R.I.P. David R. Ellis – Flashback Interview for "Shark Night 3D"

I was very saddened to find out that David R. Ellis has passes away on January 7th, 2013. He was the director of action films like “Shark Night 3D”, “The Final Destination” and “Snakes on the Place”. Here is our interview from August of 2011 with the late director to chat about working on “Shark Night 3D”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally become attached to “Shark Night 3D”?
David R. Ellis: I had done “The Final Destination”  in 3D which ended up doing really good. Those attached to the “Shark Night” project wanted to make this film in 3D as well. I had been attached to the project for some time prior to the film being made. I was the only person out there that had done a full live action 3D movie. They brought me in to meet with the producers and I pitched to them what my vision for the film was. They immediately attached me to the film and from there they started to pitch the film for funding with my name attached to it.

MG: What can we expect from the film?
DRE: There is a lot of comedy and fun in this film. It’s not a horror but it is a scary. The film is rated PG-13 however we really pushed the envelope with what we could get away with. The film plays like an R rated movie but we just don’t cuss or have boobs in it. We don’t really need that to make a scary movie. I don’t think boobs are that scary. Maybe some are. (Laughs) During our test screenings we made people jump and scared them but they also had a lot of fun with the movie. We spent time developing the characters and we have a great young cast. I like finding young actors and giving them a shot such as Chris Evans who I had in “Cellular”. I think everyone in this film are going to be big stars in their own right and I was very lucky to get them before they broke out.

MG: We have spoke to the whole cast and they have been telling us that you are one of the best directors to work with and you have this unique approach to directing; can you tell us about that approach?
DRE: Well I pay them to say that [laughs].  No seriously, when I cast actors I cast people who have the ability to adopt the part and who can get into the role. I like to then give them free reign in designing that character from what they want to wear and what props they may want to use. Making a movie is not brain surgery so my sets are a lot of fun to work on. I come very prepared and we have fun while getting our work done. At the end of a movie it’s sad because we made a new family and you have to leave that. Keeping everything light is key. Appreciating everyone working on the film for what they contribute and not yelling and or screaming is important as well because at times we were shooting in miserable conditions but by keeping it fun everyone stepped up to the plate and did a great job.

MG: How much of the film features animatronic sharks and how much was CGI?
DRE:  It’s probably 40% animatronics and 60% CGI. We used the animatronic sharks when they had to interact with people. When a scene was really difficult we used the CGI sharks.  The CGI has really come a long way and looked great, especially since I was directed the second unit on “Deep Blue Sea”.  The technology from then to now is amazing. The sharks look great!

MG: How do you “Shark Night 3D” differs from your other 3D film “The Final Destination”?
DRE: This one was more difficult because we were shooting on the water. When you are using 3D cameras you have one camera for the left eye and one for the right. They are very bulky and underwater they are very big so it’s technically tough for the crews. I think 3D films need to be shot in 3D nd not converted in post production, as I feel you don’t get the depth. I call that ‘2 and a half D’. What they have now that we didn’t have for “The Final Destination” are 3D monitors. You get to watch everything in 3D as its being shot. Before you had to shoot then put it into a computer and watch it in a trailer later on.

MG: Can you tell us the story behind the issues with the film’s title?
DRE: The working title of the film was “Shark Night 3D”. We were always hoping that we would come up with something that was catchier. On a weekly basis we had production meetings where I would try and get the crew to suggest different titles. Ultimately when the film was bought after we were done there was some research to change the title but in the end the film is what it is and the title was fitting.

MG: Do you prefer shooting in 3D or do you find it more difficult?
DRE: I love 3D and its depth. I think a lot of films use the really gimmicky type 3D that throws stuff into the audience. We didn’t do that. We used the 3D to put the audience inside the world of the shark and to have the sharks in the audience. The gimmicks work for some movies as 3D is an interactive experience. I think 3D is a great application and it’s going to be around for a long time. It may not be for every film but for the right film if it’s used correctly it’s an awesome experience.

Director of “Tourist Trap” and “Puppet Master”, David Schmoeller talks about his new film “Little Monsters”

David Schmoeller is the director of such horror classics such as “Tourist Trap”, “Crawlspace” and “Puppet Master”.  David has a new film coming out in 2013 that is a different type of horror film called “Little Monsters”.  Media Mikes had some time to chat with David about his new film and also reflecting on his horror classics.

Mike Gencarelli: You are known for your work with monsters but tell us about how your new film “Little Monsters”, tells the story of a different kind of monster?
David Schmoeller: The horrible crimes of patricide or matricide or any of the cidas (fili, frati, parri) are familiar and fascinating subjects of literature and cinema. But the crime of children killing children, in this case, two ten-year olds killing a three-year old – for no reason at all – and then being released at eighteen with new identities, seemed to me to be a fresh and challenging subject for a movie. The opening of the film – the first four shots of the movie, actually – are difficult to watch, but I thought it important to set the stakes as high as possible: we don’t see the murder itself, but the immediate aftermath, the horrible results of a senseless murder. Because of the unusual subject matter, the only way “Little Monsters” would ever get made is if I financed it myself. So, I did. I’m glad I made this movie. I hope it is appreciated.

MG: Where did you come up with the idea for the film?
DS: “Little Monsters” is very loosely inspired by the circumstances of a real murder case, the Bulger murder in England in 1993. In that case, there was so much outrage when the murderers were given new identities and released when they turned 18, that the government passed laws that it was illegal to reveal their identities. So, we know very little about what happened after they were released. I just thought it would be interesting to write a story that speculated what would happen to child murderers if they were adults – and released.

MG: Tell us about your role of Wakefield?
DS: It’s just a funny cameo I played – a silent bit as the retired cop that Carl lives with. It really started during the Empire International days when we shot our films in Rome, Italy. We could only take a handful of American actors because of the cost – and we would pick up the rest of the actors in Rome. So, the directors – and producers – would sometimes cast themselves in small roles – basically because we could speak English (with no accent). I’m not an actor – but I have been in half-a-dozen movies – but, it has to be a really small part – little or no dialogue. We actually shot the scene with sound – with me actually telling this really corny jokes…and I am so dead-panned, Charles and the crew were cracking up. I’ll put the scene in the DVD extras…it’s so bad it’s really funny.

