Tommy Chong talks about new Cheech & Chong dispensary and video game “Bud Farm”

Iconic actor, best-selling author, Grammy Award-winning comedian, activist and America’s sweetheart of Cannabis Tommy Chong is legendary for his invaluable contribution to American counter-culture as part of the iconic comedy duo Cheech & Chong, and with a name synonymous with cannabis, has entered into dispensary license with Five Point Holdings Inc. and partnered with Cheech Marin to develop a five state dispensary chain. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about the dispensaries with Tommy as well as his new video game “Bud Farm”.

Interview with Oscar/BAFTA nominated filmmaker Agnieszka Holland

I first met Oscar and BAFTA nominated filmmaker Agnieszka Holland several years ago when I had the honor of introducing her amazing 1990 film “Europa, Europa.”  In my introduction I noted that, when I first saw it I was a theatre manager and watched it at 430 in the morning.  I then commented that I loved the film so much that I threaded up the projector and watched it again.  She told me later in the evening that I had given her one of the best compliments she had ever received. She also very graciously signed my “Europa, Europa” DVD.  Her latest film, “Mr. Jones,” tells the story of a Welsh journalist who broke the news in the western media of the famine in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s and is currently available via Video-on Demand.  “Europa, Europa” recently received a beautiful CRITERION Blu-ray/DVD release.  While awaiting start on her next project, Ms. Holland took the time to speak with me about “Mr. Jones.”

 Mike Smith:  What drew you to direct “Mr. Jones?”

Agnieszka Holland:  The script was sent to me by a first-time screenwriter and when I read the script what struck me first was how personal it sounded as well as how relevant it was.  A story about the manipulation of the media – the propaganda – fake news and the consequences of it and how they are relevant to our time.  I realized at the time that the work of Stalin was virtually unknown to the masses and that what he allowed was unjust and wrong. And I knew the story had to be told.  At the beginning, Mr. Jones is curious and bright and a businessman. He wants to discover some new things but what he finds are things that other people don’t see; this incredible tragedy happening to the entire population.  He becomes the messenger that speaks for them.

MS:  Were you familiar with Gareth Jones’s story before you were sent the script?

AH:  Not really. It was only after I agreed to make the film and met with members of his family that I found out they were hearing the story for the first time. It was one of his grand-nephews that discovered the documents that center around the story. After his death his actions had been forgotten. He is best known in Ukraine where he is considered a national hero. Once I read the script I knew this young man’s work had to be brought to the light again

MS:  “Europa, Europa” turns 30 this year. Do people still approach you and tell you the impact the film had on them?

AH:  Yes, the film doesn’t seem to age. They’ve either seen it on television or they have purchased the new CRITERION Blu-ray/DVD.  I hadn’t seen the film myself in quite a while and I recently introduced it at a film festival and I was surprised at how well it stood the test of time

MS:  You work a lot in both film and television.  As a director do you have a favorite medium?

AH:  Television is easier because as a director you don’t have to be totally involved.   You are just helping to tell the story. On a film the director is responsible for everything. On television you have several layers of responsibility from the show runner on down, and rarely does a director do the entire series. I will share my vision but it’s not entirely my own work so things go a lot smoother and entirely faster.

MS:  What is your next project?

AH:  I just finished a film called “Charlatan,”  a Czech film that recently premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. It was supposed to open in European theaters in March but because of the Covid lockdown it will probably be released in the fall. It was well received in Berlin so I hope the people like it. I’m now preparing to shoot a television series for Apple TV which will be filmed in Paris but we are waiting to see when we can begin filming, again due to the current situation. Right now it would be impossible but we are continue to prepare it so will be ready when we are allowed to start.

Stacey Nelkin talks about Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Blade Runner and Yellowbeard

Stacey Nelkin is known best for her role of Ellie Grimbridge in “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”. She was also cast in “Blade Runner” as the the infamous “Sixth Replicant” but ended up being cut.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Stacey about Halloween III as well as her work with the Monty Python gang in “Yellowbeard” and working with Tony Danza and Danny DeVito and the orangutans in “Going Ape”.

