JOHN 5 to Kick Off NBA Season with Live Music Performance from Tyla Yaweh and Tommy Lee on ESPN House’s Virtual Fan Experience This Saturday

ESPN’s NBA Digital Pregame Show Hoop Streams Returns with Five Episodes as the NBA Season Resumes

Hoop Streams Presented by Google Featuring Host Cassidy Hubbarth with NBA Champion Kendrick Perkins and Amin Elhassan Tips Off Friday Leading into ESPN’s First NBA Seeding Game

To celebrate the restart of the NBA season, ESPN House returns with a virtual fan experience for the tip-off of the NBA on ESPN. The experience will be anchored by a live musical performance from rapper and songwriter Tyla Yaweh with special guests Tommy Lee and John 5. The performance will be streamed on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the ESPN app on Saturday, August 1 at 5:10 p.m. ET prior to Hoop Streams. ESPN House will also feature content from The Undefeated on surrounding social justice efforts. 

“I have a long time friendship with Tommy Lee and we have worked on some really great music together,” JOHN 5 says. “I really love how the remix turned out and loved working with new friends Tyla and Post Malone. I love this song and I’m proud to be a part of this.” 

Tyla Yaweh – the Orlando-raised, LA-based genre-bending star – launched his career with 2019’s critically acclaimed project Heart Full of Rage, which boasted equal parts trap, hip hop and rock. Along the way, the project, which included the break-out song “High Right Now,” and subsequent singles like “I Think I Luv Her” ft. YG and “Understand Me,” helped him amass over 351 million streams, He has collaborated with names like Wiz KhalifaFrench MontanaSki Mask The Slump GodJuice WRLD and PnB Rock. Tyla also joined Post MaloneSwae Lee and Jaden Smith on the 2019-2020 Runaway Tour across multiple continents and made rousing appearances at festivals such as Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Governors Ball, Firefly, Life Is Beautiful, Rolling Loud, Reading and Leeds and more. 

Aptly titled RAGER BØY, his upcoming debut studio album encapsulates the world in which Tyla Yaweh resides. With “Tommy Lee” as the lead single, the stage is set for star-studded features (including Post Malone on “Tommy Lee,” Tommy Lee himself on a remix, and DaBaby on the newly-released anthem “Stuntin’ On You”), new vibes and uncharted territory, musically. Tommy Lee’s new album, ANDRO, will be released on October 16, 2020. 

Hoop StreamsESPN’s digital NBA pregame show, returns for five episodes between Friday, July 31 and Monday, August 3 – as the NBA season resumes. Cassidy Hubbarth will host Hoop Streams presented by Google on July 31 from 6-6:30 p.m. ET at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. studios, with analyst and NBA Champion Kendrick Perkins and fellow analyst Amin Elhassan appearing remotely. Hoop Streams presented by Google will lead into ESPN’s first NBA Seeding Game telecast as the Boston Celtics take on the Milwaukee Bucks at 6:30 p.m. ET. All editions of Hoop Streams are available on ESPN’s Twitter and YouTube platforms and via the ESPN App

The trio of HubbarthPerkins and Elhassan will return for Hoop Streams pregame shows on Saturday, August 1, at 8 p.m. ET and again on Monday, August 3, at 8:30 p.m. ET. Each edition of Hoop Streams will include special guest appearances, commentary on topical NBA news items, and a preview of the upcoming games on ESPN platforms. 

In addition, the Hoop Streams team of Christine WilliamsonOmar Raja and Gary Striewski will lead shows on Saturday, August 1, at 5:30 p.m. ET and on Monday, August 3, at 6 p.m. ET. Raja will participate from the NBA Florida Campus and the Walt Disney World Resort, while Williamson and Striewski will be located at ESPN’s Bristol Conn. studios. These shows will feature on-site updates from Raja and viral video content. For ESPN and ABC’s NBA Restart schedule, visit ESPN Press Room

Hoop Streams schedule July 31-August 3
Fri, July 31

Sat, Aug. 1

Sat, Aug. 1

Mon, Aug. 3

Mon, Aug. 3
Time (ET)6-6:30 p.m.

5:30-6 p.m.

8-8:30 p.m.

6-6:30 p.m.

8:30-9 p.m.
CommentatorsCassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins, Amin Elhassan
Christine Williamson, Omar Raja, Gary Striewski
Cassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins, Amin Elhassan
Christine Williamson, Omar Raja, Gary Striewski
Cassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins, Amin Elhassan

Remembering Stan Lee

Essay by Bear Wolf

I Guess One Man Really Can Make a Difference

Those of you who know me, truly know me, know that mychildhood was quite difficult to say the least. My therapist and I are currently working on my displaced attachment issues and late developing connections to people. Because of that childhood and these issues, my formative  years have been skewed a bit from you ‘normal’ humans.

