Blu-ray Review “Deadly Sea Creatures: 2-Headed Shark Attack / 2010: Moby Dick / Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus”

Starring: Jaleel White, Carmen Electra, Charlie O’Connell, Barry Bostwick
Distributed by: Asylum Home Entertainment
Running Time 264 min
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Release Date: Feb 19, 2013

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Here is the thing about these films…they are very bad but so bad they are good. Yes these are all fun films. “2-Headed Shark Attack”, well has a two headed shark and that is cool enough for me. Please it has Carmen Electra, Charlie O’Connell and Brooke Hogan in the lead. “2010: Moby Dick” is a riot and Barry Bostwick is a riot in the film. Lastly we have Jaleel White in “Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus”. The film is a follow up to the amazing “Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus”. I mean where else can you see a giant croc eat Shamu at SeaWorld? There is tons of fun to be had here with this 3-Pack if you are up for it.

“2-Headed Shark Attack” Official Premise: A Semester at Sea ship is sunk by a two-headed shark, and the survivors escape to a deserted atoll. When it starts flooding, the coeds are no longer safe from the jaws of the monster. “2010: Moby Dick” Official Premise: A modern adaptation of the classic novel of the captain of a high tech submarine and his obsessive quest to destroy the enormous prehistoric whale that maimed him. “Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus” Official Premise: The massive prehistoric shark has survived the last battle, and the world is again threatened when a new, more dangerous foe is discovered in the jungles of Africa.

This 3-Pack marks the first time that “2010: Moby Dick” and “Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus” are being released on Blu-ray. I have to admit, I am glad to get a chance to own them but I would have preferred to have individual releases especially for “Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus”. The main issue with this release is that all three films are all compressed onto one 25GB Blu-ray. The bitrates are a low for a Blu-ray quality and they do not look the greatest with their 1080p transfers. The audio tracks are also only Dolby Digital 5.1, which to me is not even Blu-ray standard.

So why am I still recommending this release? Since if you know Asylum Home Entertainment, if you’ve seen their past release then you should know that they are not always quality. But still they are fun films are since this is currently the only way to own two of the three films, I am down for this sub-par release.  I will keep my hopes up that they will produce individual releases in the near future.

Interview with Chandler Riggs

Chandler Riggs is starring in AMC’s new TV series “The Walking Dead”. Chandler plays Carl Grimes, the son of lead characters Rick and Lori Grimes. Movie Mikes had a chance to ask Chandler a few questions about his character and how it has been working on the show.

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Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the TV Show “The Walking Dead”?
Chandler Riggs: First, my agent asked me to go on tape for “The Walking Dead”, and then they didn’t call us back for so long that we forgot about it. They called us two months later and after a couple of auditions, I was told that I got the part!

MG: Tell us about your character of Carl Grimes in “The Walking Dead”?
CR: Carl is the son of Rick and Lori Grimes. Carl is an average kid trying to adapt to this destroyed world and the other survivors. The first step in surviving is to have his mom and dad together and be a family again. That is the first of many problems.

MG: Where you familiar with the comic book series?
CR: I wasn’t familiar with the comic book series. My dad googled “The Walking Dead” and when we found out that it was a comic, we went to our local comic book store and bought a few issues.

MG: How did you prepare for the character?
CR: I prepared for Carl by reading the comic books and thinking about how he must have felt. We also watched a few movies that featured kid actors in intense roles to get an idea of what would be expected of me.

MG: How was it working with so many fantastic actors?
CR: I loved it. They treated me like an adult. Not just a little kid that annoys everybody!

MG: What was the best of working on the show so far?
CR: There are so many things that I loved.I really don’t think I have one favorite part. To see that I am part of something that means so much to so many people is really awesome.

MG: Are you a fan of horror films? Do you have a favorite?
CR: Yes. I love horror films. My favorite is “The Mist”. It was so cool seeing Laurie, Jeffery, Juan, and the amazing job that Frank did in directing that movie. Especially the creepy way that he ended it!

MG: What was it like working on the movie “Get Low”, any cool moments?
CR: It was so cool seeing Bill Murray and Robert Duvall. They were also very nice to me. My favorite part in “Get Low” was a deleted scene and didn’t make it into the movie. I got to shoot Robert Duvall!

