Crispin Nathaniel Haskins talks about his book “The JAWSFest Murders”

When first time author Crispin Nathaniel Haskins took pen to paper he combined two of his greatest passions: mysteries and the film “Jaws.” The finished product is the recently released “The JAWSFest Murders.” Haskins took time out while promoting his novel to sit down with Media Mikes.

Mike Smith: When did you come up with the idea for the book?
Crispin Haskins: I have always wanted to be a writer. As far back as I can remember I thought it would be cool. Last August, just before I went to Martha’s Vineyard for JAWSfest, I had a job interview for a sales position at work. I didn’t really want the job but I thought that I needed a change. I decided that if I didn’t get the job, I would use the time that I would have spent in the sales job finally writing my book. I thought of Paul McPhee (Artist), Jim Beller (Author) and Erik Hollander (Filmmaker), friends of mine using “Jaws” as a vehicle for their creative output. It’s the best thing to do. When people are frustrated about their life I have always said, “Follow your heart and the money will follow.” So, I did. Two of my favorite things are “Jaws” and mysteries. That’s how “The JAWSfest Murders” came to be.

MS: The book is very in-depth as to where things are on the Vineyard. Did you have to appeal to any of the islanders to use their places of business in the book?
CH: I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t even tell anyone that I was writing a book until I was about sixty pages into it. It was a very personal thing for me. It still is. As for the in-depth Vineyard descriptions, I am really happy with people saying that they really felt like they were on the island. I am really touched by that. People also say that they can tell that I really love Martha’s Vineyard and that’s true. I guess the two are part and parcel. I had just returned from JAWSfest so it was still fresh in my mind. Any gaps I had, I called friends on the island or used Google Maps. That street view feature was awesome for answering questions in my head like, “What the heck was across the street from the Edgartown bus stop??” I love the Internet. I used the Internet for a lot of my research into the history of the island too.

MS: The book has a lot of inside references to the “Jaws” film series that fans will spot. Was that an intentional tip of the hat to the readers?
CH: Absolutely!! Do you think you got them all Mike? (NOTE: I thought I did but the challenging way he asked me tells me I’m do for a second reading) Some were more obvious than others. When I was writing I thought that I may as well have some fun with it. My immediate audience would be “Jaws” fans so “Jaws” references would be a must. My main character is a fan of the film so he would obviously be thinking about “Jaws” locations as he walked or drove past them but I thought why not take it one step further? Why not put a few in there that ONLY hard core “Jaws” fans would get. Like a secret language… That was fun.

MS: As a fellow member of the “Jaws” fan community, I found that several of the characters seemed very familiar. Were any of them based possibly on someone you might know with an entertainment web site?
CH: (laughing loudly) Did you see yourself in a character or two? Well, I haven’t divulged all of the character’s identities exactly. Some are a little more obvious than others and some are amalgamations. Some are completely fictitious of course. It is a novel after all! The villainous characters are completely fictitious and one character is named after a friend who asked me to name a character after them.

MS: How has the book been received by readers?
CH: I can’t get over the positive response and reviews on Amazon! The book is selling well and the reviews have been overwhelmingly great. It really means a lot. It’s one thing to write a book but then to put it out there to be pecked by birds is quite another. It was nerve wracking. My worry seems to be for naught though. I’m very thankful for that.

MS: Is there a new book in the works?
CH: There is. Or rather, there are! I am working on two books right now. One is a follow up to “The JAWSfest Murders.” Charles is back on Martha’s Vineyard to visit Chief Laurie Knickles and it’s not long before there is blood in the water again! I’m really enjoying writing this series. The second book is a collection of horror short stories. I love reading short stories so I’m slowly working on putting a collection together. I have no idea how many stories there will be. I’m playing that one by ear. You’ll get the first copy Mike!

Check out our review of “The JAWSFest Murders”, here

To order your copy of “The JAWSFEST Murders” please visit


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Interview with Crispin Glover

Crispin Hellion Glover is all of the above, an actor, director and screenwriter, musician and author. Glover is most known for playing the role of George McFly in “Back to the Future”, and the “Creepy Thin Man” in the “Charlie’s Angels” series. Crispin is currently on tour with his most personal and favorite films “What Is It?” and “It is Fine. Everything is Fine!”. He recently starred in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Hot Tub Time Machine”. Movie Mikes was able to talk to Crispin and he spoke to us about his amazing career and shows his real passion for film and making movies.

Click here to purchase Crispin’s film and books

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get the role of George McFly playing Michael J. Fox’s father in “Back to the Future”?
Crispin Glover: When I first got the role, Michael J. Fox was not cast in the movie yet. I was one of the first people cast in the film. I auditioned for a movie, which had nothing to do with “Back to the Future” and the director had liked me. I didn’t end up being in the film but he introduced me to Steven Spielberg. After I had a meeting with Steven Spielberg, Steven setup a meeting for me with Robert Zemeckis. Then I ended up auditioning for “Back to the Future” and got the part. When I auditioned I did not know that there was the older role. I was told after I got the part that it would include the older character. It was a good opportunity.

Mike Gencarelli: Did you enjoy being part of the film “Back to the Future”?
Crispin Glover: It was a long time ago. Michael J. Fox wasn’t the original person cast for the role. Eric Stolz was originally cast to play the character. I shot most of my scenes with Eric Stolz and then he was replaced with Michael J. Fox. I understand how well the film is liked and people have very fond feelings of the film. For me I was more concerned about being replaced since an actor was fired already, but it was a really good role to be playing for me.

Mike Gencarelli: In “Charlie’s Angels” series, whose choice was it to make the Creepy Thin Man not speak?
Crispin Glover: The character originally had lines but the lines were very expositional. They really wanted to hear my thoughts, so I told them I thought it would be a better silent antagonist. They enthusiastically stood up and said “Exactly, that’s great! That is exactly how we are going to do this”.

