Interview with Matt Besser

Matt Besser is one of the founder members of the sketch comedy group “Upright Citizens Brigade” and the star of its TV series on Central Central. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Matt about this UCB theaters and his upcoming projects.

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Mike Gencarelli: Out of the sketches from TV series, “Upright Citizens Brigade”, do you have a favorite?
Matt Besser: I really enjoyed doing the ‘Little Donny’ episode. That was an idea before we had before the show even started. It came from a one-liner on a piece of paper about a little boy that had this enormous penis. But he had this disease that he couldn’t be aware of it. Eventually it became a 30 minute show and we are really proud of it. It is the longest and biggest dick joke ever told.

MG: Any word from the Guinness Book of World Records?
MB: I am not sure why the Guinness Book doesn’t recognize us more.

MG: Do you plan on any expansion for The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre?
MB: Well besides the moon, that is our long term goal. We have flirted with the middle of America. I do not think we will ever do Chicago because they already have improv taken care of. We have talked about Austin or Atlanta. We are going to open up a new theater in Alphabet City, which will our second theater in New York. That will be our newest project.

MG: Starting up off four people in your group UCB, how many members would you say you have now?At each theater?
MB: Probably about 300 people at each theater. Sketch groups is what we like to call it. We are the 600 person ensemble.

MG: Tell us about the film “Wild Girls Gone” and why it remained unreleased so long?
MB: We made the film on the fly…guerrilla style. We were under the impression that we were doing everything legally but it ended up we weren’t. it took us a couple of years to get everything legal with the unions. It was a lot of fun. It was a full improvised movie and the originally four members of UCB were in it. We also got a lot of the people from our theater in it. It is kind of exciting how illegal it was [laughs]. When we did scenes about breaking into a motel…we were really breaking into a motel.

MG: Do you have any new UCB movies upcoming?
MB: We just made a new movie that has been on the up and up called “Freak Dance”. It was based on a musical we had a stage for a couple of years at the UCB Theater. It was so popular we made it into a movie. It is a parody of all the dance movies. We got a lot of legitimate dance crews from “America’s Best Dance Crew” from MTV. There is a lot of real dancing in the movie plus a lot of the comedians from the theater.

MG: So do you enjoy directing that film?
MB: I love directing. I co-directed “Freak Dance” with a guy, Neil Mahoney. He is more a classic director. He knows what to do with the camera to make everything look great…he is like the vision. I was more the director to the actors. We split our duties that way. I really do enjoy directing comedy acting. It was a written movie, but were definitely was some great moments of improv.

MG: Why do you think that “Upright Citizens Brigade” season 3 was never released on DVD?
MB: Every season just takes such a long time to be released. It is always a battle with them. It is not up to us…they own it. We look forward to it…one day.

MG: When are we going to see more of “This Show Will Get You High”?
MB: The best place to see it is at As far as it is being on Comedy Central again, it is possible that it will be back on 4/20/11. But it is not going to be a series.

MG: What else do you have planned upcoming?
MB: Besides getting “Freak Dance” into a festival, which is our next goal. I do this weekly show called “The Back Room”. It is on every Thursday at 7pm PST. It is a pretty cool show because I do it from my garage. I interview people and they are always doing characters. Yowie has this interacting thing that the viewers can chat with us via web cam. So we have people from all over the world chatting with us. It is really cool, so definitely check it out!

Click here to purchase “Uprights Citizen Brigade” DVDs

Interview with Brandon Sonnier

Brandon Sonnier is the writer, producer and director of the film “Blues”. “Blues” is his third film and definitely his best effort to date. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Brandon about his latest film and also found out how he gets his inspiration for his films.

Click here to purchase Brandon’s movies

Michael Gencarelli: How did you find the task of not only directing but also writing and producing your first film “The Beat”?
Brandon Sonnier: It probably should have been harder but I didn’t know any better at the time. (Laughs) I was about 20 years old when I did that film and actually shot it in between film school semesters. I had a roommate of mine read the script and after he was done he said to me this could be a real movie! Sadly that roommate passed away in a car accident and that was really the driving force behind the movie getting made. I owe a lot to him.

MG: Music seems to be a real inspiration for your films, is it very important to you?
BS: It is. The music on “Blues” I did a little differently than my other two movies. “The Beat” was a very music driven song and we had to have those songs written especially for the film as that is what it’s about. For “Blues” I had to sit down and as I was writing the script I went through all the blues greats such as Muddy Waters and Ella Fitzgerald. At different points in the writing of the script I had various songs in my head along with an idea of where they should be in the movie.

MG: How did you come up with the idea for “Blues”?
BS: The script originated as a project titled “Underground.” It was actually going to be a little bit bigger. I had written a few other movies at the time that I was shopping around town but I hadn’t gotten any bites. I needed to be directing and had the idea of doing something small enough that I could get out there with and actually do it. “Underground” is what I came up with and people really loved it. They all seemed to have the same comment however that it was too small. Well that’s because I did it myself! (Laughs)

MG: I love the way it was shot, sort of like “Pulp Fiction” piecing the story together, what made you choice that format for the story?
BS: Believe it or not the story actual chose how it was going to be shot. When I wrote and shot the film it was very linear. The whole thing really took place in front of the viewer. After shooting I did a full cut of that film and was in fact very linear. It just didn’t feel right because I felt like people would want to see more of what was going on at the same time but with other characters. I thought the way the story was dictated proved that it really needed to be chopped up and placed out of order. It was also done this way in an effort to allow the viewers more time to get to know the characters.

MG: Of the films you have directed is there one film you hold higher?
BS: I think “Blues” is by far my best. Don’t get me wrong I love all my films but if I can’t believe I am getting better with each film then what am I doing? I really think “Blues” is the top in my book.

MG: Was there one that was more challenging?
BS: I would have to say “Blues” also. When I shot “The Beat” I was so young that I was just running around in the streets shooting. I didn’t always have the proper permits and such but I just did it. Then I did “The List” which was a little bit bigger and featured Wayne Brady and Sydney Tamiia Poitier. The size of that movie caused me to have to work inside the system and have all the proper permits and such. I was also dealing with larger cast and crew as well as a studio that was fronting all the money. When it came time to do “Blues” I knew all the right ways to shoot a film. I could shoot it like I did when I was younger or I can follow how things were done on “The List.” Ultimately with “Blues”, I found a middle ground in which I was able to keep the spontaneity and freeness of my first film and combine that with the structure of my second film.

