CD Review: Dethklok “The Dethlabum III”

“The Dethlabum III”
Label: Williams Street
Producer: Brendon Small, Ulrich Wild
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Tracks: 12
Running Time: 51 minutes

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of Adult Swim’s animated series “Metalocalypse”, then like myself, you should be eagerly anticipating this album. “Dethalbum II” was released all the way back in September 2009.  Dethklok is the virtual death metal band from the series “Metalocalypse” and contains music from the second, third and fourth seasons of the show. The music, like the past albums, is basically all performed by the show’s creator Brendon Small with some help from drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Bryan Beller. The deluxe edition CD/DVD includes a 32 minute behind-the-scenes documentary of the making of Dethalbum III, as well as music videos and more. If you are a fan of vinyl, like myself, the album will also be released on vinyl on November 6, 2012 (just like the first one).

Brendon had also released his first solo album earlier this year, “Brendon Small’s Galaktikon” and it could be anymore different that Dethklok (which is a good thing).  If you ever hear him speak in person, it is just a wonder how he is able to stay in character for Nathan Explosion and deliver these intense heavy vocals that he achieves so well.  So how does the album compare to “Dethalbum I & II”? Well, it is hard to say straight away.  I think it is a great continuation of what you should expect from Dethklok.  I feel that these albums are made to be played all three back to back, and just letting them tell their story out.  One thing I noticed is that the guitar work just seems so tight and really focused.  There are some riffs on these tracks that will literally throw you out of your chair, especially on “Starved”.

With Dethklok hits the road this Fall, it will be great to see Brendon and his band of virtual members really tear up the stages.  I can’t wait to hear the first single “I Ejaculate Fire” performed live and see the audiences reaction to that track live.  It will never cease to amaze me that Dethklok started out as  technical not a “real band”, yet fans have been growing and supporting this music and the band for going over five years now.  If you are a Dethklok/Metalocalypse/Brendon Small fan, doesn’t matter, you are going to be going back flips listening to this album.  I would say it is definitely worth the three year wait and in the words of Nathan Explosion, “It is totally BRUTAL”!

Track listing:
1. “I Ejaculate Fire” (from “Dethhealth”)
2. “Crush the Industry” (from “Renovationklok”)
3. “Andromeda” (from “Writersklok”)
4. “The Galaxy” (from “Doublebookedklok”)
5. “Starved” (from “Tributeklok”)
6. “Killstardo Abominate” (from “Dethsiduals” & “Rehabklok”)
7. “Ghostqueen” (from “Motherklok”)
8. “Impeach God” (from “Dethgov”)
9. “Biological Warfare” (from “Fertilityklok”)
10. “Skyhunter” (from “Rehabklok”)
11. “The Hammer” (from “Dethcamp”)
12. “Rejoin” (from “Fanklok”)

Lamb of God / Dethklok 2012 Tour Officially CANCELED

Due to the continued incarceration of LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe in the Czech Republic, the band’s co-headline tour with Dethklok scheduled to begin August 1st in Seattle is being cancelled. The band regrets the decision but the uncertainty of Randy’s release makes it impossible to carry on with the tour. Upon Randy’s release, it is the band’s intention to rebook a tour in the fall and at this time the band fully intends to participate in the Mayhem Cruise in December.

LAMB OF GOD wishes to thank Dethklok, Adult Swim and Gojira for their support and patience as well as all of the promoters who had dates on the tour. Last but certainly not least, the band thanks all of the fans who bought tickets for the tour and who have been supportive of Randy and the band over the last month that Randy has been held in Prague. Without the fans, there is no LAMB OF GOD.



In light of circumstances beyond our control, the upcoming Dethklok and Lamb of God with Gojira summer tour has been canceled. Refunds will be available to customers who already purchased tickets through their point of purchase. We thank Dethklok fans for their continued support and look forward to releasing information about the band’s upcoming third album and a planned fall tour in the coming weeks.


Due to the continued incarceration of LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe in the Czech Republic, the band’s co-headline tour with Dethklok scheduled to begin August 1st in Seattle is being cancelled. The band regrets the decision but the uncertainty of Randy’s release makes it impossible to carry on with the tour. Upon Randy’s release, it is the band’s intention to rebook a tour in the fall and at this time the band fully intends to participate in the Mayhem Cruise in December.

LAMB OF GOD wishes to thank Dethklok, Adult Swim and Gojira for their support and patience as well as all of the promoters who had dates on the tour. Last but certainly not least, the band thanks all of the fans who bought tickets for the tour and who have been supportive of Randy and the band over the last month that Randy has been held in Prague. Without the fans, there is no LAMB OF GOD.

Brendon Small talks about Season Four of Adult Swim’s “Metalocalypse”

Brendon Small is a God among metal fans. He is the guy behind Adult Swim’s hit show “Metalocalypse” and the virtual band Dethklok. He has even went on tour with the band across the country. “Metalocalypse” is currently beginning its fourth season on Adult Swim on April 29th. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brendon about what we can expect this season and also get a glimpse into the show/band’s future.

Check out our interview with Brendon Small about his new solo album “Galaktikon”.

Mike Gencarelli: Since you started “Metalocalypse” almost seven years ago, did you think this show was going to be as successfully as it has even spawning the virtual band Dethklok?
Brendon Small: Well the whole idea of the show, or any show, is to make it gets made. Then you want to keep it on the air and that is your job and your way to pay rent, feed you dog etc. What I realized what that after doing “Home Movies”, making the show costs a lot of money but making music doesn’t cost as much money. When you start including animators and a huge team of 40-50 people, it starts getting expensive. I thought wouldn’t it be cool to create a show that if it ever got canceled or ended, that it would continue on through music. I studied music forever and have been crunched over a guitar for the better back of 20 years. I always wanted to put music and comedy together but I didn’t want to be like a guitar-parody act on stage. I figured if I could talk the studio into doing 20 episodes, I could also get them into doing a record, tour and etc.

MG: The show hasn’t aired since October 2010, why the major gap? How long does each episode take to complete?
BS: It takes a lot time. We have been in production actually since early 2011 and we are in still in the same production cycle, just to give you an idea of time. I have 12 quarter hour episodes that I am doing this season and have spent well over a year in production. It takes a long time. Animation is like hurry up and wait [laughs]. All the writing has been done now. I am currently in post-production and have been writing a lot of the music. After this, I still have like one more voice to record. It takes about 3-4 months per episodes but we have them staggered, so a few are in the works at the same time.

MG: With season four, the show returns back to the 11-minute format, why was that decision?
BS: This show is huge amount of work between the music and the animation and as I get through the years I ask myself “How can I make my job easier? How can I take the weekends off?” [laughs]. So, that is what I am trying to do. This season has been plotted out more in advance than any other season. The network gave us the option of doing quarter or half hours. The quarter hours are much easier but I think the show also functioned really well in the half hour format. I thought for the story in this season, that we should do it in quarter hours. So that was the reason and I am really happy with it.

MG: What crazy brutal shit can we expect Dethklok to get into this season?
BS: [laughs] I think you will notice that we upped the brutality in a real fun and clever way. I think some people were missing the brutality a little bit in season three. Our main issue was that we didn’t just want to kill people…we wanted to find a clever way to kill people and have fun with that. I think we have a whole bunch of that put into this season. In addition to that, what I think you will also notice when you see season four is that there is a bigger “Metalocalypse” story. There is something dramatic going on, of course, also laced with tons of jokes and stupidity. The idea is to start telling the bigger story and start involving the band more and then moving on from there.

MG: How does the music in season four compare to the past seasons?
BS: I don’t really know. I really trying to do something that we haven’t done and/or keep that sound alive. That sort of changes from season to season. I still think it sounds like Dethklok and I am still using the same element. I think we have a great couple of cool musically highlights in this season.

