Exclusive Interview for TERRIFIER 2 with Damien Leone and David Howard Thornton aka Art the Clown!

MediaMikes had a chance to chat with writer/director Damien Leone and star David Howard Thornton of the new movie “Terrifier 2”, which will be in theaters on October 6, 2022 from Cinedigm in partnership with Iconic Events.

From Writer/Director Damien Leone (All Hallows’ Eve, Terrifier), the highly anticipated, ultra-gory slasher sequel Terrifier 2welcomes back David Howard Thornton as the demonic killer, Art the Clown, and introduces Lauren LaVera as Sienna, who is bound to become an instant fan favorite as the next Final Girl.  Also returning is Samantha Scaffidi who reprises her role as Victoria Heyes, with horror icon Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and professional wrestler Chris Jericho also making appearances. 

SYNOPSIS: After being resurrected by a sinister entity, Art the Clown returns to the timid town of Miles County where he targets a teenage girl and her younger brother on Halloween night.

David Hasselhoff Goes Heavy Metal on “Through The Night” with Two-Man Metal Band CUESTACK

Kickstarter Campaign Now Underway

TV icon David Hasselhoff has recorded a metal song, “Through the Night,” with the two-man metal project CUESTACK, and a Kickstarter campaign to finance the final steps of editing a video and “making-of” documentary on the project is now underway.

The collaboration between Hasselhoff and CUESTACK started in 2018 with many demos and meetings to make what seemed like an impossible idea slowly turn into a reality. As life-long “Hoff‘” fans, CUESTACK had the ultimate goal to create a metal project with the most-watched man on TV showing the world his heavy side. Hasselhoff recorded the track with CUESTACK in 2019 in Vienna where they also shot an epic music video together.

The band’s final mission: Finishing the editing process of the cinematic video that will accompany the song. With a limited budget and schedule, CUESTACK shot the entire video with Hasselhoff in just one day, using smaller versions of the sets than originally planned. To turn their retro Sci-Fi/Cyberpunk vision into reality, a massive post-production effort is needed now to extend these basic sets into living worlds.

All Kickstarter contributions go directly into financing those final steps. Aside from providing digital downloads, Hasselhoff fans can pre-order special “Through the Night” box sets, which include a Digipak CD, eight-page booklet with liner notes, printed high-quality autograph card, poster, “Through the Night” baseball cap and custom leather bracelet.

Join the Kickstarter campaign at http://kck.st/3jwgwEH.


When the worlds of eccentric lighting/VFX designer Martin Kames and shred guitar content creator Bernth Brodträger collide, explosive music and art manifest in the form of CUESTACK. An unmistakable blend of metal and electronic music with well established sonic trademarks is the result, paired with an industrial, dystopian corporate identity that is ever-present in the band’s cinematic music videos and artworks.






Film Review: “David Crosby: Remember My Name”

  • Starring:  David Crosby, Cameron Crowe, Graham Nash
  • Directed by: A.J. Eaton
  • Rated:  R
  • Running time:  1 hr 35 mins
  • SONY Picture Classics

I met David Crosby in 1987.  He was backstage getting ready to perform on a Vietnam Veteran’s concert being taped for HBO.  I accidentally walked into what I thought was the bathroom only to find out it was his dressing room.  He was very nice and we talked for a few minutes.  Later that afternoon he, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash performed in (as always) perfect harmony.

Today, at age 72, Crosby is still on the road.  He has to be.  Though he was very successful during his time with The Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash (CSN) and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY), he is quick to point out that he is the only member of those bands who never had a solo hit record.  The new film, “David Crosby: Remember My Name” finds Crosby about to head out for a six week tour.  This saddens him, as he would rather stay home with his wife, Jan.  This saddens Jan, as she is aware of Crosby’s health problems and always fears that when he leaves for a show he will never return home.  But if there is one thing Crosby loves as much as his family, it is to sing.  So out on the road he goes.

An excellent combination of archive footage and interviews, “David Crosby: Remember My Names” is an outstanding film which reminds me, in style, of another documentary, “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.”  This could be because the director of the Campbell doc, James Keach, is an executive producer here.  The film covers almost every aspect of Crosby’s life, both the highs (no pun intended) and the lows.

The son of an Academy Award winning cinematographer (Crosby’s father, Floyd, won the award for his work on the film “Tabu”), Crosby listened to his mother’s records and soon began playing the guitar.  When he got older, he became a co-founder of The Byrds, a very successful group.  However, due to some of his antics – including telling a concert audience that President Kennedy was killed as a result of a conspiracy – he was booted from the band.  He then teamed up with Stills and Nash to form one of the biggest super groups in music history.   We are shown a

Montage of drug fueled images from the period, including one with my friend Carl Gottlieb expounding on them.  (NOTE:  Carl helped David Crosby write his two volume autobiography, “Long Time Gone” and “Since Then”)  We also learn that Dennis Hopper based his character in the film “Easy Rider” on Crosby.  However, things begin going bad when Crosby’s 21 year old girlfriend, Christine Hinton, is killed when a bus hits her van head-on.  Heartbroken, Crosby finds solace in sailing – and drugs.   Later in his life, his addiction will send him to prison.

The film also allows Crosby to take the audience to Kent State University, where 4 students were killed on May 4, 1970 when members of the Ohio National Guard fired their weapons into a group of students who were protesting the war in Vietnam.  There is a cultural center on campus now, a museum dedicated to the images of that tragic day.  The emotion still wells up in Crosby’s voice as he describes how one leader in the National Guard swore he’d never fired his weapon, when a photo on the wall captures him doing just that.  Within a month of the shootings, CSNY release their song “OHIO,” which Neil Young wrote after seeing a LIFE magazine cover story on the shootings.  Neil Young has said that the event was so emotional that David Crosby wept while recording the song.  That emotion, almost 50 years later, is still obvious. 

The film also includes footage of Crosby on tour, and his voice is just as sweet as it was in the 1960s.  He also shares some personal stories about such fellow musical icons as Cass Elliott, Joni Mitchell, Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan.  If you’re a fan of Crosby, or just the music of the period, this film is a must see!

Dean Devlin talks about directing David Tennant in “Bad Samaritan”

Dean Devlin went from starting out chauffeuring for Al Pacino in the early 80’s to writing/producing some one of the biggest films including “Stargate”, “Independence Day” and “Godzilla (1998)”.  Dean stepped into the director’s chair for the first time last year with the big-budget “Geostorm”. He is back again directing and producing a new film starring David Tennant and Robert Sheehan called “Bad Samaritan”. We had a chance to chat with Dean about this new movie and how was it shifting in scale from big studio to independent.

