Jason Mewes talks about films "Noobz" and "Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie"

Jason Mewes is known best for playing half of the comedic duo team Jay and Silent Bob with Kevin Smith. He has worked on with Kevin Smith on his films from “Clerks 1 & 2”, to “Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back”. Jay is starring in the new gaming film “Noobz” with Blake Freeman, Matt Shively, Moises Arias, Casper Van Dien and Zelda Williams. Jay and Kevin Smith also recently announced the new animated film “Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat movies, video games and what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Let’s talk about how you got involved with the project “Noobz”?
Jason Mewes: The director, Blake Freeman, said he was thinking about me when he wrote the character. When they were getting ready to go into production, he contacted me and sent me the script. I thought it was awesome and that was that man!

MG: This is a really fun role for you. What did you enjoy most the role?
JM: Awesome thanks man. I am really psyched about the movie and how it turned out. I will always love the Jay character. It is me playing me. It is working with Kevin (Smith) and we have been doing it for so many years now. But besides those things, I definitely have to say I really had a lot of fun on it and really felt strong about the whole concept. Hopefully people dig it as much as I have.

MG: Are you a gamer in general?
JM: Yeah man, I probably play a little too much. I go through phases. I get addicted to gaming. For a while I was addicted to “The Lord of the Rings: Battle from Middle Earth” on the PC. Back then, I was with my girlfriend (now wife) and we would make plans to go out but I would be caught up playing and completely space. So I stopped playing for a little bit. Then I started playing “Call of Duty” and “Halo” and that got me back into it. Now I try to keep it at a happy medium…but I still get yelled at by my wife [laughs].

MG: You are currently touring with Kevin Smith with “Jay & Silent Bob Get Old”; what do you enjoy most about this?
JM: I love doing this. For one it has been a big help to keep me sober. I talk about 20 years of working together with Kevin. 25 years of our friendships with all the ups and downs. I talk about things that are going on in my life. And talking about it helps because it reminds me that I don’t want to go back to the way I was. Not to mention, it helps because when I walk into a Starbucks and people tell me they watch the podcast and ask how many days that I am up to now being clean. I like that. No one wanted to hire me because they thought that I was messed up and now I am getting out there and talking about it. It is really great and helping me stay sober. Most people seem to respect that. Also we have been traveling all over for it, so that has been great as well. We went to Australia and I have been there before. I have never been to Scotland, Ireland, Vancouver and we went there with this show. We have just gone all over the place and it has been awesome.

MG: Let’s talk about your new cartoon movie “Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie”, what can we expect?
JM: We are hoping to have that done by April. This started as something I told Kevin about when I first got sober that I really wanted to try directing. So I went out and directed a music video and I would still love to direct a short film or small independent movie. But I told him I would also like to get into producing. He then told me that he had a script that was sitting on his shelf and he gave it to me thinking that I would go home and just toss it on my table. But I read it, started calling some animators and began figuring out how much it would cost. My wife and I got a sound stage together and put together a group of people and then showed Kevin the first ten minutes. He loved it and then started giving us a list of people that we needed to get. So that was how he became part of it and it is really coming together. So hopefully April, we will be able to start showing it to people.  We want to tour with it like Kevin did with “Red State”. So hopefully people are going to dig it.

MG: Also now with “Clerks III” on the horizon, did you ever think that while making “Clerks” almost 20 years ago you will still be playing this role today?
JM: No, definitely not man! Definitely not with “Clerks”, Jay and Silent Bob are not even on the poster. Kevin is on it but he is in normal clothes as the director not his character. It wasn’t really till “Mallrats” that people really started asking “Hey, who are these characters?” Even after “Mallrats”, “Chasing Amy” and even “Dogma”, I had no idea that too this day we would be having all these plans, including doing the cartoon film and more comics.

Jason Gann talks about season two of FX’s “Wilfred”

Jason Gann is the co-creator and star of FX’s hit comedy series “Wilfred”. The show begins its second season on Thursday June 28th, 2012. “Wilfred” was adapted from an Australian series, also created by Gann. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jason about his role in the show, how he feels this differs from the Australian series and also what we can expect this season.

Mike Gencarelli: If you had to explain “Wilfred” to a person that hasn’t watched season one, what would you say?
Jason Gann: I would say it is like Mr. Ed on crack-cocaine. It is a messed up story about a suicidal dude that sees his next door neighbor’s dog, as a talking man in a dog suit who smokes bong and terrorizes him, though at the same time aims to save his life.