MG: Can we ever expect “The Dethalbum III” consisting of season three’s songs? Should I start begging?
BS: You can beg. I love people are begging for me to do more [laughs]. All I can say right now is stay tuned. We hopefully will have some really cool news in the very near future.

MG: What do see in the card for the future of “Metalocalypse”?
BS: We are living in an amazing era of cable TV right now. With all cable stations like AMC, HBO and, of course, Adult Swim, you see that people are utilize the format and still able to tell a story. The way that this show works is that in order for this to be a story, it will have to have an ending. And the ending is in sight for this show. It doesn’t mean the show will be totally done but the story I want to tell has a finish to it. I don’t want to sit around and vamp for 15 years instead of telling a cool story.

Interview with Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds is a true Hollywood legend.  He has been in almost 100 feature films and has over 300 television episodes credits to date.  He is known for his roles in “Smokey and the Bandit”, “Deliverance”, “The Longest Yard”, “The Cannonball Run” and “Boogie Nights”, just to name a few. This month Burt is attending and doing a Q&A at TCM’s Road to Hollywood screening of “Smokey and the Bandit” on Wednesday, March 23th at the Tampa Theater in Tampa, FL. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Burt about him working on “Smokey and the Bandit” and dug up some good stories from the film.

Mike Gencarelli: “Smokey and the Bandit” is loved by many generations, how do you feel it holds up with audiences today?
Burt Reynolds: It holds up great.  I was worried about that myself.  I thought how is the new audience, cause they have seen it all…heard it all…done it all now, going to go back to this time…which is the age of innocence.  For some reason, it is kind of like when you watch “Stagecoach”. They have gotten a more sophisticated way of shooting a western. but you still know when you are watching that film, that were are watching something that has never been done before.  When you watch “Smokey”, you are watching people do things with a camera inside of car, that nobody has ever done before.  It is like having a baby in a taxicab, it was amazing.

MG: In 1977 you began a long professional partnership with Hal Needham with “Smokey and the Bandit.”  Did you know while making it that you had a hit on your hands?
BR: We had no idea.  How could you know the proportion of what it was going to do in terms of box office…the slice of the pie. You had “Star Wars” and then “Smokey and the Bandit”. The car chases that we were going to spawn.  The fact that Gleason’s career was coming to an end as Mr. Television on one side and starting again in movies.  Obviously, there were many other films he did that were just as good or better.  His career didn’t jump start with us but it helped it in another direction.  Sally was on her way to becoming one the greatest actresses of our time, I think and Jerry Reed was just phenomenal.

MG: Did you find it difficult working with the improv on the set?
BR: No, because I was born and raised under that. I came from that whole second city kind of working. I loved the improvisation.  With Jerry, you had to be ready to spin off in every direction.  In every single take he never matched and it drove the script girl crazy.  He couldn’t remember anything that fast and she couldn’t keep up with him anyway.  By the time she had written down what he had done with his hands…he was doing something with his feet.  Between that, Gleason and a little tardy everyone now and then…it was pretty insane.  The only person that could do all that and keep some kind of sanity and control was Hal.  He had been used to juggling those life and death situations.  Even though this wasn’t life and death…if was pretty close to it, in terms of comedy and stunt.

Q: How was it working with Dom Deluise and Jackie Gleason?
BR: They were the best and can’t be replaced.  Everyday was wonderful.  I do not remember a single time that they didn’t make me laugh.  They were easy marks too to make them laugh.  Then when we all got the giggles…it was a wrap.  The entire crew was finished for the day.  We had so much fun.  Usually that doesn’t transfer to the screen when you are having that much fun.  This was one of those rare times, we all knew we weren’t making “The Conversationalist”.  We thought that if we could pull it off, then the audience might have as much fun as we did and could twist a few funny bones.

Q: Did you do a lot of your own stunts for “Smokey and the Bandit”?
BR: I did a lot of things that were insane and crazy.  Not for the money though, it was mostly for the fun.

Q: Do you feel that any of today’s car films capture the magic of “Smokey and the Bandit”?
BR: Well I would hate to think that we spawn the entire idea of a car case.  I think before “Smokey”, it wasn’t an entire three act play about the car chase.  In that particular film, we were never out of the cars.  It was kind of amazing that they were able to do that and make it work.  You can’t reinvent the wheel…but we did a pretty good job of it.  In terms of what they do now, what happens is that they are taking more and more chances…dangerous chances.  It never translates to the screen…the danger.  Usually the more dangerous the stunt, you can’t see it on film and nobody really gets it until you have 138 edits to bring it together.  If you really are that good, they you are Hitchcock and you are not conscious of how many edits there are.  That is the difference between someone that really knows action like Hal (Needham).  Hal has been the highest paid stunt man in the world and had done every great stunt picture up until then.  He knew how to make that work and then the other ingredients were (Jackie) Gleason, Jerry Reed and Sally (Field), of course.

Q: What was it about Hal Needham that appealed to you to work together so much?
BR: I think what Hal has, that I think everyone feels when they meet him, is this sureness.  Howard Hawks had it and obviously all of great directors who had the power had it.  He also had, there was a sense of danger about Hal, not to be cliched about what he did.  He really did laugh it off.  Men, women, children…everybody found him fascinating.  He lived life right on the edge and I found that fun to be around.  Also there was a certain cockiness, like a quarterback when you have no time on the clock…he is looking at your smiling and saying “Yeah, we are gonna score”.  He has this feeling about him and I liked that feeling.  I liked being around it and the whole sense of we are all going to do this together whether we crash and burn or not.

Q: Was there any issues during the production for “Smokey”?
BR: Not one.  Not a hitch in the giddy up anywhere.  In fact we kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, we thought it was going too well.  I mean I remember the first day of shooting, Hal and I looked at each other at 2pm in the afternoon and he said “Well, we already have all the shots” and I said “Yeah, I know partner…let’s go home”.  We did that every other afternoon.  Everybody was scratching there heads but after a while, you can only shoot so many shots of highway going by.  You have to move on.

Q: What is your opinion on the action genre today?  Is it getting too overproduced and is it losing its emotional attachment it once gained with audiences?
BR: That is a good question, I think what we have almost forgotten how to do is act with our gut…gut and a little cerebral.  We have discussed it to the point where we need to stop discussing it.  We are going to talk ourself into getting laid and then talk ourselves right out of it.  Just do it and roll it.  That is the thing about Needham that we were attracted to and that is what makes those kind of films work.  They put you right on the edge.  I remember him during the rehearsal, “Gleason…what is he going to say…oh Christ he is having another drink…oh shit…here we go…is Sally ok?..Sally is ok…Jerry is crazy…here we go…ok let’s do it”. We are shooting in a car for Christ sake for 90% of the movie, how do you pull that off? Well some people can, but nobody gets credit for it until the movie is over.  You know it works on the film in a gut level, but you don’t know why it works.  Nobody is going to give anybody credit for it on that level anyway.  On that level, it is just works so don’t try and figure it out… just enjoy it.

Q: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment in your career?
BR: Well, I think my major accomplishment is that I am still here.  It is pretty scary when you think about it.  The chances of my being around now 50 years ago were zero and none.  Now that I am around and we are talking in a civilized manor here, we are not talking about “The Conversationalist”, we are talking about “Smokey and the Bandit”.  We are talking about a tiny sliver of the pie of what encompasses the entire canvas of film.  It is a sliver.  But in that sliver that film has had it effects on everyone, in the sense that it bumped up against “Star Wars” and it did alright! It took on the big boys and never once bitched or complained.  It just took them on.