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Interview with Steven Yeun

Steven Yeun may be new to Hollywood but he is off the right start. He is currently co-starring in AMC’s “The Walking Dead” as the character Glenn. Steven also loves doing improv and is currently part of a comedy duo. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Steven about his role in the TV show and his up-and-coming career.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your character Glenn in “The Walking Dead”?
Steven Yeun: Glenn is kind of the scavenger of the group. He is a young kid but he is always willing to help do the right thing. He slowly starts growing and turning into a man and finding his family within this group he is in.

MG: What was it like working with Frank Darabont?
SY: I didn’t get to directly work with him. He directed the first episode. My character comes in around the second episode. What was great though was he was behind the show the in every way. He had his hands in every single episode. It was so great.

MG: How has it been working on the show?
SY: I do not have much to compare it to but if this is what Hollywood is, than this is the best. The experience has been unreal. From the cast to the crew everyone is so behind it. Since I came in so fresh, everyone was kind, supportive and willing to help with any questions I had. I tend to ask a lot of questions and they have been so great. All the veterans have mentioned that this is as hard as it gets. We have some really difficult moments in terms of physically and emotionally.

MG: Are you a fan of the horror genre?
SY: I have to be honest, I am not the biggest horror man. Mostly because they scare the crap out of me [laughs]. Zombies I am cool with. Like vampires, werewolfs and othermythology I love. Ghosts…I can’t do ghosts.

MG: Where you a fan of the comic series before working on “The Walking Dead”?
SY: Yeah, actually I was. When I graduated school in 2005, I moved to Chicago and a friend of mine told me to check it out. I picked it up and literally couldn’t put it down. i literally bought tons of issues after that. It was surreal for me actually being a part of this.

MG: Tell us about your film “My Name is Jerry”, which recently was released on DVD?
SY: It is an independent film, I got be apart of like two or three years ago. Doug Jones plays the lead. It is about a guy that is coming to terms with his life. He gets into a bunch of things and meets people. One of the them being my character. It is a pretty fun movie.

MG: What else are you currently working on?
SY: I actually do a lot of improv. I’ve got a lot of live shows here in LA with a friend of mine. It is called Left Hand, the Improv Duo. That is it for now and just trying to see what else is out there for me.

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Interview with Adam Minarovich

Adam Minarovich is making a name for himself on many levels.  He is currently co-starring in the new AMC series “The Walking Dead”. Minarovich has also written, directed and starred in his own projects, including “Ankle Biters,” “Wiseguys vs Zombies” and “Exhibit A-7.”  He also wrote and co-stars in the upcoming film “Chop.”  Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Adam about working on “The Walking Dead” and what’s coming in the future.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Ed on “The Walking Dead”?
Adam Minarovich: It’s awesome.  As an actor living in the southwest it was right in my backyard.  It’s something I would have killed to be on.  I read for a lot of the parts that were in the graphic novel and I didn’t really fit any of them for various reasons.  But they wrote the character of Ed into the show and I was lucky enough to get to play him.  Ed is not a nice guy (laughs).  He’s married to a member of the survivor camp, Carol, who is in the graphic novel.  He’s not the nicest guy and he just hangs out at the camp.  I mean it’s an honor to play any character in anything Frank Darabont has anything to do with.

MG: Were you a fan of the comic series before working on show?
AM: A friend of mine has been telling me about “The Walking Dead” for some time but I never had the chance to check it out.  But when I heard this was coming up I started reading it and I’ve never read so long in my life!  I sat in a chair and just read one story after another.  I couldn’t put it down.  It actually gave me a new hobby.  Now I’m obsessed with graphic novels.

MG: What was one of the scariest things that happened on set?
AM: The experience itself was really awesome but I’m trying to think it anything really weird happened.  To sit in the makeup chair with Greg Nicotero was awesome.  He’s really a funny guy.  I’m so used to working on low budget stuff where everything messes up and it’s funny to talk about later but on this set nothings has screwed up so I don’t have any funny stories.  I mean usually somebody catches on fire or someone breaks a leg or the director freaks out but none of that happened so I really don’t have any cool stuff to say.

MG: I am just guessing but you are a big horror fan, right?
AM: I love all genres of movies.  I mean I’m not a real big “date movie” fan (laughs) but I love them all.  And I love horror.  That’s why it was so kick ass to meet Nicotero.  Meeting Michael Rooker on set was awesome too.

