Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews talk about “The Houses October Built”

For me, as well as many across the United States, October is a very special month. Traditionally, this is the time of year where the leaves on the trees die, landscapes become awash with gray and brown, and nature’s dying elements suddenly spring to life. It is also the time of year where millions upon millions flock to the haunted house attractions scattered across the country, seeking their fix for scares, creeps and downright nasty set-pieces. The film “The Houses October Built” chronicles one group’s journey across the United States in search of the greatest haunt in America, found footage style. Unfortunately, they find that not all participants are eager to be part of their documentary, and the trip of a lifetime turns into the stuff that nightmares are made of. I had the opportunity to speak with Writer/ Director/ Co-Star Bobby Roe and Writer/ Star Zack Andrews about the origins of the film and what they felt sets their found footage film apart from all the others.

Eric Schmitt: The Houses October Built is a Media Mikes favorite of 2014; brilliantly done and really innovative. What was the driving force behind making the film in the first place?
Zack Andrews: We wanted to do a found footage film about the haunts across America, but we were weary at first because the genre has become so watered down. We wanted to do it a different way – A first person view of haunted houses, which is something people hadn’t touched on yet.
Bobby Roe: We found that approximately 30 million people per year visit haunted houses in the United States and felt that if we could hit the right audience, especially in the Mid-West and South, where we all grew up, we could do something original. These are all real actors and real places in the haunts. It’s very organic.

ES: So all of the interviews and haunt scenes in the film were legit?
ZA: Yes, all interviews conducted and haunts were legit.
BR: We wanted to use real places and people, give credit to the craft. Think about it- we had every filmmaker’s dream; We got to shoot on million dollar sets for free! We used all of the real actors from the haunts, all of the real sets – it’s a realism that you can’t fake.

ES: What do you feel will attract people to your film, say over the next found footage film that they lay eyes on?
ZA: People are intrigued by the haunted house aspect and we really looked to appeal to the Halloween world. We’re hoping that audiences find it very intense, because it does take you on a ride. It’s a ride that’s a dream for a lot of people, to be able to road trip and visit all of these different haunts.
BR: And we tried to show different ways in how the haunts were done, like the Zombie Paintball. That was incredible!
ZA: That was a lot of fun! I’ve never seen anything like it before.
BR: Exactly! We’d never seen anything like it and to experience it, man it was great! After we ran the shoot with the regular actors, we had the entire crew go through it just so they could experience it.

ES: Did you receive any resistance from the haunts while you were shooting?
ZA: Not at all – the haunts were one big supportive family.
BR: And it was essentially a free commercial for them.

ES: So which one (of the haunts) was the most effective, in your opinion?
ZA: Each haunt really had something super effective, something that was its own specialty. Ever haunt we visited had something that would stick out. We’d visit a haunt and two weeks later still be talking about that one thing. Like there was one haunt that had a white-out room. We’ve all experienced a completely black room, but this room was completely white, filled with smoke and had one flood light. All of a sudden you would see this white mask appear from no where. It was intense.
BR: This one haunt had a kid, maybe 12-13 years old. He was the best scare actor we had ever seen. He never came out of character and it was amazing. We talked to the owner of the haunt and found out that when he had joined he was failing school, came from a really bad background. After a few weeks of working at the haunt, the kid had completely turned it around. The haunt, this family, gave him purpose. His teachers even called the owners of the haunt to tell them what a positive impact it obviously had on him. The haunt family created a sense of pride in him.

As a fan of the film, it was really great to hear the level of passion that Bobby and Zack had to express about the filmmaking process and the haunts themselves. For many of us, they most certainly lived the dream – traveling the country and visiting the best haunted houses around, all while filming a horror movie. Although the majority of people who read this article and/or see The Houses October Built will never be presented with the opportunity to make such a film, we can still engage these haunts across the U.S. and experience first hand what this group documented. We can see, hear and feel first hand what the masters of this craft have to offer, all the while knowing that the terror that grips our senses is authentic, much like the footage in The Houses October Built.


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Interview with Fred Andrews

Fred Andrews is the writer/director of the horror film “Creature” which stars Sid Haig, Mehcad Brooks and Serinda Swan. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Fred recently about the upcoming DVD release of the film.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the upcoming DVD release of “Creature”?
Fred Andrews: Right now I don’t know a lot about the specifics of the release.  The intention has always been to release it on Blu-Ray and DVD but I don’t know what the distributor’s plans are. I am pretty excited about it being released in these formats as it will allow a lot more people to be able to see the film and enjoy it.

AL: Did you find it hard both writing and directing the film?
FA: This was a story that had been with me in many different forms since the early 2000’s. The hardest part was probably going through the revision process with the producers when we were still in the scripting phase. There was quite a bit of back story and some other situations that we had to work on. As far as being on set we never had to wait if we wanted to re-write some lines so that was pretty convenient.

AL: What was the casting process like?
FA: Having a very young and attractive cast was something that I wanted to do from the beginning. I had a fantastic casting director by the name of Kelly Wagner who brought in a lot of great people. The people she brought in all had great energy and experience. Having Amanda Fuller, Serinda Swan and Mehcad Brooks was just great. Aaron Hill was another person that was really great to have in the film as well. I was also lucky enough to have Sid Haig and some other great character actors to be a part of the film also. I was very fortunate but a lot of that credit goes to Kelly Wagner.

