Tommy Blardo and Frank Morin of Enemy Remains talk about their new album “No Faith In Humanity”.

Global Music Award-winning heavy metal group Enemy Remains are set to release their second full-length album on January 20th titled “No Faith In Humanity”. After a lengthy hiatus the band which features original Fates Warning drummer Steve Zimmerman along with Tommy Blardo, Frank Morin, Scott Kadish and Jeff Curtis are ready to unveil their latest creation. Media Mikes had the chance recently to speak with Tommy and Frank about the new albums creation and what it was like reforming the band after their extended break.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the work you have put in on the new album “No Faith in Humanity”?

Tommy Blardo: Funny thing about that, when we signed with Skateboard Marketing we didn’t have one track written for the album, zero, not even ideas. We put a single out, “No Faith in Humanity”, and that’s all we had at the time. It was pretty scary but, I think when you set deadlines it motivates you. Everyone worked really hard on this new album. I wanted to take the band in a whole new direction, new line, new sound, new writing style, new everything! We kind of things a facelift and I think we nailed it.

AL: What were the first couple of writing/rehearsal sessions like after getting back together from your hiatus?

TB: Honestly it was weird, with Steve coming from Fates Warning and playing old prog metal stuff, it was a big change for him, but he was willing to adapt to the new modern style we are going for with hooks but still keeping his roots grounded musically with the off time changes. With the addition of new vocalist Frank “Heretic” Morin, the musical transition seemed to work very well. What Frank has brought to the table just takes so much weight off Steve and I and it really enforces the new sound we were going for.”

AL: At what point did new members come into the picture and, how have they further shaped the new direction of the band?

TB: Frank was added first, I knew we needed a vocalist that could really catch the attention of the listeners with that “radio voice” as they call it – to really fit the new style we had in mind. Scott Kadish (guitars) and Bobby Byrk (keyboards) were added a little later, but were totally involved in the whole writing process. I’ve got to say, this is the strongest line up of professionals we’ve ever had. Band practice has become fun again.”

AL: What can you tell us about the two tracks the band has released thus far from the album?

Frank Morin: I can tell you they were a pain in the ass! Tommy and Steve first approached me with the music to “No Faith In Humanity” and I got really pumped! I had been waiting to jump into a rock/metal project of this caliber for a while, so that song kind of wrote itself based on how I was feeling about the world and the people in it. “Trust in No One” was a little more difficult. It was the first time I played with progressive riffs in a 5 count. It took Tommy and I about an hour to write the hook. Both tracks, like the entire album, touch on personal issues from a singular point of view, though we all share the same ideologies on them. Like the rest of the album we wrote all the music based on the concept, and I just started with the lyrics.

AL: Do you have any touring or performance plans in place to support the release?

TB: At this point we have full press and radio campaigns hitting hard the first week of January and the release of the album is on Jan 20th. After that we have plans to tour the east coast, mid-west and extended dates throughout the west coast by summer. After that hopefully we will be jumping on as a support act for a national artist!

For more info on Enemy Remains you can check out www.facebook.com/enemyremainz

SLAYER talk about fall tour in new video clip

SLAYER’S ARAYA AND KING: Talk About Fall Tour on New Video Clip

LOS ANGELES, CA – August 12, 2016 — SLAYER has just released a brand new video clip with Tom Araya and Kerry King talking about the band’s upcoming Fall tour of North America. Fellow Big Four members Anthrax will Special Guest, and Death Angel will support.

Check the clip out here – tour dates are below.

SEPTEMBER

9 Jacob’s Pavilion, Cleveland, OH

10 Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, Detroit, MI

12 Sound Academy, Toronto, ON

13 Metropolis, Montreal, PQ

15 Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA

17 Revolution Rock Fest., Mashantucket, CT

18 Rock Allegiance Festival, Chester, PA

20 Egyptian Room, Indianapolis, IN

22 The Pageant, St. Louis, MO

24 Houston Open Air Festival, Houston

25 Knotfest, Devore, CA

27 Hard Rock Live, Orlando, FL

28 Fillmore, Miami, FL

30 Horseshoe Casino Tunica, Tunica, MS

OCTOBER

1 Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, KY

3 Norva, Norfolk, VA

5 Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA

7 Gas Monkey Live, Dallas, TX

8 ACL at the Moody Theatre, Austin, TX

10 Fillmore, Denver, CO

11 The Complex, Salt Lake City, UT

13 The Wilma Theatre, Missoula, MT

17 ENMAX Centre, Lethbridge, AB

19 S. Okanagan Cvents Centre, Penticton, BC

20 Abbotsford Centre, Abbotsford, BC

22 Aftershock Festival, Sacramento, CA

23 Reno Events Center, Reno, NV

27 El Paso County Coliseum, El Paso, TX**

Book Review: Barney Hoskyns “Small Town Talk”

“Small Town Talk Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock”

Author: Barney Hoskyns
Publisher: Da Capo
Hardcover: 402 pages

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

In the 1960’s when musicians in the New York City folk scene decided to “get it together in the country,” they headed to Woodstock. There manager Alan Grossman established his personal fiefdom of studios and restaurants where the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield and Todd Rundgren mixed and mingled with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. “Small Town Talk” tells Woodstock’s story from its earliest days as a bohemian arts colony to its ongoing life as a cultural satellite of New York City.

Author Barney Hoskyns delves deep into a period of time when some of the period’s biggest singer/songwriters were leaving the crowded cities for the peaceful wooded areas which lay waiting just a few hours away. Tons of great stories are heard here for the first time as the book evolves just as the scene in the Catskills did. As you read page after page you never know who you are going to bump into from that time period which was something I found kept me looking forward to that next page. Hoskyns doesn’t only include just the big players of the time but does a great job of incorporating the community that this scene engulfed and how that era shaped what the town became and how it still remains to this day. “Small Town Talk” is simply not just a book for fans of the 60’s or its accompanying soundtrack as it has a little something for everyone. Woodstock was and is more than just a mud filled 3 day music fest and Barney Hoskyns latest book proves that.

Director John Maclean and Stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn talk about “Slow West”

Slow West held its New York premiere on April 19th at the SVA Theater during the 14th annual Tribeca Film Festival. Writer and director John Maclean joined stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn in speaking with me about the Michael-Fassbender-lead western on the red carpet.

Ben Mendelsohn is a renowned Australian actor who in Slow West takes on the larger-than-life role of Payne. Payne, in his oversized furry coat, is the leader of a vicious gang that Fassbender’s character Silas used to run with, and like his character, Mendelsohn seemed a bit bitter at the abandonedment of his gang-mate…

Lauren Damon: Can you discuss the relationship of Silas and Payne
Ben Mendelsohn: Okay, so Silas and Payne rode together back in the day and Silas essentially decided he was gonna go his own way–you know, he’d had enough, like ‘Yeah yeah, I’ve got what I wanted, I’m off doing my own thing’ Which, when you think about it is sort of a really punk move, you know? Because essentially Payne you know, gave this guy A LOT. Now, I’m not saying Silas isn’t a talented man, he is. But basically, he packed up and he got his tail between his legs and off he ran. And you know, time’s come now where our paths  have crossed again and [Silas]’s got this fine little bounty he’s traveling around with and really I just wanna know what’s up with that? Are we gonna share this spoil? Or are you gonna TRY and take it all for yourself? Or are you gonna try and be “a good boy”? So that’s a lot of what that’s about.

 

LD: And how did you all develop the look of Payne?
Ben: Oh the coat is genius. The very talented wardrobe lady [Kirsty Cameron] had it made and showed me all the pictures of trappers and what not from that period with these massive coats on. So once you put that coat on and that hat and you’ve got the tattoos, the rest of it’s a cake walk.

 

LD: How was it to shoot in NZ and with that wardrobe?
Ben: It was…yeah, it’s really crazy open wide spaces. It’s very desolate, it’s harsh. It’s a harsh sort of enviroment but very beautiful too. New Zealand’s a great place to shoot, it’s really got an extraordinary array of you know, locations and looks and feels…it’s all there. It’s a beautiful place to shoot.

 

LD: What attracted you to the film? I mean for a western it had a sense of humor about it too that I didn’t expect at all.
Ben: Yeah, I wasn’t sure how that would go. Michael Fassbender had started with John Maclean and they’d done a couple of short films and essentially the fact that you know that Michael Fassbender had sort of backed this to the degree he did was a very good sign. I’d seen his short films that John Maclean had done and they had something. You know, you could feel there was something there, western, it felt pretty cool. It felt like a good bit of fun with a decent chance of it working.

 

Director John Maclean had previously worked with Michael Fassbender on the short film Pitch Black Heist, which was shown at the 2012 Tribeca Film Fest.
LD: Can you talk about how you initially came to work with Michael Fassbender, what drew you to him or him to your work?
John Maclean: I think it was around the time that he was shooting with Tarantino [on Inglourious Basterds], I knew his agent. And his agent had given Michael some of my early short films I was making on my own. Michael saw something in them, came to me and said you know, if you want to do something, I’ll give up a day. So we started working together there.

 

LD: And when you approached this script, there’s a lot of dark humor in it—did you primarily come at it as a comedy or a western first?
John: I think, like my favorite films—I mean you look at a film like Fargo and it’s not a comedy, it’s not a thriller—I think some of the films I’m interested in, I think you just have to try and be truthful. And like life, comedy comes in to sad moments and sadness comes in to comedy moments.

