Actor Ian Shaw talks about portraying his father in his new “Jaws”-inspired play.

As many of you readers know, both myself and Mike Gencarelli (your favorite “Mikes”) appear in the brilliant “Jaws” documentary entitled “The Shark is Still Working.”  The film tells the story of the making and the impact of the 1975 blockbuster.  But there are stories still to be told.  Ian Shaw, whose father Robert portrayed Quint in “Jaws,” has written a play, based on stories his father told him about the production, entitled “The Shark is Broken.”

Like his parents (his mother was the brilliant actress Mary Ure), Shaw is an accomplished actor with many film and television credits to his name.  In what I call a stroke of irony, Ian portrayed Colonel Paul Tibbets, the pilot who dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan in the television film “Hiroshima.”  “Jaws” fans will remember that Quint was a sailor on board the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the ship that carried the bomb to the island of Tinian, where Tibbets began his mission.  

Mr. Shaw took some time out recently to speak with Media Mikes about his latest project.

Mike Smith:  What can you tell us about “The Shark is Broken?”

Ian Shaw:  It’s 1974. Martha’s Vineyard. Three iconic actors are confined together during the tortuous filming of what will one day be regarded as the greatest blockbuster movie of all time  Forced into close proximity by studio politics, endless delays and foul weather, the three must deal with violent outbursts, squabbles, rampant egos, petty rivalries and the fact that the mechanical shark keeps breaking down.  This causes their insecurities to run riot. Is this film going to ruin their careers? Who is going to want to see a film about sharks with hardly any shark in it? And who is the star of the movie anyway? 

MS:  What inspired you to take on this project?

IS:  Like so many people, I’ve always loved the film, except of course I have the personal connection of being Robert Shaw’s son.  The film is a rare combination of elements combining to maximum effect: the performances, the music, the design, the writing, the direction, the cinematography and editing all combine to create a fantastic amount of tension and emotional reaction from the audience.  That’s really hard to do. When I was a little older, I read Carl Gottlieb’s spellbinding account of how they managed to achieve it, The Jaws Log.  What particularly fascinated me were the problems they had with “Bruce”, the nickname for the shark, named after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer.  Then there’s the sheer audaciousness of filming at sea, the relationships with the locals, and the tensions between my father and Richard Dreyfuss.  Both of whom I admire hugely, I might add.

Ian Shaw sneaks a peek at “Bruce” while visiting his father on the set of “Jaws” in 1974. (Photo used with the kind permission of Ian Shaw)

MS:  You started your professional acting career in your mid-20s.  Was there any reticence on your part to pursue the profession, being th son of two very distinguished actors?

IS:  No.  I had a wonderful drama teacher at my school, Michael Walsh.  From the age of eight, I was performing in school plays, and I fell in love with the process.  And I think if your parents are actors, you think it’s a perfectly normal thing to do. Later on I discovered how hard it was for other actors from different backgrounds to make the leap.  I just made a promise to myself one day that I would pursue the path of an actor. I can remember the exact moment, as if it was yesterday. I was standing outside the school gym, where we used to put on plays. Even though I was very confident, probably with the arrogance of youth, I told myself it might take a long time to become successful! So there was never any question about what I would do. You can’t break a promise to an eight year old!  

Your older brother, Colin, portrayed your father’s character as a young boy in “The Deep.”  You bear a striking resemblance to your father.  Would you consider portraying him in a project?

IS:  Well, here we go – I’m playing him in The Shark Is Broken.  Wish me luck…

MS:  What else are you working on?

IS:  I’m also performing with the actors Duncan Henderson and David Mounfield in our adaptation of three Damon Runyon stories – the show is called Broadway Stories, and it will alternate nightly with The Shark Is Broken at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival, Venue – Assembly Festival, George Square.  Damon Runyon is best known for being the source material for the musical “Guys and Dolls.”  His short stories, which centered around the world of New York’s Broadway, took in what might be seen as the seedier side of life; a place of gamblers, molls, hustlers, dames and gangsters. With an utterly distinctive vernacular he described this hard, and often illicit world, but without the usual judgement or dismissal.   The first story is about a woman who murders her husbands for the life insurance.  The second is a study of the relationship between a half blind cat and a mobster holed out in a derelict hideout. The last is a comedy about an eating contest. 

NOTE:  Readers interested in helping get THE SHARK IS BROKEN to the sage can click HERE

Information about the upcoming performances of THE SHARK IS BROKEN and BROADWAY STORIES will soon be available HEREh

DVD Review “Scott Ian: Speaking/Swearing Words in Glasgow”

“Scott Ian: Speaking/Swearing Words in Glasgow”
Number of discs: 1
Label: Megaforce Records
Rated: Unrated

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In 2013 Heavy Metal musician, author and television personality Scott Ian made his way over to Europe to perform his first run of speaking shows detailing his 30+ years in the music business. “Scott Ian: Speaking/Swearing Words In Glasgow” is the full length visual presentation of Scott’s show in Glasgow, Scotland which was made possible by fans from around the world donating money to the project through the PledgeMusic campaign.

Even if you are not a fan of Anthrax or heavy metal music in general there is plenty of humor in this release from Scott Ian. Shot live while performing his first ever run of speaking shows Scott shares some of his most wild stories from his career as the guitarist for one of the founding bands of thrash metal, Anthrax. From the tale of drinking with legendary Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister to his chance meeting with director Steven Spielberg, Scott’s dialogue will have you laughing from the word go. Over the course of the DVD Scott takes the viewer on a roller coaster that is his life. Through ups and downs Scott pulls no punches and is steadfast in his approach. You don’t have to be a heavy metal music fan to enjoy these stories!

To more to Scott’s witty banter are a handful of art slides that correspond with each of the stories told. This was a great addition as just seeing a cartoon version of 80’s era Scott with long hair was enough for me. Add in similar cartoon versions of Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna, heavy metal icon Johnny Z and of course the previously mentioned Lemmy and these entertaining slides act as the icing on the cake for this release. If you were fortunate to catch this show or one of the other European/U.S. shows this DVD is a must have for your collection. If you weren’t able to make it out to the live show but wanted to then you already know what you need to do. Buy this DVD!

 

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Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox & Anthony C. Ferrante talk about “Sharknado 2: The Second One”

Who knew that a little film like “Sharknado” would grab global attention when it aired on Syfy last summer. Well, it’s summer time ago and we have the premiere of “Sharknado 2: The Second One” on Wednesday, July 30 at 9:00 pm on Syfy. Enough said. We were lucky enough to get a chance to chat with the films stars, Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox and director Anthony C. Ferrante to chat about the sequel and what we can expect.

When you went in to do the first Sharknado movie did you have any idea it was going to become this massive pop culture event?
Tara Reid: I mean we definitely didn’t know it was going to become what happened. It was definitely shocking for all of us. We had no clue signing on to the movie that this would be this phenomenon. So you know, it was great and kind of shocking experience. And it turned into something wonderful. Now to be a part of the franchise has been incredible. But yes, we definitely, we didn’t know – we got real lucky.
Anthony C. Ferrante: It’s hard with these things. You never – you know, you just try to make the best project possible and, you know, what happened on this thing – you know, it’s lightening in a bottle. We didn’t tell people to show up and make it a Twitter phenomenon. It just happened. And that’s kind of cool. You very rarely get those opportunities like that where people just want to embrace you just because you’re there. And that was kind of – it was kind of special. And helped because now we got to make a second movie and we got to make a bigger and better movie after that. So it’s fun.

