequence as if we haven’t seen that before. Because they only had that stunt twice, and they use it again later in the movie. And it’s like, “Wait a minute, I saw that Indian get shot. I saw that fall, I saw him get his ankle caught in the stirrup and get dragged. I remember that.” And it’s the same thing with old CGI now, you see the repetition shots where they used them. Or you can kind of see where the mat just flips and continues the same foreground action in the background, slightly out of focus. Because they didn’t have enough soldiers in Troy that day. And so when I do these new movies, if I’m doing a SyFy channel movie with killer bees or giant alligators. It looks better than the last giant alligator in a feature film, you know, because that’s one of the reasons they do it. Because they figured out a better way to do it. And even though the movie may be less expensive, and a little exploitative, many times you’re actually getting a better effect.

MG: If Jim Bickerman crossed paths with Freddy, what would his first words be to him? And if Freddy crossed paths with Jim, what would he think of him?
RE: Well, Jim Bickerman is a pretty ornery guy. And he obviously would have to meet Freddy in his dreams, and I think Jim Bickerman’s dreams are probably pretty strange. He’s a dirty old man that Jim Bickerman, as you saw in the film. So there’s probably some point where Jim Bickerman like of, they both like them teenage girls. They’re bad boys. So I’m sure that Jim Bickerman, before Freddy killed him would want to join forces with Freddy. Maybe Freddy could turn Jim Bickerman and the two of them could work together. I don’t know if it would be Bickerman versus Krueger. Freddy is always going to win, and once you fall asleep Freddy gets the drop on you.

MG: Throughout your career has there been anything that has given you nightmares or maybe something that you are scared of?
RE: Nothing really scares me. When I did the first Nightmare film, I mean there’s films that scare me, I just even got a jolt the other night watching Cabin in the Woods. And I remember the original Alien got me several times, and I was a grown up when I saw that, and I dragged my poor father to see it. But now, when I was in the makeup for the original Freddy, I fell asleep, we were shooting nights. And I fell asleep trying to get a nap and the AD banged on the door and said, “Mr. Englund hurry up we’re going to try and get this shot before the sun comes up.” And I sat up, and I forgot, this was during the first film, forgetting I was in this make-up. I sat up with, you know, that kind of bad breath you have after a little nap, and I rolled off of my cot in my little tiny, you know, honey wagon dressing room. And there in the recesses, in the forced perspective of my make-up mirror, opposite my bunk, surrounded by dim light bulbs – make-up light bulbs, that had been cranked down on the dimmer. I saw this old bald man with scars and burns all over him looking back at me. I kind of went, “Oh geez.” And I put my hand on my head and so did he. So it became this sort of nightmarish Marx brothers routine. And it literally took me about the count of 5 or 6 to kind of come out of that semi-conscious state you’re in when you wake up real fast. And, you know, when you’re fighting for the alarm clock. That kind of moment of time. I was very disoriented. The point of this story is that moment, looking into the mirror, which I recovered from in 5 to 6 seconds, but that moment, I can remember it like it was yesterday. And occasionally, and I don’t want to like guilt the lily here, but occasionally that does enter into my subconscious and it does get into a dream, or it comes in as a random image that’s still stored in my brain somewhere. Because it was so disorienting. There’s that funny distancing of where I was sitting, and then the mirror 2 or 3 feet from me. And then in an equally far back and deep in the mirror Freddy, looking back at Robert. Because I was Robert obviously. But that really was a strange moment, and it was so early in the film experience for me, of horror films. I had been doing a lot of very normal fair up until then, except for science fiction. That really did disorient me, and it did stay with me, and do a little kind of a – I think there’s a definite crease in my gray matter that makes a home for that image.

