CD Review: A Perfect Circle “Eat The Elephant”

A Perfect Circle
Eat The Elephant
Producer: Dave Sardy, Billy Howerdel, Maynard James Keenan
Original Release Date: April 20, 2018
Number of Discs: 1
Length: 57:07
Label: BMG

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

As a fan of lifetime fan of “A Perfect Circle”, I have been waiting for the band’s fourth album to be released for the last fourteen years. The band started as a side project for Tool front man Maynard James Keenan but has always seems to stay relevant over the years. I think that it is because their music is very real and the lyrics brings up some major social, political and religious issues that it resonates with fans. I will go into it more below but this is an album that has built up for years. It is not going to win you over in one quick distracted listen. If you give this album a chance and really listen to it without distractions it is pretty freaking amazing and I can’t get enough of it! You can tell this was a real labor of love from the band and hardcore fans should dig it!

I spend a lot of time on the computer and listening to music with my Amazon Echo, so one day last Fall, I asked to listen to Tool to my surprise I found no Tool music is available streaming anywhere at the time, so A Perfect Circle quickly came into my head. Once I started listening, I came across a new song called “The Doomed”, I believe this was in October/November of 2017 and I was immediately taken back to old school A Perfect Circle. I loved this track and I listened to it A LOT over the last few months. Then in January, another single dropped called “Disillusioned” and it was even better than the first followed by next month with “TalkTalk” that was released in February 2018. We are talking three hit singles here before the album was even released. So I feel like I have been in love with these new tracks for months now and I only have been enjoying the album more and more with easy listen.

I feel like “Eat the Elephant” works best when played through in one sitting. I feel like the songs wind and connect together in a way that makes the who listening experience very exciting. I can’t explain in words just how much I love the song “Disillusioned”. It is honestly one of my favorite songs currently. The lyrics “Time to put the silicon obsession down…Take a look around, find a way in the silence”. I just have to stop everything and listen when this song comes on. “The Contrarian” is also a real shocker. What a surprise following up track! I also need to give props to the fourth single that was released before the album was released “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”, it is such a hot track. I love the way it doesn’t let you take a breathe in. It just is perfect and really different from the rest.

Like I mentioned above, even though this is their first album release in fourteen years, the band feels like they haven’t missed a beat. When I shuffle all tracks from this band the new ones fit perfect in with the old. “Eat the Elephant” dates back to as early as 2008. You can tell it was a slow working progress but if you are a longtime fan of Maynard James Keenan, (me personally since 1995), we are trained to expect to have to wait for great things. I can say that I have never been disappointed with a Tool or A Perfect Circle album. This time around unlike with 2004’s “Emotive”, where Billy Howerdel had step into lead vocals for most of the album, this time Keenan performed all vocal parts and also wrote all lyrics.

Since we are a little late to reviewing this album, it has since debuted at number 3 on the US Billboard 200 chart, which is the band’s fourth album to debut in the top 4. A Perfect Circle may not be for everyone but I feel like it’s music stands out from everyone else and is not afraid to be different or to try something new. If you are lucky the band might be coming to a city near you with their accompanying tour throughout 2018, including North American dates in May, October, and November, and European dates in June and December. I have seen them live in the early 2000’s and it was definitely an experience. I can’t wait to see how these new tracks work live. Very excited for this album and for this upcoming tour. “Eat the Elephant” is a must have for A Perfect Circle fans! Definitely worth the wait! Now Maynard, get your ass in gear please on the new Tool album 😉

Track Listing:
1. Eat The Elephant
2. Disillusioned
3. The Contrarian
4. The Doomed
5. So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish
6. TalkTalk
7. By And Down The River
8. Delicious
9. DLB
10. Hourglass
11. Feathers
12. Get The Lead Out

Jag 13 of Eat The Turnbuckle discusses the bands latest EP “The Great American Bash Your Head In”

Eat The Turnbuckle is a heavy metal band hailing from Philadelphia, PA. Despite being from “The City of Brotherly Love” the groups sound and stage show which features elements of extreme wrestling couldn’t be further from the cities well know moniker. The band recently released a new EP titled “The Great American Head Bash In” and Media Mikes had the chance to speak with the bands vocalist Jag 13 to discuss the new EP, the group’s intense stage shows and their plans for the remainder of 2016.

Adam Lawton: Is Eat the Turnbuckle a band who wrestles or, wrestler that play in a band?

Jag 13: It’s kind of both honestly. Some of the older guys in the band used to wrestle and Shlak one of our guitarists wrestles now for CZW. For me personally I have always been into both wrestling and music. Philadelphia has always been a great town for wrestling and when I was younger I remember the WWF coming through a lot. I got to see the whole ECW thing come into play as well. With music I think that’s something almost everyone gets in to at a young age so I have been in to both for as long as I can remember.

AL: What can you tell us about the bands most recent EP?

Jag 13: We did “The Great American Bash Your Head In” for our most recent tour. We try and have new material out each time we go on the road. If we know we are going to be heading out at a certain time we start writing and putting things together. This EP has 5 new songs which have been going over really well so far. We only did one show here in the states on this run with the rest of the dates being over in Europe. We did about 22 shows over there and wrapped things up with our performance at this year’s Gwar B-Q inn Virginia. We were actually supposed to do one other show however we had to cancel due to our drummer having a broken ankle. He actually broke it the second day of tour and finally went to the hospital on the fourth day of the tour. He had a cast on but didn’t miss one show. Like a dummy he took the cast off when we got back home and things got messed up even worse.(Laughs)

AL: Speaking of the Gwar B-Q. This was the second time you guys have been asked to play. How did this year’s event differ from the previous year you performed?

Jag 13: The first time we played they had us going on pretty early. Something happened with the doors and we ended up playing to a small group as a lot of people were stuck at the gates. I think the reception from those who saw was really good and the fact that a lot of people who wanted to see us couldn’t helped with us getting asked back this year. This year was off the hook! We played the Slutman Pavilion which was a lot of fun. I think I would prefer playing that stage over one of the bigger stages. We have sort of gotten used to playing on smaller stages but even if we were on the bigger stage things would have definitely spilled over. (Laughs) A bigger stage means we have to do bigger gimmicks!

AL: With your show incorporating extreme/hardcore wrestling elements and references what was the European reception like being that type of wrestling isn’t as common there?

Jag 13: I think those things were why we have caught on so well over there. They don’t have the hardcore and extreme matches in their wrestling shows so this is something new for them. We had people coming up to us after the shows who weren’t fans of the music but they came out to check out the wrestling. We played a lot of smaller countries over there and those people just ate it up. They loved watching the shows. We did a festival in the Czech Republic where they actually got a wring for us. Shlak ended up wrestling the Champ from the league there in a death match. It was in front of about five thousand people and it was just crazy. Both the guys needed to get stitched up afterwards.

AL: What type of planning goes into one of your shows being that not only are you performing musically but you are also including wrestling elements as well?