MG: You remade horror classics, “Willard” and “The Wizard of Gore”, were you a fan of these films?
CG: No, I had actually seen neither of the films previous to being a part of the productions. First I read the screenplays and looked at the characters. I watched each of the films and I looked to see if there was anything I could gleam from the actor that would be pertinent to the screenplays. In both cases I thought that the screenplays and characters were significantly different from one another.

MG: Was the motion capture difficult to perform while playing Grendel in “Beowulf”?
CG: No. The particular type of motion capture that Robert Zemeckis uses is in a certain way less distracting than shooting a normal film. Every actor is in 100% close up and in a wide shot both at the same time. Every actor is giving 100% in every take which makes for a very good for performance. The way the film is done is you’re in a sound stage with each of the actors you are acting with. People do not realize that you are physically there performing the character. Everything the character does is actually what you do. I was there with Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins.

MG: Tell us about your films “What Is It?” and “It’s Fine! Everything is Fine”?
CG: The first is called “What Is It”. Most of the actors in the film have down-syndrome. The film is not about down-syndrome at all. It is my psychological reaction to the constraints that have happened within the last three years or so within corporately funded and distributed film making. Anything that can truly make audience members uncomfortable has been exorcised or the film will not be corporately funded and distributed. I think that is very damaging because it is when the audience members sit back in their chairs and look up at the screen and say “Is this right what I am watching?” “Is this wrong what I am watching?”, “Should I be here?”, “Should the filmmaker have done this?”, “What is it” and that is the title of the film. This is when education happens when people are asking questions. The second film is called “It’s Fine! Everything is Fine.” It was written by an actor who is in the film. His name is Steven C. Stewart. He was born with a severe case of cerebral palsy. He was very difficult to understand and when his mother died in his early twenties he was put into a nursing home. The people that were taking care of him would called him an MR or mental retard. He was of normal intelligence, and the emotional turmoil he went through during that decade, I can’t even begin to imagine. When he got out of the nursing home, he wrote this screenplay. I read it around 1987 and as soon as I read it, I knew that this was something I would have to produce. I put Steve into part one in order to make his film a second part of the trilogy. He wrote his screenplay of course not to be a part of a trilogy but I realized that there were certain thematic elements that were explored that it would make sense as a trilogy. “What Is It” originally started out as a short film and ended up as a feature film. When I was expanding it I realized I could put Steve into the film and then make his film into the sequel. I shot his scenes in ‘96 or ’97. I then went on to other projects and then in 2000 one of his lungs collapsed and he got pneumonia. Then it became apparent that if we didn’t do something soon, we may never get the chance at all. This was around the time that I got the first “Charlie’s Angels” film and the money I made from that film I could put straight into making Steven C. Stewart’s film and that is exactly what happened. Within a month after we finished shooting, Steve died. I was very glad we were able to get the film made. There is something in the film itself, there is an intangible quality. Once you’ve seen the film it is very clear what is being expressed, but it is a little bit difficult to put in words. Steve had a difficult time being understood through words but he communicated something very strongly through this film. It is extremely important to me. It is the thing I am most proud of out of anything I have done in my whole career.

MG: Where can we see these films?
CG: I tour with my films when it works organically with my film schedule. In the beginning of June, I am going to have a series of shows at the IFC Center in NYC. Go on to and sign up for the newsletter and it will email them and let them know where I will be traveling with the film. Before the show, I perform a one hour dramatic narration of eight different books. When I first started publishing the books in the 80’s, they are very heavily illustrated and I was always told that I should have a book reading. It didn’t really make sense because they are so heavily illustrated that if you do not see the illustrations it wouldn’t work. I knew I would have to have a slide show of the books, which is exactly what I did for the show.

MG: Do you plan on releasing them on DVD?
CG: I do not have plans for it right now.

MG: Any idea when you are going to make the final film in the trilogy “It is Mine”?
CG: It is not the next film I am going to make. “What Is It?” and “It’s Fine! Everything is Fine” were relatively complex productions. I need to make a similar production first before I start “It is Mine” which will be a complicated production.

MG: Tell us about your role as The Knave of Hearts in this years “Alice in Wonderland”? What was the best part about working on that film?
CG: It was a very different technology than “Beowulf” even though there is a motion capture element that is used for my body. There are moments in Alice in Wonderland where the motions continued in far shots and it is more animated. The technique is very similar to “Beowulf” where motions are my motions even though I was up on very high stilts. It makes the motion I had as a real actor different than what I would be if I was wearing stilts. People forget that it wasn’t all CGI, I was there on stilts. I had a great time working on this film though. I have known Johnny Depp and Tim Burton for many years now and it is just great working with them.

MG: Your character’s running joke steals the film “Hot Tub Time Machine”, did you enjoy playing the role of Phil?
CG: Yeah, I had a very good time on this film as well. The cast was very nice and a funny group of people. The director, Steve Pink was up for a very organic approach to working with the scenes. The way that it was approached was a very good thing. I had fun making this film.

MG: 2010 has been a busy year for you and it’s only April, tell us what projects you have lined for the future?
CG: There is an online short project out now called “Drunk History”, about someone that gets very intoxicated and then tells a portion of history. John C. Reilly and I play the actors in the portion of the history. John plays Nikola Tesla and I play Thomas Edison. It is very well done. I am in another feature called “Mr. Nice” which will come out later this year. The next film I am planning to make is a film with my father. He and I have never acted together before. I am still working on the screenplay but I am heading out to the Czech Republic hoping to start building sets soon.

Click here to visit Crispin’s website
Click here to purchase Crispin’s film and books

Check out below to get a sample of Crispin’s tour and also watch Crispin’s short “Drunk History”