Ralph Bakshi talks about his sketchbook, Lord of the Rings & working with Brad Pitt on Cool World

Ralph Bakshi is the man responsible for films like Fritz the Cat, Coonskin, American Pop, Heavy Traffic, The Lord of the Rings (’78), Wizards, and Cool World.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat about drawing with Ralph as well as how he got the rights to make the animated Lord of the Rings movie in 1978 to working with a young Brad Pitt on Cool World.

Titus Paar talks creating an animatronic bear in “Fear of the Woods”

Titus Paar is the director of the new upcoming survival horror film “Fear of the Woods”s starring Vernon Wells (“Commando”, “The Road Warrior”). The film just released it’s trailer to the world and has been taking over the internet since doing so.

Here is the official synopsis for the film is “Alaska 1993, A snowstorm has trapped the small mountain town. Now it’s up to a group of rebellious teenagers to save their town that don’t believe in monsters.’

The film boasts a fully animatronic bear with no CGI and looks absolutely killer (see the trailer below). Media Mikes had a chance to ask Titus a few questions about the film and also his work with Steven Seagal.

What made you want to make a killer bear movie with “Fear of the Woods”?

When I was around 6 years old I saw the anime Silver Fang for the first time, it blew me away and that bear was the coolest monster I had ever seen (And still is)As I started making movies around 15 the dream began of one day making a live action movie called Fear of the Woods and capture the essence of the Bear in Silver Fang but with a new story.And now here we are, 30 years older making that kids dream come true.  

Tell us about the decision to use an animatronic bear and no CGI for the film?

My style of directing is to mix something old and familiar with something new that I made up. I just make movie I want to see but doesn’t exist, from a fan of film standpoint.This is a retro creature movie and I wanted to pay tribute to the guys that did it all in camera.And once I found out that we had an amazing creature work shop in Sweden called fixas.se it was nothing to think twice about.With movies like Jaws, you see its fake but you don´t care because it was there for real, that shark existed and moved like that and ate the actors. Same with our movie, we had that animatronic bear in arctic temperatures, with the maker of the creature, inside the bear operating him from inside so he could walk and run, while another guy controlled the head, mouth, eyes, smoke machine. So much fun and man but so much hard work.

I have a feeling this was a difficult shoot; Can you tell us a little about the production? 

This film truly was a struggle to make in every way. The sun went up at 9 and pitch-black at 3 so we didn’t have lunch breaks or any break really. There was two meter snow so you couldn’t walk without falling and sinking down to you belly and you know I got 74 year old Hollywood star Vernon Wells coming in. And he is supposed to be running in this with a 20 kilo coat on him, being chased by an animatronic bear in tracking shots and VFX setups… So yeah everything was hard. It´s just hard being outside in that kind of cold and we where shooting up on a mountain.But the team is used to work in these conditions and my DP Marcus Möller is one of the beat nature DPs there is so he was a big life savior. Big Camera rig, running with snow shoes all days because the director wanted to have long sweeping takes 🙂 But hey it was worth it, it looks amazing.

Insane shoot for sure. Think we all lost a bit of weight falling around in that snow, digging out the snowmobile while battling the clock. I hate filming in studios, this was a true adventure and it shows in the film. Below is the location and the film is by Marcis Möller:

Tell us about the tagline “Jaws meets Strangers Things and Silver Fang”? 

Its not the tagline but I want my influences to show. This is a combination of these things mashed together in my imagination where I just take stuff that makes my blood pump and the only read thread is me liking it really. Jaws, Jurassic park and yeah the way Spielberg makes creature movies, where the film around the creature is so interesting that the film works even if you take out the creature. Stranger Things for the homage to a time period, we are in the 90s in my movie. But it’s our version of the 90s like Stranger Things is using the 80s but making it their own universe. Silver fang is the horror in snow and the idea to bring Akakabouto to life.

How did you get “Mad Max 2″/”Commando” star Vernon Wells to appear in the film? 

Vernon and I have been friends for like 10 years. Tried to make a few movies before but movies fall apart all the time, it’s a miracle when they get made.Managed to make one together before, he has a fun part in my crazy Seagal movie Perfect Weapon. Love the guy. Grew up watching him in Mad Max and wanted to look like him (I still sport the Wez mohawke) He is a great actor and I mean he is movie history, I hope he gets to make bigger films again after this, he’ll win some awards for this role, some of his best work ever. 

