CD Review: Motorhead “Aftershock”

Label: UDR GmbH
Producer: Cameron Webb
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Aftershock” is the latest release from heavy metal heroes Motorhead. The 3 piece group which has been making heads bang since 1975 are back with their 21st release. Simply titled “Aftershock” the album incorporates Lemmy and company’s standard blitzkrieg approach with elements of rhythm and blues which takes the listeners senses on a musical marathon. Produced by Cameron Webb the album features 14 brand new tracks which are welcome additions to the always growing Motorhead catalog.

From the word go “Aftershock” hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until well after the finish line. The album kicks off with the adrenaline fueled “Heartbreaker” which gives way to songs like “Lost Woman Blues” which features a groovy blues feel before the album catapults you back to reality with songs like “Do You Believe” and “Queen of the Damned” before wrapping up with the four on the floor rocker “Paralyzed. Each of the members of Motorhead seem to only get better year after year and despite bassist/vocalist Lemmy Kilmister’s recent health scare the band shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Veteran producer Cameron Webb continues to do what he does best as he is able to capture of nuance of the bands signature sound.

Though “Aftershock” might not be in the same league as albums like “Ace of Spades” or 2000’s “We Are Motorhead” but it’s certainly pretty close. Long time listeners and frequent Hot Topic shoppers were definitely want to give this album a listen.

Track Listing:
1.) Heartbreaker
2.) Coupe de Grace
3.) Lost Woman Blues
4.) End of Time
5.) Do You Believe
6.) Death Machine
7.) Dust and Glass
8.) Going to Mexico
9.) Silence When You Speak to Me
10.) Crying Shame
11.) Queen of the Damned
12.) Knife
13.) Keep Your Powder Dry
14.) Paralyzed


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DVD Review “Aftershock”

Directed by: Xiaogang Feng
Starring: Daoming Chen, Chen Li, Yi Lu
Distributed by: China Lion
Rated: N/A
Runtime: 2 hr. 15 min.

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Aftershock” is a film based around one family’s actions during the Tangshan earthquake of 1976. During the earth quake a mother is forced to choose which of her two children she is going to save. After the mother makes her choice we find out that both children in fact end up surviving this horrific event. 32 years after the earth quake the siblings are unexpectedly reunited and learn of the drama each has endured during their time apart.

“Aftershock” is a very real and heartfelt film. Being a foreign film I was unfamiliar with the cast however all those involved put on stellar performances. The earth quake scenes at the beginning of the film were very well done and featured some great special effects. “Aftershock” also featured some really nice wide shots which were filled with what looks like thousands of extras. These big scenes really showed just how many people were affected by this natural disaster. Though the film was quite dark making some of the scenes difficult to watch “Aftershock” was still an enjoyable film.

Director Xiaogang Feng and his cast did a great job telling the story of these two siblings and their chance meeting some 32 years later after another devastating earth quake takes place. Even if you are not a fan of foreign cinema “Aftershock is worth checking out as the film is more than just your standard drama.

Interview with Martin Klebba

Martin Klebba is known for his role in the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.  Martin also steals the show in the film “Feast II: Sloppy Seconds”.  He can be seen upcoming in the new adaption of Snow White called “The Brothers Grimm: Snow White”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Martin about his roles and his upcoming projects.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what it was like working on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series?
Martin Klebba: It was as you would say ” An amazing ride”. There was never a shortage of stories from cast’s past to the one’s we were creating while away from home as well.

MG: Out of the three films you worked on, do you that you enjoyed most on production?
MK: Well, I think we can all agree “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pear” was the best of all four, because it was just that. The 1st! You can never beat or touch any original piece of art! Johnny (Depp), Geoffrey (Rush) were total class acts! Orlando (Bloom) and Kiera (Knightley), even though they were established already, really came into their own as Household A-List Stars. The crew and cast started a familia and carried that all the way thru the first three anyway, and I’m sure they may have thru the fourth.

MG: You role in “Feast II: Sloppy Seconds” is just so great, tell us about working on that film?
MK: Well, getting to work with Clu Gulager was an honor! John was an amazing creative mind behind the camera too! Being apart of Thunder (my character) & Lightning (Juan Longoria Garcia) was really fun…2 Lil People Brothers that were probably as big as the picture itself! Monster movies are always a great time and a ton of fun to get funky with.

MG: You work in stunts for many films like, “Zombieland” to “Bedtime Stories”, tell us about that work?
MK: Well, I may be the only REAL Actor in hollywood that can claim ” I do all my own Stunts!” Fact is, the other guys that claim that is a lil stretched. Yes they may do a lot of them, but a film would not be able to get a project insured if the Main Actor was being put in harms way to where a film may have to shutdown due to a injury. They always have doubles. You cannot find another lil Guy that looks like me, therefore, I DO ALL MY OWN shit!

MG: What has been your most difficult stunt to perform in a film?
MK: The hardest stunt I have prolly ever had to do would be a five story fall backwards on fire doubling my great friend Warwick Davis in “Leprechaun 6: Back 2 Da Hood”!

MG: You are working with “Pirates” co-star, Lee Arenberg, in the film “1066”, tell us about that?
MK: Well, we haven’t been able to start filming just yet, I believe they are still waiting for all the funding. It will be one of those EPIC films ala “The Patriot” and “Braveheart”. I am actually looking forward to that film, it’ about the most important date in Englands History!

MG: You work with Lee Arenberg again in “In The Gray”, which are you also producing, how did you take on this role?
MK: That was the biggest mistake I ever made, total cluster f@#$ as Clint Eastwood would call it. I’d like to forget about that waste of time.

MG: What can you tell us about working on “The Brothers Grimm: Snow White”?
MK: Well we are still in early preps rite now, I believe filming doesn’t start till June 20th. We have been rehearsing the stunt and fights scenes so far, going to be a blast though once we start making magic on film. We have some really awesome talent in this one, from: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Mare Winningham, Michael Lerner, Mark Povinelli, Danny Woodburn and Myself.

Interview with Rosalina Da Silva

Rosalina Da Silva started her makeup artist career with “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”. Since then she has worked on over 50 high profile projects such as “TRON: Legacy”, “Sucker Punch” and “Watchmen”. Rosalina also just completed working on the new upcoming sequel in the “Underworld” series. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Rosalina about her recent projects as well as what is upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: When you start a project, what is your first step to begin your process?
Rosalina Da Silva: When I first receive the concept or script for a film I will have a meeting with the director to get their vision of the movie. Once I have that I will start researching the characters or period as kind of a preliminary. I have a huge library of books and movies that I reference to assist me with the look I am going for.

MG: Tell us about your experience working on “Sucker Punch”?
RDS: By far I think that project was one of the most creative I have done. It started the same way as any other project by doing the research. We knew the girls were going to change dramatically from the minute we first met them to the time they were on screen. The costumes had already been designed so that was inspirational to be able to look at the drawings and see what was going to be worn for each scene. Almost everyone had their hair changed as well. Weather it was lengthened or colored that was one of the first things that had to be done before I could start designing the make-up. Once you change some one’s hair color everything changes. So at the beginning I tend to sit back to see where things are going to look like before making final decisions. Zack Snyder had his drawings and ideas, as well that I would reference. The first character I worked on was Emily Browning, which was kind of a 60’s look which is something that I love. The film is set in 1968, so we based everything off that time period. Zack really trusted me and let me do what I wanted which was great.

MG: Do you find it easier working with females during the makeup process in general?
RDS: It doesn’t really matter. Sometimes the make-up is simpler. Other times it’s a little more involved. The challenge with males is to make it look like they are not wearing makeup. Lately I have been doing a lot of comic book themed projects where you have to use the make-up to bring out certain features and make a person look a certain way. The make-up will tend to be shown more in these types of projects.