Q: Do you still have any of the Trans Ams that Pontiac gave to you?
BR: Yeah I do…I got one right downstairs in fact.  I think in the middle of night of me and car driving around town and having people say “Look at that poor bastard, he has really gone over the edge” [laughs].

Interview with Bert I. Gordon

Bert I. Gordon is the legendary director of  “The Amazing Colossal Man”, “Empire of the Ants”, “Earth vs. The Spider” and so many other classics.  When you think 50’s creature feature sci-fi…you should be thinking about Bert I. Gordon.  He is known for using “Rear projection effect” in his films to create his monster effects. Bert was given the nickname “Mister B.I.G.” which refers to his initials and to his love for making movies about giant creatures. Movie Mikes had the privilege with chatting with Mr. Gordon about his films and his amazing career.

Click here to purchase Bert’s autobiography and his films

Mike Gencarelli: Have you always been a fan of the sci-fi genre?
Bert I. Gordon: No. I’ve always been a fan of watching movies on the screen.

MG: Working with the original monster films of the 50’s, what was the hardest task for you?
BG: The creatures were fun. They gave me a little problem at the beginning when we started to train them! But we finally got to be friends (laughs).

MG: “The Amazing Colossal Man” is one of my favorite films. How was it working on that film and the special effects?
BG: I enjoyed making that. But self appointed critics criticized my effects by saying I used rear projection on my films. On all of the films I made I used rear projection maybe a dozen times. On “The Amazing Colossal Man” I used some blue backing, some matting and also some split screens. One nice effect is at the very beginning when he is hit by the atom blast. And what I did was I had some powerful fans blowing little particles to block out the screen. Then we’d cut the cameras and I had my special make up people put on the make up, which took a long time. Then, with the cameras in the same position, I started the fans and hit him with the little white specks again to block out the screen. We slowed down the fans until there he was, all “burned” up.

MG: Are you aware that “The Amazing Colossal Man” trailer is on a constant loop in the Sci-Fi Dinner in Walt Disney World?
BG: Yes I am. How is it being presented?

MG: It’s a 1950’s themed diner and they have a large screen that shows a lot of the 50’s sci-fi trailers.
BG: That’s terrific. Disneyland here in California has also run several clips of my films.

MG: What inspired you to write your autobiography “The Amazing Colossal Worlds of Mr. B.I.G.?”
BG: I had been approached in years past but I didn’t really want to write it. Then I attended a film festival called Monster Bash in Philadelphia in 2004. In going there I was so pleased to find out that I had so many fans, both from the period when I made the films and the younger fans who had seen them on television and DVDs. So I decided that I would write the book.

MG: Tell us about working on “Earth Vs. the Spider”. Was it a difficult production?
BG: Not at all. It was actually one of the easier films. It appears to be shot in the Carlsbad Caverns and I wanted to film all of the caverns there. So I contacted the people in charge from the state (New Mexico) and they invited me down. They took me through and it was fantastic. Beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. I told them that I wanted to film a movie there. They said fine…BUT…you can’t use your lights. The lights they have there are all indirect to bring out the beauty of the rock formations in the caverns. There’s no way without lights that you could shoot a movie down there. So I was unhappy because I thought without some nice caverns…what was I going to do? Then I got the idea to come back and shoot still photos with a long timed exposure, because that is what it took because the lights were so dim. They said that was fine. I went back with my camera and my tripod and some assistants and they took me through some different caverns. I set up the camera and took the photos. They lasted many, many minutes because of the time exposure. I took those photographic plates and split screened many of them and that’s how I put the people and the spider in the Carlsbad Caverns. As for the spider yes, I used a real spider in the film…as I did on many of my films. I used some nice tarantulas that were very friendly. I put some in with split screen and some with blue screen travel mattes.

MG: “Empire of the Ants” is such a cult classic. Can you tell us about working on that film?
BG: We shot the film in Florida in an area that was very much like Africa. We had a boat on the river and the film called for Joan Collins to fall into the water where there were real alligators. They were all around and we had to have the grips hold them back. I know Joan made a comment in one of her books that it was the roughest picture she had ever worked on. The ants I shot down in Panama. A lot of the so called critics complained that I used stock footage of the ants but I never used stock footage at all. I went into the jungle with an entomologist from UCLA and we filmed the preface for the film in the jungles of Panama. For the ants that were in the story I had the entomologist collect a lot of the them. The ones I wanted to use were poisonous but they had fuller bodies. He collected them and in my hotel room I had a blue backing and lights and we shot the miniature stuff with the ants. We shot all the ant stuff down there…didn’t want to bring them back! In “The Beginning of the End,” when we needed grasshoppers, I didn’t want to use the ones we had in California. At that time there had been almost a plague of locusts in Texas and I saw them in the paper. They were perfect….just the kind I wanted. I thought I would contact an entomologist there and have him ship me a bunch. But the state of California said no, you can’t bring them into the state. They were afraid they would mate and create another plague. So I asked if I could just bring in the male locusts, no females and they agreed to that. So I had an entomologist in Texas collect hundreds of them, put them in crates and ship them to me. When they arrived at the airport the state of California had their own entomologist examine each one to make sure it was a male. I forgot to ask them how they tell if it’s a male or a female.

MG: Can you tell us about how you seemed to always take the role of director, producer and writer on your films?
BG: And I also did my own visual effects! From the time I was a very young kid I didn’t want to do anything but make movies the rest of my life. My aunt gave me a movie camera when I was 9 and I started to make home movies…not family stuff but movies…I’d write the stories. My family and friends would act them out and I would film them. When I got to university I started a campus newsreel, shot on 35 mm and the theatres in the town would play them. After that I started making television commercials and industrial films. I thought I was happy because I was making movies. But one day while shaving I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “Hey…you’re not making movies…movies are made in Hollywood.” So after three months I closed my business and moved to Hollywood. It wasn’t easy, of course. But in all those years, while growing up, I learned all kinds of methods to do visual effects. To answer your question…why I did everything…I liked doing it all! (laughs) What can I say?

MG: What was your favorite film that you made? Least Favorite?
BG: I’ve been asked that before and I always say that my next film is my favorite. (laughs) But I’d have to say that “Food of the Gods” is my favorite. My least? I love them all. I love all my children.

MG: How do you feel about the horror films being made today?
BG: I’m currently working on a screenplay that takes a look at all of my films and the genre’. It will be like “Airplane.” I like some of the sci fi and horror films made today but too many of them rely on digital effects, even when they’re not really called for. One film I really liked was “Avatar.” That’s my favorite of the recent films.

Click here to visit Bert’s official website
Click here to purchase Bert’s autobiography and his films

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Interview with DeVaughn Nixon

DeVaughn Nixon has been acting since a very young age. He has appeared in film alongside Hollywood heavy weights Danny Glover, Kevin Costner and Arnold Schwarzenegger…to name just a few. DeVaughn is also starring in the upcoming Disney film “Prom”. Movie Mikes had a chance recently to speak with DeVaughn about “Prom” and his experiences in the film industry.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your upcoming film “Prom”?
DeVaughn Nixon: “Prom” is really going to exciting! The movie is a story about High School and kids finding their emotions. It’s a very organic film that I think will register with both parents and kids. I play the character of Tyler who is one of the most popular guys in school and has the answers to everything. On the outside Tyler looks as though he has everything together but as the story unfold you start to see Tyler has some insecurities. Tyler is the type of character that sometimes you will love him and sometimes you hate him.

AL: How did you become involved with the film?
DN: I had heard about the film through a friend of mine and he thought I should audition for it. I brought it to my managers at the time, who then got me an audition. I went in and auditioned and that same day I got a call back to meet with the director the following day. After that I did some screen tests with other prospective cast members and a short time later I got the call to be in the film.