Jag 13: We argue a lot. (Laughs) Right before the show we sort of get the lay of the land and plan out what we are going to do. At the same time we have work with the venue to make sure we know what we can and can’t do. Like when we did the Gwar B-Q you can’t have any glass. Every show is a little different so we have to just go with the flow. People have been really accommodating. We have all been in bands that have crazy stage shows. That’s how we all came together. Philadelphia has a history of violent shows so we sort of just fit in to that. When things started to get a little more PC within the scene myself and Shlak started gathering guys who still wanted something crazy.

AL: Do you ever feel that the graphic nature of your shows limits your audience?

Jag 13: We have had shows cancelled due to people finding out about our shows and in turn not wanting anything to do with it. At this point I have become so used to that type of thing that it doesn’t bother me. If they don’t want us, they don’t want us. We have a pretty good booking agent who lets all the places know what type of show we put on. Some of the show we have done in the past we just showed up and started going at it. (Laughs) That tended not to work out real well for any one.

AL: With your drumming being laid up with an injury does that end the year for you or do you still have things plans?

Jag 13: We don’t have anything planned until October then after that we don’t anything planned until spring time of next year. We have some bids in on tours that we think will work well for us here in the states so we have our fingers crossed.

For more info on Eat The Turnbuckle be sure to check out the bands official website at

CD Review: Steel Panther “All You Can Eat”

“All You Can Eat”
Steel Panther
Open E music
Produced by: Jay Ruston
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

The Sunset Strip’s hottest export, Steel Panther, is back with their third full-length album titled “All You Can Eat”. The album is the first release from the band since starting their own label title Open E Records and features 12 all new original tracks produced by Jay Ruston. With edgy song titles and enough sexual references to overload the guys in Steel Panther continue to wave the flag for the glory years of 80’s hair metal.

The latest from Steel Panther may not be the group’s strongest effort to date but there are some killer vintage guitar licks and rhythms that do a good job making up for what the album lacks in substance. Of course if you are at all familiar with the band then you know going in what you are in for. “All You Can Eat” features an edgier sound than what we have heard previously from the spandex clad 4 piece making this attribute one of the more shining moments of my listen. Of course with songs like “Party like Tomorrow is the End of the World” and “Gangbang at the Old Folks Home” you know there are good times to be had blasting these and the other 10 tracks as you role around the subdivision in your vintage Z-28.

“All You Can Eat” is certainly a stepping stone for the band musically however I feel they still have yet to capture the power and appeal of their over the top live performances.

Track Listing:
1.) Pussywhipped
2.) Party like Tomorrow is the End of the World
3.) Gloryhole
4.) Bukkake Tears
5.) Gangbang at the Old Folks Home
6.) Ten Strikes You’re Out
7.) The Burden of Being Wonderful
8.) Fucking my Heart in the Ass
9.) B.V.S.
10.) You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk
11.) If I Was The King
12.) She’s on the Rag

Steel Panther New Album “All You Can Eat” Slated for Release April 1st on Open E Records via Kobalt Label Services

Band Celebrating New Release By Sending the Famous G
rill ‘Em All Truck Around Los Angeles Today Giving Out Free Burgers: “The Fat Girl” and “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’ Cheeseburger”

Pre-order All You Can Eat online January 14th

(January 13th, 2014 – New York, NY) The Sunset Strip’s hottest export, Steel Panther, is back and ready to unleash their third full-length album, All You Can Eat, on the world. The 12-track masterpiece is slated to hit stands April 1st in the United States on Open E Records via Kobalt Label Services (KLS). The album will be available for pre-order on January 14th at From the opening acoustic riff of album opener “Pussywhipped” to final chord hit in the album closer “She’s On The Rag,” it is clear Steel Panther is back and better than ever. Songs like “Gloryhole,” “Gangbang At The Old Folks Home” and “BVS” all showcase Steel Panther’s incredible musicianship and ability to write memorable and sometimes educational songs. The band, comprised of Michael Starr on vocals, Satchel on guitar, Lexxi Foxx on bass and Stix Zadinia on drums, have made a name for themselves as one of the most entertaining acts out today. The debut single “Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World,” was released in November with a star-studded video directed by Rob Riggle that has been viewed over 660,000 times. The explicit video for the song can be seen at Longtime Steel Panther producer Jay Ruston produced All You Can Eat.

The track listing for All You Can Eat is:

1. Pussywhipped
2. Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World
3. Gloryhole
4. Bukkake Tears
5. Gangbang At The Old Folks Home
6. Ten Strikes You’re Out
7. The Burden Of Being Wonderful
8. F@#king My Heart In The Ass
9. BVS
10. You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk
11. If I Was The King
12. She’s On The Rag

Steel Panther has also partnered up with acclaimed LA food truck Grill ‘Em All for a promotion to coincide with the announcement of the release date of All You Can Eat. Grill ‘Em All was the winner of the first season of the Great American Food Truck on the Food Network and is known for their heavy metal themed burgers. The band unveiled the album cover of All You Can Eat on the Grill ‘Em All truck and the truck will roam around Los Angeles giving away “The Fat Girl” and the “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’ Cheeseburger” for free to all Steel Panther fans in Los Angeles. Here is the schedule for the locations of Grill ‘Em All today:

11:00AM – 12:00PM – Origami (1816 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026)
1:00PM – 2:00PM – High Fidelity (1956 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027)
3:00PM – 4:00PM – The Record Parlour (6408 Selma Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028)
5:30PM – 7:00PM – The Rainbow (9015 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069)

Steel Panther was, for a long time, rock’s best-kept secret: a cult legend on the LA scene. But in recent years due to the success of their albums (both debuted at #1 on the Billboard Comedy Album Charts), and live shows, the band has enjoyed huge acclaim from fans and peers alike. Steel Panther has been joined on stage by rock and roll icons such as Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Paul Stanley of KISS, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park and Green Day to name a few. Steel Panther has also been seen on Dancing With The Stars, Bad Girl’s Club and most recently in a national web campaign for Warner Brothers Pictures hit film, Rock Of Ages.

CD Review: Jimmy Eat World “Damage”

Jimmy Eat World
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Number of Discs: 1
Label: RCA
Running Time: 37 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

I have to admit, I am not the biggest Jimmy Eat World fan. I am a huge though a fan of their 2001 release “Bleed American”, with hit tracks like “The Middle” and “Sweetness”. I have yet to see them replicate that success since. “Damage” is the band’s seventh studio album and their follow up to 2010′s critically-acclaimed “Invented”. I have to admit even though it doesn’t have the pop and energy of “Bleed American”, it packs some good songs and certainly grows on you over time. I recently listened to the new Black Sabbath album “13″ and I liked it but after they were over I couldn’t see myself listening to them over and over. That is not the case with “Damage”. I have a feeling that this album is going to become an indie hit over this summer for sure.

This new album was produced by Jimmy Eat World and Alain Johannes. Some of the tracks on the album are better than others but all together it is a pretty well-rounded pop album. My favorite track on the album is the title track “Damage”, it is catchy and packs a great chorus. I can see this becoming quite popular for them. Their first official single “I Will Steal You Back” is another great song and like I said, I see this one becoming a summer hit. All the tracks add up to just under 40 minutes, which is not incredibly long but they are short, sweet and to the point. If you are a long-time fan, you should definitely enjoy this. I just wish they added a little more energy into some of the tracks. But like I said, after listening looping it over a few times, the album is starting to grow on me more and more.