MG: What approach did you take working on “TRON: Legacy”, compared to your other films since it is such a big film?
RDS: Originally I was not going to be a part of “TRON: Legacy” because “Sucker Punch” was going to be shooting at the same time. “Sucker Punch” had got dropped for a few months and I found myself working on “TRON: Legacy”. I hadn’t done many Sci-Fi films before, as that genre really isn’t my thing. I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing. So I had a meeting with the director and we discussed a few ideas. Prior to me joining the crew they had some of the concepts developed already. I looked at a few of those and knew there was going to be some difficulty in achieving some of the looks in the time limit we had. The Siren’s in the film were supposed to have a face that was like a mask and all four were going to look identical. There were two African-American girls and two Caucasian girls which just could not look the same. I had to find something that all the girls had in common that would make them individual and beautiful in their own way but still have that one thing in common to tie them together. It was decided that we were going to use only black and white colors for hair and make-up except for the Castor character. The idea for using just two colors of make-up really started with the Siren characters. It was very hard to try and create something that had not been done before because it seems everything has been done before. We did a lot of different tests on the actors and actresses and we tried to match their make-up with the costumes and keep everything very geometrical. It was a lot of fun!

MG: Since “TRON: Legacy” was filmed in 3D, did that create an issue for you working on makeup?
RDS: The only difficulty we had was that one of the Sirens was wearing a wig. We had to make sure that the wig lace was not going to be seen. Often times when shooting a normal movie that type of thing can be touched up. We had to find a formula with the make-up that would not show the lace because with the film being shot in 3D you did not have that option of going back and touching things up. I really didn’t know what I was up for when I joined the project so I just made everything as simple and bland as I could (Laughs).

MG: From working on your first film, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” to today, how do you feel that your job has changed over the years (if at all)?
RDS: “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” was an amazing experience. I think everything we did on that was very raw. We didn’t have access then to a lot of the things then, like we have now. Today if you want to make freckles or what not we have things on hand that make that possible. Back then we had to make everything. We would go to the drug store in Australia and buy a bunch of things to make into stuff we could use. The paste used in the kid’s hair on “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” was just something we made. Everything back then had to be much more organic than it is today. We were very resourceful. We also had to be extremely careful back then to make things that were non-toxic because stuff wasn’t labeled then like it is now. There are still challenges to make-up today however they are just different.

MG: What has been your most difficult film to work on?
RDS: Every movie has its own challenges. “Sucker Punch” and “TRON: Legacy” were both very challenging. I just wrapped a week ago on the newest “Underworld” film which was another that was very challenging. Difficulty wise, going back to “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” we were moving around and shooting in a lot of different locations. We also encountered a lot of natural disasters while shooting that film. We had wind and dust storms, as well as rain. The weather was really tough but sometimes that’s the way it is.

MG: Tell about your latest project working, the fourth film in the “Underworld” series? Any other projects upcoming?
RDS: At the moment I am kind of at a standstill. I just wrapped up shooting on “Underworld” last week which was a fun experience. It was very cold shooting as we were shooting mostly at night. We did some really great vampires and Lycans. I have a few other things brewing but nothing is concrete in this business until things are signed. (Laughs)

Interview with Shannyn Sossasmon

Shannyn Sossasmon started off her career starring in “A Knight’s Tale” with Heath Ledger.  From there is she starred in “40 Days, 40 Nights”, “The Rules of Attraction” and “One Missed Call” to name a few.  Recently Shannyn starred in Monte Hellman’s latest film “Road to Nowhere”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Shannyn about working the film as well as her upcoming projects.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you became involved with “Road to Nowhere”?
Shannyn Sossasmon: I was approached by Steven Gaydos at a cafe.  It was a few years back.  I was working a scene with my scene partner over lunch.  He thought I just looked the part. I do not think he knew my work or that I was a working actress.  He gave me his card and told me about Monte and the project.  I had my manager look into it and he got the script.  I read it and then I met with them about getting on board.

MG: How did you prepare yourself for playing that complex character?
SS: Monte did not want me to do too much over thinking, even though I did anyway.  He is a relaxed director.  The script was incredibly confusing.  I tried to make sense of who I was when during the story.  Monte would never really help me with that, he would just laugh at me.  So I was on my ow [laughs].  Monte is very supportive and wonderful to work with but he lets you run free with the role.  He doesn’t take the script so literally.  I usually like something more grounded.  I just dove in and made sure that the character had a lot of mystery.  I think it also contributes to the overall feeling of the film.

MG: How was it working with Monte Hellman, since it was his first feature in over 20 years?
SS: Well I didn’t know who he was before we started on the film.  I had to do a lot of research.  I am still very good friends with him and will be for a very long time.  I know him more as a friend.  I had nothing to compare it to as a director.  I met him without any preconceived notions.  I adore him and he is a great person.

MG: Would you consider the production difficult to work on?
SS: I hadn’t worked on anything in a while when we shot that.  I loved the style.  I loved working in North Carolina at this wonderful cozy inn.  Then we went to Europe but that was a little more of a struggle because we just shot for a month, we were tired and went to Europe with no money.  It was definitely challenging.  We were stealing shots everywhere we went.  We shot late at night so we wouldn’t get caught [laughs].  It sounds exciting but we were so exhausted from the first month and half.  I did enjoy working on it though.

MG: Are you going to be involved with second two of HBO’s “How to Make it in America”?
SS: I do not know how much I am going to be in season two.  My character, if you watched season one, didn’t do much.  So I am not sure if they are going to figure out what to do with her in season two.  I am around if they call, if they don’t…it is ok.  I do not feel attached to that character or that experience.

MG: Did you ever get to meet Bret Easton Ellis while working on the film “The Rules of Attraction”?
SS: Yes I did, I met him afterwards.  He was wonderful.  I have seen him once or twice since, which is not much at all though.  I think he is a beautiful and really nice man.  I have not read all of his book, because I don’t read that much in general.

MG: Did you read “The Rules of Attraction” prior to working on the film?
SS: Actually I read it afterwards.  Roger (Avary) was ok with me having not read it.  I think some people had read it and some didn’t.  He told everyone who didn’t read it, not do so.  I think it was some kind of an experiment he was doing.

MG: Do you prefer working on independent films over bigger budget films?
No I do not have a preference.  I think it is what is important is having script you are excited about.  Studio films are obviously more lucrative and more comfortable.  I just love working and being exciting about the project and the script.

MG: Tell us about working on the film “The Day” and with such a talented cast?
SS: Yeah, I am actually seeing a cast/crew screening later.  The experience was incredible.  The actors are all wonderful.  The director and producers are super passionate.  That was another tough one though.  There wasn’t a lot of money and was some hard work.  It will be interesting though.  “The Day” is a post-apocalyptic western thriller war action movie.  It was really different but I did enjoy working on it.

MG: What can you tell us about your upcoming film directed by Mark Webber?
SS: That one was so magical.  I really loved that film.  It was mostly improv.  I play the love interest and it is a romantic drama comedy.  It was great. I had so much fun working on it.  Working with Mark Webber was just so great. Unfortunately I can’t really say much more right now.

Interview with Bruce Boxleitner

Bruce Boxleitner is known best for his role in 1982’s “TRON”, playing the role of Alan Bradley and Tron.  Bruce recently reprised his roles 28 years later in “TRON: Legacy”.  He is also known for his role in the sci-fi television series “Babylon 5”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat about “TRON” with Bruce and discuss what’s to come for the future.

