Film Review: “The Little Stranger”

Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Charlotte Rampling and Will Poulter
Directed By Lenny Abrahamson
Rated R
Runtime: 1hr. 51mins.
Focus Features
The pitfall of turning a gothic tale into a feature film seems to be Hollywood’s tendency to sell it as a horror film. As most trailers do, they cram the most exciting visuals or scares into two minute bites hoping to draw that genre’s audience while never considering the ill will they’re potentially engendering with such a mischaracterization. It fascinates me as far as choices go in this age of Cinescore post-screening chatter although I can’t begrudge the trailer makers for their need to get butts in seats. I say this all up front because that is the case with Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger, an adaptation of the 2009 novel by Sarah Waters. What they really have is a carefully crafted and, critically, a glacially slow paced period drama where the “big” bloody moments are few and far between. To be clear, I actually am more of an ideal audience member for English period drama than horror but even my limits were tested. The talented cast languishes in beautiful atmosphere and effective sound design that amounts to a pile of supernatural McGuffins.
The year is 1949 and Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson) is summoned to Hundreds Hall to check in on the Ayres family’s young maid, Betty (Liv Hill). Betty isn’t sick so much as she’d like a doctor’s excuse to send her back home. The drafty house’s halls don’t sit well with Betty. This uneasiness is chalked up to youth and inexperience but as the doctor learns, her line of thinking isn’t isolated among the inhabitants. Roderick (Will Poulter), the man of the house and brutally scarred up WW2 vet, also swears by a malevolent presence that’s out for his family. Again, dismissed by the rational doctor as well as Roderick’s caretaker sister Caroline (Ruth Wilson). To complicate things, Faraday has a kind of reverence for the place having been enchanted by being brought there as a child in 1919 with his mother, then a member of the house’s full staff. Over all of this lies the spectre of Caroline and Roderick’s dead sister whom the young Faraday had a brief encounter with during that long ago visit. Faraday’s love for the estate drives him to grow closer to the Ayreses, Caroline in particular.

I was excited to check out The Little Stranger, being a fan of Abrahamson’s previous three films (all also adaptations) as well as Domhnall Gleeson who is consistently reliable. The trouble is The Little Stranger can’t quite decide what it wants to be. The awkward romance between Faraday and Caroline occupies far too much screentime for where it ultimately goes while the horror and supernatural aspects of the story pretty much plateau rather than ramping up to a satisfying conclusion. I couldn’t tell if said conclusion was actually meant to be a twist or not because I had connected the dots so so long before the story wended its way to meeting me there and when it arrived, did not add anything exciting. I suspect Waters’s novel made much of the turmoil the Ayres family finds themselves in in Hundreds Hall but the film leans too heavily on its production design to fill in the gaps of its stilted characters.

Kelly Marcel to Write the Screenplay to Universal Pictures and Focus Features’ Film Adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey”


UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, October 8, 2012—Universal Pictures and Focus Features today announced that Kelly Marcel will write the screenplay to the highly anticipated film adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”  Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti will produce the film based on E L James’ #1 Bestselling book, alongside James.  The announcement was made by Universal Pictures Co-Chairman, Donna Langley and Focus Features’ Chief Executive Officer, James Schamus.

Marcel wrote the 2011 Black List script, Saving Mr. Banks, the story of Walt Disney’s twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ novel, “Mary Poppins,” and the rocky relationship that formed between the two.  The film is currently in production at Walt Disney Studios starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell with John Lee Hancock directing.  Marcel served as the co-creator and executive producer of the Amblin/FOX-TV series Terra Nova, for which she wrote the series’ pilot episode.  She will also produce The Madonnas of Echo Park for HBO.

“Kelly’s work demonstrates her flawless structural technique and passionate commitment to emotion, humor and depth of character which is particularly visible in the celebrated screenplay for the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks,” said De Luca.  “We were all taken with the depth and passion of Kelley’s engagement with the characters and world E L James has created and we knew she was the right person to augment our Fifty Shades family,” added Brunetti.

Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired the rights to the three books in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” Trilogy in March of this year.  Focus Features will market and distribute the first film in partnership with Universal.  “Fifty Shades of Grey” has become a global phenomenon and the trilogy has been translated in 45 languages worldwide since its release.  In the U.S. alone, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold over 32 million copies in e-book and print making it one of the fastest selling book series ever.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” follows the relationship of 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele.  Subsequent novels in the series, “Fifty Shades Darker” (September 2011) and “Fifty Shades Freed” (January 2012) explore the couple’s deepening relationship.  For more information please see the official Fifty Shades of Grey Facebook page:

Marcel was represented in the deal by WME and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates Limited.

About Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios (  Universal Studios is part of NBCUniversal.  NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.  NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks.  Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

About Focus Features

Focus Features and Focus Features International ( comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world; and is celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2012.

Focus Features and FFI are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

Interview with Cerina Vincent

Cerina Vincent started her career in TV with “Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy” and got her big screen debut with “Not Another Teen Movie” and “Cabin Fever”. Besides acting Cerina has written screenplays. She is also the co-author of “How To Eat Like a Hot Chick” & “How To Love Like a Hot Chick”. Movie Mikes was able to sit down and talk with Cerina about her career and what’s next for this talented actress and author.