I had almost no positive male role models in my life. I was surrounded by evil men who did evil things with only a 5-foot-tall,  mostly lonely and depressed single mother as a shield. She did what she thought was her best, and I thank her for that and will always know the true meaning of courage as I saw her take on the role of the human shield to protect her children. But as a result of a brutal mixture of all of the above, there was a Thanos-snapping-half-of-all-existence-away sized void in my life.

Comic books were my savior (and KISS to be honest, but that’s for another rant). I learned how to be a man from Batman, Spider-Man,the Hulk AND Bruce Banner, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Daredevil, Mike Grell’s Green Arrow. I also learned that evil often hid behind masks (thank you Scooby Doo), but I saw the epic struggle between good and evil, between human nature and human spirit, and I chose Good Human Spirit. I may be more of the Wolvie anti-hero type, but I know true evil when I see it and I will always fight against it, regardless of how it is made to look by others (see 1980’s Green Arrow to fully understand, thank you again, Mike Grell).  As I grew older, Black Panther and Black Lightning taught me about true injustice in the system of perpetual racism, government greed and the people who directly or indirectly perpetuate it by ‘just doing their jobs.’  I learned what true intense depth of real internal/ external true love was from The Crow.  Unfortunately the movie never captured that very important aspect of the story.

I did not learn that from a father, or an uncle or grandfather or father figure at all (to be fair I never truly knew my grandfather until it was much later; had I truly known him growing up, no other hero could have possibly compared, but again, that’s for another rant).  I did not even learn that from a man who essentially became my god-father because he chose to reach out to a young man eating bologna by himself for Christmas dinner. Don Howard taught me what true kindness and family are.

I learned how to reach for the best human spirit has to offer mostly from what Stan Lee created. Stan Lee and his legacy is my father figure (in my teen years Mike Grell took that role over).  Not Stan Lee’s creations…no, this is much much bigger than that.  Stan Lee (with a beautiful nudge by his amazing wife) set out to create something different, something special.  Much like the best science fiction writers, he took the fantastic to a place that made us take a good hard look at our humanity and what we should be, what we’re doing compared to where we should be.  Since then, the entire genre of comic books was launched into the realm of the iconic.  Mythic heroes, angels, gods, superheroes…not just pretty stories for children to love, but these are life’s lessons that we should all be paying far more close attention to, especially considering our modern world.  So those I have mentioned not named or directly created by Stan Lee are included in this legacy, whether DC & other comic companies want to admit it or not.

In fact, at this very moment, hearing and responding to the news, I am watching Captain America: Winter Soldier. Why? Because I have been suffering some bitter crippling depression of late and can barely get out of bed. To help me through it, I have been watching all the Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men & Avengers movies, in order. My students and my ASL education can thank Stan Lee’s legacy for my continued participation in life.

I have only ever cried for the passing of a celebrity once before, and that was Jim Henson, maybe not a father figure, but the man who brought magic & manners into my life. I love you like a father, Stan Lee! And I will miss your cameos more than I probably should. I thank you for my moral compass and my childhood, Stan Lee. Without you I may not have had either. Excelsior!!


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Singer Amy Lee of Evanescence talks about her new single “Speak to Me”

Amy Lee is the co-founder/lead singer for the Grammy Award winning rock group Evanescence. Lee has also participated in numerous other musical projects and has performed as a solo artist. Amy’s latest release is for the film “Voice From the Stone” starring Emilia Clarke and Marton Csokas. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Amy recently about the film, her experience at Skywalker Ranch and what’s in-store for Evanescence this year.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your new single “Speak to Me”?

Amy Lee: This was quite different for me. Writing a song comes from a lot of different places. This one has a really cool and unique story. It was written for the film “Voice From the Stone” which I got to actually see before writing the song. I really loved the film as it made feel so many different things. Being a new mother I was really able to connect with the film main theme as it centers on the bond between mother and son. For me to watch that and relate it to the new huge inspiration in my life I instantly knew it was something I wanted to do. I spoke on the phone with the film’s director Eric Howell and Michael Wandmacher the films composer and we had a great talk about the directional idea and once we were off the phone I went straight to the piano and came up with the initial idea. That doesn’t always happen with me. Sometimes I can go months waiting for an idea to come that I feel is good enough to move forward with. Working on this track was a very inspiring experience.

AL: Were you basing your idea on a portion of the films score or
was it something completely separate from that?

Amy: When I saw the film the score was there but it wasn’t completely finished. They weren’t looking for me to do anything related to the score. They wanted me to write the one and only song in the film which has lyrics. It was helpful to see the visuals and hear some of what was going on as it helped me envision the finished product.

AL: Was this your first time writing for a film?

Amy: I have actually written quite a few things for movies however, most of the time it hasn’t made it through all of the different doors you have to go through to get to the final product. (Laughs) There have been several things that have made it though. In 2014 I did my first score which was a much bigger undertaking as opposed to doing just one song when I worked with David Eggar on the movie “War Story”. There’s another film titled “Blind” coming out later this year that I worked on the score for as well. My experience working on this latest film was very unique as I was able to travel to Italy and visit the filming locations and I was also invited out to Skywalker Ranch in California while they were mastering parts of the film. That was just a dream come true!