MG: How can you reflect on creating some of horror most beloved films like “Tourist Trap”?
DS: It’s always rewarding when your work from so many years ago grows in appreciation. So, that makes “Tourist Trap” particularly rewarding – since it was my first film – and my oldest. And in the beginning, it wasn’t immediately appreciated. It had what was then called a “regional” release. The distributor struck 50-100 prints and it went from region to region. There wasn’t much advertising. It was a different time. The film was released onto the world – and the world yawned. It wasn’t until a few yeas after it’s theatrical release that Tourist Trap starting playing on TV and slowly began to make some impact – which came, I think, primarily because it was mis-rated by the MPAA. Instead of the usual R rating that horror films need – and generally receive – “Tourist Trap” was rated PG (or PG-13) or whatever the milder rating was. What that meant was that “Tourist Trap” could play on Saturday afternoon TV. And parents across the country were telling their kids – “I have to do the laundry, go watch TV.” And across the country, seven years olds went into the living room and started watching this crazy movie with screaming mannequins with gaping mouths and baby blue eyes – and it scared them to death. And then they would tell their friends and interest in Tourist Trap began to grow. Earlier this year, Jonathan Rigby released his book: “Studies in Terror, Landmarks of the Horror Cinema and Tourist Trap was one of 130 landmark horror films from the beginning of film to present day. In the year 1978, three films were listed: “Halloween”, “Cronenberg’s The Brood”, and “Tourist Trap”. Pretty good company, I was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Fantaspoa Film Festival in Porto Alegre, Brazil earlier this year. And they screened most of my films. It was very rewarding that every screening was sold out – and that most of the people were YOUNG people – and the screenings were subtitled in Portuguese. “Tourist Trap” (and “Crawlspace”) still screen in 35MM in art houses across the US – even though the prints are starting to fade. [David Schmoeller starts the New Year with a guest appearance at the famous Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin where a 35MM print of TOURIST TRAP will screen at 10pm on January 1, 2013. Check it out here]

MG: And how about “Puppet Master”?
DS: “Puppet Master” is a slightly different story. Again, I am happy to make a film that is remembered – or still around for whatever reason. I wrote and directed the first “Puppet Master” – and created some of the puppets. The face of Blade was actually our homage to Klaus Kinski – if you look closely enough. But the concept and original story came from Charlie Band. And the franchise is due almost completely by Charlie. I’ll take all the credit people want to give me for that film…but be aware that it really pisses Charlie Band off when they do. That is why he took my “A Film By” credit off – and put his name – ABOVE THE TITLE – on the new Blu-ray versions of Puppet Master. It is now: “Charles Bands’ Puppet Master” – the classic first film. Charlie is getting insecure in his old age. 😉

MG: How do you feel that horror genre has changed over the years?
DS: The changes in the horror film really reflect the changes in the film business itself: lot’s of remakes and sequels and cannibalizing the past. I suspect the more original horror films today come from foreign countries and – in the US – from indie filmmakers. To make a truly original horror film today, a filmmaker would have to figure out the zeitgeist (global financial worries & problems – not exactly an exciting topic for a horror film) –or whatever – it would have to be something we really haven’t seen or experience – and that would never receive real financing, because it won’t have been tested. Tough times for films…

David Kates & Joshua Mosley discuss composing “Mass Effect: Paragon Lost”

David Kates & Joshua Mosley are the composers of Production I.G.’s “Mass Effect: Paragon Lost”, which is an animated prequel to BioWare’s “Mass Effect 3”.  The film is being released on Blu-ray/DVD on  December 28, 2012 and packs a hell of an epic score.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David and Joshua about working together on this project and with the “Mass Effect” franchise.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you two ended up collaborating on “Mass Effect: Paragon Lost”?
Joshua Mosley: Really great to talk with you. Shortly after I was hired on to the film I discovered the music of David Kates – particularly his work on the Mass Effect games. I really dug the way he put together his cues. I reached out and connected through social media. I felt he would be a great collaborator on this film. Soon after we met in person, I invited him to join me on this creative adventure. It was a totally awesome and fun experience working with David.
David Kates: Thanks for including us. We love what you guys are doing, and thrilled to be a part of it. Joshua, I recall, reached out to me through social networking, and mentioned that he had listened to some of my music so I reciprocated and checked out was he was doing, and was really moved by what he was creating. And I say moved, because it’s one thing to be impressed, and another altogether, to be moved. I felt that Joshua’s writing was coming from a very honest place, and I knew I wanted to get to know him. When the opportunity to collaborate on Mass Effect: Paragon Lost came about, I was initially very surprised because at the time, no one knew an animated version of the franchise was in the works. I was thrilled to be included, and fascinated by the potential creativity in bringing what I had composed on the games to the screen with Joshua.

MG: David, How does composing a “Mass Effect” animated movie differ from the video game series?
DK: The mission in composing for the game, particularly Mass Effect 2, was to give each level of the game its own musical identity while keeping the overall quality consistent, but the process is tedious and limiting. One of my favorite levels that I worked on was Garrus because I found him to be a character tormented by his own internal challenges. He wasn’t human, yet he identified with human qualities like compassion, justice, and loyalty. I wanted to bring out his discomfort in this while also accentuating this underlying, almost chemical level need to participate in battle. To achieve this, I had to create short loops that had different layers of content, and those layers would be trigger-based on what the player achieves while playing. It’s very challenging and difficult to really dig into a character’s development this way. In the movie, though, the story is laid out and develops chronologically, and there are so many opportunities to compose themes that you can use to comment on what you see on the screen. In fact, the dramatization of Mass Effect: Paragon Lost is one of the aspects of my collaboration with Joshua that I’m most proud of. I feel we gave the story real dimension, and brought out the real emotion that was written in the script.

MG: Since this is a prequel to the third game, does that pose any issue when approaching the sound?
JM: Sure it does. We definitely wanted to capture the essence of the musical landscape of the Mass Effect games, including elements from all three titles. That sound also had to translate to a big cinematic experience. I think it fits well alongside the games.
DK: We both studied and analyzed the scores from the games to make sure not to leave any identifiable elements out, and we knew we wanted this score to have a cinematic and expansive feel that brings the games to the big screen.

MG: What you were most concerned about when handling the “Mass Effect” universe for the fans?
JM: We definitely wanted the score to fit into the sonic experience of the Mass Effect games and give the fans that same emotional feeling that they got when they played them.
DK: We certainly wanted the score to feel as though it naturally lives alongside the other productions, and were initially concerned how our musical approach would live well with the anime style of animation. Fortunately, the two elements blended successfully and we didn’t have to go back and alter our sound palette.

MG: The film has a very epic sci-fi score behind it, tell us about the inspiration?
JM: Yes, this is a very epic score but at the center of it all is the humanity and the spiritual and emotional journey that Vega embarks on through the film. There are definitely big sci-fi action cues throughout but there is also a very intimate emotional underscore that gives it the depth it needed to support and propel that story.
DK: I would say our inspiration was the spiritual nature we discovered in the story. Joshua and I talked for many hours about what we wanted to achieve, and that included accentuating the underlying humanity of what was going on. James Vega goes through an experience that no one would ever expect to go through in their lives, yet, every one of us can imagine being confronted with making the kind of decisions that could mean the lives of so many, particularly the ones we know and love. We really dedicated ourselves to making sure that this would be the inspiration that motivated every note we wrote in this score.

MG: Tell us what each of you have planned next?
JM: I begin work on a new video game and film in January. I am also in talks on a few other projects of which I cannot disclose any information. Thanks again for having us!
DK: I’ve been fortunate to be participating in The Helfman Institute Composer in Residence program this past year, and I’ve been composing my first Operetta based on the biblical character Miriam. We’re rehearsing it now, and will be performing it in Los Angeles in late January.
Cheers to you and your readers!! Thanks so much and wishing everyone a merry holiday season.

