A Conversation with Author and Filmmaker Nicholas Meyer

It’s hard enough establishing yourself as one of the best in one field.  Nicholas Meyer has achieved this goal in several.  His first novel, “The Seven Per-Cent Solution,” introduced a new generation of fans to the exploits of Baker Street’s best known sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. 

Following the enthusiastic greeting of the film version of the novel, for which Meyer wrote the script, he made his film directorial debut with 1979’s time-travel classic “Time after Time.” For his next project he simply created the greatest “Star Trek” film in the series when he took the helm on “Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan.” 

Mr. Meyer then proceeded to frighten everyone living in the Midwest with the television film “The Day After,” which told the story of the town of Lawrence, Kansas dealing with the devastating effects of a nuclear bomb. Twenty years after the film aired my son went to the University of Kansas, which is in Lawrence, and the first thing I thought of was this film. 

His other films include “Volunteers” with Tom Hanks and John Candy; “Company Business” with Gene Hackman and Mikhail Baryshnikov (which he also wrote) and the final adventure for the Original Series cast, “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”

Stepping back from directing after his wife passed away from breast cancer at the age of 36, Mr. Meyer has continued to write, not only novels but for both the big and small screen.  Mr. Meyer recently took some time out of his schedule to talk about his career, past, present and future. I should note that I am posting this on Christmas Eve, Mr. Meyer’s 75th birthday. Happy birthday sir!

Mike Smith:  You graduated from Iowa State with a degree in filmmaking and drama.  You also wrote film reviews (hope for me to yet to become successful).  What was your career goal upon graduation?  Acting?  Directing?

Nicolas Meyer:  My motives were doubtless inchoate.  All I knew was I wanted to “Make Movies” (I’m guessing I meant Directing), but hadn’t much of any idea how to go about it.

MS:  Your first success was the Sherlock Holmes novel “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.”  Did you have to get approval from the Conan Doyle estate before you began writing?

NM:  “Where ignorance is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise.”  I had – typical – no idea the difficulties I would encounter with the avaricious and totally mismanaged Conan Doyle estate.  Had I known what I was in for, I doubt I would have written the novel.

MS:  You’ve written three additional Holmes stories.  Was this a favorite character of yours when you were younger?

NM:  I fell in love with Holmes around age 11 when my father gave me “The Complete Holmes” to read.

MS:  You received an Academy Award nomination for your adapted screenplay of “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.”  Was it easy to convince the studio to allow you to write the script?  Did they try to pair you with another writer?

NM:  It was very easy as I refused to sell the rights to the book unless I got to write the script.

MS:  Do you have a favorite story about the making of “Time after Time?”

NM:  I was amused when my producer’s wife, Nel Jaffe, suggested that Malcolm McDowell and his leading lady, Mary Steenburgen, were falling in love.  “Nonsense,” I thought, I’m simply a brilliant director.  (NOTE:  McDowell and Steenburgen married shortly after the film was released and were together for a decade).

MS:  Were there any “rules” you had to follow on “Wrath of Khan?”  Did you ever have an idea that was nixed from above because it wasn’t something “Trekkie?”

NM:  I was pretty much left to my own devices writing and directing the movie.  Sometimes the film’s producer, Harve Bennett, would reel me in.  I remember at one point Carol Marcus warns her son against killing Kirk – “You’ll be a parricide!” I wrote.  Harve said, “Nick, no; you’ll be killing your father.”  That sort of thing.  Occasionally the cast would offer corrections: “This isn’t the way so-and-so talks” and I’d make those kind of adjustments. 

MS:  You are the only director to pull what I considered an award worthy performance from William Shatner.  Every time his voice cracks when he describes Spock’s souls as the most….human it brings a tear to my eye.  Much more emotional.  How did you address the character with Shatner?

NM:  I found the trick with Mr. Shatner was to make him do scenes several times.  He would get bored and stop attitudinizing.  He’d stop “acting” and start “being.”  That said, Shatner’s performance is his own and all credit for it belongs to him.

MS:  A favorite memory from working on “Wrath of Khan?”

