Iron Maiden Announce 2019 North American “Legacy of the Beast” Tour

Iron Maiden Announce 2019 North American “Legacy of the Beast” Tour

IRON MAIDEN will bring the “Legacy Of The Beast” tour to North America in 2019 for an extensive series of arena and amphitheater shows produced by Live Nation, including a first-ever headline appearance at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The tour will cover a total of 33 cities right across the U.S.A. and Canada, including Portland, Oregon where they haven’t played since 1987 on the “Somewhere In Time” tour, Hartford, Connecticut where they last played in 2005, and many other places not visited since the “Maiden England” 2012-2013 tour. The full list of dates is below.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, November 16 at 10 a.m. local time at LiveNation.com. As always, there will be an exclusive pre-sale for IRON MAIDEN fan-club members.

The band’s triumphant first leg of the “Legacy Of The Beast” tour opened in Europe earlier this year to outstanding critical acclaim, not just by the 750,000-plus fans who came to see the show but right across national press and rock media, including The Times (UK) newspaper calling it “an extraordinary show filled with world class theatrics… a masterclass in performance and staging.”

MAIDEN vocalist Bruce Dickinson comments: “We’re excited to return to North America and share the ‘Legacy Of The Beast’ tour with all our friends there! We’re immensely proud of this show and we’ve had great reactions from the many fans who came to see us in Europe earlier this year. The production is based on our mobile game ‘The Legacy Of The Beast’ which basically takes various incarnations of Eddie into many different MAIDEN worlds. This inspired us to put together a stage show to take our fans through different worlds and experiences set to appropriate songs. It is not that easy designing different worlds on stage and we put a huge amount of work into this to make it work and the end result we feel is our most spectacular and certainly the most complex show to date. We’ve got all kinds of crazy things going on, including a replica Spitfire plane dominating the stage during ‘Aces High’, tons of pyro, a giant Icarus, muskets, claymores and some truly marvellous flame-throwers which I have a hell of a lot of fun with, as you will see! And, of course, we have Eddie, as you’ve never seen him before, and absolutely loads of other surprises. I’ve had the time of my life playing with all these magnificent props on stage, it’s been fantastic, we can’t wait to bring this show to you!”

Steve Harris, bassist and founder member adds: “We gave a lot of thought to the set list for this tour as the songs needed to follow the narrative of the changing worlds of the stage show. We feel we ended up with a very strong and well balanced set mixing songs we haven’t played in many years, like ‘Flight Of Icarus’, ‘Sign Of The Cross’ and ‘The Clansman’ with songs we know the fans want to hear like ‘The Trooper’, ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’, ‘The Number Of The Beast’, ‘Fear Of The Dark’, ‘Run To The Hills’, ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ and others, reflecting the journey through the different themes of the show. The whole band is really enjoying this tour and we are really looking forward to seeing everybody again!”

Support on the 2019 tour comes from THE RAVEN AGE. Additionally, FOZZY will be guests for the Banc of California Stadium show in Los Angeles.

IRON MAIDEN “Legacy Of The Beast” 2019 North American tour dates:

Jul. 18 – Sunrise, FL – BB&T Center
Jul. 20 – Atlanta, GA – Cellairis Amphitheater At Lakewood
Jul. 22 – Charlotte, NC – Pnc Music Pavilion
Jul. 24 – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
Jul. 26 – Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center+
Jul. 30 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center*
Aug. 01 – Boston, MA – Xfinity Center
Aug. 03 – Hartford, CT – Xfinity Theatre
Aug. 05 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
Aug. 07 – Quebec City, QC – Videotron Centre
Aug. 09 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage
Aug. 10 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage
Aug. 13 – Buffalo, NY – Keybank Center
Aug. 15 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
Aug. 17 – Pittsburgh, PA – Ppg Paints Arena
Aug. 19 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
Aug. 22 – Tinley Park, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Aug. 24 – Indianapolis, IN – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
Aug. 26 – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center*
Aug. 28 – Winnipeg, MB – Bell Mts Place
Aug. 30 – Edmonton, AB – Rogers Place
Aug. 31 – Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome
Sep. 03 – Vancouver, BC – Pepsi Live At Rogers Arena
Sep. 05 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
Sep. 06 – Portland, OR – Moda Center
Sep. 09 – Sacramento, CA – Golden 1 Center
Sep. 10 – Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
Sep. 13 – Las Vegas, NV – Mgm Grand Garden Arena
Sep. 14 – Los Angeles, CA – Banc Of California Stadium
Sep. 17 – Phoenix, AZ – Talking Stick Resort Arena*
Sep. 19 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater
Sep. 21 – Dallas, TX – Dos Equis Pavilion
Sep. 22 – Houston, TX – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sep. 25 – San Antonio, TX – At&T Center

* on sale starting 12 p.m. local time
+ on sale starting Monday, November 19 at 10 a.m. local time
No further cities will be added to this touring schedule.

For the 2019 shows, IRON MAIDEN will, in conjunction with the promoters, be implementing a partial digital ticketing system in as many venues as possible. This technology, being used by the NFL amongst others, is a progression of the paperless system that MAIDEN have been successfully using since 2010 and has worked well in lessening ticket scalping and the drain of prime tickets into the Secondary market.

Fans in the USA and Canada will once again be able to enjoy a Trooper VIP Upgrade package allowing early access to the venue, a pile of Trooper goodies, Trooper beers, food and a designated area to meet with other fans, plus the opportunity to win some great prizes. Packages will be available from IronMaiden.com, priced at $220 ($290 CAD for Canadian shows), with a 10% discount for IRON MAIDEN fan-club members.

Guitarist Phil Palmer Discusses Dire Straits Legacy Tour

Phil Palmer is a legendary session guitarist who has performed on countless albums for acts such as Robbie Williams and George Michael and Bob Dylan. Palmer has also had the distinction of being a member of both Eric Clapton’s band and 80’s hit makers Dire Straits. Palmer is currently on the road touring with Dire Straits Legacy (DSL) a group made up of former Dire Straits members wanting to pay tribute the bands amazing catalog. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Phil recently about the group’s formation and the bands first tour of the United States in ten years.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some history as to how you initially became with Dire Straits?

Phil Palmer: I was part of the band during the group’s last world tour between 1991 and 1992. I think we did something around 270 shows. Prior to joining Dire Straits I had been in Eric Clapton’s band for about three years. That time period was quite busy for me as Eric’s group was very active and then I went right over to Dire Straits to play over 200 shows.

AL: What was it like transitioning stylistically from Eric Clapton to Dire Straits?

PP: The main difference I guess was for Eric’s tour we did around three days of rehearsal. It was all very much by the seat of your pants. At that time I think he had the best band in the world. The situation was very fluid and the arrangements would often evolve as we began playing as the environment was very free. When I joined Dire Straits we rehearsed for three months prior to the tour starting. There were quite a few complicated sections and the arrangements were very important to Mark. That was probably the biggest difference. To be in Dire Straits you have to be regimented. Half of my job was to make sure that when Mark decided to be spontaneous with his playing that I stayed out of his way while still providing a supportive role. This was much different than where I had just come from. As a session player those are the types of things I am good at so after the three months of rehearsal and we started playing shows things lightened up a bit. The real important thing was the dynamics which tended to be the hardest thing to get everyone in sync to.