Keith David talks about playing multiple roles in “Cloud Atlas”

Since our last chat with Keith David back in April of 2010, he has gone on to co-star in one of my favorite films of 2012, “Cloud Atlas”, in which he plays four different roles. Also as we speak, he currently has three films in theaters. Keith is known best for his roles in projects like “The Princess and the Frog”, “Platoon” and “They Live”. He has won two Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance on projects like “The War” and “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about “Cloud Atlas”, as well as his other recent projects.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your four very different roles in “Cloud Atlas”?
Keith David: I met the directors and they offered me a job and it was great. This project was one of the most thrilling experiences of my career actually. I got to work with and meet some really great actors. These are people that I have admired from afar for years. Before this, I had never met Halle (Berry) before. I had met Tom (Hanks). We actually did a stage reading for “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” many years ago. It was fun to be on a set and really get to watch these different characters evolve as they were doing make-up tests. It was just thrilling and I had a blast.

[Note: Here is a breakdown of his four roles. Kupaka – “The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing” set in 1849 and was directed by The Wachowski’s; Joe Napier – “Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery”, set in 1973, and directed by Tom Tykwer; General An-Kor Apis – “An Orison of Sonmi~451”, set in 2144 and directed by The Wachowski’s; and lastly, Prescient – “Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After” set in 2321, also directed by The Wachowski’s.]

MG: Speaking of make-up, what was your most challenge role? Was it An-Kor Apis?
KD: Yes, I think that An-Kor Apis was one of my favorites. He was the most drastic transformation for me. He was also the culmination of the previous two characters that I play. Kupaka starts out as a slave. Joe (Napier) also sort of works for ‘the man’, until he gets the opportunity to step up to the plate and become more of himself. Then in the next re-incarnation, An-Kor Apis becomes the leader of rebellion. In terms of soul, it was a nice journey for me.

MG: You got to work with both Tom Tykwer and The Wachowskis, how was it switching between the different aspects of the production?
KD: It was amazing. I have never been a part of something like this before. It was such a seamless collaboration. The Wachowski’s, Lana and Andy work together beautifully. Even when they asked for slightly different things, it still felt like one voice. The pre-production before we got there must have been tremendous. There is a lot of back stories and how each piece fits into the puzzle, but the three of them were so clear on it. Going back and forth between the two teams, there was nothing abruptive about it. It was very wonderfully seamless.

MG: How was it filming in Germany and Spain?
KD: I mean what is not to like [laughs]. It was extremely beautiful. When I wasn’t shooting, I got to wander around and explore. I went to the beach and got to swim in Spain. Berlin is such a wonderful city and there is just so much to do. I even have some friends from the States, who now live in Berlin, who I have done shows together with back in New York about three years ago. One of them even has her own Gospel group, so I got to sing in eight Gospel concerts while I was in Germany. That was very cool!

MG: Tell us about your role of Big Earl in “Christmas in Compton”?
KD: That was another fun piece. Big Earl is the nurturer of the neighborhood and runs this Christmas tree lot, which is how he makes a living. He is raising his son, who is really a grown man. After going to college for a few years, his son decides he wants to be a record producer. After Big Earl has a heart attack, he puts his sons name on the lot and tells him to take over. His son, in a bit of bad judgment, puts up the lot on a bad deal and dad has to come to the rescue. I personally love stories about fathers and sons. Sometimes when fathers want more for their children, they end up being harder on them than necessary. This ends up hurting them more than applying the growth that we want most for them. Overall, though I feel it has a nice message.

MG: You have another film “The Last Fall” out now as well, tell us about that?
KD: Again, I thought it was a really good story about what happens after your dream is disrupted. Sometimes you have to be careful what you ask for or you may get it or if you’re not careful you will lose it. I thought that [director] Matthew Cherry did a great job with it. It is in theaters now and hits DVD in January.

MG: You also got new TV series called “Belle’s” slated for next year, what can we expect?
KD: I play the head of a family. My wife is deceased but I still carry on the restaurant with her name on it. I have two daughters, who have trouble getting along and a sister-and-law that gets on my nerves [laughs]. I also have a lovely granddaughter that I am crazy over. The show focuses around what happens behind-the-scenes of the restaurant and also when it gets busy. It is really run and premieres also in January.

MG: Did I miss anything? What else you got planned for 2013?
KD: Right now, I am also narrating a documentary for the History Channel called “The Bible”. It will be airing right before Easter.

David Lloyd reflects on his work illustrating “V for Vendetta” graphic novel

David Lloyd is known best for his work illustrating “V for Vendetta” graphic novel and working with Alan Moore.  David recently attending the 2012 New York Comic Con to promote this latest project called “Aces Weekly”, which is an exclusively weekly comic art magazine.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about his work on “V for Vendetta”, how it is still relevant today and his inspiration.

Mike Gencarelli: Where did you pull the inspiration for your illustrations on the “V for Vendetta”?
David Lloyd: If you mean the look of the character – the idea of making him a kind of resurrection of Guy Fawkes — it’s because it fit into what we needed for the character beyond his basic form as an urban guerrilla fighting a fascist tyranny. We needed a colorful eccentric look because that’s what makes attractive and fascinating characters in most mainstream comics. And he was a character branded a villain by history who was, however, a hero to his cause as many branded as villains by history were. A good man and a bad man at once. If you mean the style of the art – it was a simple choice because of the subject – it was about a stark, bleak future, so I chose a stark, bleak style of art. But it was influenced by seeing Jim Steranko’s Chandler and the work of someone who was a great inspiration to me and a friend who actually helped me on some of V – Tony Weare – a master of light and shade.

MG: You worked with Alan Moore on “Doctor Who” prior to this, how was the collaboration in comparison on “V for Vendetta”?
DL: Well, the difference was that we had full control and we could do what we liked on Vendetta, whereas the Doc Who mag stuff was work for hire. But our working relationship was as good. We were on the same wavelength creatively – influenced by many of the same books, tv, movies. And V was also produced at a very slow pace in the early days – 6-8 pages a month = allowing us time to experiment, think, talk, plan and have creative accidents that made it a very organic object, not planned out from the beginning but made up as we went along – like good jazz : )

MG: V is such an iconic character; if there is ever a comic convention he is always present. Why do you think he resonates so much with the fans?
DL: A colorful and admirable fighter for freedom against the tyranny of cultural and political oppression and repression who also happens to be a mad genius. It’s not rocket science… : ) Alan produced something very profound as well as a great adventure. It’s a classic of great storytelling with an important message for everyone – hang onto your individuality at all costs.