MG: Do you need to see the first season in order to enjoy the second?
JG: No, I don’t think so. That is why we did the special preview episode with Robin Williams prior to our season two opener. We needed to tie up the loose ends from the season one finale. We also wanted to reintroduce the show to a new audience. With the season two premiere episode, it is a nice introduction to the show. It is always a challenge to match each episode for people to be able to join on mid-way through. I am very aware of that though while working in the writers room.  If I feel that something going to alienate our new audience then I will try and steer it back. It is challenging as well because there is an arc that is happening with Ryan and Wilfred’s journey. So hopefully it is funny enough and then people will go back and watch the first season and catch up. It’s almost like every episode needs to be self-contained in its own right yet.  Though we still wanted to entertain and give a little more to the fans of the show. We tried to always leave little Easter eggs throughout the episodes for big fans of the show.

MG: Creatively for you, what is your process with developing season two? Are you looking to recreate from the original Australian series or start fresh?
JG: I didn’t want to do the same show again with American accents. I was very trepidatious about even playing Wilfred. Originally, I wanted someone else to play him. It is really the brain child of my manager Jeff Kwatinetz, who solved the dilemma. I play the role again but it be a different type of show. We met with show-runners and David Zuckerman came back with this fresh take which focused on Ryan’s psychiatric issues. That is something that we never really addressed, mentioning it maybe only one of twice in the Australian version. In the American series, it is really more about Ryan but the stories are still driven by Wilfred. Now that the show is in its second season, the Australian series seems like a high school version of the show to me. David told me, when he pitched us, that he was a big fan of the original and didn’t want to remake it. He wanted to make a different gig with the characters he loved and so that they can stand each side-by-side proudly. I think we used like 4 or 5 jokes in the pilot that came from the Australian series to help us set it up. We also only did 16 episodes of the Australian show and already we have done 26 of the American show. So I am really proud of this series.

MG: How has it been working with Elijah Wood this season?
JG: Elijah and I have always had this great chemistry from the beginning. It is funny because we are very different individuals and do not have a lot in common as men. But when we come together and work with these characters something really special happens. It is a bond that feels like family, really. In season one, I was a lot more polite. In season two, [laughs] well we all have a lot more fun. I don’t know if its because we can relax since we have an audience that loves our show already but we have purpose now and this great confidence. Originally, we really didn’t know who the character of Ryan was. But Elijah brought some much depth to his role. During our final screen tests with Elijah, I got into costume as Wilfred to give him an idea of what it would be like. While I was standing behind him, due to our stature, David said to me that it looks like Wilfred was his bodyguard. That really inspired me to bring out more of this protector in Wilfred that didn’t exist in the Australian version. Where as now Wilfred is trying to help Ryan become a man and survive in the world and it gives it more purpose. We just have fun and I hope it shows.

MG: Tell us about wearing your dog suit? Any behind-the-scene stories?
JG: People ask me if it is hard. I always say that it is as hard as it looks. Sometimes when I realize it is hard, I go through this euphoria…like this crazy state. People are telling me to take the suit off that I must be hot and I am just like “No, let’s do another! Let’s do another!”. Probably some semi-masochistic part of me, as I am losing my mind. It is like the pain when you are at the gym, it hurts but feels good.

MG: You guys must have massive amounts of outtakes, you ever find it hard to keep it as serious as you do?
JG: Actually last year Elijah only broke once and I think it was on the last day of shooting.  This year on season two, I think he broke on like day two and a couple of dozen times after, as did I though [laughs]. There is one thing in particular that happens between Wilfred and Ryan in episode seven, which I can’t say unfortunately. I couldn’t do a take without laughing. I had to shoot it separately without him. I told them we could do that scene 100 times and I will laugh 100 times. That was pretty funny!

MG: What do you enjoy most about working on this show?
JG: When Wilfred was with Raffi (the toy Giraffe) in season one, he was massaging her neck, then bending the neck backwards in order to give a blow job [laughs]. When we came up with that in the writers room, I said “I think we can safely say that nothing like this has ever been on TV before.” When we have moments like that I get really excited…and luckily we have several this year.

MG: Robin Williams, Rob Riggle, Steven Weber and Allison Mack all guest starred in season two’s preview episode, who else can we expect from season two?
JG: Unlike last year, when we just had one guest star per episode, Robin Williams and Allison Mack will also come back for a few episodes. We also go into Ryan’s work environment for a while, so that is different. We also have returning guests from season one like Chris Klein and Mary Steenburgen back. It is really humbling to get people that one our show. Also it wasn’t our intention to make this season more dark, even though I think it is funnier.  But it does get a little dark and I look forward to seeing that as well. I hope everyone enjoys it.