Mike Gencarelli: “Bad Samaritan” has been in development since at least 2013, can you tell us how about you became involved with it?

Dean Devlin: What happened is, back then I got a call from writer Brandon Boyce, who I have been a fan of since “Apt Pupil” and “Wicker Park”, and he said he just finished a new script but before he sent it out to the world he asked if I would make some notes. I read the script and I only had one note for him…and that was not to show it to anyone else because I was going to make this movie. I was in love with it and bought it immediately. Right after, I went on did two other projects, so I had to wait till I was done with those to get back to it, but I was desperate to make the picture from the moment I read the script.

MG: You directed, produced and wrote “Geostorm” and with “Bad Samaritan”, you produced and directed; how was your experience differ between the two?

DD: Well, the experiences were night and day. The difference is doing a movie in a studio or independently. All of my best work has been from projects where it was independent or we had the creative freedom we needed. This was night and day, the best experience that I have ever had making a picture.

MG: Yeah I would agree, the scale is very different; what was your biggest challenge on this film?

DD: It is so out of what I have ever done before. I have never done this dark tone before. For me it was top to bottom, I had to rethink everything I would do like framing a shot for example or approach music. It was a terrifying task to take on but at the same time, it was thrilling. I have an amazing team of people. We spent a lot of time doing our homework and making sure the thrill and tone were set effectively. It was so exciting to do.

MG: How did David Tennant and Robert Sheehan come on board?

DD: Again, because this was an independent movie I didn’t need anybody’s permission to cast the film. If you do a studio film, that the process can be ridiculous. This was the case were I could just cast simply best actors we could get. My dream cast was to get Robert Sheehan and David Tennant in these roles. I felt like so blessed when they both said “yes”, because I really didn’t have a second choice for either part [laughs]. You get somebody in your head and it’s really hard to rethink it. When I did “Independence Day”, we wrote that part for Jeff Goldblum. If he had said “no”, we would have had to rethink the entire part.

MG: Tell me one film that is your “go-to” film to watch? …for me it’s “The Shining”.

DD: It really depends. I would have to say there are three and if they are on television I can’t turn them off. It doesn’t matter if I catch one scene…the first is “Enter the Dragon”. Another is “Tombstone”. I have to at least stay on until he says “I’m your Huckleberry” [laughs]. The last one has to be “E.T”. Those films are the ones that I can’t get enough of.

MG: What would be a dream project for you to direct?

DD: Listen, I have been so blessed in my life that once I have a dream project in mind, it becomes my next film. I approach this whole business like a fan. I never try and figure out what is going to be a success, I think that is a mistake. For me, it is like a fan boy, what do I want to see? And if no one else is making it then I try and go make it. I have been blessed from being able to make “Independence Day” and that I got the script of “Bad Samaritan” from Brandon Boyce. Each time out has been a dream come true.

MG: I am impressed to see that an independent film like this is getting a decent theatrical release.

DD: Well you know, the new Avengers saw that we were on their date…and they knew…they knew they needed to get out of our way. Run Avengers! [laughs]. I am going to throw this out for your readers: What is the thing that is in both in the new “Avengers” and “Bad Samaritan”? Let us see if readers can figure this out. (Leave comment below!)

All Photo Credit: Courtesy of Electric Entertainment

Night Flight Orchestra Guitarist David Andersson talks “Amber Galatic”

Guitarist David Andersson is probably best known for his work with the Scandinavian metal band Soilwork a band which he has been a part of since 2012. Prior to joining the Soilwork Andersson was hard at work with his classic rock tinged group Night Flight Orchestra who recently released their third album titled “Amber Galactic”. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with David recently about the album, its sci-fi theme and the bands plans to perform the album live.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on how Night Flight Orchestra initially came together?

David Andersson: Me and Björn (Strid, also in Soilwork) first met in ’06, when we did our first Soilwork US tour together. We soon found out that we shared a mutual love for classic rock, so we started bonding over all those classic records, and before the tour was over, we’d decided to start a classic rock band ourselves. It took us a while to find the right people, but eventually we succeeded.

AL: What can you tell us about the upcoming release “Amber Galactic”?

DA: “Amber Galactic” is a concept album in a way, although it doesn’t have a straight narrative. It’s more a collection of stories that takes place in the same universe. “Amber Galactic” is set in a future where humanity is exploring and conquering space, but all the space commanders are women, just like the leaders back on Earth, and the men are mostly concerned with providing the ground service and idolizing and falling in love with those superior women that are always slightly out of reach.

AL: Where did this concept come from?

DA: The space theme was my idea. I’ve always read a lot of sci-fi books, mostly because in science fiction, anything is possible, and the things that you never thought would happen actually do happen. And, in a way, all those classic bands and artists from the 70’s and 80’s had the same totally over-the-top approach to everything that they did that was very science fiction-like, where everything was possible and there was no self-irony or “less is more“-thinking involved. Although the music industry was very different back then, and there was a lot more money, resources and drugs involved, I still felt that it is a shame that no one does those kinds of things anymore, at least not in rock music. It’s always been a dream to do something really epic, and what can possibly be more epic than space? So we decided to give it a go at it and just try to do the most epic, outrageous album possible.

AL: Was there anything new this time around with your writing/recording process?

DA: Nothing changed in the recording process, we’ve always produced and recorded everything ourselves. We don’t have any formula as such; we just meet in the studio, throw up some microphones, have a few drinks and start playing. But I guess we’ve gotten better at playing to our strengths and emphasizing the elements in our music that sets us apart from other bands. Though it’s nothing we’ve talked about, more like something in our collective subconscious.

AL: The band recently released a video for the song “Gemini”, can you tell us about that and why that song was chosen for a video treatment?

DA: Our label, Nuclear Blast, wanted to have “Gemini” as the first video release. It’s a song about a female space commander lost somewhere in space on a secret mission, and a love struck man back on Earth trying to get in touch with her to find out if his feelings are reciprocated. I’ve always dreamed of having an 80’s-style animated video set in space, so when we found Elia Cristofoli, an Italian animator/producer, it was fantastic to get a chance to finally do it.

AL: Are there plans to perform the album live/tour?

DA: Yes, we’ll do an exclusive show at the Rock Hard festival in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on the 3rd of June, and then we’ll hopefully do some sort of European tour in the fall. After that, we’ll see. It’s really fun playing live with The Night Flight Orchestra, and we’re always open for suggestions.