AL: What did you find to be one of the more difficult aspects of the project?
FA: The post side of things I think were for sure the most difficult. Once you get in there and deliver your directors cut there is then a producers cut of the film. We then had to submit it to the MPAA which was something I had never done before. There was quite a lot of cinematic stuff that tripped the film up with the MPAA. We had a lot of back and forth with the people there. We actually had to submit the film over 6 different times to the MPAA. It was very frustrating. To get to the finished project there was a whole series of compromises.

AL: Do you see yourself doing more writing or directing in the future?
FA: I think I will continue to do both. I do however have a project coming up in the fall that I didn’t write. I will just be directing that one. I feel very fortunate to do whatever I can to tell stories. I am not opposed to doing both or one or the other.

AL: Is the horror genre a place where you feel most comfortable?
FA: I have always been a big fan of the horror genre. It has had a huge influence on my art. I am more of a monster fan than a slasher fan. I am very comfortable in the genre and it is one of the places as a director/film maker that you can take more risks. Comedy and horror for me are what I enjoy most. The mind set of those genres are very similar.

AL: What other projects do you have coming up?
FA: I am currently working on an animation piece that is sort of like a dark comedy. That project is in the pilot stage right now. I am also still working as a production designer.

AL: Is there a dream project out there that you want to work on someday?
FA: There is a book titled “A Choir of Ill Children” by Tom Piccirilli that I would love to make into a film. Even though I don’t have the rights to the book yet I think that is a project that is very close to my heart. There is also a script I wrote a few years ago that I would really like to see get made. That script has more of a horror/crime vibe to it.


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Interview with Neil Hopkins

Neil Hopkins is playing Ray in this fall’s alien invasion film “Skyline”  Neil is also known for his role of Liam Pace in ABC’s “Lost”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Neil to discuss working on “Skyline” and what is upcoming in his career.

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Mike Gencarelli: Talk about your role as Ray in the upcoming sci-fi feature “Skyline”?
Neil Hopkins: “Skyline” is kind of a unique film in the sense that it was shot on a relatively low budget.  Colin and Greg Strause have done special effects on everything from “Benjamin Button” to “Avatar” and they’re really amazing in what they do in the world of special effects, especially considering how young they are.  They’ve really made a name for themselves in that world.  They’re getting into directing now and they were able to shoot this film on a very low budget…But it looks like a $250 million dollar movie because they own the special effects house.  You rarely get those kind of special effects on such a low budget.  I feel that it’s going to change the way movies are made, depending on how well it does.  Everybody is going to want to do low budget films with $250 million special effects.  It’s been a really cool thing to be a part of.  It really felt like an independent film while working on it.  Everybody on it was so great.  These two brothers have huge careers ahead of them.  It was a lot of fun because it really felt like a homegrown project.  I’m very excited about it.  The character that I play…I can’t tell you too much about it.  Have to keep things under wraps.  My character, Ray, is friends with Donald Faison’s character and we work in the world of visual effects.  They always say to write what you know and this film takes place in a world that they (the Strause brothers) definitely understand.  The film combines elements of sci-fi, fantasy and horror.  And it’s going to have some jaw dropping special effects.  I’ve only seen the teaser trailer and I’m excited.  It’s going to be amazing.  I’m really proud to be a part of it because I don’t think that anybody knew, when they signed on, that it was going to be…first of all, that it’s going to come out as soon as it is.  We only finished shooting it in March and it’s coming out in November. In this business that’s unheard of.

MG: I understand there is already talk about “Skyline 2”?
NH: I’ve heard that.  Isn’t it incredible?  They shot the teaser trailer last Thanksgiving and less than a year later the film is coming out in theaters.  That’s pretty remarkable.  And one thing I can tell you, since I’ve seen it in other interviews, is that they shot the film in their own apartment building in Marina del Rey.  So just in that respect it really felt like a homegrown movie…almost like a student film.  Not the scope of it but in the spirit of it.  I mean I’m in the directors’ apartment and shooting in the directors’ apartment building.  And of course we have to be quiet or the neighbors will start complaining.  All of this stuff.

MG: You played Liam Pace in “Lost”? How was it working on that show?
NH: It was a very unique experience. It’s not something that comes along often on television. It was a lot of fun to get to come back season after season. I was in the first three seasons. Then I was in a few episodes, very briefly, in season six. And that was a lot of fun for me to see how the show had changed. How much bigger it had become. It was a lot of fun to be a part of that world. I feel very honored…very blessed, to have gotten to take that ride. And I get recognized a lot more. Even though I don’t look in real life like I did on the show I still get recognized. And if they don’t know my name they all “know they know me from somewhere.” But that’s a good thing. If I’m trying to get an audition my agent can pitch that I was in “Lost.” They say “he was Charlie’s brother” and they pick up on that right away. And the international appeal of the show is something I was not expecting. I still get fan mail to this day from all over the world. I was only in five episodes and I’m still getting fan mail. That’s when I realized “Wow, this is a big show!”