MG: Is it planned that you have worked with the same actors, Steve Connell in “The Beat” & “Blues” and Sydney Tamiia Poitier in “Blues” & “The List”?
BS: When I sat down after deciding to shoot “Blues” on my own I did have those people in mind. I loved working with them and I knew that they knew me and we had a relationship already. This really helped because we shot the movie in 9 days. I was really relying on those actors that I had worked with before. Steve’s role specifically I couldn’t imagine anyone else in that role. We shot his scenes in three and half days due to another project he was working. I wanted him in the film very badly so we made it work.

MG: What do you have coming up next?
BS: I am currently writing a few scripts and shopping those around. I am attached to a project called “Sky” which is a film about a girl who gets caught up in trouble and finds herself being on an undercover task force at a very young age. It’s going to be a very gritty and raw type of film. I also am writing another script called “Down Home” that takes place in rural Louisiana which is where my family is from.

Click here to purchase Brandon’s movies

Interview with Ari Lehman

Ari Lehman is known best in the horror genre as playing the first Jason Voorhees in “Friday the 13th”.  Though Ari real passion has been his music and his band, FIRSTJASON.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Ari about his film and music career.

Click here to purchase the films in the “Friday the 13th” series

MG: What does it feel like to have played the first ever Jason Voorhees…in one word?
AL: Empowering.

MG: How long did it take to apply your makeup?
AL: I worked with the SFX Wizard Tom Savini and his assistant Taso Stavrakos on and off for four weeks to create the original mold for the face. After that, script additions called for the character to appear water damaged. I went back to the studio for a few days before we tried it out on the set.
Each time it took around 4 hours to apply the makeup, so if there was a 7:30 AM call for cast and crew, we would start applying the mask at 3:30.

MG: What why did you leave acting only after “Friday the 13th”?
AL: Rock and Roll is the reason, really. As a young man, I was very intrigued by the entire filmmaking process. Yet, my first love was Music, and my experiences as a performer, even then, were very immediate and gratifying. Being on a film set, and doing SFX skin work, involves A LOT of waiting and down time. I was drawn to the visceral atmosphere of live performance.

MG: Tell us about your music career and your band FIRSTJASON?
AL: FIRSTJASON is a Horror Rock Power Duo, and our recent CD “Jason is Watching!” has received rave reviews and 4.5 out of 5 stars from Dread Central, a major Horror website. We have toured throughout the US, as well as performing at Horror Film Festivals in Spain and Italy. I perform on a Machete-shaped Keytar called the Keychete, created by Brothers Rich FX. FIRSTJASON performs songs about the inner working of the mind of a monster. FIRSTJASON is the voice of the usually silent Jason Voorhees, with titles like “Jason Never Dies”, “You Better Run”, “Sink or Swim”, and “Red Red Red”, FIRSTJASON has captured the imagination of Horror and Metal fans alike, and run with it through the woods to Camp Crystal Lake.

Here is a recent review from College News: “First Jason is amazing. Self produced, and self released, this album hits you over the head with an anvil being swung at 1000 miles an hour by the metal gods. Once hitting play on your CD player, Lehman and crew break out of your speakers in surround-sound, get in your face, flash you the devil horns, and smoke through a 30 minute set that will leave your jaw dragging across the floor.” – (Justin Bozung, College News – October 25 2010)

MG: How did you get involved with composing soundtracks for indie films?
AL: I was asked by Kevin Sean Michaels to compose the Soundtrack for “Vampira: The Movie”, which received The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for Best Independent Film of 2009. I went on to work with Kevin on other film projects, several of which are still in the works, as well as Alex Anastasio’s brilliant “Salome”, an all-female dance version of the tale. Here is the link to the video of the some music I created with Kevin and Bill Moseley for a Vampira: the Movie music video recently made to honor Vampira’s Birthday.

MG: How do you compare working on your music to composing a film?
AL: Admittedly, my forte is performing songs, singing while playing a Machete-shaped Keytar that sounds like lightning and thunder. Composing soundtracks is now becoming more interesting to me though, especially since I have been watching great films as much as possible for inspiration. The difference between writing songs and soundtracks is truly one of texture and time. A song works in one way, and a soundtrack in another. The great Maestro Harry Manfredini, who wrote the soundtrack for “Friday the 13th”, “Wishmaster” and many more films, gave me some insight to the more spacious, linear, and temporal world of soundtrack composition. Abstraction is crucial there. I am hoping to learn more!

MG: What else do you have planned upcoming? .
AL: FIRSTJASON goes back on tour in the US in March, from the Midwest to the East Coast this time, and then it’s off to Germany and Italy in May. There are two Graphic Novels based on FIRSTJASON and myself coming from the EU, one is called “FIRSTJASON Rising” from Germany and the other, “Jason Must Rule”, from Italy. I will be appearing in several Indie Horror films that will be shot in 2011 too, and introducing a the Camp Crystal Lake Machetes. FIRSTJASON was just signed to Dark Star Records in Chicago, and we plan to record and release a new CD this year called A World of Pain”. I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your readers, and to remind you all:


Click here to purchase the films in the “Friday the 13th” series

Interview with Seamus Dever

Seamus Dever is known for his role of Kevin Ryan on ABC’s hit show “Castle”. “Castle” is one of the rare shows that actually gets better with each episode and only mid-way through season three the show was already renewed for season four. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Seamus about his role in the show and what is planned for the future.

Click here to purchase “Castle” DVD’s & Blu-Ray’s

Mike Gencarelli: You weren’t involved originally in the “Castle” pilot, how did you come on board?
Seamus Dever: After they shot their pilot presentation, which was only 37 minutes long, they did some recasting and I think they wanted someone that would be John’s partner. They liked John but they didn’t have someone who was a match…was the right height…had a similar sensibility. Someone suggested “how about an Irish cop” and when I heard about it I jumped on it and did all I could to get in on it. That’s how it came about. They shot the pilot in New York, four or five months before we started the series. I was working on another project at the time so I didn’t even hear about it. They shot it with a totally different crew, a totally different director of photography. They like to make fun of me some times that I came late to the party…”Oh, you weren’t there for the pilot, you missed such a great time.” But the truth is, there were only seven series regulars, our two executive producers and one of the writers and that’s it! That’s all that were there for the pilot that carried over to the series so I don’t feel like I missed out on too much. The series has become what it is based on the people who work on it out in Los Angeles.