Amber Galactic is available for purchase now: http://nblast.de/TNFOAmberGalacticNB


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David Bowie, “The Thin White Duke”, Dead at Age 69

David Bowie, who as a singer, arranger, songwriter, producer, actor and painter, influenced countless artists for more than four decades, died yesterday, January 10, two days after his birthday. He was 69.

Born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947 in South London, Bowie always had a fascination with music and spent his earliest years hoping to achieve fame. At age 15 he joined a band called the Konrads, but left them soon to join the King Bees. His first single, titled “Liza Jane,” was released as being recorded by Davie Jones and the King Bees. It was not a hit. He later left the group and joined two other bands, Mannish Boys and Lower Third.

In 1966, to avoid being confused with Monkee’s singer Davy Jones, he changed his name to David Bowie, taking his last name from the great American 19th century pioneer Jim Bowie, who died during the battle of the Alamo. Jim Bowie pronounced his last name “Boo-ee” but David went with the harder pronunciation. In 1969 a friend and he put together a promotional film, which included snippets from many of his songs, including “Space Oddity,” which would eventually hit the top 5 in England. The film was not released until 1984.

On May 30, 1971, Bowie and his wife, Angie, welcomed a son into the world, Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones, who for the first 12 years of his life, was known as Zowie Bowie! Today Duncan is a highly respected filmmaker (“Moon”). In 1972 Bowie radically changed his image, becoming a “space man” and releasing the album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” That same year, singer Ian Hunter told Bowie that he needed one more song for his groups, Mott the Hoople, upcoming album. Legend has it that Bowie sat down on the floor and, in twenty minutes, penned “All the Young Dudes.”

In 1974 he released the album “Diamond Dogs,” which produced two hit singles: the title track and “Rebel, Rebel.” The next year he exploded onto the charts, releasing the album “Young Americans.” The first single from the album, “FAME,” a song he co-wrote with John Lennon, hit number one on the US Charts. Lennon also sang back up on the song. Two other singles, “Golden Years” and the title tune, also charted well. To capitalize on the success, “Space Oddity” was reissued in England and went to number one on the British charts. In 1976 he released the album “Station to Station.” He also left Ziggy Stardust behind and adapted a new persona, taken from the first song on the new album: The Thin White Duke. He also starred opposite Candy Clark in the film, “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”

As the 70’s ended, he moved to Germany, where he did a trio of albums that he would refer to as his “triptych,” : “Low,” “Heroes” and “Lodger.” In 1980 he spent three months on Broadway in the title role of “The Elephant Man,” earning great reviews. The following year he teamed up with Queen to produced the hit song, “Under Pressure.” In 1983 he reached the pinnacle of his success with the release of the album “Let’s Dance,” which produced the hits “Modern Love,” “China Girl” and the title song. He also continued his film career, appearing in 1983’s “The Hunger” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.” Other film roles include the Goblin King in “Labyrinth,” Pontius Pilate in “The Last Temptation of Christ” and inventor Nicoli Tesla in “The Prestige.”

The next three decades were ones of experimentation. In 1989 he formed the group Tin Machine. Following that he began mixing electronic and classical music.

In 2001, he opened The Concert for New York, a benefit for the victims of the 9/11 tragedy, by performing Simon and Garfunkle’s “America” and his song, “Heroes.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and in 2006 received a Lifetime Grammy Award.

On January 8, 2016, his 69th birthday, he released his latest album, “Blackstar,” which is already being mentioned as a nominee for the best album of the year.

David Gilmour to Release New Album, “Rattle That Lock” Friday, September 18, 2015

NEW YORK, July 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ —  David Gilmour has announced that his new solo album Rattle That Lock will be released worldwide on Friday, September 18, 2015 on Columbia Records.  The album will be available for preorder and the first single, also titled “Rattle That Lock” will be released on Friday, July 17, 2016.

Additionally David Gilmour’s first North American dates in ten years were announced today.  The “David Gilmour Live 2016” concert  appearances will take place in March & April with stops in Los Angeles, Toronto,Chicago and New York. Ticket buyers will be among the first to receive the new album, as every ticket purchased online will include a Rattle That Lock CD.

The “Live 2016” appearances will be David Gilmour’s first live concert dates since the “On An Island” tour in 2006, and will follow his UK and European tour this September/October. All tickets for the North American Tour dates go on sale Friday, July 17, 2015 (exact times listed below).

March 24, 2016 – Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles – on sale 12pm (PST)

March, 31 2016 – Air Canada Center, Toronto – on sale 10am (EST)

April 8, 2016 – United Center, Chicago – on sale 12pm (CST)

April 11, 2016Madison Square Garden, New York – SOLD OUT

Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, at all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone.

Rattle That Lock is David Gilmour’s fourth solo album and follows his 2006 #1 in the UK record On An Island. The primary lyricist for the new album is Gilmour’s long-term writing partner, Polly Samson, and it is co-produced by David Gilmour and Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera.  Rattle That Lock‘s striking cover has been art directed by Dave Stansbie from The Creative Corporation under the creative directorship of Aubrey Powell from Hipgnosis.

RATTLE THAT LOCK tracklisting:

  1. 5 A.M. (Gilmour)
  2. Rattle That Lock (Gilmour/Samson/Boumendil)
  3. Faces Of Stones (Gilmour)
  4. A Boat Lies Waiting (Gilmour/Samson)
  5. Dancing Right In Front Of Me (Gilmour)
  6. In Any Tongue (Gilmour/Samson)
  7. Beauty (Gilmour)
  8. The Girl In The Yellow Dress (Gilmour/Samson)
  9. Today (Gilmour/Samson)
  10. And Then…..(Gilmour)

The title track, Rattle That Lock”, will be heard for the first time on BBC Radio 2 in the UK on Friday, July 17and will be available immediately to download and stream worldwide. The song begins with the four notes, created by Michael Boumendil, which precede announcements at French SNCF railway stations which Gilmour recorded on his iPhone at Aix-en-Prevence station.  Samson’s lyrics are inspired by Book II of John Milton’sParadise Lost, which is also featured in her recent acclaimed novel, The Kindness.  The single also features The Liberty Choir and singers Mica Paris and Louise Marshall.


