Joseph Bishara talks about his role and his score in the film “Annabelle”

Photo by Dean Karr

Joseph Bishara is the amazing composer for horror films like “Insidious”, “The Conjuring” and most recently “Annabelle”. He is also probably the cause of a few of your nightmares since he played great characters like Lipstick-Face Demon in “Insidious” and Bathsheba in “The Conjuring”. Joseph took out some time to chat with Media Mikes again about his new film “Annabelle” and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: From your role of Lipstick-Face Demon in “Insidious” to Bathsheba in “The Conjuring” to your latest role in “Annabelle”; what do you enjoy most about getting to play these roles?
Joseph Bishara: I like being able to look through the eyes of these characters, and getting to have a different perspective and take on the film. It’s seeing the scenes unfold from the inside. They were all very interesting characters to explore.

MG: We got to learn about your character in “Insidious” and “The Conjuring” but not much in “Annabelle”, give us some background on your role?
JB: It’s the demon that’s attached to the doll. When discussing the character with James (Wan), his take described it more specifically, as Lorraine Warren would explain as a “latching demonic”.

MG: Which of the three was the most challenging for you?
JB: I would have to say “The Conjuring” because it was the most time I was on set and also the longest to get into the makeup. “Insidious” was challenging also but it was different because it was more guerrilla filmmaking, where we had to make do with what we had to work with.

MG: How does it feel like to give a grown man nightmares with these roles?
JB: [laughs] That’s a good thing. I won’t apologize for anyone losing sleep, everyone needs to have nightmares.

MG: You not only have roles in the above-mentioned films but you also are the composer delivering spin-tingling scores; what do you enjoy most about working in this genre?
JB: It’s the genre that I feel most comfortable in, and with the directors that I have worked with I have been given a lot of freedom to take the scores in the directions I wanted. Horror is always a favorite of mine and I just really enjoy creating in that space.

MG: “Insidious” is easily one of the best horror scores in recent years; how do you approach a score when you are working with the film?
JB: When I start on a score, I just start hearing it in my head often from the moment it starts being discussed. I can’t really explain it but if the project is right, ideas will just come. It’s finding what the language is and isn’t, and then speaking it.

MG: What can we expect from you in terms of role and composer in “Insidious: Chapter 3″?
JB: I can’t say much just yet, but Leigh did an excellent job with it and brings a bit of a different flavor. Hopefully you’ll lose more sleep.

For more info, check out his official sites: and

Joseph Russo talks about playing Joe Pesci in Clint Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys”

I’m sure it sounded easy for Joseph Russo. Cast in his first major feature film role, the actor portrays a name familiar to movie fans all over the world: Joe Pesci. That’s right, long before he was asking how funny we thought he was (and winning an Oscar to boot), Joe Pesci was a New Jersey boy who dreamed of being a singer (he actually released an album in 1968, “Little Joe Sure Can Sing,” billed as “Joe Ritchie.”

Joey Russo has worked a lot since his debut in 2010, appearing in such television shows as “Bones,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “Parks and Recreation.” He even has a little “Jersey” on his resume’, starring in 2012’s television film “Jersey Shore Shark Attack.” This week he opens in “Jersey Boys,” director Clint Eastwood’s film version of the Tony-award winning Broadway hit. While promoting the film Russo sat down with me and talked about…..

Mike Smith: How did you get involved in “Jersey Boys?”
Joseph Russo: I got a phone call from my manager saying they were looking for an actor to play a young Joe Pesci. I went in and read for the casting director. Then I started to hear that I was on Clint’s short list…then I was on top of his short list….then I was his choice….and I found out a few weeks later that the part was actually mine.

MS: Did you know before you went in to read for the part that Joe Pesci had a musical background?
JR: Once I got the audition I did some research because I had no clue how he was attached to this story. Once I got word that I was seriously being considered for the role I really took the opportunity to piece together a time-line of his life from then until now to really understand how he was a part of that group.

MS: Playing a real-life person, especially someone as well known as Joe Pesci….did you have to reign in your performance at all so that you weren’t doing a caricature? I did notice in one scene you ask “Funny how?” about something and then in another you do a “ok, ok, ok” riff.
JR: I’m so glad you picked up on that. My main thing was that I didn’t want to make him a caricature. That was my goal when I went in to audition. Should I change my voice or not? I didn’t see the Broadway musical because I wanted to create something that was totally my own. I wanted to make him a real guy and at the same time earn the right to play a character like Joe Pesci. What I wanted to do was sprinkle a little Pesci-isms in each of my scenes. Show a little “Casino.” Show a little “Goodfellas.” Show a little Leo Getz (the “Lethal Weapon” series). I wanted to find a way to portray Joe Pesci from age 16 to 26. Because really, the first time the public saw him in “Raging Bull” he was close to 40. So I came up with the idea that everything Joe Pesci has done as an actor in his later life was drawn from something that was inside him when he was younger. Maybe at one time he did say “ok, ok, ok.” Maybe he did ask “I’m funny how.” I wanted to pay homage to a real guy. That was my main focus…paying homage.