 

LD: And it’s unconventional that your young romantic lead, his love interest doesn’t actually like him like that back!
John: I think “spoilers” here!

LD: I know, I’m sorry, my review says he’s been friend zoned
John: I just I mean, maybe that was from personal experience (laughs) when I was younger. But that’s what happens with young boys, I think. I guess it was for personal experience actually but um, I think he was never right for her. I think she was always more practical and he always too much of a dreamer. So from the beginning, I guess it’s doomed.

 

LD: How do you describe the back story between Payne and Silas?
John: Yeah, I think that’s the hard thing with wanting to make a shorter film—you can’t branch out into too many of the backstories but…I just imagined that the wild west, there wasn’t that many people at that time. So people sort of crossed paths much more often than you’d expect. I imagine they travelled together and [Silas] was part of Payne’s gang and then didn’t like the senselessness of some of the violence and left and went to go alone and Payne’s trying to draw him back into it.

 

Kodi Smit-McPhee was recently cast as Nightcrawler in next year’s X-men: Apocalypse, seeing as his previous film co-starred Nicholas Hoult (“Beast”) and this one he shared the screen with Fassbender (“Magneto”) I had to ask about joining them as mutants.

Lauren Damon: Have you contacted your past coworkers here for advice on joining the X-Men?
Kodi Smit McPhee: I haven’t contacted them yet. So we got Nicholas Hoult, Ty Sheridan and Michael Fassbender whom I know well. And I really can’t wait to get on set and work with them. And I haven’t said a word to them.

 

LD: What’re you most looking forward to about playing Nightcrawler?
Kodi: I really love the warmth that comes with the passion behind his character. And the novelty within just the tradition of him. I don’t necessarily have a desire to bring new things to it, but just show the world that they love.

 

LD: And are you familiar with Alan Cumming’s take on it from X2?
Kodi: Yes, absolutely. Usually, I mean if I don’t need to–like for Let Me In, I didn’t look at Let the Right One In–but for something like this, I thought it  was right to just find all the roots, you know, see how Nightcrawler evolved into who he is now.

 

LD: If you could choose your own X-power what would it be?
Kodi: I would love to physically, and within my own body, be able to travel back and forth and time. See how the history and the future plays out.

 

LD: Back onto Slow West, I was rewatching The Road recently and I saw your character there sort of as the young optimist to an older guide, like Jay in this film, did you feel that connection there?
Kodi: Absolutely and maybe in fact this whole story itself and the concept of a western story, it was very much like that. Like desolate and moving towards something hopeful. So yeah I really loved that idea and that was never intentional, but I guess it’s something that I’m just great at expressing and hopefully with Nightcrawler, I can move onto other things.

Next week: A more in-depth discussion with John and Kodi, meanwhile, you can check out my review of Slow West here.

Peter and Michael Spierig talk about directing “Predestination”

Peter and Michael Spierig, also know as The Spierig Brothers, are known for directing horror/sci-fi genre films like “Undead” and “Daybreakers”. Their most recent film, “Predestination”, based on the science fiction short story “—All You Zombies—” by Robert A. Heinlein stars Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook (also interviewed here). Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the directing duo about their latest film and what we can expect.

Eric Schmitt: What was it you felt about the Robert A. Heinlein story “-All You Zombies-” would translate well into a film?
Peter Spierig: I’ve read the short story several times, read it first many years ago, and it stuck with me. I’ve never read a time travel story quite like that. You have to remember that it was written in 1958, so it’s still very original and different. Michael read it too and he had the same reaction.
Michael Spierig: My first reaction was “I don’t get it.” I read it again, still didn’t get it. Then I read it again and said “there it is, I get it!” [Laughter] What we loved about it is that it’s a completely original and new spin on the time travel story. It’s old and in the grand scheme of things it would make for a really good mind bender with heart and soul in it. We liked the idea of doing a genre that’s been done before and putting a different spin on it.

ES: With Daybreakers, you took the vampire genre and made it grandiose as far as how widespread it was. A very “maximum” take on vampirism. Then you go to Time Travel and it seems like a very minimalist approach to the subject. Was that by design?
MS: Yes! (Laughs) Peter and I wanted to test ourselves and see if we could do a more low tech approach to science fiction. The assumption today is that science fiction is all robots and space ships, and we kind of liked the idea of trying to tell a more intimate story of fate and identity without having to make it so grandiose. We really wanted to do an actor’s piece. We said when we first started that we wanted to dumb down the special effects where when people see it, they don’t even know there are special effects. A transgender character in a time travel movie seemed so out there, I think it’s so interesting, that it didn’t warrant massive battle sequences. It was a story about a person looking for their identity, and we just loved that. It was a bit of an experiment for us to do this, a more intimate film.

ES: Did you feel that there would be certain challenges in explaining the story’s revelations without the audience feeling rushed?
PS & MS: YES!!!
PS: It’s a very tricky thing; as a filmmaker, there’s no revelations for you when you’re cutting the film because you know it so intimately. So to place the beats in the film, it’s very tricky. So that’s where you rely on showing other people and testing. Do people get enough information at this point? Do we need to add more? What we discovered was that some people get it, some were ahead of the story, others don’t get it at all. I guess there’s a nice balance in the middle, but it’s very tricky to find that (middle). We hope that there are people who don’t get it, who are intrigued enough to go back and watch it again.
MS: I like how there will be people who are ahead of the game, ahead of the story. So we threw in a few jokes to kind of say “Okay, those of you who are ahead of us, here you go!” (This response had to be heavily edited to keep from spoiling some of the film’s reveals!)

ES: There’s definitely a point in the film having to do with the bar, where a light just goes on in your head and you have a complete “Oh shit!” moment. Even with Sarah, it took me a little while to realize that this man, well, it really isn’t a man. How did you go about casting Sarah for the role of John?
MS: We went back and forth on whether we should even attempt it – one actor playing both parts. We talked about casting two separate people, and got very serious about it. But then we thought “God, it would be so good if we could pull off an actor playing both of these roles. It would make the characters more interesting and I think you would care about the characters more.” We started auditioning people, and we saw every actress in Australia. People started touting this actress called Sarah Snook. She had done that Ryan Kwanten film “Not Suitable for Children,” so we had known of her. She came in and auditioned and really just blew us away. We did several auditions with her, actually; an initial audition, one in make-up, a test shot of her acting both female and male. This is also when we rely on our FX artist, Steven Boyle, who’s been with us since we did short films. I showed Steve Sarah’s audition videos and asked him “Can we really do this? Can we turn her into a man? Can we pull this off?” Steve looked at us and said “Yes I can do it. I promise we can do it.”
PS: With that being said, we wanted it to be a blend of male and female. We didn’t want it to be to masculine so you couldn’t see the feminine side. It’s a delicate balance, because if we put Sarah under a tremendous amount of make-up, it would have either looked silly or taken away from the performance.

ES: Did anyone mention on set that when she was made up as John that she looked like a young Leonardo DiCaprio?
MS & PS: Oh Yeah! Everyone!
PS: We all said it! It’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jodie Foster’s love child. We also got a lot of Edward Furlong as well.

ES: Since you guys have worked with Ethan in the past, was he immediately at forefront of your minds when casting for Predestination?
PS: We didn’t really have an actor in mind until we finished the script. When we finished we said “You know who would like this material? Ethan.” It’s along the lines of what his genre tastes are, so we sent it to him. I think within one or two days, he said “Just tell me where and when – I’m in.”
MS: The thing he also asked us was what part he was playing. We told that we were still trying to figure that out and we’d get back to him.
PS: The amazing thing about Ethan is that he’s brave in a sense that he completely trusted us with the casting. He didn’t know who Sarah was initially, but he had faith that we were making the right decision. He’s fearless and he likes taking risks. We’ll forever be indebted to him for having the courage to say “Yes” to us.

ES: One of the things I noticed watching the film was that Ethan and Sarah had a very “organic” relationship in the bar scenes. From your perspectives, how did that develop over the course of filming?
MS: We had a lot of rehearsal time with them talking about the scenes. Our rehearsal time is not primarily about lines, it’s about why the scene has to exist in the movie. They spent a lot of time together working on their (respective) character’s mannerisms and that sort of thing. Sarah and Ethan are both incredibly intelligent, and I think they connected on that level. They’re both really smart actors and they ask the right questions. They wanted their collaboration to be very much intertwined.
PS: We spent a lot of time on the bar dialogue. There isn’t a single line that isn’t essential to the movie. Some of the lines have double meanings, even the joke that Ethan tells is critical to the film. We’re huge fans of the Science Fiction genre, so we really wanted to do this film with meaning.

Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews talk about “The Houses October Built”

For me, as well as many across the United States, October is a very special month. Traditionally, this is the time of year where the leaves on the trees die, landscapes become awash with gray and brown, and nature’s dying elements suddenly spring to life. It is also the time of year where millions upon millions flock to the haunted house attractions scattered across the country, seeking their fix for scares, creeps and downright nasty set-pieces. The film “The Houses October Built” chronicles one group’s journey across the United States in search of the greatest haunt in America, found footage style. Unfortunately, they find that not all participants are eager to be part of their documentary, and the trip of a lifetime turns into the stuff that nightmares are made of. I had the opportunity to speak with Writer/ Director/ Co-Star Bobby Roe and Writer/ Star Zack Andrews about the origins of the film and what they felt sets their found footage film apart from all the others.