MG: Anything else coming up?
NH: Yes.  I just finished shoot a feature called “Detour” which I’m very excited about.  I play a guy that gets buried in his Jeep Cherokee during a landslide.  The entire film is basically my character trying to figure out how to get himself out.  It’s a survivor film.  It’s a thriller…it’s a disaster film.  And it’s also, really, at the heart of it a character film.  You have this character facing his own mortality, while seeing flashbacks off all of the mistakes he’s made.  There are also some dream sequences.  It’s written and directed by Will Dickerson, a friend from college.  He wrote and directed it and he went to AFI and just graduated recently.  He’s very talented and has a huge, huge career ahead of him.  It’s a project he’s been working on, I think he wrote the script two or three years ago.  It’s such a great script.  We shot it with like twelve people, all told.  It was a super, super low budget.

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Interview with Tony Black

Tony Black is playing Derek in this fall’s alien invasion film “Skyline”  Tony is also work on a few other projects including “Operation Broken Reed” in which he is producing as well as acting.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Tony to discuss working on “Skyline” and what is upcoming in his career.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Derek in “Skyline”?
Tony Black: Well Derek [laughs]…within the opening scene there is party where the main cast get introduced, I am one of the friends at the party. [laughs] I guess he is like the horn ball kid at the party. He annoys the shit out of everybody.

MG: How was it working with the Strause Brothers?
TB: It was awesome. I actually met them like three years ago at an audition for another project. It was for a commercial and they were directing. They thought my look borderlined mid-western oil buyer. I said “Look I am from the mid-west”. I didn’t get the role, it went to another guy but, the Strause Brothers kept me in the loop and said they had more projects coming up. Like a year and half later, I got a call from them saying they got a film coming up and they wanted to bring me on. I actually shot the teaser that they used to get the initial investors. We shot that on Thanksgiving just last year. These guys are the best of the best. It is amazing what they are capable of doing. It was an honor and pleasure to work with these guys. Hopefully I will get to work with them again.

MG: Was it a difficult shoot due to the low budget?
TB: Not at all.  It was probably THE coolest set that I have ever been on. Just the energy that the Brothers created with the cast and crew. They were fun, awesome and really accommodating. I really had a blast.

MG: How do you think that this film differs from other alien invasion flims?
TB: The Brothers own Hydraulx, which is a special effects house. It is one of top special effects houses in LA. They are on top of their game. They know exactly what they are doing. Special effects wise “Skyline” is going to be really visual stimulating. They really have it down! I think that there is certain type of film that people want to see right now.  People do not want to see a film and think about it afterwards. They want to sit and watch an entertaining film. This film is most definitely an entertaining film.

MG: Tell us about your film “The Rise and Fall of Their American Dream”?
TB: It was a film we had shot in three different locations. India, Mexico and United States. I was the lead in the film. It was an independent film and last year it won several awards at different film festivals. It was an amazing experience as well.

MG: What else do you have upcoming?
TB: I actually have another film I am working on about a Korean war spy mission. It is based on a true story about a 10-man team that Truman had hand picked to go behind enemy lines. Only one guy made it out. That one is called “Operation Broken Reed”, it based on a novel by Arthur Boyd, who is actually the sole survivor as well.  It is going to be an awesome story. He is really an amazing person and human being. It is currently being scripted and I am actually producing it as well.

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Interview with Tony Moore

Tony Moore has worked as co-creator and artist for the comic series “The Walking Dead”. Tony only worked on the series until issue #6, but he continued to contribute as cover artist through issue #24, and also illustrated the covers for the first four collected volumes of the series. Movie Mikes had a chance to ask Tony a few questions about his work and got to talk comics.

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Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up working with Robert Kirkman?
Tony Moore: Robert and i had known each other since we were 12. we sat next to each other in 7th grade history class. After high school, we started working on our first book, Battle Pope, which we published independently under our own label, Funk-O-Tron. We worked together for several years on other projects, and then the idea for The Walking Dead cropped up.

MG: Are you excited you see one of your comics “The Walking Dead” be transformed into a TV series?
TM: Who wouldn’t be? It’s an amazing experience!

MG: Do you feel the TV show stays true to your comic?
TM: Amazingly true. Even the new parts made just for the show manage to stay true to the spirit of the book. I’m especially taken aback by how true they’ve stayed to the visual aspects of the books. my designs and general aesthetic are all over this thing, and it’s really insane to see my work brought to life like this.

MG: What is your favorite comic of all time? Favorite comic book movie?
TM: My favorite comic of all time might be Frank Miller and Geof Darrow’s Hard Boiled. I have Willeford Home Appliances logo tattooed on my forearm. I also love the old EC Comics stuff, especially their horror stuff. On that front, HBO’s Tales from the Crypt series is probably my favorite comics adaptation. I’m also pretty damned partial to Zwigoff and Clowes’ film version of Ghost World.

MG: How long is your process on average for each comic you work on?
TM: About 6 weeks, usually. That’s if i pencil and ink it myself.