AL: Do you ever find differences between writing solo/Evanescence material and music for films?

Amy: Definitely. When I am writing for Evanescence or for my solo stuff and I am writing something that is supposed to represent me. I have these expectations I set for myself to ensure that whatever I do represents who I am. From the lyrics to the music I want it to showcase me. Luckily there are lots of sides of who we are so I get the chance to go down a lot of roads. When you are writing for something like a movie where you are trying to represent the emotions of a character you have to put yourself in that place and try to speak artistically from that view point. Even though it’s someone else’s emotions you are their voice and vehicle. This is different but it’s a nice change as you are allowed to make other choices

AL: What was it like being able to work at Skywalker Ranch?

Amy: After showing my idea to everyone a couple days after our initial talk and them really liking it I was invited to the Ranch to record. I had never been away from my son at the time as he was only thirteen months old. I had to really think about things as it was such a great opportunity but living in New York I would have to fly across the country to California and leave my baby for the first time ever. We hadn’t even had just a single overnight away from one another at this point. After deciding to do it things really couldn’t have been more perfect. Being away put me emotionally in the right place to write the song as I was dealing with separation which was something the song needed. It was just perfect. The ranch is such a great place for creation. There recording studio is the most immaculate place I have ever seen. I actually stayed there and when you are a guest you get stay in your own private cottage with a bike you can ride from place to place on. The one night I was there I had this idea in the middle of the night so I rode my bike down to the studio and just started working. It was the perfect free space to work. Any chance I get to work there again I will certainly take it.

AL: Can you give us an update on your solo work and what is going on with Evanescence?

Amy: About a month ago I released a new solo song called “What Exists”. Looking at my solo releases I feel like I have released more than I actually have. (Laughs) I certainly feel like I have done a lot. I have done a lot of covers. Doing covers is something you can put your own style to without the pressure of having to write a song. I did some of those covers for Disney a few years back. Evanescence has started touring again and we are gearing up to start next month. We will be in South America for a few weeks then we go to Europe. We are working on a bigger project right now which I can’t talk about just yet but we will be releasing something this year. I am very excited!

AL: Any other projects you would like to mention that you have been working on?

Amy: I worked on the score for an independent film titled “Blind”. The film stars Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore. I am not sure of the exact release date for it but I believe it should be coming out this summer, possibly fall. It was a different type of project for me. I didn’t do the soundtrack but as there was a need for music David Eggar would call me. It’s a very different film than “War Story”. For me it’s really fun to be able to work on different things as I get to learn about different genres of music or how to play a different way. There are different feelings which come along with all of that. It’s great to be able to find new collaborators and projects as you are giving yourself the space and a reason to try new things which I think can only be good for you.


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R. Lee Ermey talks about new show “Saving Private K-9” on Sportsman Channel

R. Lee Ermey aka “The Gunny” is a retired United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant and an honorary Gunnery Sergeant. He is best known for his role of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”. Since then he has appeared in many films and TV including hosting shows like “Mail Call” and “Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey”. His last TV series just finished it’s first season on Sportman Channel called “Saving Private K-9”. Media Mikes had a chance to catch up with R. Lee to chat about his new series and his love for dogs.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to host “Saving Private K-9”?
R. Lee Ermey: This has been a really fun show to do. It’s called “Saving Private K-9”, come on everyone in America loves dogs. Hell yeah, this is America. I am a dog lover. I had six dogs myself…up until a few years ago. The kids were starting leaving home and each one took their dog with them and the next thing you know I am down to two dogs. I am going to have to go down to the kennel and adopt a couple of more [laughs].

MG: Did you have any experience with these dogs during your time in the United States Marine Corps?
RLE: RLE: Absolutely! That is what this is all about. It is about military dogs, working dogs, police dogs and law enforcement dogs. It is just a beautiful thing for me. I have worked with the dogs that sniff out bombs and landmines. They have saved thousands of lives during the war in Afghanistan. They are amazing animals.

MG: Did you need to research much on the topic before doing this show?
RLE: No, since I had experience working them. I did find out that years ago, if the handlers were killed or injured, the dogs used to be euthanized thinking that they were a one guy deal. They have found out in the past that if something happens to the handler that the dog can be handed over to another handler. It would take maybe a month or so but the dog transfer over very nicely.

MG: How did you end up at Sportsman Channel?
RLE: I just happen to be a sportsman [laughs], so it seems like a good fit. Just this year, Sportsman Channel has really decided to make their mark in this world. Instead of just hunting shows, they are now reaching out with four or five really great new shows. It is becoming a station that you and I and everyone in America can watch even if you disagree with hunting. We have done 10 episodes, so far and since the show has been such a great success, I believe we are gearing up to do many more. I just can’t believe how many people have been drawn to Sportsman Channel because of this little show.