MG: Tell us what draws you to your character Kevin Ryan?
SD: Kevin Ryan is kind of quirky…he’s not too serious. He’s very dry in his sense of humor. I love that we’re allowed to be funny. I’m amazed that some times we make decisions based on what’s funnier. I can’t tell you how many times I ask Nathan or John “what’s funnier, this way or that way?” I love that the character is not so serious that he can’t make fun of his partner or he can’t make fun of Castle or he can’t crack a joke in the middle of a crime scene.

MG: In the last few episodes, your character is getting a little romance. How do you feel about that?
SD: It’s funny because the character of Jenny really emerged in, I think, episode seven of the first season but we didn’t really get to meet her until the second season. There was a long gestation process in that time. I really advocated for my real life wife, Juliana, to play Jenny. But they held out and waited, and Julie held out and waited because she had auditioned for other roles on the show…thank God she didn’t get those parts or she wouldn’t have been available for Jenny. So they brought her on and that’s how that happened. I hope to see a lot more of Jenny. First, it would mean I get to work with my wife but more importantly it means we’re getting a chance to look into Ryan’s personal life.

MG: What is the best part for you working on “Castle”?
SD: Sometimes when you’re working on a scene the best part is the collaboration. Of course, there’s what’s written on the page and most shows do what’s written on the page. But we, as actors, we’re always looking for moments or the thoughts behind the action. Sometimes when we do a scene there will be the four of us and we’ll do a moment that we’ll explore together that turns out so funny because everyone is contributing ideas. Nathan will contribute an idea about my performance or I’ll contribute something for Jon to think’s really like instant theater. Everyone coming up with different ideas and really collaborating. We did a scene that was really fun the other day…one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. We’re looking at a character through a window…a very simple scene of us talking in the break room. We’re just throwing out ideas and then Jon comes in and says “what are you guys looking at?” It’s really funny when that happens because we’re really comfortable with each other. Everyone knows it’s about making a good show. You can’t do a good show and not talk about the process of acting…not talk about ideas. It’s not one of those shows where they tell you to leave the other actors alone…don’t force your opinions on them. With our show we’ve always had this understanding. We all want to contribute because we want to make it interesting. We want to help each other out. And that’s my favorite part…when you get together and you know a scene is going to pop and you know the audience is going to love it. We just have fun doing it. And discovering as an actor just how funny and alive the work is…that’s my favorite part of it too.

MG: Tell us about working with Jon Huertas and such a great cast?
SD: John and I get along really well. He and I have a relationship based on carpentry! We’re always talking about fixing up our homes a lot. We talk about that a lot. And we both enjoy wine…we’ve gone up to the wine country and drank too much! (laughs) John’s really cool. We have such a natural rapport that we fell into, which is great. Everyone thinks we’re constantly in character. They’ll observe a conversation that John and I are having and ask “are you guys playing this out?” And we’re like, “no, that’s just the way we talk. We’re not acting here.” At the beginning they wanted our relationship to be something like a marriage. When you spend that much time with somebody you know the things that annoy them. You know all of their stories. You’ve heard them all at least a thousand times. I can’t tell you how many times John says “hey, did I tell you about the time I was in the Air Force and I met this girl and she did this thing?” We had someone in the car with us the other day and he says “did I tell you the story about the midget,” and I say “John, you’re mixed, you can’t tell the story about the midget!” And he’s like, “oh yeah, right.” It’s a great story but not one for mixed company…especially when he’s wired. We know each other really well. We work together very fast…we have a short hand now for everything. It’s really amazing. We know exactly where to stand, how to do something. It’s a perfect working situation because everybody’s cool and we’re working on quality material. It’s really great.

MG: Congrats on the show being picked up for season four. Did you think this show was going to be this big of a hit?
SD: I think it’s great. Our show has been growing steadily. A lot of shows debut to big numbers and then slowly it’s a kind of attrition with the audience. But our shows audience has been growing and that’s great. This is my first show as a series regular so I was really hoping that my first show wouldn’t be one of those stinkers that people attach your name to for the rest of your career. I know for the rest of my career that I have this quality show called “Castle” attached to me.

MG: What can you tell us for the upcoming episodes?
SD: We’re working on a two-parter right now. We did one last year that was pretty successful. We had Dana Delaney on last year, this year we have Adrian Pasdar. He started the other day. It’s about terrorism. It’s sort of a cool cliffhanger. And hopefully we’ll see more of the serial killer…the 3XK serial killer comes back. I know for sure we’re going to see more of Jenny this year. And of course we’ll see more of Esposito and Lanie. That relationship is fun. Every episode since then we’ve had a conversation about that, where my character is now trying to school Esposito in the ways of romance. There’s all of these possibilities…we talk about all kinds of things…Valentine’s Day, things like that. It’s really funny. And to be honest one of my favorite episodes that we’ve ever shot is coming up this week. It’s called “Knock Down.” It’s a continuation of Beckett’s mothers’ murder and getting back to that story. It’s a great episode, written by Will Beall, who’s one of our best writers. He’s the one who wrote “Sucker Punch” from last year. His dialogue is great and there’s always action and a lot of cool stuff we get to do. It’s going to be good stuff.

Click here to purchase “Castle” DVD’s & Blu-Ray’s

Interview with Wayne Ewing

Wayne Ewing is the man behind some of the best documentaries about the late Hunter S. Thompson, such as “Breakfaster with Hunter”, “When I Die” and his latest film, “Animals, Whores and Dialogue: Breakfast with Hunter, Vol.2”.  Wayne took on maybe roles in his films such as Cinematographer, Director, Editor and Producer.  They are very intimate and really feel like labors of love.   There have been many documentaries about the late Hunter S. Thompson, but Wayne’s films get a chance to get inside of his head directly.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Wayne about his relationship with Hunter and his films.

Click here to read our review of “Animal, Whores and Dialogue: Breakfast with Hunter, Vol.2” DVD
Click here to enter our giveaway of “Animal, Whores and Dialogue: Breakfast with Hunter, Vol.2” DVD

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you originally met Hunter S. Thompson?
Wayne Ewing: In the early 1980’s I found myself living in Woody Creek, Colorado not far from Hunter Thompson, who had always been a hero of mine. I had just finished two films as an independent producer for the PBS series “Frontline” and was looking for a new subject for a film for them. The word was out that Hunter was working in San Francisco as the Night Manager of the Mitchell Brothers’ O’Farrell Theater which seemed a good hook for a film. The Executive Producer of Frontline, David Fanning, encouraged me to pursue the story, at my own expense of course, so I made contact with Hunter’s secretary Deborah Fuller and flew her and myself to San Francisco to meet with Hunter. That weekend at the O’Farrell, a place Hunter called the Carnegie Hall of public sex in America, was more than you can imagine (see my vodcast “The O’Farrell” @ for the lurid details). However, by the time I returned, David Fanning had chickened out and I realized I would have to make my own film about Hunter – what ultimately became Breakfast with Hunter.