How did you amp things up for the sequel?
ACF: I think the key with the second movie is we want them to – we wanted to kind of amp up what we did – we already did a lot in the first movie for the budget and the schedule. I mean that’s the – I think one of the reasons why it stood out just because we were pushing the budget and the schedule the maximum. And so we pretty much had the same kind of schedule in this one and we were trying to do twice as much as pushing as we did on the first one. So it – it’s a lot of heavy lifting to kind of make these things look fantastic and don’t have a – you know, we don’t have a $200 million budget to pull it off. But we have a lot of the imagination from our writers under Levin, from our cast and from our crew and producers and Syfy to let us play in this playground. One of the best things that Syfy said – there were actually two great things they said when we were developing. One, they started saying, well, we’re set it in summer but any weird weather when you’re shooting in February make it part of the story, which liberated us. So we didn’t have to go, we have to hide the snow. And that really adds to the look and feel of the movie. The second thing is – is that, they said we want you to shoot this movie in New York, shoot it in New York. We don’t want you to go to Canada. We don’t want you shoot in the back lots in LA. We want to shoot in New York. And I think that – that makes this movie look gargantuan and it feels authentic. And I think that’s what makes this one really special because we’re right there in the thick of New York.
TR: I think New York City has its own personality itself. So adding the personality of New York into this film really added a magical element into the film.

Ian/Tara, When you have a movie that is special like Sharknado was, sometimes actors will be reluctant to do a sequel. Did you guys have any second thoughts or were you on board from the get go?
Ian Ziering: I was on board right from the get go. You know, what’s so nice about Sharknado is that it really is not competing with itself and the bar that it set initially is not – you know, one of – you know, that’s unattainable. This was a low budget independent film, you know, a very campy nature.
So really the only way to screw it up would be to change it. And the brilliance of Sharknado 2 is the fact that it’s more of the same. It’s a similar formula but it’s a different experience, similar situation in a new environment. And if people liked one they’re going to love two.
TR: I agree with Ian exactly. He couldn’t have said it better. When I read the first one and went out to dinner that night with my friends, I told them I thought the script was hilarious. I was – yes, sharks are flying in Beverly Hills and maiming people and jumping out of pools. And my friends are laughing so hard. They’re like, are you kidding me? This is amazing, you’ll have to do this. So it’s so funny, you have to do it. So the next day I called my agent and I’m like, all right, let’s do it. And never knowing it would become the phenomenon it did but, you know, it worked. You know, people really enjoyed it. And then we learned from the first one and I think made it even better.

The film has a lot of humor in it. Do you sort of play it serious or take a laugh with it?
Vivica A. Fox: I definitely played my character serious and then I think, like, in the moments and what were fighting against and the elements, then the comedy ensued. So I took it very serious that a Sharknado was coming and we were there to stop it.
TR: Yes, I mean I think we all had to take, you know – even though the situation seems so crazy. But you had to play it serious because if you didn’t – if we were playing it laughing the whole time then the storyline wouldn’t even make sense. It’s by taking it serious in such an absurd crazy environment and that’s where the jokes come in, that’s where it gets funny. So I think you really do have to commit to your character, you know, and also know what you’re playing and being in that situation that you’re in and playing it serious then there comes the humor. So I think that’s really what a lot of people did.
ACF: And I think one of the other tricks with this movie and there’s a lot of horror films that will be just purposely campy and over the top but, I think the key actually to this whole franchise is having everybody playing it straight. I mean Ian has some very funny moments in the movie and lines but they’re character driven, they’re reactionary. The only people that are allowed to be funny are your comic relief characters, which are like, Judah Friedland. But even then they ground it. It’s not, ‘I’m making a joke.’ That was one of the things when we’d get new people coming in for cameos. A couple times they would come in and they’d be over the top when we were rehearsing. And we’d be like, no, no, no, it has to be played straight. You can be as funny as you want but you have to be in character and take the situation seriously. And I think that’s part of the charm. I mean Ian, you kind of agree, right, with…
IZ: Absolutely, even though the situations are absurd, you know, in the reality of the imaginary circumstances if you will, you know, you say and do things that – you know, are appropriate for the actions or the scenario. But as a spectator, as an observer, you realize how funny they are within that situation. But when you’re dealing with it, you know, you have to act naturally in imaginary circumstances. But as a spectator you realize that, you know, you get to enjoy the fun of it because you’re a witness. You’re not there experiencing it. So in that dichotomy, that’s where really the joy of the movie exists because you have to suspend this believe to buy into what you’re doing but yet you still have you foot in the real world so it gives you perspective of how absurd this movie really is.
ACF:  I think a perfect example of what Ian did in the first movie when he chainsawed his way out of the shark there’s two ways that could have went. You could have went the Jim Carey route where it’s like, I’m laughing it up. Or you do what he did which was literally committing that he just was inside of a shark and that inherently makes it funnier because it’s so earnest that it’s so in the moment. I think that’s one of the charms about why people remember that sequence because – you know, Ian – it was the coldest day of the year in LA, which is hard to believe that we had a cold day. And a lot of – we dumped, like, 20 gallons of water on him. He’s freezing to death. He did. It was great. It was awesome.

What was the vibe on the set like the second time around?
TR: The vibe on the set was great. I mean we got lucky, everyone truly got along in the movie and had a great time with each other. And I think that shows.
VAF: The only element that was kind of crazy was just that it was really, really cold and there were sometimes you would be doing the scene and – boy, I just could not – getting out the dialog could be a little tough. But we would just go warm up and then go back at it again.

Did you all feel a responsibility to a fan base that didn’t exist the first time around?
VAF: Absolutely, yes. I mean when I heard about the success of the movie – 5,000 tweets a minute – I mean the first time, I was like, wow, okay, people are really, really loving this. And they’re going to be looking forward to the second one. So we wanted to deliver and make it bigger and better.
IZ: Yes, you know, in making Sharknado 2 there was a certain – there was a greater amount of ease about it because where I didn’t have the experience of what was possible, you know, after seeing what they were able to accomplish – what the visual effects artists were able to accomplish, what Anthony was able to do with the script, you know, going into Sharknado 2 I had a higher level of trust. So it was a bit more framing and enabled me to not have to worry about – gosh, am I going to look ridiculous doing this? I would do it no matter what but I had a greater amount of trust knowing that, you know, Anthony is completely capable, knowing that the visual effects artists are going to make all my actions substantiated by whatever shark it is that I’m being threatened by to make what initially was an action into a very realistic reaction. So I had a lot more fun because I wasn’t ill at ease.