AL: Now how did the Dire Straits Legacy project start out?

PP: This group was born out of a chance meeting really. I had not seen any of the other Dire Straits guys in about ten years or so. There was an idea for us to get together and play the Dire Straits music presented so we all met in Rome and at the start we weren’t really in to the idea. After a nice dinner and a few bottles of wine everyone loosened up to the idea. After that a small show was set up for us just outside of Rome. With very little rehearsal we showed up to a field filled with around ten thousand people waiting to hear us play. We realized then that there was a lot of life left in the Dire Straits band and the only person who was not there that should have been was Mark Knopfler. Most of the original Dire Straits personnel from the tour in 92’ came out for this show and had fun.

AL: With Mark not being involved in the project was there any trepidation on your part to do the project?

PP: Yes. We weren’t sure people were going to accept it without Mark. The surprising thing is it’s the music that shines through. Marks songs and arrangements are so good that people still love it and even after twenty five years of being away the shows go over great! The music is just so interesting that people really love it.

AL: Can you tell us about the current DSL line up?

PP: Steve Ferrone and I have known each other since the Eric Clapton days. He is such a great drummer and to have him involved in this is very cool. His history with Tom Petty speaks for itself. Trevor Horn is a guy who I have worked a lot with over the years and, one day I mentioned to him that we were going to be doing this tour. He said he was interested in being a part of it and jumped on board. It’s interesting to look at the resumes the guys in the band have. It’s just extreme! There so much material that we could pull from each of our careers. The other day we were playing “Owner of a lonely Heart” which Trevor wrote and produced for Yes. That’s a great song to listen to and play. It also gives a slight diversion from the Dire Straits stuff. We really wanted to explore everyone’s talent even if it was outside of Dire Straits. We plan to add a few other songs outside of the Dire Straits set as time goes on.

AL: It has been awhile since the group has been to the United States. Can you tell us about the upcoming shows here and possibly why you have been absent from the U.S. market?

PP: We like playing in the States however this project can be a bit hard to promote. We are playing the music of the Dire Straits however we are not the Dire Straits. We can’t legally use the name so it’s hard for us to explain to people what they are buying tickets to see. That’s really been our main issue. We have a showcase booked in Nashville for all the American promoters and it was basically brought us to the States. We are doing some other gigs because we want to play but everything sort of revolves around this showcase which we hope will generate gigs for 2019. By coming over to the States now in late 2018 we are hoping to get the foot hold we need to make a solid presence for next year.

AL: In 2017 DSL release “3 Chord Trick”. Are any of the songs from that album going to be featured in the set for this run of U.S. shows?

PP: We are going to play a few tracks from that album. We had a lot of fun recording that record. The idea was to record the old way where the band was all in one room and not use any modern equipment. It was a lot of fun and I think the album has a depth that you just don’t hear today. It is quite diverse. There are some Dire Straits moments in there as the nucleolus of the band (Alan Clark and myself) we were inspired by Mark’s music but we didn’t deliberately go out and try to produce a Dire Straits album. We like to think that “3 Chord Trick” is the next stage of our development rather than Dire Straits.

AL: Are there any other projects you are currently working on outside of the Dire Straits Legacy project?

PP: Alan and I have been working with Trevor on a project called “The 80’s Reinvented”. It’s a bunch of classic tracks from that era done in Trevor Horn’s signature style. That’s been a lot of fun! We have been working with a full orchestra and a lot of very special guest performers. Trevor being who he is able to call up just about anyone and ask them to be on his record and they more than likely will do it! It’s great fun.

For more info in Dire Straits Legacy visit www.dslegacy.com

 

CD Reviews “Walt Disney Records: The Legacy Collection”

Just when you think you have a complete collection of Disney soundtracks…think again! “Walt Disney Records: The Legacy Collection” includes the latest releases of your favorite film soundtracks. The first three that have been released in this collection are “Sleeping Beauty” (55th anniversary), “Mary Poppins” (50th anniversary) and “The Lion King” (20th anniversary)  featuring new and remastered content. These CDs aren’t just a collection of songs, they are an immersive experience. A must for any Disney nut and music collector.

“Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: Sleeping Beauty” is a 2 disc set, which features the classic songs and score from the film as well as studio recordings of Princess Aurora’s songs performed by Mary Costa, and never before released demos and tracks. Also included is beautiful new original artwork inspired by the original properties illustrated by Lorelay Bove, a visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios (“Tangled”, “Wreck-It Ralph”).

“The Lion King” was the first of these to be released. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, This sound includes all the classic songs from this film. There is also about 30 minutes of previously unreleased score included. This is a real treat for any fan of the film. It is crazy to this that this has never been released before. There are also liner notes by Don Hahn (producer) and Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer, which gives great insight in the content included.

Last up for now is “Mary Poppins”, which actually gets a 3 disc set and trumps the others. I love that these Legacy Collection releases come in a book format and not just a crappy jewel case. Along with the wonderful and timeless music from the film, this also includes Mary Poppins Lost chords and excerpts from the P.L. Travers Story Meetings with Don DaGradi and The Sherman Brothers. I had no idea that there was so much extra music for this film but if you are a fan of “Mary Poppins”, this is definitely the ultimate collection. collector should own and enjoy.

“Walt Disney Records: The Legacy Collection” is going to be expanding over the next few years. Personally, I purchase all my music digitally these days but Disney has just given us a reason to purchase physical CDs again. Next up “The Little Mermaid”, which is being released November 24th. I am very excited for this release and to hear the demo and bonus content.  Beyond that there are plenty of upcoming anniversaries to celebrate including “Pinocchio” (75th), “Fantasia” (75th), “Cinderella” (65th), “Lady and the Tramp” (60th) and “Toy Story” (20th).

Win a Blu-ray for “Mortal Kombat: Legacy II” [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of “Mortal Kombat: Legacy II”:, Media Mikes is excited to giveaway one (1) copy of the film on Blu-ray to our readers. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Mortal Kombat character. This giveaway will remain open until October 24th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to all of our Media Mikes readers worldwide. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Mortal Kombat: Legacy II, produced by Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, is the hit live action web series based on the legendary Mortal Kombat video game franchise, co-created by Ed Boon, developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Originally debuting exclusively on Machinima in September 2013, the web series became an instant favorite with more than 19 million views.

The second season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy uncovers the rivalries and histories of fierce warriors as Raiden and his recruits clash against the dark forces of Outworld. Chronicling the tournament and the interweaving storylines of the most beloved Kombatants, the series also explores the complex relationship between Liu Kang and Kung Lao and revisits the complicated family dynamic of Kitana and Mileena. Directed by Kevin Tancharoen (Mortal Kombat: Rebirth) and starring Casper Van Dien, Brian Tee, Ian Anthony Dale, and Cary Tagawa, the series also won over critics, receiving a 2014 Streamy Award for Best Choreography (Garrett Warren and Larnell Stovall).