MG: You just wrote, directed and starred in a film called “Exhibit A-7.”  What can you tell us about it?
AM: It’s kind of a POV (point of view) film.  I describe it as “Blair Witch meets The Strangers.”  It’s about two couples going to New Orleans.  One of the ladies is pregnant.  The decide to take a road trip and they video tape the trip.  The movie is the “found” tape of their trip.  Half way through they end up in Georgia and come across the wrong group of people.  My character is Adam.  We all just used our real names.  It made it easier to stay in character by not having to remember different names.  My character wants to, for various reasons, document what’s happening to us.  He wants to show the police what these people are doing to us.  But halfway through the film the bad guys take over the camera.  And then they…document the rest.

MG: You also have another film coming up called “Chop.”  Tell us about how that came about?
AM: Trent Haaga at Troma liked the script, got some cash and optioned it.  I went out to Los Angeles and played a detective in the movie. He did a great job, I just saw a cut of it a while ago and it looks fantastic.

MG:  Anything else you have planned upcoming?
AM:  I wrote a script called “The Pawnshop Chronicles”.  It has been optioned by a great director, can’t say much more though.  My last few projects I have really been able to work with people I admire and look up to and I’m so pumped about that.

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Interview with Jeryl Prescott

Jeryl Prescott is what people in Hollywood call a triple threat.  She not only acts but writes and directs as well.  She added a fourth hat, that of producer, with her short film “Multiple Choice” in 2006.  She has appeared in such films as “Skeleton Key” and “Vacancy 2” and on such television shows as “One Tree Hill,” “Brothers and Sisters” and “Hawthorne.”  2011 will find her co-starring in the film “Bolden!,” a fictional look at the life of jazz musician Buddy Bolden.  The film co-stars Jackie Earle Haley, Anthonie Mackie and Michael Rooker. Jeryl can now be seen in the new television series “The Walking Dead.”  Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Jeryl about her role in the show and what to come in the future.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your character, Jacqui, in “The Walking Dead”?
Jeryl Prescott: The character was created by Frank Darabont.  She is not in the comic book series, so you have to watch the show to see how she fits into this world.  She’s the kind of woman who can surprise you. Jacqui is a southern woman.  I’m from the south, and the southern women I know and love are often nurturing, but fierce and bold when necessary, and really unpredictable

MG: What has been the best part about working on the show?
JP: The Walking Dead team is such an amazing collection of human beings!  No BS.  From the producers to the cast and crew, everybody connected with it.  It’s like the coming together of some perfect force.  For me especially, doing my first recurring role on a series, it is such a divine experience.  As for my favorite thing, probably watching the zombie magic up close, having lunch with zombies, talking with them between takes–surreal.

MG: Were you familiar with the comic series?
JP: No, but I am now.  I have the Compendium.  It requires a bit of weight lifting to carry it around.  And it’s only 48 of the stories!  There are like 76 of them.  I like to think of it as a giant graphic novel, and it’s fascinating.

MG: How does working on a TV series, like “The Walking Dead”, differ from doing movies like “The Skeleton Key” or “Vacancy 2”?
JP: It’s such a different experience.  With “The Walking Dead” it’s like we’re making a new movie every week.  We’re basically making a new, complete movie every week.  The benefit is that you get to stick with the same character week after week, which is nice.  But the challenge is that you’re processing, mentally and emotionally, a chunk of experience in the course of the week.  But in a film, you have months.  And you’d have those months to read through it.  But on “The Walking Dead” the scripts may change overnight.  I mean we might not even have a script “locked” until the night before we shoot.  So the challenge there is enormous.

MG: Are you a fan of the horror genre in particular?
JP: It must speak to my aura. It must read “she’s perfect for scary stuff.”  It’s an amazing little trend as my career develops.