Eric Schmitt: The Houses October Built is a Media Mikes favorite of 2014; brilliantly done and really innovative. What was the driving force behind making the film in the first place?
Zack Andrews: We wanted to do a found footage film about the haunts across America, but we were weary at first because the genre has become so watered down. We wanted to do it a different way – A first person view of haunted houses, which is something people hadn’t touched on yet.
Bobby Roe: We found that approximately 30 million people per year visit haunted houses in the United States and felt that if we could hit the right audience, especially in the Mid-West and South, where we all grew up, we could do something original. These are all real actors and real places in the haunts. It’s very organic.

ES: So all of the interviews and haunt scenes in the film were legit?
ZA: Yes, all interviews conducted and haunts were legit.
BR: We wanted to use real places and people, give credit to the craft. Think about it- we had every filmmaker’s dream; We got to shoot on million dollar sets for free! We used all of the real actors from the haunts, all of the real sets – it’s a realism that you can’t fake.

ES: What do you feel will attract people to your film, say over the next found footage film that they lay eyes on?
ZA: People are intrigued by the haunted house aspect and we really looked to appeal to the Halloween world. We’re hoping that audiences find it very intense, because it does take you on a ride. It’s a ride that’s a dream for a lot of people, to be able to road trip and visit all of these different haunts.
BR: And we tried to show different ways in how the haunts were done, like the Zombie Paintball. That was incredible!
ZA: That was a lot of fun! I’ve never seen anything like it before.
BR: Exactly! We’d never seen anything like it and to experience it, man it was great! After we ran the shoot with the regular actors, we had the entire crew go through it just so they could experience it.

ES: Did you receive any resistance from the haunts while you were shooting?
ZA: Not at all – the haunts were one big supportive family.
BR: And it was essentially a free commercial for them.

ES: So which one (of the haunts) was the most effective, in your opinion?
ZA: Each haunt really had something super effective, something that was its own specialty. Ever haunt we visited had something that would stick out. We’d visit a haunt and two weeks later still be talking about that one thing. Like there was one haunt that had a white-out room. We’ve all experienced a completely black room, but this room was completely white, filled with smoke and had one flood light. All of a sudden you would see this white mask appear from no where. It was intense.
BR: This one haunt had a kid, maybe 12-13 years old. He was the best scare actor we had ever seen. He never came out of character and it was amazing. We talked to the owner of the haunt and found out that when he had joined he was failing school, came from a really bad background. After a few weeks of working at the haunt, the kid had completely turned it around. The haunt, this family, gave him purpose. His teachers even called the owners of the haunt to tell them what a positive impact it obviously had on him. The haunt family created a sense of pride in him.

As a fan of the film, it was really great to hear the level of passion that Bobby and Zack had to express about the filmmaking process and the haunts themselves. For many of us, they most certainly lived the dream – traveling the country and visiting the best haunted houses around, all while filming a horror movie. Although the majority of people who read this article and/or see The Houses October Built will never be presented with the opportunity to make such a film, we can still engage these haunts across the U.S. and experience first hand what this group documented. We can see, hear and feel first hand what the masters of this craft have to offer, all the while knowing that the terror that grips our senses is authentic, much like the footage in The Houses October Built.

The Soska Sisters talk about their films “See No Evil 2” & “ABCs of Death 2”

The Soska Sisters cconsisting of Jen & Sylvia Soska are film directors are literally taking over the horror genre. After their short film “Dead Hooker in a Trunk”, they made the fantastic and original horror film called “American Mary” then quickly following that they were brought us to work with WWE on the horror sequel “See No Evil 2”. They also have a segment in the upcoming “ABCs of Death 2”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the “Twisted Twins” to chat about “See No Evil 2” and their upcoming projects.

Mike Gencarelli: I just want to start that I loved “American Mary”; it was original, very smart, ballsy and really fucking gory. I honestly reminded me why I love horror movies. Going from that film to “See No Evil 2” with WWE’s Kane; what was that like?
Sylvia Soska: That is a hell of a compliment. Thank you for saying that. That project is very much a part of who Jen and I are. After that film, we took many studio meetings to get the next film made, but all anyone wanted to see was Katharine Isabelle with us as a sexy doctor or surgeon or torturer and it was really depressing. When WWE and Lionsgate approached us to make the film, we read the script and got super excited, but didn’t think there was a chance in hell that we would get hired. It was so much of a dream project, but it happened. Then we started to collaborate on the story, hire the cast, and it just kept getting better. We only make films that we, as fans, would want to see; See No Evil 2 is that kind of film.
Jen Soska: We are the fan directors. We love horror movies so much and I do hope you can tell on every frame of our movies. We want to make a horror film in each sub genre of horror. To have the opportunity to create our own masked man horror icon was incredible. I feel the first film was more of a prequel and this is Jacob’s true first film. The first film had Jacob under the command of his fanatic religious mother. In this film we recreate Jacob’s look, theme music, and array of weapons. It’s a tremendous honor and I still can’t believe we got such an incredible opportunity that so few directors ever have.

MG: What was your biggest challenging tackling that film?
SS: It should have been much more difficult but we were spoiled by our cast and crew. Let me tell you a little thing about the crew you can get in Vancouver – seasoned professionals that work year around on everything from major blockbuster productions, to some of the best genre televisions series we have ever seen, and the darling independent gems. You get this crew and you get peace of mind because they are so good. Almost the entire cast were child actors, so not only was the level of talent very high in our performers, but we had a team that could pull off this very ambitious film very masterfully.
JS: For me, the biggest challenge was making something that was true to the original and respected the fans who loved that film while building on that film’s missed opportunities. It’s hard to come
into an existing franchise and make changes. Every franchise has key parts to it. You don’t want to come into something like, Hellraiser, and take out the lament configuration. Just like with Jacob.
There were untouchable elements, but we had a lot of room to play around with the character and story and kills and almost everything.

MG: Tell us about what it was like working on “ABCs of Death 2” and your segment “T is for Torture Porn”?
SS: It was something we’ve been wanting to make since the open entry contest on the first one. I watch a lot of porn, I love it. I think in horror there are interesting issues you can tackle because it’s not like you’re just preaching at people – you have one foot in reality and one in the fantastical. T is for Torture Porn is a commentary on unwanted sexual violence and degradation with a very angry reaction to that with how the short ends. But there’s still a laugh to it all, wait til the after credits scene – it’s the end of our segment.
JS: A tremendous honor! I loved the first ABCs of Death. I really wanted to be in it, but we saw T is for Toilet (the entry for the 26th slot open to all directors) and it was perfection. We wanted to make Torture Porn all the way back then but we put it on the back burner. We didn’t even expect them to do a sequel. I’m so happy they did and absolutely honored that Ant invited us on.

MG: Are you ever afraid of taking it too far or offending the audience?
SS: Ha ha, from some of the not happy with it reviews, maybe I should have? Naw, art is to make people feel things. It’s to spurn a reaction. Anything that one person loves, another person will hate it.
JS: In the immortal words of one of my favorite comedians ever, John Cleese, “some people deserve to be offended.” It’s just art and art should make you question things and leave an impression on you. It should get you thinking. I’m not a fan of senseless violence or cruelty to animals, but I think that violence and the obscene have a place in art for sure. Though somewhat controversial, MARTYRS and A SERBIAN FILM are superb films. They use their violence, gore, and more upsetting parts as a commentary.

MG: What do you love most about the horror genre?
SS: Everything. Being scared gets me excited, it makes me feel alive. It’s a thrill.
JS: What’s not to love? I feel horror chose us from a very young age. I can’t remember a time I didn’t love it. It’s exciting and fun. You ever go to a Horror Convention? If you haven’t, treat yourself. They are the happiest places on Earth filled with the sweetest people. Horror brings out the best in people.

MG: We ever going to see you both directing a romantic comedy?
SS: I thought American Mary was a romantic comedy. Jen and I are in love with this script written by Josh Murray, this extremely crass female-centric Christmas comedy. I bet you didn’t see that coming, eh? But that’s how we pick our projects – if we would want to see this movie, we would make that movie.
JS: Dammit, I thought SEE NO EVIL 2 was a romance movie! Well, to me, it totally is. I’d love to tackle any genre. I’m not into labels. Some people seem happy to categorize us as “female twin horror directors”, but I just see us as directors. I love film. I love all genres of film. There is no genre we wouldn’t tackle and put a Soska spin on.

