Interview with Kittie’s Mercedes Lander

Mercedes Lander is one of the founding members of the all female Canadian heavy metal group Kittie. The bands 6th studio album “I’ve Failed You” will be released on August 30th via E One Records. Mercedes took time before the bands show in Syracuse, NY to talk with Media Mikes about the new album as well as what it was like touring with the Insane Clown Posse.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the new album “I’ve Failed You”?
Mercedes Lander: “I’ve Failed You” was basically written over a 3 month period starting in January and ending around April. We took about 3 weeks to record the album which went really smoothly. The record is super personal. Us as a band and as people have really gone through a lot since out last album “In the Black” A lot of life changing experiences took place and I think this album touches on each of those.

AL: This album seems to definitely have a more angry/edgy feel to it can you tell us about that?
ML:  I wouldn’t call it angry. I would call it maybe a little bit more remorseful to be honest. The album maybe angry sounding and our last album was a really heavy album but as the band progresses and as we become better musicians and song writers the music tends to get a little more extreme. All around the album is definitely heavier.

AL: Other than being more personal how do you feel “I’ve Failed You” compares to your previous releases?
ML: I don’t think there really is any comparison. When we go in to write albums I don’t think we have it in our minds to try and top the previous album. We are just writing music and I think everything we have ever written is different. I think we have a lot of different influences that we all wear on our sleeves. What seems to end up happening is that with the last album we spent two years on the road touring and playing every night which has allowed us to get tighter as a band and as a unit so it’s been a natural progression.

AL: “I’ve Failed You” seems to be a much more musical album and features some very prominent guitar solos. Can you tell us about that?
ML: “In The Black” featured guitar solos as well and we kind of look at that as the foundation of what our recording should be. With “I’ve Failed You” we are building on that foundation. Riff wise the songs on the new record are much more complex.

AL: Do you have a favorite track off the new album?
ML: I have a lot! “We are the Lamb” is one of my favorite songs as well as “Time Never Heals”. It’s funny because I still haven’t memorized all the new song titles. When we are working in the studio we have working titles for the songs so it takes me some time to get them all down by name.

AL: How has this tour compared to portions of the last where you toured with Insane Clown Posse?
ML: That is like apples and oranges and you just can’t compare that. People don’t really understand why we did that tour but it makes perfect sense to me. We got to play to people that had nothing to do with the metal scene what so ever and we crushed every night. We sold a ton of merchandise and CD’s and we made a lot of new fans as well. If I wanted to sit and play to the same people all the time it’s eventually going to start to suck. We did three support tours on the last run and I think that did a lot for the band.

AL: Can you give us any updates on the Poisoned Black clothing line you and your sister/band mate were involved in?
ML: We really don’t know what’s been going on with that as we have been really busy so are time has been somewhat limited.

For more info on Kittie you can go to and be sure to check our album review of “I’ve Failed You” as well as our review of the bands Syracuse, NY show.

Interview with Simon Helberg

Simon Helberg is best known for his role as Howard Wolowitz in the hit show “The Big Bang Theory”.  You might also know Simon from his role of Moist in the incredibly popular web series, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog”.  Simon and his wife Jocelyn Towne are currently working together on an independent film made, called “I Am I”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Simon about his hit show “The Big Bang Theory”, as well as his upcoming projects.

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Mike Gencarelli: What has been the best part for you working on “The Big Bang Theory”?
Simon Helberg: The best part has been meeting all these wonderful people I get to work with.  They have become some of my best friends.  The other parts are getting to do what I love consistently and work.  Also I able to get recognized for that and have people really connect to the show.  It has been incredible to be part of a show that is so well written.  The cast is so talented, each and everyone of them.  Everyone really puts 100% into the show all the time.  There is not a detail that isn’t scrutinized and labored over.  At the end of the day, we are just having such a good time doing it and shooting it in front of the audience.  We are just very lucky to have this enormous group of loyal die hard fans.  Nerds are really scary when they get into large groups, you don’t want to mess with them.  So it is good to have them on your side like we do.  It is the greatest thing to have such loyal passionate people watching our show, it really fuels us.  It has been pretty amazing.