AL: You have been acting since you were very young. Was acting something you had always wanted to do?
DN: My dad was a professional basketball player and I had kind of grown up wanting to follow in his footsteps. I was playing basketball all the time but I was also acting. Acting was something that was always on the back burner for me. It wasn’t until I got my first real job that I knew I wanted to act full time. I just couldn’t picture myself in a 9-5 job where I wasn’t being creative. By the time I was 23, I knew that I wanted to act full time.

AL: How was it working with Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston on “The Bodyguard”?
DN: That was a dream come true! We filmed half of the film in Los Angeles and the other half in Lake Tahoe. That was the first time I had ever seen snow which was an experience in itself. Working with Whitney was really great and she became like a mother figure to me on set and still is to this day.

AL: Can you tell us about your experience working on “Terminator 2”?
DN: That was awesome! I had gotten that job after the producers saw my work in “The Bodyguard.” I had a little bit of buzz going for me and I went in and auditioned and got the part. It was really great getting to work with Arnold. The cast was all really great! I remember Arnold was always picking me up with one arm. That movie was great. James Cameron is a genius.

AL: Do you have a role that sticks out as a favorite?
DN: “The Bodyguard” is something that I will always remember as it really is a classic film. However from my adult career I would have to say “Prom”. There is just such much going on in that movie. The whole set was just full of excitement and that really added to the experience. We have formed somewhat of a “Prom” family and we all hang out with each other.

AL: Can you tell us about some of your other upcoming projects?
DN: I just finished work on season two of “The Hard Times of RJ Berger” which was really great to be a part of. I had a cameo in an episode from season one and they brought me back for season two and I shot seven episodes. I really enjoy that role as I get to play a character that is totally the opposite of me. I have a small part in an upcoming film with Justin Timberlake titled “Now”. The film is a sci-fi thriller based in the near future where time is money. I think this film will be coming out shortly after “Prom”.

Interview with Tommy Davidson

Tommy Davidson is one of the funniest comedians in the business.  He started his career with “In Living Color” and has since started in many films ranging from “Booty Call” to “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” to “Black Dynamite”.  Tommy is currently touring the stand up circuit and took some time to chat with Movie Mikes about his roles and his tour.

Mike Gencarelli: Going back to the “In Living Color” days, how it was working on that show?
Tommy Davidson: It was the best! It is like being with the Pittsburgh Steelers and like every other team is like boring. I learned everything I know about TV from that show. To this day I can still say it is a staple in my career.

MG: Did you have a favorite character you played on the show?
TD: I did this karate teacher, Sweet Tooth Jones who was pretty funny. But I would have to say it would be my major impressions, like Michael Jackson and when I did Spike Lee. It is pulling those things off that were the best for me on the show.

MG: When did you realized that you were able to impersonate various celebs ranging from Michael Jackson to Sammy Davis, Jr.?
TD: I didn’t until I got out to California and started in the business. Someone told me that was I was doing was impressions. I said “That is what I have been doing all that time”? [laughs]

MG: “Black Dynamite” was such a fun movie, was it fun to play Cream Corn in the film?
TD: It was a piece of cake. I was running around being half pimp. I got to come up with all kind of different ideas. It was great because that was the kind of stuff I did on “In Living Color” and you can’t beat that.

MG: You worked with the late Bernie Mac on various projects, how was it working with him?
TD: Wow…it was great. Bernie would let me do what ever I wanted man. Bernie really loved me sincerely. All I had to do is show up to the set and he would say “Just do what you want”.

MG: How did you get involved with “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” as The Tiny Warrior?
TD: Oh yeah man! Jim called me to come on and do it and I felt very special.

MG: Tell us about working with first time director, Cedric the Entertainer on “Chicago Pulaski Jones”?
TD: He was very good. He really knew what the hell he was doing man and I wasn’t surprised. I started in the business before him but that is the way things turn out. He definitely has paid attention over the years.

MG: You are currently touring doing the stand-up circuit, how do you enjoy doing stand up?
TD: I love it man. I am out there all the time doing stand-up comedy. I am not rusty at all.  In fact, I am at the best and even getting better. It’s like if you compare a professional martial artist to some people who get into a street fight once in a while [laughs]. On this tour, I am doing a lot of observation material. I will probably also do a couple of impressions maybe a few new ones. But for the most part, I will just stand there and just do what comes to me.

Click here to find out where Tommy’s is appearing next.

Interview with Clancy Brown

In spite of a career that is approaching three decades Clancy Brown’s biggest fans may still be in elementary school. Known for his roles in such films as “The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the Eighth Dimension,” “Highlander” and the much loved “Shawshank Redemption,” Mr. Brown also appears in one of the most popular animated programs of all time. Or at least his voice does. Brown gives voice to Mr. Krabs on “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Other animated roles include Raiden in “Mortal Kombat” and Lex Luthor in no less than six different projects. But it’s not all Krabby Patties and the Man of Steel on the small screen. He’s also had roles in such films as “Dead Men Walking,” “Starship Troopers” and will soon be seen opposite Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in “Cowboys vs Aliens.” In spite of his busy schedule Mr. Brown took the time to answer some questions for MovieMikes.

Mike Smith: Your given first name is Clarence. Where did Clancy come from?
Clancy Brown: My Dad, Clarence, Jr, picked it. “His name shall be Clarence, III and we shall call him “Clancy.” Something like that.

MS: Both your father and grandfather were successful politicians. Did you ever think of pursuing a career of public service?
CB: No.

MS: What made you decide to make acting a career?
CB: I enjoyed it from a very early age. When I had to make my own living after college, I decided to give doing what I enjoyed most a shot as a profession. It worked out and I’ve never had to “work” for a living since. If I hadn’t gotten so lucky, there were plenty of options open to me being, after all, a young educated white male in America.

MS: Your first big screen appearance was as Viking opposite Sean Penn in “Bad Boys.” How did that come about?
CB: Long story. The short version is that the show came through Chicago casting a couple supporting roles. Jane Alderman made sure they saw everyone remotely appropriate for the roles. A young man was cast (and he was the best choice) but ended up withdrawing when his family objected to the script on religious grounds. They came around again and settled for me.

MS: You appeared as Rawhide in “Buckaroo Banzai.” Are you amazed that, a quarter century later, the film is still considered a cult classic?
CB: Almost everything about that film is amazing, but not that it is a cult classic.

MS: Your first starring role was as Viktor in “The Bride.” How did you prepare for a role that was completely different than anything you had done before?
CB: Read and Read and Read about the Frankenstein mythos. Honored now to be a small part of it. Boris Karloff became one of my heroes.

MS: You’re often cast as the villain or the authority figure (and sometimes both). Do you consciously pursue those roles?
CB: No. I would cast myself much more creatively. I would be an awesome Blanche DuBois.

MS: You played Captain Hadley in “The Shawshank Redemption,” which, according to over a half million users of the Internet Movie Database, is the greatest film ever made. Did you realize when you were making it that it would be so well received?
CB: No. We all loved the script and thought it would be good if we just didn’t fuck up too much, but none of us expected the love the film has inspired over the years. It’s nice.

MS: You’ve provided character voices in over a dozen animated programs and features along with a similar number of video games. Any favorite character?
CB: Mr. Krabs, Dr. Neo Cortex, and, of course, Lex Luthor.

MS: How many times have you been asked to call someone’s child as Mr. Krabs?
CB: Many. Always pleased to oblige.

MS: Can you tell us about your role in “Cowboys and Aliens?”
CB: His name is Meachem. He’s big and fuzzy. Got a deep voice. Good guy. Does the right thing. Baffled by what happened to his town but sure about how to respond. Not looking for trouble but not afraid to step in and end it…peacefully. Folks should like him.