MS: Once you got the role were you able to seek Joe Pesci out and maybe get some insight into his life and experiences back then?
JR: Once I got the role I immediately tried to get in touch with him. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to. My next avenue was to call up Tommy Devito. (NOTE: Devito was one of the founding members of the Four Seasons and, according to “Jersey Boys,” now works for Joe Pesci. Ironically, Tommy Devito is also the name of the character that Pesci plays in “Goodfellas”). I talked to Tommy and he gave me a lot of insight into how Joe was back then. He was a clown, always joking around and making everybody laugh. I also worked hand in hand with my acting coach and mentor, Jocelyn Jones, and she really, really helped walk my way through finding out who this guy was in this time period….what was going on in society during this time period…and coming up with my own guy based on that. It was really great. Jocelyn was phenomenal in helping to walk me through that.

MS: Did Clint give you a lot of lee-way with your performance?
JR: Yes, that was the great thing about it. I really didn’t know what to expect. I felt that I had won the right to do this role. I had done all of the prep work. The hours and hours of research, prep work and rehearsal. I knew I had won this right but then again, when I showed up on set, I was a little nervous because I didn’t know if he would let me play it as I wanted to play it. And he did. More so, really. He really let me take the role and make it my own. Even the day when I said “Funny, how?” I just threw that in there. We were rehearsing the scene and I thought how great it would be if Clint started laughing because we came up with that. We were shooting the master shot for the scene and I said “Funny how?” and the script supervisor said “I don’t see where that is in the script.” The camera operator told him “you’re not gonna find it in the script.” We all look at Clint and he smiles and says, “that’s genius!” He let us know we could run with our performances. If he felt something wasn’t right he would tell us. It was a great collaboration on set. It was nice to have that freedom.

CD Review “Insidious: Chapter 2” Music by Joseph Bishara

Composer: Joseph Bishara
Audio CD
Release Date: September 24, 2013)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Void Recordings
Total Length: 43 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When I first heard the score to “Insidious” back in 2011, I was blown away.  The score was absolutely terrifying. It really drove the film so well and perfectly executed each scare and left you hanging on the edge of your seat. When it comes to horror films, the score is so important and very few actually get it right. Joseph Bishara is one of my favorite composers as he knows what to do in order to bring the horror aspect to horror films. He has worked with director James Wan on now “Insidious” and “The Conjuring” and now this film. I loved both of those films and equally their respective scores. I have to admit though, I wasn’t a huge fan of “Insidious: Chapter 2” as a film but that doesn’t mean that Bishara didn’t completely rock it with this score.

In fact, this score was the real saving grace for me with “Insidious: Chapter 2”. Even though I didn’t find the second film scary at all, the score definitely stood out for me. In the first film, it really carried you and left you biting your nails. But even though the scares weren’t as pronounced as the first film it still added to the overall atmosphere. I felt it got a little lost while I was watching the film. Personally, I enjoyed this score much more at home on this CD listening to it while watching the film. So if you enjoyed the first score from Bishara and despite whether or not you liked the film, I would still recommend this CD because it really delivers what a horror score should sound like! Can’t wait to hear what he does next!

Track Listing:
1. Ghost photographs
2. inside your dream
3. the flickering entity
4. Insidious Chapter 2
5. you think I did this
6. new home
7. empty crib
8. empty home
9. had a bad dream
10. who behind eyes
11. Don’t You Dare
12. are you Here
13. only Ghosts left
14. this is My room
15. to Live again
16. Mater Mortis
17. putrid chamber
18. Further striking
19. feel real Pain
20. one of the Dead
21. the Mother
22. good little girl
23. closing Further
24. time to forget
25. new haunting
26. void figure 7 (ch2)

Joseph Julian Soria talks about role on "Army Wives”

Joseph Julian Soria has appeared in a variety of films and television series ranging from “Crank 2” and “Fast and Furious” to the hit Showtime series “Dexter” and “Sons of Anarchy”. Soria will be reprising his role as Hector Cruz on the seasons “Army Wives” and Media Mikes had a chance to talk with him about his second season on the show and his role in the film “Philly Brown”.