DVD Review “Sniper: Legacy”

Actors: Tom Berenger Chad Michael Collins, Dominic Mafham
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: September 30, 2014
Running Time: 98 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

How can you no to Tom Berenger, star of the original “Sniper”, returning to his role of Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Beckett? It’s is impossible. This next chapter of the hit action franchise also sees the return of “Sniper: Reloaded” star Chad Michael Collins (“Company of Heroes”) as Becket’s son, Sergeant Brandon Beckett. This is actually aka “Sniper 5” but the series still has some life left in it and seeing these two generations of Sniper heroes team up is some decent fun. Let’s hope that this gets some traction and will we see future installments as well!

Official Premise: A rogue gunman is assassinating high-ranking military officers one by one. When Gunnery Sgt. Brandon Beckett (Chad Michael Collins, Sniper: Reloaded) is informed his father, legendary shooter Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger) has been killed, Brandon springs into action to take out the perpetrator. But when his father rescues him from an ambush, Brandon realizes he’s a pawn being played by his superiors to draw out the killer. It’s up to the two men, bound by blood, to bring an end to the carnage.

“Sniper: Legacy” is directed by Don Michael Paul (“Company of Heroes” also with Chad Michael Collins) from a screenplay by John Fasano (Sniper: Reloaded) and Don Michael Paul. This is not outstanding but it is definitely entertaining if you enjoy the franchise. It includes a great supporting cast with Dennis Haysbert (“24”), Mercedes Masohn (“NCIS: Los Angeles”), Dominic Mafham (“Land Girls”), Doug Allen (“Band of Brothers”), Mark Lewis Jones (“Game of Thrones”), and Nestor Serrano (Act of Valor). No special features included here.

Blu-ray Review “Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy”

Actors: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Wes Craven, Lisa Wilcox, Alice Cooper, Mark Patton, Monica Keena, Brendan Fletcher, Ronny Yu
Directors: Andrew Kasch, Daniel Farrands
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Run Time: 238 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

“Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy” was originally released on DVD in 2010 but thanks to Image Entertainment, we get a new Blu-ray edition. Directing duo Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch has been known for their documentary work in the horror genre including the also recently released “Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th”, which runs over 7 hours itself. This film is a four-hour retrospective documentary that really dives very in-depth in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” film series. I have always loved this series, the good AND the bad and this is really the best way to give this series the respect that it deserves. A must have for any horror fan.

Official Premise: For decades, Freddy Krueger has slashed his way through the dreams of countless youngsters, scaring up over half a billion dollars at the box office. In this thrilling retrospective, fans will enter the world of Freddy Krueger and A Nightmare On Elm Street like never before: exploring what spurred mastermind Wes Craven to craft the first groundbreaking film; delving deep behind the scenes of the original and all of its sequels; learning how the cast and crew brought their worst nightmares to life; and finally, understanding the impact the series and its myths have had on modern pop culture and the horror genre. Child murderer. Dream demon. The son of a thousand maniacs. Any way you slice it there can be only one man, one monster, who epitomizes horror like no other.

So if you haven’t seen this film already it is jam packed with clips from each of the film along with never-before-seen photos, behind-the-scenes footage, conceptual art, publicity materials and exclusive new interviews with over 100 key cast and crew from every Nightmare film. Just some of amazingly talent people include Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Jack Sholder, Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Chuck Russell, Jennifer Rubin, Renny Harlin, Lisa Wilcox, Tuesday Knight, Stephen Hopkins, Kelly Jo Minter, Rachel Talalay, Lisa Zane, Alice Cooper, Patrick Lussier, Miko Hughes, Monica Keena, Brendan Fletcher, Ronny Yu and many more. These filmmakers really set out to make the definitive documentary and they achieved that with no question.

In terms of special features, the Blu-ray comes stocked with the same amazing special features that the DVD did back in 2010. If four hours wasn’t long enough there are additional “Extended Interviews” covering each of the films and it definitely consists of some great additional content. There is a (or was a) “First Look: Heather Langenkamp’s “I Am Nancy”, which was a doc that came out in 2011 told from the star’s perspective of attending conventions etc. “For the Love of the Glove” follows online sellers as they talk about their work with making custom Freddy gloves. “Fred Heads: The Ultimate Freddy Fans” gives us an inside look into the world of the collectors behind this series.

“Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: Return to Elm Street” is an episode from the great online series from Sean Clark in which he visits all the old shooting locations of the classic film. “Freddy vs. The Angry Video Game Nerd” features James Rolfe talking about the (rather terrible) NES video game. “Expanding the Video Game Universe: Freddy in Comic Books and Novels” talks with authors and artists about their expanding universe for Freddy. “The Music of the Nightmare: Conversations with Composers and Songwriter” is an amazing extra diving into the memorable music from this great series.

“Elm Street’s Poster Boy: The Art of Matthew Joseph Peak” looks into the work of this very talent artist, who also brought us the cover art for this film. “A Nightmare on Elm Street in 10 Minutes” is an extended version of the actor line readings, which is shown in the film’s credits. Lastly there is a teaser trailer included. Whew! This movie and special features all together are so entertaining and I have never seen so much packed into one release. Don’t miss this one!

Brian Tee talks about his roles in “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2” and “The Wolverine”

Brian Tee worked on projects like “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” and TV like “Grimm” and has a busy year a head of him. He is playing the role of Liu Kang “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2” and Noburo Mori in “The Wolverine”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian about his roles and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you ended up taking on the role of Liu Kang “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2”?
Brian Tee: I heard about “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2,” while I was shooting “The Wolverine” in Australia. I knew of the Series through one of my best bro’s Ian Anthony Dale. He plays Scorpion in the “Mortal Kombat: Rebirth” Trailer and in Season 1 & 2… he’s a brilliant actor and crushes it as the Scorpion. He’s perfect for the role. So I called him and asked about his experience on the shoot and working with Kevin Tancharoen. He had such high praise and I was already a huge fan of Kev’s work, so I had to be a part of it. BUT, I have to admit, at first I was like “hell no, I won’t play Liu Kang!” to be honest, as a kid popping quarters in the MK video game, I hated playing Liu. He just seemed to me to be a caricature of the stereotypical kung-fu guy. So when the role was brought up, I was the first person to think I wasn’t right for the role… I love playing characters with depth and complexities that at first glance, Liu never had… UNTIL, I read the script and talked to Kevin about it. The script blew me away and completely transformed Liu into something I’d love to sink my teeth into. And as we spoke, Kevin and I were on the same page, with what we wanted and didn’t want Kang to be. So with Kev’s genius vision we created this now anti-Hero character and took Liu to a completely new image and darker place, with the grounded visceral justice that this version of Liu Kang deserves.