Mike Gencarelli: It’s 1981 and you’re making “TRON.”  At the time did it seem like just another project?
Bruce Boxleitner: We made it in ’81 and it was literally months before it was ready because they had to do all of the effects painstakingly.  There were a lot of Chinese and Taiwanese names in the end credits (laughs).  That’s where they went then to find that much manpower to do that much film.  I’ve been asked this question many times.  Yes, it was just another job.  I was a very busy young actor in those days.  I was in my early 30’s.  I had already done a western series with James Arness called “How the West Was Won” and this was just prior to “Scarecrow and Mrs. King.”  I hadn’t done a lot of feature films.  I was in a small film with James Coburn called “The Baltimore Bullet.”  I did “The Gambler” with Kenny Rogers for television.  I had done a lot of television and it was mostly very good television.  “TRON” came along as a total surprise.  To tell the truth the sci fi genre’ was very new to me.  It did appeal to me but there was one side that said “no…stick to what you do best.” But the other side won out.  When I got to Los Angeles I went to the Disney Studios and met everybody.  And I also have to say, as an actor, that they flattered the heck out of me.  They wanted me for this movie.  Also, Jeff Bridges was associated with it.  He was somebody I had always kept my eye on because he was doing…you’re always aware of your contemporaries…the actors in your age range.  He was mainly doing features so I have to say that there was a little bit of envy there.  I thought “gosh, maybe I can get into movies now too,” since I’d been doing TV. for a number of years.  And the project was interesting.  You may laugh at this but I thought the film was kind of like “Star Wars.”  Yes, it was about a big video game, but it kind of had that feel to it.  It resonated in a lot of the science fiction books I had read over the years.  So it had those worlds too…but in a brand new way.  It intrigued me.  And once they started showing me some of the story boards I was instantly IN! Being a TV guy I’m used to a faster pace.  But features, especially technical ones, often have a very slow pace.  We only shot a little bit each day.  Only a couple of shots each day because to set up the shots took most of a day’s work.  Let’s just say I read a lot of books (laughs).  And of course I played a lot of video games.  They had to take the games away from us we were having so much fun.  One day they kept calling “Jeff…Jeff we need you,” and Jeff yelled back “I’m doing research on my part!”  What was interesting in shooting the film was that Jeff was so concerned with the games.  He was the “pinball wizard” so to speak, to use the parlance of the day.  He was terrific at it where I was out with the stunt guysthrowing the discs.  Yes, they were Frisbies, but there are a lot of guys out there that can’t throw a Frisbie.  Most people are pretty awkward at it.  But I had to be able to throw it like an expert.  So I worked with experts.  Much different then for “TRON: Legacy.”  I didn’t have to learn any martial arts for that one.

MG: Looking back do you consider it a positive experience?
BB: Oh my gosh yes!  I think the only disappointment was that the film didn’t do better.  There were a lot of different sci fi epics out that year (among them “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Blade Runner” and “E.T.”).  I mean, if you look back at 1982 there were a lot of groundbreaking films in the science fiction/fantasy genre.  But I’m very proud of it.  Yes it didn’t gain huge notoriety.  It wasn’t “Star Wars.”  But then nothing was.  “E.T.” sucked the life out of everything that year.  But I tell you, TRON would have just destroyed him!  I want my aliens to be bad ass and trying to kill us all. That’s how I want my aliens.  Not a cuddly little thing you take to bed with you.  I hated that movie…sentimental crap(laughs)!  But I should Mr. Spielberg has noted…28 years later there is no sequel to “E.T.”  But yes, it was a very positive experience.  I still had a lot of television projects to do.  I didn’t think I was going to become a movie star off of “TRON” but it was a great opportunity.  I took it and I enjoyed every bit of it.  It was an exhausting shoot. But I went back to the fast paced world of television.  And I had a short lived television series of my own (“Bring ‘Em Back Alive”).  But that came about because of “TRON.”  It was kind of an Indiana Jones type character.  That lasted for a season and then I went on to “Scarecrow and Mrs. King,” which lasted four seasons.  But I didn’t get to the science fiction genre again until “Babylon 5.”

MG: How did you feel stepping back into the role 28 years later?
BB: I have to tell you it was such an amazing surprise when I got the phone call.  I was very excited when I saw the footage from ComicCon several years ago.  I couldn’t believe it.  There had been rumors over the years, of course.  But rumors are life in this industry.  Suddenly somebody was making good on them.  Then I got a call to come down to Disney Studios.  And when I did it was like deja vu’ all over again.  People tell me I should have been in it more, but not really.  It wasn’t about me.  And I understand Jeff.  He’s gone on to become an Academy Award winning actor.  He was the name guy they needed to get this tent pole up.  He was the name that could bring in people that maybe hadn’t seen “TRON.”  That was a big concern.  Could they get people who had never heard of it?  And the expectations for the new film were just so over the top.  But I played my part and I enjoyed it.  I was reunited with Jeff.  Even though we didn’t get to work on camera together we hung out in Vancouver (where the film was shot).  I also screentested with all of the young actors and actresses that were up for Sam and Quorra.  And there were a number of them.  There were some big names and some lessor names.  Disney hired me to do the scene with Sam.  And by the time it finally made the film I bet I had done it 150 times.  For the girls we didn’t have any scenes written so we did scenes from “Blade Runner.”  So I got to finally do “Blade Runner.”  I love that movie!  And I did the “Sam” scene with five or six different actors.  And I think that maybe the people at Disney had seen my work or hadn’t seen “TRON” in a while so maybe that was also my screen test as well.  I kind of liken Alan Bradley to Sam Flynn as Alfred to his Batman.  We created a new young hero, but a hero that will always need Alan around to remind him who he is…where he came from…what his principles are.  And that’s what Alfred was to Bruce Wayne.

MG: With “Tron: The Next Day” hinting for the future, do you think “Tron 3” will see the light of day?
BB: I think we can only hope.  I think the intention is there.  I haven’t heard anything or even if I would be in it.  I do know that Garrett (Hedlund) and Olivia (Wilde) were signed for two pictures. Of course that means absolutely nothing. It’s great contractually but now both of them are extremely busy.  It was great to work with these two young people right before they started hitting it.  Which is very much the same way Jeff and I were back then.  So to answer your question, it could very well be.  I think it should be.  There’s a huge audience for it.  I know it’s not everybody’s cup oftea but still…

MG: Even if they don’t do another feature film, the legacy is continuing with the animated series “TRON: Uprising”, what can you tell us about this?
BB: It’s beautiful.  The animation is really super.  It stickes to the TRON world as we know it.  I’ve done
seven or eight episodes already.  It takes time, the animation.  I did five episodes last week.  I had been
away doing a film and I missed it when the scripts started coming in.  I think the series is due to come out
early next year.  It’s going to be good.  We’ve got Elijah Wood…Lance Henriksen…all kinds of people are in it.
And I’m playing Tron.  I’m purely playing Tron in this.  There’s no Alan Bradley in this.

MG:  What other projects do you have upcoming?
BB: I just finished a mini series called “Blackout.”  I don’t know when it’s going to air.  I also just did an epidode of a new series called “Chaos” and it’s already been taken off the air!  It used to air on CBS on Friday night…sort of a C.I.A. comedy/adventure.  I had a great role in it.  I shot the ninth episode.  I’m hoping they run it sometime…somewhere.  I’m just trying to get a job like everybody else.

Interview with Noah Wyle

Noah Wyle is known best for his role of Dr. John Truman Carter III in “ER”. Noah is taking the lead about in TNT’s new show “Falling Skies”. Movie Mikes had a chance to attend a conference call with Noah to discuss the his new show “Falling Skies” and what we can expect from it.

Mike Gencarelli: I have been hearing a lot of talk saying that “Falling Skies” feels like so epic in the pilot, that it almost feels like a feature film. Can you reflect on that?
Noah Wyle: Yes, sure. Well, it wasn’t intended to be sandwiched together. The pilot was a standalone hour and it’s being married to the first episode which we shot as a first episode for the season to build it into a two-hour block. So it was never scripted to feel like a movie but I think anytime Mr. Spielberg’s name is above the marquee you can’t help but to make a cinema comparison. It’s got a lot of rich production value. The budget on the pilot was pretty extensive. So we had a lot of bang for our buck and that wasn’t necessarily the case in every episode. I think getting a sense of what the series is going to be like comes probably more accurately from the second half, second hour, than the first. But, yes, it’s got a very cinematic feel to it.