MG: What else do you have planned in the coming months?
JP: Pajama parties at my place for The Walking Dead on Sunday nights!  And I’m in an upcoming film called “Bolden!”, which is actually being introduced to the world right now by a companion film called “Louis,” which is a silent film.  It is being presented in six or seven major cities with live musical accompaniment by Wynton Marsalis (who is also one of the films’ producers) and his orchestra.  And it is a fascinating and unique film experience.  It focuses on the early childhood experiences of Louis Armstrong.  And it’s a way of introducing to audiences the time period when Buddy Bolden lived.  (Note:  Buddy Bolden was one of the greatest musicians in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th Century and was instrumental in the creation of both ragtime and jazz.  The film is scheduled to open in 2011.)  It really will be a great experience.
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Interview with Andrew Rothenberg

Andrew Rothenberg is currently appears in AMC’s new TV series “The Walking Dead”. He is a not a stranger to the horror genre, though. He had a recurring role in Season 1 of HBO’s “True Blood”. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Andrew and discuss his role in “The Walking Dead”.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your character Jim in “The Walking Dead”?
Andrew Rothenberg: Jim is a man of few words. I don’t want to give away any of his secrets, let’s just say he is dealing with the shock of where he finds himself, how he got there and what will be next.

MG: Where you familiar with the comic series?
AR: I had not read the comics before this project came around. When I mentioned it to friends it became very clear that this was a well known comic series among the comic book/graphic novel folks. I quickly ran out and got my hands on the first few in the series. It truly jumped off the page, and with the exception of his hair line, the character of Jim greatly resembled me.

MG: How closely does your character’s storyline follow with the comic series?
AR: You won’t see many differences. I tried at times to recreate images that I remembered from the comic while shooting scenes that were similar to what was in the comic. The only difference may be that I do talk a little more once I open up to the group.

MG: Having done a lot of television, how does this show compare to the others?
AR: This was by far one of the best experiences yet. The sense of camaraderie on set was remarkable, from the actors, to the crew, producers, directors, and all the way to Frank Darabont’s ever present hand. The integrity this project has will show. The show is a serious one for the most part and as is usually the case in such situations, there is a lot of comic relief behind the scenes. These were all some of the most fun and funniest people I have had the pleasure of working with.

MG: What has been the hardest aspect of working on the show?
AR: Ironically the toughest aspect of the show turned out to be its greatest attribute. The intense heat in Atlanta at times was absurd. We were outside everyday, all day, and often covered in alcohol based dirt and blood, in clothes that we had been wearing for a month. I have never sweat so much in my life. However it created quite a “we’re all in this together” feel on the set that helps make the characters and their plight, that much more real.

MG: How was it working on “True Blood” series?
AR: “True Blood” was another great one. I was there right at the beginning and nobody knew it was going to be a hit. Its funny but the first time we had a vampire fight on “True Blood” and had to do the whole fang thing I remember looking around and thinking, “Boy here I am acting like a vampire, I hope I don’t just look like an idiot” But we went for it, and it worked.

MG: Tell us about working on one of my favorite show on TV, “Castle?”
AR: “Castle” was fun, even without any zombies or vampires. Everyone on the show seamed to be having a great time and they were all very welcoming to me. I was doing an interrogation scene, as I have a hundred times before, but this time two things were different, one: the character, even though he was a scumbag, knew this time he had not done anything wrong and had a secret to tell his interrogators, and two: he had a finger cut off. Both fun.

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Interview with Juan Gabriel Pareja

Juan Gabriel Pareja is currently starring in AMC’s new TV series “The Walking Dead”. Juan is no stranger to acting, he has already worked with director Frank Darabont in “Stephen King’s The Mist”, Oliver Stone in “W.” and with Robert Rodriguez on “Machete” . Juan took some time to chat with Movie Mikes about his films and his role in “The Walking Dead”.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your character Morales in “The Walking Dead”
Interestingly enough, I play a character who was not in the original Kirkman series, but who was created as a write-in by Frank Darabont (to whom I feel incredibly indebted to, btw). Being a write-in, I think, is a bit of a blessing in disguise. Die-hard fans may wonder who the heck I am and take a moment to connect with my character, but at the same time, my character’s storyline, and demise, is not already programmed in the world of the comic-book, as is the case with a few of the other main characters in the series. So I like that it is kind of an open-ended character with limitless possibilities. Also, the character I play, Morales, is one of the few survivors of the camp who is fortunate enough to be surviving the zombie-apocalypse with his nuclear family intact. I think this certainly adds a slightly different dynamic than the other lone survivors, as I’m fighting not only for my own survival, but for that of my family… a struggle and perspective shared with our protagonist, Rick, and his family. Overall, I think Morales sees himself as a moral compass (perhaps we all see ourselves that way). Heck, it’s right there in his name! Seriously though, I think he does his best to keep people calm, centered, and rational when tensions rise high, when the defecation hits the ventilation, as I heard someone say recently. I think it might have been on the latest video game I’ve been playing, “Bad Company II”.