Track Listing:
1. Appreciation
2. Damage
3. Lean
4. Book of Love
5. I Will Steal You Back
6. Please Say No
7. How’d You Have Me
8. No, Never
9. Byebyelove
10. You Were Good

Book Review “Noodle Loves to Eat”

Author: Marion Billet
Hardcover: 12 pages
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Release Date: August 1, 2011

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

If you have child then you should definitely known about Noodle.  This isn’t the first book in the series though, Noodle loves many things including cuddling, the Beach, Bedtime, and the farm. In this book we follow Noodle’s love to eat. The book is really great for babies and toddlers ages 1-3.  I really enjoyed the fact that it was extremely colorful and extremely educational.

Marion Billet really scored with these Noddle books.  Her illustrations are just so cute and the use of the touch and feel throughout the book is very smart. Whether it ranges from soft bread to smoochy cheese to bumpy peas, this book really makes eating a fun and also visual journey. I see this book coming in very handy with my daughter over the next few years as she starts learning food (and fussing food, as well). I look forward to what Marion and Nosy Crow have planned next.

Roy Scheider: The Lost Interview!

In September 1977 I was given permission by Roy Scheider to start his Official Fan Club. As a 16 year old kid whose favorite film was (and still is) “JAWS,” I was in the proverbial hog heaven. Roy passed away on February 10, 2008 at the age of 75. This weekend I was going through a box of some old fan club material (fan letters, etc) and came across an interview I did through the mail with Roy in February 1980 shortly after he was nominated for an Academy Award for “All That Jazz.” He was also appearing on Broadway with Blythe Danner and Raul Julia in the play “Betrayal.” The papers are yellowed but Roy’s handwritten answers to my question are still bold. Unless you were a member of the Fan Club you are reading this for the first time in what is truly a MovieMikes exclusive. Enjoy!

Mr. Scheider, let me first say congratulations on your Academy Award nomination!! I found your performance to be fantastic!! (NOTE TO THE READERS: Please excuse all of the exclamation points. I was 19 years old at the time) I am crossing my fingers from now until April 14th (the night the awards were presented) Though your ability is all that’s necessary to win the Oscar a little luck also helps! Congrats again!

Q: There is much talk of “All That Jazz” being almost a Bob Fosse biography. What is your opinion? I noticed some similarities.
ROY SCHEIDER: Yes – in New York there is too much “bio” talk. It is somewhat biographical but only 1/3. The rest of the nation identifies with the character of “Joe Gideon” as just another crazy workaholic.
Q: You were nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “The French Connection” but lost out to Ben Johnson in “The Last Picture Show.” Now you’re nominated as Best Actor for “All That Jazz.” What do you think, truthfully, your chances are for the Oscar? I personally think your closest competition is Dustin Hoffman (nominated that year for “Kramer vs Kramer”), who you worked with in “Marathon Man,” and the closest he is second!
RS: Ben Johnson won because he had a very dramatic private scene and because he was a veteran actor. We all pay our dues. Dustin will win – – -he has paid his dues. (Of course, Roy was right. The winner on Oscar night was Dustin Hoffman)
Q: I recently saw your first film, “The Curse of the Living Corpse,” on television. What, in your opinion, have been the major breakthroughs in films and production qualities since then and “All That Jazz?”
RS: “Living Corpse” was my first. It cost $35,000. “Jazz,” my last, cost $10.5 million and was directed by a genius filmmaker.
Q: There was talk some time ago about a film from the people who did “Animal House” and Zanuck/Brown to be titled “Jaws 3, People 0.” Were you approached to perform in this film and, if you weren’t, would you? I am aware of your reluctance to do “Jaws 2.” Also, hope you didn’t mind the “All that JAWS” poster!! (I had sent Roy a mock up poster combining his characters from “JAWS” and “All that Jazz” entitled “All That JAWS.” As this was early 1980 I’m going to go ahead and lay claim to being the first person to come up with that).
RS: 1. Definitely NO! 2. Not bad – – “J’s” seem to be lucky for me.
Q: What was the hardest part of making “All that Jazz?” I’ll assume it was the dancing.
RS: Yes. Not the learning or the doing but the repeating, again and again, for the camera angles. I’m getting older and those were muscles I’d never used.
Q: What was it like returning to the stage in “Betrayal?” Did you realize you had missed the live audience? Would you like to do another play in the near future?
RS: It is refreshing. Like getting on a bicycle again. It’s good to be dealing with ideas. I’ll be tired of it by June. Yes – – I’ll do it again in the future.
Q: What other projects do you have in the works? Films, plays…giving dance lessons?
RS: Reading film scripts.
Q: Finally, when you win the Oscar can I have the carnation you wear in your lapel?
RS: I won’t, so there goes your carnation. If I do you’ll get it!

Interview with Jim Krut

Jim Krut is well known for his small but very notable role as the Helicopter Zombie in “Dawn of the Dead”. Since then Jim has not done many films but he has been quite involved with the genre. Movie Mikes had a chance to ask Jim a few questions about his working on “Dawn of the Dead” and his career.

Click here to purchase “Dawn of the Dead”
Click here to purchase “Deadlands 2: Trapped”

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got the role of the Helicopter Zombie in “Dawn of the Dead”?
Jim Krut: I got the role of Helicopter Zombie in “Dawn of the Dead” when Tom Savini asked me to do the role.  At the time, I was living in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, working in live theater with a traveling repertory company called the Ironclad Agreement.  I was literally on my way to see a movie in Oakland, when I ran into Tom.  Tom said, “Jim I have a great role for you in the George Romero film that’s being made here in Pittsburgh.  I think you’ll really like it.”  I told him, “Tom, in a few minutes I’ll be in a movie.” Tom said, give me a call and we’ll set up the makeup sessions.

MG: How long have you know Tom Savini?
JK: Tom and I had had known each other for a number of years, since we were in college together in Pittsburgh.  There, we acted in student productions.  Tom and I were the two actors in a version of Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story.” During that run, the real knife that we used made a real impact on Tom’s midsection.  But, as they say, show must go on.  Tom didn’t flinch; we finished the show and no one ever knew that he’d been injured.

MG: Tell us about the makeup process for your character?
JK: We got together for the makeup sessions in Tom’s workshop, in the basement of his home.  He needed to do a head cast of me.  This entailed my breathing through a straw for about 20 min. while plaster was slathered all over my face until it hardened.  Then, the back of the head was done the same way.  It helps you appreciate the old movies where fugitives are hiding in a stream and breathing through a hollow reed while they stay concealed.  In this case, however, Tom called me a few days later and said that the plaster cracking we need to repeat the process.  I returned to Tom’s workshop.  He completed the plaster molding of my head and from that was able to build the rest of the prosthetics.  To make the removable headpiece proportional to the rest of my head, Tom applied the beard, mustache and a bit more hair.  It seems like only a few days from that point that we were on set at the Monroeville airport.