Click here to purchase Cerina’s movies and books

Mike Gencarelli: You started your career with “Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy”, do you find that you still have a following from this show?
Cerina Vincent: Well, I actually did a few things before the “Power Ranger” series, but it was that kids show that definitely started my fan base. But yes! “Power Ranger” fans are just as loyal and awesome as the horror fans, and I still get quite a few people asking about the show. The kids that grew up with “Power Rangers” seem to always have a special place in their heart for the show and its neat to see that they are still watching it, even though it was over ten years ago! A lot of moms and dads recognize me from the show—as they are forced to watch it with their kids. It’s pretty funny… I’ll be in the grocery store and a mother will walk up to me and say, “I know I know you from somewhere,” and then they say, “Oh yes! I hear your voice every morning…you run around as that little jungle chick and then turn into the yellow ranger!” It was fun to be a part of such a successful kids show when I still was sort of a kid myself.

Mike Gencarelli: Your new film “Complacent” is coming out this year, can you tell us a bit about the movie?
Cerina Vincent: Well, it’s still in festivals right now, in fact on May 5th its screening again at the The Los Angeles United Film Festival. I will be speaking after the screening with writer/director Steven R. Monroe who I just dearly adore. I love this film. It’s a very cool, edgy drama/dark comedy. And the cast is just superb. With the gorgeous Elisa Donovan who’s a dear friend, my bud Joey Kern who was my man in Cabin Fever, Keri Green who I wanted to be from “Goonies” plays my sis, and Kier O’Donnell and Michael Worth are just fantastic in this. Adrienne Barbeau plays my mom and is just soooo good…I could go on and on. Everyone was fabulous and the film really makes you think. Again, I am grateful to Monroe for taking a chance on me. I’ve been dying to play a role like this, and I thank him for letting me bring his words to life.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell me about your experience on the set of “Cabin Fever”? Any memorable moments?
Cerina Vincent: There are too many memorable moments to even count! “Cabin Fever” was a dream to be a part of. And the film changed my life. It was Eli Roth’s first film, and he’s just a fantastic filmmaker, and I am honored to be in such a horror hit. Lauren Moews, our producer, was incredible, and saved the day when the union shut us down, and really brought the film to success with a bidding war at Toronto Film festival. (All of which were crazy days in movie-making and very memorable moments)  Everyone on the set made the experience unforgettable. The whole cast got along famously. We had fun dinners every evening, hot tub nights in the freezing North Carolina Mountains… Eli dressed up as a giant gorilla and scared the S@#! out of me in the middle of the night, deep in the forest on a very cold night shoot. Every day was an adventure on that movie. Shooting the campfire scene sticks out as an incredible memory… the drama with the dog, and of course my leg shaving scene which was a bit complicated to shoot, but so much fun to watch. The editing is perfect, KNB EFX made my bloody legs look creepy, and Eli always knows how to pull out the best performances. The whole shoot was amazing….

MG: You’ve guest starred on various TV shows, most recently “Gary Unmarried”, “Two and a Half Men”, how do you feel that TV differs from movies?
CV: Well, for starters, TV moves really fast. And half-hour comedies (which I love) are shot in front of a live audience. So that changes the dynamic of a set dramatically. You get one (maybe two?) takes and that’s it. Whereas on movies, there are tons of camera set ups and you do scenes over and over. As an actress, I love working in both television and film. TV is great because usually there isn’t much travel involved. It’s nice to be able to get up and go to work from 9 to 5 , (or 8 to 8), like the rest of the world. Whereas movies, you can be on location thousands of miles away from home, for months and months, working fourteen-hour night shoots, which makes for interesting memories and great movies, but they’re all very different experiences. I have a big horror following, but I actually love comedy, and think its one of my strengths as an actress. “Two and a Half Men” and “Gary Unmarried” were some of my most recent guest star roles and sooo much fun. I’ve also done a few half hour pilots that never quite made it to air, but I’d love to do more half hour shows! My first romantic comedy “Everybody Wants to Be Italian” was really cute, “Not Another Teen Movie” was my first studio comedy and it still guest laughs… my books are really funny… I think I do more comedy than most people realize… but it doesn’t really matter, TV or Film, I love it all.

MG: You co-authored “How To Eat Like a Hot Chick” & “How To Love Like a Hot Chick” from Harper Collins with Jodi Lipper, any plans for future books?
CV: Yes! “LIVE Like a Hot Chick” comes out this September! It’s all about how to feel sexy, find confidence and create balance at work and play. Life is hard and stressful for all of us, and we think we all need to have balance, sanity and a bit more fun in life, and this book gives you all the info and inspiration to find that. Plus, we have all sorts of interesting tips, tricks and info on food and body image, exercise, money, how to handle work scenarios, how to have a memorable heyday, and so much more! It really does have it all. We are excited about this 3rd book and our plan is to keep expanding the Hot Chick book series with a book on friendship, a cookbook, a wedding book, the list goes on and on… Plus, we have strong interest in turning this brand into a reality show that’s just as inspiring, sassy, sexy and funny as our books—so that’s been great to explore and develop.

MG: Tell me about your monthly column on The Huffington Post with Jodi Lipper?
CV: We started our column with the release of our first book, “How to Eat Like a Hot Chick”, and we’re still doing it. It’s really great to write about timely things and give our opinions on what’s going on out there in this crazy world on a weekly or monthly basis, or whenever we want. The Huffington Post is fantastic and it’s an honor to be living contributors. We are also guest blogging on for tre`sugar, and we are having a blast with that too! We mostly stick to writing about girlfriend-to-girlfriend advice things… Food, body image, the tabloid world, sex, dating, love, relationships… all the things that drive women (and men) mad…? And we have some fun interviews on there too!