MG: What do you see for the future of the show?
RLE: What I would like to think that we will do outside the show will be to help some of these dogs get adopted. These dogs are very laid back and well trained. After 8-10 years, they look to retire these dogs that have been protecting our country and they put them in a kennel. We need to get these dogs adopted and into good homes. I would also like to show to branch out to the training of the dogs as well. I would like get in on the ground floor and show people how the dogs trained and brought along, so you might be able to train your own dog. A good well-disciplined down is just a joy to be around.

Tony Lee Moral talks about his book “Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie”

A filmmaker himself, author Tony Lee Moral is best known for his books about the legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock. In 2002 he released “Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Marnie'” and followed it up a decade later with “The Making of Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds'” His next book is also about the master of suspense, “Alfred Hitchcock’s Movie Making Masterclass.”

With the growing popularity of Alfred Hitchcock, 33 years after his death, Mr. Moral has released a revised edition of his first book. He recently took the time to answer some questions about the influence and genius of Alfred Hitchcock.

Mike Smith: You’ve written three books on Alfred Hitchcock. What is it about him as a filmmaker that makes him your favorite subject?
Tony Lee Moral: Hitchcock for me is the definitive film maker, and his career and films span the history of cinema. His films have been a huge part of my life, ever since I saw my first Hitchcock film (I Confess) at the age of 10. I took part in the 1999 Alfred Hitchcock Centennial celebrations and have interviewed many scriptwriters, producers, actors who worked with Hitch. The more I watch his films, the more I become fascinated by the man behind the camera, as there is so much to learn from his life.

MS: Why do you think that, more than three decades after his passing, people are still interested in his films?
TLM: I think Hitchcock was a great storyteller and that will never go out of fashion. He was a master entertainer who put the audience first and always wanted to take them on a roller coaster ride. “Psycho” is probably the best example of that, as watching it is like a trip to the Horror-Fun House.

MS: Do you have a favorite Hitchcock film?
TLM: That is very difficult to choose, I’d say “Marnie” because of the characters and psychology. “Vertigo” is a very close second. And after that I’d choose “North by Northwest” or “The Birds.”

MS: As a filmmaker yourself, have you ever caught yourself intentionally cribbing a shot from Hitchcock’s work?
TLM: Absolutely, I’m very influenced by Hitchcock’s film grammar, from Long Shots to Big Close Ups for emotional impact. For my “Alfred Hitchcock’s Movie Making Masterclass” book, I really studied his use of film and my respect for him as a master film maker deepens. He was a true director who understood the medium of cinema and was a great teacher who influenced many other directors.

MS: What did you think of the film “Hitchcock?” Did you think Anthony Hopkins captured Mr. Hitchcock’s aura?
TLM: I liked it, but have only seen it once in the cinema, which isn’t a good sign. I thought it was light hearted and not mean spirited. I admire Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren as actors, but there were dramatic licenses taken in the film which I didn’t agree with. Overall, if it brought Hitchcock to a new, fresh young audience then that’s a good thing.

MS: What is your next project (either written or film)?
TLM: My next project, which I’m currently writing, is a book about Alfred Hitchcock’s reputation, especially since his death and the recent biographies that have followed it. It’s going to be very revealing and I’m really digging deep for this one, though it won’t be published for several years. I’m speaking to people who haven’t spoken out before about Hitchcock, and I’m hoping that this book will change the way we view Hitchcock and his movies in years to come.


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Film Review “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hour 12 minutes
The Weinstein Company

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

For me school was about teachers constantly pounding the same subjects over and over into our heads. Every year we’d go over the same material…history, English, science…but obviously it’s tweaked just a little to give us that fresh feeling even though it’s the same thing. Late middle school and the beginnings of high school is when you’re finally able to branch out and dive past the simplified textbooks handed out at school and begin to get a taste of something more in-depth. When it comes to the civil rights era, we were taught about Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Those aren’t bad people to start out with, but what about those behind the scenes? Their stories and their influences on the times are so much more compelling and that’s what “The Butler” goes for.

Cecil Gaines (Whitaker) is a hard working man who has always done his job to a tee. Even as a young lad, while he watched his slave owner murder his father and sexually abuse his mom, he has maintained a cool demeanor and was raised as the perfect house servant. He’s exactly what the White House wants. A man who puts his job above everything else and someone who never reacts or speaks about politics. Those two things don’t sit well with his wife, Gloria (Winfrey) and his son, Louis (Oyelowo). Gloria loves the fact that he’s so successful in life, but unhappy that many of her days are spent alone at home, chain smoking and washing away her sorrows with alcohol. Louis wishes that his father, within constant contact with everyone in the White House, would speak up for civil rights.