MG: Was he a fascinating person to be around, I never had the chance to meet him?
WE: Hunter was charismatic to be sure, and moreover truly a lot of fun to hang with. His Mother would recall how when he was just five or six years old, all the other young kids in the neighborhood would gather on their front porch and wait, sometimes for an hour or more, for Hunter to come out to play. An invitation to Owl Farm, whether to watch football and gamble or work on a column or book with Hunter was a gift from the literary gods. He ran the best salon and saloon in the West.

MG: Did it take a lot of convincing to get Hunter to do the documentary “Breakfast with Hunter”?
WE: “Breakfast with Hunter” evolved out of that weekend in San Francisco. The next year, 1985, I found financial backing to make a pilot for a television series we were going to call “Breakfast with Hunter” – a parody of morning TV talk shows with a title suggested by Jack Nicholson. We paid Hunter to travel to Key West for the filming. Once again, check out my vodcast for the details. It was quite a trip. But I never sold the pilot or the series and Hunter began asking me to record various political events in Aspen that he was involved in. When cheap digital technology became available in the mid-nineties, I began shooting in earnest, and released Breakfast with Hunter in 2003, and then three other Hunter films, including the latest – Animals, Whores & Dialogue – all of which are exclusively available at

MG: Why did you decided to make “Animals, Whores & Dialogue: Breakfast with Hunter, Vol. 2”?
WE: There was so much material left over after I edited Breakfast with Hunter and more that I shot after its release in 2003, that I thought I could make another documentary feature about Hunter concentrating more on his work as a writer and less on his flamboyant lifestyle. Imagine if someone had been able to record Mark Twain in the same way. The film is meant to be a documentary for the ages, and I’ve been gratified to receive quite a few library orders, along with fans who already have the earlier films, and new ones as well.

MG: Was it difficult for you making “When I Die”, I think it is amazing that you were able to share that experience with his fans?
WE: Emotionally, it was quite difficult for me, since I had lost my best friend. But, in the end, like all funerals but even more so in this case, the process of documenting the construction of the monument (which went on for months), the struggle to get the community to accept it, and the blast off itself, gave me quite a bit of closure.

MG: What are your feeling on the film “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, are you a fan?
WE: I’m a fan of Johnny Depp’s performance in “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas”, but not of the film itself, and I think the same was true for Hunter. Ironically, after Hunter got Alex Cox fired as Director for his insistence on using animation that Hunter called “cartoons,” (see the famous scene in “Breakfast with Hunter” where Cox flees the kitchen at Owl Farm) the Producers of the film hired Terry Gilliam, who began his career as a cartoonist. Gilliam was in England, not the US, during the turbulent sixties and prides himself on having never taken drugs, so perhaps he was limited by his own lack of experience.

MG: Have you had a chance to see “The Rum Diary” yet?
WE: No, but I’m looking forward seeing “The Rum Diary”, hopefully sometime in 2011.

MG: Do you have any more plans to make future film about Hunter S. Thompson?
WE: Probably not a feature length documentary like the last four, but look for new, short scenes to be released in the future on our web site – – especially about “The Rum Diary”.

Interview with David Walton

David Walton is the star of the new show on NBC’s “Perfect Couples”. David has also appeared in last fall’s “Burlesque” and the upcoming “Friends with Benefits”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat to David about his new show “Perfect Couples” and his upcoming role.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your new show “Perfect Couples” and your role of Vance?
David Walton: The show premiers January 20th on NBC. It’s a comedy about three very different couples who are all friends. The show is based around the couples trials and tribulations due to being newly married or about to get married. I play Vance who is in love with a character named Amy. They are soul mates but probably would have been better off not ever meeting. Vance is a really passionate character and isn’t afraid to say what he’s thinking.

MG: How did you get involved with the show?
DW: I auditioned in early February of 2010 and I think they saw something in me they liked. It was a really quick and somewhat easy audition process. Within a couple weeks, I had the role and we shot the pilot in April. The show was picked up in May. We started shooting the series in August and shot 13 episodes. Everything has moved really fast.

MG: Tell us about how it has been working with your fellow cast?
DW: (Laughs) everyone gets along really well. I had known most of the cast previously and am friends with a lot of them. It was nice because we all have good chemistry with each other.

MG: How do you think the show will stand out amongst the other comedies?
DW:A lot of the comedies that are on television right now are work place comedies. Our show is a relationship comedy. Our show is very simple and it focuses on small moments in relationships that have happened to a lot of people at one time or another. I think our show is different because it’s smaller and a little more real.

MG: How was it working with Cher & Christina Aguilera on “Burlesque”?
DW: That was great! Christina was very sweet. She always would be humming to herself in between takes so I would try and stick around to hear her sing. There was one scene where I had to be shirtless, so I went into the makeup trailer to make sure I was all set for that role and Stanley Tucci was in there doing the same thing. I don’t know how old that guy really is but he is ripped and huge! I’m 31 and getting totally out done by this older guy. (Laughs) I ended up wearing a blanket for the entire scene of the movie. I was totally embarrassed.