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Jason Michael Paul talks about “Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” Tour

Jason Michael Paul is the producer of the new show “Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses”, which is currently on tour and heading to a town near you.  If you are a fan of Zelda, this is an event you will not want to miss.  Jason Michael is also known for his work with the show “Play: A Video Game Symphony”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jason Michael about the Zelda show and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us about bringing “Legend of Zelda” to a symphony tour?
Jason Michael Paul: I have been doing things like this since 2004. I first did it with the music from “Final Fantasy”. Since then I have created a show called “Play: A Video Game Symphony” which premiered in Chicago in 2006. I have developed a track record and worked with Nintendo along the way. With the 25th anniversary of “Zelda” coming up I had the idea to do a “Legends of Zelda” Symphony tour. It just so happened that everyone was interested. We had just planned to do a symphonic recording which was going to be part of a bundle that included the newest installment of Zelda “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”. From there we initially planned 3 concerts which were going to be held in Los Angeles, Tokyo and London. Those ended up selling out in record time and we decided to put together the “Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” tour. This tour is exclusive to the Zelda property.

MG: What would you say was the most difficult aspect of creating the tour?
JMP: This project has been a joy. There haven’t been a lot of obstacles. It has been a phenomenal collaboration between my company and Nintendo. They have been really great to work with and have given us all the access to the likenesses of their characters. It’s been really great and smooth sailing.

MG: What do you enjoy most about the music from Zelda?
JMP: I have done a lot of concerts as I have been in this business for 15 years. I have always had a problem watching my own shows because I see everything. This show I have been able to sit back and watch from beginning to end. To me that is really the most truthful testament to this project. I feel so confidant and am so proud that I can watch it from beginning to end. That is the best thing for me.

MG: How does your work on this project differ from your previous work?
JMP: I have been very fortunate enough to work and develop a relationship with Chad Seiter. He has single handedly put an amazing touch on this project. Hands down he is one of the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He has been the real difference in this project. I feel honored to work with him.

MG: What is your favorite game series?
JMP: I would have to say that “Grain of Time” is right up there but “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” is very close to my heart. I actually worked on that game. We did the orchestration that accompanied the game. This was the first time that Nintendo had done anything like this. Being asked to create something like this for them really resonated with me. That title is closest to me because I participated in creating it.

MG: What do you have planned next?
JMP: I am busy with “Play”. When I am not doing Zelda I am doing that. I am sort of a serial entrepreneur as I always have several irons in the fire. I love to create brands and identities. I am just going to continue with what I am doing.

Interview with Jason Neulander

Jason Neulander is the creator of “The Intergalactic Nemesis”, which is a live-action graphic novel production tour.  Jason and his team will be performing “The Intergalactic Nemesis” with Conan O’Brien and Andy Ritcher on “Conan” on February 14th, 2012.  Media Mikes got a chance to ask Jason a few questions about the origin of “The Intergalactic Nemesis” and performing it live.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you come up with the idea for a live-action graphic novel production tour, called “The Intergalactic Nemesis”?
Jason Neulander: The project started as a radio play back in the ’90s when a few friends and I decided to try our hands at a no-budget tribute to Star Wars and Raiders. Over the years, the project developed a big local following (and we did our share of revisions and rewrites) until I was invited to bring it to the 2,400-seat Dell Hall in Austin, where we’re from. I felt that venue was too big for the intimate experience of a radio play and in a flash had a vision of comic-book artwork projected on a huge screen to create a visual spectacle. It took about 15 months for Tim Doyle to create that artwork and then we premiered the show to 2,100 people. Ten days later, we started booking tour dates and, well, here we are!

MG: The Intergalactic Nemesis will be performing on live on “Conan”, how did this come about?
JN: I landed us a story on NPR’s All Things Considered. Meantime, my agent had been working on the Conan thing. When the NPR story aired, that was the catalyst for the Conan folks to give the green light.

MG: Are you nervous performing with Conan O’Brien and Andy Ritcher?
JN: A little, but mainly really excited.

MG: Tell us about the character you play “Mysterion the Magnificent”?
JN: The story of “The Intergalactic Nemesis” takes place in the 1930s. Mysterion is a world famous magician and stage performer who has secret plans to take over the world (with the help of an invading force of sludge monsters from the planet Zygon).

MG: What is the biggest challenge in performing this live?
JN: Remembering the lines!