Lastly a fun question; what’s your favorite shark kill out of both of the movies?
IZ: Yes, I like the shark kills most where I anchor myself to the ground and allow the sharks to literally pass through the blade. You know, that’s something that I did in the first movie where it was completely unrehearsed and Anthony has us running through a parking lot. He says, okay, I need you to jump around and there’s going to be sharks flying out of the sky so leap and jump and dodge sharks flying. I didn’t know what to expect but knowing that they would probably paint in the appropriate reaction there’s one moment where I just got on one knee and I raised the chainsaw into the air and they hit it out of the park. They had a shark fly through that. In the second one, working with a chainsaw that is 45 pounds, you know, swinging a chainsaw through the air is a little bit more challenging. So when I stood on top of the fire truck knowing that there was a shark flying at me I thought this would be another great opportunity. But this time I did it backwards. And Anthony says, what the hell are you doing? It looks so phallic. But when we painted the shark in it’s such a beautiful kill. It really is.
ACF: It is a fantastic moment. Yes, we called if the phallic shot. Wow, it was great. They did – that was one of the – that’s probably one of my favorite kills in this movie that – the animator, (Dennis) who did it, just – he originally did one pass on that where it was just kind of similar to the first movie and he got obsessed with the anatomy of a shark. And he found a half shark, like a plastic one that showed the full anatomy. And he used that as his inspiration so you get that really clean thing. And he just made a beautiful moment out of that.

Concert Review: Scott Ian “Speaking Words”

“Speaking Words”
Scott Ian
Date: Thursday, March 6th 2014
Venue: The Lost Horizon, Syracuse, NY

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Anthrax/The Damned Things guitarist and co-founder Scott Ian brought his spoken word tour to the quaint Syracuse, NY venue known as the Lost Horizon on March 6th were he spoke about his 20 plus year career in the music business. Though this is Ian’s first run with this venture here in the States and his first appearance in Syracuse since 1987,he showed himself as the consummate professional and left no stone unturned.

Prior to the nights event whenever I heard the term “spoken word” I immediately thought of Henry Rollins and his outspoken and sometimes controversial speaking sessions where he shares with those in attendance his recent travel stories and thoughts on various subjects. However I now have a new name to throw in to the spoken word ring as Scott Ian proved he is more than just a heavy metal guitarist with an impressive goatee. For close to 3 hours Mr. Ian took the 100-150 people in attendance on journey dating back to Anthrax’s first trip to Europe which included a chance meeting with Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead that resulted in a rather colorful explanation of what happens when a non-drinker hangs out with Lemmy for one evening. Accompanied by several cartoon like slides that added to the comedic side of Ian’s tales and a number of personal photos Scott progressed through his life and some of its darker days before closing out the night with tales of his late friend, Pantera/Damage Plan guitarist Dime bag Darrel.

After Ian finished up his portion of the evening he opened up the floor to questions from the audience. This proved quite entertaining as one fan in attendance proclaimed that he was there to request a DNA test from the Anthrax guitarist after being told by his mother that he was the result of a one night stand between his mom and Ian in 1983. Scott quickly put this person in place stating a number of facts proving that this was definitely not the case. Other questions tackled during the Q and A session included questions about the status of a new Anthrax album, the release of his upcoming book and DVD along with stories of Scott’s encounter with former area resident and heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio.

It could have been very easy for Scott to get up on stage go through a pre-rehearsed routine and that would have been it however the evenings show was much more than that. Witty banter between Scott and the intimate crowd along with off the cuff stories and a lively question and answer session made the night unique and fun. You never knew where things would go next and it was something a bit different that a traditional stand up or spoken word performance. Another cool feature added to the night for those with a little extra drinking money was an after show meet and greet with Scott where he mingled with fans and continued to answer whatever questions people may have been too shy to answer during the open forum. The whole night was very relaxed and felt like you were hanging out with a bunch of friends telling war stories. My only hope is that Scott continues to do these types of shows and continues to evolve as a multi-tiered artist.

Scott Ian, Legendary Anthrax Guitarist, Officially Announces “Speaking Words” Tour

SCOTT IAN: Legendary ANTHRAX Guitarist, Author, and TV Personality Officially Announces “Speaking Words” Tour, North American Leg

New 60-Second Video Teaser Launched via VICE Noisey

 SCOTT IAN’s Hilarious One-Man Storytelling Experience Kicks Off in Chicago, IL on February 20, 2014

“Geek, author, guitarist, icon: when it comes to recounting the history of metal, SCOTT IAN is the man – catch him while you can.” – Alex Milas, Editor, Metal Hammer

At this point, it’s no surprise to anyone that legendary heavy metal musician, author, and television personality SCOTT IAN has a lot to say. After decades-worth of international touring with Anthrax, bumping elbows with illustrious (and sometimes ridiculous) characters all over the media spectrum, and undergoing general “you won’t believe this” experiences— SCOTT IAN certainly has some hilarious and surprisingly personal stories to share.

Following the resounding success of the UK leg of his “Speaking Words” tour, Scott is picking up the mic again for a 15-city North American leg, kicking off in Chicago, IL on February 20th.

An official “Speaking Words” tour teaser, featuring professional footage from his upcoming “Speaking Words: Live in Glasgow” DVD (pre-order coming soon), has been exclusively released via VICE Noisey today. Watch it here.

Don’t mistake this for your run-of-the-mill spoken word tour. In SCOTT IAN’s own words, “it ain’t no poetry reading” either. “Speaking Words” is an honest look at the insane life that Scott has led for the last 31 years, the people he’s met, and the events that coincide. During each show, Scott will take part in a special Q&A session with the audience.

SCOTT IAN adds, “England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Germany; I’ve been “Speaking Words” all over the world. My friends in the U.S. and Canada, you asked for it and now I finally get to bring it home! I’m looking forward to talking with ya, talking at ya and telling you some amazing tales of drunken debauchery and ridiculousness. No punches pulled, no swear word left unturned, and no question avoided in the Q&A. Let’s do this!”

A special opportunity to join a VIP meet & greet at each date is available now via SCOTT IAN’s webstore. This unique and limited event will allow you to spend time with Scott like never before. It’s a veritable post show hangout with a metal legend— one that’s sure to enrich your knowledge of not only all-things SCOTT IAN, but Anthrax and metal history in general. The VIP meet & greet also includes a special VIP laminate, banner, and other goodies. Learn more and get your passes here: http://bit.ly/1jXEPen

Currently Confirmed SCOTT IAN “Speaking Words” Dates:

2/20 – Chicago, IL @ Mayne Stage

2/21 – Westland, MI @ The Token Lounge

2/22 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre

2/24 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater

2/25 – Toronto, ON @ El Mocambo Club

2/26 – Kingston, ON @ The Mansion

2/27 – Ottowa, ON @ Ritual

3/01 – Baltimore, MD @ The Ramshead Live: Power Plant Live

3/02 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live

3/04 – Boston, MA @ Hard Rock Cafe

3/05 – New York, NY @ BB Kings

3/06 – Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon

3/07 – West Warwick, RI @ Manchester 65

3/08 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall

With a career spanning three decades, Scott is heralded as metal elite. As the co-founding member of AnthraxSCOTT IAN helped to create the thrash metal genre in the 1980’s. Anthrax have sold over 10 million records worldwide, have multiple Gold and Platinum awarded recordings, multiple Grammy nominations and have toured the world over on roughly 90+ tours since 1984. SCOTT IAN is recognized as a constant and unanimously recognizable figure in the worlds of music, poker, comics, movies and television. Currently, SCOTT IAN hosts Blood & Guts for the Nerdist Channel, and along with Anthrax, is writing songs for their presently untitled 11th studio album, due out in 2014.