David Gilmour Official Store

Standard Album – http://smarturl.it/RattleThatLock
Deluxe Album – http://smarturl.it/RattleThatLockDLX

Standard CD – http://smarturl.it/RattleThatLockAmz
Deluxe CD + Blu-Ray – http://smarturl.it/RattleThatLockAmzDLX
Vinyl LP – http://smarturl.it/RattleThatLockAmzV

David Keith talks about his latest film “Awaken”

There are some actors who, when you first see them, they stick with you. The first time I saw David Keith on screen was when he played the young Army PFC that spends some time with Bette Midler in “The Rose.” Next for me was his role as Robert Redford’s fellow prisoner (and eventual right hand man) in “Brubaker.” But it was his role as Naval Pilot Candidate Sid Worley in “An Officer and a Gentleman” that made not only earned him two Golden Globe nominations but stardom.

Since then he has had high profile roles in both film (“Firestarter,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Major League II”) and television (“Flesh and Blood,” “High Incident,” “The Class”). I had the great opportunity to meet Mr. Keith in 1993 on the set of “Major League II” in Baltimore and a nicer, more down to earth person I’ve never met. Especially at 11:00 at night on a cold October evening at Camden Yards.

This week, Mr. Keith’s film, “Awaken, co-starring Daryl Hannah and Jason London, arrives on DVD. Mr. Keith recently spoke with me, with that soft Tennessee twang, about his latest role, his work preferences and feeling much better, thank you.

Mike Smith: Give us a brief introduction to “Walsh,” your character in “Awaken”
David Keith: He is a black market organ harvesting surgeon on an island where some bad people are kidnapping people, making them live in the jungle so they can clean out their systems and then harvest their organs for wealthy people who have loved ones who need an organ transplant but don’t want to wait in line for them.

MS: What, if anything, attracted you to the project?
DK: The producer and co-writer (Natalie Burns) is a friend of mine. She asked if I would come do a role for her. I said “yes” before I read the script.

MS: You seem to work equally between film and television. Do you have a preference?
DK: If I could be stuck in one job for the next ten years it would be in a situation-comedy. That is the best medium because it combines the best of theater and the best of film. When you do a play on Broadway you have to sign a two-year contract, but you get sick of it after about three months when you’re doing eight shows a week. When you do a movie, you never shoot anything in order. There’s no audience. There’s no real feeling of the project as one piece like there is in theater. In a sit-com it’s like doing a different play every week. You’re the same character but you’ve got new lines – new scenes – new things to do each week. And the hours are tremendous work – about four to six hours a day – five days a week, instead of fifteen hours a day, six days a week on a film. So sit-coms are my favorite medium. And “The Class” is my favorite sit-com that I’ve ever been on.

MS: You’ve directed in the past. Any intention of getting back behind the camera again?
DK: Yes, but only under my terms. Those were not great directing experiences – I didn’t have the control I needed. I did the best I could with what I had to work with. I have a script I hope to make. I had the money all in place years ago but then the guy who had signed the contract reneged on the contract. That script is still sitting in my drawer waiting for someone to come along and say, “let’s make this movie.” (laughs)

MS: What do you have coming up next?
DK: I don’t actually know what my next job is going to be. I had some medical issues – nothing serious, nothing to worry about – that kept me out of work for the last year. I haven’t worked in a year for the first time in my career.

MS: Everything is good now?
DK: Everything is good, yes. I’m healthy and ready to go. Now it’s up to my agents. I don’t live in L.A., I live in Tennessee. I don’t go to auditions. Somebody has to remember me and want me. (laughs)

David Mackenzie, Jack O’Connell and Rupert Friend talk about “Starred Up”

David Mackenzie’s transfixing new UK prison drama, Starred Up, is now available on demand as well as in theatrical release in New York. The film made its initial NYC  premiere this past spring at the Tribeca Film Festival where I got a chance to speak with Mackenzie as well as the stars Jack O’Connell and Rupert Friend.

O’Connell stars as Eric Love, a 19 year-old inmate who has been deemed too dangerous to serve in a juvenile facility and has been “starred up” to the adult penitentiary. Friend plays a prison counselor who seeks to rehabilitate the inmates through non violent group therapy. The shooting of the film itself took place over four weeks in an actual prison which the filmmakers credited with helping to develop the film:

“You feel it,” said director David Mackenzie, “You feel the strength of those walls and the strength of the metal bars and the doors. It kind of pens you in a bit. It’s perfect for recreating the atmosphere you need for the movie. But you can definitely feel how oppressive that architecture is.”

Consequently, the actor’s substituted trailers for jail cells. “There was nothing else to be in” Rupert Friend described the setting, “and it’s freezing and the walls hadn’t been cleaned or painted since the last occupants so there’s kind of bodily secretions…don’t touch the walls. And the feeling of isolation and frankly, terror, was pretty powerful for everyone. And it does, it plays into the psychology of the thing. It really does.”

Jack O’Connell had a similar feeling “because we spent our downtime in cells too it meant I had the opportunity at any point to just imagine it. So our trailers were effectively cells. So if at any point I wanted to research or just be as Eric for a bit, I was in his setting.” Although he also went on to say the prison itself he didn’t find scary, “not when it’s not functioning. From what I can gather from the graffiti and the history of [the jail] itself, it’s had scarier days. Much scarier days than when we were there.”

The cast also had the fairly unique experience of shooting the film sequentially over the course of four weeks which encouraged an improvisational take on the story. O’Connell described this as “a total luxury. I mean I could turn up on set without knowing my lines and kind of just blag it, you know? Sort of story unfolding as we told it and if I ever get to repeat that same sort luxury I consider myself very privileged and I’m sure David Mackenzie, our director, shares those sentiments.” In fact Mackenzie shared on the red carpet that he hoped to repeat the experience on an AMC pilot he was readying to shoot at the time, “I’m asking them at the moment whether they’re prepared to let me do it in this method…we’ll see what happens. But actually because the pilot is set in a very limited number of locations so you don’t have to kind of do all the moving that would normally make it problematic. So if I’m lucky maybe I’ll get away with it.”

The improvisational atmosphere was most evident in the group therapy sessions overseen by Friend’s character Oliver, whom the writer Jonathan Asser based on his own experience with inmates. If there’s levity to be found in the film, it’s here and unsurprisingly Mackenzie described those shooting days as  “a joy” saying “because we shot the film sequentially–So you know, we’d have like four or five days and then we’d get a group scene and…there’s quite a big page count. So the schedule gave me like three hours rather than two hours, so it was like ‘Wow! A luxury here!’ and the way we shot it with those scenes was we had the text but we improvised at the head of the scene and we improvised at the tail of the scene. And we allowed the guys to kind of play with it. So we really felt like it wasn’t written. It had to feel like it was alive. And it was great what they did was you know a real joy.”

