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

Dean Cain talks about new film “Vendetta” and “Supergirl” TV series

I first noticed Dean Cain when he appeared in a short arc as Brenda’s boyfriend, Rick, on “Beverly Hills 90210.” Yes, I admit I used to watch that show. The next year, 1993, everyone noticed Cain when he starred opposite Terry Hatcher in the popular series “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”

Cain is a product of Hollywood. His mother, Sharon Thomas Cain, is an actress and his adoptive father is director Christopher Cain (“Young Guns,” “Pure Country”). An outstanding college running back, Cain was signed by the Buffalo Bills but injured his knee in training camp.

After “Lois and Clark” left the air he continued growing as in actor with roles on such shows as “The Division” and “Las Vegas” and in films like “Rat Race” and last year’s “God’s Not Dead.” This week, June 12, you can see him as a police detective who gets himself sent to prison in order to get revenge on the convict that murdered his wife in the new film from WWE Studios, “Vendetta,” directed by the Soska Sisters. And fans can see him throughout the television season in no less than three series, including the upcoming “Supergirl.” While shooting a new project in New York, Mr. Cain took time out to talk about his new film, his belief that “Supergirl” will fly and why you’ll never find him at a karaoke bar.

Mike Smith: What attracted you to the film “Vendetta”?
Dean Cain: The idea of someone just hell-bent on revenge in a really brutal movie to me is a no brainer! This character goes from good to bad and is hell-bent on revenge. And the other thing that really attracted me was that Jen and Sylvia Soska were directing it. They came highly recommended and they proved why they came highly recommended. It was so great to work with them. I hope they hire me again.

MS: It’s really a very change-of-pace role for you. Is that another reason you found it attractive?
DC: Actors always like to play different things. If the last film is a comedy you go do something that’s heavy duty with action. To me, the change-of-pace to play this character was great. I had been playing a character on the television show “Hit the Floor” for the past three years who’s a basketball coach and somewhat a womanizer. He’s a completely different kind of guy. So it was fun to put on the brass knuckles and get down to the nitty gritty without a doubt.

MS: Is there a role out there that you’d really like to play but no one has ever offered? Is there a musical out there with your name on it?
DC: (laughing) If I’m in a musical, that could mean the end of my career. I just cannot sing. I don’t have it. And I’m not being humble, I’m being very truthful. That is not a good look for me. If anyone even liked me remotely they wouldn’t after they heard me sing. I’ve done a Western I really enjoyed…I’ve played a lot of police officers and soldiers. I’ll play anything that tickles my fancy. I certainly don’t want to be married to just one type of character. I have two series on the air now that I play very different characters. And I host a new show called “The Masters of Illusion” on the CW that starts in a couple of weeks. On “Hit the Floor,” as I said, I play a basketball coach who’s a womanizer and in “Supergirl” I play Supergirl’s foster father, who’s a scientist. So I’m getting to try my hand at a little bit of everything.

MS: You recently wrote and directed a short film called “The Red Pill.” Do you plan on concentrating your career more on being behind the camera?
DC: I like working both in front of and behind the camera. That was a project that we put together for a competition, so we had very specific things we had to do and conform to. They asked me if I was interested in joining in and I readily agreed. That was fun. I’m finishing writing a script right now…a family project that will be fun to watch. I’d be very happy to co-direct. That would be fun. The thing about filmmaking is that you never have to choose one over the other. But directing is hard work. Acting is pretty much easier. You play your character and you can leave. You’re done. You get to move onto something else. But if you’re the director, you’re the last one out. You get to think about the project all day, all night, all the time. You have to put the thing together. There’s so much work. I’ve watched my father do it. I enjoy it but right now I don’t have the time to focus.

MS: Since you mentioned “Supergirl,” is Fred Danvers, Supergirl’s adoptive father, going to be a recurring role?
DC: Absolutely. Absolutely. I’ll be in the show as much as the producers want me. That will be a blast. I think the show is going to be a super hit. I think it’s going to be fantastic. Melissa Benoist is amazing. And if America isn’t already in love with her they soon will be. She really does a great job in the role and she’s perfectly suited for it. I think it’s going to be a smash hit. It’s very female-empowering. And it’s also fun. It’s funny and enjoyable in the same way that “Lois and Clark” had nice humor and some romance, this has all that. The same vibe. I think it’s going to catch on and do very, very well.

MS: How have the visual effects changed in the two decades since “Lois and Clark?”
DC: Man…the visual effects now are on a whole different scale. It’s amazing. It’s amazing what they can do on a television budget, because it looks like it was done for a giant feature film. The amount of effects just in the pilot episode are ridiculous. They are now able to do things so much quicker and better than we did without a doubt. It’s night and day…night and day differences. She looks cooler when she flies. Everything is cooler and better.

MS: You mentioned the film that you’re writing. Do you have any other projects planned?
DC: Oh, always (laughs). I can never just do one or two things. I’ve got the three series we talked about. And I’m just finishing shooting something here in New York that I can’t talk about yet. I’ve got a few other things but nothing I can talk about yet. You’ve got it all covered for the time being.