NM:  Really a post film memory.  I was talking with my friend John McNamara (NOTE: Mr. McNamara’s credits include the television series “The Magicians” and the feature film “Trumbo”) and I mentioned that my favorite shot in the film is the pullback in the torpedo bay as the torpedo is lowered and makes its way towards the audience.  I said, “I know it’s an anachronism from old Pirate movies but I couldn’t resist.”  Whereupon John protested, “what do you mean ‘anachronism?’ The weapon’s electronics were all out of commission.  They had to go that way!”  To my way of thinking this is a perfect example of the imaginative contribution of the audience, essential for successful artistic experiences.  You want people’s imaginations engaged.  Or, as Shakespeare puts it in “Henry V,” “On your imaginary forces, work!”

MS:  This is a question inspired by my friend Andrew Armstrong, who is the biggest“Star Trek” fan I know and who is quick to point out little things that most people would never notice.  Did you ever get scolded by a fan about Khan recognizing Mr. Chekov, even though Chekov wasn’t in the “Space Seed” episode that inspired the film?

NM:  Yes he was, but on a different deck!

MS:  You have a bit of matchmaker in you.  Shortly after “Time After Time” Malcolm McDowell  and Mary Steenburgen were married and Tom Hanks met Rita Wilson on the set of your next feature, “Volunteers.”  Could you see then the career Hanks had in front of him?

NM:  I confess I could not.  I thought Tom was (and is) a terrific actor and a wonderful human being.  I was delighted he and Rita fell – and remain – in love.  I knew he’d have a career but couldn’t dream how big it would get.

MS:  I imagine if was a fun set working with both Tom Hanks and John Candy.  Do you have a favorite memory from “Volunteers?”

NM:  The scene where they are sitting next to one another on the plane and Candy talks about Albert Speer’s quote that fear is victory’s fuel.  No matter how many times we rehearsed this, Tom couldn’t keep a straight face – and I’m talking MONTHS between rehearsals and shooting.

MS:  Apparently DeForest Kelley did not want to direct (I joke – I actually think Shatner did a competent job with TREK V, especially when you read his book about the experience)  and you were brought back to close out the Original Series portion of the “Star Trek” film legacy with “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”  How did you manage to squeeze Christian Slater into a cameo?

NM:  Christian’s mother, Mary Jo Slater, was my casting director.  She mentioned that her son was a big fan. 

MS:  Are you working on anything currently?

NM:  I co-created (with Frank Spotnitz) the Italian television series “Medici, Masters of Florence.”  I’ve published my fourth Sherlock Holmes novel, “The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols.”  The paperback edition just came out November 10th and the fifth novel, The Return of the Pharoahm” will come out next fall.  I’m also working with Frank Spotnitz on a new television series. 

If you want a more in-depth look at Mr. Meyers work, you can visit his official website HERE

CD Review: Thomas Nicholas Band “Security [EP]”

Thomas Nicholas Band
Security [EP]
Tracks: 4
Length: 13 minutes
Produced by Thomas Nicholas & Matt Kennedy

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Last summer, I caught a concert with Thomas Ian Nicholas here in Orlando, FL and being a fan of his earlier four albums, I remember hearing a few amazing new songs that were not yet released. During the show, Thom discussed exploring a more “indie rock” sound with these new songs and I have to admit, they are probably some of his best songs. Along with Thom on this album are three of the original members of The Graduate including Matt Kennedy, Tim Moore & Jared Wuestenberg. I hope Thom continues to explore this genre because these songs are absolutely amazing.

These songs were written by Thom and Caleb Turman (from the band TEAM*) and produced by Thom and Matt (from The Graduate). There are four tracks on this EP and each song is better than the one before it. “Security” is one hell of a catchy, powerful and all around fun as hell song. I can see this being a huge hit on the radio! I challenge you to listen to this song and not have it stuck in your head for days (especially the chorus). “Don’t Stop” has this real indie feel and features some great guitar work. Having heard these songs a few times live, they are quite different (but not in a bad way at all).

“Terrified” is my wife’s favorite track. This was the song that stuck out the most when we heard it live last summer. This track sounds the most different live than the produced studio version, in my opinion. I personally prefer it live but I still really dig this song since it is jam packed with energy. The last track “It’s Over” is a track that has really grown on me since first hearing it. After listening to it a few times, I love the constant beat behind it and the overall tone of the track. My main issue with this EP overall is the fact that it is an EP, I want more songs and I can’t wait to see what Thom and his band comes up with next.