MG: Besides acting and authoring, I hear you also write screenplays, can you tell us about anything you have done?
CV: I’ve written all kinds of things—horror, thriller, comedy, pilots, etc… And I love it! The easiest part is the writing—the toughest part is getting them from screenplays to the screen. One horror I co-wrote with Ben Waller called “ADRENALINE” has been optioned a few times by independent producers, and we keep thinking we’re making it, and then something holds it up. But we own it back again and it looks like that’s the film we’ll make first… It’s a really cool, kick-ass horror that the genre fans will really dig. Fingers crossed…

MG: You won Miss Nevada Teen USA, how did that happen?
CV: Ha! Yep! I did! In 1996 I was Miss Nevada Teen USA, and I finished top 12 at Miss Teen USA. I was born and raised in Las Vegas. And when I was little I used to watch my many beautiful cousins, and my mom’s many dance students in the pageant. It was this huge production in a gorgeous Vegas showroom, it was televised, and I loved the idea of wearing pretty dresses and being a spokesperson for the state. At sixteen, I entered the contest against my parents will (they were pissed) got sponsored, raised money (we didn’t have much), bought myself a pretty gown and to my shock I won the damn thing! It was an eye-opening experience for me. I got to travel around the state and speak to youth about self-esteem and saying no to drugs, I hosted many cool events in Las Vegas, met some fabulous people, and I represented my state at nationals. Although I was from then on hooked and amazed by television production (Miss Teen USA is nothing more than like a giant American Idol episode, but you take a month to shoot it) I realized that pageant life is NOT for me. I am not a beauty queen. I really had nothing in common with most of the other girls, I just wanted to perform, be on stage, have a voice…and wear a pretty dress.

MG: Have you always wanted to be an actor?
CV: My parents have a home video of me at two begging them to plug the camera into the television. I looked up into camera to my mother crying over and over, “I wanna watch myself on TV, I wanna watch myself on TV, put me on the TV…” in a whiny little two-year-old voice. So, that, coupled with the fact that my mom was a ballet teacher and half hour house was a dance studio where I grew up making up skits and plays with my cousins, brother and sister, I’d say, yes! I have always wanted to be an actor. I just didn’t quite believe it was possible. At ten I realized I had a voice and started singing, which lead to me doing musical theatre where I fell in love with acting. Then I started doing local commercials and a bit of modeling. I did a ton of local plays and musicals growing up in Las Vegas with this really cool theater ensemble called Rainbow Company, and another theatre program that puts on giant outdoor productions at a place called Spring Mountain Ranch, out past Red Rock in the serene desert of Vegas. I also did a bunch of plays in high school… and as soon as I got that diploma I packed up my beat up little Geo, headed south on the I 15 to LA, started college, found and agent, and here we are today.

MG: What has been your most challenging production that you have worked on?
CV: Hmmmm…. Wow. Well, all great roles are challenging in a way because you really always want to nail the characters perfectly and genuinely. I did a really cool short with David Lynch called “Darkened Room”. That was challenging because it was so different and edgy and Lynch is such a legend—I was nervous! But I think I have to add that my most challenging roles are films that that I’ve done where the productions were just disasters. It wasn’t the roles that made them challenging, but I’ve been on a couple low-budget indie films with inexperienced producers and directors, and actors with such behavioral problems that made the film shoots utter nightmares. That’s the most challenging part of show biz… but I won’t name names.

MG: You recently were involved with a top-secret short movie? Anything you can spill?
CV: Well, lets see… I can say that someone who I admire greatly in this business directed it. He’s also a dear friend, and someone who has had a hand in making hundreds of the most incredible films look incredible. There are many recognizable faces in this project, all of whom I admire as well, some who I have worked with before. I play a character from a 1950’s horror classic. Horror fans, sci-fi fans, and all fans will enjoy and appreciate it. It’s clever and charming and was a blast to work on…and I think that’s all I can say for now since I didn’t ask for permission form the director.  It was an honor and a pleasure to be a part of and I cant wait for people to see it!

Click here to view Cerina & Jodi’s column on The Huffington Post
Click here to check out the Hot Chicks Twitter
Click here to purchase Cerina’s movies and books

Interview with Ada-Nicole Sanger

Photo Credit: John McClurg

Ada-Nicole began dancing and singing at age three. She is playing Kevin James’ daughter in “Grown Ups”. Movie Mikes has the chance to talk to Ada-Nicole and she told us about what it was like work on “Grown Ups” and her love for movies.

Click here to purchase “Grown-Ups” on DVD or Blu-Ray

Mike Gencarelli: Have you always wanted to pursue the career of acting?
Ada-Nicole Sanger: I would have to say yes. When I was six I started old classics with Gene Kelly, Julie Garland, Fred Astaire and I loved them. I was singing and dancing ever since I could walk and talk. I just got into it and held on for the ride.

Mike Gencarelli: What was been your inspiration?
Ada-Nicole Sanger: Definitely Drew Barrymore, Julie Andrews, Amy Adams, Will Farrell and Adam Sandler, they are my favorites. I love how comedian are like chameleons they can change into anything.

Mike Gencarelli: What was it like working on “Grown-Ups”? How was working with the whole cast?
Ada-Nicole Sanger: It was SO amazing! They were all such sweethearts and down to earth. They would always be giving little tips and encouraging you, fist pumps, little smiles, it was such an experience

MG: What was your favorite moment on the set of “Grown-Ups?
AS: There are actually two; one was on the first day of filming. We were getting out of the car and I had twins that played my brother and it was the first time we were meeting Adam (Sandler). We had gift baskets in our trailer the first day. So we got out of the car and saw Adam and he said “Oh thank you Mr. Sandler for the present”. It was funny but we didn’t use that scene. The other was during the big basketball scene on 4th of July, my grandparents were able to be extras in the movie. It was fun because my whole family is from New England and we were filming in Massachusetts. They got to come and visit and enjoy the set.