MG: How long did it take to shoot your scene?
JK: In my recollection, I was there two days.  The first day was pretty drizzly and a lot of the indoor shooting was done at that time.  There may have been some uncertainty about the helicopter arriving if there was rain.  I believe the first shooting day at the Monroeville airport was a Sunday and I pretty much stayed inside the little office building for most of that.  It gave me a chance to watch how others were working and how George Romero was directing.  It was my first time on a movie set.  As a struggling actor in Pittsburgh, it was also great to have access to the lunch wagon from craft services.  As for the costume, there were at least two identical sets of clothes for me. We only needed one, since everything was done in one take.  Applying the makeup and appliances took about an hour, as I recall.  Tom had everything ready to go and seemed to be everywhere on the set at the airport.  As for direction, I believe that Tom had worked far enough in advance with George that George trusted Tom to pull off the effect.  I’m pretty sure George directed all of the camera angles, but Tom worked on the timing and the execution of the effect.  Again, everything was done in one take.  Time may have been a factor, but everything seemed to go very smoothly because of the earlier planning.  Both Tom and I are Vietnam veterans.  We were both familiar with helicopters from that experience. Stepping up onto the loosely arranged boxes, while focusing on the “meat” refueling the helicopter was probably the trickiest part of the shot for me.  I wanted it all to be right.  Even if this would be my only time ever in a movie, I was going to give it my best.  It was surprising, but very gratifying, to learn we didn’t have to repeat the shot.  People on the set said it looked great and seemed to be really happy with the way it turned out.  I believe the shooting involving the Helicopter Zombie scenes took about an hour altogether.

MG: Although being in the film for only a short time, you character is definitely well known form the series, how do you feel about that?
JK: As for being so well known for this relatively short sequence in a cult film, all I can say is I’m extremely happy to have been a part of it!  You have to remember, at the time, George Romero was breaking a lot of new ground.  From what I saw of the effects, language and action, I figured that my family and friends at the time might never go to see this movie.  But, that’s what taking a chance is all about.  I’ll always be grateful to Tom Savini for including me in this movie.  My being part of this George Romero classic has since become a huge source of conversation and pride for my family and friends.  Once the shooting was done, then came the nervous before the screening in downtown Pittsburgh.  Inside the packed theater were the actors, crew, friends and hundreds of zombies it seemed.  There was the nervous anticipation of wondering if my scenes would actually make it up onto the big screen or end up on the cutting room floor.  It was a huge thrill to see how the scene worked into the grand scheme of “Dawn of the Dead.”

MG: You didn’t do many films post “Dawn”, what was the reason?
JK: Within a year after the release of Dawn, I was married to my wife Linda.  When our first daughter was born, we left Pittsburgh to find a place with cleaner air and less traffic.  We settled in central Pennsylvania, where I worked for a time in audiovisual sales for 3M company.  Then I was hired as an editor for a weekly newspaper, making use of my journalism degree from point Park University.  Within two years we moved to the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area.  There I had a job as editor of the statewide magazine for the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association.  I love the work and travel, but it didn’t leave time for other pursuits such as acting on stage or in film.  Seven years later we moved to Gettysburg, where I became involved with a startup theater company.  Around the year 2000, I was invited to Cinema Wasteland in Cleveland, from “Dawn of the Dead” reunion.  It was great to see some friends I worked with in theater in Pittsburgh, who also happen to have been in “Dawn of the Dead”.  It was also a chance to get to know some of the other actors from the from the movie.  The really amazing thing, however, was the fans.  I knew Dawn had become a cult classic, but it was hard to appreciate just how widespread the reach of that movie had become.  For the Cleveland show, someone had flown in from Japan.  People had driven in from California, Texas, New Jersey and other states.  It was overwhelming!  I’ll always be grateful to Ken Kish, who runs Cinema Wasteland, for tracking me down and bringing me back to the public eye!  That horror convention led to other appearances over the last several years.  Between those appearances and some of my theatrical performances, I was asked to take on roles in other movies.  First came “The Guatemalan Handshake” in which I had a small role, but it was great working with the cast and the director.  That I met Gary Ugarek, who offered me a lead role in his film “Deadlands 2: Trapped.”  I love the role and a chance to play an evil government official.  It seemed there were so many role models to work from!

MG: Where you a fan of the horror genre before working on the film?
JK: As for being a fan of horror movies, I have been since I was a kid.  I would stay up late at night and watch them on television.  I would go to the movies and watch “Dracula”, “Frankenstein”, “The Wolfman”, and more on the big screen.  The Thing, Them, all sorts of monsters and creatures! Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, and the classic horror actors were my idols. My scene from “Dawn of the Dead” has been classified by Bravo Network as one of the top 100 moments in horror movies.  No matter what else I’ve done or where I’ve traveled, nothing seems to be as well known in my life as the role of the Helicopter Zombie.  It’s absolutely been great!  And, I remain grateful to Tom Savini, George Romero and especially the fans who helped to keep the “dead” alive!

MG: What else are currently working on?
JK: I’ve done a few other independent films since then.  One was a short, “Squirrel,” that has not yet been released but has appeared at a few film festivals.  Another, “Dead Island,” was directed by Josh Davidson.  He shot the entire feature-length film on iPhones.  That was just a few months ago.  Another indie film, with the working title of “Bunnyman Bridge,” was being shot entirely with digital SLR cameras.  I’m not sure about the release date on those.  There was also Joe Shelby’s “The Green Man” being shot in Pittsburgh.  Joe was one of the motorcycle raiders in Dawn of the Dead.  My role in that film is just a brief appearance.  There possibly three films that I may become involved with in 2011.  I can’t say much about them at this point, but I’m just happy to know that there are folks interested in having me work with him.

Click here to purchase “Dawn of the Dead”
Click here to purchase “Deadlands 2: Trapped”

MovieMikes’ “$#*! My Dad Says” Interview Series

In case you do not know “$#*! My Dad Says” started as a Twitter feed authored by Justin Halpern and it just consisted of quotes made by his father, Sam. Luckily, CBS was the first studio to produce a show based on a twitter feed and today we have one of the funniest shows new show on television.

The show stars William Shatner as Ed Goodson, Jonathan Sadowski as his son Henry, Will Sasso plays his other son, Vince and Nicole Sullivan plays Vince’s wife Bonnie. Ever since the pilot, the show has improved with each episode and that is rare for a show definitely a first year show.

Movie Mikes has been able to interview this show’s fantastic cast. You can check out the interviews below.  If you have not checked out this show, support it and let’s keep our fingers crossed for season two!!


Jonathan Sadowski

Official premise for show via Wikipedia:
“Ed is a very opinionated 72-year-old who has been divorced three times. His two adult sons, Henry and Vince, are accustomed to his unsolicited and often politically incorrect rants. When Henry, a struggling writer and blogger, can no longer afford his rent, he is forced to move back in with Ed, which creates new issues in their tricky father-son relationship. As weeks go by Henry is unable to find a job as a writer, mostly due to the lack of good material. He finally lands a job, when during his interview Ed interrupts with an irrational phone call that sparks the interest of the eccentric editor conducting the interview. Henry is ultimately hired, but is forced to continue living with Ed in order to be able to continue to write about his father’s unsolicited rants, hence the title “$#*! My Dad Says”.”