Cecil and his son represent two different ideas during the civil rights movement and neither are wrong in their thoughts or ideals. Louis starts his journey as a Freedom Rider, moving on to Black Panther and then to an aspiring politician, spending half of his time in jail for protesting. Cecil continues gaining the admiration of those around them and impressing each and every President with his back breaking work. Both father and son’s journeys highlight specific pivotal parts of the civil rights movement. Besides the social impacts, the movie also profiles the home life of Cecil and Gloria, which is the main emotional draw of the film. It’s their life’s journey that will make you laugh, feel tense and at times tear up.

Every little intricate character is well cast but the centerpiece of this ensemble is Forest Whitaker, who puts up a top-notch performance. If there’s any weakness among the powerful cast, it’s Oprah. While she’s not terrible, she never matches the same highs that Whitaker does and is often outdone by Oyelowo in their scenes together. The actors who play the Presidents are all well suited, but never get enough time to draw upon the historic mannerisms, while the actors portraying Cecil’s co-workers in the White House are a delight to watch whenever they’re called upon.

This is an “inspired by” story, which means that you can’t take everything at face value. However, Lee Daniels and Danny Strong have penned a very good movie. There’s never a dull moment and I would almost say it’s one of the more enjoyable flicks of the year. Come Oscar time this movie will definitely be getting some nods, but it may not be strong enough to reel them in. This movie is definitely riddled with political overtones, but that shouldn’t stop you from being satisfied with this imaginary look at a key part of our nation’s history. The journey of Cecil and the journey of our country are one in the same. Tough times always lay ahead, but perseverance will overcome our struggles. If I can walk out of a movie feeling good with that message, it’s better than anything I was taught in elementary school.

Ang Lee previews "Life of Pi" Blu-Ray

On March 12th, Ang Lee’s extraordinary Life of Pi arrives on Blu-ray and DVD with many special features that delve into the making of this challenging and visually stunning film. Life of Pi tells the story of Pi Patel, a boy whose sent adrift on a lifeboat after a disastrous ship sinking with only a bengal tiger to accompany him in his struggle for survival. Life of Pi took home the most Academy Awards for a single movie at this year’s awards (for Best director, cinematography, visual effects and musical score) and director Lee joined his editor Tim Squyres and writer, David Magee in New York this past week to talk about bringing Yann Martel’s novel to the screen.

People compare the level of immersiveness in this film’s 3D with Avatar’s. At what point in the development process did you decide to do it in 3D and how did that affect the writing?
Ang Lee: In the very beginning when we think about the structure of the script, I thought of the 3D thing. Which was about six months, nine months, before Avatar was released.
David Magee: Yea we hadn’t seen Avatar yet–we were talking about 3D in our first dinner together.
Tim Squyres: We had saw a bunch of 3D movies, good ones and bad ones…
Ang Lee:  I think the success of Avatar did two things for us. One is really legitimizing 3D as a storytelling tool. I think that’s a huge jump, James Cameron really pushed that. We wouldn’t have that argument. The second thing was it helped us arguing with the studio which, they say, ‘this is literature, this is not [an] action movie, why would …you want to add like a quarter [of the budget] just to do 3D, why?’ I think our film will help film makers make the same argument such as we took it from Avatar...I really give James Cameron the credit to elevating the 3D into a storytelling tool. I think that’s a huge step and I think everybody will just add things on top of that. We learn new things. I think the way it was used was very conservative. I think we could do more but everybody’s doing what we think is good for the audience at that time…This is not a mature language yet. We’re still sort of finding it. Establishing it.

With the amount of features on the Blu-Ray sort of pulling back the curtain on the whole process, do you think this makes audiences more appreciative of what they see? Or do you think it takes a little bit away?

Tim Squyres: There’s still lots of secrets. We’re not giving everything away!
David Magee: There are also two kinds of people in the world: There are people who like to watch a magic trick and go ‘I don’t wanna know how they did that’ and there are people who like to watch a magic trick and figure out how it’s done. And I think it’s totally appropriate for either of those people–look, if you’re the one who doesn’t want to know, don’t watch those extra features. Clearly we’re going to show you how this works, just stop.
Ang Lee: I don’t mind sharing How-to. I think that’s really fun and it’s educational for young filmmakers…I think really the mystery is in the charm, the spirit of the story. In the performance. I wouldn’t share how I deal with actors. What they go through. I would share very limited of that artistic thinking, how I hold a story, how I examine that within the film’s structure. People ask me about symbolism…and I staple it. I can not tell you, I am not going there. But I think the making is fun.

While young Pi Patel was played by  new comer Suraj Sharma, the older version of Pi was portrayed by film veteran Irrfan Khan (Amazing Spider-man, Slumdog Millionaire) Did Suraj get to interact with Khan at all in order to discuss their takes on the character?

Ang Lee: A little bit, he’s still starstruck by Irrfan Khan, he’s just like the best actor taboo. So he idolized him. Not that [Suraj] ever acted before but you know, he’s a smart young man, so he knows there’s the real-deal for acting. He looked up to them. I gave him personal acting lessons and of course acting with those wonderful actors was help. I think most of all he has the ability to just believe in a situation and respond accordingly. And he has a really soulful face. There’re people that are just–I think I have a good grasp on if that works cinematically or not. That’s kind of the person, people act for him.