For Friend it got especially real in a fight scene, “We just kind of went for it. You know one of the scenes these guys, you know there’s a lot of fighting and we didn’t choreograph any of that…and I won’t say who it was, but I got punched so hard in the eye I wound up in the eye doctor.” Although for Friend, “the most interesting part” was remaining a nonviolent character amongst all the tension. “How is it that this one mild mannered, middle class guy was able to diffuse that tension and make it constructive? That’s what was fascinating” he said on the red carpet,  “Not just theoretically, but actually in the room when this lot are all going crazy.”

Director Mackenzie reinforced this sentiment on maintaining control in the violent group. “It was fascinating to watch how…you often see the escalation of things but the deescalation of things is never like a straight deflation. It’s like you know it’s jagged, jagged deescalation and that was really interesting. But it’s fun and also he’s building connections with these guys and I think that’s where the socialization I guess of Jack’s character is really at the fore.”

When specifically asked what O’Connell brought to the role of Eric, the director had nothing but praise for the up-and-coming actor. “What he really brought to it was a fearlessness and the kind of cojones to really go as far as he could with that character. Without holding anything back and that was what a director dreams of. And because we shot the film sequentially he only needed to worry about the scene he was in. He didn’t have to worry about where it fits in in the jigsaw puzzle…so he didn’t. He tried to kind of forget about the rest of the film apart from the scene he was in. And it was just about the immersion into that moment. And I think it’s great. I’m very happy with what he did.”

Jack himself credited his background for aiding him in bringing rougher characters like Eric to the screen, “I don’t want to offend people here, but I do find that you know your typical actor doesn’t necessarily have you know that sort of life experience, you know in scrapes and you know, I haven’t been in a drama school for a significant amount of my adult life. I was out and about trying to be an actor and also trying to survive I guess and have fun at the same time. So that kind of gave me a bit of a wealth of life experience and I think directors like David distinguish the difference between someone with experience in that field and an actor who’s trying to pretend. And so it certainly was to my advantage that the majority of actors you know aren’t working class individuals from Darby. I mean that meant approaching a role like this, I kind of know the difference between acting hard and perhaps being hard. You know, being intimidating. It’s a fine line but very decisive one way or the other.”

Despite it’s grim setting, when Mackenzie was asked what message he hoped the film conveyed, he responded “Somebody said something about a film that kind of suggests that everybody has a chance, a shot at redemption and the idea that you know, this character has obviously done very bad things but you know, he’s obviously come from circumstances…I think it’s about shining a little bit of humanity into the situation. There isn’t much.”

Starred Up is available on VOD and in limited NYC release. Jack O’Connell can next be seen starring in Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut “Unbroken”.

Toto’s David Paich talks about live DVD and CD “35 Year Anniversary: Live in Poland”

David Paich is a keyboardist, singer, composer, recording producer, and arranger, best known for his work with the rock band Toto. The band has sold over 30 million records and recently released a live DVD and CD titled “35 Year Anniversary: Live in Poland”. Media Mikes spoke with David recently about the live release, the bands staying power after 35 years and their upcoming studio album.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us a little bit about the bands new live CD/DVD?
David Paich: We are really excited about this release and it has been doing great so far around the world as well as here in the U.S. We shot the concert in Poland as we had played there in the past and our guitarist Steve Lukather had been there more recently in support of his solo record. The fans there are just outstanding and very passionate. With the band celebrating its 35 year anniversary we decided to document the show. We originally were going to shoot in Amsterdam however due to a transportation strike things got pushed back and we decided to go with our original idea of shooting in Poland. We wanted to make this release as much about the fans as it is about the band. We are very lucky to still be able to do what we love.

AL: Were there any reservations about shooting/recording a live album?
DP: We always do. We have never really been a great live video band. We are just a bunch of musicians from the valley. We aren’t rock stars like Aerosmith and Van Halen on stage but we knew it was important that this get documented. When you get to where we are in our career things go from year to year and summer to summer. We had actually done a video the year before this one and it didn’t turn out like we had hoped so it was shelved.

AL: Is the DVD compiled of multi-night footage or is this one show from that tour?
DP: This was a one night shot. When you are shooting over multiple nights it tends to make things harder. Normally you say you are playing three nights at one place and you shoot all three nights and pull the best performances. We got very lucky shooting this one night as the crowd was sensational so things worked out great. We put in a lot of preparation before the show that night to make sure that everything went off without issue.

AL: What do you think has kept Toto relevant 35 years after its initial inception?
DP: I think it’s mainly based on the fact that we can still pull this material off. Our musicianship is at a very high level. That’s us up there playing every note, every night. I don’t think there are a lot of bands still out there like us that have the scope and the range that Toto has. We cover a lot of genres and unless you are listening to a DJ or something like that a lot of bands can’t do what we do during our live shows. The way the music interacts with the crowds is just great and fans get to hear what they hear on the records.

AL: Toto is currently working on a new album. What is it that made you guys want to put out new music when a lot of bands from your era are going out and performing just their greatest hits?
DP: It was a combination of things. We had originally thought that our album from 2004 was going to be our last record. Through a bunch of legal stuff we found out that we had still owed our record label one more album. Instead of throwing just a bunch of stuff on there to fulfill our contract we decided to really put our whole heart in this thing and so far it’s turning out to be one of my favorite Toto records. I think the crowds are going to be pleasantly surprised by how much this new album reverts back to the sounds on the band’s first album. We really had a “go for it” attitude and we definitely pushed ourselves.

AL: Do you think your level of experimentation on the upcoming record is what will separate it from your 2004 release?
DP: One of the biggest changes was we didn’t have our bassist Mike Porcaro there or Jeff Porcaro for that matter. We were short handed and some of that work camaraderie was missing. When you bring in new players that can certainly be a big change. Keith Carlock has been great on drums and we have been playing with a number of different bassist’s who all have been given Mike’s blessing. Brining in those new elements makes it challenging but were uniquely bonded through music and it has been going great.

AL: Can you tell us about the band’s upcoming summer tour?
DP: We are doing a co-headlining tour with Michael McDonald for six weeks here in the U.S. We are going to be playing on a few different songs with one another each night and its going to be a lot of fun. We are packing the night with all of our hits and we also went back and grab some other favorites from the inner albums as well.

AL: You also do a lot of work outside of Toto can you tell us about some of the other projects you are working on?
DP: I just finished working with a 16 year old guitarist by the name of Andreas Varady. He is managed by Quincy Jones and he is just a great jazz guitarists. I just finished mastering his album which I believe will be coming out in early August. It’s going to be a really great contemporary Jazz album.