MG: The show it’s clocking in at ten episodes for the first season. Do you think that the show has like enough room to spread its wings in season one?
NW: Well, I had lunch with Michael Wright who’s Head of TNT and we discussed if this came to a second season whether he would be interested in picking it up for more episodes.  His philosophy, which I tend to agree with is, that if you’re writing for ten episodes you can really write to a focused point and make sure that all of your T’s have been crossed and your eyes have been dotted. If you’re trying to slug it out through 15, 17 or on a network 22 to 24 you run the risk of dissipating the potency of your story telling and falling back on sort of clichés. He really didn’t want to do that. He really is very proud and pleased with the show and should a second season come to pass it for it to have the same kind of punch that the first season did. I think you really only get from shooting a truncated season of 10, 12 maximum.

Q: Talk about that aspect of the show where we go right to the meat of the story instead of having a season or two of build-up?
A: Yes, it’s sort of a typical story telling in the sense that we don’t start with everyday life going on business as usual and then suddenly everybody’s eyes turn to the heavens and say, what’s that coming in towards our planet. We do pick up six months into what has been a devastating alien invasion and meet our characters already in a pretty high state of disarray. It is kind of exciting storytelling because it allows you the opportunity to fill in the back story through episodic storytelling. It also opens up the possibility of being able to track back in time down the road if it seems dramatically appropriate.

Q: How involved is Steven Spielberg in the production of this show?
A: He’s pretty damn involved. His fingerprints are all over it. He was instrumental in helping craft the original pilot script and certainly in casting the pilot. He came out and was on set when we were shooting the pilot. He even drew some storyboards for the re-shoots on the pilot and then helped craft the overreaching story arks for the season.  He watched all the daily’s and made lots of editorial suggestions all along the way in bringing those shows to their final cut. So I would say he’s instrumentally involved.

Q: If you were in the position of your character, what do you think you’d miss the most in the new world and also what do you think would be the most exciting opportunity about a civilization to sort of start over?
A: I’m guessing a variety of diet would be the thing I’d miss the most…and hot food. We sort of tried to pepper each episode with exactly that. What are the cons and disadvantages to the state we have been thrown into, but what are the sort of more subtle pros.  Whether it’s seeing a group of kids having to exercise their imaginations at play and actually relishing in the opportunity to do so or the quality of relationships between families being that much enriched without all the other distractions.  There’s a sequence that comes midway through the season where a women who’s among our ranks is pregnant and is throwing a baby shower. Having been to quite a few baby showers, this was unlike any event I had experienced in the sense that it wasn’t so much about the gifts, the swag and the stuff for the impending birth as it was really more about the spiritual aspects of bringing a new life into the world.  It makes you think about your responsibilities are as a parent and what are our collective responsibilities for this new life?  I find those very rewarding aspects to the storytelling because it allows us an opportunity to kind of pick and choose between separate the weak and chafed from what’s important and what’s not.

Q: I really enjoy the family dynamic from the show, tell us about how you approached keeping your family together in this broken world?
A: Well, dramatically I think that was probably the theme that was most interesting to me. I haven’t had a lot of experience working in the science fiction genre, so that had a certain appeal. I went into this with the confidence of knowing that the spaceships and the aliens were going to be just fine with Mr. Spielberg designing them. So my responsibilities really fell to making sure the human aspects of the show were as compelling as they could be. I found that dual conflict that we set up in the pilot to be really provocative of a guy just trying to keep his family intact and alive being given the larger responsibility of having to care for 300 veritable strangers.  The conflict between the two is very interesting. What is at the core of the show is once the reset button on humanities been pushed and these characters, should they survive, are going to become the next founding fathers for the next civilization. What are the best aspects of the previous civilization that you would want to retain and what are the more superfluous or ascerteric ones that you wouldn’t mind dropping? ? Certainly the notion of family and the quality of human relationships comes to the floor and that’s what I think we pretty successfully explored through the first half of the season.

Q: What do you think distinguishes Tom as a leader as opposed to films like “Battle: Los Angeles” which have automatically show the militaristic personalities step to the foreground to take charge?
A: That’s an interesting question. I would say that when you traditionally have a character whose has a military career like Captain Weaver, their strong suit is leading men who have been trained and focused for the battle and mission enhanced. Whereas in this particular scenario most of our military has been eradicated already and it’s a civilian militia that is being trained. It’s exactly Tom Mason’s back-story as having been a teacher that puts him in a little bit better situation to teach mostly kids how to arm themselves and defend themselves than it is for Weaver to fall back on the military paradigm. It is looking at the realm of academia and saying that’s a little dry for what we need right now and looking at the role of military and saying that’s a little dogmatic for what we need right now.  Then we try to find a synthesis between the two that I think makes my character a leader of a different strength.

Q: Having to be the leader of the group, are we going to see in the first season Tom’s breaking point?
A: He comes damn close to it. He comes very, very close to it. Yes, I would say in the fourth or fifth episode that’s where he starts to wear a little thin. Although, you know, there was a saying that we used to say a lot on my other show where you really didn’t have time to feel sorry for yourself during the course of the day because you had another patient to treat or two or three. So you really had to earn whatever private moments you allowed yourself to reveal, whatever inner life was going on. The same holds true for this show is that there’s such a constant and eminent threat underneath each and every scene that these characters who probably if they had a week off would develop all sorts of the hallmarks of PTSD and go through all sorts of debilitating briefs don’t have the luxury of doing so because there’s just too many other things that need to be done.  So I would say that the big breakdown is still coming but we definitely show glimpses of it.

Q: Besides “The Librarian” series you haven’t done much action, what did you have to do to prepare for the action involved in the show compared to the previous work that you’ve done?
A: Oh, I probably should have done a lot more [laughs]. I showed up and we all had a couple of days of running around the sound stage and learning gun safety. But in terms of physical preparation I found myself at a disadvantage trying to keep up with Drew Roy whose part spring-box. He plays my oldest son and very early on in the pilot we had to sort of run and jump and dive and whirl and roll and do all these crazy things. All of which, eventually, I got more comfortable at. But it’s certainly not wearing the white coat everyday.

Q: Did you find that you were able to do a lot of your own stunts or was a lot of it done by a stunt team?
A: Kind of both. I mean, there’s stunts but they’re not real stunts. I mean, running and jumping and sliding and diving all that stuff looks so much better when the actors doing it. So I did a lot of that kind of thing. Then whenever there was one sequence where I’m fighting one of the aliens in a steam tunnel and I did all of that fight with the exception of one throw where the alien sort of chucks me.  That required some wire work to get thrown high up against a wall.

Q: Are you consciously aware of being able to spend time with these characters before you go in to just doing action sequences?
A: Well, you have to be careful about it even just from a production standpoint because obviously action sequences require the most money of an episode budget. If you’re going to give a little action sequence in every show you’ll get a little action sequence in every show.  But if you can buy yourself a couple of episodes by saving on your post-production budget and focusing the drama on interpersonal and character conflict then suddenly on the fourth episode you’ve got quite a large bank to work with and you can stage something pretty epic. So there’s a financial necessity that goes into it. But also it’s much more compelling to have the threat come, not as a constant, but in waves. To have it start off as a huge wave and then be able to get a low and reflect a little bit and synthesize some information and then to have another wave come and also the anticipation of that wave coming is great dramatic tension. What are the lessons learned after an encounter before the next wave comes? I think that for this particular show it works much better than having it be a constant threat.

Interview with Moon Bloodgood

Moon Bloodgood is playing Anne Glass in TNT’s new show “Falling Skies”. Moon is known best for her role as Lt. Blair Williams in the film “Terminator: Salvation”. Movie Mikes had a chance to attend a conference call with Moon to discuss the her new show “Falling Skies” and what we can expect from it.

Mike Gencarelli: What do you like most about your character Anne Glass on “Falling Skies”?
Moon Bloodgood: I really enjoy the fact that she is a doctor.  She was a pediatrician.  I think that she’s very admirable, that she doesn’t often talk about herself, extremely selfless, always calm and rational, always being fair and with reason. I think I admired her because I feel sometimes I’m not always that way and she was always selfless and always very maternal towards everyone.