MG: What can expect from the sequel entitled “Book Two: Robot Planet Rising”?
JN: Lots and lots of robots. Adventure. Danger. Excitement. Book Two is actually the second of three, so, like any good part 2, it’s a little darker, a little more complex, and we get to meet a bunch of really awesome new characters.

MG: Where can people find out about this tour and your upcoming dates?
JN: http://www.theintergalacticnemesis.com/tour


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Interview with Jason Dudek

Jason Dudek is the Producer/Writer/Director of the upcoming film “Infected” with Vinnie Jones, Beverly Mitchell and Danny Glover. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jason about his new film and what we can expect from it.

Mike Gencarelli: Where did you come up with the story for “Infected”?
Jason Dudek: During the swine flu outbreak, the stock prices for the vaccine manufacturers skyrocketed. That got me interested as to why exactly. After some researching, I found there were cases of vaccine manufactures involved in unethical behavior, one case in particular where a vaccine company began testing on a strain before the FDA had approved the strain, just to get an upper hand on their competitors — that I found frightening. What happens when corporate greed goes unchecked in a business that truly is: life or death. being a conspiracy theorist myself, I wanted to construct an emotional human story within this larger system of corporate interests related to our health

MG: “Infected” started off as a sci-fi campy movie and has developed into a more sci-fi thriller and more grounded in reality, tell us about that process?
JD: The process was organic, in that it wasn’t planned; it just evolved as the project neared principal photography. The film is in constant flux until you shoot, and even then in post it’s another chance for a re-write. As a filmmaker I had two choices, try to be somebody that I wasn’t (a horror director), or embrace my instincts which was to create a realistic sci-fi thriller that had to be grounded in science in order to work. The initial concept of the film involved lots of gore and what I would call paranormal elements – situations that required a leap of faith in order to buy the particular gag. When dealing with an issue so real as manipulating the health of the masses, the gore was not an organic fit. The tone of the film is the exact opposite of camp now. We tried to create a world that is as photo-realistic as possible, where the scares, fear, and terror come from the performances – and the cast nailed it.

MG: Tell us about how rounded up once hell of a great cast for this film?
JD: To this day I still don’t know how I rounded up such a great cast. I can say there was no formula. I just believed in the project 110% and we have a very complex and unique theme that I haven’t seen before, so when the script went out, the response was fantastic. I wish I could say there was an intricate play-by-play strategy to casting “Infected”, but the fact of the matter is that projects that have a fresh new spin on something will usually garner interest. If your characters are unique and we haven’t seen them before, actors will want to play them. Actors love to be challenged and constantly push themselves to new limits, which is why I love working with them so much.

MG: What was the hardest aspect of working on this film?
JD: The amount of work we had to shoot per day. The schedule was grueling; we started the first week with some of the most technically challenging scenes because of actor availability. Shooting so out of order, during the summer in 110-degree heat in an old house dressed as a hoarders, made the physical demands on the cast and crew enormous, on top of the high-intensity performances and company moves. We all got physically beat-up, but we had a great production staff team and medic and thankfully nobody got heat stroke or severely sick.

MG: Tell us about your transition from working in the comedy genre to the horror/thriller genre?
JD: It was so natural. Comedy is all about surprising the audience. The set up, the build, and the punch line. The same beats go for horror, instead of ending in a laugh, it ends in a fear. I love to elicit emotion from audiences, that’s why they go to the movies, and I learned in comedy that the audience is the boss. In the comedy business, the answer to whether a joke is funny or not is: did the audience laugh? A joke that kills in Texas can bomb in Manhattan, so the challenge is to make sure the film doesn’t have an identity crisis, in that it switches tones. “Infected” is filled with an emotional roller coaster, but the tone is consistent, and that helps the audience not get lost from the story.

MG: What makes this project unique and stands out from other sci-fi thrillers?
JD: We have created a new lead character! Taylor Handley has a modern Steve McQueen quality and while most films in this genre have alpha males that kick serious ass, ‘Dean’ is just as badass, but he’s got no ego. The film is as much a thrill ride as it is a spiritual journey for Dean and we’re vested in his journey, so the film is probably the most emotional in the genre. It is definitely a big risk we took, but one that paid off. We have not seen the character “Dean” yet in any films.

MG: What do you have planned next? More writing? Directing?
JD: More of it all! I’m writing a script that I’m incredibly excited about. All I can say at this time is that’s I’m working with a writer on the true story of an Internet steroid scandal spanning across the globe during the dotcom bubble. Think 21 meets Social Network (on steroids). Pardon the bad pun.