How was the audition process for Pi?
Ang Lee: There’s no sixteen year old movie stars, so we got to get someone new. So we know the deal. I think before we meet the boy, it’s very hard for a company to commit to a project, the expense, it would be hard for me too. Even if I already have the script, if you don’t have the boy you believe in, then you don’t have a movie, we should probably just drop it. I think I was pretty lucky…when I see Suraj, I don’t know, he looks like Pi to me…His face is full of possibilities. The deep, profound way he looks when he is thinking… I’ve done movies long enough and I think I’m also talented enough to know, to tell, to trust a thing. This is the third time in a role I’m making a movie with…a first-timer lead to carry a movie. I think it’s a matter of you believing them and then you check whether they have the ability to believe in what they’re told. I tested him. He looks right and I tested him, [his was] the most poignant reading I’d experienced with the screen test. I told him to tell the second story as if it’s for real like in his circumstances–the mother is your mother, you know, I gave some equations, it took a little while and then it just started. Halfway he’s crying–and for five minutes, eight minutes, he didn’t get out of the character. That’s tremendous talent. I don’t know what else you can–people got tears! And the casting director that’s shooting’s got tears in their eyes. When I showed that tape, that face, to the studio, they want to make the movie. One of the reasons they wanted to make the movie is we got that boy. So I don’t know what else you can trust. You gotta have some faith at some point, you got to take the leap of faith. But it’s instinct, quick impression, it’s also a quick calculation I guess. I can see that will work…He didn’t melt down, he didn’t get sick at all….The last three months we shot nothing but him. Every shot is him. We’re shooting all in order and he’s losing weight at the same time. At lunch time he’s doing crunches, we gave him a slice of apple. The last month he’s going kind of crazy!

Win one of Mimoco’s Bruce Lee MIMOBOT® Designer USB Flash Drives [ENDED]


Mimoco, creator of the MIMOBOT® line of designer USB flash drives and MIMOMICRO® card readers, is thrilled to release the second in the Legends of MIMOBOT series, Bruce Lee MIMOBOT. Featuring the icons, geniuses, and stars of the human race that have changed our world for the better, the Legends of MIMOBOT series debuted with the release of Einstein MIMOBOT in early 2012. Now, Bruce Lee MIMOBOT continues the series by transforming the most influential martial artist of all time into designer flash drives that hold up to 64GBs of data, and come preloaded with bonus Mimory® such as MimoDesk™ personalization suite of Bruce Lee-themed wallpapers, icons, video, and avatars, and MimoByte™ sound software that plays sound clips each time Bruce Lee MIMOBOT is inserted or ejected from one’s computer.

Media Mikes would like to giveaway THREE of these MIMOBOT® USB Flash Drives. If you would like to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite BRUCE LEE filmThis giveaway will be open until Friday August 31st, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out four winners and alert the winners via email.

Bruce Lee MIMOBOT is available now at,, and at specialty stores all across the world. Get the latest in the Legend of MIMOBOT series before they disappear faster than a nunchuck to the noggin!


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Concert Review “Tail Gates and Tan Lines Tour” Luke Bryan, Justin Moore & Lee Brice

“Tail Gates and Tan Lines Tour”
Luke Bryan, Justin Moore. Lee Brice
Date: Sunday, June 17th 2012
Venue: Tag’s Summer Stage, Big Flats, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

 Luke Bryan’s “Tail Gates and Tan Lines” tour pulled into the Tag’s Summer Stage in the Upstate NY town of Big Flats on June 17th to kick off the venues 2012 concert season. Along with Luke Bryan were fellow country music acts Justin Moore and Lee Brice.

Long lines stretched out the venues gates as the estimated 5,000 concert goers made their way into the medium sized outdoor venue to enjoy a night of music from 3 country superstars. Lee Brice would kick off the night bringing his brand of rock infused country to the already near capacity crowd.

Brice played a number of songs off his latest album “Hard 2 Love” which quickly had fanson their feet and singing along. The set also included a guest performance from Today Show host Hoda Kotb. Justin Moore would take the stage next as the venue reached near capacity numbers and preceded to kick the energy level up a notch.Moore opened the set with the country meets rock song “Guns” before launching into hits such as “How I Got to Be This Way “, “Small Town USA” and closed out the night with the song “Backwoods”.

Luke Bryan closed out the night and immediately took control of the crowd which consisted mostly of cowboy hat clad women and their unsuspecting boyfriends. Bryan opened his set with the popular song “Rain Is a Good Thing” before leading into his latest single “Drunk On You” and the always popular number “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”. Those in attendance were treated to a great night of music and entertainment as all three acts seemed to put their best effort forward. I highly recommend checking out the tour if it is making a stop in your area this summer.