MG: Is it connected at all with the character you played in Frank Darabont’s “The Mist” also named Morales?
Funny you should ask….. When I arrived in Atlanta this summer for the table read of what was to be my first episode, Guts, Frank made a quick joke regarding that coincidence, and that I might always end up playing a ‘Morales’ in any of his future projects. But no, there is no correlation between the two characters in either project, just me, and of course the apocalypse of your choice. A little side note for aspiring actors out there, you never know where your next project is going to come from. I actually just arrived in LA (I had been working in the Texas and Louisiana markets for a while) earlier this year, trying to figure out how I was going to make ends meet and get an agent. I was actually out knocking on doors for the U.S. Census when I got the call from my Houston agent, telling me that Frank was doing this new show out in Atlanta, that he remembered me from “The Mist” years earlier (in Louisiana), and wanted me to submit for this new role. I couldn’t believe it. I was floored, reeling with joy, and overwhelmed with gratitude. You never know which seeds that you plant along your journey are going to take root and sprout into something amazing.

MG: What has been the best part for you working on this show?
It is impossible to say really. It has all been a dream come true. Sometimes I’m not even sure if I realize how unbelievably huge this opportunity has been…. I think it is still setting in. It is incredibly validating to be working with such an amazing ensemble of actors on such an awesome piece of television history. I guess if I had to boil it down to one thing, it is the people I was working with, day in and day out, often times in uncomfortable and challenging environments. Not only are they all wonderful, talented actors, but also just terrific and impressive human beings! Incredibly supportive and always generous, there was a synergy on this show which I’ve been told is uncommon. And not just between the actors, but with absolutely everyone involved. They are all at the top of their game and are giving it all they’ve got. I mean come on, Frank Darabont, Gale Ann Hurd, Greg Nicotero, the folks at AMC, and countless others. You can’t go wrong there. I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to work with such amazing talents and industry heavy-weights. I also have high hopes that this new-found level of exposure will help me find representation out in LA and allow me to pursue my career more aggressively.

MG: Even though you character is not in series, did you read the comics to research the story?
Oh absolutely. I didn’t know anything at all about the series when I got the call. As soon as I did though, I marched down to the local comic book store in Burbank… I think it may have been the very same one where Frank first discovered the graphic novel years ago. I bought the first compendium collection of issues 1-48, and consumed it in a couple of days. I mean, it’s no wonder Kirkman has gained such a worldwide audience. Once you start, it is incredibly difficult to put down. With such rich material, it is easy to imagine keeping the audience riveted and the series going for years to come.

MG: What was it like working on a film like “Machete”?
Oh that was a lot of fun. It was a short stint of a few days’ work spread over a couple of weeks time. I’ve known that Robert Rodriguez was someone who I aspired to work with since he first did “El Mariachi” and then “Desperado” many years ago, so it was a real pleasure to finally get to meet and work with him. It was particularly gratifying to work with Robert because he is a fellow Latino and Texan who has brought some of his Hollywood success back to his home state with his Austin-based production studio. And Danny Trejo is just great. Talk about not judging a book by its cover. After years of seeing such an iconic, rugged, and downright mean-looking face on this guy, I couldn’t have been more impressed by his sheer kindness and generous spirit on set. He really couldn’t have been a nicer guy.

MG: You have worked with such great directors, Frank Darabont, Oliver Stone, and Robert Rodriguez, how was it working with such great talent?
Each time I nearly had to pinch myself to see if it was really going on. I mentioned Robert to you already. And Oliver Stone?!? I was beside myself. Giddy really. One of the greatest directors in the history of the medium. And super kind, very accessible, and generous with his compliments. And Frank–hands down amazing. My all-time favorite film has been “The Shawshank Redemption” from back to my earliest days in high school. To work with him on The Mist was special enough, but to then have him remember me and bring me back for such an epic undertaking, is simply extraordinary. It is surreal to have worked with these three greats, and I don’t know if I’ve always done the best job at processing that fact. I mean, I grew up hoping only in my wildest dreams to maybe one day work with one of these men. And it ended up happening all before ever setting a foot in Hollywood. It can also be a little unnerving at times because often you get very little actual direction, and it’s easy to end up wondering if any of the choices you are making on camera are any good at all. But you have to just trust that no news is good news, and that they know what they are doing when they cast you. I heard someone once say, 90% of directing is in the casting.