MG: What stands out for you as the most difficult part working on the series?
MB: Sometimes the subject matter is heavy and there’s lot of depth and weight and you have to take yourself to that place where you’re supposed to be hungry, scared, you’ve lost your family and sometimes you want levity. I can find the subject matter to weigh on me at times when I was working and all I wanted to do was just go home and just put some comedy on and have a beer because I just needed some sort of change. I think no matter how much I can resist it, I gravitate towards these kinds of subject matters and I like the drama. That’s where I feel the most comfortable and probably that’s why that’s what I do the most.

Q: How did you get involved with the show?
A: I have vague memories of I think it but Spielberg and Michael Wright came up with it together and then kind of brought Robert Rodat into it,  who is a real great writer and did the film “Saving Private Ryan”.  By the time it found its way to me it was probably a year after it and Noah was already on board. I think other people had already been cast and I think originally I was supposed to be like an art dealer or some sort of artist. I wasn’t the primary focus in the first episode, it was about the Mason family and I was someone who was going to connect with Noah Wyle’s character, maybe a romantic twist was going to happen. So I saw just, a basic show that had really good people involved but I think it was something that Spielberg obviously initiated and then it kind of came into fruition.

Q: Aliens parking over cities has been kind of a common theme recently with shows like “District 9”, “Skyline”, “Battle: Los Angeles” and of course “V”. In your opinion what do you think separates this series from the other recent alien invasion franchises?
A: I mean we’re all kind of dealing with the same subject matter, I think what’s going to be different is certainly our approach. The science fiction aspect of it is going to vary but if you like the story, the human story behind it, you will want to follow the characters and that’s what’s going to bring you to it. We’re much more drama and more of a human element than like a “District 9”, one of my favorite science fiction films, which I think is primarily has a more science fiction element than I think we have. I think we have the marriage of a good family story with the science fiction element.

Q: You have dealt with post apocalyptic before with “Terminator: Salvation”, you’re starting to carve a little niche in this genre, what’s the draw for you?
A: I think I’ve been drawn to science fiction because I’m a fan of science fiction. I think when you like something, I like to think you’re generally better at it and when you’re auditioning for something, maybe that resonates. But because I love it, I tend to want to do those kind of projects. You start to do them and that kind of becomes your thing which is not a bad thing because it’s still a genre I deeply appreciate.

Q: How was it getting work with with Noah Wyle and the rest of the cast?
A: Listen Noah’s a veteran, I play a doctor, trust me he gave me lots of pointers.  I was so happy to receive his advice. He’s been around and he knows the industry. He is just such a diligent professional. I learned a lot from him and Will Patton. I think you learn something from everyone that you work with but he gave a different perspective.  I thought he was really good at being our leader and – in the show and also off, as in a friend and a colleague.

Q: I was wondering what inspiration did you draw from, if any, coming into this?
A: Good question. I sometimes think it’s probably not good to use your own life circumstances because that can kind of get tiring, but I did. I kind of dove – not dove into it but I conjured up or — what’s the word I’m looking for — I looked into myself and my own pain and tried to use that as a cathartic thing when I was doing the role.  I just also try to use my imagination of what it felt like to live in a world where suddenly I lost my family and to lose a child which I – you know, must be the most horrendous thing to ever go through is to lose a child. So I tried to use myself and my imagination. The journey is interesting because there’s a couple times when I breakdown; I breakdown emotionally about my family, and there’s another time when I am fighting to, you know, keep the alien alive with another doctor and I’m very stoic in that fight, and there’s a time when I’m more romantically involved with Noah. What was the most compelling part is when I had to actually pick up a gun at one point because I get hurt, I get attacked and I suddenly need to defend myself against other humans and that’s a position that Anne Glass never thought she would be in. And for her that’s when the world – the first biggest pain was her husband and her child and the next was just loosing that innocence against violence.

Q: So I’m wondering from your end how much did you know in advance as episodes were going on, and how much did you want to know?
A: Well with TV things are happening where you’re getting the scripts and you don’t know – you don’t have a long time to digest the changes and changes happen. You know, when you’re working on a movie you get the script, you know the whole outline before you start. So that part’s a little disconcerting at times but also really keeps you on your game and on point. So I would prefer to know sometimes but maybe it’s good that we find out; we don’t try to put too much of ourselves in it, we just do what we’re told to do, you know? Like we’re there to fulfill a story and not try to like, you know, like wet the screen with our interpretation of it.

Q: There’s a little something for everybody in this show, it’s not exactly a sci-fi film, it’s a drama, it’s a love story, it’s a family show. What was some of the things that really, really attracted you to it?
A: Doing something that is not just one dimensional. It’s science fiction but it’s human tragedy. It’s different diverse characters interwoven together and trying it kind of find their humanity and live any kind of normalcy and readjust to the new world that’s changed completely from the world that they know. I was also drawn to playing a doctor and it’s something I’d never done. I had played a nurse but I had to have to have a gun on my leg and be running around and doing stunts, though which I loved to death. I wanted to do something more cerebral and that I got to be a little softer and I thought that was a more fun place for me to be in this in this time in my life.

Q: What kind of things does the shoot do to make sure that the family drama doesn’t get overshadowed by the aliens and the special effects?
A: I think primarily when Rob Rodat wrote this, he’s from Boston, it was always a human drama and not a simple story about a family.  It was supposed to be the paramount story and then the science fiction kind of secondary. The reason I don’t think we get overshadowed by the science fiction is because it sort of goes on and off. Where we go family story, and that stay.  The second episode will be filled with science fiction, then we take a break and we get away from all that — the guns and action and go back to a love of the dialogue and the interpersonal relationships. I really truly believe we did succeed in always keeping the family structure and the human element of it in the forefront and the science fiction secondary because I do think sometimes science fiction, if you don’t have a good story behind it, it can become one dimensional.

Q: I think with this premise there are going to be a lot of expectations. How are you and the rest of the cast and the crew dealing with the pressure?
A: I’m wondering why I don’t feel more pressure [laughing]. I don’t know if I’m just kind of disconnected because I need normalcy in my life.  I don’t feel any pressure, I don’t. I feel like at this point like, let the chips fall where they fall. I’ve done the work and I feel confident in the content. I don’t think we’re trying to make a revolutionary like novel stance on aliens, we’re just trying to make a simple family show about human survival and that takes precedent and this science fiction element I think is secondary. It’s not just an action show.  Do you want to go on this journey with these people?, do you understand what they’re going through? I can’t say I’m not going to be disappointed if it’s not well received.  I’m also not a veteran but I think I’ve learned to try to not get caught up in the expectation game because that can be so easy to do when you’re an actor and I think it’s not healthy. So I’m trying to stay very adult-like about it.

Interview with Freddie Highmore

Freddie Highmore is known best his roles in “Charlie in the Chocolate Factory” and Finding Neverland”, both with Johnny Depp.  Next up, he is starring with Emma Roberts in the upcoming romantic comedy “The Art of Getting By”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Freddie about his new film and discussed about his career to date.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your most recent film “The Art of Getting By”? What drew you to this project?
Freddie Highmore: It was a fantastic film. New York was a joy to be in.  What really attracted me to the film was the honesty of it.  It doesn’t present the sort of stylized version of high school that you often get with some of these movies.  It is incredibly real and it is actually quite refreshing. People will go and see the film and have it actually represent the feeling of growing up…feeling of that first love…feeling of that wanting to succeed and the pressure to succeed. The film encompasses all though things and in a real way.

MG: How was it working with Emma Roberts?
FH: Emma Roberts was fantastic.  It was a real joy to get to work with her. The fact we got a long so well right from the start was incredibly helpful.  It is great to get along with someone that you are working with especially with the more intimate moments, they felt more real

MG: Are you generally a fan of the romance genre?
FH: Yeah I am.  I am, obviously.  But some of them perhaps what they are lacking is the way the actor portrays it.  They sometimes need to overdue it emotionally and make it too obvious to people.  I think people really will enjoy our film and see that start they think George is a bit depressed and a bit deluished in life. But actually by the end they will find out who he is.  I think people enjoy seeing that kind of movie.