MG: You also worked with WWE Studios for “Vendetta”, which is an action films; what can you tell us about that experience?
SS: Vendetta stars Dean Cain, Paul ‘Big Show’ White, and Michael Eklund and it is the most badass film we have ever made. The pure physicality to it, the amazing stunt fights from our Stunt Coordinator, Kimani Smith, and Fight Coordinator, Dan Rizzuto, pushed everything and everyone to the max. You have never seen the cast like this before. It is such a fuck yeah movie. We got our See No Evil 2 team back to pull it off and we really kicked the shit out of ourselves making this gritty crime revenge flick.
JS: It was incredible! It was so nice to have Michael Luisi of WWE Studios be the first to give us an opportunity to do a genre that wasn’t strictly horror. We have stunts and action in all of our films. It was really fun to have so much more of it. Dean Cain is outstanding, a true Hollywood icon. You’ve never seen him like this before, either. I love Dean good, but he’s SO much better bad. And he’s a total badass in Vendetta. Paul “Big Show” Wight is so evil. He plays a lot of comedic roles and the humor here comes from just how bad he is. And he loves it. Eklund is the Canadian Daniel Day Lewis. I just love him. There isn’t anything he can’t do. You hand me a script and I look for the top three roles I can see him in. He’s so capable and versatile. The film is so sexy, and dark. It’s almost a boy version of American Mary.

MG: How is your adaption of “Painkiller Jane” coming along? Is this your next project?
SS: Painkiller Jane is coming along very well. We are on the epic task of finding Jane. She needs to be tough as nails, completely shredded, with a great emotional capacity, and pitch perfect comedic ability. Easy, right? There are a few projects we have in development that are racing to the finish line right now, so I can say 100% sure on anything, but we have a huge focus on making Bob, our monster movie right now. It’s time, we haven’t stop work on it in all this time.
JS: We are filmmaking sharks. If we stop making films, we die. We have several original scripts that we’re pushing forward and have several more films in all stages of development. We’re planning some TV work along with a couple graphic novels, as well, so we honestly never stop. We’re so creative. I love story telling. I’m so blessed to be able to do what we do. With any luck, BOB will be our next one. It’s so very special to us.

MG: Lastly, I just have to ask how does it feel to literally be taking over the horror genre? Very soon, you will be so big that I won’t be able to speak with you again!
SS: Nothing feels like real life to me right now. I am getting to make films I love with my best friend and it’s been years of struggling to get to a point where we feel secure in getting to keep doing this! Thank you for supporting us – otherwise we would be waiting tables still.
JS: Ha ha, OMG, you will ALWAYS be able to talk to us! We still can’t believe people like our stuff. It’s like some sort of weird karma from being so damn unpopular growing up. It’s a profound honor to have people respond to us and our work the way they have. I grew up dressing like movie characters I love. Seeing people cosplay ours or get them tattooed on them is so unreal. Like a dream come true. And all the letters we get mean the world to us. We try to be the role models we would have liked growing up. We’ll always stay the same. Grounded and uber grateful for the influence we have. And we’re only just getting started.

Jai Courtney and Joel Edgerton talk about their new film “Felony”

Jai Courtney and Joel Edgerton are the stars of the new film “Felony”, which also co-stars Tom Wilkinson. Edgerton also wrote and produced the film. Jai is growing to be quite the superstar with films under his belt like “The Divergent Series” and the upcoming reboot “Terminator: Genisys”. Joel has been in great films like “The Hurt Locker” and can be seen next in “Exodus: Gods and Kings” alongside Christian Bale. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jai and Joel about their new film “Felony” and their experience on it.

Mike Gencarelli: Joel, you not only star but also wrote and produced “Felony”; tell us about how you became involved with this film?
Joel Edgerton: I started writing this film back in 2007 or 2008. It was based on a short story that I did about this character knocks this kid off his bike while driving drunk and then lies about it. Very quickly I became fascinated with not just him as a character but the characters that Jai (Courtney) and Tom (Wilkinson) ended up playing in the movie. It became about this event and how it would end up effecting a various people’s lives and also how everybody involved in the story has very different opinions about the cleanup, aftermath and punishment needed for the crime. The movie is a thriller that also look into ethics at the same time, so hopefully it is very entertaining. I have written a lot of stuff and when I write something that I really know in my bones is good I become very passionate about it and I will try everything to try and make it work. Next was gathering a really great team. We got Matthew Saville, who is a really great director, his movie “Noise” is one that I really love. Then together him and I found the right producing partner Rose (Blight), who then became the real engine that pushed us into getting this made. Then it became it about finding the right leads to be in the movie and we were blessed in the fact that we got Jai, who is perfect for the character and really blessed that Tom came to play with us as well.

MG: Jai, how did you come on board and what drew you to the project?
Jai Courtney: Really it was just the script. I have been an admirer of Joel’s for some time. We didn’t know each out prior to this film. When I read the script, I did notice his name on the front page and it did definitely intrigue me but I think if that script was written by anyone else, I would have been equally as hungry to do it. It is very well done. Joel reaches out and engages the audience and asks them what they would do in terms of what is going on in the film. My character sees things very clear, defined and very black and white. He believes in that if you mess up then you should suffer the consequences. I am a lot more unsure in person and I thought it was really new territory for me. You couple that with getting the ability to go home (to Australia) to make a movie there. But it is really a universally themed narrative, so it was just a bonus for me and just felt like such a good fit. So I went ahead and auditioned for it and before we knew it we were crackalacking [laughs].

MG: What was it like to work side by side with the great Tom Wilkinson?
JC: I had the pleasure of playing his partner. He is a funny old guy and has been doing this forever. I have an enormous amount of respect for what he is capable of as an actor. Look, it was just a buzz for me. It was great to be able to work with someone that experienced yet he was still so hard working. I would ask Tom what he would be up to on the weekend and he would look at me confused and he would say “Well, I will be working on my lines. I’ve got all these lines to say”. I was just like “Wow”, it has never changed for him. He still works so hard and does an amazing job.
JE: I was amazed firstly that he just jumped on board. To have the person you wanted to play the character say “Yes” was great. I wrote him literally these speeches that would go on for pages. I had this long scene with him on the dock and he turned up fully prepared to shoot the scene. He could have even probably shot during the rehearsal. He doesn’t play the card of learning the lines on the set, like a lot of actors do. Even I was terrified writing it, to be honest, but he just came super prepared and super thoughtful of what his character what doing and it made the film so much more interesting. His character is spewing some of the most difficult points of view on justice and he has such conviction as an actor that you kind of fall into his point of view. You want to believe him.

MG: Joel, how did you prepare for such an emotional role being a family man at home, take a bullet and yet living with this lie?
JE: The tricky thing was that I realized very early on that my character is one of the most inactive characters in the film. We did work hard that he wasn’t just a series of long faces but to show that there is a lot of turmoil going on. Jai’s character is working towards something and trying to fix this problem and Tom’s character is working to fix it in terms of covering it up. I think the biggest challenge for me is that I am not only speaking lines that I have been writing for years and trying to sell them like I would in any other movie but I wanted to make sure that there enough complexity to the guilt. You are asking an audience to empathize with someone that has done a terrible thing and still go on that journey with him. Matthew, the director, and I were having a moment by moment discussion of how we can keep the audience with my character yet still allow them to also not be on his side.

MG: Jai, how did you perfect that “I know you did it” stare that you gave to Joel throughout the film?
JC: I worked on that stare for months [laughs]. I used to joke with Matthew because it did feel like that was all I did just starring at Joel with that “I know you did it” face.

MG: Jai, going from films like “Divergent” to this; was a good chance of pace?
JC: Definitely man. It was wonderful being able to shake things up with a film like this. He is a quiet character but internalizes more than some of the other roles that I have had the fortune of playing. It is fun to get to do the big blockbuster films as well but as an audience member, I respond to this kind of cinema a little more. It is more in line with the kind of film that intrigues me and gets me putting my feet up. It was very refreshing. I was just very lucky to be a part of it. To be honest, it was probably one of the most fulfilling personal experiences that I have had. No frills but no bullshit either. It shows you don’t always need a big budget to have a lot of fun.

MG: Joel, next up you got “Exodus: Gods and Kings”; which is quite a different type film than this one.
JE: A little bit [laughs]. Yeah, that was an incredible experience. That is the beauty of the jobs that I get, one minute you are back doing telly in Australia and writing and then next I was in some building in Spain wearing a gold skirt. So you get to have like 3-4 month excursions into different worlds with a bunch of great professional people. It is a real blessing. I wouldn’t want to do just the one thing. It is nice to be able to jump around in the different worlds. The big budget films are exciting but there is really something that gets your adrenaline going with these smaller movies as well.

MG: Jai, what can you spill for us about “Terminator: Genisys”?
JC: They are very tight lipped about it, so I can reveal much but I am really excited about it. I am really happy that I got to have the experience. I am a fan of the franchise also, so it was really cool to get to play that role. I am really excited with the direction that we are taking the franchise as well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doyle & Alex Story talk about their new album “Abominator”

Former Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein is currently out on tour in support of the band’s debut release titled “Abominator”. The band which also features vocalist Alex Story, bassist Left Hand Graham and drummer Anthony “Tiny” Biuso will be out on the road through August and Media Mikes had a chance to speak with the band prior to the tours kick off in Rochester, NY where we talked about the recent departure of drummer Dr. Chud as well as what the band has planned for the rest of this year and beyond.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us what happened with Dr. Chud deciding to leave the tour prior to its start and what your most looking forward to about getting out and playing the new material live?
Doyle: He just decided not to come out on the road with us. That’s pretty much all there is to it. We are looking forward to just ripping stuff up every night we play. Tiny our new drummer came in on short notice and just really energized all of us. Tiny is a guy I met at the NAMM show one year and we just hit it off and became friends from there. He was always asking me about who was drumming for me at the time and what not and now he is the guy.