“SECURITY EP” is now available on iTunes (for ONLY $3.96)
You can also order a CD directly from the band’s webstore.

Concert Review: Thomas Nicholas Band, Mulligan’s Pub – Celebration, FL

Thomas Nicholas Band
Mulligan’s Pub
Celebration, FL
April 23, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

You might recognize Thomas Ian Nicholas from his film roles in the “American Pie” films or the baseball classic “Rookie of the Year”, but he is also a singer/songwriter and has a band, TNB aka Thomas Nicholas Band. I had the privilege of meeting Thom back in 2010 and have become friends over the years. I never really knew he was into music until that time, I was just a fan of his films. Let’s just say that besides being a talented actor…this guy can fucking sing! I have been to tons of concerts and I really haven’t had an experience like when I go to one of Thom’s shows. He not only sings songs from his five albums, he also does a ton of amazing (and spot on) covers. He just got finished touring the UK and if you can get a chance to catch one of his shows, you will not be sorry.

At this particular show, it was a stripped down acoustic solo act but he had such presence behind him that it felt far from a one-man show. Throughout the show he used a looper pedal to add to his songs and I can’t even tell you how amazing it was. I first saw him live last summer and I was blown away then with his performance. This time we brought some friends along and when he looped his guitar and voice on songs like “Security”, our friends literally whipped around to us and were flipping out. He literally sounds like he has a whole band along with him and if you just walked in from outside you would have thought the same.

I am a big believer in inspiration behind music and really getting into a song when listening and you can tell when Thom is up there jamming that he also escapes into his music. With songs like “Heroes Are Human” and “Terrified”, there is so much heart poured out into these songs. His vocal range is really impressive as well especially on his covers of Tom Petty’s “Free Falling”, Weezer’s “Say it Ain’t So” and (my favorite) Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”. Thom if you are reading this bro, you need to get these recorded! This guy also has the endurance of a bull (even while drinking) playing for for nearly three hours with only a short break. I am not just saying this either as a friend, I literally will go out of my way just to catch a show of Thom’s because he is such a talent artist and his shows leave you pumped.

Korn’s Jonathan Davis and Nicholas O’Toole talk about composing film “After the Dark”

“After The Dark” is the latest film by director John Huddles. The film takes place at an international school in Jakarta, where a philosophy teacher challenges his class of twenty graduating seniors to choose which ten of them would take shelter underground and reboot the human race in the event of a nuclear apocalypse. The film was scored by veteran film composer Nicholas O’Toole and Korn front man Jonathan Davis and Media Mikes had the pleasure of talking with both of them about their work on the film and their ongoing collaboration with one another.

Adam Lawton: How did you both become involved with the film?
Nicholas O’Toole:  I was approached by George Zakk who was one of the producers on the film. I had known him from another project and they had just started to go into post production on this film. George had known that Jonathan and I had been working together for quite some time and it seemed like a good fit. This led to a discussion with director John Huddles. We ended up hitting it off right away and we have stayed friends since.

AL: What was the creative process like between the two of you?
NO: The dynamic is great as we have known each other for so long. We get what the other one does. I myself am very technically minded and I have a degree in film score work where Jonathan is prolific in songwriting, EDM and a variety of other things including film scoring. We sort of mind shared this project.  Jonathan is very dynamic and variant based. He brings a lot to the table from sound design, to mood and colors. I handle the more technical side of things such as arranging and post work. With Jonathan on the road a lot he and I developed a good solution for sharing our thoughts and ideas. We walked in to the project already having a pretty good flow.

AL: Jonathan, did you find any similarities in your writing style for the film and you writing style for Korn?
Jonathan Davis: It is completely different. That’s why I love it. It challenges me. When you are writing a film score you are trying to convey an emotion part of the film. That’s the whole reason why I love doing things like this as it is so different from the other writing that I do. When you are working on a song you have versus and choruses to stick to and with a project like this there are no rules. It’s really different.

AL: Is scoring something you picture yourself doing more of?
JD: I love doing it and am open to doing more. I am just a musical junkie. When I got sober back in the day I replaced partying with music. (Laughs) It is something that I can’t get enough of.