Adam Lawton: What can we expect from your character this season?
Joseph Julian Soria: You can expect to see Hector struggling with what may be the end of his marriage and his discontent with how the war is being handled. You also get to see him grow up and become a man. He has an interesting storyline this season.

AL: With this being your second season on the show were you allowed to give any input on the direction of your character?
JJS: Yes, that was one of the first things Jeff Melvoin mentioned when we found out the show was getting picked up for another season. He encouraged me to call the writers office with any ideas I had. I made a couple of calls and stopped by the office and gave my input, fortunately we were all on the same page.

AL: What do you enjoy most about being on the show?
JJS: I enjoy having the opportunity to play a character that is going through a lot and that the men who have served our country can relate to. Hector has a lot of internal conflict going on and it’s great to be able to play with those emotions and see how it plays out on the show.

AL: Can you tell us about your work on the film “Filly Brown”?
JJS: Putting it simply, I do not play a nice guy. He is a total jerk to an outsider looking in. But the way I like to look at it is, I play a character who is insecure, vulnerable and willing to do whatever it takes to hold on to his spotlight. And once Filly starts to take away his shine we get to see how far he will go to keep it.

AL: Do you have any other projects in the works you can tell us about?
JJS: I have another film coming out later this year called “Mission Park” which will be released by Lions Gate on all media besides theatrical. I’m really excited for people to see this film. I’m also in talks with a few other projects but nothing I’m ready to talk about yet.

Interview with Joseph Bishara

Joseph Bishara is the composer for films like “Insidious” and the upcoming “11-11-11”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Joseph about working in the horror genre and about his recent projects.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about what was your inspiration for working on “Insidious”, which is one of the creepiest score since “Halloween”?
Joseph Bishara: Well thank you for that, “Halloween” is quite high company to be held in.
The inspiration for the film really came from the film itself – those were the things I was hearing when looking into the world. James and I talked about some harsh string sounds, extreme dynamics, and I know Leigh sometimes writes with music in mind – but when it comes down it I try not to reference existing music. I wrote a lot and recorded some before the film was even shot, started from the script and was giving James music to edit to early on.

MG: You also have a role in that film as the Lipstick-Face Demon, tell us about that as well?
JB: Yes, James also asked me to be the demon. I had the build he had in mind, already shaved my head, and the temperament to sit in makeup for 5 hours a day. I went in and took a series of pictures with Aaron Sims, who designed the demon over the images. Spent a fair bit of time learning to walk in the hooves, which were built onto 9″ platform heels and strapped to my legs. It was very physical, just standing upright required being fully engaged. I was pretty beat up by the end, but absolutely worth it.

MG: Tell us about working with Dante Tomaselli on his latest film “Torture Chamber”?together
JB: Working with Dante for me is a totally free process in that I just read the script, respond musically and send it off to him.I haven’t seen a single scene; only some stills. He makes music himself, and works with a couple of other composers, then edits it all into a ‘soup’. I do look forward to seeing the film though.

MG: You are currently working on “11-11-11” with Darren Lynn Bousman, tell us the sound that you are creating for this score?
JB: “11-11-11” was written for flute, clarinet, cello and a chorus of voices. Worked with writing and translating Sumerian chants… there’s darkness and devils within.

MG: How are you planning to top your score for “Insidious”, which set the bar high?
JB: Thank you again, I don’t really see it in terms of topping things. I see each world of every project as a different sounding place – they all, even in subtle ways feel different to me.

MG: You also worked with him on “Repo! The Genetic Opera”, tell us about that experience?
JB: “Repo” was dense, a ton of music to keep track of through various stages. Projects like that really don’t come around often, so out of the box as to be completely polarizing… love it or hate it, it’s different. Just to get to work with that many great musicians was such a reward in itself.

MG: How was it getting to work with master horror director and composer, John Carpenter on “Ghosts of Mars” & “Masters of Horror: Pro-Life”?
JB: John is awesome. I was very excited to just get to meet him, but yeah… got a call to come by the studio and a couple of days later was working away. He seemed to be enjoying the process at that point, to be able to sit back and just listen to and make music… very relaxed in the studio. On “Pro-Life”, he asked me to mix his son Cody’s score… again, very relaxed and enjoyable. One of our cooler filmmakers for sure… no bullshit is a great understatement.

MG: Your work is primarily in the horror genre, is that where you feel the most comfortable?
JB: Yes, I’ve always loved the genre, and it seems a good fit for what sounds most natural to me. Certainly darker genre are the films I’m most interested in as a viewer.

MG: After “11-11-11”, what are you planning on working on next?
JB: Have a handful of projects in different stages, not sure which happen next.