MG: With you being a horror icon and legend; Do you ever kind of feel pressured to hold up that title? How would you feel that the genre has changed over the years for you?
RE: Well I get a lot of scripts, in fact, as I’m talking to you right now I’m behind one script at least. And there is one that I have to download and print out. But, I don’t like feel a pressure. The back of my mind, I’m always looking. I’m trying to help out right now with a project, I did a cult film a couple of years ago called Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. That’s really a great, smart film. And so I – the sequel script to that is just phenomenal. It’s the second best sequel script of something I’ve done I’ve seen in a long, long time. There was a great one years ago for a great contemporary spinoff of Phantom of the Opera. I had done a Phantom of the Opera over in Europe and the follow-up script – the reason I did the original was because the follow-up script was so strong and interesting and really great contemporary version of an extension of the Phantom of the Opera legend and myth. But this one, you know, so I’m always kind of looking Mike. I’ve always got one eye peeking or one ear open for something that I want to do in horror. That’s different, or that I just think – even if it’s derivative is really strong. And also because I get – to be honest with you, when I do a genre piece I get a bigger pay day. Than if I’m just guest starring on, you know, Criminal Minds or Hawaii Five-0, or Bones or something. Then I’m just Robert Englund, character actor again. And when I do my little horror movies like Inkubus, that I brought out last Halloween on DVD, when I do my little down and dirty horror movies I’m getting more money. Or when I got over to Europe to play a Prince in some strange cult film in Spain or something, it’s a nice payday for me. So I do make an effort to do one or two a year, just on an economic level let alone. But I’m always looking, I’m always looking for that new one. I spent a year and a half in Italy scouting locations, and casting, and talking to Christopher Lee, and Donald Sutherland, for a project back in 2006/2007 that did not come to fruition. And that was very disappointing for me, you know, that takes a lot out of you when you get to be my age, spending a year of your life. I’m obviously turning down other projects if I’m trying to develop something. So, you kind of have to be careful. So I just now see the stuff that’s sent to me. I’m not really developing it on my own. But I am always checking the stuff that’s sent to me and trying to keep current on that.

MG: Looking back at your iconic role of Freddy Krueger, have you ever regretting taking this role?
RE: No, I’ve never regretted taking the role or my association with the great Wes Craven, and the success it brought me. You know, both economic and career success. Now, am I somewhat funneled into genre films, yes I am. I’ve done, I’ve done, I think I’m about to do, I’m about to start my 77th movie. Feature length film. And I think literally if you added up all my horror movies I think it’s less than 20. So horror movies less than 20, there’s another 55 films that I’ve done. Now, a couple of those are sci-fi, some of them are thrillers, you know, some of them are a little bit fantasy. But most of them are just other movies that I’ve done. And, or TV movies. I’ve done a lot of quality TV movies as well. So they’re not really out and out horror. So, but the thing that I’ve been telling people that this happy accident for me is the fact that after I got out of the make-up and I got enough baggage and enough reputation that I’ve sort of become like a surrogate Vincent Price, a surrogate Klaus Kinski. A go to guy for those roles, and somebody has to do that and you know, we don’t really have a Cary Grant, or a Steve McQueen anymore. But if I can kind of fit into Vincent Price’s loafers, or Klaus Kinski’s boots a little bit. Even if it’s a low budget genre film, which both of those gentlemen did a lot of. I can remember seeing Dr. Phibes, you know, (unintelligible) the day it came out. I’m happy to be that guy. I do a lot of other things. Tomorrow I go to work on a little send-up spoof on workaholics for comedy central. And I’ve been guest starring on all of the top 10 shows in the last year. You know, I’ve been on Criminal Minds, and Bones, and Hawaii Five-0 doing just guest starring on those, doing normal roles. So, it’s fun for me to do these. And I’ll be honest with you guys, I get paid better. If I do a horror movie or a science fiction movie, I get paid more because I fill the seats. Especially in certain countries, I can still open a movie, for instance, in Spain and Italy, and even in Germany to a degree. So that, there’s enough genre fans there, and they’ve been fans long enough. And as long as our sort of early Comic-Con fans, that that’s just another benefit that I bring to the table.