AL: Did you both work on the same parts together or did you work separately on various parts of the film?
NO: It was purely linear in this particular instance. John Huddles was involved as well from the ground level which made things even greater. Having John involved certainly reduced the re-writes. Normally you create a bunch of material and then show case but for this film John was there the whole time and fully invested. I think we just moved from beginning to end on this and then went back and did some adjusting where it was needed. I think you can sort of hear that in the arc of the story. We kept things moving and it felt very natural.

AL: How much of the film were you allowed to see at one time when you were scoring?
NO: We got the film in a reel which is the general process of post production. We are all contracted to confidentiality. You get the entire film however they may still be editing and changing some of the things. We would get new reels every week. We had a screening with the director where we saw the film in its entirety and we discussed where the music would go and for how long and what type of feel was needed. Everything gets spotted out and then we follow those notes and begin writing. You definitely have to understand the narrative in order to be able to start scoring.

AL: After the initial playing of the film with the score were there a lot of changes requested by the director?
NO: Things did change. The film was shot in Indonesia which is known for a style of music called Gamelan. Jonathan had some previous experiences with this style of music as had I in the past so this ended up being a pleasant coincident. We were going to take a more Gamelan eccentric approach anyhow which we did at first. John Huddles liked it but wanted to try a different approach. We repositioned ourselves in a way that caught fire and we were able to just take off. We kept things quite minimal arrangement wise and then mixed in a little Gamelan with electronic and hypnotic elements. We kept things very natural.

AL: Jonathan, did you have any reservations about working on the project? And do you have to get a specific type of mind set to work on this type of music?
JD: Not really. I love doing music. It’s always fun working with Nick and writing music. It was really great working with a director who had a specific vision. This was something so completely normal from what I do in my day job. I think you have to take yourself away because you are writing a piece of music not a song. I have to wrap my head around that but it’s basically music.

AL: Being that you guys have a friendship with one another outside of your work what do you enjoy most about working with each other?
JD: For me we are just friends making music. It’s a simple and pure thing. I am having fun making music for a cool movie and getting paid for it. There is no bad side to this what so ever. It’s just fun!
NO: The collaboration process is enhancing because if it was just me I would be writing out of my head. Jonathan adds another creative brain which comes from a completely different place. When you put the two together the result is always something bigger than what it would have been. Jonathan is prolific outside of Korn in ways that I think fans of the band will totally understand after hearing this. Like Jonathan said it’s just fun and we have a good vibe together so it’s great to be able to keep that going.

AL: What other projects do you guys have in the works for the rest of 2014?
NO: I am always negotiating on some sort of film project. Sometimes the project is working with Jonathan and sometimes it’s on my own. Jonathan and I have a good system worked out.
JD: I have quite a lot going on with Korn but with computers these days it allows Nick and me to be in different places but still be able to work together on projects with one another. I always have my noise buried in my laptop writing.


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DVD Review “Nicholas Sparks: Limited Edition Collection”

Number of discs: 5
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2014
Running Time: 798 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Attentions all husbands, boyfriends and guys all around – Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and let me guess you do not have a gift yet? Well you can thank Warner Bros because they are releasing the Nicholas Sparks Limited Edition DVD Collection. This is the first time that these films are available in one collection, The seven films includes, which are based on the best-selling author’s novels, include “Safe Haven”, “The Lucky One”, “Dear John”, “Nights in Rodanthe”, “A Walk to Remember”, “Message in a Bottle” and “The Notebook”. Along included there is also a special postcard set with images from each film and a letter from Nicholas Sparks.  A must own for any fan of Sparks!

Nicholas Sparks is one successful author.  All of his novels have been New York Times bestsellers, published in more than 50 languages, with more than 90 million copies in print worldwide. Being with my wife for 15 years, I have seen my fair share of his film. I have never read his books though, so I have no comparison there. I enjoyed “Safe Haven” because I love Julianne Hough and what woman doesn’t love Josh Duhamel. Personally “The Lucky One” is a pass, sorry Zac Efron. “Dear John” is great and I love the chemistry between Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried.  “Nights in Rodanthe” was decent. Richard Gere is still one sexy man. “A Walk to Remember” is probably my second least favorite. Lastly both “Message in a Bottle” and “The Notebook” are classics and must watches when it comes to chick flicks.

“Safe Haven” (2013) Official Premise: When a mysterious young woman (Julianne Hough, Rock of Ages) arrives in Southport, her reluctance to join the tight-knit community raises questions about her past. Slowly, she begins putting down roots and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex (Josh Duhamel, Transformers franchise), a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and finds she must rely on the power of love.