MG: How did you prepare to play such an epic and important character?
BT:  Pleasantly surprised, this character really pushed me as an actor in so many ways, both emotionally and physically. Because you’re right, Liu Kang is an already iconic figure, so it’s harder for fans to relate to him. And that was my focus… I worked on connecting to the being, not the figure. I really wanted to delve deep within the soul of the man, not the image of character… Not to get too “actor-e,” I wanted to bring a grounded reality and create the person, not the persona… so that fan’s can connect to him as I did. Physically, I knew there were huge shoes to fill playing this epic character. I know I had to step up my game in order to successfully pull off what I wanted to withLiu, in the series. I was pretty adamant that I wanted to try to do the majority of the stunts the character demanded… but that respect is earned, not given. So I knew I had to prove myself. You don’t just go up to the greatest stunt coordinator in the game, Garrett Warren, and say “yeah, I can do that”… you have to work for it. So with the help of Garrett, the amazing stunt choreography Larnell Stovall created, my stunt double Kim Do training me personally, and along with some of the best stunt guys in the business… I had the good fortune to work my way into the fights, and be worthy enough to do the majority of them… which inevitably helped me embody Liu even more. I’m really proud of the Liu we created… and hope the fans enjoy him as much as I do!

MG: What can we expect from your episode in the web series?
BT:  I am actually in quite a few episodes throughout the series, but I’m really looking forward to episode 1. It’s the first of this season and sets the series off… so there is a lot riding on it. I know there are a lot of expectations from the fans out there considering how awesome Season 1 was. But I got gotta tell ya, I can’t wait for the fans to see whats in store this season. Episode 1 establishes Liu Kang like you have never seen him. I think it will go beyond the expectations they might be used to with Kang… because we completely turn this character upside down. And not to mention, the fight scene is just jaw dropping! This episode moves you in ways fan’s won’t soon forget and I hope will keep them wanting to come back for more!… because that’s just the beginning!

MG: What is your favorite move or fatality for the character?
BT:  My favorite Liu Kang fatality has to be the “double flip kick into the uppercut”… I’m old school.

MG: You’ve done films like “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” and TV like “Grimm”; how does a web-series compare?
BT: This Web-Series was pretty much shot like a feature film, so in comparison there is no difference. Though it was a much smaller budget compared to other mediums, what Kevin, the cast and crew did with the limitations, is unbelievable. It looks and feels like a major studio feature separated into episodes for the web.

MG: Do you think we will be seeing more of you as Liu Kang, perhaps in the upcoming feature film?
BT: I hope so. Though nothing is set in stone, I think if the fan’s come out to watch the Series, they’ll be the judge.

MG: Tell us about your role Noburo Mori in “The Wolverine”?
BT: Noburo Mori is the character I play in “The Wolverine.” He is a politician that I feel, rides the line between good and evil, and will do whatever it take for political gain… But I guess that’s most politicians. 😉 Without giving too much away, he is arranged to be married to Logan’s love interest, so you can imagine it won’t end pretty. But also… this installment of “The Wolverine” is epic! Fan’s are really going to enjoy James Mangold’s mastery in bringing a side of “The Wolverine” fans have never seen. Along with the unbelievable action at the biggest scale, James has brought new layers and a depth fans will appreciate and relate to. Logan is vulnerable both physically and emotionally, its a war against his own nature and he must finally embrace who he is. It’s actually not to dissimilar to our take on LiuKang… both have demons inside of them that they have to overcome in order to find their true self.

MG: What else do you have in the cards for 2013 and beyond?
BT: Well, I just finished a new TV pilot called “Anatomy of Violence,” starring Skeet Ulrich, Amber Tamblyn and David Harewood, directed by Mark Pellington. Its from the creators of “Homeland,”… which I love, so it was great to work with the creatives and to be a part of this amazing cast and show. I’m also wrapping this incredible art house indie, called “The Beautiful Ones,” starring my good buddy Ross McCall and directed by Jesse V. Johnson. Ross is awesome in it and Jesse’s vision is remarkable. I’m also up for this dark suspense thriller with some legendary actors… fingers crossed. And of course, I’m looking forward to reprising the role of Liu Kang in the feature… but we’ll have to wait and see. In the mean, I’m pumped for the “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2” Web-Series to come out and see the response of the fans!… maybe they’ll decide.

 

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Casper Van Dien talks about role in "Noobz" and "Mortal Kombat Legacy 2"

Casper Van Dien is known best for his role of Johnny Rico in “Starship Troopers”.  He recently steals the show in the new gaming film “Noobz”, where he plays a comedic version of himself.  Great movie, check it out! He also takes over the role of Johnny Cage in season two of “Mortal Kombat Legacy”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Casper on these roles and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got involved playing yourself in “Noobz”?
Casper Van Dien: I met Blake (Freeman) a couple years before and we hit it off. He told me he wanted to right me into one of his movies. So one day he calls me up and asked me to do a cameo in this gaming movie he was making. He told me he wanted me to just play myself. So I read it and I thought this is a friend of mine and this is what he thinks about me [laughs]. See the movie to understand why. I really think I need to get therapy and look into it if this is the way my friend sees me as. [laughs]. But I agreed and it was really fun.

MG: It’s not always easy play yourself [laughs].
CVD: I had to go to my acting coach cause I was afraid they might recast me [laughs]. I was warned several times but I guess my performance was good enough since they kept me on.  So I guess I lucked out.

MG: Are you a gamer yourself?
CVD: I think I used to consider myself a gamer until I met Blake and his friends. When I go over to hang out and talk shop, Blake and all his friends/business people are all playing online video game tournaments. We will do the meetings while they are playing. So I realized there is a difference between gamers and people that play video games. I also got to meet some of the really serious gamers that we had on “Noobz” with us that actually get paid for this. Robert Paz was in it and he became a friend of mine too. Those guys really know how to play video games and it is a art form to them. But overall, I have always loved video games and have since I was a little kid.

MG: Do you plan on working with Blake again?
CVD: I also just did another movie with him called “Mucho Dinero”. It stars Blake, Eddie Griffin and myself. That one he wanted me to play someone completely different than in “Noobz”. Funny story though, one of the grips came up to me during filming and he said “You ruined ‘Starship Troops’ for me, I’ll never be able to watch it again” and walked away. I am not doing to give details, you have to see it to find out why. I don’t know man, I am either doing something really right or I am really screwing up [laughs]. I am thrilled to be working with Blake again. He is a good pal and I love his awful sense of humor about me and life in general.

MG: Tell us about playing such an iconic character like Johnny Cage in “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”?
CVD: Yep, I just got to Johnny Cage in Kevin Tancharoen’s web series. There are several episodes this year that he is in. I think that Matt Mullins did a great job in the first season. I think he softened it up for me to do more as well. I don’t know what they are trying to say though, since Johnny Cage is a D-list actor, has a bit of an attiude and is a little conceded. So I am not sure why they wanted me and told me that I was perfect for it [laughs]. I had a blast doing this though. There are a lot of incredible marital artists. I fight a lot but nothing like these guys. Another thing is that my character gets into a girl fight. Johnny Cage in a girl fight. You have to see it man, it is very cool!

MG: Any plans you will be involved with the upcoming feature film also?
CVD: You know I would love to be involved. It is up to the director. If he wants me then I would love to do it. If he wants to do something else, either way I will fully support it. I appreciate him wanting me in the web-series in the first place. I had a blast. So we will see what will happen.