DVD Review “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Complete Collection”

Actors: Dean Martin, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Don Rickles
Number of discs: 25
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Time Life Entertainment
DVD Release Date: October 25, 2013
Run Time: 2400 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

StarVista Entertainment/Time Life is behind this complete collection of the best-selling releases of “The Dean Martin Variety Show”. This marks the first time that most of these classics from the Golden Age of TV will be released on DVD in a single collection. Featuring all 54 roasts from both “The Dean Martin Show” and “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts”, this release is a must have for any fan of Dean Martin and these classic roasts. These roasts featured the top names ranging from 20th century’s most accomplished performers and athletes, politicians and personalities in the business giving their best jabs, put-downs, insults, slams and zingers. This beautiful set is packaged in a very sharp collector’s box and includes a 44-page Quote Book with rare photos, anecdotes, behind-the-scenes stories and memorabilia.

Who doesn’t love Dean Martin? Especially as we enter into the holiday season, his voice is just mesmerizing and so amazing.  Dean had this certain aspect about that that you can’t help but love…and admire. The guy is a legend and always will be. This collection includes an enormous about of talent as Dean surrounds himself with an amazing group of people…and never stops entertaining.  There is absolutely no shortage of talent included in this collection. These roasts are classy…yet a little raunchy like you would expect from Dean and also a whole lot funny. This is also something that you can watch and watch over and over!

There are 54 roasts here including Ronald Reagan, Hugh Hefner, Ed McMahon, William Conrad, Kirk Douglas, Bette Davis, Barry Goldwater, Johnny Carson, Wilt Chamberlain, Hubert Humphrey, Carroll O’Connor, Monty Hall, Jack Klugman & Tony Randall, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Leo Durocher, Truman Capote, Don Rickles, Ralph Nader, Jack Benny, Redd Foxx, Bobby Riggs, George Washington (portrayed by Jan Leighton), Dan Rowan & Dick Martin, Hank Aaron, Joe Namath, Bob Hope, Telly Savalas, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, Sammy Davis, Jr., Michael Landon, Evel Knievel, Valerie Harper, Muhammad Ali, Dean Martin, Dennis Weaver, Joe Garagiola, Redd Foxx, Danny Thomas, Angie Dickinson, Gabe Kaplan, Ted Knight, Peter Marshall, Dan Haggerty, Frank Sinatra, Jack Klugman, Jimmy Stewart, George Burns, Betty White, Suzanne Somers, Joe Namath, Joan Collins, Mr. T, and Michael Landon.

If you want more then you are going to love the 15-hours of bonus material included as well. There are eleven newly-produced featurettes including: “Ladies of the Dais”, “Beauty & The Beast: Ruth Buzzi vs. Muhammad Ali” and “Roast in Hell: Politicians Under Fire”. There are also several interviews including Phyllis Diller, Ruth Buzzi, Shirley Jones, Tony Danza, Angie Dickinson, Carol Burnett, Sheila Kuehl, Jimmie Walker, Abe Vigoda and Fred Willard. There are classic Dean Martin TV Specials including “Dean’s Place” and “Red Hot Scandals of 1926”. There are some Rare and Exclusive Home Movies from Dean’s Collection. There are bonus comedy sketches and also two Dean Martin Variety Show DVDs featuring Bob Hope, John Wayne, Peggy Lee, Rodney Dangerfield and many others included.

Suicidal Tendencies’ Dean Pleasants talks about latest album “13”

Dean Pleasants is the lead guitarist for the seminal skate punk band Suicidal Tendencies. The group has just released their first full length studio in 13 years simply titled “13”. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Dean about the album and working with other acts such as Jessica Simpson and Infectious Grooves.

Adam Lawton: What were the writing/recording sessions like for the new album “13”?
Dean Pleasants: The sessions were cool. Some of the songs we started working on were things that had been started in the past. We did some touching up on those ones but others were songs that were done from scratch. The ones that were older we had the news guys play on those so that everyone could do what they do best. We wanted everyone to be a part of it and have a vested interest in what we were doing. Writing wise there were some songs where we worked on them as a group and then there were others that were brought in and pieced together. We were very open with things and the fact that everyone in the band is prolific with their instrument makes things go very smooth. Mike is the guy who does all the arranging as he is the one who has to sing these songs so us other guys bring in bits and pieces which works really well for us.

AL: Once you got in to the studio how long did the recording process take?
DP: We started last summer while we were on tour and then we came back and worked some more on it. I think it was about 6 or 7 months off and on minus those 13 years in between. (Laughs) When we really were buckled down we did a few months on and a few months off. The longest parts were really spent working on the finishing touches and getting everything the way we wanted it to sound. I like to call that the icing on the cake. (Laughs)

AL: Did you find it hard to reconnect with fans after taking such an extended break?
DP: It can be. I think some of the fans were willing to wait as long as it took. We were still touring during the years between albums and reaching new fans who had never heard us before. So because a newer group of fans were interested in what we had coming out it has sort of sparked a resurgence for us. The new album I think speaks to all ages and though it took awhile the end product I feel is really good.