“”The Lucky One” (2012) Official Premise: Zac Efron (17 Again) stars with Taylor Schilling (TV’s “Orange is the New Black”) and Blythe Danner (Meet the Parents franchise) in this romantic drama directed by Academy Award®-nominated writer/director Scott Hicks (Shine, 1996). U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Efron) returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq with the one thing he credits for keeping him alive — a photograph he found of a woman he doesn’t even know. Learning her name is Beth (Schilling) and where she lives, he shows up at her door, and ends up taking a job at her family-run local kennel. Despite her initial mistrust and the complications in her life, a romance develops between them, giving Logan hope that Beth could be much more than his good luck charm.

“Dear John” (2010) Official Premise: Directed by Lasse Halström, Dear John tells the story of John Tyree (Channing Tatum, Magic Mike), a young soldier home on leave, and Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried, Les Miserables), the idealistic college student he falls in love with during her spring vacation. Over the next seven tumultuous years, the couple is separated by John’s increasingly dangerous deployments. While meeting only sporadically, they stay in touch by sending a stream of love letters which eventually triggers fateful consequences.

“Nights in Rodanthe” (2008) Official Premise:  This rich tale of hearts awakening stars Richard Gere (Arbitrage) and Diane Lane (Secretariat). Gere is Paul, a surgeon who long ago unwittingly traded family for career. Lane is Adrienne, a devoted mother trying to move on after her husband’s infidelity and struggling with his desire to return to their marriage. At a remote inn on the Outer Banks, both separately expect to do some serious soul-searching. But an approaching storm forces each to turn to the other for strength, setting the stage for a life-resonating romance.

“The Notebook” (2004) Official Premise: The Notebook is a story of lost chances, growing up, and the power of enduring love. Spanning six decades, the romantic story focuses on two teenagers from opposite sides of the tracks (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) who fall in love during one summer but are tragically forced apart. When they reunite seven years later, their passionate romance is rekindled, forcing one of them to choose between true love and class order.

“A Walk to Remember” (2002) Official Premise: The inspiring coming-of-age story about first love, A Walk to Remember is about two very different North Carolina teenagers: Landon Carter (Shane West, TV’s “ER”), a troubled, unmotivated but very popular student, and Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore, Tangled), the serious and conservative daughter of a preacher. As love pulls them closer, peer pressure and lifestyles seek to break them apart. Directed by Adam Shankman (Rock of Ages), A Walk to Remember co-stars Peter Coyote (Erin Brockovich) and Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill Vols. 1 + 2).

“Message in a Bottle” (1999) Official Premise: In this tale of love lost and found, grieving widower Garret Blake (Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves) may know how to build boats, but cannot rebuild his life. Theresa (Robin Wright, TV’s “House of Cards”), a lonely divorcee and researcher for the Chicago Tribune, comes to his North Carolina village to find him, knowing that Garret is the author of the message she found inside a bottle on a Cape Cod beach. And she knows the message spoke to her in a way that profoundly touched her heart. Directed by Luis Mandoki (When a Man Loves a Woman), the film co-stars Paul Newman as Garret’s father.

I was really impressed that each of these films also come stocked with their own special features. Usually collection releases come bare bones. “Safe Haven” has the following special features included: Deleted scenes and an Alternate ending. “The Lucky Ones” comes with the following Special Features: Zac Efron Becomes a Marine, Watch the Sparks Fly — The Romantic World of ‘The Lucky One’, Zac and Taylor’s Amazing Chemistry and Zac and Zeus. “Dear John” comes with the following Special Features: Deleted & alternate scenes, Alternate ending, Outtakes, A Conversation with Channing, Amanda and Lasse Hallstrom, Transforming Charleston featurette, Military in Movies: ‘Dear John’s’ Military Advisors featurette, Mr. Tyree, The Mule and Benny Dietz featurette” and “The Story of Braeden Reed.