MG: It’s been over 15 years since “Starship Troopers”; yet the series is still very alive with “Starship Troopers: Invasion”, which your executive produced. Why do you think this franchise resonates with fans?
CVD: I get more tweets every day with quotes from that film on my Twitter page. I get dozens every day and then when it airs I get hundreds a day. It is just unbelievable how much fans love this movie. It is awesome to have been involved with a film that people quote you from. The film just has some many awesome quotes. Ed Neumeier is an incredible writer. Paul Verhoeven is an amazing director. This film has just had such an amazing life and so many fans.

MG: I love how active you are on Twitter and interacting with your fans.
CVD: Yeah, I love it. I wasn’t announcing that I was playing Johnny Cage because I was asked not to. But one day I went on Twitter and someone wrote “Fucking Johnny Rico is Fucking Johnny Cage. Fucking Awesome”. It was one of the coolest tweets I got last year. I was super excited by that and that is how I found that Warner Bros had released the news.

MG: What else do you have planned for 2013?
CVD: Well like I said I got the movie “Mucho Dinero”. It was a fun film to shoot and it is really funny as well. Blake wrote, produced and directed this one as well. I am going to shoot a film this weekend in Oklahoma, which is another action/thriller. I shot a Hallmark Christmas movie last year that that did really well called “Baby’s First Christmas”, so that was really cool. I have been doing this for 25 years and it just keeps getting better and better!

Eric Jacobus talk about playing Stryker in “Mortal Kombat Legacy 2”

Eric Jacobus is the founder of  The Stunt People with Ben Brown and Chelsea Steffensen in 2001.  He released his film “Death Grip” in which he took on the role of Writer, Director, Lead/Stuntman, Choreographer and even Editor. He recently worked stunts in the upcoming “”A Good Day to Die Hard” and also took over the role of Stryker in “Mortal Kombat Legacy 2”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Eric about his role in Mortal Kombat Legacy 2″ and what else he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Give us some background about how you got started in martial arts?
Eric Jacobus: I was a late bloomer in martial arts. My small town of Redding, CA didn’t have many martial art schools, so I took to weightlifting. Martial arts may have helped with the bullies in school but I had a knack for talking my way out of everything, plus the weightlifting made me stronger than them anyway. I remember a kid was once pushing me around in the locker room, so I just grabbed his arms and pushed my foot against his chest and pulled until he dropped… Come to think of it I think that’s a Fatality move from Mortal Kombat. When I began producing action films in San Francisco around the age of 20, I wanted to exhibit the authenticity of a real martial artist, which made me seek out training. So I didn’t start training until I was 20. First I studied Tae Kwon Do under Andy Leung, and then Myung Jae Nam-style Hapkido under Dennis Ruel and Ray & Troy Carbonel. I’ve been doing Hapkido for eight years. Now the town I grew up in has either a mixed martial arts or trick martial arts school on every corner. Things have changed so much in just the last decade – everyone in America understands martial arts thanks to the widespread appeal of MMA, and you can see this paradigm shift influencing fight choreography in major Hollywood films.

MG: How did you end up replacing Tahmoh Penikett to play Stryker in “Mortal Kombat Legacy 2”?
EJ: I don’t know the logistics behind the change itself. It could have been a schedule issue, who knows? These kinds of things happen all the time. But the kind of character I’m known for playing in films is the underdog tough guy who is always looking for a way out of a fight, using his head for the most part but able to throw down when necessary. Some people have even called me the “white Jackie Chan.” Stryker is
a human in a supernatural world, a Jack Burton with handcuffs, and he brings real human emotions like fear, confusion, and humor. These are emotions I’m comfortable playing, so when the choreographer Larnell Stovall told me I should play Stryker I knew it was the perfect part for me. Hell, minus the cop part I play this character on a daily basis.

MG: How did you research to play such a well-known character as Stryker?
EJ: I played Mortal Kombat to the death as a kid at the local arcade. The funnier, underdog human characters like Stryker and Johnny Cage appealed the most to me because I could relate to them. Stryker’s also a riot cop. He protects the innocent, keeps the peace, and shoots to kill, a very black and white character (or black and blue). His gear is typical police equipment; gun, taser, mace, cuffs, and a baton, which I didn’t know how to use. This is where my stunt team The Stunt People comes into use. One of our members Yun Yang is a Kyokushin Karate practitioner, and he showed me how to use one. I also had a fair amount of on-set sidearm training with a firearms expert. But training in the art of police brutality itself was a non-issue – you could call that a personal character trait of mine. Protect the good guys, beat up the bad guys, no problem.

MG: What can you tell us about your episode this season?
EJ: This season I team up with Johnny Cage and we have some good scenes together, plus I have a badass fight scene. I get to be in more than one episode, too. Beyond that I can’t reveal much else. Did I mention I have a badass fight scene?

MG: Tell us about your stunt work on “A Good Day to Die Hard”?
EJ: I had just finished my martial arts action film Death Grip, and Chad Stahelski from 87Eleven Action Design took notice of the final knife fight from that film that I performed with Alvin Hsing. Chad brought me and Alvin to the 8711 gym where we choreographed a fight with J.J. Perry for A Good Day to Die Hard and filmed it, which is called a “pre-viz”. I got to pretend to be John McClane, toning down the flashy martial arts and playing more to his strengths, which again is the kind of character I’m most apt at playing. He’s vulnerable, faced with a superior opponent and always bringing the human element to the fight. He gets hurt, has to improvise, and avoids conflict whenever possible. It was a blast. Bruce Willis is another actor who inspired me to get into action film. If only I could’ve met the guy!

MG: Tell us about “Death Grip”, which you not only star but also direct, co-wrote, produce?
EJ: “Death Grip” is a martial arts thriller about a criminal who sets his life straight by assuming care for his estranged, autistic brother, but the brother inadvertently gets them wrapped up in the theft of a priceless artifact, and to clear their names they have to recover it from a Satanic Cult. Virgin sacrifices, killer monks, and a maniacal cult leader played by Power Rangers star Johnny Yong Bosch all stand in their way. I produced Death Grip with co-star Rebecca Ahn, who helped me pull together a sizable budget. It allowed me and my stunt team The Stunt People to go all out in the fight scenes: we destroy a bathroom, do a fight in the dark where the audience can what the characters can’t, and pit me against 15 other evil monks ala Armor of God. It’s pure, Hong Kong-style martial arts action mixed with American sentiment that you don’t typically get from mainstream action films. Whereas Hollywood films often rush the fight scenes and rely too much on fast editing, shaky camerawork, and stunt doubles, we do all our own stunts and have full control over the camera and editing. We don’t hide anything, and the audience can actually see what the hell is going on. People like that, especially since America now understands martial arts better than ever due to the popularity of MMA. I’m now producing a new martial art film called Marine Core, written by Steve Carolan. Imagine “Ninja Scroll” starring Rambo. Keep your eyes peeled for it!