For more information on SCOTT IAN, please visit these websites:

Official SCOTT IANwww.Scott-Ian.com

Official Anthraxwww.anthrax.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/scottian

Twitter: @Scott_Ian

Ian Doescher talks about his book “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars”

Ian Doescher has loved Shakespeare since eighth grade and was born 45 days after “Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope” was released. “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” is Ian’s first book and it is such a blast blend the two very different worlds together. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ian about the book and his love for “Star Wars”.

Mike Gencarelli: So why did you choose “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” as your first book?
Ian Doescher: That’s funny, I feel like I didn’t really choose it — it chose me! The idea came to me after three things converged: I watched the Star Wars trilogy with some good friends from high school, I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and I attended the Oregon Shakespeare Festival with my family. That was all within about two months. So I had Star Wars, Shakespeare and mash-ups on my mind, and the idea was formed out of that combination. Happily, this book mixes two of my passions, so it was really a joy to write.

MG: What was the biggest challenge to blend the Shakespearean aspect into the world of “Star Wars”?
ID:  The biggest challenge is how to make it somewhat believable that the action and futuristic technology of Star Wars could somehow exist on an Elizabethan stage. I handled the action by using a Chorus to explain what’s going on, as Shakespeare does in Henry V, but we still have this Shakespearean language mixed with things like blasters, lightsabers and the Death Star. You probably have to set aside any realistic expectations of a Shakespearean play when you read the book.

MG: How did the whole process take you from inception to release?
ID:  I was extremely lucky in this process, and I don’t take that for granted. After I had the idea, I looked up Quirk Books online (knowing they had published Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and other mash-ups) and found the email address for my editor. I emailed him out of the blue with my idea, and he said he would take a look at the manuscript if I actually wrote something. That was enough to prompt me to write the first act, which I sent to him, he enjoyed, and off we went. Quirk handled the contract with Lucasfilm, and the book was published just under a year after I had the initial idea. This is not the way publishing is supposed to happen — normally it takes much longer for a book to go from inception to release, formal proposals and agents are involved, and so on. Again, I recognize how lucky I am!

MG:  What is your favorite piece from the “Star Wars” universe that you were able to put into the book?
ID:  Han Solo has always been my favorite character, so probably putting his dialogue into iambic pentameter and writing some soliloquies for him was the most fun part of the book. He’s just such a stud — hopefully I made him a Shakespearean stud.

MG: Why is Han Solo your favorite “Star Wars” character?
ID: He was so full of swagger, and for a kind of dorky kid like me it was inspiring to watch someone that cool on the screen. It’s no wonder that Han Solo was the role that made Harrison Ford’s career.

MG:  Do you know if this has yet to make it into the hands of George Lucas?
ID: No, I haven’t heard. I’d like to believe he has read it!

MG:  Since the book is called “Verily, A New Hope”, can we expect a few sequels in cards?
ID:  It would be really fun to see the sequels happen, but at this point nothing is certain. There’s still so much richness to be explored in the trilogy — I have fun imagining what it would be like when Luke finds out Darth Vader is his father, or what Lando might soliloquize about. Maybe the biggest question: how would Yoda speak in a Shakespearean context? It would be fun to play around with (and ultimately answer) those questions.

MG:  What else do you have planned next?
ID:  I’m developing a children’s book with a friend of mine who is an illustrator, and I think there’s another Shakespearean adaptation in me (whether it’s the Star Wars sequels or something else).

 

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Ian Somerhalder talks about his work with RYOT.org

Ian Somerhalder is known best for his role of Damon Salvatore on The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries, which is gearing up for its fifth season this Fall. Besides acting Ian is very involved with various charities including The IS Foundation, which aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures. He also recently got involved on the advisory board of RYOT.org, which is a website that is working to get young people to be engaged with the news. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ian again about new role and what his fans can do to help.

Mike Gencarelli: Honestly Ian, I have to ask with being an actor, activist and co-founder of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation; what do you do to balance your time?
Ian Somerhalder: It’s easy. I am energized by all the love and enthusiasm and positive energy around me. I meet amazing people every day that blow my mind with their wisdom and ideas. I believe that I become part of everyone I meet and they all become part of me – so that’s a lot of energy churning around in one body! But I do love spending time with my family – they keep me grounded and there really is no greater source of comfort than being at home.

MG: How did you get involved on the advisory board of RYOT.org?
IS: I’ve been friends with co-founders Bryn and David for years. The idea for RYOT came out of dozens of late-night conversations about the helplessness we all felt when reading the news. We wanted to find a way to make news empowering rather than depressing, so we spent a year building the site and launched it in October. It’s been amazing to watch it grow and see how many people love it and use it every day.

MG: The philosophy behind RYOT.org is that there are many ways to make a difference. How important is it for you to “make a difference”?
IS: RYOT’s founding principle is that everyone can make a difference. RYOT means “peasant” in Hindi and part of our inspiration was the MLK Jr. quote “A riot is the language of the unheard.” The way we see it, you don’t have to be rich or famous or an aid worker on the ground in Haiti or Africa to make a difference. There are ten thousand ways you can make an impact every day in your own community, or in many cases, right from your computer or phone. I try and make a difference by working on environmental issues: Supporting products that are sustainable and energy-efficient, and organizations/legislation that are working to preserve the planet. Taking action to help others is so important to our own fulfillment in life. We actually have a really great, recent article about this on RYOT.org, click here.

MG: Why do you feel that it is important for young people to be engaged with the news?
IS: This is our future we’re talking about! The more engaged we are, the better we understand other cultures and points of view, and the better our understanding, the more compassionate we are to others’ stories and struggles. Compassion is a necessity in this world, not a luxury.

MG: Tell us what your fans can do to help out with RYOT.org and ISF?
IS: We are always looking for volunteers who want to join the ISF family. We have an AMAZING team right now who work tirelessly to keep our mission moving forward and to educate the world about what we do. You can head over to http://www.isfoundation.com/get-involved to get in touch with us. You can make a HUGE impact by setting RYOT.org as your homepage. RYOT gives a portion of all revenue to non-profits so just by getting your news from RYOT and sharing stories, you’re making a difference. Last but not least, make sure to follow RYOT and ISF on social media! (@ryotnews, facebook.com/ryotnews and @is_foundation, facebook.com/isfoundation)

Executive Director Kim Klingler talks about working with the Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Kim Klingler talks is the Executive Director with the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.  Over the the last 12 years, she has worked with a variety of for profits and non profits, in a variety of industries, focusing on strategic mission, start up, product, brand and team development. Kim took out some time to chat with Media Mikes to tell us how she got started with ISF and what they have planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you take on the role of Executive Director of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation?
Kim Klingler: I was watching Ian on the Larry King Gulf Oil Spill Telethon, and was struck with Ian’s authenticity.. and wanted to connect with him to see if there were potentials to collaborate with Well World, a project I was working on with Deepak Chopra. Ian and I spoke on the phone and clicked…we felt the same way about the current state of the planet, and had the same vibe about the types of solutions we wished to see… the rest as they say is history.