MG: Who would you love to work with?
AS: Well I already have worked with half my idols on the set of “Grown-Ups”. I love them all. I would probably say one of my female idols like Julie Andrews or Drew Barrymore. I love them.

MG: Do you have any other passions besides acting?
AS: Oh my gosh, I have so many things going on at one time. I love to sing, dance, archery, swimming. I also design my own clothes. I like sketching, art, and writing. Pretty much all the creative things, I love to do.

MG: Do you have any other projects coming up?
AS: Well, I was on an episode of Nickelodeon’s “BrainSurge” last month. It doesn’t air till the summer. It was so much fun and Jeff (Sutphen) was really nice. I watch it at home and get all the questions right and my mom said “You should be on that”. I auditioned and they called me in.

Click here to purchase “Grown-Ups” on DVD or Blu-Ray


Related Content

Interview with Felissa Rose

Felissa Rose Esposito Miller is know most for her role as Angela Baker in the 1983 cult classic, Sleepaway Camp.  Movie Mikes has the chance to track down Felissa and get her to answer a few questions about her passions, her career and the future.

Click here to purchase “Sleepaway Camp” series

Mike Gencarelli: At the age of 13, you played Angela in “Sleepaway Camp”, how did you get this role and did you know what you were getting yourself into?
Felissa Rose: I had a local manager and they got me an audition with Robert Hiltzik. He said he had a little horror movie he was making and needed a flat chested, 13 year old girl and there I was! I had no idea what this film was all about!!
Mike Gencarelli: What was your most memorable moment work on the film?
Felissa Rose: My most memorable moment on the film was probably meeting Katherine Kamhi because I was a huge fan of hers from All My Children.

Mike Gencarelli: You did not reprise the role of Angela in “Sleepaway Camp 2 & 3”, what was the reason you didn’t return?
Felissa Rose: I didn’t return for 2 and 3 because I decided to go to NYU and get an education. I really wanted to study acting and live with friends in NYC.

MG: You have worked extensively in the horror genre, is that your favorite genre?
FR: I think horror is my favorite genre but I love drama, thrillers and comedies a lot too.

MG: How was it to reprise the role of Angela 25 years after the original in “Return to Sleepaway Camp”, was it like stepping into old shoes?
FR: It was very surreal and exciting. I had so much fun being back at camp and being able to party with everyone.

MG: Are there any plans for another sequel and would you be involved?
FR: There are some exciting plans for a future “SC” but I can’t talk about it until Robert (Hiltzik) is ready to give the go ahead.

MG: You are not a stranger to the stage, how do you feel it differs from movies?
FR:Film and stage are completely different. With film you have all day to do one line and with stage you’re having to deliver everything on the spot. Stage gives you immediate satisfaction with an audience. Both are wonderful.

MG: If you could work with one person who would it be? and why?
FR: Wow, good question. Probably Meryl Streep because I’ve admired her for so long and I’d love to learn from her.

MG: What are your passions besides making movies?
FR: My family is my biggest passion. I love music, travel, anything on the history channel, and hanging with good friends. Suddenly I sound like I’m on e harmony. I’m really passionate about life. Anything that presents itself to me is exciting and inspiring. I live in the moment.

MG: Do you want to tell us about any upcoming films you have planned?
FR: I have “Breath of Hate” coming out from Sean Cain. Just filmed, “Poe” from Francis Xavier and I’m cast in a new remake this summer. I will also work on “The Perfect House” in June so things are busy. Very fun times right now!!

Click here to purchase “Sleepaway Camp” series

Interview with Grant Cramer

Grant Cramer is most known from his iconic role in “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”. The film has been such a cult classic over the years and only continues to grow. Since “Killer Klowns”, Grant has been acting, producing, directing and working hard on getting “Killer Klowns 2” made. Movie Mikes had the opportunity to sit down with Grant and he told us about his career starting with “Killer Klowns” and since and also how to not trust his IMDB account for an accurate filmography since he is merged with another “Grant Kramer”.

Click here to purchase “Killer Klowns” merchandise

Mike Gencarelli: What did you think when you got the role in “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”?
Grant Cramer: I always thought it has potential to be neat, cool, wacky movie. I do not think anyone had any idea that it would going to creep up and become this cult weird sensation that it became. The movie is ten times more popular now then when we made it 20-something years ago

Mike Gencarelli: Can you believe the film has latest over 20 years and become such a cult classic.
Grant Cramer: What’s weird is that as more times goes by the more popular it gets. More people has seem to come up to me and say “Dude man, ‘Killer Klowns’ is my favorite movie”, while reciting lines. This happens more to me now then it did when the film came out. As a matter of fact, some people liked it but most people considered it just to be a silly movie. Now people fanatically love that movie.

Mike Gencarelli: How was it working with the Chiodo Brothers?
Grant Cramer: It was great. Those guys are still really good buddies of mine.