MG: You’ve worked with so many A-list directors, Tim Burton and Ridley Scott for example, how was it working with first time director Gavin Wiesen?
FH: It was great. One thing that all directors seems to have in common is an amazing amount of energy.  For Gavin, despite the film being somewhat based on real events and in fact on him, he is incredible open.  He is open to the fact that it will be a movie and people will have various interpations of the story.  It was really rewarding that he was able to give up a certain part of something felt attached to him.

MG: After working on the very large production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, how does working on a film like this compare to indie “The Art of Getting By”?
FH: I think on the independent film, each day was definitely more filled up.  You definitely get through more in the day oppose to just doing one massive shot, which will take the whole day shooting.  There is just something nice about working on the independent film.  You are with a smaller crew and get to know everyonestraight away. Everyone is really willing to be there, excited and looking at the same goal.  It makes it a really excited project to be apart of. We were just running around New York and grabbing shots on the go.  Perhaps New York represents the aim for the film, not just going for the postcard picture of Manhattan.  It is sort of the real New York and the people that live and work in it.

MG: What would you say has been your most challenging film to date?
FH: I think they have all been different.  I am not sure if one has been more challenging than an other one.  I have been lucky in that way.  I have been able to play different character for different genres and not get tied up in one thing in particular. Every film should be a challenge and it keeps you popping and really focused about doing it.

MG: “Arthur and the Invisibles 2 & 3″ were just recently released, how was it working on those films not only acting but also voice acting?
FH: It was fun doing a voiceover in the film oppose to just acting.  I think the people think it is always easier to do a voice but for me I thought it was more challenging.  Since you are never really working with the people.  You just sort of go off and make it up on your own.  There is definitely a lot of preparation for a role like that.

Interview with Sam Hennings

Sam Hennings stars alongside Jason Lee in the TNT series “Memphis Beat” which will start airing its second season in June. Sam took time out of his busy schedule to talk with us at Movie Mikes about the upcoming season of “Memphis Beat” as well as his recent appearance as Samuel Colt on the television series “Supernatural”.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us how you first got involved with “Memphis Beat”?
Sam Hennings: Clark Johnson who directed the pilots for shows such as “The Wire” and “The Shield” contacted me after he received a copy of the pilot script for “Memphis Beat”. He was so impressed with the script that he called me directly and asked me to be a part of the pilot. The original title for the project was called “Delta Blues” and as time went on it change into what it is now. I read through the script and thought it was a terrific piece. I then found out Jason Lee was involved as well as Alfre Woodard. We shot the pilot in December of 2009 and it was picked up by TNT in the early part of 2010. Season one premiered in June of 2010 and got some really good ratings which resulted in TNT picking the show up for a second season which we are currently in the process of shooting.

AL: Can you tell us anything about the upcoming season?
SH: We have new writers this season which has brought some fresh energy to the project. We have also widened the musical palette as well. Season 1 was predominately focused on Jason Lee’s character and his love of Elvis. Season 2 will still have that element but it has been expanded to include some other musical genres. The writers have also decided to delve into more of the individual personalities of each character and we get to learn their ups and downs as well as some other details which make them who they are. The premier for season 2 is set for Tuesday, June 14th at 9 pm EST.

AL: What is it like working with Jason Lee?
SH: Jason is just terrific. I have been blessed by the TV gods! The entire cast and crew is great. We don’t have one bad egg. Jason and I came together on the pilot and on screen our characters are best friends and that has led into us being friends off camera as well. With us being friends working 12 and 16 hour days is just a blast because we get along so well.

AL: Has he tried to take you skateboarding yet?
SH: (Laughs) Yes as a matter of fact to which I quickly declined. We did buy bicycles however. New Orleans where we shoot is such a great city to bike around. Jason and I were out riding one Sunday with Giovanni Ribisi who was on the show last season. Jason can ride a bike like he’s walking and can do all these tricks and such. I thought that he makes it look so easy I asked him how to do a wheelie. He kind of explained how to do one I did a little baby wheelie and thought it was kind of cool. Jason then tells me to pull harder and I will go higher. I pulled it and did almost a complete 360 and landed on my ass! Giovanni and Jason got a real kick out of that.

AL: Can you tell us about your role on “Supernatural”?
SH: I have a friend who has directed a number of those shows and he called me one day to ask if I would play the character of Samuel Colt in an upcoming episode he was directing. I asked him if it was a western and he started to tell me that the main characters travel back in time to meet my character. I love playing western type characters so he sent me the material and I flew to Vancouver where we shot the episode and it was a real kick in the ass! I really enjoyed the project. The people involved with that show are really in tune and the cast is very nice and professional. To be honest with you I had no idea that the episode was going to get the response it did. I wasn’t really aware of the cult following the show had. Before I even made it back to Los Angeles I was receiving emails and stuff about me being on the show. The audience is really excited about the possibility of Samuel Colt returning be it in the year 2011 or being visited again in the 1860’s. We will have to see what the producers are going to do.

AL: Out of all the great projects you have been involved in is there one that stands out as a favorite?
SH: I have been asked that a few times over my career and I feel that I really have been blessed throughout my career. I kind of feel as though each project I do is like a kid. You can have four or five of them that are so different from each other but they are each so special and you love them equally however in different ways. Each project has its own special place in my make up both as a person and as an actor. I think it would be hypocritical or dishonest of me if I picked one project as a favorite. Every project I have been a part of has been special. I can tell you while I am sitting here working on “Memphis Beat” that there have been a lot of projects that have equaled it but none of them out do the high I have gotten from working with this group on “Memphis Beat”. The enthusiasm across the board has been great. I have been getting emails from people non-stop telling me how great it is to see someone in my age bracket be a part of a show like “Memphis Beat”.

AL: Other than season 2 of “Memphis Beat” do you have any other upcoming projects?
SH: Right now I am committed to “Memphis Beat” as far as a series concerns. I have had talks with a few people who are looking to start some projects however nothing has been set in stone just yet.

Interview with Waylon Payne

Waylon Payne is the son of guitarist Jody Payne and Grammy Award-winning country singer Sammi Smith. Waylon has grown up in the music business but is also known for his working in films. Waylon played Jerry Lee Lewis in “Walk the Line”. Waylon is co-star in Monte Hellman’s first film in over 20 years “Road to Nowhere”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Waylon about his film in the film as well as his film and music career.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us about your role in “Road to Nowhere”?
Waylon Payne: I play a guy by the name of Bruno Brotherton who is an insurance investigator that stumbles onto a mystery that I still haven’t quite figured out yet. (Laughs) I don’t quite understand it but I will tell you it’s brilliant. I can’t really tell you too much about the film but, you have to go see it! I do a little bit of everything in the film.

MG: How did you become involved with the projects?
WP: My friend Connie Nelson who was married to Willie called me at home and told me Monte Hellman was looking to get a hold of me. I called him and he told me about the project and the role he had for me and asked if I would do it. I told him “Yes sir” and that’s really where it started. The rest is shrouded in secrecy. (Laughs) I drove my car up to North Carolina and we shot the film in about 28 days which was something I had never done before. It was really amazing as the film was shot with such speed and precision.

MG: How was it working with Monte Hellman since this was his first feature in over 20 years?
WP: I was very enthralled and intrigued by Mr. Hellman. I hadn’t heard much about him until I got to North Carolina. After I got there I started to learn how extensive his career was and how long he has been in the business. Now I am a rabid fan and I really enjoy the things he did with Warren Oates as well as his work on some of the Jack Nicholson films. I am a big fan of old movies and I really just dig cool shots.

MG: Tell us about working with such a great cast?
WP: They were all great! I like being an actor and getting to be a part of these things because I get to know people on an extremely intimate level. When you’re throwing yourself out there it’s real easy to get a lot of attitudes flowing around. Fortunately ever cast I have been a part of so far has been great.