MG: Tell us about the foundation’s mission and goals?
KK: Our mission statement is: “The Ian Somerhalder Foundation aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.” The underlying energy of the foundation enables our mission and vision. There are more than 650 ISF community groups world wide. ISF is more than an organization, it’s a family of people who wish to see great change for all
living beings on this planet. We thrive off of the collaborative nature of everyone from volunteers to corporate bodies. We welcome out of the box thinkers and encourage people to share their innate talents with change makers creating opportunities for the best of many worlds to come together.

MG: How has it been working with Ian to accomplish these goals?
KK: If you can believe it, I’m not asked this question often. Which is truly crazy! I’ve seen Ian inspired, happy, very sad and even angry – I’ve got all the goods! I wish people would ask this question more, because it gives me an opportunity to share a little more about him and why I’m grateful to be working towards change with him.Ian is a very creative being, in too many forms to list. He’s also exceptionally intelligent and quite strategic. If he could he would try to solve every problem, because it’s in his genuine nature to heal. He’s very sensitive to the energy in a room, and can pick up things most people miss. He’s also a naturally grateful person which makes working with him a delight. He’s one of my more favourite human beings on this planet but keeping up with him is not an easy task! Im almost convinced the man has perfected teleporation and mastered sleep deprivation!

MG: How did ISF get involved with Best Friends Animal Society’s Strut Your Mutt?
KK: We are huge fans of Best Friends it was just natural to get involved withthis awesome project. We all work virtually, and I love the way I can work in tandem with people all over the world but there is something to be said about connecting in person. It renews that human connection all social animals crave, so having the opportunity to walk with and power up with people who care in person was to hard to resist!

MG: What can people do to get involved even if that can’t attend?
KK: If you can’t be in Lafayette, LA on September 22nd, you can still Strut Your Mutt by becoming a “virtual” member of the ISF Dog Pack. Every ISF Dog Pack member creates their own personal SYM page, sets there own fundraising goal and raises funds via sponsors like family and friends. For the virtual walkers, we are encouraging them to set aside a day and take their pet on a special walk. Then share their walk with their sponsors and others on the SYM Facebook page through pictures and a story.

MG: What does ISF have planned next after this event?
KK: We have a stack of to do’s a bunch of creative directions and a whole lot of work ahead of us! We are VERY excited about moving forward with the Animal Sancturary and it’s bully program- keep your eyes posted!

 

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Ian Somerhalder talks about his foundation and “The Vampire Diaries”

Ian Somerhalder is known best for his television roles on shows like “Lost” and “The Vampire Diaries”.  Ian also spends a lot of his time working with his foundation, Ian Somerhalder Foundation or ISF.  The foundation is participating Best Friends Animal Society’s annual Strut Your Mutt event at Park Sans Souci in Lafayette, Louisiana this year.  Media Mikes had a chance to ask Ian a few questions about his foundation and also about returning to season 4 of “The Vampire Diaries”.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what made your start your foundation, ISF, and how did you come up with the mission of promoting love and interconnectedness?
Ian Somerhalder: After witnessing the devastation of the Oil spill in the Gulf, I had find a way to utilize my voice to make a change. I was not alone. I witnessed the compassion from others, equally as grief stricken, unite in determination. People of all ages gathered together to make a difference. I soon realized the immediate need for a platform for these amazing people to come together to have their voices heard. This launched the IS Foundation. As we come together more and more from all ages and walks of life, we celebrate our shared passions as well as our differences. With an understanding of the ultimate interconnectedness of the universe, we emphasize the unique strengths in all the different voices that make up the ISF Family.

MG: Tell us about your participation in the Best Friends Animal Society’s annual Strut Your Mutt eventat Park Sans Souci in Lafayette, Louisiana?
IS: ISF has long been a fan and supporter of Best Friends Animal Society and their mission of “No More Homeless Pets”. As we developed the idea for our Animal Sanctuary, we were looking for opportunities to spread the word and raise funds for this ambitious project. The “Strut Your Mutt” event in my home state is a great opportunity to get out and do just that alongside some amazing people and animals. We hope you join us and participate in this fantastic event!

MG: How can people help that cannot attend the event?
IS: Understandably, not everyone will be able to attend. By spreading the work of ISF, especially our plans to build a sustainable animal sanctuary, you are still participating! We are tremendously grateful for donations from ISF family members who want to see this dream come true. If just 1,000 people donated $10 a month for a year, we could achieve our goal!

MG: How do find time to focus on your charity along with starring in the hit CW show “The Vampire Diaries”?
IS: Although it can appear overwhelming at times, it’s necessary. We all lead busy lives, but to see the changes we want for this world we have to make time to stay active with our ideas and continue to collaborate. We can’t do it alone. I wouldn’t be able to accomplish nearly as much as I do without the incredible ISF family. Together our voices weave a tapestry that serves as support for our array of initiatives. ISF has an amazing Executive Director, Kim Klingler, who brings a tremendous amount of passion and knowledge to the table. We are also fortunate to have talented and driven volunteers who commit countless hours contributing their time on projects, content for the website, event planning and much more.

MG: How is filming going so far for the upcoming 4th season?
IS: Great! Coming back for a new season is always reminiscent of the first day of school. The cast and crew are incredibly close, so rekindling bonds and positive energy encompasses the set. And from what we’ve seen so far, this season is bound to be excellent. Things are going to be very interesting for Damon…so I hope you stay tuned to see…

MG: What do you have planned next for ISF and where can people find out more information?
IS: ISF is currently working on several projects and initiatives. We are planning our very own Vampire Diaries Convention to be hosted in Canada early next year. We are also working on a youth development conference to held next year as well. To see information about any of our current projects like the Animal Sanctuary, you can visit isfoundation.com and follow us on twitter and facebook.

Thomas Ian Nicholas talks about “American Reunion”

Thomas Ian Nicholas is currently appearing in the 4th film in the “American Pie” series, “American Reunion”. This film marks the complete return of the original cast from the first film. Thomas also is currently touring with his band, TNB. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Thomas again about “American Reunion” and also his music.

Mike Gencarelli: What was it like the first day when you got to set and the entire group was there?
Thomas Ian Nichols: Filming is always like a jumbled group of actors and it’s something you don’t have any control over. The first time that we got together was prior to shooting. We did some table readings and screen tests that everyone was at. When I first walked into the room it was a trip. On one hand I had thought I matured as I am married now and had a child on the way. As soon as I walked into that room I reverted back to my youth. We started talking and during the table read it felt like no time had passed at all. It was very surreal.