MG: Where can people check out this action-packed film?
EJ: I’ll be at San Diego Comic-Con this year at Booth 4015 with other cast members, so stop by, get a Stryker autograph, and pick up Death Grip or any of my other films. You can always check out my YouTube channel, and you can always grab a copy of Death Grip on DVD or Blu Ray at our online store here.

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa talks about ABC’s “Revenge” & “Mortal Kombat Legacy 2”

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is an actor and martial artist that is known best for his role of Shang Tsung in 1995’s “Mortal Kombat”. This Fall, he joined the cast of ABC’s Revenge in the role of Satoshi Takeda replacing Hiroyuki Sanda, from the previous season. He is also reprising his role next year of Shang Tsung in the return of the wildy successful web series “Mortal Kombat Legacy 2”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Cary-Hiroyuki about those two projects and also his role as a healer.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you ended up replacing Hiroyuki Sanada this season as Satoshi Takeda in ABC’s “Revenge”?
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa: I got a call one day from my agent talking about the show. He was pretty excited. I personally had no idea about the show. I honestly do not watch television much. I have not actually been in one place in order to settle in for almost three years. When I got that call I was in Hawaii. So I sat down and watched the show. I thought it was a little bit complicated though if you haven’t watched from the beginning but I thought it was cool and plus it has Madeline Stowe. I was told that they were looking for a replacement for Hiroyuki Sanada. He and I actually recently worked on a film called “47 Ronin” and had a great experience. He is a fantastic Japanese action star. So I went back and watched a few of his episodes. I knew very clearly what the role entailed. It wasn’t anything deeply new and exciting but it was a standard role for an actor. Takeda is basically a good guy [laughs] and I have done many of those. But I am a good guy, so I figured I could do it.

MG: What was your biggest challenge for you stepping into the role this season?
CHT: The challenge for me was to make him interesting. The dialogue doesn’t usually change much. But personally, I like to throw in ideas and change it up a bit. I have always had some input into every character that I have played. Nobody would stop me from playing out an idea that was interesting. But you have to come up with something pretty interesting. Dialogue is the easiest thing to change and doesn’t cost them any money. I always think about the audiences. They always keep on watching the same kind of junk. The bad guy is mean and nasty and by the end, we know he is going to lose. It is a pretty given sort of structure. But for me, I tried and find a way that I can make it more interesting for the audience and bring something different. You can scare the hell of our people, which I think I have done with different characters. That would get people’s attention. For this role, Sanada played it very straight and to the point. Since he was a lot smaller than I am and doesn’t look so mean, I had to try and gauge how mean I could look playing a good guy. One of the things that I was excited about is that people only saw him playing that character for one season and how I can make a difference. One thing that I wanted to do was bring a different persona, so that when Emily was being her arrogant self that she wouldn’t get away with it with me [laughs]. I wanted you to see that at least in my eyes that I was a lot more intimidating. They encouraged me to bring something new to it.

MG: What approach did you take to improve this character? What can we expect?
CHT: I do not think that it would have been too difficult for them to at least explain that we weren’t the same person. I thought that it was sort of a rough transition for most of the fans. I could have been his mentor or uncle, something like that. I think there is still a lot more to discover for Takeda. It is just the matter of how long that I can hold my breath. I think there is an element the way that Sanada played him that did not account for a lot of mystery, in the very particularly nit-picky way that actors are taught to do. To be very specific, he played it very straight forward and with not a whole lot more intrigued for the character. I think that having played the bad guy so long helped me with this. I feel that bad guys are fighting something all the time. I think I am bringing a little more of that to the character and it leaves you wanting to know more about him. That is why in the way that I play him, I mix it up. At points, I speak with them more like an Uncle or Father and other times it will be different. I have tried to layer that in, given I have only been given three times this season so far to do it. I was intentionally from the beginning making that choice. The show is one break now but after the beginning of the year, I am not sure where the role is going to go. But I know it has only just begun.

MG: How did it come again with you reprising the role of Shang Tsung in the web series “Mortal Kombat Legacy 2”?
CHT:After the first movie, all of the character had made deals for the sequel. Only two characters, Liu Kang and Kitana ended up in the movie. So it was a great disappointment, considering the success of the first one. This was just a confirmation to me for to reveal the truth of some particular people that were part of that team. It played itself out in much bigger problems. When I saw that person for one of the last times, I said “May you get what you deserve”. When that was all over with all I could do was resign to the fact that playing Shang Tsung in the first movie would have been enough. Then when I heard about the first series of “Mortal Kombat Legacy” but I was’t involved with the first season. Kevin (Tancharoen) and I connected over Twitter and offered me the role of Shang Tsung in the second sesaon. Twitter is changing politics. This guy is an amazing director and just such a humble guy. He is about to direct his direct movie for $50 million for the third “Mortal Kombat”.

MG: Any chance you will get to you play Shang Tsung again in that upcoming feature film?
CHT: The difference between the time that I did that the first movie and where my career is in now is that I have some certain standards now. But it will all be up to the studio and the producers. I let them know from the beginning, I said I wanted to do it but I had a history of not being respected. I said told them I would leave it to them to be real and see how it goes. Let’s just say I am not doing the web series for the money. But just to be a part of the web series is great. I am excited about working with Kevin and I would like to work with him even away from “Mortal Kombat”. He seems to really understand actors, which is highly rare. He has a place in Hollywood. I actually met his father back on the film “Rising Sun”. In fact, I had actually met Kevin as well, when he was 5 or 6 and he told me that he has a picture of me from back then. But for right now, I am very excited about the web series and the possibility of being in the feature.

MG: Tell us about your role of a healer, in addition to acting?
CHT: One thing that I have been enjoying talking about is that I am healer. You have probably never heard of an actor saying that…but I am a healer. I was a healer before I came to Hollywood. Hollywood is my day job and my greater purpose is to bring this particular system of healing to the world. It is something that I have been working on for over 30 years. I credit it to my father, who I didn’t know very well growing up. But I feel like when he passed, he passed on in spirit this healer gift. I consider it a gift and I am further developing it. So I want to dedicate this system to him. It comes from an understanding of breath. When you say breath, it is interesting to see people’s reaction since they start breathing deeper. It is funny and when I say posture, they sit up straight [laughs]. I have always been very observant of people’s behavior. Those are two things that should be second nature to us but our society has neglected it for so long. To bring this forward now, I know it is going to resonate with everyone that hears it. Then how far and deep they get into it after that obviously has yet to been seen. This is not based on any system that I have studied. The theories come from the principles martial arts, in terms of posture like the horse stance. There are others systems like Qigong that focuses on breathing. This particular form has nothing to do with fighting. I am calling it Martial Healing.