MS: Thank you again for your time.
CB: Thanks for asking

Interview with Angell Conwell

Angell Conwell is currently has a recurring role on “The Young and the Restless”, playing the character Leslie Michaelson.  She has also has co-star in the following movies “Baby Boy”, “Soul Plane” and “The Wash”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Angell to chat about how she enjoys playing a lawyer in the soap opera.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you prepared for your character Leslie Michaelson in “The Young and the Restless”?
Angell Conwell: I started out by searching the internet for characteristics of lawyers. I also watched a lot of movies where actors or actresses I admire played lawyers. I then added my own spin on it which I think is very important. I had been a fan of the show, so I had an idea of the role. But thank goodness for the internet (Laughs)!

MG: Can you tell us how your role came about and how you enjoy working on “The Young and the Restless”?
AC: I auditioned for the show because my entire family watches the show. Also the character was one that I really wanted to play. When I went to the audition, I just really felt it and I think it came off in the audition. I really enjoy working with the cast. They are such great actors which I don’t think a lot of people realize. The whole experience has been just great!

MG: Can you compare what working on TV and movies is like verses working on “The Young and the Restless”?
AC: From my experience so far working on soaps is much faster. I was used to coming from movies where you have lots of rehearsals and preparation. In soaps you don’t have nearly as much time. I have learned that you have to be prepared and ready to go at anytime.

MG: Can you tell us about any upcoming episodes or story lines for your character?
AC: With my character being a lawyer there always seems to be something going on in the city so Leslie is out there tending to her business. I really can’t say too much other than I want everyone to keep their eyes open!

MG: What has been your favorite role to work on so far?
AC: I really enjoy playing Leslie on “The Young and the Restless” this role is the first time I have played this type of character so it’s growth for me. I have done a bunch of comedies which were all really great. Working on “Baby Boy” with Jon Singleton was wonderful and I also really enjoyed “Soul Plane”. I think it’s a tossup between those three.

MG: Do you have any other upcoming projects?
AC: There always seems to be something in the works but, right now most of my time is taken up doing “The Young and the Restless” I also have my website which will have all my up to date info.

Interview with Frances Fisher

Frances Fisher is known for her roles as Strawberry Alice, the madame prostitute in “Unforgiven” and Ruth DeWitt Bukater, the mother of Kate Winslet’s character in “Titanic”. This year Frances has been featured in “The Roommate” and upcoming “The Lincoln Lawyer”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Frances about her roles and her love for what she does.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role in the recently released “The Roommate
Frances Fisher: I play Leighton Meester’s mother. It was a really fun film to work on but sadly they cut quite a few of the scenes i had done. My character is pretty much there to ask a question and to move the plot of the story along. The question that my character asks is an important plot point of the movie.

MG: Tell us about your upcoming role as Mary Windsor in “The Lincoln Lawyer”?
FF: Mary Windsor is the mother of Ryan Phillippe’s character and is a woman who has raised her son on her own since he was very young due to the passing of his father. Mary’s son is really the apple of her eye and would do anything for him.

MG: How was it working with such a great cast?
FF: It was terrific. Everyone on the cast was very professional and fun. I really enjoyed going to work each day. My first day of work was actually one of the bigger scenes in the film and each person had their part down and really nailed it. I really was just a great experience working with such high caliber actors and actresses.

MG: Tell us about your experience working on the film “Titanic”?
FF: I will never forget the view of the ship the first time I got to see it all lit up. It really looked like a ship had just docked. I was very spectacular. No one knew what that movie was going to do or how big of a success it was going to be when we were shooting it. I don’t think there will ever be another movie that will be number 1 for 14 weeks at the box office.

MG: What has been the most challenging project for you to work on?
FF: For me it seems to be whenever I have to play a cross examining lawyer role. I find it very challenging just because I have so much material. There is usually a lot of technical dialogue that can be tough. My role on “Eureka” is one that stands out to me. It probably didn’t seem very difficult but there were a bunch of technical terms that I had to remember.

MG: You have done quite a bit of stage work, what is your process one you get a role?
FF: I prepare the same whether I am doing stage, movies or television. I usually try to find out where the character is coming from. I try to create a back story for the character so I am not duplicating something I had previously done. I try to come up with everything from what the character is wearing to how they walk and talk.

MG: Any future plans to return to stage?
FF: I don’t have anything in the works right now but I am always looking! I am always open to anything good that comes my way.

Interview with Mindy Sterling

Mindy Sterling is known best for her role of Frau Farbissina in “Austin Powers” series. Mindy is currently starring as The Supervisor, the villain, in Disney’s latest film “Mars Need Moms”. Movie Mikes had a chance a chat with Mindy about her new film as well as her other films.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role as the Supervisor in “Mars Needs Moms”?
Mindy Sterling: Well she kind of looks like a take off on “E.T”, people have been saying. She is old. She is pruney and irritable. She also runs all the aliens lives. All of the hatchings, the babies that pop-up from the ground, are raised by robots who are really cold. Basically though, they are missing a lot of nurturing. She wants stronger tools to raise they little babies. All the alien men do is hug [laughs]. She goes on a search to find the perfect earthling mom to use as a tool in how to bring up these babies. She picks Milo’s mom, who is a great mom. She loves her son but at the same time she has structure and rules. My character sees that and grabs her for Mars. Milo doesn’t want mom to leave so he goes after her.

MG: How was it speaking in an alien language the whole movie?
MS: Oh my God! It was sooooo much fun for me. I didn’t have to memorize anything. In my mind, I would say certain things for particular scenes. So not intentionally but it would just come out in this martian gibberish. We actually had a recording session where we tried different things out, like sounds and tried to form some kind of martian dialogue. There were certain words that were chosen that meant these things throughout the course of the film and then we used them over and over.

MG: Your role was not just a voice role though, how was it shooting the film with performance capture?
MS: I gotta tell you and everyone that is a part of it will tell you the same, it is so freeing, liberating and magically. You do not have to worry about hair, makeup, props and sets. You wear this suit with all these reflecting balls that captures everything you do. You have these dots all over your face and your also wearing a helmet. They have like 200 camera that’s are surrounding you in a very open space, called The Volume. It was just great. All you thought about was the acting and what you needed to do. I think all the actors and myself thought that it was incredibly freeing. If you stay during the credits, it shows the behind the scenes and it is great to watch what we did and how it was transferred into this technologically amazingly well produced film.

MG: How was it working on the “Austin Powers” series as Frau Farbissina?  The role is so funny and so classic.
MS: Oh thanks Mike, I can’t say enough wonderful things about that experience, it was so great. I loved working with Mike (Myers), he was so generous. I loved coming back each time and working with the cast and working with Seth Green, he is an amazing actor and wonderful friend. It was just so much fun. We get to watch those films now over and over and laughs. They were so much fun to make and do, we constantly had to retrained from laughing during filming. It was like silly playtime.

MG: Tell us about working on “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”? Was it difficult with the makeup?
MS: The makeup was difficult, but that was one of the good things about “Mars Needs Moms”…you didn’t have to sit in a chair for three hours. Absolutely magically and fun to see how everyone changes working on that film. When you put on that kind of facial prosthetics and the wigs. You really do become a Dr. Seuss character.  It is a lot of fun.

MG: Do you find that makeup retricted your performances at all?
MS: Your body is your body, but facial maybe. I think that is why they chose people that are more animated and flexible. It is not that I did anything different, I am just a very physical actress. It works for that style.