“Nights in Rodanthe” comes with the following Special Feature: Alternate scenes with director commentary, The Nature of Love: Richard Gere; Diane Lane and director George C. Wolfe Recall, A Time for Love: Keeping Up with Nicholas Sparks, An Intimate Look at ‘Nights In Rodanthe’ with singer/songwriter Emmylou Harris and Love Remains the Same — Gavin Rossdale’s music video. “The Notebook” comes with packed with the most extras Special Features of all including: Audio commentary by director Nick Cassavetes, Audio commentary by The Notebook novelist Nicholas Sparks, All in the Family: Nick Cassavetes featurette, Nicholas Sparks: A Simple Story, Well Told featurette, Southern Exposure: Locating ‘The Notebook’ featurette, Casting Ryan and Rachel featurette, Rachel McAdams Screen Test featurette and Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by editor Alan Heim

“A Walk to Remember” comes with the following Special Feature: Audio commentary by director Adam Shankman, Mandy Moore and Shane West, Audio commentary by author Nicholas Sparks and screenwriter Karen Janszen and Cry — Mandy Moore music video. Lastly “Message in a Bottle” comes with the following Special Features: Audio commentary by director Luis Mandoki and producer Denise Di Novi, Deleted scenes with optional commentary and Five hidden special effects scenes. Like I said again and I will repeat this…this is a must have for any fan of Nicholas Sparks! I just wish it was a Blu-ray collection personally.

Thomas Ian Nicholas talks about “American Reunion”

Thomas Ian Nicholas is currently appearing in the 4th film in the “American Pie” series, “American Reunion”. This film marks the complete return of the original cast from the first film. Thomas also is currently touring with his band, TNB. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Thomas again about “American Reunion” and also his music.

Mike Gencarelli: What was it like the first day when you got to set and the entire group was there?
Thomas Ian Nichols: Filming is always like a jumbled group of actors and it’s something you don’t have any control over. The first time that we got together was prior to shooting. We did some table readings and screen tests that everyone was at. When I first walked into the room it was a trip. On one hand I had thought I matured as I am married now and had a child on the way. As soon as I walked into that room I reverted back to my youth. We started talking and during the table read it felt like no time had passed at all. It was very surreal.

MG: Was there any particular highlights for you from filming?
TIN: Each film has been subsequently more fun to make. I think each time we know each other a little more and we have history together. The first film we were kids and I was just happy to have a job. The second film was a giant party, and the third film was just a big celebration. This film being 10 years later and also the first one to be shot on location was just nuts! All the other films were shot in Los Angeles so at the end of the day we would all just go home. When you are on location you are away from your friends and family. We spent a lot of time just hanging out.

MG: Can you tell us about how your character Kevin has been up to?
TIN: I had never really considered a reunion. Jon and Hayden I think chose wisely for Kevin. He is doing what we would expect him to be doing. He has gotten married and moved on from Vickie. He has kept in touch with everybody and is working as an architect. Kevin is also a good cook and there is a line in the film about him being Jim’s favorite house wife. Kevin acts as the ring leader to bring everyone back together again.

MG: What does this film bring new to the table?
TIN: I think what it brings new is also what it brings old. Jon and Hayden are really big fans of the original film and the franchise. They really sought out to capture the heart of the first movie. When I first saw the film I thought they achieved that and so much more. I kind of consider “American Reunion” to be the perfect sequel to the first movie.

MG: Can you tell us about your song on the soundtrack?
TIN: I have tried to pitch songs to be on all of the “American Pie” films. This time I recorded a song that I knew was going to be on the soundtrack already and pitched the idea to Jon and Hayden. I ended up playing the wrap party for the film which was something I had never done before. After hearing me they asked to include one of my songs on the album. They didn’t use the cover I did of “Laid” as they chose to go with the original James version. They ended up going with an original song of mine that is off my new album titled “My Generation”.

MG: Can you tell us about the “American Reunion” college tour?
TIN: During the month of February I traveled around to 20 different colleges playing concerts and promoting the movie. I wanted to make sure that the next generation was aware of the film so I came up with this idea to spread the word.

MG: What other projects do you have planned?
TIN: My new album will be coming out so I plan to be out supporting that. As far as films “The Chicago 8” where I play Abbie Hoffman should be coming out hopefully later this year. I also have a few other projects I am working on. I am always keeping busy.