MG: Besides acting, what are some of your other hobbies?
Dancing. I absolutely love to move and groove to great music, specifically to live Latin salsa beats. It is a great way to have fun and burn calories at the same time. I’m staying active these days also, doing a bit of hiking here and there, and trying to muster up the courage to maybe start training for a half-marathon. I also like to sing, make people laugh, and can easily spend hours just sketching away.

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Interview with Gil Gerard

Gil Gerard is most know for his  role Capt. William “Buck” Rogers in “Buck Rogers in the 25h Century”.  The show is still loved by fans everywhere even after 30 years.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Gil about his role in the show and his upcoming projects.

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Mike Gencarelli: How did you get the role of Capt. William Rogers in “Buck Rogers in the 25h Century”?
Gil Gerard: I received the opportunity and turned it down three times.  Finally my agent told me to read the script.  I read it and it was pretty great.  So, I decided to do it.  I turned it down because I didn’t want to do a cartoon character.  I have seen the old Batman series and didn’t want to that type of show.  “Buck Rogers” was based on a cartoon.  I thought that Buck had a great sense of humanity and a great sense of humor.  That is what attracted me to the role.

MG: Have you ever seen any of the original television show or movie back in the 30’s?
GG: Yeah, I saw it when I was a kid.  I preferred the westerns to the serials.  I watched “Buck Rogers” and I also saw “Flash Gordon”.  I got to tell you it was pleasure to meet Buster (Crabbe) when he guest starred on the show.  We became great friends and remained friend until he died.

MG: Do you have a favorite episode from the series?
GG: Yes, it from my least favorite year…which is the second.  I liked ‘The Satyr’.  It gave me a chance to do some character acting.  It also reminded me of what I would have like the show to do for season two.  Which was basically stay on Earth and have adventures on Earth.

MG: 30 years ago, did you have any idea that this show will still be holding on with fans?
GG: No, If I did I would have saved all the props and wardrobes.  I could have had all that stuff.  It was just a job for me.  I did it, the show ended and I did other things.  It is amazing that after 30 years people still remember and love the show.  It is incredible.

MG: Did you get to keep any of the props?
GG: I did.  I have the star fighter from all of the fight scenes.  It was the Buck Rogers’ star fighter.  I have it here in my house.

MG: You have you blog and you frequent the convention scene, do you enjoy keeping in touch with fans at conventions?
GG: Yes very much.  It is very gratifying that people still remember it and it is a really nice things.  I enjoy meeting the fans and talking about the show.  It is nice thing to be remember for something like that.

MG: Tell us about your two upcoming projects “Blood Fare” and “Lost Valentine”?
GG: In “Blood Fare” I play a professor.  It is like a civil war horror film. It relates to the old legends.  It was a great experience and I really enjoyed it.  It was very low-budget independent film.  I love to deal with people that are creative, young and trying to get things started.  I just love the energy.  “Lost Valentine” is with Betty White and Jennifer Love Hewitt.   I play Betty’s son.  She is a woman who is widowed in World War II, her husband was MIA.  Jennifer plays a TV reporter who is doing a story on her.  The whole thing revolved around the fact that he said goodbye to her on Valentine’s day back in the 40’s.  Jennifer ends up finding what happened to her husband and the lost valentine becomes the found valentine. It is a really a nice story.  It will be on the Hallmark Channel probably around Valentine’s day.

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Interview with Linda Larkin

Linda Larkin is the voice of Jasmine from Disney’s timeless classic “Aladdin”.  Linda has reprised the role of Jasmine numerous times over the years.  Movie Mikes had the chance to chat with Linda about the role and how it has been playing this role over the years.