MG: How do you feel that the story was translated into the 2007 film?
DL: I see it as another version. In an ideal world it would have been nice for it to be exactly as the original, but a Hollywood movie has so many needs to fulfill – I’m glad it was as good as it was. There are great performances in it and it’s a powerful movie, and the Washowski bros and James McTiegue did a great job that in other hands could have been disastrous. And most importantly the central message of the book is right in there and has been spread to a much wider audience than might ever have heard it via the graphic novel alone.

MG: How do you feel that the comic genre is changing with now digital being so popular?
DL: Depends what is done with it. It’ll change depending on what the audience for them decide they want out of the techniques being used on them. I don’t like motion comics as we understand the term but I’m sure something creative and aesthetically satisfying can be done with the medium and some kind of movement. The digital comics myself and Bambos Georgiou, my collaborator on the project, are presenting via Aces Weekly are not digital in any sense other than they’re just fantastic art and storytelling on screen instead of the page. And they look beautiful and jewel-like!

MG: Who are some of your mentors and favorite artists?
DL: I was given a little book called The Observers Book of Painting, which had reproductions of the great masters. One of them was Turner’s ‘ Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus ‘ , which I managed to get a print of, and which remained on my bedroom wall for years – even during the ‘ film poster wallpaper ‘ period of my teenage years. It was the atmosphere made from light, that impressed me most with Turner – and Rembrandt was on the same team. Then Millais for his extraordinary photo-realist work allied to amazing lighting effects, Geoff Campion – he drew ‘ Texas Jack’ in one the English weeklies, Steve Dowling, who created the newspaper strip ‘ Garth ‘ – the first British superhero ( not Marvelman ), Giles – an English political cartoonist, whose work was an extraordinary blend of the realistic and the cartoony, George Woodbridge and Jack Davis in Mad magazine – loved their work so much, of daffy dogs and gunfighters, that I did tracings of them and hung them on the wall ; little, b/w reprints of US comic book stories, packaged in the UK under the titles – ‘ Mystic’ and ‘ Spellbound ‘, Wally Wood, Orson Welles, H.G.Wells, Ray Harryhausen – ‘ The 7th Voyage of Sinbad ‘, Ron Embleton, Rod Serling, Ian Fleming, Mickey Spillane, Robert McGinnis, Josh Kirby – who painted covers for a series of sf paperbacks ( some time before he did Pratchett stuff ) including some for… Ray Bradbury ; then there was Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Robert Sheckley, H.P.Lovecraft, Don Medford, Don Siegel, Alfred Hitchcock, Boris Sagal, Terence Fisher, Ron Cobb – of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Frank Frazetta, John Burns, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Frank Bellamy, Al Williamson, the EC crowd, Tony Weare, the early Warren crowd, Gray Morrow, Toth, Torres, Jim Steranko. Steve Ditko astounded me with his work on Amazing Adult Fantasy, which was the most consistently powerful, individualistic and atmospheric comic book work I’d seen to that date. I tried to draw like Ditko. I tried to draw folds in clothing like he did, but couldn’t because I knew practically nothing about the way people were put together at that time. At around the same period, I saw the work of the great English strip illustrator, Ron Embleton, on the first series of Wrath of the Gods – as I mentioned earlier – a centre spread in Boy’s World, in which the use of black shadow, expert pen work, and rich colors, collaborated with faultless draughtsmanship, to produce the single most impressive piece of work I have ever seen in this area of craft.  Amazing Spiderman appeared then. Then the Fantastic Four and Kirby/Lee – those fantastic, overblown, revolutionary, soap opera-style epics that had to be tracked down issue by issue through the various stores in my neighborhood  cos we had unreliable distribution of US comic books in England. Dr Strange. The EC guys came after that through the Ballantine books – you know the names – and not just the smooth guys. Al Feldstein’s work looked like he cut it out of pieces of wood – but it was extraordinary. Then I got the early Warrens. Even better. Bigger. More of it. FRAZETTA. UNBELIEVABLE COVERS. Blazing Combat. Gray Morrow on ‘ The Long View ‘. REED CRANDALL. ALEX TOTH. Too much. But not enough. Never enough. Then, when I was at the studio, I saw a newspaper strip called ‘ The Seekers ‘, which was drawn by a guy called John Burns. I thought he was American cos I didn’t think an English artist could draw in such a smooth, cool way – like Alex Raymond but with more realism. He took risks which worked – he drew water solid black, and minimalised it into a design element. He was totally in control. A master. Tony Weare was drawing another newspaper strip – a western called ‘ Matt Marriott ‘ – which was all done with one brush, it seemed, and looked lazy but wasn’t, and largely depended on shadow for delineation of figures and objects. All of all of that, and more I could list, helped me.

MG: Do you feel that your style has changed over the years?
DL: Well, other than from early days of learning, no. But then I don’t think I have a style that is a fixed thing to grow or not. I’ve chosen different ways of drawing using different tools on many subjects that demanded a variety of approaches. Sure there’s a core personality to it and to me as a creator – but a set ‘ style ‘ ? I don’t think so – though of course because I’m known principally for V many folks think of me in that context and no other.

MG: Tell us about your recent work with Aces Weekly?
DL: An EXCLUSIVELY digital weekly comic art magazine – not previewed for print – which I am publishing. You get this and only get this by subscribing and it’s delivered to you at the touch of a button every week to iPad, tablet and any computer anywhere as long as you’re connected to the net. It has up to 30 pages including extras of story and art every week featuring 6 continuing stories that run through 7 issues making a volume of up to 210 pages. And it’s a steal at just $9.99 for 7 weeks of some of the finest talent in comic art from me, Steve Bissette, John McCrea, Phil Hester, David Hitchcock, Mark Wheatley, Yishan Li, Bill Sienkiewicz, Colleen Doran, Herb Trimpe, Dylan Teague… and many more. We go straight from the creator to the buyer. No expenses on printing, distribution, warehousing, retail, and no barriers to sale. We have an international team of creators and we can sell internationally to anyone reading English. But we’re new and we need lots of subscriptions to thrive. So please help us spread the word : )

David Denman talks about new film “Let Go” and NBC’s “The Office”

David Denman has come full circle. As a young man in college, his first time before the camera put him on screen with Ed Asner. Now 15 years later he co-stars again with Asner, playing his probation officer, in the new comedy “Let Go.” While in the middle of a busy week of multiple projects Denman took time out to talk to Media Mikes about the late Patrice O’Neal, going to Julliard and what it’s like to play a probation officer (he’s done it twice)!

Mike Smith: What drew you to your role in “Let Go?”
David Denman: I was given the script by my agent and I really responded to the character. I thought there was a real sweetness in his view of the world and what he did on a bigger scale. That’s how it came to be. I just really liked it. I thought it was genuinely quirky and fun. I thought it would be a change and definitely a challenge.

MS: Probation Officer is an unusual profession and one you don’t see on screen a lot. Did you have to do any special research to get a feel for the character?
DD: Not on this job…I had played a parole officer previously and had a couple of conversations . What I learned is that most of the people getting out of jail don’t really get rehabilitated that easily so my character is very cynical about things. When you’re making movies you can do a lot of research and get a lot of different perspectives. And Walter’s perspective is definitely quite different.