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Blu-ray Review “David Lynch’s Wild at Heart”

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, J.E. Freeman
Director: David Lynch
Distributed by: Twilight Time
Run Time: 125 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: April 8, 2014

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Here is the thing about David Lynch you either really love David Lynch or you hate him. Luckily for this reviewer, he has always been one of my favorites. 1990 was an interesting time for the director, he came off the disappointing (yet now cult classic) “Dune” and the controversial “Blue Velvet”. So this wasn’t very well received but is still such a fun and crazy movie that holds up today. Just look at the cast, which speaks for itself including Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, Harry Dean Stanton. Cage is in rare form in the film and Ladd got nominated for an Oscar for her role. If you dig Lynch, Twilight Time delivered a very solid release here.

Official Premise: Adapted from the picaresque novel by Barry Gifford, writer-director David Lynch’s Wild at Heart (1990) is a scarifying road movie starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern as Sailor and Lula, a pair of star-crossed lovers pursued across the American landscape by all manner of horrors. Most are unleashed by Lula’s unhinged mother (played by Diane Ladd, Dern’s real-life Mom), a woman scorned who will stop at nothing to destroy Sailor.

This Blu-ray release is an Screen Archives Entertainment Exclusive and is a Limited Edition release with only 3000 copies produced. “Wild at Heart” looks quite awesome with its 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. Lynch is known for his vivid colors through his films and it is well represented here and quite intense. There is some noticeable grainy at some points, specifically in the dark scenes but it still looks great. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is a major spotlight for this releases as well, specifically with the haunting score by Angelo Badalamenti, which was always a favorite mine. In fact, there is an isolated score and effects track as well included and is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.

In terms of special features here, there is nothing new but the extras from the past DVD releases have been ported over. “Love, Death, Elvis and Oz: The Making of Wild at Heart” is a nice in-depth look behind-the-scenes with some great interviews. There is a short but still cool vintage “Original 1990 Making Of EPK”. Dell’s Lunch Counter  includes over 20 minutes of great extended Interviews. “Specific Spontaneity: Focus on David Lynch” is a look at the director. Not sure why “David Lynch on the DVD” is included ?? since this is after all a a Blu-ray. Lastly there are some TV Spots, a motion gallery and some trailers.


David McCallum talks about the 50th Anniversary of “The Great Escape”

Today actor David McCallum is probably best known for his role as Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the long running television series “NCIS.”  If you’re my age you probably remember him best as the smooth secret agent Illya Kuryakin from “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  As someone who had, in the 3rd grade, been scolded often by teachers for continually saying “Open Channel D” into his ink pen, it was a great day when I had the chance to speak with Mr. McCallum about the 50th Anniversary of one of the most popular movies of the 1960s, “The Great Escape.”

To help celebrate this event, Mr. McCallum will be appearing at a benefit screening of the film this coming weekend, November 9, in Omaha, Nebraska as part of Bruce Crawford’s on-going classic film salute.  For information on the event head over to http://www.omahafilmevent.com/upcoming.htm

Recently Mr. McCallum took some time to talk to me about “The Great Escape,” why he enjoys voicing video-games and another upcoming 50th Anniversary he looks forward to celebrating.

Mike Smith:  First off, a belated “Happy Birthday!” (Mr. McCallum turned an incredible 80 years old this past September 19).
David McCallum:  (laughs) Thank you.

MS:  How did you get involved with “The Great Escape?”
DM:  Way back then I had an agent in England by the name of Derrick Marr.  I hadn’t been with him long.  I had been doing an awful lot of television…live television, and working in the theater.  He called me and said that I’d gotten a request to meet with the casting director of the film.

MS:  At the time it was probably the biggest film production you’d been involved with.  As a young actor what were your thoughts when you realized you would be working with such international stars as Steve McQueen and James Garner?  Was it overwhelming?
DM:  Well, thankfully, life has never been able to overwhelm me.  I tend to enjoy and take great pleasure in all of the work that I do.  And back then it was no different.  When you’ve decided that your whole life is going to be as an actor, when you get opportunities to do a wonderful thing, like “The Great Escape,” it’s just a colossal pleasure that you look forward to with great anticipation.  And then you start preparing, of course.  You have to learn all about the character…all of the things necessary.  It’s not about just turning up and saying the words.  And the whole thing was such a beautiful experience.  I knew Donald Pleasence.  We had been very good friends for some time.  And you can imagine how it was for the young actors.  Being able to work with all of those people.  I’m not usually star-struck.  I’m fascinated by the number of people I’ve met working in this profession over the years.  That film was a great beginning.

MS:  Both of your parents were very well known and classically trained musicians (his father, David Sr, was the first violinist for the London Philharmonic – his mother, Dorothy, was a cellist).  Were you ever encouraged to make music your profession?
DM:  My father was a professional musician, my mother, who was a cellist, gave it up early to take care of my father.  I played the Oboe from about the age of eight or nine.  I went to the Royal Academy of Music for a short while but then I gave the whole thing up to go on the stage.

MS:  You’ve done a lot of voice work in video games.  Does that take a different kind of preparation as an actor?
DM:  The best thing about that kind of media is that you get to over-act outrageously.  To me that’s the greatest pleasure.

MS:  “NCIS” isn’t your first hit television show.  What, in your opinion, is the biggest difference in working in television between “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and now?
DM:  I think the ability to record sound and the size of the camera and the fact that it’s now digital and not film.  Other than that nothing’s changed.

MS:  Final question, and I understand if you can’t answer it:  next year marks the 50th Anniversary of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  Do you have any involvement in the upcoming “U.N.C.L.E.” film?
DM:  No, right now I have nothing to do with that.  It’s a whole new venture.  But now that you tell me it’s the 50th Anniversary next year I’ll have to set aside a nice bottle of wine and open it.  Maybe I’ll save it until the movie comes out.


Mr. Ritchie:

I hope by the time you read this you will have contacted both Mr. McCallum and Robert Vaughn and found a place for them in your film.  Both men are in great health and acting today.  I don’t care if you have them walk past Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in the hallway, you must recognize them.  It is their chemistry that made “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  the show it was.  As Leo G. Carroll has passed away more than 40 years ago I will not lobby for his appearance!

David Schwartz talks about scoring “Arrested Development”

David Schwartz is known best for scoring the TV series “Arrested Development”. He was nominated in the 2013 Emmy for the Outstanding Music Composition for A Series for Original Dramatic Score for the show’s revival on Netflix. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about his work on the show.