AL: Do you have a song off the album your most proud of?
DP: I wouldn’t say there was just one as I am emotionally attached to all of them. There are a few where I am a little more attached because I may have written more of the parts for it. The song “God Only Knows” is one that sparks some emotion for me. I actually played that when I had a broken finger. A broken finger for a guitarist can be pretty scary. That song means a lot to me as does “Last Breath”. I was happy to be playing again after that injury.

AL: Is it difficult in any way to go from playing with someone like Jessica Simpson to recording/playing songs with Suicidal Tendencies?
DP: Not really. When I am working with someone I only try and do one thing and that is to become their music. For me it is more important to bring out the best parts for the artist than to be selfish for myself and try and be heard. In Suicidal Tendencies I do get to be more myself as I am a vested member of that band. I still want what’s best for the band so I think the music is first and my personality is second. I try and throw my ego out the door.

AL: Can you tell us what the bands tour plans are for the spring/summer?
DP: We have a few weeks left on our current tour and then we get to go home for a little break. During that time we also will be doing some practicing with Robert Trujillo for the Infectious Grooves reunion which will happen during this year’s Orion Festival. We will be playing right before the Red Hot Chili Peppers. From there we have a few festival dates in Mexico City and then some shows over in Europe.

AL: Has there been any talks of a larger scale Infectious Grooves tour?
DP: Well we did the initial reunion gig with Robert at last year’s Orion Festival and he got really excited about it which led to doing it again this year. This year’s show is going to feature the entire lineup as well as Jim Martin of Faith No More sitting in on guitar. As far as more shows go you never know what could happen. We have had offers come in from overseas so I am hoping for a great experience and we will have to see where things go from there.

AL: Being in Suicidal Tendencies since the late 90’s what do you feel has been the biggest change in the band from then till now?
DP: I think these days everyone is on the same page with how they feel about the band. Everyone loves the music and performing and they have realized that our bread and butter is in fact our live show. I think we really try hard to give 110% every night. That’s not something we have to do. It is something we want to do. Playing live is our way to spread the music around. It is very important to play the new songs and be heard every night. I think when people see us live it touches them on an emotional level and they see what’s going on and want to be part of it.

Interview with Theory of a Deadman’s Dean Back

Dean Back is the bassist for Theory of a Deadman. They are currently headlining in this year’s Carnival of Madness tour. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dean before their performance to talk about the band’s latest release and what he likes about being on the road.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the band’s latest album “The Truth Is”?
Dean Back: “The Truth Is” builds off our last album “Scars and Souvenirs” which was an album that took us to that next level and by far has been our most successful record. We wanted to build off that and continue to use some of that humor found on that last album. Tyler has really started to show his lighter side as early on in our career we thought we had to be this serious rock band but we found it’s a lot more fun being funny and just having fun. Songs like “Low Life” and “Bitch Came Back” which are very tongue and cheek songs go over great with the crowd and they seem to have a lot of fun when they hear us play those songs.

AL: Do you have a favorite track off this album?
DB: I think “Gentleman” is one of my favorites. We actually have added that to our live set. I also enjoy “Hurricane” which turned out really well as did “We Were Men”.

AL: You guys have been away from the road for quite some time. Can you tell us about that decision?
DB: We had toured on the last album for 2 years, so it was time to go home and for me to reconnect with my family. We also used that time to kind of prep for the next record. I think it’s good to disappear for a little bit. We had been on the radio for 2 years straight. People were probably a little sick of us. Taking that time allowed us to work on the songs and put out a really strong record.

AL: How did you guys get involved with writing a song for the film “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”?
DB: They asked us to be on the record and if we had any material we could contribute. Any time we can get in front of another audience it’s a great opportunity to spread our fan base. In the past we have done video games as well as WWE events and soundtracks. We did some touring in Europe where we weren’t getting a lot of radio play but we had fans coming up to us telling us that the reason they came out was because they heard us on a video game. It was really awesome. Every time we can spread the music to different genres it’s good for us.

AL: How has it been touring with Carnival of Madness line up this year which includes Alter Bridge?
DB: It has been awesome. We have had past relationships with some of the other bands on the tour, however this was our first time going out with Alter Bridge. We are having a blast the whole crew and everyone are great. It’s like one big family out here. Alter Bridge along with Black Stone Cherry are going to be taking us over to Europe in November for a big arena tour.

AL: Is there a favorite song in the set that you guys are playing each night?
DB: “Hate My Life” is a fun one to play and sing along to. The crowd really gets into it.

AL: Any great tour moments you can share with us?
DB: We had a day off in Chicago, which was really cool. Chicago is a great town. We got to go to the White Sox game which was pretty cool but, every show has been a highlight and having a good time playing live.

AL: Other than the European tour are there any other upcoming plans for the band?
DB: We are going out with 3 Doors Down starting the end of September and running through all of October. We have a great relationship with those guys and it’s been a while since we have toured together.