I read he also did all of his own stunts at the age of 74? 

Yeah that man doesn’t complain. I asked him if I was going to bring in a stunt double and MZ stunts was ready to bring in a guy (I mean I did a Seagal film and Seagal has a stunt double for walking and he is 12 years younger than Vernon) He just looked at me and said. I’ll be alright as long as I can use my wheelchair… What do you think? I´m a fucking 80s action star I do all my own stunts. Well what can I say, he did almost kill Arnold (Schwarzenegger) and Mel (Gibson)…

Now that the trailer has been tearing up the internet; when can horror fans expect the release of this film? 

We are still in post on the film but we will do some festivals first. Want to win some awards for this and we will. So when the world opens up there are a lot of horror festivals around Halloween that will showcase it. But we also want to compete in mainstream festivals with this one, it has something fresh and people really dig it. Makes me so happy. You never know when you make these little more out-there movies if anyone else but you will like them.So it makes you very happy when they do. I have seen both sides, I won so many awards and gotten 5 star reviews many times but also been bashed like hell online and in reviews. So it’s nice to be praised for sure.

Your previous film “The Perfect Weapon”, starring Steven Seagal, was recently #1 on Netflix; what was it like working with Seagal? 

Seagal is a hard man to work with. But I knew that walking in to make that movie so I was prepared for it.It was fun doing a 80-90s B-action tribute with him, Vernon Wells and Richard Tyson from Kindergarten Cop. It was never clear in the marketing like I wanted that the movie is an ironic tribute to the B-action genre, so it was bashed for being too B. But that was the point to make the ultimate B movie. It did very well financially, was released worldwide by SONY even went theatrical in Japan and Dubai.The film brought me to Hollywood so I´m grateful to Seagal for taking a chance on me, but I would not do another Seagal movie. Working with much better and bigger talent now on my upcoming movies, you´ll see soon.I´ll say this doe, I like that Seagal is just like you expect him to be, he is larger than life, it’s not an act he puts on, I get bored easily but I was never bored hanging around with Seagal. I got so many good Seagal stories but I only tell them to people that buy me a drink.

Hey thank you Media Mikes for caring about my little crazy movie, means the world to me and the team that made it.Hope you get to see it in a festival or a platform later this year. Looking forward to hear your thoughts.

Billy Bryan talks about playing Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters, Dune and Army of Darkness

Billy Bryan is the man who created the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man suit for Ghostbusters as well as the man inside. He is also one of the puppeteers for Chucky in Child’s Play and also played the Pit Bitch in Army of Darkness.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Billy about his role in Ghostbusters as well as Dune, Child’s Play, Army of Darkness, Men in Black and meeting Dave Grohl for his work on Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny.

Robert Wuhl talks about Tim Burton’s Batman and the legacy of HBO’s Arli$$

Robert Wuhl is best known as the creator and star of the television comedy series Arli$$ (1996–2002) and for his portrayal of newspaper reporter Alexander Knox in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989).

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Robert about working with Tim Burton on Batman, his appearance in Supergirl and the legacy of Arli$$.

Diane Franklin talks about Better Off Dead, Terrorvision and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Diane Franklin is an icon from the 80’s having starred in “The Last American Virgin”, “Amityville II: The Possession”, “Better Off Dead”, “Terrorvision” and “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”.

She is also an author with her latest book titled “Diane Franklin: The Excellent Curls of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s”.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Diane to discuss her rise to fame and also her current work in “The Amityville Murders”.

Dan Shor talks about TRON, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Star Trek

Dan Shor is know best for playing the supporting character Ram, in the movie, TRON. He also played the character Roy Kleinberg in the TRON: The Next Day epilogue to TRON: Legacy, a role that was reprised from TRON in which the character was listed as “Popcorn Co-Worker”. Besides being a veteran actor, he is also a director, writer and teacher with a career spanning 28 years.

Dan is also known for playing Billy the Kid in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. He also appeared “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek Voyager” playing Dr. Arridor.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dan about these roles and reflect on the legacy of TRON.