MG: What are you currently working on now?
TM: I’m working on the final issue of Fear Agent, which is a sci-fi space western adventure book that I co-created with Rick Remender. It’s published by Dark Horse Comics. Rick and I are also working on a new project at Marvel, which I can’t announce just yet. Suffice it to say, it’s a wild new take on an old 90’s fan-favorite who has been in the chiller for a while. I think people are going to dig what we’re doing with it.

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Interview with Anika Noni Rose

Anika Noni Rose is currently starring in Tyler Perry’s latest film “For Colored Girls”.  Anika also voiced Princess Tiana in Disney’s “The Princess and The Frog” and starred along side Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson in “Dreamgirls”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Anika about her new movie and what it was like to play a Disney Princess.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Jasmine in “For Colored Girls”?
Anika Noni Rose: She is a dancer and teaches dance. She is  really positive and light. She had students she is trying to send forth and move them on to college. She is a great lover of music. She is one of the people who walks down the street and has their own personal soundtrack. She is always hearing music and seeing beauty in things. She has an encounter that changes her life.

MG: How was it working with such a strong female cast?
AR: It was wonderful working with everyone since it so rarely happens to have all that great talent and women of color together. It was interesting too because we didn’t even get to work together so much. So often we were either paired up or by yourself. So the times we were together were mostly in the makeup trailer or passing each other on the way to do our scenes. Even that was joyous because it was like passing the baton. Literally my first day on the set, I was walking on and Loretta Devine was walking off. When I walked off the set, Kerry Washington was walking on. It was fantastic to be able to share that with them.

MG: How was it working with director Tyler Perry?
AR: It was really good. He is an extraordinarily collaborative director. He is very open to whatever you are bringing to the picture. There was always open dialogue about the character’s journey and what you felt worked. That is a great thing to have. You are allowed to bring with you the history that you have created for this person.

MG: How did it feel for you to be a Disney Princess in “The Princess and the Frog”?
AR: It was fantastic. It was something I always wanted to do. Not even necessarily be a princess but just to be a voice for Disney. I was thrilled and also determined to get the role. I was so glad I was able to do that. I have already seen pictures of little itty-bitty Tiana’s for their Halloween costumes. It is really beautiful to see that so many people are affected by the character. She has this forward thinking and it is something you rarely see in a film.

MG: The music in the film is so fun, one of my favorites, did you enjoy recording it?
AR: I didn’t actually sing on the soundtrack. There is a rumor out that I am but I am not. No, I wish I were. God, I wish I were. I had personal things happening in my life that I wasn’t able to be around when the soundtrack was being done. So the person that you do have on it is  Janelle Monáe. She is one of the most innovative people to come out and extraordinary talented. Jill Scott is also on the soundtrack, so you are alright! So I am not singing in the film.

MG: What was the best part for you working on “Dreamgirls”?
AR: I think just being a part of it in general. I am Broadway girl, so I couldn’t think of a better segue for myself. It was a lot of work but I am used to that type of work. So to me it was about just a different way of pacing yourself. I am used to creating a musical. I am familiar with that landscape. The difference on the film is you are going to do the beginning of that song about twelve times before lunch. Then you are going to do it again from another angle after lunch another eight times. You will be working on one song for two days over and over. It is a different type of stamina. Did I feel like I was out of my zone? No.

MG: You have worked in comedy, drama, animation, what is your favorite type of role?
AR: No favorite, but I am ready to be bad now [laughs]. I am ready to me bad. It would be great to be a superhero character. I am ready to fly in the air and kick somebody. I am prepared for that. I am not sure what’s the next thing I am going to do, but I would like to see a five foot two woman kicking butt.

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MovieMikes’ “The Walking Dead” Interview Series

“The Walking Dead’ is based on Robert Kirkman’s hugely successful and popular comic book series. AMC’s new original series, “The Walking Dead”, premieres with a 90-minute episode on Halloween night: Oct. 31 at 10/9c. Written and executive produced by three-time Academy Award-nominee Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption”, “The Green Mile”), who also directs the pilot. The show is an epic, edge-of-your-seat drama where personal struggles are magnified against a backdrop of moment-to-moment survival. It follows County Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) waking up in an empty hospital after weeks in a coma, finds himself utterly alone. The world as he knows it is gone, ravaged by a zombie epidemic. “The Walking Dead” tells the story of the weeks and months that follow after the apocalypse.

Movie Mikes have complied our biggest cast/crew interview series to date for “The Walking Dead”.  Since the show aired on Oct.31st, 2010, it has become AMC highest rating series.  Season two plans were put into full swing just after its premiere and is set for October 2011.

*UPDATE* 3-7-11 – We will be adding interviews with Andrew Lincoln & Melissa Suzanne McBride


Andrew Lincoln

Melissa Suzanne McBride

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Interview with John Carpenter

John Carpenter is one of the most well-known names in horror films. He created such iconic films as “Halloween”, “The Thing”, “Escape from New York”, “They Live” and the list goes on. John’s last theatrical film was “Ghosts of Mars” in 2001 but he is returning to features with his upcoming film “The Ward”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with John about his career and his return with “The Ward”.

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Mike Gencarelli: Out of all of the films you have made, which is the one you are the most proud of and why?
John Carpenter: Oh man, I do not think I can do that.  It is kind of impossible.  I have invested so much in each one of them. I love them all. But I never want to see any of them again. I  hate them after a while because I see everything that I did wrong. I really can not say to be honest.

