Interview with Alex Winter

Alex Winter is best known for his role in the “Bill and Ted” series.  Alex though has spent most of his career behind the camera, directing and writing.  Alex is directing the upcoming remake of the classic horror film “The Gate”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Alex about his career and his upcoming work.

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Mike Gencarelli: What was the best part of working on “Bill and Ted” series?
Alex Winter: It was along time ago but the best part was the fact that everybody working on it, me, Keanu, the writers Chris (Matheson) and Ed (Solomon) and both directors had a really friendly relationship.  It was definitely hard work and quite strenuous.  But it was a lot fun.  Everyone just got along and had the kind of same vision. They were both independent movies so there wasn’t a lot of pressure or interference from studios.  We were able to have that free-spiritness that people enjoy, especially kids.  They really dig those movies.  It was just a genuinely good time and I think that came off on-screen.

MG: Which do you prefer more, “Excellent Adventure” or “Bogus Journey”?
AW: It is funny they just screened the movies at the New Beverly in LA, I haven’t watched them all the way through in a long time.  I used to think that “Bogus Journey” was my favorite.  After watching it recently, I started to think that first one was my favorite [laughs].

MG: Prior to “Bill and Ted”, you played Marko in “The Lost Boys”, tell us about working on that film?
AW: It was a real blast.  I was in NYU film school when I made that movie.  It was just great for me to have a job during college for starters.  It was also great to be working with such incredibly talented people.  Michael Chapman, the Cinematographer on the film, was an idol of mine.  He also shot films like “Raging Bull” and all this great stuff.  It was just a lot fun and a great experience.

MG: How was it juggling between directing and acting in “Freaked”?
AW: That was called insanity.  Tom Stern was directing partner on that film.  So luckily, I didn’t have to do all of the chores on my own.  There was no way I would have been able to direct that movie on my own.  Just my makeup alone took like six hours of my day everyday.  It was crazy, it was like four hours to get in and like two hours to get out.  It was one of the best times I have ever had in my life though.  We were just young and completely stupid.  We just put out bodies through a lot.  But overall it was most challenging probably due to the makeup.

MG: Do you prefer directing to acting?
AW: I have mostly been a director my whole life.  I primarily write and direct.  I enjoy acting, I really do.  I stopped acting professionally in 1993 though.  I love what I do, very much.  Will I act again?…Maybe? If the part was right, if it seems interesting.   Certainly my main focus is filmmaking.

MG: What made you get involved with the show “Ben 10”
AW: It was really something I originally did for my kids.  I’ve got three boys and they are all “Ben 10” fanatics.  So I was the expert on “Ben 10”.  A friend of mine worked at Cartoon Network, who I was working with on another movie, he told me I should come in and do something with him.  So I looked at what they were doing and “Ben 10” I knew really well.  I do a lot of commercial work also that is effects orientated.  I have been doing that for long time.  So I pitched them a way to do a live action version of “Ben 10”.  We all jumped in and did it together.  I even got my kids involved with the design process, which was really great.  It was like a “bring your kid to work day” job [laughs].

MG: Tell us upcoming the upcoming remake to “The Gate” which you directed?
AW: It was a really great opportunity.  I have been working on it now for a couple of years just in concept and design.  The script is really great.  Not every movie is right for a remake and not every movie is right for 3D.  For me this movie is a great remake and a great 3D movie.  I was approached by Andras Hamori who produced the original “The Gate”.  This film is all being done with people with a fondness and connection to the original film.  It is not just a cynical rehash.  The idea was really to make the kind of kids movie they really do not make anymore.  Which is what the original “The Gate” was. “Poltergeist” was one of these.  “The Goonies” to some extent was one of these.  Movies that have some scares and some edge and are children friendly.  That is something I have really wanted to do.  It is the kind of movie I would like when I was a kid.  When I was young we had movies that were rated PG but had an edge on them.  “The Gate” was originally rated PG.  You do not see something like that anymore.  Today if they make a movie like that it is “Saw” and rated R.  It is great but not for a certain age group.  The idea was to make something really ballsy, creative, scary, funny, edgy and has the kind of spirit that those movies used to.  The effects are going to be really cool.  We have been working on the 3D design for a long time.  We have great people on our team.  I am really excited about this project.

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