Lia Beldam aka The Women from Room 237 talks about her role in “The Shining” and reflects on the films 40th Anniversary

You may not know Lia Beldam by name but she is forever the Woman from Room 237 in “The Shining” and also recently reprised in “Ready Player One”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Lia about her role and the legacy of the film celebrating it’s 40th anniversary.

Also be sure to check out our first interview with Lia back in 2013 – https://mediamikes.com/2013/04/lia-beldam-reflects-on-her-role-as-room-237s-guest-in-stanley-kubricks-the-shining/

D.J. MacHale talks about “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” TV series and “Pendragon” Book Series

D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series, including Nickelodeon’s “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”.  As an author, his ten-volume book series:  Pendragon:  Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space became a New York Times #1 bestseller.

Other notable television writing credits include the ABC Afterschool Specials, the pilot for the long-running PBS/CBS series Ghostwriter; and the HBO series Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective for which he received a CableAce nomination for writing.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with D.J. about “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”, “Ghostwriter” and “Pendragon” via Zoom and the video is posted below! Please enjoy and leave comments below of your favorite episodes of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”.

Charles Bronson Look-alike Robert Bronzi talks about new film “Cry Havoc”

If you passed Robert Bronzi on the street you would definitely do a double take thinking that you have just passed the late actor Charles Bronson. Bronzi has taken Hollywood by storm recently and has starred in films like “Death Kiss”, Once Upon a Time in Deadwood” and most recently the horror film “Cry Havoc”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the Bronson doppelganger to discuss his films and likeness to Charles Bronson.

Mike Gencarelli: How does it feel to be called “The Hungarian Charles Bronson”?

Robert Bronzi: In my home town people know me as Robert or Bronzi because that is my stage name. Also, when I’m traveling in the country a lot of people want to take a photo with me, they congratulate me and wish me luck. I have to say it’s a very good feeling.

MG: When did you first get confronted about your likeness to Charles Bronson?

RB: As young man, pretty much  my whole life. So I cut my hair and moustache like Bronson. Many years ago in Hungary I worked as a horse breeder and horse trainer. At the horse breeding center we had a lot of   visitors every day, people told me “hey boy ! you know you look like Charles Bronson? ” I worked with my very good friend Peter, he would always say that I looked like him and he began  to call me Bronzi. So he gave me my nick name . After that everyone called me Bronzi and it became my artist name.

MG: Give us some background on your life before you started making movies in Hollywood?

RB: I’m an actor, musician and stuntman. I have done a lot of different and interesting things in my life. I worked in Hungary as a horse breeder and horse trainer. I performed at western shows in Hungary and Spain in different pieces. I’m an accordionist, I played music in bars, at festivals, weddings and private parties.

MG: Tell us what was it like filming in Western Leone, near Almeria, Spain, which was the site of much of the filming of the famous Sergio Leone/Charles Bronson western ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST?

RB: Well, I really enjoyed filming in Almeria as I worked there for quite a few years in the western village of TEXAS HOLLYWOOD TABERNAS as a stunt performer. There I met some of my acquaintances, my old colleagues, and a few of them are also featured in the film, and my acting partners are also wonderful and talented people. Every time I go to Almeria I feel like if I am going home. I really like that place and Spain too.

MG: How was it going from a revenge western to a horror movie like CRY HAVOC?

RB: My first western style movie was shot some years ago, also with Rene Perez . The name of the film was From Hell To The Wild West .This is a western movie with horror elements. CRY HAVOC is a horror and action movie without western elements. For me that was a new challenge, a new role what I tried to do with my best ability as an actor.

MG: You have worked with director Rene Perez on four films now; tell us about how this collaboration started?

RB: Rene Perez saw my photo on the Saloon wall in Spain in the western village where I worked as a stunt performer. He thought it was a photo of Charles Bronson years  ago hand asked the owner about the photo. When Rene found out it wasn’t Bronson, it was me, he told the owner, “I want to meet this guy”.

MG: I read you train in judo and Muay Thai; tell us about how you keep in shape?

RB: I work hard to keep my body in shape. In Hungary I have some good friends that help me get ready for the movies. They teach me martial arts such as judo and Thai boxing, and three times a week I visit the gym.