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>$#*! MY DAD SAYS CAST INTERVIEWS:</strong></p>
<table class=”tblInterviews” border=”0″ cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ width=”100″>
<td><a href=”/2011/02/interview-with-jonathan-sadowski/”><img src=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/jonathan_sadowski.jpg” alt=”” hspace=”7″ width=”100″ height=”100″ /></a><a href=”/2011/02/interview-with-jonathan-sadowski/”>Jonathan Sadowski</a></div>
<td><a href=”/2011/02/interview-with-nicole-sullivan/”><img src=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/nicolesullivan1-300×269.jpg” alt=”” hspace=”7″ width=”100″ height=”100″ /></a></p>
<div><a href=”/2011/02/interview-with-nicole-sullivan/”>Nicole Sullivan</a></div>
<td><a href=”/2011/02/interview-with-will-sasso/”><img src=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/will_sasso.jpg” alt=”” hspace=”7″ width=”100″ height=”100″ /></a></p>
<div><a href=”/2011/02/interview-with-will-sasso/”>Will Sasso</a></div>

Interview with Peter Stormare

Peter Stormare has appeared in over 100 films which include such memorable roles as Gaear Grimsrud in “Fargo” and Lev Andropov in “Armageddon”. Movie Mikes had a chance to speak with Peter recently about his career and what he has in store for the future.

Adam Lawton: What made you get into acting?
Peter Stormare: At the time in Sweden, there were really no other alternatives for me. It was either become an outlaw, a poet or an actor.

AL: Can you tell us what it was like working with the Coen Brothers?
PS: It was sheer pleasure. They are always so prepared and know exactly what they are doing. They kind of have an old school way of thinking in that 90% of the movie is made during the preparation stage. A lot of young directors never seem to do their homework. As an actor it’s very disturbing to come prepared for a shoot only to meet a director who doesn’t have a clue where the camera should be or what they want the scene to be about. More so lately I say “If you don’t do your homework…why should I do mine!”

AL: What was it like being a part of such a great movie and cast in “Armageddon?”
PS: I love Michael Bay and all of his craziness. He let me improvise throughout that whole movie. We really found some golden nuggets which made it into the film. The crap we cut out. That line “American components, Russian components they’re all made in Taiwan”. That was all me!

AL: What was it like returning to work on the “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” after Heath Ledgers passing?
PS: It was sad and strange all at the same time. There was a gathering of people around Terry Gilliam who wanted to rejoice in the sheer energy Heath had and shared with everyone. The entire cast from one liner’s to the bigger parts came on board for little to no pay. We did it for Heath and for Terry Gilliam. I had the privilege to get to know heath. He was so talented even beyond acting. He was an artist in all ways. He made some amazing photos, drawings and music. Sadly some of us have to say good bye early. Heath was one of them. During “The Brothers Grim”, I used to sit and watch him on the monitor. He reminded me of Johnny Depp. To me Johnny is one of the most innovative actors in the history of filmmaking. No disrespect to Brando, DeNiro or Pacino but for me Johnny Depp has it all and so did Heath Ledger.

AL: If you had to pick one of your performances as a favorite. What would it be?
PS: I think it’s impossible to pick. I hope the next project will bring that to the tale. The past is forgotten and will never return. I am a today kind of guy mixed with a little bit of future on the side.

AL: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
PS: No! They are all top secret. Just kidding…I have many projects in the works right now. Hopefully some of them will become real. I do want you to watch “The Superball” as there might be a cheese head that shows up holding a beer in his hand.

Interview with James Arnold Taylor

James Arnold Taylor is known best for his voicing of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Cartoon Network’s “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. Besides voicing Obi-Wan on the show is also voices numerous other characters, including Plo Koon. James is a very talented voice actor who also does voices ranging for the show “Johnny Test” to Fred Flinstone commercials to Emmett Brown in the recent “Back to the Future: Video Game”. Fighting a terrible cold and with barely a voice, Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with James about his role of Obi-Wan in “The Clone Wars” and his various other projects. James was nice enough to bare with me through my lack of voice and provide one of the most fun and easiest interviews to date.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you originally got started with “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”?
James Arnold Taylor: When I was first introduced into the “Star Wars” world and “Clone Wars” was for the micro series that Genndy Tartakovsky had done. I auditioned like many other people had. I thought it was just for a line here or there that they needed to replace. I had done some Ewan McGregor voice doubling in the past. When I found out I got the job and found out what it was, it was really quite a shock to me. I was so humbled by it all. We got to do that series which was great, then from that point I started doing video games. I did video game for “Revenge of the Sith”, which mirrored the film mostly. I got to see a lot of the movie as it was being made which was really cool, since I had to kind of redo what Ewan was doing in the film. Then I moved into the new series of “The Clone Wars”. I remember the first meeting with Dave (Filoni) and Henry Gilroy. I told them that I was just flattered to be involved. It has been about eight years since that I have been involved and I am just thrilled to be in it.

MG: Your character has a great storyline this season, can you tell us about it?
JAT: Season three has been so awesome. As a cast, we all have gotten to know each other better through the years. We are all very comfortable with each other. When we get into the studio to record each other it is like a reunion and a bit of a party. It was really a new direction this season. We are dealing with things that “Star Wars” has never really dealt with before especially with the “Mortis” episodes. We have the final one of the three part series airing this Friday. I can’t wait for everyone to see it and then we can talk about it more. Clearly these are new territories that we have never taken these characters into before. Not even in the films, we find out what the force is really all about and Anakin being the truly labeled as the chosen one throughout the galaxy now. So for Obi-Wan, it is kind of fun when we were doing these episodes. He had a lot of [speaking in Obi-Wan’s voice] “Yes…Well…I don’t know…Let’s check over here” [laughs]. I was wondering how it was all going to come together and then you see it and it is just brilliant.

MG: How does it work for you about getting the scripts in advance?
JAT: I was keep in the dark like everyone else. When we get the scripts, if we have more than ten lines we get them in advance by 24 hours. If we have less than ten lines we usually get them just the day of the record. For me what I try to do is not to read outside of Obi-Wan’s parts. I do not want to know the ending. I want to be surprised like everyone else and I have been really blown away. It is just a blast because we always work as a cast and is it a treat to be involved with this “Star Wars” universe.

MG: What is the most challenging part for you playing Obi-Wan Kenobi?
JAT: Yeah, actually that is a great question. I am always trying to give homage to Ewan McGregor, of course…but also to Sir Alec Guinness. I take [speaking as Ewan McGregor] ” a little bit of Ewan McGregor’s voice and” [speaking as Alec Guinness] “a little bit of Alec Guinness’ voice”. I try to combine them into my Obi-Wan. I have been watching so many of the episodes lately and listening to my performance, myself being the most critical. I see that I am not necessarily doing Ewan McGregor any more, I am just doing an “Obi-Wan” voice. I get a lot of feedback from my fans on my Facebook and Twitter pages. Everyone has been saying its great because it is just Obi-Wan. I tell myself to take that as a complement. I naturally want to be matching and give the actors the respect they are due. But it is pretty amazing to think that I have voiced more of Obi-Wan than any other actor now. It is fun to think that this character is a part of me now. I really am so thankful to George Lucas and Dave Filoni for giving me the ability to do that. Funny enough, I recently had a cold as well and I was in the studio and was having trouble getting some of the lines out. I have always said that Obi-Wan has had those two different kinds of voice that Ewan McGregor gave him. [Speaking softly as Obi-Wan] “You seem a little on edge, relax be patient Anakin”, he has that kind of calm and then he has [screaming as Obi-Wan] “You are the chosen one!!”, which has a little more knife to it to his voice. There are always those two different levels of Obi-Wan that you want to do and hit them at the right time. There is some pressure in that. The most fun is coming up with different voices. I try and challenge myself, so the people watching the show don’t go “Oh that is just James Arnold Taylor doing that voice there”. I love it when there is an episode where you do not know that it was actually me as another character and Obi-Wan having a conversation. I also voice Plo Koon, so when two of my voices are talking to each other it is cool. Plo has a life of it own and a fan base of its own as well. It is fun to challenge myself in that way.