MG: You first film role was playing Jerry Lee Lewis in “Walk the Line”, tell us about that experience?
WP: It was incredible! We were in Memphis for about three months and I had primarily been a song writer and a country singer. I then was thrust into the cool world of all my heroes. Everyone was very embracing and encouraging.

MG: Besides acting, tell us about your singer-songwriting career?
WP: I have been working on a few projects over the past few years. Nothing has really become solid yet as I like to let things roll around in my head until they are ready to be born. I am getting ready to start a tribute album for my mother who did an album titled “The Day I Started Loving You” back n 1974. We are going to recreate that as a tribute for my mommy.

MG: Since you come from a music background, would you always choose that over films?
WP: Right now primarily I am focusing strictly on films. I am ok from taking some time away from singing and song writing for awhile. I love doing that stuff but right now it’s not at the top of my list. It’s something I am never going to quit because I want to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry!

Interview with Alfredo De Villa

Alfredo De Villa is the director of “Harlistas: An American Journey” which premiers on the Mundose network Friday, May 27th. Alfredo took time out of his busy schedule to talk with about the film as well as his upcoming film release “Fugly!” which stars John Leguizamo.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind “Harlistas: An American Journey”?
Alfredo De Villa: I am primarily a fiction film director and this idea really started during the shooting of my last movie in 2008. I was doing research for set designs by going to different people’s homes. During these trips, I really saw how people lived and I found it very interesting. This was where everything really started but I knew I would need another point of connection. I chose motorcycles because I found that when someone decides to start riding a motorcycle it can often times bring about a lot of consequences. As a filmmaker this brings drama. The way I got into Harley’s is because of the mystique that surrounds the brand. It’s a brand that is very American and I just thought this would be a fantastic addition to the film.

AL: Are you a rider yourself?
ADV: I was not. I was solely coming from the story telling point of view. However once I started to get into the motorcycle world I started riding to help get the sense of what it was that I was talking about.

AL: What do you think was the most exciting thing to happen on your journey of shooting?
ADV: For me I think I would have to say that when I started shooting often times the scenes would turn into something far richer than I had originally envisioned and I really enjoyed that. The other thing I liked was getting to go to so many iconic places across North America and meeting the people who are very in trenched in each of the places I visited.

AL: How long did the project take to put together from start to finish?
ADV: The project took two and a half years. I actually am still cutting a version of the film that is going to be shown in Cuba in the coming months.

AL: What were the primary difficulties you found from directing features compared to documentary?
ADV: There were a lot of obstacles that I had to overcome. I had to really learn how to allow reality to change the material. When you are shooting fiction you can dictate what happens when and where you need that specific thing to occur. In reality you can’t force things and you have to really just let things happen as the happen. This was really the biggest challenge. I also found that shooting a documentary strengthened my listening skills. The way people reveal themselves is through talking. It’s something you can’t force and you just have to let the person talk and unfold at their own pace.

AL: Can you tell us about your work on “Fugly!”?
ADV: I am currently still editing that project and it should be done next year sometime. “Fugly!” was a really interesting film to do after shooting the documentary. I actually was still editing the documentary when I started work on “Fugly!” I think both movies will kind of reflect on each other. “Fugly!” was written and based on John Leguizamo’s life. John wrote this script so there is a lot validity and autobiographical insight behind the script. It’s very comedic and it allows you to laugh at John. When I was shooting I kind of applied a half documentary and half fictional approach to the film. I applied everything I have learned thus far to that film. I think the film is going to be very fantastic.

AL: Can you tell how you became involved with the project?
ADV: I had worked with John previously on a film called “Nothing Like the Holidays”.  John had been developing the “Fugly!” script for quite a few years and because we had gotten along so well together on our previous film he asked me to join the party. Working with John was an incredible experience.

AL: Besides working with John you also worked with Radha Mitchell and Rosie Perez. Can you tell us what that was like?
ADV: You are talking about two amazing knock out actresses. Rosie is a force of nature and you just kind of drop a line where her character is and let her go! She brings just so much to the table. Radha is incredible and has a different approach than Rosie. Radha has a much more studied approach combined with great instinct and intelligence which really adds to the character. Rosie and Radha play opposites in the film and it’s just wonderful to see them in those roles.

AL: Can you tell us when the two projects will be released?
ADV: “Harlistas: An American Journey” will premier Friday May 27th on the Mundose channel. It will also be getting different premiers overtime within the NBC family. “Fugly!” won’t be released until next year and it will be receiving a theatrical release.

AL: Do you have any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?
ADV: I am working on a film right now called “Without You I’m Nothing” which I think is going to be really amazing and we hope to start shooting in September.

Interview with Fred Sayeg

Fred Sayeg is the director of the new independent film “The Encore of Tony Duran”. The film is Fred’s feature film directorial debut and was an official selection at the 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival. “The Encore of Tony Duran” stars Elliot Gould, Cody Kasch and Gene Pietragallo. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Fred about working on his first film and what is to come upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: With the film “The Encore of Tony Duran” being your feature directorial debut, do you feel that you were able to add your unique experience and talent to the film?
Fred Sayeg: Yeah absolutely.  In fact that was the only reason I did it because I knew we had very little money and time.  I felt that I could do it, if I could do it my way…the way I envisioned it and without any outside interference.  Not from any ego standpoint, I just knew you do not have a lot of time to bicker and things can’t go all the way to jury with a little movie like this. I felt from the very beginning I knew that I could get it done well.  I was able to rely on myself for the decisions and I do not have any regrets. I feel very fortunate now [laughs], I wish I could make every movie I do like this.

MG: How did you originally become attached to the project?
FS: A guy I work with on my corporate films, Mitchell Cohen, wrote it based on an idea by our co-producer Terry Fraser. It was a semi-biographical piece about Gene Pietragallo, who we call Tony Duran. I would say that about 40-50% of it is true.  So when he told me about it and what they were trying to do and how they had a director but he fell out, the wheels started turning in my head.  I thought it was doable because the way it was designed.  I went over the script with Mitchell and reworked some stuff. I thought we can actually make this happen.  I felt so strongly that I said I would even help raise the funds and I did in a short time.  It sort of went rapid fire from that point on.  It felt like only a few short weeks from when I started to when it was finished.

MG: The film was shot in just 8 days, was that a grueling schedule?
FS: It was about 9 days [laughs], not that big of a difference. There was a day when I almost did 19 pages in one day.  It was a lot and I wouldn’t recommended it but it was simply this is what we had to do.  You can’t fall in love with a lot of scenes that you would like to cover a few times.  We had to say this is what it is and if we have it covered, then we would move on.  I trust my DP a lot that he got the shots.  We knew that later we might have some problems but mainly we got what we needed.  I needed to make sure we got continuity and luckily we did not run into problems.  There were a couple of things I wish I had more time for but I am sure that happens with everything.  We were lucky to finish in the time we did.

MG: How was it working with such a great cast such as Elliot Gould and William Katt?
FS: Elliot is such a professional.  He walks in the set and everyone stands a little straighter.  He has been around and he knows it all and heard it all.  He knows his lines and he is a professional and he expects everyone else to know their stuff. I had people with a lot of experience and I had people with little experience.  You can’t do a film in this amount of time with people who do not know what they are doing.  You can get the greatest director and crew in the world and it doesn’t really matter.  They guys did such a great job and they are the main reason that we got it done.  It was a great little ensemble we had.

MG: How do you feel about the buzz surrounding “The Encore of Tony Duran”?
FS: Yeah, it is very fun.  You look at each other on set and you don’t really know what you have. We all knew in our hearts that we have this little film with this big message. I think that might be the reason Mike that this resonates. We are in a time when America has some economic problems, everyone has a little Tony Duran in them.  They know somebody that has hit the bottom and thinks they cant get any lower and find maybe they can get out of this.  This is a redemption film but it is a real world redemption film that people can relate to. Tony is not a big ball player, he is just a guy.  He hits bottom and loses everything and thinks it is over.  His old friend Elliot says maybe says “You know what it is really not” and sometimes that is all it takes.