MG: Tell us about your roles Mitzi Kinsky in “Desperate Housewives”?
MS: Oh that is just so much fun. They throw me in and I am just one of the women on the block. She is abrasive, inappropriate and say what is on her mind. She is a like a little brat. What is so great is that they pop me into a scene and I get to do my little bit. You wonder why anyone have anything to do with her. I haven’t found one redeeming quality in her yet, but that is what makes it so fun for me [laughs].

MG: What else do you have planned upcoming?
MS: I have a new Disney show that is coming out called “Ant Farm”, which I have a recurring role in. I play the school principal. I love kids to death. I love work with kids. I love playing with kids. I love watching them create and find who they are. I really enjoy my job. Being a mom for me is number one, I have a 16 year old and acting for me is number two.

Interview with Leslie Easterbrook

Leslie Easterbrook got her first big screen break playing the character of Rhonda in the hit television series “Laverne and Shirley.” Leslie is probably best known for her role as the buxom blond Sgt. Callahan in the ever popular “Police Academy” franchise. More recently Leslie has appeared in Rob Zombies “Devils Rejects” and ‘Halloween.” Movie Mikes had a chance to speak with Leslie about her career along with some of her upcoming projects.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell me about your experience on “Laverne and Shirley”?
Leslie Easterbrook: It was really an amazing experience that I finally got to be a part of the show, playing the Rhonda character. Just as I got the part, there was a SAG strike. Then when the strike was over, I got a call telling me I needed to audition again for the part I thought I had already gotten. It wasn’t until six auditions later that I finally got the part and was able to start working. I felt like I had won the lottery! “Laverne and Shirley” was actually my first real on screen role as I had mostly done theater work up until that point. For three seasons, I just absorbed everything and kept on learning the whole time while I was working on that show. That cast was amazing to work with and I was able to learn so much from all of them. I really loved being on a national stage and people kind of knowing who I was. I remember my family braving the Nebraskan winter to come watch me. I just have so many wonderful memories from that time.

AL: How did you become involved with the “Police Academy” franchise?
LE: Just after I finished my role on “Laverne and Shirley” I received an amazing opportunity to sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XVII. After that I had wondered to myself if a job would come out of someone seeing me perform. It just so happened that one of the “Police Academy” producers saw the performance and became interested in me. I had to learn some really tough material for that audition. I prepared for about two days straight on one scene, where I was just screaming the entire time. It was very exhausting. I went in and auditioned with the director and writer of the film and did this very intense scene that I had been working so hard on. As I was going through the scene, I could see both of the guys slowly moving away from me towards the back wall (Laughs).  I knew I couldn’t stop mid-scene so I just kept going and by the time I was done both guys were hugging the wall. I thought I had blown it because I was too strong. Six weeks later I received the call saying I got the role of Callahan.

AL: What were your thoughts when you first read the Pool Scene?
LE: I was a little horrified! However I knew that I would have to risk a little more with the Callahan character. After I justified it to myself it wasn’t a big deal. I thought the scene was actually really funny I looked forward to it. The thing I remember most was there was just the oddest assortment of extras there that day for that scene. In some of the copies of the film you can actually hear me say “Shit” which was my actual response once I saw all the guys diving in. I really didn’t want them to get me! (Laughs) Some of the regular cast members came out and watched that scene just to see if I was real!  I thought that was the biggest insult but at the same time really funny. I still am close with everyone from that film.

AL: Can you tell us how you ended up working with Rob Zombie in “Devils Rejects” and “Halloween”?
LE: That is a huge mystery to me, however I am very grateful to Rob. I would love to work with him more! Rob really has an eye and knows what he wants when he is directing which makes working for him very easy. I had originally auditioned for the role of Gloria Sullivan in “Devils Rejects” even before I knew Rob was attached. The only thing I knew was the title of the film. I read two scenes and loved the way they were written. I felt that everything really made sense. I left the audition feeling really happy and full of myself. A short time later, I started really thinking about the audition. I figured there was no way I was going to get the role as I thought it was really hard to picture me playing the part of a victim mainly because of my size. I ended up getting really depressed on the ride home. I was in New York working on another project when I got a call from my manager telling me to get to a fax machine. What ended up coming through was a fax from Rob Zombie. I still had no idea he was involved in the project up to that point. What he had sent me was the script for the jail scene featuring the character of Mother Firefly. I read it and thought it was brilliant! Mother Firefly definitely wasn’t the victim! (Laughs) I had to take a subway to a different section of the city and as I was riding the train I just kept reading and yelling those lines (Laughs).  I flew back to Los Angeles and auditioned for the role and got the part. Being a part of “Devils Rejects” and then being asked back by Rob for “Halloween” really changed my life. Both experiences were just wonderful.

AL: You mentioned singing at Super Bowl XVII can you tell us more about that?
LE: That was quite an adventure in many ways (Laughs).  Pete Rozell, the commissioner of the NFL at that time, had no idea who I was nor did he know if I could actually sing. I had been singing the anthem at Angel’s games due to my 1st husbands need for free baseball tickets, especially when the Yankees were in town. At one of these games unbeknown to me was the Head of Entertainment for the Los Angeles Rams. This woman had also been picked to choose the entertainment for that year’s Super Bowl. I guess she really enjoyed my performance. At the same time word got around that the Yankees were asking for me to sing at their next away game in Los Angeles as they really liked my singing at previous games. Finally all this stuff gets brought to my attention and my name gets entered in as a candidate for the Super Bowl. I guess Pete Rozell wanted to hear me sing in person before making a decision, so it was set up for him to hear me sing at the next Angeles game. On the way to the game my husband and I get into a fender bender and I miss the game. Pete then asked me for a tape of me singing which he liked and I finally got the gig. They gave me a nice hotel room and I brought in my own hair and makeup people. I even bought a really nice pink dress to match that year’s theme. The limo comes to pick me up and on the way there the driver gets lost! We finally get to the Rose Bowl and they won’t let us in because my manager had gone in ahead of me and said I was with them. I had to run in high heeled boots all the way to another gate carrying my dress. After they let me in I found a tiny trailer to change in. As soon as I was done I took off running down the tunnel which led to the field.  I saw my microphone and actually slid to a stop right on the field. I couldn’t even catch my breath at the time. Just before I began to sing I turned to the honor guard behind me and said “If I mess up shoot me”.  They laughed a little and after that everything went fine. Some of the players actually patted my back side as if I was one of them! (Laughs)

AL: At one time you made a comment about a movie you weren’t proud of and that you hope it never see’s day light. Can you tell us anything about that?
LE: (Laughs) I think I made that comment a while ago because I can think of several now that I am not particularly proud of. (Laughs) The film in questions had to be “Private Resort” with Johnny Depp. Working with Johnny was great however in one of the scenes I was asked to wear a slightly see thru negligee. I had no problem with this when I was first asked. It wasn’t until I went to a screening of the film with a guy friend and my minister and his wife, did I find out that the room was extremely over lit and you could see everything! I think I dug a hole in my hand with my finger nail while trying to hide in my seat!

AL: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
LE: I have quite a few projects that are in post production right now such as “Black Water Transit” which is directed by Tony Kaye. Another film that we have been doing a lot of post production on has been “The Afflicted” which was directed by Jason Stoddard. I have a roll in that film as well as being one of the film’s producers. There is a script that I am going to be doing in a few months called”Find Me” that I am really excited for. I also have a film I am doing in July called “Night Lights.”

Interview with Melissa Suzanne McBride

Melissa Suzanne McBride is one of the stars in AMC hit sensation “The Walking Dead” in the role of Carol Peletier.  While Melissa is gearing up for season two, Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with her about working on the show and what’s to come in season two.