MG: You also play various other roles for “Clone Wars”, do you ever find it difficult to distinguish between roles?
JAT: What I do is that I have my scripts and I will distinguish each of the lines. Obi-Wan gets a circle around all of the lines. Plo Koon gets a line on the left and the right and a scribble on the top and bottom. If there is a third character I will do something else. I will be able to look at the script and if they are all talking to each other I can distinguish it. Since I was about four years old, I knew I wanted to do voice over in general. My brain works pretty well in switching back and forth. Every once in a while you can get confused on a character. I do a show called “Johnny Test” and I was just recently doing one which featured three characters I voice talking to each other. You had [Speaking as Johnny Test] “Johnny Test who is right here [speaking as Darth Vegan] and you have Darth Vegan who is almost like a Darth Vadar character and [speaking in British voice] and then I was doing a character more like this”. So I was switching back and forth between the three characters and I did get a little confused at one point. I think I went to Johnny when I was suppose to go to Darth Vegan or something. It happens everyone once in a while.

MG: In 2010 alone, you not only worked on “Clone Wars” but also “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”, “Johnny Test” and a few others, do you have any free time?
JAT: Yeah [voice of Obi-Wan] “I am always on the move” as Obi-Wan would say. I am very blessed to say I am always working. Between the animation work with the shows you mentioned, I am actually even working on a pilot for a Disney show that is going to be for the UK, but I do not think I can give too much info on it yet. Then you have the video games and promo work. I do a lot of regular promo work for the Fox network [in announcer voice] “Coming up next, it is a full hour of “Cops” or for SpikeTV “It’s a thousand ways to die on Spike”. I have got all those things, so I try and juggle them all throughout the day. Luckily I am able to do a lot of my work out of my home studio. It makes it easier. I like busy though, it keeps you moving. It also helps people realize that voiceover work is not just standing there talking and thinking it is easy. There is a lot of work to it, but it is very rewarding and so much fun.

MG: You voice the iconic character Emmett Brown in the recent “Back to the Future: Video Game”, how was stepping into that role?
JAT: Boy, what an honor. I got the audition from my agents and they said “James, come on this is the “Back to the Future” game, you are a shoe-in for this”. I have a stage show I am working on and you can see bits of it on my YouTube page. I do a live scene from “Back to the Future” playing and switching between both Doc and Marty. [speaking as Marty McFly] “Well wait a second Doc, you built a time machine out a a Dolorian…[speaking as Doc Brown] The way I see it Marty, if you are going to build a time machine out of a car, why not do it with some style!” I go back and forth to picture. I sent them that. Then I got in touch with Bob Gale, who is the writer of “Back to the Future” and is involved with the game and I said I really hope to be involved with this project. I had actually done some much of Michael J. Fox’s voice doubling in the past. The young man, AJ LoCascio, who had been doing Marty in the game is just brillant. He and I have been in touch and he said to me “I hope you don’t mind me stepping on your toes” but I told him he is just great and sounds so much like Michael J. Fox. For me it fun to be a character was not so known then since it was Emmett Brown, the young Doc Brown at the age of 17. So I was trying to figure out what would he sound like. It gave me the opportunity as a voice actor to take Christopher Lloyd’s voice, who is actually voicing Doc Brown in his older normal age, and take that try and figure out what would he sound like as a kid. We played around with it a lot. It is tricky, basically I had to blend some of Doc that you know and love from the films.  So he might sound a little older at times than a 17 year old might but Doc Brown is an old soul anyway. So you get [speaking in Doc Brown’s voice] “Dr. Emmett Brown here and you know when [speaking in Doc Brown’s voice at age 17] when he is a little younger he gets a little more crack and squeek in his voice every once in a while”. It has just been great fun getting to do that and we are still recording some of it too. The folks at Tall Tale Games have been great. It has just been such a fun project. I have been successfully managing to work my into every big film franchise that I can. From “Star Wars” to “Back to the Future” to “Jurassic Park” to “Transformers”, whatever I can get in there. It is really cool.

MG: What has been your favorite character to voice in your career to date?
JAT: Well Obi-Wan Kenobi has certainly become the one that I have grown the fondest for. I guess for so many reasons, one being seven years old and seeing “Star Wars” for the first time. I never dreamed at that time when the first film came out that I would be Obi-Wan Kenobi. Especially because Alec Guinness was playing him and he was this old guy. So I would have never guessed. I like what the character represents and that means a lot. I have been so blessed, I got to tell you Mike, to be all of these very famous characters.  I am still doing some commercials for Coco Pebbles as the voice of Fred Flinstone, and then also you got Tidus from the “Final Fantasy” game series. It is like choosing your favorite child, it is just really hard. Leonardo from “TMNT” is also a favorite. I am looking out the window in my studio and looking at all different action figures I have lined up and I am just like “Wow, I get to be all these different characters”. I do not know if I have a favorite but I certainly love voicing Obi-Wan and Johnny Test is also great. As a voice actor, every day or every hour is a different time and a different character and different person to be and that is what makes it so much fun. At times it is a thankless job to be an voice actor because if we do our job right nobody knows we exist. I can’t tell you how many times I am in a restaurant and the kids at the table next to me have Obi-Wan and “Clone Wars” shirts. I just think [speaking as Obi-Wan] “If they only knew” [laughs]. I just love whoever I am voicing at the time. I am just grateful to be getting that opportunity.

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Interview with Kelly Asbury

Kelly Asbury is the director and co-writer for Touchstone Picture’s “Gnomeo & Juliet”, which is a modern day take on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet…but with garden gnomes. Kelly has directed previously with “Shrek 2” and “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”. He has also worked with Disney on various films ranging from “Beauty and the Beast” to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” to “Toy Story”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Kelly about working on his latest film “Gnomeo & Juliet”.

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Mike Gencarelli: You are no stranger to animation, what drew you to “Gnomeo & Juliet”?
Kelly Asbury: Well, my producer Baker Bloodworth, who I have known since my days back on “Beauty and the Beast from Disney, gave me a call and said he had a project for me.  He said he thought it had a lot of potential if it was handled right and he thought I was the guy to handle it.  He told me about Elton John, who I am huge fan of.  He told me about the gnomes and I said “Ok, they haven’t done that yet”.  They when he said they were taking “Romeo and Juliet” and putting a twist on it with the gnomes, I thought “Well, that hasn’t been done either”.  I thought it could be a good challenge and thought it was worth a try. That is really what drew me to it.  From that I was given the opportunity to start with a clean slate and we started over and re-wrote the script.  We turned it into what I and my team thought was the better way to go.  We had fun with it.