MG: Looking back on “Halloween”, would you have done anything different today?
JC: Sure, I think everyone would looking back.  Any director would do something different but you cannot play that game.  This is what you had at the time when you made it. You stand by the decisions you made and tried to make the best out of it.  You have to leave that crap behind.

MG: Was there ever a film you wanted to get made that you couldn’t?
JC: There were a couple I wanted to do that never came about.  That we couldn’t setup or the scripts weren’t right.  All sorts of things like that.  That sort of a thing always happens over a career.

MG: Was there a reason why you never did sequels to your films, Besides “Escape from L.A.”?
JC: Well, I did not think that some of my films had any more story in them.  “Halloween” is a good example, it didn’t really have much of a story left after the first.  But I was proven wrong wasn’t I?  After all these sequels, they just keep making them over and over again.

MG: You directed “The Thing” which was a remake and now they are doing it again, any feelings?
JC: They are doing sort of a prequel to my film.  So if it is good, great.  If it is not, that is too bad.  I have no control over it.  If it is something I do not have control over, I do not worry about it.

MG: Your sound for your scores are so unique, how do you create the music for your films?
JC: Most of the scores that I have done myself and I haven’t done them all but I worked on a synthesizer.  Over the years, the synthesizers are getting better and better.  The sound has gotten more sophisticated.  I started way back when, when you had to tune each synthesizer and amplifier manually.  Now a days you have a whole lot of really cool programs you can use.  The music I create is all improvised to each scene.

MG: Why did you choose not to do the score for “The Ward?
JC: A very, very talented composer by the name of Mark Kilian did the score.  It is too hard now.  I am too old to do it.  I want someone else to take that responsibility [laughs].

MG: Tell us about your return to feature film with “The Ward”?
JC: I stopped directing for a while.  But I did the two episodes for “Masters of Horror” and they were fun.  I thought “Well, I may try this again”. So “The Ward” came along and it was a small enough movie with a small enough cast.  It was contained, isolated and perfect for what I wanted to do at the time.  Even though it was a little film , they are always challenging and I always enjoy making them.  Those are the basic reasons, plus it was a neat little thriller.

MG: What was the hardest aspect returning to directing with “The Ward”?
JC: Every movie has challenges.  Every single one of them.  In this case, it was stuffing all this material into a very short amount of time to shoot.  That is always a challenge with a low budget film.  You have to figure out how are you going to get these scenes done in a very short amount of time.  There is a lot of pre-thinking that goes into that.  You have to figure out exactly how you are going to show a certain part of the story ahead of time.  I spent a lot of my time preparing on that film.

MG: How did you get involved with the upcoming video game “F.E.A.R. 3”?
JC: Steve Niles is a friend of mine.  He is a comic book writer of “30 Days of Night” series.  He called me up and said “I am working on this “F.E.A.R. 3″ game and it is a lot of fun, do you want work on it?”  I said “Sure” and that was it.  I have no role in the game.  We are working mostly on the dialogue.  Video games are different because they involve game play which drives the whole thing.  It is not story, it is game play.  So we are slaves to that.  Basically, Steve and I finessed the characters and their dialogue.  We did a lot of the scenes that connect all the action together.

MG: Have you ever considered writing a memoir to cover your amazing career?
JC: Yeah, sometimes I actually do think about it.  But maybe we will see.  I am not ready to do it yet. We’ll see!

MG: What can you tell us about the upcoming “Fangland” film?
JC: Right now, that is in the stage of development.  It may become a movie right now or it may not.  It is like one of those deals in Hollywood.

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Interview with Laurie Holden

Laurie Holden is currently starring in AMC new TV series “The Walking Dead”. Laurie is quite familiar with the horror genre having worked on “The Mist”, with “Dead” creator Frank Darabont and films like “Silent Hill”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Laurie about her career and her new role in “The Walking Dead”.

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Patty Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Andrea in “The Walking Dead”?
Laurie Holden: Andrea is a gal that before the apocalypse has dedicated her life to defending and protecting the lives of others. So in this apocalyptic world there is no court room but she continues to fight injustice. She has this strong moral compass and this passion to help others. Her journey is an interesting one. A lot of things happen to her that test her mentally and also test her faith. She is a survivor and a natural born leader.  Throughout everything that happens she find that she has this strong resilience that she never knew she had.

PG: How was it working with such an amazing cast?
LH: It has honestly been a dream come true. Across the board everyone has been incredible. Greg Nicotero and KNB have done such amazing work. My cast are the most hard working people. Each and everyone is ridiculously kind and supportive of one another. I a just lucky to be working with such a  wonderful group of people. Plus our crew in Atlanta rocks.

PG: What was the most challenging aspect for you working the show?
LH: I think the most challenging part for me was working in the heat.  We were shooting during the summer in Atlanta and they had a heat wave there. Sometimes it was like a 115 degrees with humidity. There were two days were we shot on the roof of a skyscraper, they measured the heat and it was I believe 152 degrees. But at the same time, it was the end of the world in the show.