MS: How did a California kid wind up at Julliard?
DD: When I was in school I always wanted to do theatre. There was a guy I went to high school with…he was the “professional kid.” He would do commercials. And he would always say, “when I get out of here I’m going to go to Julliard.” I asked him what it was and he told me. He told me that Robin Williams had gone there. Kevin Kline. All of these great actors. I’d never heard of it. I didn’t even know there were schools out there for acting. So when I graduated I went to the American Reparatory Theatre in San Francisco. It was very much like conservatory training, very intensive eight or ten weeks studying a craft I want to do. I applied to Julliard and I did what I had to get in. It was great to do regional theater…to travel and do shows. I went back to California on vacation and booked a job on “ER.” I stayed in California and never went back. That was 15 years ago.

MS: You shared a couple episodes of “The Office” with the late Patrice O’Neal, who just passed away. Do you have any special memories of working with him?
DD: He was a lot of fun. There wasn’t a whole lot of acting going on…he was pretty much his character. It was always fun because he was so quick. He threw a lot of improv into his work. I wasn’t aware he was a stand up comedian until after we started working together. He was really funny. We had a good time.

MS: What are you working on next?
DD: I’m finishing an M. Night Shayamalan movie (“After Earth”) with Will and Jaden Smith and I’m currently shooting an independent movie called “Blue Potato,” which takes place in upstate Maine. It’s a coming of age story that happens over the course of a potato harvest. I play a farmer who becomes a mentor to one of the kids. It was really a great little script and I’m having a lot of fun shooting it. And then I’ll be back on “The Office” in an episode I just shot last week.

David Brooks talks new horror/thriller “ATM”

David Brooks is the director of the new horror/thriller “ATM”. The film is also David’s feature directorial debut. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about the film and what he has planned next.

MS: You’ve done a couple of short films but “ATM” is your first feature. How did you get involved with the project?
DB: I’m good friends with Peter Safran, who co-produced “Buried,” which was (writer) Chris Sparling’s other feature. He had seen the short I had done coming out of NYU called “Gone.” He really liked it. He was working on the post-production of “Buried.” I read the (“ATM”) script and really just started badgering him. I then started working on a draft of the script with Chris…that was the gestation of it.

MS: “ATM” takes place pretty much AT an ATM. How were you able to build and sustain the suspense in what is pretty much a one set film?
DB: It’s certainly a challenge for sure. But I think that was one of the things that brought me to the project…to have to figure out how to do that. For me it was about getting the right amount of balance between the perspectives. Essentially we have three characters inside a vestibule and a man outside. So a lot of the tension comes from playing between the perspectives. Them inside. He outside. Then within those I try to play with who is seeing what at what moment. At times you may think you’re looking through the man’s purview from outside and then he steps through the frame. It’s just a matter of continually finding ways to keep the audience unsettled. That was the goal and we do that with the shifting perspectives.

MS: You’re working with a pretty young cast. How were they to work with?
DB: Really, really fantastic. I was really lucky to cast all three of them. It was really great for me as a first time feature director to be working with such talents. They were all very special…they all brought something unique to their characters. We all decided that we would work hard and they answered the challenge.

MS: You edited commercials as well as most of your earlier film work. Editing seems to be, from Robert Wise to Martin Scorsese, an almost perfect segue into directing. Did that experience help you when you set up your shots and planned on where to put the camera?
DB: It was a natural progression. Working on a low budget film, especially one as intimate as this one, it was a great opportunity for me to bring my comfort in the editing room to the table. That definitely was a big part of it.

MS: The film is currently available on Video on Demand and opens on April 6th. What is the release schedule like? Are you opening wide or just hoping to start small and build on word of mouth?
DB: We’re going to start limited and hopefully grow from there. We’re getting great response on the VOD. People are getting a chance to see the film. I believe we’re starting out in six cities, expanding to six more the following week and hopefully growing from there. I think for a small movie that people are able to see it on VOD. But I want people to get that big screen theatre experience…I hope they decide to see it in the cinema as soon as possible!

MS: Do you have your next project lined up?
DB: That’s a good question (laughs). I’m working on a few things but for the most part really I’m just reading scripts and trying to find my next thing. The short answer is I’m not sure but hopefully I’ll know soon enough.

Interview with David Grimoire

David Grimoire is one half of the writing duo behind Opera Diabolicus a concept album that combines elements of theater with progressive/heavy metal music.  Media Mikes had a chance to talk with David about the concept and the possibility of the album being turned into a live production.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some back ground on the project?
David Grimoire: The idea began about six years ago. I met lyricist Adrian de Crow at a stage performance of Umberto Eco’s book “The Name of the Rose”. By chance we ended up sitting next to each other and we started talking. We both had friends in common and through talking we seemed to have the same preference in music. We decided to meet up at a later time and discuss the possibility of working together.

AL: Was it hard to decide on a direction for the album?
DG: With my back ground in writing music I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted things to go. Prior to this I never really had the opportunity to go in that direction. When you are in a normal 5 piece band with one singer you are very limited. For this project we decided early on that we should not limit ourselves creatively. The music is something I always had in my head. With Adrian’s lyrics there was a story and we blended the two together. Everything was pretty well determined ahead of time.

AL: What do you feel was the hardest part of making the album?
DG: When to stop. (Laughs) This type of writing takes a lot of time and effort. There wasn’t one specific part that stuck out as being more difficult than another. Every part takes time to put together because you want to make it as good as possible.

AL: How did you go about selecting musicians for the album?
DG: I think that part was pretty easy. Depending on the material we knew which type of vocalists we wanted. We wanted Snowy Shaw. I think he is the best drummer in the world for this type of music. Snowy also has a lot of range vocally. Mats Leven has a very characteristic clean voice which I love. Niklas Isfeldt also provided vocals. We handpicked musicians who we thought could make the album happen.

AL: Is there a chance that we will see a stage performance of this material?
DG: Yes. We are in the planning stages right now. There is quite a bit of planning that goes into something of this size. There is going to be a lot of theater involved so we want to make it right. There are a lot of pieces in the puzzle.

AL: What other projects do you have currently in the works?
DG: Working on the stage production is one of the things. We shot a video about a month ago. That took some time but it is out now. We also have been planning for the next album. We have some material written however we don’t know when it will be released.

Interview with David Davidson

David Davidson is the guitarist/vocalist for the heavy metal group Revocation. The band recently released their 3rd studio album titled “Chaos of Forms”. Media Mikes had a chance recently to David about the new album and the bands plans for 2012.

Adam Lawton: How did the band form?
David Davidson: Phil, Anthony and I formed Revocation in 2006. We were called Cryptic Warning prior to that but decided to change the name since our style had changed and developed so much. Right around the time that “Existence is Futile” came out we added Dan Gargiulo to the lineup.