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Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally get the role of Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin?”
Linda Larkin: The role of Jasmine was really one of many auditions I had that week. I really didn’t know that much about it before my first audition. “The Little Mermaid” was just coming out…this was before “Beauty and the Beast” had come out…these things take years from beginning to end…and I wasn’t really aware of this new chapter of Disney animated features. So I really didn’t know what I was auditioning for, I didn’t know it was going to be this big movie. I thought it was going to be something like “Duck Tales” (laughs). I had no idea. When I went in I only got a few pages of the script. But those few scenes they had me read…I really connected to them. I thought they were beautiful. One was with Abu and the other was a scene that made it in the movie that leads up to the magic carpet ride. I really felt the magic of that movie just from that little audition. I didn’t hear anything for a couple of months and then I got a call saying I had a call back. And this went on for a few months. I’d go in and then I’d get called back. I was living in L.A. at the time and when I’d get my call back, I’d go to the studio and as the process went on the field would keep getting smaller and smaller. The first time I auditioned every girl I knew my age was also auditioning for it. Which wasn’t unusual. We all auditioned for everything. The second time it was a much smaller list and by the end it was just me and a guy they were considering for Aladdin and I ended up getting the part and they didn’t use the guy (Scott Weinger got the part). For my last audition I basically read the whole script, it was like a four hour audition. They animated to our voices and when it was finished they presented it and the studio signed off on me and they began looking for a guy. That’s the long version!

MG: Because of your many years doing the character, have you become attached to her?
LL: Like I said, I connected to the character the very first time I read the script. And I’ve stayed connected to her through out. It feels like she’s a part of me and I’m a part of her. To me it feels like it was meant to be. If I had to choose from all of the Disney princess who I’d want to be, Jasmine is the one I would choose. I think it was kismet…a connection that was meant to be. I think that’s why I got the job because I “got” her right away. And there was some resistance to me because originally the character was like a dumb Lauren Bacall. They were looking for a different kind of voice then what I brought into the room. But I changed their minds. And some people at the studio were still attached to the original idea but eventually everybody came on board.

MG: Do you feel that the character has changed at all over the years?
LL: That’s an interesting question. I don’t think the character has changed. She was a very strong, well defined character from the very beginning. And while we all grow up, Jasmine is still sixteen. We’ve done 100 episodes of a cartoon series. We’ve done toys and games and dolls and other interactive media and she is still sixteen year old Jasmine. And, who I am today is the person I saw inside me as a sixteen year old. My character was pretty much what it has been throughout my life. Everyone matures…they grow up and learn to make better decisions. And I really think that, by the time you’re sixteen, your character has already been pretty defined. Jasmine doesn’t need to change. You can identify with her and you know how she would be were she be allowed to “grow up.” To me she’s already a fleshed out character. She’s very real. She’s been that way from the beginning and she hasn’t lost that. Sometimes change isn’t always the best thing. Sometimes it’s better that things stay the same because they really hit it right the first time with this girl.

MG: Was there a reason why Lea Salonga has the singing role in the film?
LL: I’m not a singer! And this is something that a lot of people don’t know. This was the first time in a Disney movie that they separated the acting voice and the singing voice. Prior to that they had only auditioned singers. They only auditioned people who could do both. They could act and sing. And this movie…it was developed around Robin Williams…and when I was auditioning I already knew Robin Williams was playing the Genie. By my second call back I had the whole script and you could see that it was literally written in his voice. He was singing HIS songs but they felt that Robin was first a great actor and they wanted everyone around him to keep up with him. And when they put out the
notice they made it clear that, above all, they wanted strong actors. Being able to sing was o.k. but it wasn’t necessary. They wanted to see actors. In the original script, Princess Jasmine doesn’t have a song. In the movie she only has one song, the duet with Aladdin. But when I read the original script she didn’t have any songs at all…”A Whole New World” hadn’t been written yet. So all I had to do was focus on the acting. And when they added the song they came to me and asked, “Do you sing?” And I said, “I do…but not like a princess!” And they said, “No problem, we’ll find a singer to match your voice.” And they did. And to me it’s such an amazing match to my voice that it’s almost seamless when they go from dialogue to the song and back to dialogue. And you see what happened…from that point forward that opened up the world of Disney animation to everybody. They no longer needed actors who sang. Robin Williams was the first big celebrity to do an animated film. So from that point up to “Pocahontas.” Irene (Bedard, the speaking voice of Pocahontas) and I are the only ones who were non-singers, non-celebrities in a lead role in a Disney animated movie. I squeezed into that tiny window of opportunity where you didn’t have to be a star and you didn’t have to be a singer.

MG: If you had the chance to voice any other Disney Princess who would it be?
LL: As a little girl I identified the most with Snow White. She was my favorite. And I don’t really think she’s like Jasmine at all, but as a little girl that’s who I would have chosen. But Jasmine is my favorite. I really couldn’t pick any other character that I would want to be more than her. She’s just so fun. It’s really fun for me to do.