MG: Tell us about working on the upcoming film “Friends with Benefits”?
DW: That’s a role that probably won’t make my mother or grandmother too proud. (Laughs) I have a scene where Mila Kunis walks in and I am on all fours wearing a horse type costume. Patricia Clarkson is dressed up as a fairy princess and is riding me! I play a FedEx pilot that she picked up at the airport. That was really hard to keep everything together while shooting that scene. Leather chaps aren’t as uncomfortable as they seem! (Laughs)

Interview with Kevin Conway

You may not recognize the name Kevin Conway but you surely know his work.  Of course, if you saw him in “Funny Farm” or “Mystic River” you still might not have known his name because he doesn’t appear in the credits.  Billing counts in Hollywood and if you can’t be featured it’s best not to be mentioned at all!  After beginning his professional life working with IBM he pursued acting by studying at the Dramatic Workshop at New York’s famed Carnagie Hall, later moving on to the famed HB Studio.  He soon found himself doing regional theatre, including what he calls his favorite role, that of Randal P. McMurphy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  He made his Broadway debut opposite Charles Durning, Stacy Keach, Sam Waterson and Raul Julia in the play “Indians.”  In 1973 he won critical acclaim for his role as Vietnam veteran Teddy in Mark Medoff’s play “When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder.”  Among his other theatre triumphs:  the role of Dr. Frederick Treves in the Broadway production of “The Elephant Man” and Lawrence Garfinkle in both the New York and Los Angeles productions of “Other People’s Money.”  He made his film debut in 1971’s “Believe In Me” and gained recognition as Weary in “Slaughterhouse-Five” that same year.  He also has the distinction of having starred in the first film made exclusively for PBS, “The Lathe of Heaven.”  Mr. Conway has appeared recently on the popular CBS television program “The Good Wife.”  When he’s not working he devotes his time and celebrity to a great cause: the rescue and adoption of animals.  He recently appeared in a PSA to benefit the Best Friends Animal Society (you can view here) and encourages his fans to either visit their web site – – or their local no-kill shelter and find a home for a new friend.  He also recently started his own web site – – which is currently under construction.  Mr. Conway recently took the time to sit down with MovieMikes and talk about his career:

Michael Smith: You won an Obie and a Drama Desk Award for your performance in the off-Broadway show “When You Coming Back, Red Ryder?”  Did you feel like you had “made at” after being recognized for your work?
Kevin Conway: Absolutely.  Before that even.  I had done several plays before “Red Ryder,” including my favorite role, McMurphy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which I did for almost two years in New York and Philadelphia.  I couldn’t wait to get on stage every night.  It’s really American mythology,  that whole play.  McMurphy being the tragic figure…not that something bad has happened to you but knowing in advance that something bad IS going to happen to you.  But you have to do what you have to do anyway.  It’s like Oedipus…just don’t ask who your mother is.  Let it go.  And he can’t let it go.  That role is still the most satisfying I’ve had.  I’ve been very lucky.  Even before that.  My first play in New York was a John Guare play, which wasn’t too shabby.  And the second one was a play called “Saved,” directed by Alan Schneider, one of the great stage directors of that era.  Alan did the premieres of all of the Becket and Albee and Pinter plays.  And it was an important play.  It was an English play and at the time England had a person called the Lord High Chamberlain.  The Lord High Chamberlain would go to a play and if he didn’t like it…if he didn’t think it was a suitable play for the public…it was over.  Gone.  He would withdraw their license to perform.  Edward Bond was the writer of “Saved” and other plays.  He went to court over “Saved” and the court ruled that his work was free speech.  Nobody forces you to go to a play.  If you don’t want to go see it don’t go see it.  The play has a right to be performed.  And I did the play in the states with James Woods.  It was a very controversial play.  So that was really the first time I did anything that got noticed.  I then did a play called “Moonchildren.”  I was a little long in the tooth to be playing a college kid, but then so was the rest of the cast, which included James Woods, Stephen Collins, Christopher Guest, Edward Hermann, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker and Robert Prosky.  And even though it didn’t make it to Broadway there was a big hue and cry because of the way it was mishandled…the way it was publicized.  We started off in Washington D.C.  I had just finished filming “Slaughterhouse-Five” in Czechoslovakia and went right into the show.  I spent one day in New York and then went down to Washington.  From there I moved on to “Cuckoo’s Nest” and then to “Red Ryder.”  Then I did “Of Mice and Men” (with James Earl Jones) and then I went Hollywood for a few years! (laughs)  I came back to New York and did “The Elephant Man” for two years, than I did the television production of “The Elephant Man.”  Then back to film and television for most of the 1980s.  Then “Other People’s Money” came along and I did that for two and a half years.  I also directed the show in Chicago and San Francisco and starred and directed the show in Los Angeles, which was very successful.  It ran almost a year there.  And I have to tell you it all went by fast.  I turned around and it seemed like I had just done “Red Ryder” the other day!

MS: Your first major film role was as gangster Vince Doyle in “F.I.S.T,” which was Sylvester Stallone’s follow up to “Rocky.”  What are your memories of that production?
KC: Well, the film was shot in Dubuque, Iowa and one of the reasons they chose Dubuque was that the film took place in the 1930s.  They needed a place where there weren’t a lot of television antennas.  Dubuque was one of the first towns in the country to have cable television.  It was like an experiment to see if cable was viable.  So because of that the town was perfect architecturally to play the 1930s.  Lots of old trucks and warehouses.  It was perfect.  I was a little nervous, being the big city kid, thinking I was going to go crazy spending months in Dubuque.  But it turned out to be a very friendly town with lots of great things to do…mainly involving alcohol.  (laughs)  On our off days.   So we filmed there and then went to California for a lot of the interior work.  And that’s how I ended up in Hollywood.  I just stayed there for a couple of years.

MS: You worked with Stallone again when, as director, he cast you in “Paradise Alley.”  As “Paradise Alley” ends it’s revealed that your character, Stitch Mahoney, secretly wears women’s undergarments.  Can you share how that came about.
KC: That came about because I have a big mouth!  We were having lunch and I was talking about what a strange, repressed little Irish guy Stitch is.  He’s always talking about his mother and he’s got his gang of thugs.  But on the other hand, there’s something a little “off” about him.  So I said to Sly, “you know, I bet that under all the black clothes and the fedora…the stickpins and the black gloves and the gold teeth…I bet he wears garter belts and women’s underwear.  Stallone stopped eating and looked at me.  “I love it!” (delivered,  I should say,  in a perfect Stallone voice).  So we wound up shooting two endings.  One where there is a big battle in the ring and I get thrown out.  And one where I’m wearing break away pants, which come off when the guy grabs me.  And it had to be ME getting thrown out of the ring, because I had a line to say as the guy holds me over his head.  So we did about ten takes of me being thrown out of the ring from various angles.  And I became an honorary stunt man.  Stunts Unlimited gave me a hat that said that.  And they were incredible.  They basically had to catch me each time and it’s almost like a science.  Each one of them takes a different part of your body as their responsibility so that when you come flying out of the ring somebody goes for your hips and somebody grabs your head and neck and somebody grabs your legs and you fall on them and they act like they’re being crushed but they are really taking care of you.  I didn’t get a scratch on me.