 AL: Can you tell us about the latest album?
 DD: “Chaos of Forms” is our 2nd record for Relapse and it came out this past August. We’re all pumped on it and we are stoked about the feedback we’ve gotten so far. We feel that Chaos is our strongest work to date in terms of songwriting. The songs have been a blast to play live.

 AL: How does this release compare to your previous release?
 DD: It definitely expands upon our sound but at the same time it maintains the core elements of what makes us who we are. We’re all pleased with the flow of the record and we think it really shows the diversity of the band. On every release we want each song to have its own personality. We think that this release has a lot of character to it. We once again chose to work with Pete Rutcho to record, mix and master the album. We love working with him! Pete is a blast in the studio!

 AL: Do you have a favorite track off the album?
 DD: Currently “No Funeral”. We just did a video for that song and it’s really fun to play live.

 AL: What are the bands upcoming plans for 2012?
 DD: We’re going on tour with Children of Bodom, Eluveitie, and Threat Signal starting at the end of January. After that we don’t really have any plans. I’m sure we’ll be back on the road soon though; we can’t stay home for too long!

 

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Interview with David Dastmalchian

David Dastmalchian is playing Nelson in the upcoming film “Sushi Girl”.  David appeared in “The Dark Knight” opposite Heath Ledger as part of his team. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about his role in “Sushi Girl” and also what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got involved with “Sushi Girl” and the role of Nelson?
David Dastmalchian: Well I came across the breakdown for the film when I first got to LA and was really intrigued. I ended up tracing it back to Destin Pfaff on Facebook of all places. I reached out to him about meeting up and talking about the film on a professional level. It turned out that he’d recently seen me in something and the next day we were having lunch. I met with him and Kern Saxton and the other producers and we just sat around and chatted for hours about the film. I was really excited. So from there I got the role of Nelson. He is the driver of the group. He is trying to fit in with the gang and be a part of the team, not just the driver. No one really gives Nelson the respect that he deserves, so he’s going to find a way to get it. It is a really cool part.

MG: How was it working with such an amazing variety of talent?
DD: It was amazing. Everyone involved is so legendary and well known. You are going to get to see a whole other side of Mark Hamill, he is really fantastic in this film. I have just been blessed to work with so many great people. I came down to LA over a year ago after coming from Chicago and New York and I really have had some wonderful opportunities.

MG: Have you had a chance to see the film yet and if so what was your reaction?
DD: Yes, I saw a rough cut and I was blown away. The ensemble is a blast, the look of the film is gorgeous. It is just like nothing I have ever seen before. It does everything that I want to see in a movie like this. It’s fun, scary, disturbing and I can’t wait to see it again.

MG: Compare working on a film like “The Dark Knight” to “Sushi Girl”?
DD: That is a good question. Believe it or not they are not too much different. “The Dark Knight” had a very large budget and mammoth crew but when I was doing my couple of scenes, it felt like an indie that just happened to have a great deal of support. The atmosphere that they created was very conducive to making discoveries and being able to play. Same with ‘Sushi Girl’. And even though “Sushi Girl” didn’t have that kind of money, it’s so well planned and thought through that it feels like it does. When films like these have a strong idea behind them and a team of people who really care, who think outside the standard box in creating it, it shows on the screen. When you go on set and the people making the film are so ready to go then it doesn’t really feel much more different to me. I am working on a film with friends called “Say When”, it’s a micro budget but there are incredible things happening because the director can use the obstacles of budget restraint as a way to come up with some imaginative solutions. The creative process, if approached the right way, can really thrive under restrictions. So I guess I keep learning that some amazing work can get done when the creative team has strong ideas and talent and vision to execute those ideas – whether it’s five thousand, a million or a hundred million dollars behind a film.

MG: What do you have in the works next?
DD: Oh man, trying to keep busy. I just finished a film called “Brutal” in New York with Kamal Ahmed (a former “Jerky Boy” who now makes indie films). That was really great and challenging. I also did a film called “Death Method” with Malcolm McDowell, written and directed by Frank Merle. Getting to throw down with Malcolm was definitely one of the highlights of my life as an actor thus far. Richard Day’s hilarious, insane sequel to his cult hit, ‘Girls Will be Girls’. The last year and a half, I’ve been working with my friend, Greg Fitzsimmons (‘Miss Ohio’) on his next feature, ‘Say When’. I can’t even describe this film right now. It costars several close friends, including Grace Rex (Contagion, The Dilemma) and we had to go to some pretty dark places. I am so fortunate to work with close friends who happen to be brilliant, as well. Grace and I are getting ready to launch our new comedy series for the web, “Premature”, which shoots in NYC. I’ve got an upcoming collaboration with Hugh Schulze in Detroit in which I play a painter who is really struggling and forms a strange bond with an unlikely friend. I can’t say much about it yet, but my long-time collaborator and friend, Jimmy McDermott and I have something pretty insane in the works. It’s been very cool getting to do the film festival circuit with Jimmy with our short film, KEEN.

Interview with David Giuntoli

David Giuntoli is the star of NBC’s new series “Grimm”. The show is described as “a cop drama—with a twist…a dark and fantastical project about a world in which characters inspired by Grimm’s Fairy Tales exist”. The show co-stars Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz and Reggie Lee. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about his role in the show and also what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you give us some background on your new show “Grimm”?
David Guintoli: The show is a cool mix of genre and procedural. It’s “CSI” meets “X-Files”. There is crazy stuff going on but it’s based here in the real world. It’s about a regular guy trying to sort out some new rules he has learned about. The show has some action mixed with some horror. It’s really neat in those ways.

MG: What drew you to the character of “Nick”?
DG: Most roles in Hollywood you are playing are an attorney, cop or doctor. This role right of the bat is one of those gems where the lead character starts his quest immediately. In the pilot episode the main character has something happen to him and the following episodes will be how he is dealing with his new identity. This is one of those special parts that if you are lucky comes around maybe once or twice in a lifetime.

MG: How was it for you taking the lead in the show?
DG: I was completely nervous. On one end I was ready but at the same time it was the first time taking the lead. It was a big responsibility.

MG: What can you tell us about the episodes that have aired so far?
DG: My character Nick has come to terms with this new world where characters from the Grimm fairy tales are trying to kill him. Nick has very few resources to find out about what is going on. Nick does have his aunt (played by Kate Burton) and a small library where he goes to try and figure out his responsibilities. The character Eddie Monroe played by Silas Weir Mitchell also helps my character navigate this new world. You will see me learn how to decide who is good and who is bad. Each episode has a crazy crime going on.

MG: How do you feel this show differs from shows like “Supernatural” and “Fringe”?
DG: They are all quality shows. I think “Grimm” will push the gore factor a little more. The more of these types of shows the merrier since I believe Friday night is a perfect night for these shows.

MG: What can you tell us about your upcoming film “Caroline and Jackie” which also stars Bitsie Tulloch?
DG: We filmed that prior to us working together on “Grimm”. We played boyfriend and girlfriend and we had good chemistry. The film is kind of like a Woody Allen comedy, where an intervention goes completely awry.