AL: Can you tell us about the VIP packages that you are offering at each show?
Doyle: We are doing VIP meet and greets after every show on this tour. Along with getting to meet the band you get a free music download, a tour laminate and a signed photo. It’s a chance for fans to get a little more out of coming to us.

AL: You shot a DVD for your previous band Gorgeous Frankenstein. Will you be doing any shooting while out on this run?
Doyle: I think we have a guy coming out to film the New Jersey show and also to do some footage at the Connecticut and Los Angeles shows. Alex and I will also be doing a new photo shoot with Jeremy Saffer while we are out on the road which should be really cool.

AL: With “Abominator” being out for a couple months now what has been people’s reaction to it?
Doyle: I think everything has been really great. I really like the album and I think if people haven’t done so yet they need to go out and buy it! (Laughs)

AL: You have said before that during the writing process you wrote enough material for two more albums. Can you tell us the status of those?
Doyle: Everything has been recorded. All we have left to do is finish the drums and then mix them. From there we will get the artwork done up and proof all the words for the album notes. We are shooting for a spring 2015 release date.

AL: Alex, when you were putting this material together what type of process did you guys have for writing?
Alex Story: When we were first putting this all together Doyle gave me a list of things that he liked to hear songs about. There was a lot of stuff about strippers and Satan in there. (Laughs) I really challenged myself and tried to write a song about everything he mentioned in his list. That’s really where we went from. Doyle writes all the music and arrangements. He gives me full bass, drum and guitar tracks and I really don’t like to ask him to change things around for me so I just go with what I am given. I try to write vocals that accent his playing.
Doyle: Sometimes he writes songs in a day and sends them over to me which is just crazy. He sends me stuff that he has screamed in to his laptop.

AL: When Doyle is out on the road with Danzig what do you do to keep busy musically?
AS: I have another band that I have been doing for years called Cancerslug. I do that in my off time and when ever Doyle is ready I shift gears and we do this.
Doyle: It works the same way for me when I am working with Danzig. When he calls we go out and do it and then we go back working on this.

AL: What are your plans for the next Cancer Slug release? And how have things changed for the group since you first started?
AS: Cancerslug is sort of like my little pet project. Once things sort of slow down here were going to put out a new album. We have a really solid line up right now and our last tour was very successful so we are looking to do another run of shows as soon as we can. With Cancerslug I just sort of throw these ideas down when I have them and if people like it that’s cool if they don’t, they don’t. Once I get some down time from doing this I will start work on all of that. When I first started Cancerslug there was no internet or cell phones which made being independent very difficult. Nowadays it makes doing a project like Cancerslug a lot easier as there are just so many ways to get yourself out there which makes splitting my time between the two bands that much easier.

AL: Can you tell us about your upcoming appearance in Alan Roberts “Killogy” comic book?
Doyle: I toured with Alan years ago when we were out on the road with his band Life of Agony. He called us up one day and asked if I would be interested. I just got the draft of it the other day and it looks really great. I think the plan is to have it out around Halloween time.

AL: This first run of shows is just a month long. Are there any further plans to continue touring throughout the rest of the year? And is there any chance of seeing you do some shows with your girlfriends band Arch Enemy?
Doyle: We are working on a bunch more stuff here in the States for the coming months. As for shows with Arch Enemy we are trying really hard. It’s up to Angela. I am afraid of her! (Laughs)

DragonForce’s Sam Totman and Herman Li talk about latest album “Maximum Overload”

The power metal band DragonForce who burst on the music scene in 2003 with their debut album “Valley of the Damned” are back with a brand new studio album titled “Maximum Overload”. The album features 9 original tracks along with the bands unique take on the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire”. Media Mikes recently spoke with the bands guitarists Sam Totman and Herman Li about the albums creative process, the albums guest vocalist and the bands upcoming tour plans.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album and the story behind its title?
Sam Totman: Whenever we start any album we just start by writing what we think sounds cool to us. Everything else like song titles, album title and cover art all come after that. This one wasn’t any different. We wrote the music first and then the lyrics and then came the title. We chose “Maximum Overload” because it describes the music much like our previous releases. At the same time we had the idea for the cover art which depicts a person being hit with information from every angle much like how we are bombarded with information from television, internet and phone on a daily basis. It’s hard to ignore even for someone like myself who doesn’t really use a lot of that stuff. The title kind of ended up having two meanings so it worked out well.

AL: With Sam and Frederic taking on the writing aspects of the album, at what stage of the process did you come in Herman?
Herman Li: Sam and Fred first started writing together in France. Sam actually worked out the music on his own and then when he had all the structures laid out we started work on the demos in London. Our producer for the album was Jens Bogren and he helped as well.
ST: It was a pretty cool experience because in the past this was something we had never really done before. I would just do demos on my own and then I wouldn’t want anyone to touch them or contribute. It was cool working with someone else. I would come in with a song and then give it to the guys to add their pieces to it whether it is keyboards or Herman’s crazy guitar noises and such. Previously we just always wrote songs individually. Working together certainly brought a different element to the new record. It’s still very much a DragonForce album but there is a lot of cool new things going on which I really like.

AL: Do you guys often do a lot of pre-production then prior to entering the studio?
HL: In the past we did very little pre-production. If you listen to some of those previous tracks the demo versions are quite a bit different. There might be just a drum machine with a chord and melody laid down. Some of the songs would be quite unrecognizable. On the new album we actually had vocals recorded and some demo solos as well. By working with Jens we couldn’t just send him a pile of ideas and expect him to make a song out those. We had to give him a clearer image so that he could help us make the tracks stronger.
ST: With my demos I know what’s going on with them but someone looking at them from the outside in isn’t really going to understand what I was thinking. I often would just throw out some chords and not really try to play all that well. Demoing the songs with proper vocals certainly helped us give Jens tracks that were a bit more complete.

AL: Can you tell us about Matt Heafy’s appearance on a couple of the albums tracks?
HL: We had been working on the songs and we got to a point where we thought they needed something more. We were thinking of wanting different backing vocals on a couple songs and Matt’s name just happened to come up. It’s wasn’t planned ahead or anything like. We sent the tracks to Matt and kind of explained what we needed. Matt went above and beyond for us and did a bunch of different styles for his parts. I was amazed when I heard all of what he did I have to thank Matt for his work.
ST: We knew what we wanted but we told Matt that he could add whatever else he wanted to add. Honestly I think we thought he was just going to do what we were looking for and be over and done with it. When we got the tracks back it was totally cool because he gave us so many different things to work with.

AL: Tell us about the decision to cover Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”?
ST: It was just fate. We had said that covers were something we had never wanted to do. I have heard so many cover songs over the years that they tend to become quite boring. That’s not to say people shouldn’t do them but it’s not really my personal taste. 10 years now into our career we thought it would be fun to do a cover song as people had never heard us do one before. We wanted the song to be different and fun. It would be boring to just go and cover another metal song where it virtually sounds the same as the original. I heard “Ring of Fire” on the television one day and could envision the vocal line in our style. I thought the song could really work so we made a couple small changes and put our stamp on it. We want people to like it for being a good song and not as something that’s a gimmick.

AL: The band released a video for the song “The Game” back in June. Are there plans to release anymore in the coming months?
HL: We have plans for another video but I don’t think that is going to be done until the album has been out a little bit. We haven’t shot anything yet but possibly towards the end of the year is when we are thinking of doing another. It took a lot of arguing to figure out which song we were going to use for the first video so we have to plan for that as well. (Laughs)

AL: What are the bands current tour plans?
HL: We will be starting the tour on September 18 in the UK. That’s about a month after the albums official release. We wanted to start over in the UK this time around because the last two albums we our tours in the States. The UK fans were always asking why. This time we figured we better start in the UK so we don’t make anyone mad and we can keep getting free beer every now and then. (Laughs) US fans will want to keep their eyes open as we are working on putting together a run in the States.

Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington & Mike Shinoda talk about new album “The Hunting Party”

Photo Credit: Brandon Cox

Linkin Park recently released their sixth studio album titled “The Hunting Party”. The album is a departure from the groups more recent electronic-rock style albums however it is still very much Linkin Park. Media Mikes spoke recently with the groups front men Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington about the bands direction shift, the new albums unique sound and the bands upcoming tour.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us a little bit about the shift in direction the band took with the new album and how it has been received by fans thus far seeing it was your first album not to go to number 1 here in the States?
Mike Shinoda: When we were making the album, I had a handful of demos that weren’t quite as heavy as this. They were a little more electronic-driven, and there was just a day that I was looking for something to listen to and I couldn’t find what it was that I wanted. I wanted something more aggressive and energetic and I just kept finding either stuff that was modern and progressive and the only stuff I was finding that was modern and progressive tended to be a little more mellow and if it was heavier, it tended to sound more progressive. I think we all found that there was just a style that was kind of being underserved that we wanted to hear and that’s what we decided to make. As far as the reception goes it debuted at #1 in 67 countries. Friends of mine here in the U.S. said, “Hey, I heard it. Sorry that you guys didn’t get to number one on the charts” I feel like the billboard chart is for one thing. It’s for the first week album sales, and this is not really a first week album sales kind of album. It’s a statement album. It’s a live album and an album that should be taken to the stage. That’s exactly what we’re planning to do right now with the Carnivores Tour.
Chester Bennington: It’s funny because I think probably more so than any other record, maybe other than possibly “A Thousand Sons” I feel like critically the record’s been overwhelmingly positive. I have yet to read anything negative about the record on a critical level that has been written, which is pretty amazing, and so for that we’re very grateful. But at the same time, almost on a daily basis I run into Linkin Park fans and I’ll take pictures or say, “Hi,” whatever, and every single person that I’ve met since we released this record has told me that they love the record. They are super happy that it’s out like it is. I’ve heard some other guys in the band say that they feel like it is a record that really the genre needed and that they also appreciate the record that we’ve made, that it is progressive and it is something that they want to listen to. I feel like we have accomplished our goal on this album. I think not only creatively, but personally for the band, but also for a lot of our fans.