MS: I visited NYC the day AFTER “The Elephant Man” closed on Broadway!  You starred in the production as Dr. Treves and later reprised the role in the television version.  How do you continue to perform a role for so long without losing focus?
KC: People ask me that question a lot.  “How can you do the same play eight days a week?”  And I tell them it’s like walking into a party or some kind of event.  You get a sense of the atmosphere.  Sometimes you feel like the party is going to be a dud.  You can just tell…there’s no energy in the room.  The next one you walk into you can feel a spirit going on.  It’s always different.  Different people create different energy.  So each audience is different.  And I always approach the theatre as if I’m doing it for the very first time.  It’s always an investigation.  And any good actor will tell you that from the moment the play gets started and you begin doing it over and over again you’re really not doing exactly the same play.  Your own mood, your own sense of the energy you have that day…you start investigating the moments in the play and you find that they change.  Sometimes in subtle ways…sometimes in pretty big ways.  The very last performance I did of “The Elephant Man” with Philip Anglim…we found a moment.  We got off stage and looked at each other and said, “Damn, why didn’t we do that? Why didn’t we find this nine months ago?”  It was a great little moment that we had and we found it in the very last performance.  Of course we found others during the course of the show as well.  But there is something about theatre that has an immediacy.  And it’s really your life.  If you’re doing live theatre you’re not going to be able to stay home and watch “Jeopardy” every night.

MS: Can you tell us about how “The Elephant Man” came about?
KC: The show started out as a small play in London called “Deformed.”  It played at one of the smaller fringe theatres…almost a warehouse really.  It was a small, fringe theatre production and it didn’t go anywhere.  But it happened to be seen by Philip Anglim, who was on vacation in London.  And he saw it and realized there was a good part for him (Anglim, like Mr. Conway an American actor,  would go on to receive Drama Desk and Theater World Awards for his work in “The Elephant Man,” as well as a Tony Award nomination.  When the show was performed for television he also earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations).  He persuaded a producer friend of his to bring it over here.  It started out as a very limited production.  It was only scheduled to run for about two weeks.  And at the last minute the producer got a special off-Broadway contract so that, if we could, we could make it an open ended run.  There was no theater.  When the show started we were working in the basement of a church on Lexington Avenue that had about 60 seats.  He had to rent chairs for people to sit in.  We opened up and I never had this experience…by the second or third night I knew it was going to be a hit just from the audience reaction.  We opened and the reviews were fantastic.  So we moved to Broadway.  But because where we originally were was so small, the set had to be totally reconceived  for the bigger Broadway stage.  And we wanted to wait for the Booth theatre, which is the primary theatre on Shubert Alley.  And so while we waited for the Booth to come available  I went down to Texas to make “The Lathe of Heaven.”  I had about ten days before we re-opened on Broadway so I flew to Dallas and shot the film.

MS: You also played Johnny Friendly in the Broadway production of “On the Waterfront,” a role played so memorably in the film by Lee J. Cobb.  Was it hard to step into a role that so many people already have a preconceived notion of?
KC: The thing about Johnny Friendly…Lee J. Cobb was perfect.  Nobody could do it better than him.  He’s in the movie that’s the classic.  Nobody could top it.  In the original Budd Schulberg story there is no happy ending.  It’s based on a true incident that really happened about a guy like Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando in the film, played in this production by Ron Eldard).  He really did do what happens in the film…he testified.  But in real life not long afterwards he disappeared.  And nobody ever saw him again.  And the character that Johnny Friendly was based on, he wasn’t that big.  Not like Cobb, who was physically imposing himself.  There was something a little off with him.  They hinted almost that there was a kind of homo-erotic relationship with boxers.  And his power came from the position he had, not from his own physical strength.  So we went more for that.  There was still a big fight at the end of the play…I got my ribs cracked during that fight with Ron Eldard.  But we went for it…we tried to do a good stage fight, which is difficult.  You have to be careful when you have a knock down dirty fight on stage…you can’t just go for it because you’re doing it eight times a week.  You don’t want to make a mistake.  I mean look at “Spider-man.”  You make a mistake and you don’t have a show anymore. (Mr. Conway is referring to the new Broadway production “Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark,” which has had several cast mishaps and has gone through constant delays).  We choreographed something that was pretty brutal for Broadway and one night I got hit in the ribs.  Ron used to box so he could punch!  So I wore a protective vest after that.  But it was more that Johnny Friendly was dangerous because of what he could have done, not what he could physically do.  And Ron also played Terry much differently than Brando.  Which I think was right because you can’t imitate the roles of a classic film that almost can’t be improved on.  James Gandolfini was in the show, as well as David Morse, who was playing the Karl Malden part.  I really think the show could have been good but there was just too many backstage problems between financing and switching directors.  The show never really gelled, never came together.  I was hoping it would succeed because when you looked at the drama that was being performed on Broadway at the time it was primarily British plays.  They would import them over with the British cast.  The British cast would play for awhile then leave.  They’d re-cast the show with American actors and then the show would close in a month.  And “On the Waterfront” was purely and American story.  And it had a cast that wasn’t movie stars.    When I won the Drama League award for the show I made a speech that might have been ill advised.  I didn’t have to but I did.  All of the producers were there and I said, “you know, it used to be that Hollywood would come to Broadway to look for talent.”  That’s where Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda and Jimmy Cagney…Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn.  These people all came from Broadway.  They were brought out to Hollywood by the studios because the studios wanted the “class” that came with having a Broadway actor.  Cagney and Joan Blondell were brought out to reprise a small role they had in a show that was owned by Al Jolson.  Jolson agreed to give the studio the rights to make the film if they agreed to take Cagney and Blondell.  And I said what’s happening now is that you have a play with me and Ron Eldard and Penelope Ann Miller and David Morse…we’re not well known actors.  We don’t necessarily sell tickets.  But we have good reputations.  We’ve all done theatre.  I’d probably done more than all of them.  But the mindset became “if we can get a Hollywood actor who’s between movies and get him to play this part for a couple of months we can get a big advance sale on his or her name.”  And if that actor leaves they’ll get another, hopefully cheaper actor with a name.  A play is about chemistry.  You have to find the right chemistry between actors.  You rehearse.  If you can bring in a movie star and make your money back, that’s fine.  But don’t forget to do plays that are worth doing with the right actors in them.  And I said now it looks like Broadway is looking to Hollywood for actors to come slumming for a few months, when it used to be the other way around.  I said I’m not really holding my breath to see Kevin Costner’s  “Coriolanus.”  These are movie actors…very good movie actors, but movie actors.