Interview with Nicholas D’Agosto

Nicholas D’Agosto is known for his role in comedies like “Fired Up!” and “Extreme Movie” is switching gears to horror with “Final Destination 5”.  He is the lead in the fifth film in the franchise which he believe it taking the series in a new direction.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Nicholas about working on the film and with such a great cast.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what you liked most about playing the leader Sam in “Final Destination 5”?
Nicholas D’Agosto: I guess for me it was fun because I am guy that lives the longest.  I get to hang around the most [laughs].  It is always nice when you get the work a lot.  It was great.  I really loved that I got to do the action, the heart felt relationship stuff, some comedy and the fight scenes.  I get the whole grab bag.

MG: Did you do any of the stunts yourself?
NDA: We did have amazing stunt crew.  The stunt crew was awesome and they were incredibly important in teaching us what to do.  Most of the big stuff I actually got to do myself which was great.  You can see in the trailer where I jump onto the railing and that I got to do that.  I am on cables but it is still like a 14-15 foot jump.  It was really fun.  I got to do a big fight scene and I did most of that.  It was fun to get to do that stuff.

MG: Did you refer to any of the other films in the series for role research?
NDA: I definitely went back and watch Dewon Sawa character from the first film.  One of the reasons was that females were the leads in some of the other ones, so they are written differently.  With Dewon’s role it is the tone of the entire film, since they are really similarly written.  They tried to make it the same kind of suspense and the same total feel.  Dewon had a different character and a short of different arc, but I definitely went back in to see what I can pick and choose from there. It was great.

MG: How do you feel that this film expands on the series?
NDA: I got say for fans of the franchise this movie will be be as good as the first film.  It is sort of rebooting the franchise in a way.  I honestly think it is the best one.  I think what they did is that they made the film take a new leap.  Steve Quale is the director, he did 2nd unit on “Avatar” and he is just great. The new 3D technology that they are using that came out in the last year on this makes it feel very big, epic, beautiful and rich.  I think that this movie will stand on its own for people that haven’t seen any of the “Final Destination” films.  You do not have to see any of the other films to enjoy this one.  I am very excited about that.

MG: Tell us about working with the rest of the cast?
NDA: We all had a great time working out there.  We hit it off as a group.  They are all different people and we each took on different roles and we all just hit it off.  It was really fun.

MG: What was your most difficult scene to shoot in this film?
NDA: That is a great question…there is a bunch of different scenes.  I would have to say though parts of the bridge sequence.  It was built on three different stages.  One was built a stage on the side of a mountain overlooking the ocean, which was by the way incredibly beautiful.  They built like 300 feet of an actual bridge to scale on this gravel pit.  Then they brought it to a parking lot and then they brought it inside a building.  The hardest part where you are hanging in the air on cables all day or saying the same line over and over.  Over 15-20 days of shooting and trying to maintain a through-line for scenes you have done so many times was hard.  I think that was definitely the hardest…lots of screaming.  My voice was gone for weeks at a time [laughs].

MG: Did the 3D filming affect the filming process for you at all?
NDA: On a technical side, maybe…it doesn’t really change my acting too much.  You can’t put things up in front of the frame.  I remember one time I was telling someone to stop and I had my hand up like you would normally do.  They told me you have to keep it lower and out of frame because it just looks like these floating fingers in front of the persons eyes.  Since whatever is closest to the screen is going to be closer to the person’s eyes.  What I would say it changes is the amount of time you are hanging out on set.  Because the 3D camera is actually two different cameras mounted on a frame, with a mirrored frame that melts the two images together.  Those two tend to fall out of alignment all the time. So there would be days when we would have 3-5 hours of downtime while they were fixing cameras.  Right now it is still kind of a touchy process working with it.  The image gorgeous though and totally worth it.

MG: Earlier this year you co-starred in “From Prada to Nada” and you are no stranger to comedy with “Fired Up!” and “Extreme Movie”, do you prefer comedy genre?
NDA: I do I love it.  I am so fortunate that I get to do both and that people have seen that I can do both.  I don’t always want to do dramas all the time and I don’t want to do comedies all the time. When I did “Fired Up”, Eric (Christian Olsen) and I were just buddies for a couple of months joking around all day on set.  We were joking around on “Final Destination” also but there comes a moment when everyone has to get tears in their eyes [laughs].  So there is a little bit of a different element with that.  The dream is to get to do both the rest of my career.