MG: Tell us about what can we expect from this system?
CHT: There is a lot that we can do to keep us out of harm’s way and prevent the breakdown of the body. This system begins with teaching about breathing and how it can greatly aid in that process. This would focus on breathing and the principle of moments and how those two can affect the body. I have worked with athletes and martial artists also and have gotten great results. I am coming from a place of developing something rather than just taking knowledge of an ancient system and repeating it. It is a new understanding with a new system. I bet you didn’t expect that from the actor that played Shang Tsung [laughs]. You can find out more at ShangsArmy.com

Blu-ray Review “The Bourne Legacy”

Actors: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Joan Allen, Albert Finney
Directors: Tony Gilroy
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Universal
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Run Time: 135 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When I think of Matt Damon, I always think about Jason Bourne. I have never really been though a huge fan of this series. I only saw “The Bourne Ultimatum” roughly days five years after its release and shortly before watching this film. And I only watched it since [semi-spoiler] I heard that it is connected to this film at various points. This is the first time that Jeremy Renner is taking over the franchise. After his key role in “The Avengers” as Hawkeye, he is does a decent job here but he can’t help the weak film overall. You are left with too many questions after watching this. I am very generous in my score, since I am still on a high from “The Avengers” and he is one my hot list right now. Also of course I do not think we have seen the end of the Bourne series either, so I assume there will be a fifth film soon.

Official Premise: The Bourne Legacy pulls back the curtain on a government secret even darker than Jason Bourne. When Bourne exposes Operation Treadstone at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum,he sparks a bonfire that threatens to burn down decades of research and development into the building of better spies and warriors. In The Bourne Legacy, audiences discover that there are actually a variety of covert intelligence programs – all of which now feel the threat of exposure. On the verge of having their conspiracy revealed, members of the government’s intelligence community will stop at nothing to erase all evidence of their top secret programs. With his life in jeopardy, agent Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) must use his genetically-engineered skills to survive the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse and finish what Jason Bourne started.

The Blu-ray releases comes with in a sweet combo pack with the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy and Ultraviolet digital streaming. The 1080p transfer looks great for the film but I expected that honestly and nothing less. The star of this release though is easily its audio track. “The Bourne Legacy” packs a perfect DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track, which really steals the show. It also gives quite a workout to your surround sound system.

The special features are decent but overall each one runs too short. There is an audio commentary track from Director/co-writer Tony Gilroy, co-writer Dan Gilroy, editor John Gilroy, director of photography Robert Elswit, second unit director Dan Bradley and production designer Kevin Thompson. It is very in depth and recommend for only fans of the film. There are three decent deleted scenes, which run about 7 minutes and each with optional commentary from the Gilroys and Elswit. “Re-Bourne” is a short features on continuing the series without Jason Bourne. “Enter Aaron Cross” is another short feature about Renner becoming the next super agent. “Crossing Continents” is a featurette about filming on location. “Moving Targets” focuses on Aaron and Marta with cast/crew interviews. “Man vs. Wolf” features Renner talking about wolves. “Wolf Sequence Test” is an animated storyboard reel for the wolf attack. Lastly “Capturing Chaos: The Motorbike Chase” looks the filming of the fast-paced action scene.

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©2012 Universal Pictures
Film is rated PG-13
OPENS NATIONWIDE ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 10th

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Premise: The narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: The Bourne Legacy. The writer/director expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. For The Bourne Legacy, Renner joins fellow series newcomers Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac, while franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles.

Interview about “Real Steel” with Legacy Effects’ John Rosengrant

John Rosengrant is co-owner of Legacy Effects (formerly known as Stan Winston Studios). He had worked with Stan Winston since 1983. He recently created the animatronics robots in the film “Real Steel”. In 2012, Legacy Effects has a bunch of major films in the works including, “The Hunger Games”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, “Total Recall” and “The Avengers”. Media Mikes had a chance to ask John some questions about his work on the film “Real Steel”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up working into the movies and in your particular field?
John Rosengrant: Ever since I was five years old, I wanted to make monsters. I was an art major in college but I really wanted to do this type of special effects. I moved out to California to pursue that dream and Stan Winston hired me on the first Terminator and gave me that opportunity. I worked for Stan for 25 years until his untimely passing. With my three other partners that ran Stan’s shop, we formed Legacy Effects in his honor and to carry on his legacy.

MG: What are the challenges of mixing CGI and animatronics?
JR: I think the challenges are you want to make it seamless. Shawn Levy, the Producers, and the team over at Digital Domain lead by Erik Nash, we all went into this with a team mentality that we are going to help each other and really make it believable, even in shots where it wasn’t going to be practical and was going to be CG. The practical robot gave it great lighting and size reference. In the shots that it was practical, it also helped the performance all around by giving the actors something to react to.

MG: How long does it take to make and prepare animatronics as the ones you see in this movie?
JR: The process took five months. Six weeks of it was designing and sculpting the robots digitally and breaking down all the pieces to be rapid prototypes. Each hero robot consisted of about 300 parts. The remaining time was the actual building of the robots.

MG: Was there any technology you had to force into existence to make the movements work?
JR: As far as new technology, we used what is called our stealth control system. We developed a special hydraulic pump that was very portable and light weight and, coupled with an intuitive control system, enabled us to set the robots up for shooting in about ten minutes.

MG: How different is to work with animatronics than to work with actors?
JR: The challenge with animatronics is to get a believable performance from something that is a machine. And our background, besides being artists and engineers, is that we’re puppeteers and performers too. So we sort of channel that energy to bring the characters to life.

MG: Which was the most complex sequence you had to face while making the movie?
JR: As with many special effects movies there are many. But one that jumps to mind is when they first power-up Atom when he is pulled from the junk yard. We had to cover the hero robot in mud, and make him sit up. There wasn’t as much prep time as one would like to have had but I think the scene turned out terrific. And I’m very proud of it.

MG: Can you explain your job as an Animatronic Supervisor?
JR: It’s building of the animatronic robots by sculpting, molding, engineering, selecting paint finishes, developing control systems and managing the overall performance of them on set.

MG: What are the robots made of?
JR: The panels and shells are made of fiberglass and custom blend of urethane. The mechanical structure inside is a combination of steel and aluminum and there are several of the robots that are machined aluminum parts. The Heroes are a combination of hydraulically powered and rod puppeted.

MG: Which robot was your favorite?
JR: They are all your babies. You put just as much time and energy into all of them. But I think Atom in this case displayed a lot of heart and soul for a robot. So I guess I lean towards Atom.

MG: What was the most challenging character to make?
JR: It was Atom. There are a lot more parts to him than others and more complicated scenes to do with him.

MG: How many people are involved in Atom`s creation?
JR: There was a couple from my team that were really imperative to brining Atom to life. Jason Matthews was the key artist in charge of Atom. Ian Joyner was the key digital sculptor that translated Tom Meyer’s production design artwork into 3D. Of course, there was a team here at Legacy of engineers, mechanics and model makers led by Dave Merritt. Mold makers, artists and painters were also involved in the total execution of Atom.

MG: Who got to keep the robots after the movie?
JR: We keep the robots at Legacy Effects.

MG: In your opinion, what did Stan Winston bring to the business and the art of cinema? What is the essence of his… legacy?
JR: The essence of Stan’s legacy is that he taught me what our job is to create characters. It’s not so much special effects but more so to create a memorable character. Stan was a makeup artist and a fine artist but he originally came to Hollywood to get into acting so I think he really stressed the performance aspect. Whether it was the queen alien or the Terminator, or the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, they always had an attitude and always seemed to be alive.