MG: Do you have a favorite episode to date?
SH: Wow so many greats, but there is one at least so far for this season.  It should be airing soon.  We all go on a road trip and it become farce…like a doors slamming, hotel rooms switching farce.  We are all getting mad at each other and there are fights.  I really loved the dynamics that Melissa Rauch who plays Bernadette has brought to the show and my character.  I have had a lot of fun this season.  It has been fun to see Howard have some humanity, depth and some sensitivity.  I really enjoy those episode when you get to see a little bit of heart in that character.

MG: What can we expect from the upcoming episodes in Season 4?
SH: We are actually only two episodes ahead at moment.  They do not tell us what we are going to be doing or shooting until the day before we do a read-through.  I honestly do not know much.  There will be more with Bernadette and Mayiam Bialik’s character, Amy.  I think they like the dynamic that those girls bring to the show.  It should be great.  The writing has been really great this season.

MG: Your show seems to get more popular every season, can you reflect on that for us?
SH: It is rare for a show to stay on the air.  It is rare to be a hit.  It is most rare to continue building audience.  Usually you plateau at a certain point.  It has been really exciting.  They keep moving us around which I think has something to do with it.  But also that could be the curse.  When they move you it is hard to keep your audience but it in someway helped up because we have gotten more and more people to see it.  Luckily, we are taking them with us wherever we move.  It is like being on a new show every season because we do not know how we are going to do.  We are nervous but it is exciting to see that we are doing well.  Word of mouth is a big part in this.  People might be resistant to watching a show about physicists that are nerdy.  But I think they realize it is not just about that.  We are all kind of nerdy in our own way.  The quality has also been great and we have always had a core audience.  We are just lucky to be picking up followers as we go.

MG: Congratulations on being nominated for Golden Globes awards, you must be excited?
SH: It is incredible.  We definitely haven’t had many nominations for the show for those kind of awards.  We were lucky to won the People’s Choice Award and we recognized by other great associations.  This was definitely something we always hoped we would be recognized by.  We were all thrilled and honored to have that nomination come in.  I can’t wait to go.  We are excited.  It is actually nice it came in the fourth year because we all sort of let go of the idea of it and continued to do that show.  So it was a real surprise because we weren’t even thinking about it.

MG: You have a notable role in the very popular web series “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog” as Moist, how did you get involved?
SH: I went to high school with the Whedon brothers, Jed and Zack.  They wrote it and did the music.  I knew them a bit and they spoke to Joss about me playing that part.  I just got a call one day asking if I wanted to be apart of this little internet thing during the strike.  It was conceived to combat the studio. When there was no work being done, we proved we could actually do something.  I read it and thought it was amazing.  I heard the music and I was blown away.  I did a bunch of internet stuff so I never expected it to be this colossal with the Emmys and the cover of Time magazine.  It was totally shocking.  You just never know.  It was a brilliant group of people working on it.  I knew it was going to be good.  I just didn’t know how many people will end of seeing it.

MG: What can you tell about your upcoming film “I Am I”, which are are working on with your wife Jocelyn Towne? Also tell us about working with the website,
SH: The movie is called “I Am I”.  My wife Jocelyn Towne wrote it and is going to direct it.  We are going to produce and star in it together.  Jason Ritter is also going to be in it.  Basically it is an independent movie and the script is terrific.  We have gotten a tremendous amount of response from it.  The times are so different and complicated in terms of raising money that we turned to this website,  It is really on the bridge of becoming the next YouTube or Facebook.  It is unbelievable what is going on there.  It is a platform for projects, movies, bands, fashion, jewelry, inventions and all these crazy things.  It is like a launching pad for those people to test out products. They raise money or donations basically to make whatever it is they are trying to make happen.  In our case it is a movie.  We are trying to raise $100,000 dollars by this Friday and we have about $75,000 dollars.  If you do not raise the entire amount of money, all of the money raises goes back to the people who donated.  We put up a video we shot, which is like 4 1/2 minute teaser.  It is all done in one shot and has a lot of us in it, it is really great.  It really shows the nature of the movie.  On the site, it has incentives to donating like for $100 you become an Associate Producer on the movie, with credit at the end of the movie…and so.  We currently have over 500 backers.  It is a way to make people and the fans act as the studio for the movie.  These are the people that are going to see the movie, so why not have them help us make it and actually invest in it. You become a team early on.  It has been a great experience.