PG: How was it getting to work with Frank Darabont again?
LH: He is an incredible artist. This is my third collaboration with him. I did “The Majestic” and “The Mist” with him previously. It such a privilege, honor and a pleasure.

PG: You have done quite a bit of television work, how does “The Walking Dead” compare?
LH: You know it is night and day different. All of my TV work seems to be night and day different. I did a western period piece on CBS called “The Magnificent Seven”. I was wearing corsets. Then I did “The X-Files” and I was in business suits. I was on the “The Shield” where I played an ICE agent and I was shooting in gritty downtown LA. Now I am just a gal trying to keep it together at the end of the world. They all couldn’t really be any more different.

PG: What was your most memorable experience from working on “The Mist”
LH: I think what I loved the most about working on “The Mist” was that had three camera operators. We never knew where the camera was. We shot the whole film in the super market. Literally you had no idea when you were on camera. It really keep us actors on the edge of our seats. We had to be on at all times. It felt like live theater. It was really exhilarating.

PG: Tell us about working on the film “Silent Hill”, Where you a fan of the video games?
LH: That was a really amazing experience, I shot that in Toronto.  Our director was such a visually stunning creative. No I didn’t know anything about the video games. I didn’t know anything about “The Walking Dead” either before I started. I found out it is this international phenomenon. I feel very blessed.

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Interview with Sarah Wayne Callies

You might recognize Sarah Wayne Callies as Dr. Sara Tancredi on “Prison Break”. Sarah is currently co-staring as Lori in “The Walking Dead”. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Sarah to discuss her role in the show and her other upcoming projects.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Lori on “The Walking Dead”?
Sarah Wayne Callies: Probably the first thing she would say about herself is that she is Rick’s wife and Carl’s mom. This is a woman’s who identity is very much situated in those relationships. She is somebody, who in contrast to other characters I have played before it wasn’t really raised with a sense of a whole lot of possibilities or ambition for herself outside of the family. She lived a very ordinary/normal life. Then everything goes to hell. She starts learning things about herself that is actually surprising, encouraging and terrifying.

MG: Did you enjoy playing such a strong leading role?
SC: For me this isn’t a zombie story. This isn’t a horror story. For me this is a story about people. It is about what happens to us in the most extreme of circumstances. Not just a one off. This is a very protracted scenario of people living constantly in crisis. They are in a pre-industrial revolution. You really never know who someone is going to be and you never known who you are going to be in those circumstances. What I love about Lori this is a woman that six months ago who have told you that she is capable of all of the miraculous mundane wife and mother things. She discovers that she has enough inside to be able to help the people she loves survive.

MG: Were you familiar with the comic prior, or after did you check it out?
SC: Not only was I not familiar with the comic book. I had never read a single comic book. They have never come up on my radar. Now I am that deep in it. My husband and I got utterly hooked on it. We were back at the comic book store like a junkie. The guy at the comic shop told me if this is your first comic then I have struck gold.

MG: How was it playing Dr. Sara Tancredi on “Prison Break”?
SC: They are such different women. Sara was a woman who was very confident at her way to think her way through and out of things. She was very intellectual and very privileged. She is a woman who is not only a doctor but a doctor at a prison. Sara had a very limited sense of her own capability when it came to relationships, love, trust and family. Here journey in the story was about coming to terms with ability to open up and trust and make a family with someone.

MG: For a show that you were in for almost five years, how do you feel now that its over?
SC: I feel like we told our story. I feel good about it. It has a beginning, a middle and a end. There was controversy all throughout, some people didn’t like the beginning, some the middle and some the end [laughs]. I feel we ended the show where the show needed to end. I am really proud of it.

MG: How do you feel going from crime drama to zombie horror?
SC: What is interesting, “Prison Break” was more a romance for me. This is from experiencing the show through my character. It was a story of a woman learning that she could fall in love. “The Walking Dead” to me is the story of a woman learning what it means to survive. They are not as far about as you might think. Part of what I get off on as an actor is doing characters that are as different as possible. It is nice to do something different. I have never seen a zombie movie before this. The gore I am starting to see in the show is an important part of creating a world where you really do believe these people are constantly in danger.

MG: Congratulations on your screenplay getting optioned, what can you tell us about “Elena’s Serenade”?
SC: Thank you, I am so excited about that. “Elena’s Serenade” is a simple story about a little girl that crosses a desert to be become a glass blower. Her family is a glass blower but will not teach her. Her family is desperately poor and needs help in the shop. So she sets out who all of the competence of youth to save her family. It is infused with a lot of magical realism. Talking creatures, music and parts of it might be a dream. It is the perception of the growing world as it unfolds to a child’s eyes. I think it is realistic in the way that children see things. It is a children’s picture book that I have been reading to my daughter for like a year and a half. I thought to myself one day that I see the full length version of this. I have been in touch with the author and he and I talked a lot about it. It is has been a close calibration. We are just taking the next steps. We are also considering translating the film into Spanish and doing it as a foreign language film. Depending on which director we end up with if they think that will be the way to go.