MG: In what way did your work change since “The Terminator”?
JR: On this movie, we built real robots and on the first Terminator we were pretending to build real robots. Also, the state of the art technology that has allowed us to sculpt robots and their parts digitally and rapid prototype them into the real world has allowed us to do things that were never possible back then

MG: For a person who dreams of wanting to get into your line of work, what advice would you give them?
JR: You have to be artistically rounded. Nowadays that includes knowing digital art programs as well as practical, and art techniques. If you’re coming at this more so from a mechanical side, you need machining skills, welding, and a sense of robots and computer control systems.

MG: What do you think is the future of animation and animatronics?
JR: It has a place because we figured out on “Real Steel” that it provides a fantastic reference for the CG robots and gave the actors something to really play off of and react to. Good acting comes from reacting. By having something real there, the actors can connect to something.

MG: On the Blu-ray, in the feature “Building the Bots,” director Shawn Levy talks about how Steven Spielberg emphasized that the use of practical effects was important to the film’s success. Do you feel as if filmmakers with that sort of insight into practical effects are a dying breed? Also, has Legacy Effects been approached to go back to robots for Spielberg’s upcoming “Robopocalypse”?
JR: Animatronic effects still have a very important place in this type of filmmaking. Some of the young filmmakers don’t have any experience with practical side of visual effects, but once they see what it can bring to their film, I think they embrace it. Spielberg’s “Roboapocalypse”, would be an amazing project to be part of.

MG: What’s a specific example of something you do that’s actually much harder than most people realize?
JR: In this movie we created 27, 8 foot tall robots. Some hero, stunt and background. But there were literally thousands of parts that had to all fit together and look like real metal and had to perform like a real robot. Noisyboy for example, had nearly 2,000 LED lights alone that were programmed with random sayings in Japanese which appeared on his forearm. That’s an example of one small complicated thing that may go unnoticed when you watch the film.

MG: John, any final thoughts on “Real Steel” before we close?
JR: It was a real pleasure to work on this film as it felt like a harmonious team effort from the start. Everybody understood their role, and everyone that is part of the film was treated with great importance. Shawn Levy, the Director, had a great energy that he brought to the film. The producers were very effects savvy. I’ve had a great history working with Producer Josh McLaglen who has worked on epic effects films from Titanic to Avatar and effects producer, Ron Ames was integral in bringing us together and organizing all of the visual effects on the film. My colleagues that I’ve been nominated with were outstanding in their contributions. My team here at Legacy worked tirelessly in creating the robots. I’d like to give a special nod to my right-hand man Jason Matthews who became Atom. Last but not least, thanks to my great mentor, Stan Winston, who gave me a great opportunity in this business.

Blu-ray Review “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”

Developed by: Kevin Tancharoen
Starring: Michael Jai White, Jeri Ryan, Darren Shahlavi, Matt Mullins, Sam Tjhia, Jolene Tran, Ryan Robbins, Ian Anthony Dale, Kevan Ohtsji, Shane Warren Jones, Peter Shinkoda
Rating: TV-MA
Distributed: Warner Premiere
Running Time: 104 minutes

Overall Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Finally they got it right…”Mortal Kombat” has been done the way it has been meant to. This series consists of nine episodes and explores an origin to the series’ most iconic characters in the “Mortal Kombat” universe. This series is gritty, violent and totally edgy. The prior attempts at this series failed to really capture the essence of “Mortal Kombat” but this one scores a flawless victory. The video on the release is fantastic especially on Blu-ray.  Since this is a low budget web series, the picture is clear and really crisp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also fantastic.  I wish this series ran longer than only nine episodes but I guess we will have to wait till Kevin Tancharoen gets a chance to turn this into a feature. You hear that Warner Brothers?!

The series has episodes which focus on the following characters “Jax, Sonya and Kano”, “Johnny Cage”, “Kitana & Mileena”, “Raiden”. “Scorpion and Sub Zero” and “Cyrax and Sektor”. Each episode focuses on the origin story for each character.  It really expands the back stories to each character.  With “Jax, Sonya and Kano”, we get a great two part episode kick off, which explores how Kano becomes his cyber-self.  The episode is a dark and very gritty. “Johnny Cage” features a lot more comedy then the prior but definitely kicks some major ass.  “Kitana & Mileena” is a two part episode which focuses on how Kitana discovers that she is the daughter of King Jerrod and Queen Sindel and was taken by Shao Kahn and that Mileena is a clone created by Shang Tsung. “Raiden” shows how the character became stranded on earth and needs to fight in the tournament.  “Scorpion and Sub Zero” is another two part episode and easily the best in the series focuses on the real revenge story between the two.  Lastly and the most CGI episode “Cyrax and Sektor” exposes the evolution of the two deadly cyborgs.

We all know that we can watch this series online, so why are we buying these on Blu-ray?…the answer is special features. Well I want to rave about it but it is a little lacking running only around 30 minutes total. I would have loved to see some commentary for each episode in the series.  The first feature called “Fights”, which focuses on the fights and stunts throughout the web-series. “Fan Made” reveals Tancharoen’s passion and vision behind the series. “Expanding The Netherrealm” is easily the best feature and delves into the process of resurrecting this franchise. “Mysticism” focuses on the characters and their powers.  “Gear” showcases the kick ass weapons used in this series.  Overall this is definitely worth the $15 bucks for fans of this franchise!

“Mortal Kombat: Legacy” Interview Series


“Mortal Kombat: Legacy” is a new web series created by Kevin Tancharoen. The series takes place before the events of the first game and dives into the back stories of several characters from the series. There will be 10 episodes in the series and each one runs between 9-12 minutes. The series is spawned from Kevin’s short film entitled “Mortal Kombat: Rebirth”, which was released last year. This web series will hopefully be the launching ground for a new film in the “Mortal Kombat” franchise.

“Mortal Kombat: Legacy” stars Michael Jai White as Detective Jackson “Jax” Briggs, Jeri Ryan as Lieutenant Sonya Blade, Darren Shahlavi as Kano, Tahmoh Penikett as Kurtis Stryker, Matt Mullins as Johnny Cage, Johnson Phan as Shang Tsung, Aleks Paunovic as Shao Kahn, Sam Tjhia as Kitana, Jolene Tran as Mileena, Beatrice Ilg, Fraser Aitcheson as Baraka, Shane Warren Jones as Cyrax, Ryan Robbins as Raiden, Ian Anthony Dale as Scorpion, Peter Shinkoda as Sektor, Kevan Ohtsji as Sub-Zero and Michael Rogers as Quan Chi.

Media Mikes has had a chance to chat with various cast members from this web series. If you are fan of the series, you NEED to check out this series and support the chance of this becoming a feature film.

You can view the series here at Machinima.com’s YouTube channel.


Aleks Paunovic

Beatrice King

Darren Shahlavi

Fraser Aitcheson

Jeri Ryan

Johnson Phan

Kevan Ohtsji
Kevin Tancharoen

Peter Shinkoda

Matt Mullins

Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon
Michael Rogers

Ryan Robbins

Sam Tjhia

Shane Warren Jones

Tahmoh Penikett