Justin Moore Set List:
1.) Guns
2.) How I Got to Be This Way
3.) My Kind of Woman
4.) Backroad
5.) Twang
6.) Til My Last Day/I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends
7.) Heaven
8.) Beer Time
9.) Bait a Hook
10.) Rowdy Friends/Hank It
11.) Small Town
12.) Ass
13.) Backwoods

Interview with Reggie Lee

Reggie Lee is playing Sgt. Wu on NBC’s “Grimm”, which premieres on October 28th.  Reggie is also co-starred in Sam Raimi’s “Drag Me to Hell”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Reggie about his new show and what we can expect from season one.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us about working on the series “Grimm”?
Reggie Lee: It’s going great. We are now filming our third episode and the show is what we call a procedural cop drama that takes fairy tales and drops them on their head. The series is from the creators of “Angel” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. People are expecting this sort of dual world thing. This series is a little darker than the creator’s previous works and leans more to an “X-Files” type theme. The story follows Nick Burckhardt played by David Giuntoli who starts to see people transform into characters from the Grimm fairytales. He is the only one who can see these people transform so it creates an interesting dynamic between him and the other detectives. Everything is an adventure on this show.

MG: What can you tell us about your character?
RL: I play Sgt. Wu and he is basically a smart ass sergeant. The character is a lot of fun and he technically really smart but he also has some great one liners. We find out as the series progresses that he has an addiction problem that is tied to one of the other characters on the show.

MG: What has it been like filming in Portland?
RL:  Portland is unbelievable! It’s just really great! Portland is almost like the 7th lead character in the show. The landscape really lends to the story. Everything about the city is just great.

MG: What has it been like working with the rest of the cast?
RL: It’s been great. I have known Silas Weir Mitchell for quite awhile and it’s been great being back on a show with him again. David Giuntoli is a fresh new face and he has done really well. We are all on the same level in with our careers so there really isn’t one person who gets more attention than another. We have been really close since the start and I think both of these things have helped the show.

MG: How does this series differ from the others you have been involved in?
RL: This one is different because I have been with it from the ground up. The other shows I have worked on I have joined in the second season or there was a story arc that I was involved in as a reoccurring character. The other great thing about “Grimm” is that they created this character specifically for me after I had auditioned for a different role that I did not get. This character is really fun. I generally always play assholes and this character is nothing of the sort. I have a role in a film coming out Oct. 28 called “Safe” and I love it because I am finally being given characters that are diverse. My previous roles were just killing the guy and have no remorse. These recent roles are more like real life and I get to branch out.

MG: Since the character was created for you were you allowed any creative control?
RL: When you go with a series you almost always do. After an episode or two the writers start to write for your voice. Before I jumped into the project I wanted to know what exactly the character was going to be like. Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt who have been in the business for some time now have not one ounce of ego. They are the most collaborative people along with Sam Raimi that I have ever worked with.

Interview with Eddie Lee Sausage & Mitch H.

Eddie Lee Sausage & Mitch H. are the guys behind the audio vérité recordings of Peter J. Haskett and Raymond Huffman, which turned into cult comedy tape series “Shut Up Little Man!”. The tapes were released commercially in 1992 and since has blown up in this phenomenon which latest spawned a documentary about the guys “Shut Up, Little Man! An Audio Misadventure”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Eddie Lee Sausage & Mitch H. about the film and also this cult phenomenon.

Mike Gencarelli: Where did your involvement begin in terms of the documentary?
Eddie Lee Sausage: I received an email from Matthew Bates, who was the director of the film. I started off by telling that we had been approached several times before about doing a documentary. What I had done with those who had asked in the past was to have them send me some of their previous work. The stuff I received prior to this was so wretched that I didn’t think the project would work. Matt sent me some of his previous films, which I thought were exceptionally well done. I thought Matt’s style was something that could really work and had a lot of potential.

MG: What was it like revisiting all the tapes and photos for the documentary?
Mitch H: The first place we shot was in Wisconsin. We had a lot of fun shooting there. I have a pretty extensive collection of photos all cataloged, so I gave those to the guys to use. They ended up scanning quite a few of the photos from that era.
ELS: The “Shut up Little Man!” phenomenon seems to come in waves. A lot will happen for two years then nothing seems to happen for three years. I had taken about a year and a half starting in 2008 putting together a detailed website I put up all of the stories, videos, artwork and photos I had gotten from Mitch on that site. Within about six weeks of the site going live Matt called about the documentary. It was a great time to do it because everything was still fresh in my mind from working on the website.

MG: What has been your response towards the recognition the film is receiving?
MH: I am still in awe. I never expected the film to do so well. It’s been a lot of fun and a wild ride. Everything is just very surreal.

MG: Have you guys attended any of the screenings?
ELS: We attended the screening at Sundance as well as the one in San Francisco and a number of others. We have got to meet a lot of great people and be a part of some fun Q and A’s. It’s really been a lot of fun.