MG: Tell us about the other projects you are involved in?
SC: I just did a movie with Milla Jovovich called “Faces in the Crowd”. It was great fun and a kind of crazy experimental type of film. The role I am playing I think there are six other actresses playing the role as well. It was a lot of funny and something I have never seen done before. I worked on this very cool Nigerian film about the Niger Delta, called “Black Gold”. That was an incredible experience. It has been an incredible year, I feel like I have got to work with some really extraordinary people. I am so honored by the work I have been able to do.

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Interview with Jon Bernthal

Jon Bernthal is currently starring in AMC’s new TV series, “The Walking Dead”. Jon is no stranger to TV or movies. He appeared in recent films like “Night of the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” and “The Ghost Writer”. On television, he recently co-starred in “Eastwick” and HBO’s “The Pacific”. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Jon about his role in “The Walking Dead” and his other recent projects.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your character Shane Walsh in “The Walking Dead”?
Jon Bernthal: I just came from New York Comic Con, unlike San Diego…New York was a more feisty crowd and they booed the hell out of Shane. I dig that people feel that strongly about the character but since I am playing him I think that Shane is a really loyal friend of Rick’s. We are going slightly in our own direction from the comic. We are playing up that Rick, Lori and Shane are childhood best friends. They grew up together. Shane is Rick’s best friend. I look at him as Rick’s pit bull. He is naturally Rick’s number two. I think that is how they work as friends. Rick’s is settled and has this great wonderful family. We are hinting that Shane is this wild and crazy bachelor. He is a guy that can just roll into Rick’s house at any point, pull up a chair and start eating dinner with them. When the apocalypse hits and Shane assume Rick to be dead, the first thing he does is go and get Lori and Carl to protect them. He leads them out in the woods with a group of survivors. I think at that point he crosses into this leadership position. It doesn’t suit him, he is a number two guy. When Rick comes back in order for the group to survive, it makes more sense for Shane to fall back. Unfortunately now he has had a little taste of what it is like to be number one. That is a center where a lot of the drama comes from in the first season.

MG: What was it like working with such an amazing ensemble cast?
JB: I gotta tell you, I have been out in Los Angeles like 5 years now and I have been really lucky. I have got to work on some really cool projects. I gotta say, this project really kicks everything in the ass. I have never worked with actors like this. In episode three when we are all together, everyone is just so great together. They are all so talented. As far as Andrew (Lincoln) is concerned who plays Rick Grimes. I have never seen anything like it. I already got a chance to see the pilot and saw how great he actually is. Getting to work with him day in and day out is so great. I think that there is not a person on television right now that can throw down a performance like he does. I am thrilled to be working with such great people. They are all awesome.

MG: What was the best part so far about working on the show?
JB: Frank Daramont is a genius. They created this unbelievably interesting character. He dies really quick in the comic , but Frank really explores this guy. He is giving me an opportunity as an actor to week in and week out try to change the audiences mind about whether he is a good guy or bad guy. It is really cool character for me to play. I think he is going to be a character that keeps people guessing and keeps proving people wrong. It has been a great opportunity for me. Greg Nicotero did the makeup and he is the best in the business. I love AMC, it is my favorite network. The comic book is so amazing and we are lucky to have (Robert) Kirkman on board. We are able to come up with some really cool tangents from the comic. It is all really cool. I think my favorite part was honestly going to work everyday and being a part of this all. We felt like we really did something good.

MG: How do you feel working on this show differs from your other TV shows?
JB: I think this show is different for a whole number of reasons. Look, I do not think I can really compare this with anything I have done on network TV. He we are just playing by a completely different set of rules. First and foremost everyone really wanted to make a show that was as good as possible. AMC’s whole outlook is quality first. They really want to bring people to the show rather than bring the show to the people. They not taking any shortcut or pulling any punches. The only thing I have been a part of that I can compare it too was “The Pacific”. I think “The Pacific” described the numbness and the horrors of war. This show is really about digging in and finding humanity in a really fucked up world. This is a real character piece. It really shows the relationships between the characters and emotions. I tell people I am going a zombie show, they all of the sudden think of a gory campy cute thing. This show IS gory but there is nothing cute about this. It is really gritty show. These characters really land like they do on the page. It is something that is really human. That is what really takes it apart from “The Pacific”, it is not just about the big battle scenes. It is really about these people and most of that really comes from the comic.

MG: What like it like working on such a big budget film like “Night of the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”?
JB: It was really cool. A lot of that movie was done in improv. We went off script all the time. I got a chance to do improvisation with Christopher Guest, Hank Azaria and Alain Chabat (who played Napoleon). They were some of the best actors I have worked with. They have this great sense of comedy. A lot of the stuff we did ended up getting cut from the movie. We did a lot extra stuff but I do not think it served the main storyline. Ben (Stiller) was a great guy. I really loved that movie. It was ton of fun and I never been apart of something like that before.

MG: Last fall, you played Raymond Gardener in the TV show “Eastwick”, how was it working working on that show?
JB: [laughs] It was cool man. I grew up playing sports like baseball and football through college and I am boxer. I am active type dude and that was a pretty feminine show. It was weird going from “The Pacific”, where it was like 150 guys in a rain forest in Northern Australia to a show about three beautiful woman on the back lot of Warner Brothers. It was a different experience for me. It was cool. I made some good friends from the show and it was interesting experience.