AL: Was there initially a lot of reluctance or resistance to make a harder record? Or do you feel like the rest of the band bought in pretty quickly?
MS: For me, it was a bit of a process. I felt like Chester was on board from the beginning but it was still, like, figuring out at that point what we were. Conversations were happening mid-tour last album like, what does a louder record mean? What is bringing energy to the album and what does that mean? How do we do that without it sounding throwback or derivative of heavier stuff that we grew up with. At first it fell on me to kind of find the right tone, so that I could take that to, in particular Brad and Rob, and say, “You guys, like, I know this is something that you don’t naturally gravitate towards at this point in your life, but check out these reference points.”

AL: This was your first self produced album which you chose to recorded via analog tape. Is this something that you see the band doing again?
MS: Yes. I think it’s something that we’ve been curious about for awhile but it had to be the right moment to really dive into it. I’ve had a little bit of experience with tape on previous projects, but not really cutting such large chunks of the song and large performances to tape. It’s was so nice because it forces you to slow down and really consider each performance and each recording of whoever’s playing at the time. It’s definitely something we have experience with now and we could potentially go back and use it again, if the song asks for it.
CB: I’ve been recording the drums in this way. It’s really great in that it does give the feel of the song. It’s a more live feel. For us, I think one of the things that’s always been surprising to a lot of people when they come to see us for the first time, especially my musicians’ friends. There’s raw kind of more prompt and in your face attitude about the band when you see us live. Like, even like our mellower songs; there’s an edge to them that you get in a live performance that kind of gets lost in the studio. I think that with this record we’ve captured a lot more of what we’re like live in the sound of the record and I think that’s very exciting.

AL: With there being a two year gap between your previous albums was there ever a time in the recording process that you guys were worried maybe you went too far with the new sound and that it might alienate some fans?
MS: I think since “Minutes to Midnight” we’ve kind of had this conversation. We knew that when we went into “Minutes to Midnight” that it was going to be different. We wanted it to be extremely different. We knew that it was going to be a risk to take and we could potentially alienate our entire fan base.
CB: Our goal is to make good songs and some are great song. If we accomplish our goal, it will be almost impossible to alienate everybody. Luckily for us a lot of our fans have come along for the ride on the last two records and we really did go and stretch our wings to see how far we could take these. For us going through that process of trying things and making sure that we’re creatively excited and energized helps us create music that still sounds like Linkin Park regardless of what vibe the song is. I think for people to get hung up on us not speaking to a specific sound is kind of a silly idea anyway, considering that we’ve never really been a single genre type of band. I think that going through that process is really a lot of being able to be creative on a heavy record like this. I don’t think we could have been as creative with the guitar or the drums 12 years ago because we’ve kind of gone around and tried new things and kind of alienated ourselves and some of our band.

AL: Were the guest performers on the album brought in to counter balance the bands new sound in anyway?
 MS: The addition of those guys was, in most cases, pretty late in the game. I mean, if you’re just talking about from a fan recognition standpoint, then, sure, if somebody sees the guests names on there, they kind of know what they’re getting
CB: I don’t think those who appeared on the record would have been into working with us if that was the goal. though. If we were coming at this from the idea of “Hey, let’s go work with these people and then that’ll make the record even more cool.” But that’s a weird way of looking at what we do anyway and it’s kind of the opposite of what our intention would ever be. When we do collaborations it’s coming from a holistic place. It’s got to come from a very open, spontaneous kind of grassroots way. It can’t be forced or thought of in a boardroom and written down on a piece of paper. That’s just not the way that anything creative usually gets done.

AL: $1 for every ticket sold is going to benefit your organization; Music for Relief. What can you tell me about the organization and why are you guys passionate about it?
MS: Music for Relief started in the mid-2000’s as a response to the Indian Ocean tsunami. We had just been out touring in Asia. When we got home we were watching the news and the whole place had been destroyed. We just felt like we needed to do something. Music for Relief had been around for a year and we realized that we were actively involved in cleaning up messes, but not so much involved in anything preventative. So, we added an environmental component to Music for Relief, and all in all, I mean, we’ve done projects all over the world. We’ve worked with the UN. We’ve worked with Habitat for Humanity and Direct Relief and the Red Cross and put on concerts with No Doubt and Jay-Z. Most recently we did an awesome show with Offspring and Bad Religion. Travis Barker came out with us and it was just so much fun. This is an ongoing effort that we hope to involve more musicians with. Music for Relief isn’t about Linkin Park. Unfortunately there are always disasters to go get involved after and there are also environmental causes that we can get involved in to help prevent the natural disasters or at least keep our oceans and our land and air clean. The bottom line is Music for Relief is being built up as something that creates trust with the fans. We create trust with the musicians and the industry and let people know that this is a group that does work hard to make sure all the I’s are dotted, or the T’s are crossed.

Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox & Anthony C. Ferrante talk about “Sharknado 2: The Second One”

Who knew that a little film like “Sharknado” would grab global attention when it aired on Syfy last summer. Well, it’s summer time ago and we have the premiere of “Sharknado 2: The Second One” on Wednesday, July 30 at 9:00 pm on Syfy. Enough said. We were lucky enough to get a chance to chat with the films stars, Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox and director Anthony C. Ferrante to chat about the sequel and what we can expect.

When you went in to do the first Sharknado movie did you have any idea it was going to become this massive pop culture event?
Tara Reid: I mean we definitely didn’t know it was going to become what happened. It was definitely shocking for all of us. We had no clue signing on to the movie that this would be this phenomenon. So you know, it was great and kind of shocking experience. And it turned into something wonderful. Now to be a part of the franchise has been incredible. But yes, we definitely, we didn’t know – we got real lucky.
Anthony C. Ferrante: It’s hard with these things. You never – you know, you just try to make the best project possible and, you know, what happened on this thing – you know, it’s lightening in a bottle. We didn’t tell people to show up and make it a Twitter phenomenon. It just happened. And that’s kind of cool. You very rarely get those opportunities like that where people just want to embrace you just because you’re there. And that was kind of – it was kind of special. And helped because now we got to make a second movie and we got to make a bigger and better movie after that. So it’s fun.

How did you amp things up for the sequel?
ACF: I think the key with the second movie is we want them to – we wanted to kind of amp up what we did – we already did a lot in the first movie for the budget and the schedule. I mean that’s the – I think one of the reasons why it stood out just because we were pushing the budget and the schedule the maximum. And so we pretty much had the same kind of schedule in this one and we were trying to do twice as much as pushing as we did on the first one. So it – it’s a lot of heavy lifting to kind of make these things look fantastic and don’t have a – you know, we don’t have a $200 million budget to pull it off. But we have a lot of the imagination from our writers under Levin, from our cast and from our crew and producers and Syfy to let us play in this playground. One of the best things that Syfy said – there were actually two great things they said when we were developing. One, they started saying, well, we’re set it in summer but any weird weather when you’re shooting in February make it part of the story, which liberated us. So we didn’t have to go, we have to hide the snow. And that really adds to the look and feel of the movie. The second thing is – is that, they said we want you to shoot this movie in New York, shoot it in New York. We don’t want you to go to Canada. We don’t want you shoot in the back lots in LA. We want to shoot in New York. And I think that – that makes this movie look gargantuan and it feels authentic. And I think that’s what makes this one really special because we’re right there in the thick of New York.
TR: I think New York City has its own personality itself. So adding the personality of New York into this film really added a magical element into the film.

Ian/Tara, When you have a movie that is special like Sharknado was, sometimes actors will be reluctant to do a sequel. Did you guys have any second thoughts or were you on board from the get go?
Ian Ziering: I was on board right from the get go. You know, what’s so nice about Sharknado is that it really is not competing with itself and the bar that it set initially is not – you know, one of – you know, that’s unattainable. This was a low budget independent film, you know, a very campy nature.
So really the only way to screw it up would be to change it. And the brilliance of Sharknado 2 is the fact that it’s more of the same. It’s a similar formula but it’s a different experience, similar situation in a new environment. And if people liked one they’re going to love two.
TR: I agree with Ian exactly. He couldn’t have said it better. When I read the first one and went out to dinner that night with my friends, I told them I thought the script was hilarious. I was – yes, sharks are flying in Beverly Hills and maiming people and jumping out of pools. And my friends are laughing so hard. They’re like, are you kidding me? This is amazing, you’ll have to do this. So it’s so funny, you have to do it. So the next day I called my agent and I’m like, all right, let’s do it. And never knowing it would become the phenomenon it did but, you know, it worked. You know, people really enjoyed it. And then we learned from the first one and I think made it even better.