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Interview with Castle’s Jon Huertas

Jon Huertas is currently starring on ABC’s hit TV show “Castle”, playing the character of Esposito. “Castle” is currently into its third season already and is as hot as ever. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Jon about his role in the show and about his plans for the future.

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Mike Gencarelli: Did you think that “Castle” would be the hit show that it is still going strong through season three now?
Jon Huertas: When we did the pilot, I had a clue this show was going to be something that people would be hungry for and get into. There were so many “CSI” shows and they were really heavy. I felt that our show had this light quality to it. We have being able to have a lot more fun with our show then the other shows out there. I thought it was an opportunity for us to have a little bit of a run. For me as an audience, I do watch TV and I would watch this show. So, I think we are doing ok.

MG: Tell us about what drew you to the character Esposito?
JH: They were really open to collaborating with me. They were like, Esposito is blank canvas for the most part and they asked “What would you want to do with him?, “Where what you want him to come from? “Who is he?”. They were really open to discussing that with me, which was great. When you go into a TV show, you have so many people involved. You have got the actual creator of the show. You got the director, the staff of writers, then the studio and network executives. So many people have their hands usually in how the show would be. But for this show, they were so open to collaborating. They allowed me to paint the picture of Esposito. It is great to have input on the creative aspects of a character that you are going to be playing for who knows how many years.

MG: How does it feel to get some of the great one liners in the show? Are you behind them?
JH: I think it is a 60/40 split. 60% of them are probably written and 40% we improv. They allow us sometimes to try and put a tag some lines. When we are rehearsing the night before, I will come in a pitch the writers or director on a line. A lot of the scripts come a little empty of the fun light stuff. The network and studio are so married to procedures. They will allow us to sprinkle that stuff in that as actors. Sometimes it may be already there, some of the writers have a great handle on those lines.

MG: You and Seamus Dever must be good friends, you guys have really good chemistry on the show?
JH: Yeah we get a long. Basically the dynamics between Ryan and Esposito are pretty much the same as Seamus and I have. A lot of the time, the writers just listen to us on set. Basically, they record it some how, transcribe it, put our character names above it and put it in the script. The funny thing about Seamus and I, at the beginning, he didn’t do the originally pilot. He was added after it got picked up. They wanted to do a chemistry test between my character and my new partner, but I wasn’t available. But I think it works between with us on the show better then if I would have one of my good friends come on the show.

MG: Any news you can give us coming up in season 3?
JH: We are revisiting Becket’s mothers murder. There is an awesome episode that will reveal some big stuff. One of my favorite writers on the show is Andy Marlowe. He writes some awesome episodes, they are usually pretty action packed. I think the episode we shot with him is the most action-packed episode we have ever shot. There is some hostage taking of some of the main characters of the show, it is pretty awesome. The episode will be coming probably in the mid-end of January. There is also a great episode that reveals who my love interest is. Seamus’ character has a really cool love life change. I do not want to give away too many spoilers. Hands down from the beginning of the series, we have some of the best episodes we have ever shot coming up.

MG: It is rare that we have a show now it is third season that is getting better with each episode.
JH: I think the way that Andrew has developed the characters. He has not rushed into anything. A lot of show rush in and put a lot in in the beginning. Andrew is very patient with the storyline. I think that is what holds the audience and makes the show interesting. So when something new does drop you do not expect it. Andrew is a very calculated type of producer/writer. I actually see the show getting better. The latest scripts are so good. I have been very impressed with our writers this season.

MG: How did you get involved with playing Alberto in “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2”?
JH: I am one of the voices and I play a cop. I play a copy who happens to be a German shepherd [laughs]. So, I am somewhat type-cast as a cop. I get to play Andy Garcia’s characters police dog. It was a lot of fun. I have never played a dog before. I have never done a voice for a live action film. I would love to do more.

MG: For having a military background, did that make it easier for you when you co-starred as United States Marine Corps in “Generation Kill”
JH: It was much easier. Two of the guys that ran the boot camp, they would lean on me for help when they needed it. They turned these actors, in two weeks, into legit soldiers. I would have actually gone into combat with some of those actors. They really dedicated themselves to their roles. We were in Africa shooting. It was like we were deployed anyway. It was great that I had that military background. It was generally one of the greatest experiences of my life. Sometimes it is a close toss-up between “Castle” and “Generation Kill”.