MG: What do you do when you are not acting?

RB: I have got some preferred hobbies. For example: Riding, archery, fishing, playing on my accordion and walking in the forest. I would also like to mention that I ‘m a member of a traditional preservation team in Hungary. When I have time I go with them to attend the traditional festivals where I use my sword, my replica firearms and of course my bow in the live show. Also I have different costumes from the very old times.

MG: What films do you have planned upcoming after CRY HAVOC?

RB: Currently I’m working on a few new projects. I can’t say much but in the near future you will see a lot of Bronzi action films .

Throwback Thursday: A Conversation with Colin Hanks

Today is Thursday and it is the start of our Throwback Thursday interview revisits. For our first Thursday, we are going back in time to July 2011, nearly 9 years ago, when we interview Colin Hanks, of course the son of well-known actor Tom Hanks. Colin was starring in the Gil Cates Jr. directed film “LUCKY” along with Ari Graynor, Ann-Margret and Jeffrey Tambor at the time and we were lucky (see what I did there LOL) enough to get an interview with him.

This interview was done back in 2011 when we were still named MovieMikes.com with our own Jon Donahue, who had a KILLER conversation with Colin Hanks to discuss “LUCKY”, his Tower Records documentary and his role on Showtime’s “DEXTER”! Please take the time to watch this whole interview its hysterical and deserves a view. And in case you wanna know…Yes they already knew each other prior to the interview. Enjoy and leave comments!!

Here is the premise for the film:
After Ben (Hanks) wins $36 million in the lottery, Lucy (Graynor) marries him, strictly for the cash. Just as she’s beginning to have genuine feelings for him, however, Lucy discovers that he’s a serial killer whose victims all resemble her. Still, though, there’s no way she’s walking away from those lottery checks, even if it means losing her mind and re-burying all the bodies.

Interview with Actor Michael Pare’

I first saw Michael Pare’ when he appeared on television’s “The Greatest American Hero,” but it was his performance as Eddie Wilson in the film “Eddie and the Cruisers” that cemented him in my mind as an actor to watch.  While on his way to Nevada to shoot his latest project Mr. Pare’ took time out to talk to me about his latest film – “Once Upon a Time in Deadwood” – his aspirations to be a chef and how Rick Springfield almost ended up playing Eddie Wilson.  (I should also note that this interview is posting on his birthday so, from all of us at Media Mikes, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL!”

 

MIKE SMITH:  You studied to be a chef.  Was that your original career goal?

 

MICHAEL PARE’:  Yes.  When I was in high school, my first job where I had to pay taxes, social security and everything was in a fast food restaurant.  Then I got on at a regular restaurant that served steaks and everything else.  I was pretty good at it and I liked the life.  So in my junior year I heard from a co-worker about the Culinary Institute of America.  I got a recommendation from my boss and I applied and got in.  At the time it was known as the best cooking school in the United States.  I attended for a year and was given an internship at Tavern on the Green in New York.  They eventually offered me a full-time, six days a week job.  So I moved to Manhattan, which is where I was discovered.

 

MS:  Do you ever give the Craft Services people on set any pointers?

 

MP:  (laughs) No, but there are a few directors I’ve cooked with.  Uwe Boll and I used to have a sauerbraten contest every time we worked.  Cooking is something that a lot of people share.  In all of the arts food becomes an important part of your life.

 

MS:  How did you get into acting?  What took you from the kitchen to the soundstage?

 

MP:  I got discovered by an agent.  There was a bar where my girlfriend waitressed at that was kind of a show business bar.  It was right across from where they broadcast the news for ABC. A lot of people in the business hung out there.  The agent noticed me and asked me if I was an actor or a dancer.  I told her I was in the restaurant business.  She kind of pursued it and talked me into taking a few classes.  I did and I liked it a lot.  My first classes were at Carnegie Hall.  I’d go to class during the day and work the night shift at the restaurant.  I studied for two years and then auditioned for ABC’s talent development program and I got it.  They brought me out to Hollywood and put me on “The Greatest American Hero.”

 

MS:  You made your feature film debut as Eddie Wilson in “Eddie and the Cruisers.”  How did you get the role?