MG: With people being so desensitized in films and horror. What would you say it takes to make a good scary movie these days?
RE: Well scary is subjective. I think there is room now for all different splits. Just like there is in music. You know, Lake Placid has some real jumps in it. Lake Placid 4, we’ve got some real jumps in it. And there’s something really primal. That’s about a part of the brain that goes back to when we were reptiles. It’s an instinct that we have. And there’s also a little something in us that makes us afraid of snakes, and afraid of spiders, and afraid of alligators, and crocodiles. And so those thrills come easy in ours. But there’s also room for the fun. There’s a certain amount of fun, I think, a little bit of undercurrent fun in a Lake Placid movie. I mean, we kill our teenagers, but there’s a little bit of fun in it too. I think there has to be room for all of these. I just saw a very clever movie last week on demand, with a cocktail in one hand and a cold pizza slice in the other, and my wife with her head in my lap. We watched The Cabin in the Woods and I really thought it was clever, and smart, and well-acted, and sexy. And it scared me, at least three or four times. It really got me, and I’m hard to get. Some things can be creepy though, there’s creepy scary. The great director Lucky McKee, very underrated. A film called May, he did a film called May that really is a creepy, creepy great film. So I like that too, you know, and sometimes I’m a little more distanced from films and I just love them for the actual film-making in them. And they may not scare me as much, but they may have a creepy factor too. The Brian DePalma film Sisters. That movie really kind of works on me. There’s something hypnotic about that film. Plus the split screen and the use of microfiche flashbacks in a dream sequence that was induced by drugs. There’s a really great, primal, primitive, early, kind of hallucinogenic hypnotizing quality to that. You know, you see that in old George Steven’s movies, and you see it even in classic films like Black Narcissus. Sometimes those movies become hypnotic. There’s something kind of hypnotic even in the recent Kirsten Dunst film Melancholia. But I like that, when that starts to happen to me in horror and science fiction, you know, I think Cameron can get into that. I’ve seen Cameron get into that before. I think especially in the Alien movies, there’s a point where there’s no dialogue for so long and time is suspended. And we hear the breathing. And I love that, that really, I love that disorienting, hypnotic quality of films. And that’s just as effective to me as horror or the cheap thrills scare. The William Castle lunge into frame, you know?

MG: I’m actually a huge fan of “Behind the Mask”. I’m actually a backer on the sequel. So I can’t wait for that to come out…
RE: Well I’m telling you, the script is phenomenal. Because it plays with the great pun that fans love of doppelgangers. So there’s actually actors playing us, the actors who played the parts in the original. Making a movie, about the story of the original. About Leslie Vernon and his tale. And we’ve been hired as technical advisors. And the whole project is being filmed by a Making of crew of a cable channel. So it’s a movie, within a movie, within a movie. And it’s all during the making of a movie, on the location of the movie. In the motel with all of the cast and the crew. And they start going down like ten little Indians. It’s really layered, and rich, and fun. And there’s a great gimmick with the actor they’re going to get to play, the actor, the Hollywood actor who will be playing Leslie Vernon. He gets to finally have a showdown with the real Leslie Vernon, which I think is fun. And you won’t know who he is, because he’s a method actor. He wears the mask for the whole movie, it’s really fun.

MG: What else do you have planned next?
RE: Tell people to look for me in Sanitarium with Malcolm McDowell, and John Glover, and Lou Diamond Phillips, and I’m off to shoot this, which is very kind of M. Night Shyamalan-ian. I’m going to be doing that next month, and yeah, and everybody tune in and check out. It’s really fun. Lake Placid 4, yeah. Freddy versus Yancy Butler. Thanks a lot.

Interview with Robert “Bucket” Hingley

Robert “Bucket” Hingley is guitarist/vocalist for the popular ska band The Toasters. The band recently celebrated its 30th year anniversary and our out on the road bringing their brand of NYC ska to the masses. Media Mikes caught up with Bucket to discuss the bands history and their future plans.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the band’s current tour?
Robert Hingley: We are currently making our way out to California where we have shows booked in both San Diego and Los Angeles. The tour is about 45 dates which have all been rolled into what is the second part of our 30th anniversary tour.

AL: What is the bands line up for this tour?
RH: The band is Thad Merritt on Bass, Nate Sabnayagan on Drums, Jonny D on Sax and Chap Sowash on Trombone and I play guitar and sing. This is a smaller line up as we have tooled it down from touring with 7 or 8 guys. We have gone for more of a lean mean ska machine sound. These days it’s very hard monetarily to tour with a large band unfortunately.