MG: Tell us about your show feature “Lone”, which you not only direct but produce and sings the music?
JH: I kind of did that short because I am working with directors on some projects and they weren’t that good. I have always wanted to direct but I thought that I wasn’t ready or good enough. But working with some of these people, I was thinking that I could do it. I wanted to take chance and see if I was any good at it and it ended up being ok. So I think I am going to continue to pursue that. I am actually finishing it up and do the final mix and hopefully will screen it for everyone at “Castle”. Maybe if I could lock down directing a few episodes of the show next season would be cool.

MG: Any plans for more directing, or any other projects in the works?
JH: Yeah I would like to continue directing. I am also working on solo project album. I have a couple of artists working with me. I might release the album in singles around January and February. Then I might release the album in March or April. Yeah, I might also be doing some music for “Castle” also. I am trying to intertwine everything together.

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Interview with Anthony Guajardo

Anthony Guajardo appeared in this year huge television hit “The Walking Dead” on AMC.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Anthony about his role on the show and what he has planned next.

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Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the show “The Walking Dead”?
Anthony Guajardo: I received a phone call from my agent one day and she told me that I had an audition for a project called “The Walking Dead 104.” I ended up auditioning for “Felipe,” “Jorge” and “Miguel.” When I found out later that I booked the job I totally FREAKED out. My mom started crying and I came pretty close myself.

MG: What was the coolest part of working on the show? Are you a zombie fan?
AG: The coolest part about being on the show was just being on set, I have a deep love for the job and when i am on set i feel like there isn’t anything in the world can bring me down. My parents and I are pretty good zombie fans, we have a cool mini collection of school zombie films including the original “Night of the Living Dead” and “Zombieland”.

MG: Where you a fan of the comic series prior to working on the show?
AG: Sadly I was not, but you can bet i am now! ha ha I love all of the characters and the realism of each character on the show.

MG: How long did it take to shoot your episode “Vatos”?
AG: I was in Atlanta for 10 days, but i believe i was on set for about four awesome days!

MG: Was the weather difficult to work in during the summer in Atlanta?
AG: A bit. The main problem was that it would randomly rain a few times throughout the day and we’d have dive under umbrellas to wait it out. But that wasn’t so bad as compared to the “problems” they had filming with the heat on the roof.

MG: What are you planning for next?
AG: I’m not totally sure, hopefully I’ll be back on “The Walking Dead”. I’m about to start a webisode with some acting buddies of mine, we’re going to call it “The B.A.D Revue.” We are going to do some skits, talk about world issues, and answer viewers’ questions.

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Interview with Holland Roden

Holland Roden stars as Lydia Martin in the upcoming MTV series “Teen Wolf”. Adam Lawton of was able to talk recently with Holland about how she got her start in the movie business and about the new series.

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Adam Lawton: What made you want to become an actress?
Holland Roden: When I was about 15/16 years old I had switched from a small all girls’ school to a larger co-ed school. I wasn’t really adjusting to well to the change, and I was having trouble making friends, so I started looking for community plays or students films that I could be a part of in order to make friends. Acting for me started out more as a hobby or a social outlet to make friends. From there I started coaching with Ken Farmer who suggested that I should try acting for a living.

AL: Can you tell us about your work on “Lost”?
HR: I didn’t watch season one at first, and I wasn’t really too interested in it. Then I was asked by a friend to watch an episode, and after that I was hooked. By the time I got the call for the show I was a fan. I was very excited but nervous at the same time and that seemed to work out ok during my audition as I got the part a few days later. The cast and crew were super laid back and I got to work with Paul Edwards who was amazing so it was a really great experience.

AL: Can you tell us about the new “Teen Wolf” series?
HR: The series as the creator described it to me and the rest of the cast is about a teen that’s a wolf (laughs). The series is going to be a little darker and sexier than the original movie, however certain scenes in the way they are being shot will pay homage to the original. The show is going to be somewhat reminiscent of True Blood.