The film has a lot of humor in it. Do you sort of play it serious or take a laugh with it?
Vivica A. Fox: I definitely played my character serious and then I think, like, in the moments and what were fighting against and the elements, then the comedy ensued. So I took it very serious that a Sharknado was coming and we were there to stop it.
TR: Yes, I mean I think we all had to take, you know – even though the situation seems so crazy. But you had to play it serious because if you didn’t – if we were playing it laughing the whole time then the storyline wouldn’t even make sense. It’s by taking it serious in such an absurd crazy environment and that’s where the jokes come in, that’s where it gets funny. So I think you really do have to commit to your character, you know, and also know what you’re playing and being in that situation that you’re in and playing it serious then there comes the humor. So I think that’s really what a lot of people did.
ACF: And I think one of the other tricks with this movie and there’s a lot of horror films that will be just purposely campy and over the top but, I think the key actually to this whole franchise is having everybody playing it straight. I mean Ian has some very funny moments in the movie and lines but they’re character driven, they’re reactionary. The only people that are allowed to be funny are your comic relief characters, which are like, Judah Friedland. But even then they ground it. It’s not, ‘I’m making a joke.’ That was one of the things when we’d get new people coming in for cameos. A couple times they would come in and they’d be over the top when we were rehearsing. And we’d be like, no, no, no, it has to be played straight. You can be as funny as you want but you have to be in character and take the situation seriously. And I think that’s part of the charm. I mean Ian, you kind of agree, right, with…
IZ: Absolutely, even though the situations are absurd, you know, in the reality of the imaginary circumstances if you will, you know, you say and do things that – you know, are appropriate for the actions or the scenario. But as a spectator, as an observer, you realize how funny they are within that situation. But when you’re dealing with it, you know, you have to act naturally in imaginary circumstances. But as a spectator you realize that, you know, you get to enjoy the fun of it because you’re a witness. You’re not there experiencing it. So in that dichotomy, that’s where really the joy of the movie exists because you have to suspend this believe to buy into what you’re doing but yet you still have you foot in the real world so it gives you perspective of how absurd this movie really is.
ACF:  I think a perfect example of what Ian did in the first movie when he chainsawed his way out of the shark there’s two ways that could have went. You could have went the Jim Carey route where it’s like, I’m laughing it up. Or you do what he did which was literally committing that he just was inside of a shark and that inherently makes it funnier because it’s so earnest that it’s so in the moment. I think that’s one of the charms about why people remember that sequence because – you know, Ian – it was the coldest day of the year in LA, which is hard to believe that we had a cold day. And a lot of – we dumped, like, 20 gallons of water on him. He’s freezing to death. He did. It was great. It was awesome.

What was the vibe on the set like the second time around?
TR: The vibe on the set was great. I mean we got lucky, everyone truly got along in the movie and had a great time with each other. And I think that shows.
VAF: The only element that was kind of crazy was just that it was really, really cold and there were sometimes you would be doing the scene and – boy, I just could not – getting out the dialog could be a little tough. But we would just go warm up and then go back at it again.

Did you all feel a responsibility to a fan base that didn’t exist the first time around?
VAF: Absolutely, yes. I mean when I heard about the success of the movie – 5,000 tweets a minute – I mean the first time, I was like, wow, okay, people are really, really loving this. And they’re going to be looking forward to the second one. So we wanted to deliver and make it bigger and better.
IZ: Yes, you know, in making Sharknado 2 there was a certain – there was a greater amount of ease about it because where I didn’t have the experience of what was possible, you know, after seeing what they were able to accomplish – what the visual effects artists were able to accomplish, what Anthony was able to do with the script, you know, going into Sharknado 2 I had a higher level of trust. So it was a bit more framing and enabled me to not have to worry about – gosh, am I going to look ridiculous doing this? I would do it no matter what but I had a greater amount of trust knowing that, you know, Anthony is completely capable, knowing that the visual effects artists are going to make all my actions substantiated by whatever shark it is that I’m being threatened by to make what initially was an action into a very realistic reaction. So I had a lot more fun because I wasn’t ill at ease.

Lastly a fun question; what’s your favorite shark kill out of both of the movies?
IZ: Yes, I like the shark kills most where I anchor myself to the ground and allow the sharks to literally pass through the blade. You know, that’s something that I did in the first movie where it was completely unrehearsed and Anthony has us running through a parking lot. He says, okay, I need you to jump around and there’s going to be sharks flying out of the sky so leap and jump and dodge sharks flying. I didn’t know what to expect but knowing that they would probably paint in the appropriate reaction there’s one moment where I just got on one knee and I raised the chainsaw into the air and they hit it out of the park. They had a shark fly through that. In the second one, working with a chainsaw that is 45 pounds, you know, swinging a chainsaw through the air is a little bit more challenging. So when I stood on top of the fire truck knowing that there was a shark flying at me I thought this would be another great opportunity. But this time I did it backwards. And Anthony says, what the hell are you doing? It looks so phallic. But when we painted the shark in it’s such a beautiful kill. It really is.
ACF: It is a fantastic moment. Yes, we called if the phallic shot. Wow, it was great. They did – that was one of the – that’s probably one of my favorite kills in this movie that – the animator, (Dennis) who did it, just – he originally did one pass on that where it was just kind of similar to the first movie and he got obsessed with the anatomy of a shark. And he found a half shark, like a plastic one that showed the full anatomy. And he used that as his inspiration so you get that really clean thing. And he just made a beautiful moment out of that.

Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse talk about new FX series “The Strain”

“The Strain” is a novel, which spawned a trilogy from Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, which also are co-creators, executive producers and writers for the new limited series on FX. Emmy® Award winning Writer and Producer Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) is serving as Executive Producer/Showrunner and Writer.

“The Strain” is a high concept thriller that tells the story of “Dr. Ephraim Goodweather,” the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers, wage war for the fate of humanity itself.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with The Strain’s Co-Creator / Executive Producer / Director Guillermo del Toro and Show Runner / Executive Producer / Writer Carlton Cuse  about the new series and what we can expect.

Carlton, tell us how you first got involved in this project?
Carlton Cuse: I had read the first Strain novel as a fan of both Guillermo’s work, and also independently I knew Chuck Hogan, and so I was very curious to see what this collaboration would look like. And I was just intrigued by the subject matter. I had read the first novel when it came out in 2009 and really enjoyed it, and then basically about two years ago my agent called me up and said that there was some interest in doing The Strain as a television series and would I be interested in it. I went and met with Guillermo and I had a really good meeting, and I basically decided to get involved, for two reasons. One, because I had a lot of respect for Guillermo as a filmmaker and I thought, particularly in a monster show like this, that he’s one of the most imaginative guys out there in terms of creating creatures and worlds. And I also thought that embedded in the book was this fantastic opportunity to upend the vampire genre, as the vampire genre has sort of been overrun by romance, and that we had had our fill of vampires that we’re feeling sorry for because they had romantic problems. And it was time to go back to the conception of vampires as really scary, dangerous creatures, and in so doing that there was a way to kind of make a genre show that would be different than anything that was out there on the TV landscape.

Being a fan of the book series; what is your plan to incorporate the sequels into the series?
CC: Book one is season one, yes. We basically follow the narrative of the first book in the first season. The plan is that the show will run somewhere between three and five seasons, and as we work out the mythology and the storytelling for season two we’ll have a better idea of exactly how long our journey is going to be. But it won’t be more than five seasons, we’re definitely writing to an endpoint, and we’re following the path as established in Guillermo and Chuck’s novels. But obviously there’s a lot that’s also going to be added. The television show is its own experience, and there are new characters and new situations, different dramatic developments, so the show and the book can each be separately enjoyed. I think that the goal is not to literally translate the book into a television show. You want to take the book as a source of inspiration and then make the best possible television show that you can make. And I think Guillermo, Chuck, myself, all of us involved have basically said, okay, here’s the book, now how do we take the best stuff in here and then use that as elements and then make the best TV show we can. But we view the TV show as its own creation.

Scott Kirkland/PictureGroup

Guillermo del Toro: It was very clear from the start that we had the three books to plunder, but we also had the chance of inventing. We talked about milestones, that we want the milestones and the characters that are in the book to be hit, but with that it became very malleable. Carlton decided, I think very wisely in retrospect, it made perfect sense as a game plan to, for example, leave the origins of The Master, which we opened book one with for a second season, if we go that way, and, for example, bringing a set piece from book two to bookend the story of one character on season one. So, it’s a very elastic relationship that the series has with the book, but by that same token it’s very respectful and mindful of the things that will not alienate someone that likes the books. It should feel as seamless. And I think the decisions we have to understand when Carlton is guiding us through this new medium for the story, to trust and know that his decisions are guided by huge experience and a prestigious career.