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Interview with Emma Bell

Emma Bell is probably a familiar face to television fans.  The 23 year old actress has appeared on “Law and Order” as well as it’s spin off “S.V.U.”  She has also shown up on “First Watch,” “Ghost Whisperer” and “Supernatural.”  Those last two shows prepared her for film roles in such thrillers as “Frozen”, which she stars in.  She is also slated to star in “Final Destination 5.”  Staying true to the genre, Bell has a starring role in the upcoming AMC series “The Walking Dead.”  Movie Mikes recently had a chance to talk with Emma about her roles and how horror has been good to her.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your character Amy on “The Walking Dead”?
Emma Bell: I’m so excited about “The Walking Dead” coming out.  I’m proud of every project I’ve done but this project in particular I’m really, really proud of.  Just the amazing people attached.  I’m very, very happy.  I’m really proud of it. I play Amy, the younger sister of the lead character, Andrea.  The story line is that the sheriff in a small town in Georgia gets shot and when he wakes up the Zombie Apocalypse has happened in the world.  And he doesn’t know what’s happened. He doesn’t know why its happened.  So he then goes hunting for his family and on this hunt he finds this survivor camp where his family is, as well as myself and other survivors.  Our personal story line is that I’m a college student and we were

on a road trip.  My sister decided she wanted to go on a road trip with me back to college.  So we’re just two girls on our way through Georgia when the Apocalypse happens.  We manage to make our way out of Atlanta and are taken in by a man and his army to their campsite.  That’s our story line.

MG: Where you familiar with the comic prior?
EM: No, I wasn’t really an avid comic reader.  When I was younger I read a lot of books but not a lot of comic books.  But as soon as I booked the part I went out and read all of the comic books.  I was really impressed.  To me a comic book really lends itself to a TV series.  While reading the comic I would say to myself “of course this is going to be a great TV show.  It’s
got drama, it’s got character.  It’s got great elements.  And for me, reading it in comic book form was really interesting for me because I’d never really read a comic book.  It’s amazing how you’re reading a story through visuals versus words.   It’s a really different vein of storytelling.  And I continue to read the comics.  Every time there’s a new one out I have to read the story.

MG: How did you get involved with “Frozen”?
EB: I auditioned like any other project.  I read the script and really liked it so I went in and auditioned.  The story is that I was the very first person to read for the role.  I came in really early one morning and did my thing and I guess they really liked me.  They kept auditioning people but they eventually hired me.  It’s funny because when I went in for the audition I was really sick.  I was under the weather and not even sure if I was going to go to the audition that day…maybe I’d just stay in bed.  But I’m really glad I decided to go.  It’s really become a big thing for me.  Anyway, a few weeks after  I read I got a phone call saying they wanted to hire me and they invited me to the cast read through.

MG: Tell us how it was working on that film?
EB: We were actually up on a real ski lift.  We shot for six weeks in the winter…we shot through February and March in Utah.  We were sixty feet above the ground.  We got hit with constant blizzards while we were shooting.  We had three weeks of night shoots.  But it was beautiful because it all worked so well for the film.  And the cast all pulled together
through the experience.  And it made it all seem more real because you’re surviving the shoot.  The director pushed to have the shoot out in the elements.  Some people wanted to film it all on a stage with green screen.  And the argument was how are we going to act like it’s really cold when it’s really 72 degrees.

MG: Are you a fan of the horror genre?
EB: Horror is a genre’ that has a lot of branches to it.  There are lots of different opportunities to do lots of different types of horror.  I’ve loved all of the jobs I’ve worked on.  Horror has certainly been very good to me.  “Frozen” is kind of a horror/thriller. “Walking Dead” is kind of a character driven horror/thriller.  The thing I love about horror is that everything in horror is heightened.  It’s very dramatic.  There’s either a killer or you have to survive some kind of horrible experience.  Or even death itself is approaching you in the “Final Destination” films.  It’s very dramatic.  And that’s a really cool experience to portray as an actress.

MG: You take the lead again in “Final Destination 5”, what can you tell us about your role and the movie?
EB: Yeah it is really great.  We are filming in with these amazing 3D cameras.  Steven Quale, who worked with James Cameron on “Avatar”, is directing and he is so great.  The rest of the cast members, we really love each other.  I have no words to describe the feeling I have when I found out, I got the role.  I play Molly and she is sort of a small town girl.  Nicholas D’Agosto plays Sam, who is her love interest.  His character is the one who has the premonitions like the other “Final Destination” movies.  He is an aspiring chef and trying to figure out what to do with this life.  We go on this crazy ride due to his premonition and are joined by a bunch of their co-workers.  Molly is very girly.  I wear a lot of pink.  She is very vulnerable and has a big heart.

MG: How has it been filming so far?
EB: We are shooting in 3D and that has really been the coolest thing so far.  I get watch these masterminds work with this new technology.  Just doing these scenes in front of these 3D cameras.  It actually looks like it is two cameras intercepting each other.  It is really cool, there is a viewing both where you can watch the takes.  You put on these 3D glasses. It has really been a surreal experience so far.

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