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Interview with Irene Bedard

Irene Bedard is known best for voicing one of Disney’s beloved characters, “Pocahontas”. Irene has reprised the character many times for Disney and even portrayed Pocahontas’ mother in “The New World”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Irene about her work with Disney and what she is currently working on.

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Mike Gencarelli: How were you chosen to be the voice of “Pocahontas”?
Irene Bedard: My very first movie was a Disney movie called “Squanto.”  I had been working on it and had also done a television film called “Lakota Woman:  Siege at Wounded Knee.”  The casting director there told me that they were looking for someone to provide the voice for a movie about Pocahontas.  Having already worked for Disney she recommended me to them.  I was in Buffalo at the time so I got on a train, got there (NYC)…and when I had gotten on the train in Buffalo my hat had blown off and had gotten run over by the train.  So I walk in wearing a sun dress and my straw hat, which is all askew…I tell them “Hello, how are you…my hat got run over by a train” and they began to laugh.  We talked and had a great time from the very beginning.  They had me read and it was a lot of fun.  They gave me hugs at the end.  One of them said “We hope to see you again” and I thought to myself, “That went really well.”

I was on the set of “Lakota Woman” when I found out I got the role.  I went to my first recording session and it’s in this damp basement recording studio in somebody’s house.  We’re working and there’s a knock on the door and it’s a girl scout selling girl scout cookies.  I mean it was literally in somebody’s basement.

MG: The character is actually modeled after you, how much do you see of yourself in the movie?
IB: During some of the recording sessions they would film me.  And with the exception of one session, when I was recording “Pocahontas” I was the only person in the studio.  So they would film the session.  I was new to the process and found out that the animators look at that film frame by frame and use it to capture expressions.  One of my habits is pushing my hair behind my ear and I noticed that Pocahontas has the same habit.

MG: Was there a reason why you do not sing in the film?
IB: Judy Kuhn (the singing voice of Pocahontas) was on Broadway at the time.  She has this incredible singing voice.  And I believe they hired her to be the singing voice before they hired me.  I don’t know that for sure but that’s the way I understood it.  But that’s what they were looking for…a beautiful, expressive Broadway voice.

MG: How do you feel the character changed in “Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World”?
IB: It was a difficult writing process for the writers because they had put themselves in a corner with John Smith.  Because in reality when John Smith and Pocahontas met she was 10 or 11.  When she threw herself upon him to stop a war from happening she was probably 12 or 13.  He was wounded and went back to England.  She then acted as an ambassador between her people and the English settlers.  It was almost like a political position.  She was the daughter of a chief and, in all respects, she really was a princess.  And when she was 16 or 17 she was taken as a political prisoner by the settlers.  She became Rebecca and married John Rolfe, though I think it was more a political marriage rather than a romance.  So in the second movie she goes to England and there’s this John Smith/John Rolfe thing going on.  I think they had trouble trying to work out the historical aspects of the story.  But I think they did a fine job.  The most important aspect of the story of Pocahontas is about her being a speaker for indigenous people.  A representation of people relating to the earth, relating to your elders.  Really everything that makes a tribe a tribe.  That was the most important aspect, I think, of both stories.  That was really what was important and that, I think, was portrayed very well.

MG: Was it surreal playing Pocahontas’ mother in “The New World”?
IB: Yes.  When I got to the set, O’orianka Kilcher, the girl who played Pocahontas, had grown up watching “Pocahontas” and it was beautiful to sort of pass on the torch to the next generation.  And she understood that that was what was happening.  We both felt honored to portray this life.

MG: Tell us about what you are working on currently?
IB: There’s “Tree of Life,” which is a Terrence Malick movie.  My character was experimental, even for his experimental nature and he shoots millions of feet of film.  I’ll be interested to see if my character is still even in the film.  There’s another movie I did called “Cosmic Radio” with Wes Studi and Michael Madsen that has yet to come out.  There was some talk about turning it into a television series but I don’t know what’s going on with that.  I also just did another recording session for “Pocahontas.”  In the Disney Stores there will be a magic mirror that, when a child passes carrying a “Pocahontas” item, it electronically reads the bar code and Pocahontas will appear and speak to the child.  It’s going to be a new, interactive store that will almost be an event in itself.

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