MG: Are there any talks over a “Killer Klowns” sequel? Would you be interested if it ever happens?
GC: As a matter of fact, we have been working very hard the last few years on the sequel for “Killer Klowns”. We are hoping to make it pretty soon. It took a long time to get the rights, then it took a long time to come up with the story we were all happy with. Everything takes a freaking long time. Then it took a little while to get a script done, budget ready, and artwork done. We now feel like we have all of our ducks in a row. Now is the most important thing, we have to get money to make the movie. We are suppose to start our first meetings, basically right away. Our one partner, who in charge of the meetings is in the process of doing that right now. Knock on wood, some executives will bite on. It has a massive fan base but it is a weird industry. We have to find someone that not only has the money actually gets what it is. We are confident about it. You search “Killer Klowns” on Google it comes up with 100,000’s of hits that come up. When it was released on DVD it sold like 700,000 units in the first few weeks, without any publicity. We are armed with some decent numbers and we have a decent script. All the original filmmakers are attached to it, though I am the only original cast member.  We have a brand new story and we really want to keep it in the spirit of the original movie. We don’t want it to become the CGI sequel of “Killer Klowns”. Keep it with the costumes, Keep it with the old school effects. It needs to be an homage with the 1950”s aliens from outer space, blob-esque monster movies.

MG: You starred in soap “The Young and The Restless” for ten years, how does it compare to movies?
GC: When you start out ion acting everything is different for while, but everything becomes the same. In another words, you are just applying techniques that become unconscious. Hitting marks used to be really hard for me, now I really do not think about hitting marks. Acting becomes easier after a while, you are not putting the same focus that you were when you started out.  You also aren’t worrying about all the technical aspects like, How do I find my light? How do I hit the mark? You also have to deliver a performance at the same time. It is so nice when these things become pretty unconscious. I guess the biggest difference with soaps is if your story line is pretty big you got a lot of lines to learn every day. If you are doing the soap all the time, they seem to repeat themselves a lot. The lines are a lot easier to learn then the movies. Half of your lines are “You know, when Bobby killed Judy” and “Right before Stella’s wedding,  I really didn’t like it when you had dinner with Sissy’s brother”. You are basically repeating for the people that missed yesterday’s episode. With a movie you are saying everything for the first time. It’s all just acting.

MG: What is your favorite genre to work in? You’ve done a bit in the horror genre.
GC: No, I like good parts. I like parts that I look at and go “That is going to be fun to play”. I don’t care if it is a drama or a zombie movie. There are certain genres I would like to work.  I would love to be in a western, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I would like to ride around on a horse and shoot things as a cowboy. I would love to do a real space sci-fi movie. It depends I am like a little kid when it comes to movies and acting. I would want to do things that are fun and that I haven’t done before.

MG: In recent years you’ve switched gears to writing, directing and producing. Can you tell us about anything upcoming? How about “The Fallen”?
GC: There is different stuff. I just finished and editing right now a six episodes of a really cool
cooking show. It is something I produced and directed, called “Cooking is For Play”. A buddy of mine came up to me and told me he wanted to do a cooking show for guys. He said because “All guys love to cook and they pretend it is not a cool thing, but they are all sneaking and looking how to cook from the cooking channel”. The best way to get laid is to be able to cool an amazing meal for a girl.  It has been really fun. I have also got the “Killer Klowns” sequel that I just finished writing and getting ready to do. I’ve got a book, like a drama/romance that I want to direct, called “Chasing Windmills”. It is by the same writer who wrote, “Pay it Forward”. I have also got a movie that I am producing that will probably end up on Sci-Fi Channel movie called “The Fallen”, it stars Dean Cain, Peter Stormare, Mark Dacascos and Tito Ortiz. It has some really good actors and we just had a really cool creature made for it. Lots of different stuff, what ever interests me at the moment is what I get into to.

Click here to purchase “Killer Klowns” merchandise

Interview with Robert Kurtzman

Robert Kurtzman began his career when he formed K.N.B. EFX Group, with Gregory Nicotero and Howard Berger. The special effects studio has worked on over 400 film and television projects. After working with special effects for years, Kurtzman turned to directing and producing. His first project was “From Dusk till Dawn”, for which he wrote the original story, served as co-producer, and created the special effects. “The Demolitionist” marked Kurtzman’s directorial debut. He went on to direct Wishmaster. In 2002, Kurtzman left K.N.B. EFX. Kurtzman started his own production company, Precinct 13 Entertainment. “The Rage” was their first in-house, fully-financed, independent feature film. Kurtzman most recently directed the action/thriller film “Deadly Impact”, which is out on DVD April 20th, 2010. Movie Mikes has the chance to talk to Robert about his movies, his move from Hollywood to Ohio, and his very busy future.

Click here to purchase Robert’s movies

Mike Gencarelli: Out of all the films you worked on with K.N.B. EFX, pick one films that stands out as your favorite?
Robert Kurtzman: It would have to be “From Dusk Till Dawn” and then “Dances with Wolves” as far as the movie itself and the experience. “Dances with Wolves” was such a big movie, won Oscars. It was our first kind of crossover film out of sequel B-horror films and gore films, to something that had more realistic effect in it.

Mike Gencarelli: Do you have a least favorite?
Robert Kurtzman: It would have to be “Doctor Hackenstein”. Which you cannot even find anymore, I doubt it is even available. It was this real small movie we did, kind of really bad and cheesy.

Mike Gencarelli: What was the hardest production you’ve worked ever worked on?
Robert Kurtzman: There has been several but “Army of Darkness” was grueling. We had so much stuff to build in a set period of time. The set was in the desert. We were running puppets every night, with a 15-20 man crew on set. We were digging trenches and having puppeteers in them for the Deadite skeleton army. It was a rough shoot, we have to get in the groove of going to the hotel sleeping, getting right up and going to work. We tried to squeeze in some drinking time after we got off set which was usually six o clock in the morning.