Guillermo, how was the transition from feature films to cable television?
GDT: The transition came from both Chuck and I, it was very smooth in many ways because we had the chance to adapt the novels to comic book form with Dark Horse. And coming in we really sought Carlton’s guidance into this new form. I think there never has been an occasion in which our dialogue has seen anyone read the books and say, “This is not the way it’s in the books.” So that much was very satisfactory. For me as a producer and director, it was about having some of the quirks that come from a feature film. I asked FX to give us a long pre-production period so I could really plan out the makeup effects, the creature effects, the visual effects, all of which I have big experience with, in order to try to bring to the pilot a big scope feel to the series doing sophisticated effects and some set pieces, while staying on a fiscally responsible budget and managing. And from a director’s point of view it was the same on the pilot. I didn’t want to go back and say, can I get one day more? Can I do many extra hours? I wanted to fit in the sandbox what I was hoping would feel like a big pilot episode for a big series. And that pre-planning was crucial, but also adjusting the way I staged, the way I approach coverage, or storytelling, and yet not sacrificing anything. It was both some fiscal constraints, but creative absolute freedom, which was a huge thrill for me to get a phone call from John Landgraf before starting the series, saying to me, “We encourage creator content, we love Carlton, we love you, and we want you guys to do the most idiosyncratic, best version of the series that you can.”

Tonya Wise/PictureGroup

Can you tell us about the decision to do this as a limited series?
CC: I think that we’re moving into this new phase of television where I think audiences are really embracing stories with a beginning, middle, and end. And if you look at the success this season, for instance, of True Detective and Fargo, as well as the kind of incredible response that the end of Breaking Bad got, I think that you have to recognize that the audience wants to see stories that come to a conclusion. They want the full and rounded experience. And television has been sort of a first act and sort of an endless second act, and I think that the best television now is giving you a three act experience. And I think that that’s what we want to do with our show.
GDT: I agree with Carlton. I think one of the things that we made essential when we pitched the series everywhere, and certainly at FX, is we came in and we said we are not going to be extending beyond the—we presented two arcs, one that can fulfill three or four seasons, and hopefully the second or third book are complex enough that they can generate a fifth one. But we literally said it needs to end when it needs to end, and that was a central part of finding a home for the series.

Can you talk about the creature development for this show?
GDT:
Yes. I’ve been obsessed by vampires for a long, long time, since I was a very young kid, and a very strange kid. I read about vampire mythology worldwide and I familiarized myself with the Japanese, Filipino, Malaysian, and Eastern European variations on the vampire, and many, many others. And I kept very detailed notes as a kid on where to go with the vampire myth in terms of brutality, social structure, biology, this and that, and some of those notes made it into my first feature, Cronos, some of them made it in Blade II, when I directed that, and most of them made it into The Strain. And designing them, we knew and we had it very clear that, for example, The Master needed to be hidden for at least half the season or more to not make him that accessible. I came up with the idea that this guy that has been alive for centuries and essentially is an apex of the Dark Ages in the middle of a world of imminent modernity. You have people with cell phones, jet airplanes, iPads, texting, Internet, all of that, and in the middle of it there is a 9 foot tall, hand carved coffin with a creature that has been alive for centuries. And it’s ancient, and that’s what makes it powerful, that it doesn’t care about any of the modern accoutrements of mankind that gives mankind such a false sense of security. And The Master needed to look that ancient, so we decided that he was going to become his wardrobe and that eventually when he reveals himself you have a second layer. So we designed the wardrobe, the cape and the multiple layers of clothes that are falling apart, because he has an accumulation of clothes over the 1800s, 1900s, 21st century, he’s just accumulating rags, and he needed to look like a lump, like a bunch of rags thrown on the floor, then come alive, and out of all these rags comes out this incredibly glistening and viscerally biological appendage that then drains the first victim. And that’s the way we started guiding the process of designing The Master. And the more we go into the season, the more you see of him and the more you discover layer after layer of that creature design.

What about FX made you decide the network was the right place for The Strain?
GDT: We had a fantastic first meeting, if I may say so. We had an incredible meeting in which the very head of the network and everybody in that room knew patently well and intimately the three books. And yet they were excited by Carlton, they were excited by the possibility of not just doing the books but where would Carlton take it as a show runner, they were excited about, okay, that’s the universe, but we see many more possibilities than that. That made it very unique in our eyes. And they celebrated the aspects of the series that were edgier, or less of a kind that we have seen before. The other thing for me that was unique is I’m a follower of the brand, I’m a big FX fan, and they give you time to find your footing. They give you time to establish, especially in a genre like this, you know you cannot just do everything at once, reinvent everything at once. You either reinvent the characters in a genre story, or you reinvent the generic traits with characters that you’re able to place in the normal canon of the genre and then little by little evolve those characters, and that needs time. And FX has been known to be supportive of series that find their footing and creatively allow them to explore anything from characters you’ve seen before that then transform into things that are new, or concepts that are very new that go to daring places. So, it made it a unique place for the show.

CC: I would just add to everything that Guillermo said, that again we were presenting them with a very specific business model about how we wanted to approach the show, that we wanted to have the show last between three and five seasons, that we needed them to spend a bunch of money up front to do the R&D and the work that was necessary to do the world building for our show, and they would have to spend money up front on writing a bunch of scripts. And they jumped in wholeheartedly and they embraced the way in which we wanted to produce the show, as well as our creative vision, and we felt incredible confidence coming out of our meetings with them that they were the exact right partners for us.

Jeremy Lamberton and Todd Lincoln talk about their new documetary “Biker Fox”

I’ve spent a few weekend evenings in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the one thing that always catches my attention is the muscle-car atmosphere that takes over the city when the sun goes down. No matter where you drive, you can find parking lots full of car enthusiasts and their rides. Horror producer (and Tulsa native) Todd Lincoln and first time director Jeremy Lamberton have teamed up for the documentary “Biker Fox.”

The film tells the story of Frank P. DeLarzelere III, known to the good people of Tulsa as Biker Fox, a misunderstood motivational bicyclist, nature conservationist and muscle car guru. In helping spread the word about their new film, the two took time to answer some questions.

Mike Smith: How did you learn about Biker Fox?
Jeremy Lamberton: My first Biker Fox sighting was at a traffic light. He was on his bike, shaking his ass while staring at people in their cars. I pulled into a Taco Bueno parking lot next to an old bowling alley and he rode up next to my car and asked me if I was married. I told him I was (I wasn’t married at the time) and invited him to perform at Tulsa Overground. That night he told me about all the video he shot of wild life around his house and that I had to see it. Later that week he gave me an entire box of hi-8 and miniDV tapes. I watched everything. There were hundreds of hours of wild turkeys, coyotes, opossums, weed eaters, rabbits, lawn mowers, blue birds, bats and him hand feeding 50 raccoons. There were also tapes of him lecturing directly into the camera about the benefits of fitness and a healthy diet. Biker Fox and I started shooting together the next week.

MS: What made you decide to make a film about him?
JL: The footage he had already shot on his own was magical. He’s such a charismatic guy and it translated so well on video. But I didn’t think about it being a documentary until he started getting arrested. When trouble started swirling it grounded him and he became more genuine to his true character while shooting. And I thought it was funny that Biker Fox was continuing to preach his gospel of good health and happiness while at the same time his life was spinning out of control. He’s an indomitable being.

MS: Did you always intend to do the film as a documentary or did you consider doing a scripted feature film?
JL: “Biker Fox” was always meant to be a documentary. Or some kind of cross-genre film. Most of what happens in the movie you can’t make up. I don’t think his character would have the same impact if scripted. The spontaneity and what happened naturally is what made film special.

MS: Do you think that fans of your horror films will enjoy this film?
Todd Lincoln: Yes. Horror fans will definitely enjoy “Biker Fox.” Anyone who loves the unusual, the macabre, the dark arts and naturally occurring curiosities and oddities…. will appreciate the world of Biker Fox. While this is not at all a horror film in the traditional sense… it certainly could be seen as scarier than most. You will see blood. You will see violence. You will see killer raccoons.

MS: Jeremy, you’ve finally gone behind the camera. Was the experience what you expected?
JL: I’ve been making films for years but this was my toughest challenge. BIker Fox is a raw dog. I wanted the film to tap into Biker Fox’s psyche. Shooting with Biker Fox is like shooting a nature film. You can’t control it. You just hope to be rolling when something memorable happens. And Biker Fox has a tendency to perform in front of a camera. And he’s severely ADHD, so he’s constantly moving. He can’t sit still. The most effective way to show his true character – the character behind the character – was to make the film non-traditionally. So we set up cameras on tripods all over his house and in his shop and encouraged him to videotape himself. I would go to his house multiple times a week and pick up sometimes as many as 40 tapes at a time. He was shooting like crazy. Like video diarrhea.

MS: I’ve been to Tulsa and have observed their “muscle car culture” up close. What is your take on it?
JL: It’s crazy. The real collectors takes it very seriously. A lot of them too seriously. I’ve been to a few swap meets with Biker Fox. One time while looking at a guy’s 1967 GTO I put my hand on the car to look inside and he snapped his fingers and told me to never touch his car again. It doesn’t seem worth it. They spend all their time stressing over door dings and scratches. Seems like wasted energy.

MS: What do you have coming up?
JL: I’m working on a narrative script and producing a documentary called “Dreamland.” Also, Tulsa Overground make its return this August after a 7 year hiatus.