Mike Gencarelli: Were you shocked when you found out that you were nominated for an 2013 Emmy for the Outstanding Music Composition for A Series (Original Dramatic Score) category?
David Schwartz: More surprised than shocked. It was particular great to be nominated for Arrested Development. Comedies are rarely nominated in the Original Dramatic Score category. I think the category represents a lot of great music this year, so I’m proud to be a part of it.

MG: Working on “Arrested Development”, how does it compare to be working on the first run of the show and now the Netflix series?
DS: It’s been a little different in some ways we were doing all 15 shows at once. In the first three seasons, we’d usually have about a week to turn around a show, finish it, and then immediately start on the next one. During season 4, we were often dealing with multiple shows at the same time. The episodes being longer also allowed me to further develop some musical ideas which wasn’t possible in the shorter format.

MG: What was the most challenge aspect of working on season four?
DS: After six years it was a challenge to get back into that musical head space. Once I had rough cuts and was writing it for real, it all came back to me.

MG: Going from a TV series like “Arrested Development” to a documentary like “Gonzo: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson”, how does it compare?
DS: The Gonzo documentary was a really fun project. Alex Gibney, the director, really encouraged me to write bold and wild music in the spirit of of Hunter Thompson himself. Often documentary music is subtle and plays in the background. Alex inspired me to write bolder and more challenging music for this film.

MG: Tell us about your work with Lucy Schwartz on her upcoming full length record?
DS: I’m very proud of the work Lucy and I did together on her new Timekeeper record. I think these are her best songs yet and we had a great time producing this record together.

MG: Of all the great scores of 2013 so far, what has been some of your favorites?
DS: I’m still catching up on this year’s scores. I was a big fan of Michael Dynna’s “Life of Pi” score and Thomas Newmann’s score for “Skyfall”

MG: What else do you have in the cards for this year and on wards?
DS: I’m working on the soundtrack album for Arrested Development. It’s going to have some extended versions of the more popular songs from Arrested. There are some scoring projects in the works, but I won’t talk about it and risk jinxing it until it’s final.

David Lowery talks about directing “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”

With a solid background of pretty much every behind the scenes job in Hollywood, it was obvious it would’nt be long before David Lowery began directing. With an impressive resume’ of short films and features under his belt he has now delivered “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” a classic film in the tradition of “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Badlands.” The film opened in limited release today (August 16) and to celebrate that opening I spoke with Mr. Lowery about his inspirations, misquoted songs and the proper use of the word “Malickian!”

Mike Smith: What was your inspiration…where did you come up with the story…for “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints?”
David Lowery: It really came from a lot of different places but one of the main inspirations were the old movies about lovers on the run. I love the idea of outlaws…the idea of a young outlaw couple on the run from the law. Those movies have always appealed to me…been inspirational to me as a story teller. I love the mythology of the outlaw. I love how America has been built on outlaw mythology. I wanted to make a film that would participate in that tradition. So the inspiration was very simple when I decided what I wanted to do. I wasn’t looking to reinvent the wheel. I just took the basic concept, the basic archetypes of a guy, a girl, a policeman and a couple of guns and tried to find a new way to present them.

MS: For a young director you got pretty lucky in nabbing two Oscar nominated actors for your two leads. Were Casey and Rooney your original choices and how were you able to cast them?
DL: I wrote the script with no actors in mind. I wrote it in a vacuum, not knowing who was going to be in it. But when we finally had the opportunity to select a cast Casey Affleck was the first person I wanted to meet. I sat down with him and we talked for about an hour or so. We got along really, really well and the next day he wrote me and said he wanted to do it. It was so wonderful to have my first choice not only able but so willing to do it. And we had gotten along so well in our talk that I felt like I had known him for years. For the character of Ruth I wasn’t sure if I wanted an established actress or not. Maybe I could go to west Texas and find someone who had never acted before…who really was a woman who lived in a small town. I wanted to find someone who was really a natural. While I was thinking that, Rooney Mara’s agent wrote me and asked if I could send the script to her. This was about a week before “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” came out and I never believed in a million years that she would be willing to go from this huge, David Fincher film to doing a tiny independent film in Texas. But he assured me that she would be interested in it. She read it and wanted to meet with me. I sat down with her, we talked and then she said yes. It was really a great and unique situation where both of the people that I wanted the most and who were the first people I met were the ones who wound up in the movie.

MS: I’m sure you’ve seen that you’re getting a lot of comparisons to Terrence Malick with your visual style. As a director was it important to be able to tell the story “visually,” in addition to presenting the action that was going on on screen?
DL: Absolutely. I love dialogue and I love listening to people talk when the dialogue is good. But more than that I love visuals. And I love to let the visuals do the heavy lifting in a movie. This film was very carefully designed to look a certain way and to feel a certain way. There’s no denying that if you go outside at a certain time in Texas and put a 25mm lens on a camera it’s going to look like a lot of other movies. Texas has a very specific look that a lot of filmmakers have used in the past. It’s very suggestive so you use that kind of imagery when you want to suggest something. If you want to suggest a timelessness…If you want to suggest an epic-ness. And Terrence Malick is someone who has used that kind of imagery quite a bit. I’ve certainly loved his movies. I’ve loved all his movies. But at the same time I never really thought about it while we were making the film. I knew that we were using “Badlands” as a jumping off point as far as the story goes but when it comes to visuals we really went in a different direction. Even though there are some things that are, to use a word, “Malickian”….there are some things that are similar to what he’s done about 10 minutes into the movie we go into a completely different direction. So it’s kind of a nice surprise to be compared with him because I do love his work and I’m flattered to be compared to him. But we were going for something completely with our visuals.

MS: The film has a very unusual title. Casey Affleck recently told Jay Leno that it came from a misquoted song. Is this true and, if so, what was the song?
DL: I don’t know what the song was because it was on a CD that a friend had given me with a lot of old folk and country music. And none of the songs were listed…it was just track one, track two, track three…there were no titles or artists. I don’t know what it was but I need to find out (laughs). I heard it years ago, long before I made this film. And I got that phrase stuck in my head. Misheard lyrics stuck in my head with the idea that they would make a great movie title. A strange movie title but a great movie title! And when I started writing this movie I wanted it to feel like an old folk song. And I thought there would be no better way to set the stage for this movie than to have the title sound like the lyrics of an old folk song. That was really all there was to it.