MP:  Marty Davidson, the director, called my agent and asked me to come in and meet him.  That was it.  I met with him about four or five times.  Marty was a very artistic guy.  He put the cast together and we had two weeks of improve and then we shot it.  I did it on hiatus from “The Greatest American Hero.”

 

MS:  Is it true that Martin Davidson would threaten to replace you with Rick Springfield?

 

MP:  (laughs)  Yes, but he only had to do it once!

 

MS:  I like Rick Springfield (Ok, I’ve seen him in concert a dozen times so I REALLY like Rick Springfield) but I don’t think he would have been a good Eddie.

 

MP:  It would have been a different movie.

 

MS:  Exactly.  Did you know while you were making the film that it was going to be regarded the way it is now?

 

MP:  No.  At that time I was still a young actor and didn’t know the potential of things.  I had only done two seasons of “The Greatest American Hero” and a movie of the week, so it was all like a dreamland.  I didn’t even think about marketing.  When I was back on “The Greatest American Hero” I was telling another actor about the film and he told me “you don’t have nothing without distribution.”  I had no idea what that meant.  I told him, “well, I shot it and they’re happy…that’s all I can say.”

 

MS:  Anyone ever ask you to sing “On the Dark Side” at karaoke?

 

MP:  (laughs)  If I do karaoke it’s Johnny Cash.

 

MS:  What drew you to your latest role in “Once Upon a Time in Deadwood?”

 

MP:  I’ve done a few westerns so when Jeff Miller (the film’s co-producer/co-writer) called me up and said he had an interesting project with this guy named Robert Bronzi I called up Danny Baldwin.  I knew he had worked with Robert and I asked him what he was like.  He said that Jeff and his team were very creative… very open minded.  So I said “ok.”  And then when I met Rene’ (director Rene’ Perez) he was surprised as he expected to meet someone who was a little more “beat up.”  I’m a pretty healthy guy.  That was it.  We shot in a little western town in central California up near the Sequoias.  We used blanks and squibs as opposed to all of the CGI stuff that is so popular now on low budget movies.  It was a great experience.  Nice cast.  Rene’ is very creative.  He’s the DP and the director.

 

MS:  Do you enjoy the genre’?  Do you have a favorite role-type?

 

MP:  I like all of them.  If you do it so long you play everything.  And you hope one of the roles will be successful, you know?

 

MS:  What are you working on now?

 

MP:  It’s called “Bridge of Doom” We’re shooting in Caliente’, Nevada.  It’s the military reaction to the Zombie Apocalypse.  When I heard that I was like, “great…we never hear about that part.  It’s always about the civilians out in the middle of nowhere.

Oscar Winning Film Editor Paul Hirsch Talks About His Career and His New Book

Oscar winning film editor Paul Hirsch has been fortunate in that he has worked numerous times with two of Hollywood’s best known filmmakers, Brian DePalma and John Hughes.  He also won an Academy Award for his work (along with Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew) on one of the most popular films of all time, “Star Wars.”  With a book highlighting his career about to be released, Mr. Hirsch took the time to answer some questions about his lengthy career.

 

MIKE SMITH:  What drew you to become a film editor?

 

PAUL HIRSCH:  A number of things.  I was fascinated when I first saw a Moviola.  I was blown away by a festival of Orson Welles films.  I liked working with my hands, and was drawn to the tools.  I loved movies.

 

MS:  Other film editors I’ve interviewed had mentors they admired.  I recently spoke with Arthur Schmidt and he told me that he learned under Dede Allen and Neil Travis.  Did you have someone whose work you admired and/or who took you under their wing?

 

PH:  Brian DePalma was my mentor.  He encouraged me, empowered me, validated my work and deeply influenced me.  I was cutting his films from the age of 23, and so never worked under a professional feature film editor.  I learned by doing and studying how films I admired were cut.  I was sort of like the art students you see in museums, copying the masters.

 

MS:   How did you come to edit “Hi Mom” for Brian DePalma?

 

I had cut the trailer for “Greetings,” thanks to my brother.  When they got the money to do a sequel, titled “Son of Greetings,” Brian hired me to cut it.