MG: Was there any particular highlights for you from filming?
TIN: Each film has been subsequently more fun to make. I think each time we know each other a little more and we have history together. The first film we were kids and I was just happy to have a job. The second film was a giant party, and the third film was just a big celebration. This film being 10 years later and also the first one to be shot on location was just nuts! All the other films were shot in Los Angeles so at the end of the day we would all just go home. When you are on location you are away from your friends and family. We spent a lot of time just hanging out.

MG: Can you tell us about how your character Kevin has been up to?
TIN: I had never really considered a reunion. Jon and Hayden I think chose wisely for Kevin. He is doing what we would expect him to be doing. He has gotten married and moved on from Vickie. He has kept in touch with everybody and is working as an architect. Kevin is also a good cook and there is a line in the film about him being Jim’s favorite house wife. Kevin acts as the ring leader to bring everyone back together again.

MG: What does this film bring new to the table?
TIN: I think what it brings new is also what it brings old. Jon and Hayden are really big fans of the original film and the franchise. They really sought out to capture the heart of the first movie. When I first saw the film I thought they achieved that and so much more. I kind of consider “American Reunion” to be the perfect sequel to the first movie.

MG: Can you tell us about your song on the soundtrack?
TIN: I have tried to pitch songs to be on all of the “American Pie” films. This time I recorded a song that I knew was going to be on the soundtrack already and pitched the idea to Jon and Hayden. I ended up playing the wrap party for the film which was something I had never done before. After hearing me they asked to include one of my songs on the album. They didn’t use the cover I did of “Laid” as they chose to go with the original James version. They ended up going with an original song of mine that is off my new album titled “My Generation”.

MG: Can you tell us about the “American Reunion” college tour?
TIN: During the month of February I traveled around to 20 different colleges playing concerts and promoting the movie. I wanted to make sure that the next generation was aware of the film so I came up with this idea to spread the word.

MG: What other projects do you have planned?
TIN: My new album will be coming out so I plan to be out supporting that. As far as films “The Chicago 8” where I play Abbie Hoffman should be coming out hopefully later this year. I also have a few other projects I am working on. I am always keeping busy.

Interview with Ian Petrella

I would venture a guess that many of you reading this just finished watching “A Christmas Story” at least once this week. For almost 30 years, actor Ian Petrella has worked hard to keep the film alive in the hearts of it’s many fans.

I had the great opportunity to meet Ian this past August when I visited the original “A Christmas Story” house in Cleveland, Ohio. I was amazed at how comfortable I felt inside…how everything seemed so familiar. While there were privileged to get to engage in a question and answer session with Ian, who played younger brother Randy Parker in the film. After being asked to extend his arms and comment that “I can’t put my arms down” (a request he gets multiple times a day) he spent the next half hour answering visitors questions.

I spoke again to Ian this week from his apartment in Cleveland, where he is conducting his Q & A sessions through the rest of the year.

Mike Smith: Good to talk to you again. I see you’re still doing Q & A’s at the house.
Ian Petrella: Yes I am. It’s great to be able to answer the fans questions. And to say “I can’t put my arms down” over and over and over again! (laughs)

MS: How did you end up with the role of Randy?
IP: I was a child actor. I started when I was three years old. You just go on audition after audition after audition. “A Christmas Story” was just like the other auditions. My agent called me up and said they were casting for a new holiday movie and they need to fill the role of the younger brother. “Go get ’em tiger!” And I basically had the right goofy personality they were looking for and I got the role.

MS: Belated happy birthday, by the way (Petrella turned 37 on December 17th).
IP: Thank you.

MS: Do you think you had some extra help in getting the role being a Christmas baby?
IP: Probably not (laughs)

MS: I saw a workshop production of “A Christmas Story: the Musical” here in Kansas City in 2009. It’s currently running to rave reviews in Chicago. I know Peter Billingsley (Ralphie in the film) has recently signed on as a producer. Have you seen it?
IP: Yes. I saw the one in Kansas City and then I saw the one they did last year in Seattle. That’s when Peter stepped on board as one of the producers. I got to see it in it’s second revamp but I have not seen it in it’s new version.

MS: You’re credited as appearing in Ken Russell’s “Crimes of Passion” but actually aren’t in the film. Can you share the story about this?
IP: It’s funny you mention that because it’s one of those movies that I was in but I WASN’T in. I have a credit. What happened was I was supposed to actually be in it….I had lines…but they didn’t know if they were going to shoot it the day I was on set. That footage was never used. But I still got credit in the movie. When I auditioned for the film I auditioned for Ken Russell and he wanted me for the part of the young boy in the film. But the producers wanted this other boy who was actually a friend of mine named Seth – I can’t remember his last name. And he ended up getting the part in the movie. And out of the kindness of Ken Russell’s heart he wrote some lines for me to give me something to do. That was kind of cool.

MS: Ken Russell recently passed away (Mr. Russell died on November 27 at the age of 84). Do you have any memories of working with him?
IP: My greatest memory of Ken Russell is that he invited me to his wedding. He got married on board the Queen Mary, which is docked in Long Beach, California. It was a huge cruise ship….very Edwardian, like the Titanic. It’s a cruise ship that no longer sails. People get married on it. I’ve seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” done on it. (NOTE: film fans will also recognize the Queen Mary as the ship used in 1972’s “The Poseidon Adventure. Today the film is often shown, “Rocky Horror” style, on board the ship). Another cool thing about Ken’s wedding is that Anthony Perkins (who starred in “Crimes of Passion”) was the minister that married Ken. He got ordained so he could marry Ken and his wife.

MS: That’s better then being in the movie.
IP: (laughs) That’s how I got to know Anthony Perkins. I met him at the wedding and he was just a super nice guy. Later on there was a new series that was supposed to come out called “Ghost Dad.” It was going to star Anthony Perkins as a ghost writer. They needed to find someone to play his creepy, oddball son and I auditioned for it. When I met Anthony for the audition he remembered me. And I could tell it was one of those good things….basically I was it. I got excited because I thought I was going to be in this series with Anthony Perkins. And about a week after the audition I met him at the Rose Bowl. I went up and said “hi” to him and he recognized me and said hello. I asked him what was going on with “Ghost Dad” and he said as soon as he heard something he’d let me know. And then shortly after that he passed away (Anthony Perkins died on September 12, 1992).

MS: Wow. Seth Wagerman, by the way, was the young man in “Crimes of Passion.” And I looked that up while we were talking, I didn’t know that off the top of my head.
IP: (laughs) Oh. I wonder what ever happened to him?

MS: According to IMDB, he was the young John Travolta in “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.” After “Crimes of Passion” he did a couple episodes of “The New Leave it To Beaver” and apparently never worked again!
IP: (laughs) Ah.