MG: What do you have planned upcoming?
NDA: I got a movie coming out called “Dirty Girl”.  I have a small part in it but it is a really cool part.  It stars William H. Macy, Dwight Yoakam, Milla Jovovich, Mary Steenburgen and Juno Temple.  It is coming out October 7th.  It is the size of “The Kids Are Alright”, it will be kind of like that.  It is a cool film and definitely a different part for me so I am really excited.


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Interview with Thomas Ian Nicholas

Thomas Ian Nicholas started his career with “Rookie of the Year” and Disney’s “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court”.  Shortly after he joined the cast of “American Pie” as Kevin Myers and co-stared in all three films.  Thomas recently released a new CD with his band, The Thomas Nicholas Band, on June 1st and they are currently on tour.  Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Thomas about his movie career so far as well as his band’s current tour.

Click here to purchase Thomas’ movies

Mike Gencarelli: My sisters and my favorite film growing up was “Rookie of the Year”, tell us about working on that film?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: That was my first feature film that got released in theaters so I was stoked. I believe there is still video of me somewhere when I got the news and I was jumping up and down for joy. It was a great time. We got to spend three months in Chicago. We shot on Wrigley’s Field. Just this year when we were playing shows in Chicago with my band, I went back and threw out the first pitch and sang the 7-inning stretch. So that was cool to return back there.

Mike Gencarelli: You worked on “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court”, with then little known Kate Winslet and Daniel Craig, How was it working on that film?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: It was cool. Kate had done “Heavenly Creatures” but that was pretty much the only film under her belt. She was 18 at the time. I was 14. She was cool. I am very excited for her success that she has achieved in her career. It is well-deserved. Daniel Craig was cool too. I spent a lot of time with both of them. When Daniel did James Bond, I was so stoked for him. I love seeing my friends succeed.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell how it was playing Kevin Myers for the “American Pie” Trilogy?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: At the time I was just happy to have a job. I never knew it would turn into a franchise film trilogy and DVD sequels to boot. It was good time and a great group of people. Working with the Weitz Brothers was amazing. I look back and I can’t believe it was over ten years ago. It is kind of crazy. I am grateful for the doors that it has opened for me, both in the acting and the music side. It has been an amazing blessing.

MG: You must have some crazy stories from the set of “American Pie” films?
TN: Probably in the last twelve years, I have told every crazy story. If you would have told me twelve years ago that I would be interviewing with you, I would have saved one crazy story for you. So let’s set a date for a future project I will make sure that I save you one [laughs].

MG: There is word there might be another installment, any chance you will return?
TN: I’ve heard the same things you heard. I was on my twitter page and someone posted an article that was linked to the LA Times. The article said that they hired writers to write the sequel. My reaction was basically “Oh really…Ok cool!”. So I have been following the press the same as everyone else. I think it would be fun if we all got back together. I look forward to it hopefully coming together.

MG: What has been your favorite film that you have worked on to date?
TN: That is a tough one to choose. There are two performances that are my favorite. One is recent and one is from ten years ago. I would like to include both of them. The most recent which is currently in theaters, called “Please Give” with Amanda Peet, Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt. I really believe that Nicole Holofcener directed one of the most honest performances out of my career to date. Hopefully I will continue with that kind of work going forward. The other project was “Rules of Attraction” by Roger Avery. That was the first time I felt that I really stepped outside of myself and became a character that was completely different. My own mother didn’t even recognize me for the first half of the scene I was in. She was like “Wait a second, is that you?”. That is a pretty cool complement.

MG: Tell us about your band and your new album?
TN: My band is called The Thomas Nicholas Band or better known as TNB. We just released our latest album, called ‘Heroes Are Human’ on June 1st 2010. We have been touring across half the country. We started on June 20th and went up through the Northwest into Chicago and down through the Southwest, which is where we are right now. We are playing 19 shows over 21 days, it is just a small little tour to celebrate and promote the release of the album.

MG: Do you have any upcoming films in the works?
TN: There are a few things. I play Abbie Hoffman in “The Chicago 8”, which I just recently finished. It will hopefully be out later this year or beginning of next year. It focuses on the famous trial of 1969. I also just finished filming a movie called “InSight” which stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Christopher Lloyd. It is a thriller and I play the main murder suspect.

Click here to purchase Thomas’ movies
Click here to visit Thomas’ website and purchase The Thomas Nicholas Band’s CDs