 

MS:   Five or your first six films were with DePalma.  He is well known – and often criticized – for his use of split-screen (the prom from “Carrie” being a great example).  Was that something you discussed in the editing room or was that his original vision?

An example of the split screen process used in “Carrie”

PH:  Split screen is Brian’s thing.  I can’t take credit for it, but I do love and appreciate the tension that can result from juxtaposing images on the screen, even if, or rather, especially if, the screen isn’t actually split.  I’m referring to deep focus shots, which have become a lost art, where you have a near object on one side, and a distant one on the other.  Brian did that a lot, using split diopters, with tremendous success.

 

MS:   A lot of the young filmmakers in the 70s (DePalma, Spielberg, Scorsese, Lucas) were very close with each other.  Is that how you were hired for “Star Wars?”

 

PH:  Yes.  Brian screened the final cut of “Carrie” for George and Marcia Lucas on their return from principal photography on”Star Wars” in England.  They needed help, and turned to me.

 

MS:  How difficult was it editing a film where you sometimes had to wait months for a finished special effects shot?

 

PH:  We had ways around that.  We would cut in place-holders or a piece of leader that we estimated was the right length.

 

MS:  You, along with Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew, received the Academy Award for your work on “Star Wars.”  Where do you keep your Oscar?

Richard Chew, Marcia Lucas and Paul Hirsch hoist their Oscars with presenter Farrah Fawcett

PH:  It’s on a bookshelf in my office.

 

MS:  You’ve done eleven films with DePalma but, surprisingly, not ‘The Untouchables.”  Was there a reason you didn’t cut that picture?

 

PH: I moved to the West Coast after “Blow Out.”  I didn’t cut a picture for Brian in the ensuing ten years.  We next worked together on “Raising Cain,” when he was living in California.

 

MS:  You also worked a lot with John Hughes.  How was he to work with and were there any major differences in the way he and DePalma approached a film?

 

PH:  John was a lot of fun to work with until he wasn’t.  He was a brilliant artist, but had mercurial moods.  But I had a great time working with him.  John was a writer, primarily, and his medium was words, by and large. Brian is a great visualist.  His ideas are primarily graphic, both in terms of camera movement, which no one does better, and in terms of visual story-telling, that is to say, how scenes can be constructed in the editing room.

 

MS:   Hal Ashby was a great film editor who went on to become a fine director.  Have you ever wanted to direct?

 

PH:  I did want to for a while, and then the fever broke.  I like working all the time, and editing afforded me that.  To me, directing was like perpetually running for office.  I’m more of an introvert, and editing suits me just fine.

 

MS:   Your most recent film was the Tom Cruise version of “The Mummy.”  What is the biggest difference between cutting a film now and forty-plus years ago?

 

PH:  There’s a lot more reliance on vfx now, which consumes a lot of time and energy.  And when I started out, directors were given much more discretion.  The director was the key creative figure in the package, often with final cut.  That happens less these days.  If a director had a hit back then, the studio would ask, “What do you want to do next?”  Today, the projects are developed by the studio, and the director is “cast” the same way you would choose an actor for a role.  Producers and studio executives are much more involved in the editing process these days.

 

MS:  What can you tell us about your new book?

Mr. Hirsch’s book will be released on November 1st and is currently available to order now on Amazon.com and other sites.

PH:  It’s an account of my adventures in Movie-land, my experiences of the last fifty years and what I learned during that time.  I write about the various projects I worked on, and the fascinating people I encountered.  I share some of the insights I picked up along the way as I made my way into the industry.  It’s not a how-to book, which I consider boring.  And it’s not a gossipy tell-all where I get revenge on the jerks I met along the way, which really weren’t that many when I think about it.  The people I got along with are much more interesting.  I meant it to be entertaining above all.  I hope people will read it for pleasure. I’ve had a number of friends read it.  Editors in particular seem to like it, but I think anyone who is curious about what goes on behind the scenes in our business will find it fun to read.

 

MS:  Are you working on anything new?

 

PH:  I’ve been working on the book for many years, first writing it, and then editing it.  I only just recently finished going over the page proofs.  I’m going to take my time now, reading scripts, and will see if anything pings my interest.  I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

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