MS: You produced and appeared in the documentary “The Untold Christmas Story.” And now you’ve embarked on a project where you attend live screenings of “A Christmas Story” and provide audio commentary. I know you’re hoping the film will be released to theatres again in 2013 for it’s 30th anniversary. Talk about your new endeavor.
IP: It just started off as a quick idea…I thought it would be fun to do. To provide some funny comments while people watch the film. Normally I don’t make it a point to watch the film. I’ve been places where someone has put the film on and said, “I think it would be fun to watch the film with you.” And I thought, all right, let’s go for it. But when I watch it what it turns into is me talking about what went on on the set that day and making little jokes. And everybody always seemed to get a big kick out of it. They thought it was really cool to watch a movie with one of the actors and have him describe what happened in all of the scenes. The behind the scenes secrets and tidbits that went on. People enjoy that. Especially really die-hard movie goers. They love stuff like that. I thought it would be an interesting idea. So last year during the convention in Cleveland they let me try it. They played the movie and gave me a microphone and let me provide my own commentary. It went so well that I thought this is something that I think we could take on the road. I’ve done it again twice this year. Once in Pittsburgh and once in Columbus, Ohio. And the people really liked it. The commentary went the way of doing a bunch of one liners during the film. And that got a better response. But basically it’s just part of the campaign of trying to get the movie back in theatres so people can see it on the big screen. Because that’s what Bob wanted. (NOTE: Bob Clark, the director of “A Christmas Story,” and his son, Ariel, were killed by a drunk driver in a head on collision on April 4, 2007. The driver, an illegal alien with no drivers license, was sentenced to six years in prison and will be deported once his sentence is served. Bob Clark was 67, his son 22). Hopefully we can get the word out, these screenings will grow increasingly popular and will catch the attention of Warner Brothers.

MS: It would be great to see it on the big screen again at Christmas.
IP: A lot of people think of “A Christmas Story” as a holiday film. I know that Christmas time is when people expect to see it. But this movie has made it’s way into pop culture. As I look out the window at the “A Christmas Story” house I see dozens of people posing for pictures outside. They walk onto the porch and get their pictures taken with the leg lamp. This movie has obviously become a huge part of pop culture. So maybe with that in mind we won’t necessarily have to wait until Christmas time to do it.

MS: I agree, says the guy with the leg lamp sitting on his desk.
IP: (laughs) Exactly. That’s the thing. When you put your leg lamp up you leave it up all year. You don’t take it down after New Years. I want to let people know that you don’t have to wait for Christmas to love this movie. I should also mention a great contest that Warner Brothers is putting on. You just need to re-create on video one of the scenes from “A Christmas Story.” And if you’re one of the winners you receive a two-night stay at the official “A Christmas Story” house in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

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Interview with Ian Patrick Williams

Ian Patrick Williams started his career working on the film “Re-Animator”. From there he was thrust into the world of sci-fi/horror starring in films like “TerrorVision”, “Dolls”, “Bad Channels”, King of the Ants, and most recently “Growth”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Ian about his films and what he has planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you start your film career off?
Ian Patrick Williams: While working as a stage actor in Chicago, I did my first film for director Andy Davis called “Stony Island”.  I don’t think it was ever released, but Andy went on to direct a lot of major films including “The Fugitive”.  Then Stuart Gordon directed a play we co-authored called “Bleacher Bums” for PBS-TV for which we (the cast and co-authors) were given the Chicago Emmy award.  After moving to L.A. in 1980, I worked mostly in TV until doing “Re-Animator” with Stuart in ’83.

MG: Tell us about working on the film “Dolls”.  Can you recall your experience?
IPW: The best way to learn about “Dolls” is to listen to the commentary track that Carolyn, Stephen, Carrie and I did a few years ago.  I had been in Rome the year before shooting “Terror Vision” with Ted Nicholau so I already knew my way around the city.  We shot on a small studio built by Dino DiLaurentis just outside of Rome.  What most people don’t realize is that the entire house was actually a set built inside one of the sound stages!

MG: What was your biggest challenge working on the film?
IPW: I suppose the only challenge was that with such a small cast, there was very little time off  – we were all working pretty much every day.  Fortunately, I had spent so many years doing theater with Stuart and Carolyn that we had an automatic shorthand together and didn’t need very much rehearsal.

MG: You have worked a few times with Stuart Gordon on films like “Robot Jox” & “King of the Ants”.  Tell us about how you started that.
IPW: Stuart had started directing theater in Madison Wisconsin when he was in college; he then moved to Chicago and started the Organic Theater Company with Carolyn and then-unknown Chicago actors Joe Mantegna, Dennis Franz and Meshach Taylor.  He first hired me to do a production of “Rashomon” at an open air theater on the University of Chicago campus; a few months later he invited me to go on a European tour with the company.  We’ve worked together on and off ever since.

MG: You worked on an episode “Freddy‘s Nightmares”.  Tell us about that show.
IPW: It was a treat to work with both Tobe Hooper and Bob Englund.  Because it was the pilot episode, there was a fair amount of chaos as the network and producers were haggling over exactly how the show should look.  As a result, we frequently worked 14 hour days.  Because of union turn-around rules, we couldn’t start up again for another 12 hours.  So on day 1, we’d have a 6:00 AM call and get home after dark.  By the time the work week was over, we were getting home at dawn and called at 6:00 PM to work all night!  But it was worth it to be known as the guy who ‘killed’ Freddy Kruger.

MG: Tell us about playing the ‘evil villain’ in the recent film “Growth”.
IPW: I had done a table read for the director and producers playing a different character.  But by the time production began, they had done a re-write and that character was omitted.  The role of Mason was cast with an older actor; but for some reason, he had to drop out two days before his scenes were to be shot.  They made a frantic call to my agent asking if I could fly to Martha’s Vineyard and take over the role on a moment’s notice.  It took about an hour in the makeup chair every day making me look like I was 70 or 80 years old, depending on the scene.  I think the special effects are quite good for a low budget film, which should give confidence to all first time directors without a lot of money.

MG: Do you enjoy working more in television or in film?
IPW: The process is pretty much the same.  TV is usually a little faster because they have to shoot an hour long episodic in seven working days.  A bigger budgeted film can take months to shoot, which can actually become pretty boring.  I shot a small role in a “Spider-Man” parody called “Superhero: The Movie”, produced by the Weinstein brothers in 2008.  There were several days when I sat in my trailer for 10 hours, only to be told they weren’t going to get to me that day.  I’d much rather be on a lower budgeted film if it means I’m working all the time.

MG: Tell us about what you are working on upcoming.
IPW: I’ve acted in a few more low budget films: “Dire Wolf”, “Action Hero” and “Simon Says”, but I have no idea when they’ll be distributed.  I’ve recently gone back to my first love: theater.  In recent months, I’ve performed in the plays “Lucia Mad”, “Puzzlers” and “Judgement at Nuremburg”, all in the L.A. area.  As far as future film or TV roles, like all actors I’ll just have to wait and see.

 

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Interview with Ian Glaubinger

Ian Glaubinger is the man behind Doodles from My Noodle. He mixes his cartoons with pop culture. He has created some really fun and interesting pieces from various films, video games, etc and even specific characters, including “Willy Wonka”, “The Big Lebowski” and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ian about this art and what he calls his “Doodles from My Noodle”.