MG: Going back in time how do you feel the things in the film would relate to pop culture if they were done today?
MH: It’s hard to say what the end result would have been if we were recording this material today. It might just be here and gone. In the mid 90’s, you had to have something tangible. You had to have a cassette tape in your hand that you could give to someone. It’s wasn’t like today where you have something in a PDF format and you just email it. I think things would have been immensely different.
ELS: Ray and Peter are extremely unique. It’s not just another neighbor or any other drunk. There is something hilarious about the two’s personal dynamic. These two are beyond any standard loud next door neighbor.

MG: Do you guys still listen to the tapes today?
ELS: I go through waves of listening to them. When we released to full tapes in 2008 I didn’t ever really want to listen to the things again! I had been personally doing a lot of the engineering at that point. Mitch and I live half way across the continent from each other and probably every other day or so we end up texting a line or two from “Shut Up Little Man!” It lives on that way.

MG: What do you think is next for “Shut Up Little Man!”
ELS: Were hoping to do commemorative statuettes of liquor for Peter and Ray (Laughs). I’m joking. Maybe bobble heads or a clothing line with dried vomit on it. There are a lot of marketing ideas [laughs].


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Interview with Lee Thompson Young

Lee Thompson Young is currently co-starring as Barry Frost on “Rizzoli and Isles”.  The show is beginning its second season July 11th.  Lee Took some time to chat with Movie Mikes about the season two and what we can expect from his character.

Mike Smith: What do you like most about playing Barry Frost on “Rizzoli and Isles”?
Lee Thompson Young: I really enjoy portraying his technical and computer knowledge.  It’s really fun to be sitting at a computer and breaking down video footage or researching terrorists’ criminal records.  It give me something fun to play and those scenes have the energy of a mystery being solved.  It’s almost like a Sherlock Holmes moment.  To me those things are the most fun about playing Detective Frost.

MS: What can fans expect from your character this season?  Anything jaw dropping?
LTY: I certainly hope there is some jaw dropping stuff.  We definitely learn more about my character this season.  My father comes to visit us in the office.  I won’t go into detail why but it’s all geared and woven into one of the cases we’re dealing with.  We learn a lot about his family and who he is…his growing up and his relationship with his family.  There’s definitely a lot more history about Detective Frost this season.

MS: What is the most challenging aspect for you working on the show?
LTY: The most challenging thing, and it’s similar on all television shows, is that we’re doing fifteen episodes and the challenge is to come in on episode ten with the same intensity and freshness and excitement that you had in episode one.  Keeping it alive and staying 100% involved in your character over six months.  On a feature you just have that one story and you can perfect each moment and it’s done.  But we do one story every week and a half so just keeping it fresh is a challenge.

MS: You’ve got two very strong actresses (Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander) leading the cast.  How is it working with them?
LTY: What I take away most is the skill that they have and the job they do.  If they’re women or men, it doesn’t really play that much into the experience.  Everyone in the cast is a professional.  Having Angie and Sasha there is like going to a master acting class every day.  They are both very skilled and when I watch them I try to take away things…I notice the choices that they make.  The only major difference in having two girls or two guys in the lead is that sometimes hair and make up takes a little longer (laughs).

MS: How do you prepare for a role?
LTY: I love doing research for my roles.  To me it’s one of the best parts of the job.  For this role I went to Boston and spent about a week with the homicide unit.  They gave me the rundown on how they work and how they live.  It was really eye opening and probably the most valuable investment I’ve made over the past two years.  It’s given me so much fuel to play this character.

MS: How was your experience working on the film “The Hills Have Eyes II?”
LTY: That was great.  That was great!  We shot it in Morocco, which was a mind blowing experience.  I loved Morocco…I was surprised at how much I loved it….because I thought it was just in the desert, no big deal.  But the rocks..the mountains, the sky at night…everything was very beautiful.  But it was a tough shoot.  A hundred degrees plus temperatures in the day time…running around all day in a full National Guard Army uniform.  A lot of long hours doing very intense stuff…running, screaming, getting shot…shooting people.  But because it was so intense I think it was a very strong bonding experience with the cast.  But we had a lot of laughs.  We worked hard and we played hard and we had a good time.

MS: Do you have a preference between television and film?
LTY: I think that there are pros and cons to each medium.  But what it ultimately boils down to me is the quality of the story that I’m going to be involved in, be it t.v. or film.  With TV the schedule sometimes pushes you to move a little faster and you might not get as much time as you’d like to get a moment right.  But you also have a lot of time to develop the character over a series of episodes.  On a movie you sometimes can’t reach the same level of depth but…you know the script five months in advance…you can study each moment and spend the time to get it just the way you want it.  When it’s done it’s done and you can put it to rest.  Both mediums have their benefits.

MS: Besides the new season what other projects do you have coming up?
LTY: We shoot the show for six months and a lot of the time stuff that comes up in the middle of the year I’m not available for.  I don’t have anything lined up right now but I’ll try and have something lined up by the end of the season.  I’ll get with my representation and try to see what’s going on and hopefully there will be some things that come out of that.