MS: What are you working on next? Do you have anything in the pipeline?
DL: Yes. I’m writing a lot of different scripts right now and I hope to be making another movie soon. One of the movies that I’m working on is an adaptation of an article in “The New Yorker” that Robert Redford is going to produce and star in and that I’m going to direct. I’m working on that scripts very quickly right now because I’d like to turn in a draft soon and see what he thinks.

David Mickey Evans reflects on the 20th Anniversary of “The Sandlot”

Even if I had never seen 1993’s “The Sandlot” I could have quoted it line by line for you. I coached youth baseball for 15 years and it was, by far, the most quoted baseball film on the field. “You’re killing me, Smalls!” “You’re an L7 weenie.” And, of course, “you play ball like a girl!” Nothing like enjoying the good sportsmanship of 13 and 14 year olds. But if you’re going to be a ballplayer you need to talk like a ballplayer. And at one time, writer/director David Mickey Evans was a ballplayer.

Now touring the country in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of “The Sandlot,” Mr. Evans has behind him an impressive resume of filmmaking. I first discovered his work when I took in 1992’s “Radio Flyer.” Inspired by his own turbulent childhood, the film was a moving look at the bond between two brothers dealing with a brutal step-father. (NOTE: I met Adam Baldwin, who played the step-father in the film, this past summer and I told him the same thing I told Mary Tyler Moore when I met her after seeing “Ordinary People” – – -“I HATED you in this film.” He thanked me.) The next year saw the release of his most popular film, “The Sandlot.” Since then he has written and/or directed popular sequels to both “The Sandlot” as well as in the “Beethoven” series. During our pre-interview conversation I discover we both not only played baseball as kids but were huge fans of the popular sports books of the 1960s and 70s written by Matt Christopher. We also talked about the game of baseball and our love for it. That’s where the interview begins.

Mike Smith: I know you’re a big baseball fan. Did you play when you were younger?
David Mickey Evans: Oh yeah. We occasionally played organized Little League but you had to pay money and we were really poor. So most of the time we’d play in park leagues. You’d have the dude that owned the local bar getting you T-shirts…kind of like “The Bad News Bears.” I was really good. I played in quite a few local leagues near Pacoima (California) in the San Fernando Valley. I was on the Cardinals…the Giants…I was on the Indians, which was a big team, when I was about eleven. If memory serves…I wonder if you can find this on the Internet…I think I hit .560.

MS: Was “The Sandlot” inspired by any of your childhood baseball memories?
DME: Here’s the thing. The “A-Ha” moment for me was an incident I remembered from when I was a kid. The kids on the block didn’t like my friends and I. They would beat the crap out of us all the time. There were playing baseball one day and they hit their ball over the fence. They told my little brother to go get it. They said if he did then we could play with them. Of course, they had no intention of that. They just wanted their ball back. And there was a big dog on the other side of the fence named Hercules that went after my brother and bit him…ripped his leg to shreds. It was a bad memory. But one day I was in my car and I thought, “wait a minute…what if these guys were all buddies? What if that ball was worth $3 million?” I’ve got a movie. None of the kids in the film are any kid I knew. All of the kids are an amalgam of EVERY kid I knew. But what I like to say most about the film is this. When Walt Disney finished Disneyland in a year and a day and he’s walking down Main Street U.S.A…and still, today, of all the parks Disneyland is still the best…and he has some dignitaries with him. Now Main Street U.S.A. is modeled after the way Walt Disney remembered growing up in Marceline, Missouri. It wasn’t actually his boyhood home but it was the one he identified with. The dignitaries say to him “Walt, you did it. This is exactly the way it was back then.” Disney tells them that it’s not. It’s the way it should have been. “The Sandlot” is the way I wanted my childhood to have been. That’s not how it was. Luckily God has given writers a time machine…a pencil on paper. (My work phone rings) Is that a flip phone?
MS: Yeah, it’s my work phone.
DME: Where did you get that? (laughs) I didn’t know they still exist!

MS: One of the questions my son asked me to ask you was if any of the boys you played with went on to play professional baseball. Was there a real life Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez?
DME: You know there’s always that kid. I remember one or two kids from grade school…when you get to about third or fourth grade you start recognizing them…they’re just BETTER athletes. Or students. You just start noticing them and you want to be like them. You wish you could kick that kickball as far as they can. And that kind of kid is specifically on whom I built Benny “the Jet.” And here’s something else. The “Jet” nickname didn’t just come because he was fast. When I was a kid I took karate lessons for a little while and I studied with the Urquidez brothers. The most famous of them is Benny. They called him “the Jet” because his hands and feet were so fast. I saw him a few years ago. He’s got to be 60 and he could still clear a bar! He’s an incredibly fit and ridiculously athletic man. (NOTE: Now age 61, Benny “the Jet” Urquidez amassed an incredible professional fighting record of 49-1. He trained Patrick Swayze for his role in “Roadhouse” and can be seen in the film in the scene where the monster truck gets driven through the auto dealership). I always admired him when I was a kid. He was like a super hero to me. That’s why Benny got “the Jet” in the middle of his name.

MS: Are you surprised at the response “The Sandlot” still gets 20 years later? How many memories it triggers in a person. I mean, 20 years before it came out I was the kid riding with my friends over to the next town to play baseball all day. In the neighborhood we’d play all day until our moms called us in for dinner. In 1993 it was my son doing the same thing. And I’m sure 20 years from now my grandson will be doing it.
DME: I don’t know if I’m surprised. Obviously you can’t predict that kind of reaction. You just have to go for it as a filmmaker and if it stands the test of time….what else is there? It still stands the test of time and I’m incredibly grateful for that. That means I did my job. And I’m satisfied that I did my job right. This is also the only one of my films where the studio left me alone…they let me do it the way I wanted to do it. It wasn’t committee filmmaking, it was me. My crew. My cast. But you can never predict that. I wish I could. I would bottle it, I would sell it and you would never see me again (laughs). I had a guy come up to me in Springdale, Arkansas and he had (12) copies of “The Sandlot” on DVD and he asked me to sign them. While I was signing them he’d say, “this one is for me, this one is for my wife, this one is for my kids, this is for my grandkids and this is for my great-grandkids.” Four generations right there. I gave that guy the biggest hug. That was better to me than winning an Oscar. I was in Utah earlier this year at the location where we shot the film. The Utah Film Commission had re-built the backstop, cleaned up the field and made it look exactly like it did on the original field. They could only seat 1300 people for the event and they sold out in 11 minutes! They dedicated a historical marker to me and the film. I’m serious, they can keep the Oscar!