Mike Gencarelli: What is your process when you start working on a project aka doodle?
Ian Glaubinger: I would actually say my process has been pretty much the same for a long time now. First, I come up with the idea and as of late I like to have some kind of ‘catch’ or ‘gimmick’ rather than just drawing the character or subject matter ‘as is’. After I have my idea, it’s always the same. I start with traditional pencil and paper just like when I was drawing dinosaurs in kindergarten! However, my sketches typically aren’t a complete illustration but actually just separate elements that I combine digitally later on the computer. I draw most elements by hand but there are some that I draw directly on the computer. After I scan my image(s) I redraw (or for lack of a better word; trace) my pencil sketches in Adobe Illustrator. After I have redrawn everything I create all of the elements that I didn’t draw by hand such as text, background elements, etc. After all of this is done I start to move all of them around until I am satisfied with the layout. After the layout is set I then start to color everything and add any special effects like rough edges, patterns, etc. Oh and for anyone who cared to know, I am strictly a PC guy!

MG: What are some of your favorites films and cartoons?
IG: Favorite movies… oh boy. Too many to count but my all time favorite is definitely Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Some others are the Back to the Future trilogy, The Shawshank Redemption and anything Pixar except Cars. I love the old Looney Tunes and Hanna Barbera cartoons, the old Simpsons seasons, Mission Hill (all time favorite) and my current favorite one is a show called “Dan Vs.”.

MG: When you attend conventions, what are some of the requests you have received?
IG: I always get the typical Batman, Spiderman, Wolverine, etc. But sometimes I get more obscure ones like Steve Zissou from Life Aquatic, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Green Lantern wearing a NY Rangers jersey making the Stanley Cup from his ring and one time Johnny Depp playing a piano with a candelabra.

MG: Have you ever done any doodles for celebrities?
IG: My one claim to fame is I drew Captain Nemo (from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) for Scott Adsit from the show “30 Rock”.

MG: Which do you prefer digital or hand drawn?
IG: I will say, for me, you cannot have one without the other. Some days I prefer the look of a good hand drawn illustration, guidelines, imperfections and all. And some days I prefer the look of completed digital piece. So I really do not have a preference.

MG: What is your favorite doodle that you have done?
IG: Hmmm… that’s a tough one. As most artists will tell you, they almost can’t stand the look of any artwork that is old which I tend to agree with. So currently I have a couple of favorites until I don’t like them anymore. My current favorites are a Pee Wee Herman piece titled “Prehistoric Pee Wee” for an upcoming show at Gallery 1988 in Venice, CA and a Back to the Future piece from my “Part of This Complete Breakfast” series.

MG: What is the coolest commission project that you have received?
IG: That would actually have to be the piece mentioned above; the Back to the Future piece from my “Part of This Complete Breakfast” series. I did a set of 3 pieces for a show a while back called 3G where we had to create 3 unique pieces of art for Goonies, Ghostbusters and Gremlins. I created 3 pieces that all had fictional breakfast cereals on them and a gentleman bought the whole series and later commissioned me to do a 4th for his (and one of mine too) favorite movies, Back to the Future in the same style. I had a blast doing it and may end up doing more in the future.

MG: Can I beg you to do a “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “Jaws” doodle?
IG: I’ve had a hankering to do a “Jaws” piece for a while but the thought of “Fear and Loathing” never crossed my mind. Make me an offer I can’t refuse *wink wink*. There are so many characters and movies I have in my head that I want to do I just haven’t had the chance to start them yet.

Interview with Thomas Ian Nicholas

Thomas Ian Nicholas started his career with “Rookie of the Year” and Disney’s “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court”.  Shortly after he joined the cast of “American Pie” as Kevin Myers and co-stared in all three films.  Thomas recently released a new CD with his band, The Thomas Nicholas Band, on June 1st and they are currently on tour.  Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Thomas about his movie career so far as well as his band’s current tour.

Click here to purchase Thomas’ movies

Mike Gencarelli: My sisters and my favorite film growing up was “Rookie of the Year”, tell us about working on that film?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: That was my first feature film that got released in theaters so I was stoked. I believe there is still video of me somewhere when I got the news and I was jumping up and down for joy. It was a great time. We got to spend three months in Chicago. We shot on Wrigley’s Field. Just this year when we were playing shows in Chicago with my band, I went back and threw out the first pitch and sang the 7-inning stretch. So that was cool to return back there.

Mike Gencarelli: You worked on “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court”, with then little known Kate Winslet and Daniel Craig, How was it working on that film?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: It was cool. Kate had done “Heavenly Creatures” but that was pretty much the only film under her belt. She was 18 at the time. I was 14. She was cool. I am very excited for her success that she has achieved in her career. It is well-deserved. Daniel Craig was cool too. I spent a lot of time with both of them. When Daniel did James Bond, I was so stoked for him. I love seeing my friends succeed.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell how it was playing Kevin Myers for the “American Pie” Trilogy?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: At the time I was just happy to have a job. I never knew it would turn into a franchise film trilogy and DVD sequels to boot. It was good time and a great group of people. Working with the Weitz Brothers was amazing. I look back and I can’t believe it was over ten years ago. It is kind of crazy. I am grateful for the doors that it has opened for me, both in the acting and the music side. It has been an amazing blessing.

MG: You must have some crazy stories from the set of “American Pie” films?
TN: Probably in the last twelve years, I have told every crazy story. If you would have told me twelve years ago that I would be interviewing with you, I would have saved one crazy story for you. So let’s set a date for a future project I will make sure that I save you one [laughs].

MG: There is word there might be another installment, any chance you will return?
TN: I’ve heard the same things you heard. I was on my twitter page and someone posted an article that was linked to the LA Times. The article said that they hired writers to write the sequel. My reaction was basically “Oh really…Ok cool!”. So I have been following the press the same as everyone else. I think it would be fun if we all got back together. I look forward to it hopefully coming together.

MG: What has been your favorite film that you have worked on to date?
TN: That is a tough one to choose. There are two performances that are my favorite. One is recent and one is from ten years ago. I would like to include both of them. The most recent which is currently in theaters, called “Please Give” with Amanda Peet, Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt. I really believe that Nicole Holofcener directed one of the most honest performances out of my career to date. Hopefully I will continue with that kind of work going forward. The other project was “Rules of Attraction” by Roger Avery. That was the first time I felt that I really stepped outside of myself and became a character that was completely different. My own mother didn’t even recognize me for the first half of the scene I was in. She was like “Wait a second, is that you?”. That is a pretty cool complement.

MG: Tell us about your band and your new album?
TN: My band is called The Thomas Nicholas Band or better known as TNB. We just released our latest album, called ‘Heroes Are Human’ on June 1st 2010. We have been touring across half the country. We started on June 20th and went up through the Northwest into Chicago and down through the Southwest, which is where we are right now. We are playing 19 shows over 21 days, it is just a small little tour to celebrate and promote the release of the album.

MG: Do you have any upcoming films in the works?
TN: There are a few things. I play Abbie Hoffman in “The Chicago 8”, which I just recently finished. It will hopefully be out later this year or beginning of next year. It focuses on the famous trial of 1969. I also just finished filming a movie called “InSight” which stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Christopher Lloyd. It is a thriller and I play the main murder suspect.

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