MS: You directed and appeared in the film “The Sun and the Moon.”  As an actor, what was your hardest challenge as a director and vice versa?
KC: I had a small part in the film.  I did it to save money because I was very inexpensive.  Zero.  I didn’t have to pay myself anything.  It was the first, and last, narrative film I’d ever directed.  I didn’t expect to direct it but the original director fell ill and I had to jump in and do it.  I helped them raise the money for it.  It was a nice little film and I’m still proud of it.  It’s a film about the Puerto Rican experience in New York City and how, among all the Hispanics, the Puerto Ricans are the only ones who are American citizens.  They can freely travel back and forth to Puerto Rico…they’re not aliens, if you will.  And it’s caused a cultural schizophrenia.  People have emigrated here from the island to get jobs and raise their kids, but then they want to go home.  They want to go back to the island.  But the kids don’t.  The kids become “Americanized.”  In New York they call them “Nuevo Ricans.”  And this causes an interesting dynamic because the parents tend to be more old fashioned and conservative in their values while the children were wilder.   The story is about a woman who is from Puerto Rican heritage who lives with my character, a sort of Phil Donahue type who is a talk show host.  And I’m a terrible husband…I cheat on her and everything.  So she runs away from her comfortable Manhattan life style and the only place she knows to go to is where she was born, which was the South Bronx.  And when she gets there she becomes involved with the people who live in her building…very different characters.  The film got some very nice reviews but by the time it came to be released it was almost, may I say, too soft for the market.  Even though it took place in the South Bronx there was no crime in it.  No rats.  There was a problem with the landlord but that was it.

MS: What do you have coming up?
KC: I’m leaning toward the theater.  That’s what I want to do next.  I’m always open to offers.  I was just offered something but I didn’t like the part.  I’m very lucky in that I don’t have to take every part that comes along.  This one was for a pilot and I really didn’t want to do it…I didn’t want to lock myself in.  I’m really looking to do some theater.  That’s what I like to do.  A short run…no two year shows anymore.  If I could find a show here in New York and get those muscles going again, that would be great.  And hopefully a big movie somewhere in Paris or Morocco or someplace else I’ve never been.  I’ve been to Paris but I’ve never been to South America.  Maybe something in Buenos Aires!?

Interview with Claudia Wells

Claudia Wells is known for her role of Jennifer Parker, the girlfriend of Marty McFly in “Back to the Future”. Claudia is ready for a comeback and had a chance to chat with Movie Mikes to discuss her career and what’s upcoming.

Click here to purchase “Back to the Future” on DVD and Blu-Ray

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us what it was like working on “Back to the Future”?
Claudia Wells: Oh Michael, it was an absolute joy. I look back on that time with fond memories. I don’t think we quite knew what we had at the time – not that there was much free time to sit around and ponder such things! Definitely wasn’t aware of the lightning that was encapsulated in that bottle. I feel blessed to have been involved in a film that, 25 years later, is still as popular as ever – if not more!

MG: What was it like working with director Robert Zemeckis, Michael J. Fox and the other cast in “Back to the Future”?
CW: All of them were absolute joy to work with – as was Christopher Lloyd and James Tolkan, who I still keep in touch with today. I obviously spent the most time with Michael, and I could not have asked for a more wonderful co-star – he was generous, supportive and just a lot of fun to work with! I caught up with Michael a couple of years ago at a book signing of his in San Francisco, it was such a joy to see him after all this time. He’s not just a great actor, he’s an inspiration.

MG: Was there any reason you didn’t return for the sequels?
CW: Sadly, my mother was battling cancer at the time and so family came first. There was just too much turmoil at the time. That’s the short answer why I didn’t reprise Jennifer for “Back to the Future 2 and 3′.

MG: You took a leave from acting for sometime, what made you want to return?
CW: I left, as I said, because my mother had cancer. You know, I think it’s with anything, as much as you enjoy something there always comes a time when you need to take a break from it – if even until you rediscover your passion for it! In the past eighteen months or so, I’ve definitely found a renewed interest in acting… hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot more of me in the – excuse the pun – future!

MG: Do you have any upcoming projects?
CW: I’ve actually just completed a new film called “Battleground: Los
Angeles”. It’s only a small part but the film, a science-fiction movie from filmmaker Neil Johnson, looks like it’ll be a ton of fun! I believe it’ll be released sometime next year. Neil was able to help me accomplish a dream of mine – to play a gun-toting action hero! Look out Sarah Connor!

Click here to purchase “Back to the Future” on DVD and Blu-Ray


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Interview with Mark Pellegrino

Mark Pellegrino is starring in SyFy’s newest show “Being Human” which premieres January 17th. Mark is known for his roles in ABC’s “Lost” and “The Big Lebowski”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Mark about his role in the new show and looking back on his other roles

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about working on the TV series “Being Human”?
Mark Pellegrino: It is a remaking of the BBC show. However we are only using the original as a template. We had decided we really wanted to venture out on our own and try to make the story ours. The story is based on a ghost, vampire and werewolf living together, all while trying to help each other with various character flaws and situations. I figure into this story in that I am the one who made the vampire character a vampire. He is trying his hardest to get away from my character and live more of a human life. I play I guess what you would call the temptress. The cast was really great to work with.

MG: Where you familiar with the BBC series “Being Human”?
MP: I wasn’t really familiar with the series until I got the part. I was able to watch one episode and thought it was very good. I didn’t want to watch very much because I didn’t want to come up with any ideas that maybe I shouldn’t have. I have been very tempted to go back and watch more but I wanted to stay locked in on our version.

MG: How do you feel the series differs from the BBC series?
MP: The main templates of the characters are directly from the BBC version but after that the characters go in the new original direction. I know my character in the BBC version has very different things going on than in our “Being Human.”

MG: How was it being a part of the “Lost” universe?
MP: For me I have moved onto the next project but I think “Lost” is one of those things that never leaves you. That show was really special and it transcended a lot of stereotypes in television and became a force in itself. I think it’s great that people continue to love and show their appreciation for the show. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

MG: Can you reflect on working on such a cult film like “The Big Lebowski”?
MP: The cast was really amazing. I think that movie is one of the few that seems to just get better with age.  I really can’t think of too many other films that each time you watch it you get something different out of it.