MG: How did the red vs. the blue come into the story?
KA: Red vs. blue was always there.  I came up with idea that the blue garden would be owned by old lady Montague and the red garden was old man Capulet.  She has a blue themed garden and he has a red themed garden.  I have been asked if there was some political message and there is not.  Red and blue are the best opposite colors and it is common for gnomes to have either red or blue hats.

MG: How does working on “Gnomeo & Juliet” for you differ than your other projects?
KA: For me, it was great because I got to live in London for almost two years.  Then I got live in Toronto for almost two years. I got to meet a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures.  There were fewer people involved in the decision making process. I really felt supported by the people I was working with.  It was done outside of the normal studio system.  It almost had one foot kind of in the independent film boat.  It was something I have never done before, so that was really the difference for me.

MG: The film is filled with celebrity talent voices, can you tell us about the casting of them?
KA: Yeah, the way that I like to cast…is to design the character first.  I would then keep that character in mind as casting director Gail Stevens and her group would send us voice samples.  But I wouldn’t let them tell me the name of the actors.  We didn’t cast for box office draw or marquee value.  We didn’t cast for star voices.  We tried to get voices that were appropriate to the character.  That is how we cast everyone of them.  In some cases we knew the character of Terrafirminator was made for Hulk Hogan.  Some others we wrote the part of Dolly Gnome for Dolly Parton.  But besides them, the others were created by really listening to the voice and made sure it was the right voice for the character design.

MG: You also appear as a voice in the film as well?
KA: I do.  I play the little red goons and I also play the goon that gives the prologue.  It was really out of necessity.  We did what is called scratch dialogue, which is using local talent till we get the real actors.  I did the goons and everyone would laugh at them.  So I said “You can’t argue with a laugh”.  So we just used my voice and that was fine with me because I enjoyed doing it.

MG: Who came up with the idea to include the music from Elton John in the film?
KA: Well originally I wasn’t around for that.  The film had been in development for some years before I came in.  It was Elton John’s company that originally brought the project to Disney.  It was always pictured that some way Elton John’s music would be incorporated.  There wasn’t a clear vision at first for it, there was always a questions as to “How?” I decided to use the music like they did with Simon and Garfunkel in “The Graduate”.  We wanted to let the music and the score incorporate familiar songs but at the same time get you in the emotional life of the characters.  It helps the cue the audience into the emotions that they are seeing as well as feeling throughout the film.

MG: What do you have planned next?
KA: I am looking around.  I am thinking about all kinds of things.  I do not have a full decision yet.  I am getting married in May.  So, I am going to take the Spring off and let things gestate and by Summer I will know what is up next.

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Interview with Jonathan Sadowski

Jonathan Sadowski is the star of CBS’ new hit comedy “$#*! My Dad Says”. The show is definitely one of my favorite shows on TV and since the shows pilot it has only seems to better and better with each episode. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Jonathan about working on the show and what it is like to be playing William Shatner’s son.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got the role of Henry in “$#*! My Dad Says”?
Jonathan Sadowski: So back in February, I auditioned for the role. I was suppose to screen test for it but Larry Charles had this unscripted sitcom and he offered me a role. I ended up working with Larry for this pilot. That show ended up not being picked up and they wanted to recast the role in “$#*! My Dad Says”. So like two months went by and I will never forget it was a Friday, Max (Mutchnick) and David (Kohan) wanted to meet me on that Monday. So I went in on Monday…Tuesday I did a screen test for Warner Bros…Wednesday I did a screen test for CBS…and Thursday I got the call that I got the role.

MG: What did you originally think about the show since it was based on a Twitter feed?
JS: I never had a Twitter account or anything like that. But I had a lot of friends who were big fans of that Twitter feed. Everyone once in a while, they would send me one and of course, I thought it was hysterical. I think it is something that everyone can relate to. Everyone has one of those family members that says things that are a little off color or make you just want to bury you head in a hole. I think it is cool that network television was the first to explore that.

MG: How has it been having Willam Shatner play your dad in the show?
JS: He is awesome. He is a lovely man. We talk about life and love. We have breakfast together. I even watched the Super Bowl at his house and like Monday Night Football. He is just fantastic. He is a totally pro. It is like winning the lottery being able to work with someone like that everyday. The guy is like a TV icon, he has been acting longer than I have been alive. It is just amazing. It is the best apprenticeship ever getting to follow around someone like that all day on set.

MG: Everyone on the show seems very close on the show, have you all formed good friendships?
JS: On Tuesday, we taped our season finale and everyone was bummed. Like really really bummed. At the end we were all sitting around and me, Nicole, Will and Bill all kind of gave each other a big hug. We were thinking who knows it could be the last day ever for our show. It was really emotional. So yes definitely.

MG: Do you think we will be seeing a season two?
JS: Look there is a lot of positive energy for the show and a lot of positive push behind us. But who knows what can happen between now and May.

MG: What has been your favorite episode to date?
JS: I would have to the pilot episode is the most memorable. Having my family in the audience for the first taping and knowing the show was going to be on the air. It was cool for me because I was the new one in the show and the show was about that too. I was the new one coming up to this family I haven’t seen in years. So it was very true in that sense, plus I got to slow dance with William Shatner. In those moments when we were shooting those scenes, I keep thinking “ask me a year ago about what I would be doing”. I never taught I thought when I moved to LA, I would be slow dancing and playing William Shatner’s son in a show for CBS. I would have never guessed that.

Click here to purchase “Shit My Dad Says”

Interview with Michael-Leon Wooley

Michael-Leon Wooley is know best for his role as Louis the Alligator from Disney’s “The Princess and The Frog”.  Michael-Leon is also known for his various commercial voice-overs ranging from Radio Shack to Subway and Broadway roles and other stage productions.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Michael-Leon on what it was like playing Louis and found out what else he is up to.

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Mike Gencarelli: Your character Louis steals the show in “The Princess and the Frog”, tell us about playing him?
Michael-Leon Wooley: It took a long time to find out who Louis was going to be. At first he was like a germaphobe, but he lived in the swamp. He was also really Cajun like the firefly, Ray. But they axed that idea, probably because my Cajun accent isn’t as good as Jim Cummings. Essentially, he is crazy, fun and just a big kid. He is the most fun I have ever had in a recording studio ever! I loved playing Louis the Alligator.

MG: Do you actually play the trumpet?
MLW: I am not playing it in the movie. It is a guy named Terence Blanchard. He is a great trumpet player from New Orleans. I am doing all the singing though.