AL: When you started the band in 1981 did you foresee a career which is now into its 30th year?
RH: If that idea would have been proposed to me back then I probably would have told you that you were mad! As it turns out though you would have been the one that was right and I would have been the mad one. Here I am still doing this some 5,000 shows later. I never thought the band would have the legs that it has.

AL: What do you think has been the biggest factor in keeping the band going for so long?
RH: We really play a lot of bizarre places all over the world. In that sense everything hasbeen kept pretty fresh. We are constantly trying to find new places to go rather than running over the same tracks time and time again. We also have a large pool of members to play with. There are a couple of members out with us now that are new to the mix but, that keeps everything fresh. We play the tunes a little bit different and you have to just find what’s good to help change it up. I also think playing in a niche market for a group of very hardcore fans has also helped us survive.

AL: How did the band become involved with doing the theme song for Nickelodeons’ “KaBlam!”?
RH: That was back during our Moon Ska Record days. We had a lot of stuff working with MTV then and Nickelodeon at that time was pretty similar to MTV. The cartoonist for that show was a big Bad Manners fan and he wanted to have some tracking similar to their sound. He couldn’t get them to help out so they contacted our label and we got hired to do the show. It was really just being in the right place at the right time which seems to be the secret of the universe. We have lots of people come up to us and tell us that the first exposure they ever had to the band was watching that show. It’s really shows you the power of television on people’s minds.

AL: Was there a reason the band called themselves The Moon Ska Stompers on that track?
RH: We had a lot of irons in the fire at the time as we were recording a record and touring. Some of the guys just weren’t available so I had a combination of Toaster’s members and some guys I worked with on other projects to be part of that studio session band.

AL: Are there any plans to put out a new album with the bands current lineup?
RH: Not so much and album but we have a couple songs that are ready to go. The next thing we plan to put out is going to be a 7” vinyl called “House of Soul”.  It’s ironic that the music model for 2012 has reverted to what it was in 1962. I think now the concept of an album is something kids fail to grasp. I have 14 year old daughters and I was telling them about the concept of an album and they just couldn’t wrap their heads around the thought of it. They download singles directly to their phone so the idea of going to a record store and buying an album is kind of beyond them. Things have very much reverted back to the 60’s single driven model. In a way that’s not so bad because it forces people to write good tunes.

AL: Does the band have any other plans for 2012?
RH: We have some more touring lined up as we just finished booking a European tour that kicks off in April. That will be about a six week tour. We also have some summer festivals lined up and possibly some dates on this summer’s Warped Tour. From there we will be going to Australia and Japan in the fall and then back to the states for a few more dates. I also have some music festival projects outside of the band in the works but I can’t really say too much about those at this time. I can tell you that it will involve summertime, music and beer. I think people like that stuff.

Interview with Robert Hall

Robert Hall is the creator of the “Laid to Rest” series.  His latest installment in the series “ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2” sees the return of the new horror icon.  Besides writing and directing movies, Robert also has an effects company Almost Human.  Keep an eye out for Robert as he is going to be the next Steven Spielberg.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Robert about his new film and also what’s to come.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you give us some background on how the character Chromeskull was created?
Robert Hall: I had set out to make a very mysterious character that harkened back to those 80’s slasher films that I loved. I figured Chromeskull probably had seen all the same movies I had. I wanted Chromeskull to be just a regular guy and not some deformed hillbilly. Over the course of each film I wanted to release a little bit of information as to who Chromeskull is. With the way the first film ended there wasn’t a lot of room for the character to do much by himself. I planned pretty early on to have a support structure underneath Chromeskull that would explain a little bit more about him. There is a company that manufactures surgical tools that has a side business run by Brian Austin Green and Daniel Harris. I wrote that role specifically for Brian.

MG: How would you compare the two productions?
RH: Looking at the films as a fan, the second film is what you would want out of a sequel. You definitely don’t want to watch the same movie again. Most of the time when a sequel is made the easy route is taken which often duplicates the previous film. I wanted to go the more realistic route and show some of the organization and Chromeskull recovery. Both movies are very different and that is what I wanted. The one cohesive element is Chromeskull and the kills.