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Mike Gencarelli: What has been the best part for you playing Carol Peletier on “The Walking Dead”?
Melissa Suzanne McBride: Immediately what comes to mind as having been the best part is that each day has always felt extraordinary. The wonderful people I get to work with, that all-around buzz that comes as the day’s momentum gains and sustains, everyone’s doing their thing to help create something very special… experiencing that, being a part of that energy, has been the best part. To speak specifically about playing this character, the best part is that Carol truly intrigues me. Considering the harshness and isolation she has endured already – in some sense an inner, personal apocalypse of her own – and how those years of abuse affected her state of mind, her spirit, her own reflection, how she feels perceived, her sense of worth, her sense of the world’s worth and, most importantly, her concern for Sophia and the blame she owns for Sophia’s unhappy childhood…. There’s so much about her to explore, discover and tap into as this group moves along. This new world of theirs is hardly an ideal healing ground.

MG: How has it been working with such a great cast?
MSM: I really can’t say enough about the strength of trust throughout this entire project, and among the cast it’s pretty amazing. A great cast, indeed. Everyone’s totally committed to bringing every ounce of a true life (or death) to their character regardless of where the cameras are focused for each take – just very giving and supportive of one another, all of them. They are seriously some of the kindest people to work and hang out with every day. It was also striking to me that everyone in the cast has a uniquely brilliant sense of humor!  For lots of people, myself included, humor seems to have a will of its own during the darkest times which, pitted against the circumstances, might feel horribly inappropriate. But, its about coping and staying afloat, really. That might have had something to do with what we we experiencing – coping, compensating somehow for the utter misery our characters were facing – I don’t know, but humor was definitely in overdrive at times, and thankfully. I’ve never laughed so hard.  Everyone I’ve worked with in this cast has been such a valuable inspiration to me in their own wonderful way and I consider myself very lucky to know them at all, blessed to consider them family, which is really how it feels. Those that left the show in season one still keep in touch… it’s just a fantastic bond, The Walking Dead.

MG: How was it working with Frank Darabont for the second time now, first being “The Mist”?
MSM: A once in a lifetime opportunity… twice in one life!  Working with Frank is exhilarating, magical, wonderful. He’s become a bit like the Wizard of Oz to me in that he’s granted me some of the most extraordinary acting opportunities to ever come my way – each having a very significant impact both professionally and personally – and yet I’ve rarely seen or spoken to him.  I missed getting to work directly with him this season as he’d directed only the first episode and was immersed in writing and other aspects of the show by the time my work began.  On “The Mist”  I had one scene to shoot, and for much of that scene Frank was this happy, excited, disembodied voice calling out from “video village” (video village is where he had his monitor set-up, out of sight in a corner of the supermarket).  He wasn’t out of sight the entire time, however: witnessing Frank-in-action while on the set of “The Mist” was pretty amazing. Someone said of Frank that “he’s like a kid in a candy store”, and this was my thought exactly. He was having a blast! His passion and excitement isn’t just the kind you see every day from someone who loves what they do… no, his is the kind that could launch a rocket!  He’s rare, and very much a visionary. It was an honor to work with Frank the first time, and an overwhelming honor that he would have remembered me for this role three years later.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll have an opportunity to direct in the coming season. If not, though, maybe I can sit with him at lunch one day and just listen to his head crackle… I don’t know, I just have this feeling that his brain is on fire at all times.

MG: Are you looking forward to season two of the show?
MSM: Yes, I’m so anxious to start back! I’m as enthralled as any viewer to see how the lives of these characters will play out in this zombie apocalypse!  The recognition The Walking Dead has achieved in this first short season has been phenomenal – viewership through the roof and fans squirming for more, a Golden Globe nomination, Writer’s Guild nomination, Director’s Guild nomination for Frank Darabont, more nominations just announced for special effects –  I’m ecstatic to see what this masterful team of people are going to create having the full thirteen episodes in the coming season. The door is wide-open now and the playground just got much bigger!

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Interview with Sam Witwer

Sam Witwer is the star of SyFy’s new hit show “Being Human”.  In the show he is playing the character of Aiden, a vampire, who’s apartment roommates are a werewolf and a ghost.  The show is a US remake of the UK series but it already has taken a life of its own.  Sam is also know for his roles in “Smallville”, “Battlestar Galactica” and even voiced a character from this season in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.  Movie Mikes had the chance to chat with Sam about his new show and what it is like playing his character.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the show “Being Human”?
Sam Witwer: Well, my agent made me aware of the audition. I cracked the script and read the first two pages and saw I would be playing a vampire and closed the script. Nothing against them but I thought who needs another vampire show. Then a friend of a mine Laura Terry, who one of the most knowledgeable people I know in terms of what is happening in the business, she got a hold of me and asked me “Are you passing on the “Being Human” audition?” I said “Yeah I think so” and she asked me if I was crazy and filled me in on what this show represented, the UK version and who the producers for the US version were. She told me just to read the script…so I did. I felt extremely foolish and weak minded because I fell in love with it immediately. Then I read episode two script and I loved that as well. I really got into it and recognized this was an irresistible character to play and a wonderful opportunity. Then I watched the first episode of the British series and loved it, but then I turned it off. I said if I am going to do this I need to ignore the British series until later. I auditioned and had some meetings with the producers and the director. We all spoke about what we show becoming and we all seemed to agree with that. Then they hired me!

MG: What is the biggest challenge for you playing your character Aiden?
SW: With any role, your job is to display to the audience as much detail as you can in the given circumstance. Whatever the story is about you want to show them as much humanity as you can. Aiden is always dealing with some really dark stuff. But at the same time the show can get really lighthearted and fun. That is one of the things I love about it. I think the biggest challenge for me is to figure out how to do the humor while not undercutting the drama. I have to say that it helped that the scripts have already taken care of a lot of that for me. I am constantly impressed with how the writers are able to put in humor that fits well in some of these ridiculously dark circumstances. For example when I was hired for “Battlestar Galactica”, I played this character who’s call sign was Crashdown and I was hired essentially to be the comic relief of the show. The audition scene I did was pretty funny. But that was at a time that they didn’t realize that “Battlestar Galactica” was never meant to be funny at all. There was an episode they did when they experimented with some humor but a lot of it got cut. With “Being Human”, we are definitely a serious drama show but there is a lot of humor to be found in it. [Laughing] I guess when you have a vampire, werewolf and a ghost all living in an apartment together, who has regular roommate problems on top of these supernatural problems…there is some humor to be found. I love that aspect of the show.

MG: How is it working with Sam Huntington and Meagan Rath?
SW: Lovely! I really love those guys. When we sat down the first time, it was very apparent that this was meant to me. Meagan and Sammy were natural choices for those roles. We have these ridiculously long hours and they would be torturous if we didn’t love each other so much. The same can be said for Mark Pellegrino, who I have become close with as well. Sarah Allen as well, she is a wonderful actress and we have bonded over the whole shoot. In fact all of us just went to Hawaii together if that can tell you anything. We actually [laughs] by choice spend a vacation together.

MG: In the show your character has been feeling a lot of pressure from the other vampires, how does Aidan hold up in the upcoming episodes?
SW: The metaphor that we have been dealing with Aiden, and not making it a secret, is drug addiction and a little bit of sex addiction. This guy has been in a drug haze all his life and he doesn’t have the tools to deal with life, the same tools that you and I have developed over our lives. Because of that Aiden is going to take some hits. He is extremely emotionally vulnerable as a person. As I said he doesn’t have the tools to process the things around him, so somethings hit him really hard emotionally. We will be seeing more of that as he gets emotionally torpedoed. Of course when you are hurting like that where do you turn but to the copping mechanism that you always turn to, which is the drug. As Aiden gets beat up more and more, we are going to see him want to go back to the lifestyle that he is trying to leave behind. The way that I look at Bishop and the other vampires are that they are his drug buddies that deep down he still has a friendship for but can’t hang out with them…because it would be bad.