AL: Can you tell us about your character in the series?
HR: I play Lydia Martin who is the mean girl in the series, however she’s doesn’t have the stereotypical mean girl trait, which is that she is often dumb. When I first took the role, I went to the creator and asked if we could make Lydia the smartest kid in the school. He really liked that angle, and it allowed me to give the character more dimensions.

AL: What is the projected release date for the series?
HR: We are currently shooting right now and we are hoping for an early spring release.

AL: Do you have any other upcoming projects?
HR: I am currently submitting tapes for auditions. I am trying to find things that wouldn’t start shooting until I wrap on “Teen Wolf”, so as of right now things are somewhat limited. I am reading a lot of scripts and hope to be a part of as many as possible.

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Interview with Joseph Kosinski

Joseph Kosinski is the man responsible for Disney’s latest film “TRON: Legacy”. Joseph had a chance to work on the follow-up 28 after the original film came out. Although this is Joseph’s first feature film, he is no stranger to the business have working in it for a while. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Joseph about working on “TRON: Legacy” and what is in store for his bright future.

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Mike Gencarelli: With “TRON: Legacy” being your debut feature, what was the thing that you were nervous about most?
Joseph Kosinski: I would say…probably just the stamina required to see a three year project all the way through. It is a different scale film than the work I have done before. That was certainly a challenge. I am still alive [laughs].

MG: What is the part of the film that you are most proud of?
JK: There is so much in there but for me one my favorite sequences in the film is the whole scene in the safe house. It is a more dramatic scene. Flynn kind of tells the story of how he can to be where he is. It was the most fun sequence for me to shoot. It was the closest thing to a real film, in terms of having a full set, three characters and very little digital work.

MG: The first film is known well for its digital effects at the time, did you feel any pressure to equal or surpass that achievement?
JK: The first film pushed the bar technically in so many different ways. We tried to be ambitious in the way we approached this one as well. We used the latest 3D cameras, fully illuminated suits and a fully digital character. Those are definitely some new cutting edge technology.

MG: There has been a lot of talk ‘de-aging’ Jeff Bridges character, what can you tell us?
JK: Well, I was really intrigued by was the idea. Luckily the technology afforded us to tell that type of story. This relationship between Flynn and Clu is one we haven’t seen in the movie before or at least not since the first “Tron”. Now we can continue that story with Jeff (Bridges) being 25 or so years older. To me that is a really excited opportunity and certainly one of the biggest challenges of our movie, if not the biggest. I feel like we pushed the bar higher in terms of digital characters.

MG: People are on kind of a 3D backlash recently, tell us about the 3D in “TRON: Legacy”?
JK: This is a true 3D film. We took the Fusion camera system developed by James Cameron and Vince Pace and we modified it for our film. We updated the camera body and shot the whole thing using master prime lenses. So it was shot and finished in 3D. There is no conversion at all in this film. We strode to make the highest quality 3D film that we could today. For people that enjoy 3D or want to completely immerse themselves in the 3D experience, I feel like we have provided the best quality version you can get right now.

MG: I hear the 3D has a sort of homage to “The Wizard of Oz”?
JK: Yeah! What I love about “The Wizard of Oz” is that it goes from black and white to color the moment Dorothy got pulled in. Our film goes to 3D or full 3D the moment when Sam gets pulled into the grid.

MG: Personally being a huge fan of the first “Tron”, how do you think fans are going to react to this movie?
JK: I think that fans of the first film are going to notice a lot a little things we tried to include. We have put things in there specifically for them. Lots of big concepts also, we are continuing the story of Kevin Flynn who obviously was the main character in the first film. I think there is stuff in there for fans of the original but at the same time it is a movie built for fans who haven’t seen first movie. I am hoping both groups are satisfied.

MG: What can you tell us about your next project? Will it be “The Black Hole”?
JK: Yeah, I am working on two projects for now at Disney. They are both currently in development. One in “The Black Hole”, which is being written by Travis Beacham. The other is “Oblivion”, which is a based on a story I wrote and being written by William Monahan.

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Interview with Lee Norris

Lee Norris has been acting since the age of 12, and for the past eight years, Lee has played the role of Marvin “Mouth” McFadden on the CW’s hot show, “One Tree Hill”. Adam Lawton of recently caught up with Lee to talk about his career and attempt to find out if this will be the last season of his hit show.