MG: What made you want to start your own production company, Precinct 13 Entertainment?
RK: Once I started breaking more directing, I wanted to explore the digital world as well as the creature effects. As a filmmaker I wanted to explore how to integrate those things together. I didn’t want to live in L.A. anymore after twenty something years there, I was burned out. I wanted to get back and really do some grassroots productions, which was “The Rage”. Trying to figure out how to make it on a shoe-string budget and how to pull a team together, kind of like what we did with Evil Dead. I put the financing together and figured out everything about doing a movie just not directing them. I’ve produced and directed but it was in the Hollywood system. They have a lot of people that do things so you aren’t exposed to certain thing, like the nuts and bolts of putting a movie together from the ground up. I wanted to experience that. I couldn’t afford to do what I wanted to do in L.A., I couldn’t have my studio and put a sound stage together. It was too cost prohibitive, it came down to I am going to honker down and leave and setup my studio here in Ohio and that’s what I did.

MG: During the production of “The Rage”, you took on every role possible, Was it hard to juggle all those roles?
RK: Yes and no, we sold the movie to Screen Media and they distributed. We did promote the movie for a good six to eight months prior to selling it to get the genre fans backing it and get it out there. We had a low budget movie and had to make the best out of it. The reason I did everything else on it was out of necessity. I looked at some DP’s and talked to some guys but it just came down to it is going to cost too much and plus I wanted to experience it myself. The whole thing was kind of liberating in some ways to just grab the camera and figure out my shots as I was going. We story boarded very little of the film, just a few sequences with John Bisson. A lot of the movie was prepped by my crew and Gary Jones took over, he was basically the line producer. He had to get the crew all setup and got everything rolling because I was shooting “Buried Alive” in New Mexico. While we were cutting the rough cut of “Buried Alive”, I fell back in OH and two weeks later finished directing the rest of “The Rage”. We shot a week initially and then winter came, so we went into effects prep on part of the film. We planned it again for a summer shoot, and then I got “Buried Alive”, so we pushed it to the end of the summer. The crew got all the effects under way and built all the sets. I just dropped in and started shooting. We didn’t have to follow any normal script development. If we came up with any ideas we just put it in. It was a very organic process.

MG: You worked with Andrew Divoff on “The Rage”, how was it working with him again after “Wishmaster”?
RK: I love working with Andy. He is just one of those guys that I would hopefully be able to work with over and over. I don’t always get my choice depending on the studio and the politics involved as far as casting. Anytime I can work with him, it is a total joy. We kind of have this thing together, we don’t have to talk very hard. We can talk in a short hand and skip some steps. I can take him aside and throw him a few things and he goes “Yeah, Yeah, I got it!” We worked really well together. He has a lot of really great ideas and brings a lot to the table.

MG: Tell me about your upcoming film, “Deadly Impact”?
RK: It comes out April 20th on Fox Home Video, produced by MGM. David Greathouse, who is a producer I worked with on “Buried Alive”, he thought after seeing “The Rage” that I would make a great action director. He said “Hey man, who don’t you take a crack at doing an action/thriller picture”. I was really excited because I am a big action fan and was a good opportunity for me to show something else and do something different. I am known as a horror guy and would be nice to be known for doing any kind of movie. Basically he brought me on and I found out a short time later that the writer, Alex Vesha was from Columbus, OH and he lives like an hour from me. That was cool. It was good to get some guys from Ohio on the project. I got an editor and writer from Ohio, so that was cool.

MG: What challenges did you face in making “Deadly Impact”?
RK: We shot the movie in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We shot it in 24 days and it was pretty fast shoot. Basically, I shot a big studio picture in the same amount of time we shot “The Rage” in. We obviously had more money but still the same challenges, like how do we fit all of this in this movie and shoot it. We were doing a lot of 40 to 60 setups a day and we shot HD with the Viper. So it was no tape right to drives which was how we shot the “The Rage” and it is a very liberating way of shooting HD. Robert Rodriguez shoots that way. You can let the camera roll, let the actors do their things and not break the moment, drop them back to their number 1 positions. You do not have to worry about how much film you are burning, because film is money. On “Wishmaster” on my first day, I had huge setups for the dock sequence. I had like five or six cameras shooting stuff at once and the next day the footage count came in and the bond company was down on day two, saying I burned through too much footage. On HD, I do not have to work about that cost, its hard drive space only. Stopping and doing a take again and again drags down their momentum. It really worked great.

MG: How did you feel to switch gears to an action/thriller?
RK: The process for me is always the same, it doesn’t change. What changes was I didn’t have to concentrate so much on the create effects or makeup effects. That burden of concentrating on that was taken off my shoulders. I was able to concentrate on the action, the characters and the pacing. The process is still the same; I approach it the same way. I still break down the script and figure out my shot list, my overheads, lighting and my basic ideas to convey to the DP and everybody. Especially when you are shooting a movie in 24 days, you do not have time to mess around. You have to know what you want and drive your troops forward. There is no time for indecision; you have to focus on just getting the shots.

MG: How was it working with such an amazing cast on “Deadly Impact”?
RK: The two leads Joey (Pantoliano) and Sean (Patrick Flanery) came out of L.A and New York. They were the only out of state crew, the rest of the actors were from New Mexico and that had to do with the tax incentive package. Working with Joe and Sean was an experience, sometime pleasurable and sometimes not just like any movie. It was great Sean is awesome, he is one of those guys comes it and nails it every time. Joey has this strange method but it works really well to bring out the whacked out evil villain he plays. He is kind of funny in the movie, but at the same time he is so sinister it’s funny. I thought that he brought a lot to this picture. It was rough because it was such a short period of time. Everyone really came to play and it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences for me.