Win an Autographed Poster with Carla Gugino & David Boreanez from “The Mighty Macs” [ENDED]

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING, THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EVERY WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

To celebrate release of “The Mighty Macs”, which hit theaters on Oct.21st, Media Mikes would like to giveaway AN AUTOGRAPHED POSTER from the entire cast including CARLA GUGINO & DAVID BOREANEZ. If you would like to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite inspiration sports film. This giveaway will be open until Monday October 24th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Movie Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

“THE MIGHTY MACS” is based on the incredible true story of the 1971-72 Immaculata College team that started in obscurity but became the original Cinderella story in women’s basketball. This team of pioneers went from barely making that inaugural tournament to the first dynasty in their game. And Cathy Rush, the woman that was ahead of her time, became immortalized when she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“THE MIGHTY MACS” stars Carla Gugino as Cathy Rush; David Boreanaz as her husband, NBA referee Ed Rush; Marley Shelton as Sister Sunday; and Academy Award and Tony Award winner Ellen Burstyn as Mother St. John. The film was written, directed, and produced by Tim Chambers. The film’s executive producers are Pat Croce, the former president of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, and Vince Curran, a successful businessman and former basketball star at Penn. Curran and Chambers are founders and partners of Quaker Media. Get ready to cheer on a true Cinderella team when “THE MIGHTY MACS” opens in theaters on October 21.

 

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Interview with David Alexanian

“The Way” producer David Alexanian is best known for two popular documentary mini-series he produced, wrote and directed.  The first, “Long Way Round,” released in 2004,  followed actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on a motorcycle trip around the world, with visits to Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Alaska, before finally ending their journey in New York.   Boosted by the popularity of “Long Way Round,”  in 2007 he teamed up with McGregor and Boorman again on “Long Way Down.”  This time the lads traveled from the North of Scotland, down through Europe, into Africa, finally winding up in Cape Town, South Africa.  Having been a fan of both productions, Emelio Estevez contacted Alexanian to see if he would be interested in producing “The Way.”  He was.  As I write this Mr. Alexanian is putting the finishing touches on his next documentary, “Marley Africa Roadtrip.”  The mini-series follows musician Ziggy Marley and his brothers as they criss-cross South Africa during the World Cup.   Mr. Alexanian took time out from his production schedule to sit down with MediaMikes:

Mike Smith:  Most of your projects deal with exploring various parts of the world.  Is that something you yourself like doing?  And if so, what inspired that passion?
David Alexanian:  Some people are just born to be road trippers.  Road Dogs.  I just love road trips.  I ride a motorcycle.  I met Ewan McGregor years ago and he turned me on to doing this trip around the world.  That was the thing that really got me started.  And after that first trip, people began to think of me doing things like that.  And that’s a good thing, because it means I’ve had some success.  And because of that success you end up doing much more of it.  Which is why I ended up doing the second trip to Africa with Ewan and Charlie.  That was a crazy trip.  Going through Sudan and Ethiopia and Rwawanda was a real eye opener.  After that I had the bug and I had to continue to do this.  Emilio had seen that second project and he called me.  He told me he had just written a screenplay.  He knew I had directed in the past but he asked me to produce.  I read the screenplay and I was immediately taken by it.  I love road movies.  And I love making them.  (he gestures to the “The Way” promotional motor coach)  We’re still taking road trips today.  A lot of people fly to get places these days and when you fly you really lose the sense of travel.  But when you’re on the road you can watch the landscape change.  You get to know the people a little bit better.

MS:  As someone who is truly an adventurer at heart, have you ever made the Camino pilgrimage?
DA:  No I haven’t.  I’d love to.  We’ve talked about going back and doing it.  I do think I will do it one day.  But we really didn’t have a chance to walk it.  We filmed for four months and, between walking from one town to another we probably walked almost 400 kilometers.  But it’s not the same as saying you’re going to simplify your life and keep everything you need in a little bag.  That’s all you’re going to take and you’re going to do it.  I want to do it, for sure.  I will do it.

MS:  In all of your travels, what is the best place you’ve ever visited?  What place has just knocked you out?
DA:  I’d have to say Mongolia.  Mongolia still seems very much like it was at the beginning of time.  The people are still very nomadic.  They still wear what they wear, they still live the way they live.  The more you spend time in places…I live in Los Angeles…you really realize that if you could only simplify your life you could get rid of a lot of problems.  And some of these places that I’ve had the chance to travel to…they really seem to have focus on family…focus on simplifying your life and what’s important.  You’ll probably be happier.  Regardless of how much stuff you have.

 

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Interview with David R. Ellis

David R. Ellis is the director of the upcoming 3D thriller “Shark Night 3D”. He is no stranger to action as he directed the films “Snakes on a Plane” and “The Final Destination”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about working on “Shark Night 3D” and what we can expect from him next.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally become attached to “Shark Night 3D”?
David R. Ellis: I had done “The Final Destination”  in 3D which ended up doing really good. Those attached to the “Shark Night” project wanted to make this film in 3D as well. I had been attached to the project for some time prior to the film being made. I was the only person out there that had done a full live action 3D movie. They brought me in to meet with the producers and I pitched to them what my vision for the film was. They immediately attached me to the film and from there they started to pitch the film for funding with my name attached to it.

MG: What can we expect from the film?
DRE: There is a lot of comedy and fun in this film. It’s not a horror but it is a scary. The film is rated PG-13 however we really pushed the envelope with what we could get away with. The film plays like an R rated movie but we just don’t cuss or have boobs in it. We don’t really need that to make a scary movie. I don’t think boobs are that scary. Maybe some are. (Laughs) During our test screenings we made people jump and scared them but they also had a lot of fun with the movie. We spent time developing the characters and we have a great young cast. I like finding young actors and giving them a shot such as Chris Evans who I had in “Cellular”. I think everyone in this film are going to be big stars in their own right and I was very lucky to get them before they broke out.

MG: There has been rumors, can you tell us if Ving Rhames will be in this film reprising his role from “Piranha 3D”?
DRE: Ving Rhames is not in the movie. There have been a lot of rumors that he was going to be in the film but those are all not true.

MG: We have spoke to the whole cast and they have been telling us that you are one of the best directors to work with and you have this unique approach to directing; can you tell us about that approach?
DRE: Well I pay them to say that [laughs].  No seriously, when I cast actors I cast people who have the ability to adopt the part and who can get into the role. I like to then give them free reign in designing that character from what they want to wear and what props they may want to use. Making a movie is not brain surgery so my sets are a lot of fun to work on. I come very prepared and we have fun while getting our work done. At the end of a movie it’s sad because we made a new family and you have to leave that. Keeping everything light is key. Appreciating everyone working on the film for what they contribute and not yelling and or screaming is important as well because at times we were shooting in miserable conditions but by keeping it fun everyone stepped up to the plate and did a great job.