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Adam Lawton: You have had the chance to be on a bunch of great shows, is there one that sticks out as a favorite?
Lee Norris: I don’t think I could choose just one. They all have been interesting and different enough to make it fun for me. I am still getting recognized for my character from “Boy Meets World” which was shot when I was 12 and I am almost 30 now. Its insane how many people still remember that character. My character Mouth from “One Tree Hill” has been a great time as well, but probably my favorite role to date is the part I played in “Zodiac.”

AL: Can you tell us what it was like working on “Zodiac”?
LN: It was my first major motion picture role, and I remember walking into the table read and being in the room with such a great cast that I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real. It was really fascinating to see everyone’s different styles and how they prepare for their roles. It was really great to see how prepared Robert Downey Jr. It was a blast.

AL: You mentioned your character Mouth from “One Tree Hill”. Since the show started eight years ago have you been allowed to provide input or direction to your character?
LN: No not really (laughs). Television is a very controlled medium and they are very protective over the characters. I think the writers have taken cues from me to help provide uniqueness to the character, but all the direction really comes from Mark Schwan, who is the producer/creator of the show

AL: What are the chances of another season of “One Tree Hill?”
LN: Things are still kind of up in the air, but personally I’m not too sure where they could take the series after this season. I think everything has been pretty well explored, but I wouldn’t totally rule it out.

AL: Do you have any upcoming projects?
LN: Right now due to my shooting schedule with “One Tree Hill” I am pretty tied up, and I don’t have a lot of time to go to auditions. However, if the show does end this season I am going to start submitting things and go from there.

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Interview with Andrew Traucki

Andrew Traucki is the director, writer and producer of “The Reef”.  “The Reef” is an Australian shark survival movie.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Andrew about his new movie “The Reef” and his career.

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Mike Gencarelli: So let’s start with the most important questions, Is “Jaws” your favorite movie like me?
Andrew Traucki: “Jaws” is a great film. It was based on a best selling novel and came at a time when the world needed a great shark film. Also I like the fact that Bruce the shark was held back- it works so much better letting your imagination do the work than showing a model which under close scrutiny isn’t that life like. So I am a fan of “Jaws”- who isn’t.

MG: Tell us about the shark footage in the film, how was some of those scenes shot?
AT: The shark in the film is a real sharks. It was hard getting the shark footage- they are wild animals so you know they don’t always hit their mark or indeed turn up on the day. In the end we were very lucky and managed to get some amazing footage.

MG: What’s happening release for “The Reef” in the US and in Australia?
AT: The film is being released on DVD in January 2011 through US Distributors Image , so hassle them to make sure they get it out there! It comes out theatrically in Oz in March 2011, fingers crossed.

MG: Tell us about how how both your films, “Black Water” & “The Reef”, are based on actual events?
AT: I am a big survival story freak. I love true survival stories. I love wondering what would I do in this situation what would I need to do to survive. There’s a great book called Deep Survival which I have read numerous times that always makes me think, what does it take to be a survivor. Both the events in “Black Water” and “The Reef” happened in Australia, we’ve got some dangerous animals down here.

MG: You are no stranger to the nature horror genre, you also directed “Black Water”, tell us about that film?
AT: I prefer to call them survival thrillers, rather than horror films, closer to what I’m trying to achieve. “Black Water” is a thriller about 3 people that were trapped with a large croc in a swamp. As with “The Reef”, the crocodile in “Black Water” is real. Unlike other filmmakers in this area of film making I’m trying to make these films seem as real as possible. To make the viewer think “Shit, this is a heavy situation, what would I do?”.  So I don’t use bad animatronic animals or buckets and buckets of blood. I try to keep it as real as I can. Hopefully this is what sets my work apart from all those bad monster films that star crocs and sharks.

MG: You to have a pattern going with your films, you have directed, wrote and also produced them all. Do you like having full control?
AT: Believe me no one has full control when you’re making a film. Film making is a collaborative process, you need to have a strong vision of what you want but you also need to be able to trust and relax with the people around you. I’m happy to just direct, so far the stories I have written have got up faster than the other projects I’m attached to.

MG: What can you tell us about your upcoming film “Storm”?
AT: It’s a kick arse sci-fi western, you can see a teaser for it at my company website I love action and sci-fi and this has both so I’m in heaven.

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