MG: How did you get involved with Midnight Syndicate to compose the music for “The Rage”?
RK: When I came to Ohio, I wanted to get “The Rage” going. I wanted to make it in Ohio with as many Ohioans as I could. I wanted to basically see what type of film community that was here. I didn’t even know it at the time but I had some of their CD’s, that I picked up at conventions. Someone told me that Ed (Douglas) and his partner lived in Cleveland. I called them up and asked them if they wanted to be involved with our independent movie. That is really how the relationship started.

MG: You are actually producing Midnight Syndicate’s first feature film, “The Dead Matter”, what can you tell me about it?
RK: After working on “The Rage” with us, they brought us on to produce their movie. It comes out July 30th, 2010. You can check out their website, they have a whole thing about the press. They are doing contests on there as well. It is an independent film we shot in Ohio. Ed directed and wrote it. We put Gary Jones who is my line producer; he basically did the same thing as “The Rage”. He went down put the crews together, and got the whole ball rolling. Even on a low budget, when we do movies here, it is kind of a real production. We had Reggie Bannister on “The Rage” and he thought we he got here that it was going to be working out of a garage and we would all be splitting one trailer, because he is used to that. When we got here we had real trailers and he was like “How did you guys do this?” and I was like “Man, we are in Ohio, that’s the difference”. We outfitted the whole set out of a surplus store that our buddy owns. I got off subject a bit, but it is a different vibe when you get out of a film community like L.A. that is so used to making movies. As you get into a place where they do not make as many movies like in Ohio, it is a new thing for people. They get into it and are really helpful.

MG: Tell me about your upcoming film with Fangoria of their comic adaptation “Bump”? You are working working about with Sean Patrick Flanery?
RK: Fangoria isn’t really involved with that anymore. The comic is at back at Scream Factory. So everything has been reverted back to the artist and the creators. Over the last two year, the whole independent film scene has changed with financing and the banks not loaning money out. We are still in the process of setting that movie up. We are working real hard and I would love to work with the cast again especially Sean (Patrick Flanery) and Tobin Bell, who I worked with on “Buried Alive”. We are out there hustling it, trying to set it up and make it happen.

MG: What else do you have planned for the future?
RK: We are working right now on a movie called “Jinn”, a horror film we are shooting up in Michigan. I am also doing a picture called “Sucker”. We are getting ready to start up another project in Cleveland, that will be announced shortly, a sequel to a very popular film. We just did a movie called RA-One staring India Superstar Shahrukh Khan, which is a big Indian superhero movie. We built all these superhero suits for it, while we were doing that we launched our Creature Corps costume line for the haunted attraction industry. It is all on the new website we just launched which is We are just trying to keep busy in between movies.

Click here to purchase Robert’s movies

Interview with David H. Lawrence XVII

David H. Lawrence XVII has worked on television and film. He is also works in voice talent, network radio host, is an internet entrepreneur, podcaster, demo producer, teacher and author. Movie Mikes got a chance to talk to David is currently starring in NBC’s “Heroes” as the villain Eric Doyle and told us about a bunch of other projects and plans for the future.

Mike Gencarelli: Give us an little insight about the XVII after your name?
David H. Lawrence XVII: If anyone want the complete godawful sheep dog version of this story, send me an email at Basically when I first started off as an actor, which was about four years ago. I put myself or someone put me up on IMDB and there were several David Lawrence’s that preceded me. So I was the seventeenth David Lawrence. When I had to join the union, SAG, some of those David Lawrence’s were also SAG members and the name David Lawrence was unavailable. I choose XVII and became David H. Lawrence XVII. The problem is IMDB doesn’t let you put roman numeral at the end of your name unless you are Danny Aiello III and then all rules are off. When I put myself, the age popped me over to David H. Lawrence I. So I just can’t catch a break.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally get the role on NBC’s “Heroes”
David H. Lawrence XVII: Just another audition, in a series of auditions that month. June of 2008, June 12th to be precise. I had an extra day with the sides so I was to play with it a lot more than another audition. Sometimes you get auditions and its the same day and you have very little time to go over the sides. The issue with not having enough time to review sides is what prompted me to create the app I have for the iPhone called “Rehearsal”. So I can rehearse my lines and my lines and memorize stuff right on my iPhone. It turns out the reason they brought me in was because of a student film I have done a couple of years earlier. That student film by the way, I shot it despite the fact that I got booked for a network television show that much earlier. The show was called “The Clubhouse”. Because I had already committed to the student, I passed on the part. It would have been network part but he couldn’t reschedule the shoot. So fast forward two years later, they see that clip from that film where I am playing a ringmaster. I am all dressed up in stage makeup and what not and they said “Hey if he will do that maybe he will come in for Eric Doyle”.

Mike Gencarelli: Did you enjoy playing the role of the villain, Eric Doyle on “Heroes”?
David H. Lawrence XVII: I did and I continue to, he is not dead yet. Only after the fact how I realized how fun it is to play a villain as suppose to play a good guy. The higher you are on the call sheet the more money you make but in terms of having the good lines. People know me for saying things like “Barbie” and “I just want to be normal”, things like that. The character gave the opportunity to be a villain with a heart. People want to hug me and help me be better so that is kinda nice. Be aware I am only going to disappoint you in the end.