MG: How much of the film features animatronic sharks and how much was CGI?
DRE:  It’s probably 40% animatronics and 60% CGI. We used the animatronic sharks when they had to interact with people. When a scene was really difficult we used the CGI sharks.  The CGI has really come a long way and looked great, especially since I was directed the second unit on “Deep Blue Sea”.  The technology from then to now is amazing. The sharks look great!

MG: How do you “Shark Night 3D” differs from your other 3D film “The Final Destination”?
DRE: This one was more difficult because we were shooting on the water. When you are using 3D cameras you have one camera for the left eye and one for the right. They are very bulky and underwater they are very big so it’s technically tough for the crews. I think 3D films need to be shot in 3D nd not converted in post production, as I feel you don’t get the depth. I call that ‘2 and a half D’. What they have now that we didn’t have for “The Final Destination” are 3D monitors. You get to watch everything in 3D as its being shot. Before you had to shoot then put it into a computer and watch it in a trailer later on.

MG: Can you tell us the story behind the issues with the film’s title?
DRE: The working title of the film was “Shark Night 3D”. We were always hoping that we would come up with something that was catchier. On a weekly basis we had production meetings where I would try and get the crew to suggest different titles. Ultimately when the film was bought after we were done there was some research to change the title but in the end the film is what it is and the title was fitting.

MG: Do you prefer shooting in 3D or do you find it more difficult?
DRE: I love 3D and its depth. I think a lot of films use the really gimmicky type 3D that throws stuff into the audience. We didn’t do that. We used the 3D to put the audience inside the world of the shark and to have the sharks in the audience. The gimmicks work for some movies as 3D is an interactive experience. I think 3D is a great application and it’s going to be around for a long time. It may not be for every film but for the right film if it’s used correctly it’s an awesome experience.

MG: You just cast Milla Jovovich in “Bad Luck”. Is this going to be your next project?
DRE: I don’t think that is going to be my next project. We had Milla on board at one point and she really loved the part however her schedule and my schedule didn’t line up so she doing some other things right now. I really like her and want to work with her in the future. I have several projects that I am attached to that are in various stages so I am waiting and taking a break for things to develop more. I have taken on a Universal film titled “R.I.P.D” which stands for Rest in Peace Department. I am going to direct all the action on that film and we are in Boston prepping for that film that starts shooting Sept. 9. I like going back and working on second unit because you don’t have all the headaches or pressure but you get to shoot all the fun stuff.

Interview with David Koechner

David Koechner is known best for his role of Champ in “Anchorman”. David is starring in two different films this year, both in the horror genre, “Final Destination 5″ and Piranha 3DD”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about his new films as well as his film career and his stand up shows.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you give us some back ground on your character Dennis in “Final Destination 5”?
David Koechner: Dennis is the a-hole boss of the company that doesn’t ever respond to anything very emotionally. I liked to add that he has been divorced twice and that he is desperately trying to hang on to his third wife. He really just is a guy who doesn’t know how to relate or talk to people.

MG:  Tell us about working with the young newcomer cast?
DK: The whole experience was really tremendous. I didn’t know anyone prior to starting the film but I got to know them all during shooting and just fell in love with everyone. They all are very bright, talented, intellectually curious as well as emotionally available [laughs]. I was very impressed with everyone and I thought the story was really good as well. I had not seen any of the other “Final Destination” films but I thought this one was really well written. I remember reading it and finished through with it before I even knew it. It was a really good read and it drew me in. From my perspective everything was aces.

MG: Did shooting in 3D pose any problems for you?
DK: It really doesn’t change anything. When you are acting it’s all a make believe world. Sometimes nothing is there at all and you have to pretend it is there. If anything the aspect of 3D just allows you to stretch your imagination even more.

MG: Since working on this picture did you go back and watch any of the others in the series?
DK: Someone showed me all the kill shots one day on set and I was just laughing my ass off! These films are a real thrill ride more so than a horror film. The films have great tension.

MG: What can you tell us about working on “Piranha 3DD”?
DK: That was really interesting [laughs]. That film pushes boundaries into a couple different areas and was something new for me. I seem to go from one 3D film to another and from one thriller/horror film to another. Maybe I am a scream queen now? [Laughs]

MG: Can you tell us about your character Chet?
DK: Chet is the guy that’s in charge and he is an a-hole. Maybe I am getting type cast as an a-hole? I have certainly played my share of those guys. I don’t know why I do it well? Maybe it’s ironic?

MG: Did you enjoy working in those genres on two films back to back?
DK:  I enjoy working. My wife and I have been blessed with 5 children and they want to eat. In order for them to do that daddy has to work.

MG: Did you notice any comparison’s while working on the films that stood out?
DK: Yes. The budgets! [Laughs] “Final Destination 5” was a big movie and it felt that way. Steve Quale was a master at putting that big ship together as there was a lot to deal with. I don’t know what the budget was for “Piranha 3DD” but it was a more modestly budgeted that’s for sure.

MG: Moving on to “The Office” will we be seeing more of Todd Packer this season?
DK: I hope so. They never let me know prior to the season starting. I did three episodes last year and average about that each season. I’m guessing it will stay the same but I have no way of knowing.

MG: Any chance of you becoming a regular?
DK: Not that they have told me. I think if I was going to be a regular they would have let me know by now. I hear arguments both ways with some people saying they would love to see Todd Packer every week and others that say they wouldn’t watch the show if he was on every week.

MG: There have been rumors floating around about a possible “Anchorman” sequel. Do you think Champ will come back for another film?
DK: I would love it and I know everyone involved with the film would love it and people have been trying to get it made but apparently there is some resistance with the studio. I heard a rumor where some people at the studio said yes to making it and one person in marketing said no. It seems incredible to me and all the people I talk to when I am out doing stand-up that they all want an “Anchorman 2”. I am always getting asked to do lines from the film. The appetite for that film is as ravenous as any sequel that has ever been produced. The other side of the coin is that when those sequels are made it’s a lot of money. I don’t know if they can’t make the figures work or what. I am sure it’s not out of meanness but it’s a business. Everyone I have talked to thinks “Anchorman 2” is a no brainer though for sure!

MG: How do you feel your stand-up gigs differ from your film or television roles?
DK: Live is a lot of fun and its immediate. The only other live that’s immediate like stand-up is if you’re shooting a four camera sitcom. Doing live entertainment is rewarding for everyone involved and it certainly is for me. It also gives me some economic freedom as well as a chance to meet people from around the country that I generally wouldn’t meet. I get to introduce them to other aspects of my performance that they may not have seen before on television or in the movies that are different. My show is pretty personal and the audience gets to know me pretty well.

MG: What other projects do you have in the works?
DK: I have a film coming out in September called “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy”. I have a part in “This Means War” with Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine. Those are the bigger ones I have coming out. I also am developing some shows for television and you just never know where those might wind up. I continue to write with about seven writers in an effort to get some things off the ground starring David Koechner. My ultimate goal would be to get on a sitcom and be able to stay at home with my family. That would be the best. As much as traveling around selling your work is great, I feel conflicted when I have to leave my family.

 

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