MG: Tell us about working on the film “Capote”, which you had a great performance?
MP: The experience of that filming was so great.  Having the chance to pick such great actors brains like Phil Seymour Hoffman was unbelievable. It was really like a school of acting for me working on that film. I played the third wheel on that project and was the character that was always trying to get my voice heard. As an actor it was a phenomenal experience.  I am glad it translated well and I could be a part of it.

MG: Do you have a favorite project?
MP: I could probably pick five projects that are really great but all for different reasons. “Lost” is a favorite as well as “Being Human” which was another great project but, it’s hard for me to say. I think I am still looking for that one project that I have to really give 100%. All of my roles have been great though.

MG: Do you prefer working on movies or television?
MP: The thing that’s great about movies, especially if you have a large budget, is that you can take your time and shoot a lot of film to ensure you get those moments. TV and independent films you often are shooting at a faster pace or what you can shoot is limited by the budget and things can get missed. The general public might not notice something small caused by that rushing pace but as an actor you instantly recognize that maybe you could have been better with more time. One bad thing though about working on those big movies is that it can take a lot of time. Sometimes you end up just waiting for hours until they are ready for you. It just really depends on the day that you ask me as to what I like more. There are pros and cons to each.

MG: What can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
MP: I have been writing my own script and have a few offers out there for it but with all the holiday stuff going on I have been laying kind of low. I think once everything slows down I will poke my head out and see what going on.

Interview with Jake Kennedy

Jake Kennedy is currently working on directing his third film, “Reversal”, but needs your help.  Jake is using the website, Kickstarter to try and get the film started.  He was even able to secure some great talent for the film including Danny Trejo and Vinnie Jones.  Movie Mikes had a chance to ask Jake a few questions about his career and his process for making his latest film.

Mike Gencarelli: You have done quite a bit of work in the horror genre is that one of your favorites?
Jake Kennedy: Pretty much. I went crazy for horror as a kid. I think the defining moment for me was at 10. I was at a boarding school and I took a friend home for the weekend. We watched “The Exorcist”, then that night back at the school, 2am he awoke screaming and freaking out from nightmares. It happened for three more nights. It woke most people up in the school. It was like he was having his toenails ripped off. I thought at the time: ‘holy shit, that movie fucked him up, I want to do that!’, or something like that.

MG: Going from directing short films to your first feature “Days of Darkness”, what was your biggest challenge?
JK: The biggest challenge was working with 2 producers who were also the financers. They had their ideas, I had mine. But they hired me to do a job (write, direct and put my vision on the screen), and that was tough at times. But it made me stronger as a film maker. Baptism of fire I call it. Working with a studio now will be a piece of cake!

MG: How was it working with such great talent like Michael Rooker, Tony Tood and James Duval in your second film “Penance”?
JK: A dream. Apart from people like Rooker being just about the nicest and thoughtful guy, the rest were fantastic. My first day, first scene was with Tony. That was quite intimidating. The first few takes were a battle of the wills. But I had to lay down the law about what I wanted, and then he accepted me as a director and we are now good friends. We recently spent a wonderful Halloween together drinking fine whiskey in Vegas. I was there with him (and Ken Foree) at the Palms watching all the amazing women walking past in their outstanding costumes talking film shit. Then I had to pinch myself and I remember thinking – ‘I’m here in Vegas, on Halloween, with the fucking CANDYMAN!’ It’s a geek film lovers moment that I have been very lucky to experience. James was great too.

MG: Tell us the process for how you came up with the scripts for your two films?
JK: Days was one of those surreal moments where I sat down with one of the producers and he said: I want to hire you to write a zombie film. All I ask is that everyone is drunk, killing zombies at the end of the film’. So that kind of set the tone, and everything I wrote had to gear up to that last scene making sense in the context of the film. Hence it’s a little out there and a little B-Movie-esque. But I embraced that, had my tongue firmly in cheek, and still laugh when I watch the final film, as we achieved our desired outcome! For “Penance”, I had the end goal of creating a bloody little film with extreme moments of nastiness, with the sole intention of selling it to Dimension Extreme. Then when I was in Australia, I read about this character that was just unearthed who was an OBGYN who mutilated the privates of over 300 women and was never caught (until then). That set the tone and the basis for “Penance”.

MG: Tell us about your latest film “Reversal”?
JK: It’s more of a psychological action thriller (I’m going more mainstream!). Think “The Strangers” crossed with “Memento”. So it has that non linear approach like “Memento”, but with the tension and dread of “The Strangers”. It’s basically like my first film: ‘We All Fall Down’ that was very successful for me (13 international awards), but without the creepy Asian ghost girl.

MG: How did you you get Vinnie Jones and Danny Trejo involved?
JK: Danny was as simple as working with my casting agent for “Penance” who knows him. He really responded to the script. Vinnie is a wish list actor. I wrote the role for him. I’ll be approaching him when the film’s funded. Eve Mauro was in “Penance” and loves the script too.

MG: Tell us about your process with the website, Kickstarter?
JK: Basically, I like the idea of taking more control over my destiny. To apply that to film making, that means being more in control, not just creatively, but over the funding and distribution process. But of course that’s very hard to do with this traditional model we are all working within right now. So I tried to think outside the box and work out the best ways to utilize the power of the internet to make the changes I wish to see with my next film. No small feat. Then a friend sent me a link to a short he was raising $10k for through Kickstarter. And he was successfully funded. Then I thought – wow. This is the future. But we will all need to change our model of film making to accommodate the way Kickstarter allows us to take control. And I mapped out a plan that is almost internet textbook – create a community around the film. Get people involved in the process and also the film making. Make it their film as much as yours. That’s why people can write lines for Danny Trejo, write music for the film, act in it and even write and direct a scene in it. It’s out there. And I have 23 days to get people to buy into the idea and get them on board.

MG: What is your next step once your film gets funded?
JK: Then it’s straight into pre-production – 4 weeks of hard work with a 2 week shoot. I wrote the script to be shot for $100k. one location, 4 actors. So the budget won’t be a constraint. Vinnie Jones’ day rate might be though!

MG: How can people help?
JK: If you like my films or really just like films or want to be involved in a Hollywood film, or just get experience on a real film or just get a credit etc,  then spread the word on Twitter, Facebook. If people like the idea, all they need to do is post something like: check this out etc. My plan will only work if people tell their friends and they then tell their friends. I don’t have millions of dollars to drive traffic to Kickstarter. So I am trying to harness that social media power, and I need your help!

Click here to help Jake’s film “Reversal” get made