MG: You also started your own production company, tell us about that?
FS: One More Time Productions was formed just for this movie.  Then I also formed Mister Moon Media and will do other films like this under that with similar messages like in this film.

Interview with Kevin Tancharoen

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America

Kevin Tancharoen is the mastermind behind the short “Mortal Kombat: Rebirth” and its follow-up web series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”.  Kevin has rebooted the “MK” franchise and has excited the fans with his amazing vision for the web series.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Kevin about his web series and also his plans for the future.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you come up with the idea for “Mortal Kombat: Rebirth”?
Kevin Tancharoen: There were two sides of it. The first was I always wanted to make a “Mortal Kombat” movie.  The other side was I had only been known for doing things in the performing arts world.  I always and always will want to do genre films.  Ever since I was a kid that was always the goal.  I got thrust into the world of performing arts, staging directing and that sort of stuff. I thought I needed to prove to people that I can handle that kind of material or know one will ever give me those opportunities.  I saw “Mortal Kombat” as a double sided adventure there.   I could either get the movie made or become known as the genre guy.

MG: What gave you the idea to make “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” in a web series?
KT: It was never planned.  I had no idea anyone wanted to do such a thing.  Of course the original intention was to do a movie, which I would still love to do.  After the short film came out, it was perfect time for E3 and they were going to release the trailer for the new “Mortal Kombat”.  They had known the video game was coming out and my short film got a lot of traffic online.  They decided to make more short films to promote the game launch, do them all live action and I was totally on board with that.

What was your process for choosing what characters where going to be in the series?
KT: Looking at the broad scope of the project and its budget and other stuff.  I wanted to take all of the characters that made sense and we easy to accomplish with our goal.  Also I wanted to make sure I took care of the most iconic characters in the game franchise.  That is why I chose everyone I did.

MG: Do you have a favorite character
KT: I have a few one I love but Scorpion has always been my favorite.  One of the characters I did not get to do was Kabal. I love Kabal and I think he has a really cool back story.  I really like his whole mask and the fact he was burned and has a respirator.  There is a lot of influence there from the either Tusken raiders or Darth Vadar. It is all pretty cool.  I wish we were able to do that episode. Maybe next time.

MG: Since each character has only one or two episodes, do you feel you are still able to give their stories justice in 10-12 minutes?
KT: I think that for the origin type of stories, it is working.  But I think that any director likes more time to flesh out a character or do more fight scenes or have more action battles. I think for the most part that this 10-12 minute mark was good for this first round.

MG: What is your biggest challenge working on “MK: Legacy”?
KT: I think it always comes down to budget, which ends up affecting time.  It ends up affecting your schedule and how much time you have to shoot fight sequence or having enough time to shoot a good dialogue scene.  It also affects the way you want to complete an entire episode the way you completely planned it out. There are always some alterations you have to make and balance you have to define when dealing with budget for a digital series. That is always challenging and possibly frustrating, but at the end of the day you have to tell the story in the right way.  I say that would be the biggest challenge is you have to act really quick on your feet and make changes when you have to.

MG: How can you reflect on the censoring of the episodes?
KT: That through me completely of guard.  I did not anticipate that at all because there are much worse things on YouTube.  What I think ended up happening is that we ended up becoming so popular that parents started watching it. An enormous amount of parents probably started to flag it and they acted like they are suppose to.  That kind of trickled down to us and all of the sudden we had an age gate up on our second episode out of nowhere.  That was quite the morning, I was frantic.  I mean it is “Mortal Kombat”, you can’t censor it.

MG: Do you have plans for a second season of the series?
KT: Right now it is all speculation.  I think everyone wants to see how it does. Our last episode “Raiden” is a different take on “Mortal Kombat”, it is more in vain of the original short I did with “Rebirth”.  Fans of the original short will hopefully really catch on to that episode and support the rest of the series.

MG: What can the fans to do help this get made into a feature film?
KT: Well they can just really pump up the series as much as possible.  We kind of ran the gamut when it comes to telling the stories this time around.  You can see that it kind of spans from gray realism to fantasy world and anime.  I would say if they could pass around the version that they like the absolutely best.  Whether it is the realistic stuff or the fantasy stuff and what would be the best thing to do.

Interview with Jeri Ryan

Jeri Ryan is know best for her role in “Star Trek: Voyager”. Jeri played the character Sonya Blade in the short “Mortal Kombat: Rebirth” and the web series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”. She is also playing Kate Murphy Philadelphia’s first female Chief Medical Examiner in the hit TV series “Body of Proof”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Jeri about her new roles as well as her work on “Voyager”.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about working on your new show “Body of Proof”?
Jeri Ryan: It has been a lot of fun. The cast is really great. Dana (Delany), of course is such an amazing actress but she is also really cool. She is kind of a broad [laughs], so we have a good time laughing. It is just a fun set. You get some goofy things happening on the set also because you are working with supposedly dead bodies played by actors. So, we had a body fall asleep in the middle of a scene [laughs]. It has just been a lot of fun. Also I am really excited to hear that “Body of Proof” already got picked up for a second season. So I am looking forward to that.

MG: What do you like most about your character Kate Murphy?
JR: What I like about her is that she is tough character. She is the first female Chief Medical Examiner in Philadelphia’s History. She care about what happens in her work and also the victims in the families and what they are dealing with. But also the people that work for her. I like that we are peeling back different parts of her personality as we go.  We are finding out new things like she is a Texas Holdem player [laughs]. There is a lot more to her and that is what I like.

MG: How did you get involved with “Mortal Kombat: Rebirth”, playing Sonya Blade?
JR: “Rebirth”, I did as a favor to friend of a friend. Kevin (Tancharoen), the director, is the boyfriend of a friend of mine. We knew he was putting together a project to show Warner Bros. his vision and to sell them on doing a new “Mortal Kombat” project. So we all volunteered our time. I didn’t know him very well before, I knew he did “Fame” and I knew he has a lot of choreography in his background. When you meet him, he is the sweetest, quietest and nicest guy and looks like he is about 14. So at first, I did not expect the project to be anything special. When it came out it was just amazing…amazing! His vision is incredible. He is a really talented director. When they approached me that they were doing a web series, I jumped at it. Again, it is a web series, it is not like they are backing up the money truck for anyone on this. Everyone is doing this because it is so cool and his vision is so amazing. We are all very excited about working on it.

MG: You also appear in “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”, tell us what is it was like playing that character and working on that series?
JR: She is a real kick ass broad, right? It is great to get to play that kind of character. The one downside of doing a web series, compared to a feature or TV series, is the lead time to get ready for it. I think I had a grand total of four maybe five days from finding out the project was happening to being on a plane to Vancouver and shooting the next day. It was literally that fast. There was no time to train and do fight training and things like that. Hopefully it will go further and we will get a second season or something else. Now I am on to them though and I know I need to start training on my own [laughs].

MG: How does it differ between working on web series like “MK: Legacy” to series like “Body of Proof”?
JR: It was really all about prep time. Even though you are doing a short, you may even have more time to shoot it then you do a TV series because you have a week to shoot a much shorter episode. So really we can take our time shooting it and we can get the cool shots and action and things like that, that they wanted to. His vision is just very cinematic and what he has done with this is just crazy. That part of it is great, you don’t feel a web series budget doing that. Just everything is very quick leading up to it.

MG: Going back to “Star Trek: Voyager”, tell us that experience and the aftermath it has had on your career?
JR: Well “Voyager” really gave me a career, it really did. It was my second series, after “Dark Skies”. This was really my launching pad for my career. That is a gift as an actor to be given a character that is so rich to play, interesting and has so much growth. That arc of growth on that character was so huge over the four year period. I mean she started out human and there is a lot of ground to cover. Then to have that character become so iconic is a really rare gift to be given as an actor.