MG: Any cool stories from the set of “Heroes”?
DL: There are hundreds of stories from the set. I spent more of my time working with Hayden Panettiere and with Robert Knepper who played Samuel. Both of them are really amazing actors, in terms of their preparation and attitude, approach and work ethic. I wish I had some horrifying stories to tell you about misbehavior on the set but it just didn’t happen. I have been on a couple of sets in my acting career, probably seven or eight and this one is far and away the most comfortable and amazing and enjoyable. All I can say is that what powers me is bagels and cream cheese. That is about as crazy as I can get.

MG: Your work ranges from comedy to drama, how do you usually prepare for your roles?
DL: I spend a lot of time memorizing my lines and exploring way for the character to interact. It all goes out the window or all comes to play when the cameras start rolling. That is really the time when the magic happens and all the prep work could be thrown out the window if something changes or if the writers come in with a rewrite at the last minute. I was certainly rehearsing how to die in my first episode because I was suppose to die in my first episode and then the writers rewrote the ending after we starting shooting. They decided they didn’t want me to die just yet and they changed it to have Claire hit me over the head with a chair leg. All of the preparation I did on how to die convincingly so far hasn’t had to be called into play. There were all these villains that came out in season three and every single one of them are dead, expect me.

MG: You have done quite a bit a short films? Can you us about anyone’s that stand out? “My Name is Wallace”?
DL: “My Name is Wallace” got into over 100 festivals and won about 40 of them. It was a really nice gentle little film that I loved doing. It was a character I have been doing on radio and on the phone with my buddy Bob Pondillo, who is the director and writer for decades. He started off as a character that was one of the oddest people to ever make a video tape for a dating service. In the movie the character doesn’t quite get what a phone sex service is all about. It’s is an interesting little movie and we are thinking of turning it into a feature. I just finished one called “The New, True, Charlie Wu” and it has been shown all over the country. It has also been in a bunch of festivals. I try to convince people I do shorts for to take the leap and make features. Shorts are weird, you can’t release them in the theaters and you can’t really release them on DVD. You just make them for the love of making films. I have done a lot of that and I really want to concentrate on doing television and studio features. I am actually shooting one right now with Frankie Muniz, Corbin Bernsen, Shelly Long and Diamond Dallas Page from WWE called “Pizza Man”. It is so much fun working with people that you grew up watching on television. Frankie Muniz is half my age but I was watching him as a child actor in “Malcolm in the Middle”. Corbin Bernsen most people know from “Major League” but I know him from “L.A. Law” and Shelly Long from “Troop Beverly Hills” but she is Diane from “Cheers” for me.

MG: You’ve done stand up before, how do you think it differs from movies or TV?
DL: Stand up is something I feel like I have been doing for 30 years on radio. So getting up on stage and doing stand up is no big deal to me, especially when it goes array, when things go bad. I kind of love that because it is a challenge to turn lemons into lemonade. When you can take a crowd who maybe isn’t with you in the beginning and get them with you towards the end, that’s like the best possible situation. It is easy to be a really popular comedian and people will laugh at just about everything you say. It kinda like being a business man and making a horrible mistake but then making it right with the customer, you have that customer for life. I look at my career as a busy and I look at everyone that see a film I am in or a television show I am on or come to a stand up I do as a customer of mine as well as a fan. I do everything I can to make sure that they are completely satisfied and surprised and delighted with what they get. Luckly I have been give that opportunity with some really great projects like “Heroes” and “Lost” and it has been great. I like the idea of being saying, “I had no idea that you were that “David Lawrence”. A lot of people know me from radio or from the world of technology where I worked with AOL, Yahoo and Google for many years and they go “Wait a minute, what are you doing now…What?…Your that guy…Oh my God, Yeah you are”. It always fun to watch that happen.

MG: Tell us out your author work with “10 Quick Steps”?
DL: With “10 Quick Steps”, when you do a talk show on radio, the callers are like records. You can only spend a few minutes with each one. There were certain questions I could answer poorly in 90 seconds or a couple of minutes. So I started to write complete guide on how to do certain things that people were calling in and asking about all the time. Some are “How do you turn cassettes, records, reel to reel into MP3 or CDs?” or “How do you take VHS and make them into DVDs” or “How do you completely backup your computer”. I started writing these guides and at the time, I was on XM satellite radio 24/7. CNET kind of went away in January 2003 and I started writing these in April or May in 2003 and because I was on 24/7 if I mentioned them on the air, they would repeat my shows all the time. They would get sold 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. I would sell them for $20 bucks a piece and you would download them on the computer and there was no shipping or anything. I also did audio version of them.

MG: What do you have planned for the future?
DL: I am appearing at various conventions across the country, I am already booked at Dragon Con, over Labor Day weekend in Atlanta. I am going to be at the Hollywood Show this year. I am booked at the San Diego, Toronto, New York Comic Cons and hopefully they will also book me for Cleveland and Nashville. I grew up in Cleveland and I do a lot of shooting in Nashville. Once you are on “Heroes”, you can easily spend every weekend of your life in some city somewhere meeting fans.

MG: Do you enjoy meeting you fans?
DL: I LOVE…LOVE meeting my fans. I realize they are fans of the show and they very clearly let me know when they are fans of Eric Doyle’s because they know things about him that sometimes I forgotten. It’s like who remembers these things, but the fans do. I am thrilled that fans care that much.

Click here to purchase “Heroes” merchandise