MG: What was the most difficult challenge working on the second film?
RH: I set the bar really high with all the kills and I think that what people will be looking for with the next film. I wanted to push myself in that aspect for the second film. There also was some criticism towards some of the actor’s performances in the first film so I wanted to make sure everyone was spot on with their performances. I really listened to the fans and addressed any issues that were brought to my attention with this second film. I think we made a film that everyone is really proud of.

MG: Did intend for the second film to much gorier?
RH: I’m not a big fan of that term actually. I don’t think the “Laid to Rest” films are particularly gory. They are intense and I don’t shy away from that like a traditional film might. I think what really makes people cringe is to get into the mind set of how these kills are accomplished. I like to use what’s in the environment so things don’t look forced. I know not everyone can do things the way I do and that is what I think sets our films apart from other slasher films.

MG: The ending of the second film is left open. Do you have any ideas for a third film?
RH: I think we definitely want to expand things. The reception has been really great. I don’t think I would be directing it as I have a lot of other things going on however I would oversee it to make sure the quality is there.

MG: Can you tell us about any other upcoming projects?
RH: We are working really hard to turn the web series I did with Robert England into a movie. I think that’s going to be our next step. There are also a bunch of other little things going on that are in various stages of development. From an effect’s stand point we just finished a movie with Bernard Rose who directed “Candy Man”. We have a lot of different stuff going on.

Interview with Robert Kenner

Robert Kenner is known for directing the following documentaries the Oscar Nominated “Food Inc.” and the recent “When Strangers Click”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Robert about working on his new documentary “When Strangers Click” as well as “Food Inc.” and also what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you give us some background on your newest film?
Robert Kenner: After doing “Food Inc.” which was a very serious topic I was sort of hijacked by the food world. It’s a great world and I think “Food Inc.” is about a lot more than just food. The film is more so about how the world of food has been industrialized. In a way “Food Inc.” taught you about how the world of food has changed and “When Strangers Click” is teaching about how the world of love has been changed. On one hand the film is about how we fall in love and on the other it’s about how the world has become a different place. For me some of the stories in the film are jaw dropping.

MG: How did you find the five people in the film?
RK: Marc Weiss had found a lot of these stories and he brought them to me. Marc was the guy who started “P.O.V.”. I initially wasn’t interested in the stories until I started to see how powerful they were. We had kept talking to people but the ones in the series really jumped out at us. They are amazing stories and characters that you could never write.

MG: How long did it take to complete the project?
RK: It was all pretty quick. We did the first pieces on spec and we added the last interview which we thought was the most unbelievable towards the end of the project. That interview was a whole new way of looking at the world.

MG: Production wise how do you feel this project differs from that on “Food Inc.”?
RK: These were much more self contained stories. Technically we broke some new ground and went to some different places. Shooting on second life was a brand new experience for me. I was amazed at how beautiful it. I was thrilled by this experience.

MG: What is the first thing you do when you decide to do a project?
RK: This project sort of snuck up on me. I went out and shot a few stories that were handed to me. We shot them all relatively quick. In the midst of shooting I thought the stories were just so great. I never really committed to making the film. We brought the stories to HBO and they fell in love with them the same way we had. The next thing I know we were making a movie. I thought I was just out there having some fun.

MG: Did you have to cut a lot of footage to get the movie to its final run time?
RK: No. That’s just where we were. I actually had one story that wasn’t going to be included but it was so well liked in ended up in the film. This was a film I never committed to making I just got sucked in. We shot for a few days and then we had a movie. It all happened so quick and easy. The film turned into so much more than I was anticipating.

MG: Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
RK: I have two projects. One is titled “Fixfood.org”. I will be small little videos about how we can change the food system combined with some very active political campaigns. The other film is about how doubt is created by tobacco companies telling you that cigarettes aren’t really bad for you. That film is titled “Merchants of Doubt”.

Interview with Robert Miles

Robert Miles is an Italian musician and DJ of electronica and alternative music and is known best for his track “Children” from his debut album “Dreamland” in 1994. Since then Robert has “23am” in 1997, “Organik” in 2001, “Miles_Gurtu” in 2004 and his latest “Th1rt3en” in 2011. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Robert about his career, his new albums and his plans for what’s to come.