MG: How did you get involved with the movie?
MLW: Well it started really crazy. I got a phone call like a few years ago from Jen Rudin, who was casting for Disney. She used to cast for theatre on Broadway. She called me and asked me to record myself saying a few lines and singing a song. I got a couple of friends and we setup a camera, one of them played the piano and I sang a song. I’ll never forget the song, it was “Frim Fram Sauce” a very funny Nat King Cole song. I also had about four or five pages of dialogue they sent me to read. So I recorded it and sent it off.  I didn’t hear anything for months. Shortly after rumors were spreading online that John Goodman was voicing Louis the Alligator. So I said “I guess that’s over” but obviously the rumors were wrong. John Goodman was playing ‘Big Daddy’ La Bouff. In September that year, I got the call from Disney saying they wanted to fly me out for some tests. After a couple of tests, I got the call saying that I am Louis the Alligator. That was a pretty good day…I must say. As a voice over guy, I do voice overs for a living. But to be a Disney character, that is like the brass ring. It doesn’t get better.

MG: How was it working with Disney?
MLW: I have been at recording studios a lot. But I feel that after doing Louis at Disney’s original sound stage and working with Doc (Kane), Ron and John and the rest of the creative team, it was kind of like graduate school for voice over. I walked away from there with a lot of tools I did not have before. Not a bad thing to say. It was great, such a great experience.

MG: Did you get to work with the other cast in the recording studio?
MLW: It was all done separately. Usually we have people standing in though reading the lines. Expect for the songs, Anika (Noni Rose), Bruno (Campos) and myself were all together in the studio for that. It was a lot of fun.

MG: Any cool stories from the recording studio?
MLW: There was a scene that was cut where Louis gets caught in the wheel of a riverboat. I had to make the sounds of him going up and down and through the water, the whole time while screaming. I had like two huge bottles of water and I was like pouring them all over myself, while screaming. There was water all over the studio and the microphone but it was the best working day of my life.

MG: Did you have any footage to refer to during your sessions?
MLW: There was some footage. But a few months before the film came out I had to do some ADR in which I had to match some changes to the already finished product. It was me in a big studio watching Louis and matching the lines. The first time they put me up for testing it was so exciting! I get there and they have like a wall of like twenty images of alligators and showing me the process through to the final design for Louis. By far the best moment was my second session in the studio though. Before we started, Ron and Jon asked me if I wanted to see some footage of me doing Louis to some pencil sketches. I was like [screaming] “YES!!”. It was only about seven seconds. Eric Golberg, Louis’ animator, he had drawn this using pencils during my session. For me it was life changing. At that moment there, I realized I was the voice of a Disney character.

MG: You also lend your voice to the popular TV series “Ugly Americans”, do you enjoy working on that show?
MLW: Yeah, that is a lot of fun. Right now we are in the middle of recording our second season. I just recorded a draft of a script over the weekend. When I get sent scripts for this show, I never know what to expect. It is usually completing out there. If you have ever seen the ‘man-birds’ episode, even though I recorded it, when I watched it I was slack-jawed and laughing hysterically. It is cutting edge and exciting.

MG: How did you become involved with “Ugly Americans”?
MLW: I was working on a project with Matt (Stone) and Trey (Parker) from “South Park”. I did a reading for their Broadway show, “The Book of Mormon”. During that somebody from Comedy Central saw me at the reading and that was that. So I actually have to thank Matt and Trey for that.

MG: Do you prefer working on the stage or on film?
MLW: Like everyone else I am trying to work less and make more money [laughs]. I think that is the goal in life. I think I would like to focus on film right now. I love Broadway and I have done like five or six shows. But Broadway is really hard. It is six shows a week and the roles are usually very demanding. It takes a toll on the body to be screaming and dancing eight times a week for up to a year or how ever long it goes for. But it is great and exciting much more than TV or film. As it looks now, I will probably be back on Broadway come this Fall. So you never know.

MG: What is next for you? Any upcoming features or stage productions?
MLW: I just finished on a movie called “Premium Rush”, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and it comes out January 2012. It is an adventure movie. Besides that I got “Ugly Americans”. I am also being called in to do some writing for the show “Jump for Joy” which will be opening in the City Center this November. I am constantly on call for various advertising agencies, ranging from Radio Shack to Subway. So it is all good.

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Interview with John Garvin

John Garvin has been acting on stage in the UK for over 10 years. He is currently co-starring in the upcoming James Cameron film “Sanctum” a film in which he also helped write the script for. Movie Mikes had the chance to talk with John about his first onscreen film experience and getting to work with James Cameron.

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Adam Lawton: How did you become involved with “Sanctum?”
John Garvin: I first became involved with “Sanctum” around 2005. I was invited to Los Angeles by James Cameron and Andrew White. They had an idea for and underwater survival drama and were looking for a screen writer. They had read one of my previous screenplays and they were looking for a writer with a diving sensibility and also someone who could write action sequences. I was lucky enough to have a sample script that covered all of those points. After what should have been only a twenty minute meeting with Andrew and Jim turned into an eight hour meeting.  We talked about diving and other things I was offered to come on board.

AL: Can you tell us a little bit about the story line of “Sanctum”
JG: “Sanctum” is predominately a father and son story. The father character is one of the world’s leading cave explorers and in hopes of instilling a sense of discipline into his son he invites him along on this expedition. A freak storm comes and floods the cave basically trapping the crew inside. It’s really a rite of passage story based around the son character.

AL: Besides being a writer on the film you also have a role in it as well?
JG: Yes that is correct.  The only way to get acting work in Australia is to write your own part! (Laughs) I had been acting in the UK for about 10 years in various stage productions however I had never done a film role. During the early stages of developing the script James and Andrew told me to be sure I wrote myself a part. I created the Jim Sergeant character who is a bossy British dive instructor that basically barks orders at everyone. It was fantastic to be involved in that process and to get to act again.

AL: Can you tell us what it was like working with James Cameron?
JG: James was extremely supportive throughout the entire writing process. I really learned a lot from him. It was a little nerve racking upon our first meeting but after a little bit I realized that James is first and for most a very enthusiastic diver who makes these huge movies to fund his diving passion. I found that when we were talking it was more like two divers talking rather than a screenwriter talking to a director. James was always supportive and it was an incredible opportunity to get to work with him on this project.

AL: Did James and Andrews diving back grounds make it easier or harder when coordinating the dives in the film?
JG: They both have a huge amount of experience working with water and films with underwater themes. This I think helped tremendously in preparing the crew. When water is added to any type of film project you can almost guarantee that things are going to take longer and that safety is going to be crucial. What we found with “Sanctum” was that we were breaking a whole new realm of diving. We were doing stuff that had never been done. A lot of the diving equipment we used is real pieces of equipment that only experienced divers would get to use. We didn’t use a lot of props or anything. We then combined lights, cameras, and other various gear in this dark overhead environment. A lot of the very difficult scenes were shot with the actual actors. We put the actors through some extremely hardcore underwater stunts, they should all be very proud of themselves.

AL: Can you tell us what it was like behind the scenes?
JG: Everything went really smoothly. The set was run similar to a dive expedition. Each scene was very well thought out and would be rehearsed in depth prior to shooting. On the last day of shooting Richard Roxburgh who plays the Frank character had a very bad cold. This makes diving very tough even for an experienced diver. We had just that one day left to get everything filmed so Richard even though he was in pain stuck with it and we were able to get the shots.

AL: What type of work are you looking to do next? Acting or Writing?
JG: Hopefully a bit of both. A have a number of screenplays that I have been working on that I hope will move into the next stage of development. Getting to see “Sanctum” completed was really great after being involved with it for so long.

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