MG: Who would you says is more villainous Bishop or Marcus?
SW: It really depends. We are going to find out somethings about Bishop that make him pretty damn dangerous. Bishop is also very reasonable about what he expects, what he wants and his vision for how things should be. He has a really reasonable point of view. We have hinted but haven’t gotten into his whole deal yet…but we will. Now Marcus…he isn’t exactly equipped to be second in command. He would like to be but he is not confident and has got a lot to prove. For that reason, he is extraordinarily dangerous though because he does have some abilities.

MG: What has been your favorite episode to work on for season one?
SW: That is a really tough question because past a certain point I just really love all of them. The thing I can say for the entire season, I have done shows where things were it was really challenging or I have done shows where the material was difficult. That is not always a guarantee that you would be looking forward to performing it. This season of “Being Human” we did…countless scenes that I looked at in the script, I said “Wow, I can’t wait to perform that” or I said “That is going to be tough but wow, it is going to be fun”. It has just been wonderfully rewarding like that. I had no idea it was going to be like that. It has been so engaging and compelling and stupid fun to hang out with those people. As I say me, Sammy, Meagan and Mark are kind of all inseparable and just being able to hang out with those people every day was a great treat. It is not always like that on every set. We have been very lucky with our cast here. Not only are they are very talented and professional but really fun.

MG: Tell us about your recent voice work for the TV series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”?
SW: We did three episodes, “The Mortis Trilogy” as they called it. It was crazy man! I have done some work for Lucasfilm before with “The Force Unleashed 1 & 2” video game.  In that I played Darth Vadar secret apprentice, Starkiller and he is this guy struggling with his dark side.  He has been raised and trained by Vadar but at the center of this guy is a really conscientious cool good person trying to do the right thing. He has to fight through all that to become the hero, he is destine to be. So then I get a call to do “The Clone Wars” and I was like “YES!”. They told me it was a really cool role. I thought it was going to be like six lines, like a bounty hunter or something.  But I was just really flattered that they wanted to work with me, so I was thrilled. Then I heard it is three episodes and I was excited because maybe this was a character that means something and around for a little bit. Fast forward to the day before I go in, I get the top secret script sent to me. I read the first script, which I wasn’t in much but I am in it enough to know the character I am playing. I read it and it turns out I am…the dark side of the force. They want me to play the dark side of the force…this iconic element of “Star Wars” introduced back in 1977 by Alec Guinness when he said [speaking as Alec Guinness] “Vadar was influenced by the dark side of the force.” That is what I am playing. At that point, I start sweating cause I had one day to figure out how the dark side of the force should sound like. If I get it wrong, I would have really cheapened a very important part of “Star Wars”. Then I find out that all of this stuff with the “Mortis” is directly from George (Lucas) and this character was described by George. I am freaking out at this point. I am huge “Star Wars” fan and you don’t want to get these things wrong. So, I go in for the first day and I only have a few lines for the episode and I perform a little, still not 100% sure what he should sound like. So I asked Dave Feloni, “Are you concerned that this character might sound too much like Starkiller from “Force Unleashed?” He goes “Well, you know Sam, it is fine if it does. He is the dark side of the force and your character in “Force Unleashed” being connected to the dark side of the force, so it is possible to be hearing some of his voice in there.” Once Dave Feloni said that it was the key for me. I thought if that is the case, shouldn’t we hear Darth Maul…Vadar…and the Emperor as well. For the rest of my work with them, I started putting in little line reads where the voice didn’t change much but the voice pattern and the inflections changed to match certain dark side characters. For example if the line was “Join me and together we can destroy this Emperor in your visions”. If you put emphasis like Vadar would in “Empire Strikes Back”, it makes a big difference.  The dialogue was so evocative of those movies that it was easy to do it at times. Dave Feloni noticed what I was doing and told me to do it even more. So that is what we ended up doing. Now that I have seen the episodes, I am confident we did the right thing. I love the show so much and I was really lucky to get the chance to do it.

Interview with Sam Huntington

Sam Huntington is the star of Syfy’s new hit show “Being Human”.  Based on the British series of the same title, Sam stars as Josh who happens to be a werewolf living with a vampire (Sam Witwer) and a ghost (Meaghan Rath).  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Sam about working on the show and playing a werewolf.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got involved with playing Josh in “Being Human”?
Sam Huntington: It was a really traditional audition process. I got to read the first two scripts and I fell in love with the character and the project from there.  I went in almost a dozen times for this show.  It was an extensive audition process.  After that, I was mixed and matched with Sam (Witwer) and Meaghan (Rath) and we all fell instantly in love.

MG: Since the BBC series already had a built in audience, did you feel nervous to live up to the original?
SH: No [laughs]. Not at all actually. I was unaware of the original show when I first auditioned. So going into it I had zero pressure. Beyond that, people have asked this to me a bunch and my answer is I think if I worry about that then I am worrying about the wrong thing. I think I am always worried I am not going to live up to my own expectations. I am honestly trying to make the show the best possible. I can’t worry about that kind of stuff.

MG:Tell us about the process that you go through for the werewolf transformation?
SH: It is pretty crazy. The makeup process is all in about eight hours depending on what we are putting on, on any given day. It is badass and looks really cool, even though it is long hours in the chair often times really early mornings or really late at night. It is definitely hardcore. We have really amazing designers and artists workingon it. Basically, we have three or four different stages of the makeup, in varying degrees of severity. CG takes you through the in between stages and subsequently from the most hardcore stage we get in makeup to the full wolf. The final wolf will be CG and I am still waiting to see that myself. It will be in the episode airing on March 7th. I am really pupped up to see it.

MG:How do you feel that you have the most physical role of any the main cast?
SH: It is fun but also extraordinarily hard. I worked my ass off this year on this show but at the end of the day it is worth it. I love the show and I love the end product. I really do believe in the show. It is one thing if you are working you ass off and are kind of miserable with the product [laughs]. It makes it a lot easier when you know what you are doing is great.

MG:How has it been to work with Sam Witwer and Meaghan Rath?
SH: Amazing. We are literally so close…like siblings now. It is truly bizarre how fast we got as tight as we are. We just got back from a week long vacation in Hawaii together, because we love each other so much [laughs]. So it is a big love fest [laughs] and it kind made it even more so because we have such tremendous mutual respect for each other. We really trust each other as performers and almost know what to expect from each other. For me, looking at them, I know they are going to make great choices and do great work.

MG:What has been your favorite episode to work on this season?
SH: Episode seven for me so far, I haven’t seen eleven through thirteen in finished state yet. Actually though I also haven’t seen eight through ten even close to finished either, so it would be a really hard choice. I do believe though that they are getting better and better each episode.

MG:Can you give us a sneak of what is the come in the rest of season one?
SH: I will say, if you are a fan of the original show…don’t think that we are going to follow their exact plot line. We are going in different directions and will keep doing so. It becomes it own beast. That is why I like episode seven so much because that is where it goes on it own and comes alive and continues that trend.

MG:Do you have anything else planned after shooting season one?
SH: Well I have been finishing up a writing project that I have been working on for a long time. I will probably write another script hopefully before we go off to shoot season two. Which I am hoping we will find out about pretty soon as well. I have been looking for the right thing to fill this little void as far as acting in between the show. There is not much because anything that is casting now will probably conflict with “Being Human” if it gets picked up for a second season. Right now though, I am just enjoying my family, I have a year and a half old son. I just spending as much time as I can with them, since I may not see them as much as I like if/when the show gets picked up again.