Mike Gencarelli: Before the internet was the internet, I remember hearing your track “Children” in 1995 and being blow away; how do you feel the song would be received if it was received today?
Robert Miles: Probably in the same way it got received back then. The new generation is discovering the track now and many think it’s a new tune and are surprised when they get to know that it was produced 17 years ago (amazing how time goes so fast!).

MG: Why the 7 years span between “Miles_Gurtu”, your 4th album and your latest “Th1rt3en”?
RM: I have been involved with more soundtracks work.  I opened a studio in the heart of Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, became father and worked on a big remodeling project (a 500 years old ‘finca’ aka farmer’s house) in Ibiza) designing and managing it myself…very time consuming!

MG: What has been your primary inspiration for “Th1rt3en”?
RM: After “Organik” and “Miles_Gurtu”, I wanted to explore more the nature of alternative rock and use mainly electric guitar…I got in touch with Robert Fripp (King Crimson) and Dave Okumu (The invisible) as I really like the way they play their instrument and asked them if they wanted to collaborate…they accepted and we put together the parts in various sessions. I usually get inspiration from everyday life experiences …and try to convey those experiences and my feelings through my music in order to be able to connect with the audience. I am so pleased when people send me a message saying that they felt the same emotion/energy while listening to the music…it is so rewarding. Makes you think…I want to do more.

MG: How long did the album take to complete from beginning to end?
RM: The composing process 6 years…as I was working on it during my spare time (from fatherhood and all the other projects I had going) in various cities (Mainly London, Berlin, Ibiza and Los Angeles)…the recordings were done in London within two weeks from when we started.

MG: I love “Voices From a Submerged Sea”, tell us about creating that song?
RM: It’s the track with most downloads, funnily enough. A live strings orchestra was used to record it. It’s a very cinematic track and refers to the ‘voices’ that one can hear from within…An introspective piece I have done in a moment of peaceful solitude in Ibiza during the winter. A new video has been released for it (each photogram is hand made and drawn simply with a Bic pen) and you can watch it here:

MG: Is there a track on the album that you favor over the others?
RM: Maybe “The Wolf”. For its simplicity and what it conveys.

MG: Your music videos are very artistic and well designed, specifically ‘Miniature World”, what is your involvement in their creations?
RM: Thank you. I am very much involved with the artistic side of my videos, especially since I have control of my music (that’s since I have opened my own label Salt Records in London, back in 2000). It’s very important for me to deliver quality videos together with my music. Something that hopefully will stand in time and will be seen more as a art form than a promotional tool by the future generations.

MG: How do you approach remixing your songs so soon after just releasing them?
RM: Not an easy task if I have to be honest. Especially because you have listened to that track so many times already (when producing/mixing it) and you just want to move on to the next thing. But in the end I always come up with an idea, or more than one, and ‘sculpt’ the original version into something totally different. Challenging.

MG: Tell us about your reason you chose to blend alternative and progressive rock with ambient and electronic soundscapes?
RM: I come from the electronic side of the music spectrum…and since I have moved to London in 1996, I have tried to incorporate other genres into my productions…as I wanted to achieve a more ‘human’ sound (and less computer sounding) . “Organik” had world and rock music elements, while “Miles_Gurtu” had jazz influences. I am a big fan of blending electronic together with acoustic sounds. I think it’s a great combination.

MG: Tell us about the film soundtrack you’re working on for “The Turn of this Century”?
RM: It’s going to be a pretty cool project…60 minutes of music and images…and a voice over….three elements working in tandem and creating a real audio sensorial and visual ‘journey’ through the events of the last 100 years on our planet…featuring the photography of LIFE magazine….mind blowing. The ‘ journey of your life’…literally speaking! Coming soon…everywhere!

MG: Are you planning to tour at all for this new album?
RM: Unfortunately it would be almost impossible as most of the musicians that have been involved have their own band and touring constantly…So I am currently DJing and run several radio shows on different station around the globe…that displays the more electronic side of Robert Miles here: