Interview with Cassandra Peterson

Cassandra Peterson is often considered the alter-ego of Elvira the sexy dark haired late horror host who started here iconic career on a local Los Angeles television station. Elvira is back with an all new show titled “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” Movie Mikes had a chance recently to talk with the horror icon about her new show and her career in the business.

Adam Lawton: How did you come up with the Elvira character?
Cassandra Peterson: I had heard about an interview for a local television channel in Los Angeles that was looking for a horror host. I had a friend who recommended me as they were looking for someone who was a little sexy and that also did comedy. I actually didn’t go into the interview when I had first heard about it.  However a short time later I needed the cash (Laughs) and figured it wouldn’t be that bad. I went to the audition and ended up getting the part. The next thing I had to do was come up with the character. Together with a friend of mine we design what we thought the character should look like. The station had told me that they wanted everything black so we started there and the Elvira character is ultimately what we came up with.

AL: What did you think the first time you saw the Elvira dress?
CP: I didn’t think they were going to let me wear it on television! Before the show started shooting there was a production meeting that I had brought a picture of the dress to and passed it around. Each person there took a look at it and the general manager asked if we could make the slit on the leg a little higher. I don’t think I will ever forget that.

AL: What was it like working with Federico Fellini?
CP: That was very cool. I loved his work and was a big fan even before I got asked to be in his film. I happened to be in Rome just walking around with a friend of mine and we stumbled across a location where they were filming a movie. Funny enough there happened to be a guy there that I had known from working in Las Vegas. He was working as a student director with Fellini at the time. He asked if I would like to meet Federico. When I met him he told me he thought I looked like a young version of his wife Giulietta Masina. Next thing I know he was asking me if I wanted to be a part of the film. I was really just an extra but at the time it helped me out quite a bit. Federico was really wonderful.

AL: Any good behind the scenes stories?
CP: Federico would always yell all of his directions out in Italian. I didn’t speak Italian yet so he would come over and tell me what was going on in English. At the end of each day he would come over to me and tell me about what was going to be shot next and then ask me if I wanted to be in it. Everyday there was some wacky scene going on that he asked me to be a part of. It was really fantastic.

AL: Do you have a role that sticks out as a favorite?
CP: It would have to be “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.” I loved writing and being in that movie. I don’t think there was a day on that set where I wasn’t happy. Even when I had walking pneumonia…I still loved being there. I was just thrilled with that movie. I also really enjoyed being in “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”.  I think it’s every woman’s dream to beat up Pee Wee Herman (Laughs).  Working with Paul and Tim Burton was a really great experience.

AL: Can you tell us about “Elvira’s Movie Macabre”?
CP: We shot 26 episodes, which are airing now. A lot of people are having a tough time finding it due to all the different cable providers but if you go to, there is a list there with all the different cities and channels the show is airing on. It seems to be the best kept secret in Hollywood as the show started airing in September and people are still just finding out about it. I am really pleased with how the shows have turned out.

AL: Do you have any other upcoming projects?
CP: I have an all new website which is going to be launched within a few days. The site is getting a complete overhaul! I also have an Elvira iPhone app coming out…as well as the release of my television shows which will be available in a few months both on DVD and through the iTunes store.

Interview with Andrew Lincoln

Andrew Lincoln is the star of AMC hit show “The Walking Dead”. The show is just landing on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 7th, 2011 after a very successful but short six episode run on television last Fall. So while we wait for season two to air this October, we can look forward to re-watching the great episode in season one. Andrew plays the lead character, rick Grimes as he leads his group of survivors to hopeful safety and steering clear of those pesty zombies. Movie Mikes finally got a chance to chat with Andrew about his hit show and what we can expect from season two.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your overall experience with season one, are you shocked with the success of the show?
Andrew Lincoln: The experience of filming it and playing Rick was one of the most enjoyable and excitable roles in my career to date. I loved it. I loved working in Atlanta. I loved working for Frank (Darabont) and with AMC. The crew and cast, as you know, are spectacular. I had dinner with Frank the other night and it was the first time we had one on one time since I first agreed to do the part. Even in our wildest dreams, we never thought it would be received this way. It has been unprecedented and incredible. You always hope people are going to watch the work you do but this level and size of response has been just incredible.

MG: What was the most difficult episode for you to shoot in season one?
AL: Everyday you go to work you have the normal logistical problems or enduring the escape from Atlanta by smearing on blood and guts all over you. That was an intense experience on any level. I suppose just because the nature of the world and the extreme of the world, I really enjoyed the relationship drama about the characters. The combustable things between character, I find that really satisfying and challenging for everyone and also we love it because we get to do big emotions in this extreme world.

MG: Tell us about working with Greg Nicotero on the make-up effects?
AL: Greg has become a really good friend of mine and I love him. The show would never be what it is without his artistry. His work is simply amazing.

MG: How has it been working with Frank Darabont, do you have any creative input with the show?
AL: The great thing about working with Frank is that he loves actors. It sounds like a silly thing to say but he loves and kind of is an actor as well, so he understands what it takes to do the job. A perfect example is we had a scene in episode one when I return to my house and find my family not there. It wasn’t scripted for my character to have a breakdown but I felt that it was actually quite important to see a man fall apart before he regains and is rejuvenated by Morgan and his son and other human contact. Frank saw it and thought I was going quite dark but he told me “You know what…give me all the colors”. We did the whole sequence and he said “I am going to jump cut that”. He is so technically brilliant, as you know, but it was also the fact that he saw something else and just went with it. It is such an incredibly collaborative process. Another example of that grace that he has, is that I just spent two and half hours talking with all the writers about my character and ideas I had and we were able to have a brainstorming session. It is such a privileged getting to work with him and the rest of the team.

MG: When do you begin production on season two?
AL: Sadly, we still do not have dates yet but I am sure we will be starting when it gets hot enough in Atlanta. We only go to work when it is over 100 degrees. We only go there when it is apocalyptic [laughs]. So really looking forward to then.

MG: After the cliffhanger in season one, what can we expect from the group?
AL: I think we are going to be sticking pretty close to the arc from the graphic novel, as we did in the first season. I imagine that just from my limited time talking with the writers that we are keep pushing the envelope of taste and humor and keep pushing the characters to their limits and seeing how they respond. Of course there will be loads more zombies…and then there is the small matter of my best friend sleeping with my wife. You know what I am talking about Mike? [laughs].

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Interview with Jeffrey DeMunn

Jeffrey DeMunn starred as Dale in AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. Jeffrey is known for working with Frank Darabont on every film that Frank has directed. MovieMikes had a chance to chat with Jeffrey about his role on the show and looking forward to the upcoming season two.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your experience working on season one of “The Walking Dead?
Jeffrey DeMunn: Overall it was wonderful. It wasn’t really quite what I expected. I took the job without knowing what I was getting into really. Frank had called me up and said “Do you want to come to Atlanta and kill zombies?” I said “Sure”. But I really didn’t know what that would entail. I had no idea since I hadn’t read the script or the graphic novel at that point. But geez, it was really fun! Even though it was over 100 degrees, I couldn’t wait to get to work. I have been doing this for a while and that is not always the case. It was just so much fun [laughs]. I think it is important in that if you are having fun doing something it comes across.

MG: Your character is like the knowledgeable father figure in the show, have you enjoyed playing Dale?
JD: Yes very much. I like him a lot. My thinking on Dale is that having lost his partner, his wife, was really the end of his life. He was really done and it was just question of stumbling along till death. The meaning was out of it. What has happened due to the situation that developed is that he rediscovered life. It is a new shot at life for him. It is like he hasn’t got a dog in the fight. I do not want to say he has got nothing to lose but he has nothing on the line. He can be brave. It adds a sort of fearlessness having gone through his life and said that’s that I am done and everything else now is just gravy.

MG: What was the most difficult part of the shoot?
JD: Yeah, I would have to say the weather. I am born and raised in Buffalo, I love shoveling show [laughs] but the heat knocks me flat. So the weather was definitely significant. In the end, however I think it was actually an asset. It united us because everyone working on the show had a common challenge and people stepped up to that challenge. There were no complaining working on the show, nothing from anybody. If anyone needed help we got together and helped that person and so on, but ultimately it was a wonderful uniting.

MG: Are you surprised with the success of the show?
JD: Yeah, I was surprised.  At the time as we were shooting the fourth and fifth episode, people started talking about do you think we will get picked up. I said at the time that “I would bet the farm”. It felt the show had this sense of of immunity, success, momentum and strength to it. I felt that something was really going on here. Initially at first, I had no idea but once we got that significant response that was a surprise to me.

MG: You have worked with Frank Darabont on every film he has directed, how did this relationship begin?
JD: Boy, I believe it started when I worked on the remake of “The Blob”. Frank had a part in creating that movie but I actually didn’t meet him then. He then called me to come out to Mansfield, Ohio to work on “The Shawshank Redemption”, that is when we first meet. I just trusted him. I saw him under pressure and I saw his strength, honestly and goodwill. From there we haven’t seen a reason to stop since [laughs].

MG: Did you enjoy reuniting with him on this show?
JD: Oh absolutely, it was wonderful. What is great is that he is always opens to idea that anyone has to say. He is a listener and knows a good idea when it comes along. It is not like it has to be his idea or none. “Oh that is a good idea”, that is the kind of thought that comes easily to him. He will be able to then turn it into something really good [laughs].

MG: Are you looking forward to returning for season two this summer?
JD: Oh yeah, I am very much. I have seen some of the folks from the cast either at the house here or I was just down in San Diego. They are not spreading around any scripts or ideas to me just yet though. But I just can’t wait to get back together with them again. It is so much fun.

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Interview with Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen is currently appearing in SyFy’s “Being Human” as the vampire Rebecca. Her character was a worker on the hospital with Josh and Aidan, until she is supposedly killed by Aidan. Aidan believe that she her body is taken care of but she was turned into a vampire by Bishop and now Aidan has to deal with her. Sarah took out a little time to chat with Movie Mikes to discuss her role in the show and how it is working her cast.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the show “Being Human”?
Sarah Allen: I was in Toronto working on a short film that I had written with a couple of friends. My agent in Montreal called and said they were casting for this show “Being Human” and the role of Rebecca. They thought I had a good chance of getting it if I could get down to Montreal the next morning. At first I wasn’t going to go but my agent told me that I had to come. I looked at the script and thought it looked really good and I had to go. I showed up and read for the writers and producers. I found out the next day I got the part. I think I was one of the last casting that they did of the regulars on the show.

MG: MG: Do you enjoy playing your character Rebecca Flynt?
SA: Oh I love playing her. It is awesome. I love playing a character that doesn’t have to make the right choice all the time. She is trying to make good choices and trying to do the right thing but she is just a mess. She is really off balance and her perspective on the whole is completely changed. She also has no one to take care of her at all. She kind of fumbles through everything in life and I just really love playing her.

MG: Tell us about working with Sam Witwer and the rest of the cast?
SA: Most of my scenes were with Sam. It was awesome. He is a really generous and kind actor. He is just such a great guy too. When I arrived on the show, I think they were already shooting for three weeks. When I met Sam, Sammy and Meaghan, it was already clear that they were super tight. I was worried that when I showed up that they would already have their group thing going on but they were all the nicest people ever. It was such a great experience, not just where the other actors awesome but the directors, the producers, the writers and entire crew were all great. There was just such a good vibe on the set. Everyone was really happy to be working on the show and it was just wonderful. I think that it shows in the quality of the show we came up with.

MG: What was the hardest part about working on the show?
SA: Honestly it was just such a joy all of the time but if I had to say something that was hard it was when it came December. We were shooting in some really cold weather. We were out in the middle of a minus 20 snow storm and shooting outside. We are supposed to be vampires wearing our little skimpy shirts and leather jackets but our toes were frozen white and our jaws were almost frozen shuts [laughs]. It was some of the more climax scenes that were shot then.  So I would have to say that was the hardest part for me.

MG: What can we expect from your character and the rest of the season?
SA: She keeps on fumbling through her existence as a vampire. She keeps trying to get involved with Aidan’s life and just keeps messing up. That is really all that I can give away [laughs]. I think that will keep you interested. I feel the show just keeps getting better and better as the series goes on.

MG: What else do you have planned next?
SA: Honestly right now, I have decided to take the winter off and I am spending it in Mexico. So the future is all up in the air.

Interview with Sam Witwer

Sam Witwer is the star of SyFy’s new hit show “Being Human”.  In the show he is playing the character of Aiden, a vampire, who’s apartment roommates are a werewolf and a ghost.  The show is a US remake of the UK series but it already has taken a life of its own.  Sam is also know for his roles in “Smallville”, “Battlestar Galactica” and even voiced a character from this season in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.  Movie Mikes had the chance to chat with Sam about his new show and what it is like playing his character.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the show “Being Human”?
Sam Witwer: Well, my agent made me aware of the audition. I cracked the script and read the first two pages and saw I would be playing a vampire and closed the script. Nothing against them but I thought who needs another vampire show. Then a friend of a mine Laura Terry, who one of the most knowledgeable people I know in terms of what is happening in the business, she got a hold of me and asked me “Are you passing on the “Being Human” audition?” I said “Yeah I think so” and she asked me if I was crazy and filled me in on what this show represented, the UK version and who the producers for the US version were. She told me just to read the script…so I did. I felt extremely foolish and weak minded because I fell in love with it immediately. Then I read episode two script and I loved that as well. I really got into it and recognized this was an irresistible character to play and a wonderful opportunity. Then I watched the first episode of the British series and loved it, but then I turned it off. I said if I am going to do this I need to ignore the British series until later. I auditioned and had some meetings with the producers and the director. We all spoke about what we show becoming and we all seemed to agree with that. Then they hired me!

MG: What is the biggest challenge for you playing your character Aiden?
SW: With any role, your job is to display to the audience as much detail as you can in the given circumstance. Whatever the story is about you want to show them as much humanity as you can. Aiden is always dealing with some really dark stuff. But at the same time the show can get really lighthearted and fun. That is one of the things I love about it. I think the biggest challenge for me is to figure out how to do the humor while not undercutting the drama. I have to say that it helped that the scripts have already taken care of a lot of that for me. I am constantly impressed with how the writers are able to put in humor that fits well in some of these ridiculously dark circumstances. For example when I was hired for “Battlestar Galactica”, I played this character who’s call sign was Crashdown and I was hired essentially to be the comic relief of the show. The audition scene I did was pretty funny. But that was at a time that they didn’t realize that “Battlestar Galactica” was never meant to be funny at all. There was an episode they did when they experimented with some humor but a lot of it got cut. With “Being Human”, we are definitely a serious drama show but there is a lot of humor to be found in it. [Laughing] I guess when you have a vampire, werewolf and a ghost all living in an apartment together, who has regular roommate problems on top of these supernatural problems…there is some humor to be found. I love that aspect of the show.

MG: How is it working with Sam Huntington and Meagan Rath?
SW: Lovely! I really love those guys. When we sat down the first time, it was very apparent that this was meant to me. Meagan and Sammy were natural choices for those roles. We have these ridiculously long hours and they would be torturous if we didn’t love each other so much. The same can be said for Mark Pellegrino, who I have become close with as well. Sarah Allen as well, she is a wonderful actress and we have bonded over the whole shoot. In fact all of us just went to Hawaii together if that can tell you anything. We actually [laughs] by choice spend a vacation together.

MG: In the show your character has been feeling a lot of pressure from the other vampires, how does Aidan hold up in the upcoming episodes?
SW: The metaphor that we have been dealing with Aiden, and not making it a secret, is drug addiction and a little bit of sex addiction. This guy has been in a drug haze all his life and he doesn’t have the tools to deal with life, the same tools that you and I have developed over our lives. Because of that Aiden is going to take some hits. He is extremely emotionally vulnerable as a person. As I said he doesn’t have the tools to process the things around him, so somethings hit him really hard emotionally. We will be seeing more of that as he gets emotionally torpedoed. Of course when you are hurting like that where do you turn but to the copping mechanism that you always turn to, which is the drug. As Aiden gets beat up more and more, we are going to see him want to go back to the lifestyle that he is trying to leave behind. The way that I look at Bishop and the other vampires are that they are his drug buddies that deep down he still has a friendship for but can’t hang out with them…because it would be bad.

MG: Who would you says is more villainous Bishop or Marcus?
SW: It really depends. We are going to find out somethings about Bishop that make him pretty damn dangerous. Bishop is also very reasonable about what he expects, what he wants and his vision for how things should be. He has a really reasonable point of view. We have hinted but haven’t gotten into his whole deal yet…but we will. Now Marcus…he isn’t exactly equipped to be second in command. He would like to be but he is not confident and has got a lot to prove. For that reason, he is extraordinarily dangerous though because he does have some abilities.

MG: What has been your favorite episode to work on for season one?
SW: That is a really tough question because past a certain point I just really love all of them. The thing I can say for the entire season, I have done shows where things were it was really challenging or I have done shows where the material was difficult. That is not always a guarantee that you would be looking forward to performing it. This season of “Being Human” we did…countless scenes that I looked at in the script, I said “Wow, I can’t wait to perform that” or I said “That is going to be tough but wow, it is going to be fun”. It has just been wonderfully rewarding like that. I had no idea it was going to be like that. It has been so engaging and compelling and stupid fun to hang out with those people. As I say me, Sammy, Meagan and Mark are kind of all inseparable and just being able to hang out with those people every day was a great treat. It is not always like that on every set. We have been very lucky with our cast here. Not only are they are very talented and professional but really fun.

MG: Tell us about your recent voice work for the TV series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”?
SW: We did three episodes, “The Mortis Trilogy” as they called it. It was crazy man! I have done some work for Lucasfilm before with “The Force Unleashed 1 & 2” video game.  In that I played Darth Vadar secret apprentice, Starkiller and he is this guy struggling with his dark side.  He has been raised and trained by Vadar but at the center of this guy is a really conscientious cool good person trying to do the right thing. He has to fight through all that to become the hero, he is destine to be. So then I get a call to do “The Clone Wars” and I was like “YES!”. They told me it was a really cool role. I thought it was going to be like six lines, like a bounty hunter or something.  But I was just really flattered that they wanted to work with me, so I was thrilled. Then I heard it is three episodes and I was excited because maybe this was a character that means something and around for a little bit. Fast forward to the day before I go in, I get the top secret script sent to me. I read the first script, which I wasn’t in much but I am in it enough to know the character I am playing. I read it and it turns out I am…the dark side of the force. They want me to play the dark side of the force…this iconic element of “Star Wars” introduced back in 1977 by Alec Guinness when he said [speaking as Alec Guinness] “Vadar was influenced by the dark side of the force.” That is what I am playing. At that point, I start sweating cause I had one day to figure out how the dark side of the force should sound like. If I get it wrong, I would have really cheapened a very important part of “Star Wars”. Then I find out that all of this stuff with the “Mortis” is directly from George (Lucas) and this character was described by George. I am freaking out at this point. I am huge “Star Wars” fan and you don’t want to get these things wrong. So, I go in for the first day and I only have a few lines for the episode and I perform a little, still not 100% sure what he should sound like. So I asked Dave Feloni, “Are you concerned that this character might sound too much like Starkiller from “Force Unleashed?” He goes “Well, you know Sam, it is fine if it does. He is the dark side of the force and your character in “Force Unleashed” being connected to the dark side of the force, so it is possible to be hearing some of his voice in there.” Once Dave Feloni said that it was the key for me. I thought if that is the case, shouldn’t we hear Darth Maul…Vadar…and the Emperor as well. For the rest of my work with them, I started putting in little line reads where the voice didn’t change much but the voice pattern and the inflections changed to match certain dark side characters. For example if the line was “Join me and together we can destroy this Emperor in your visions”. If you put emphasis like Vadar would in “Empire Strikes Back”, it makes a big difference.  The dialogue was so evocative of those movies that it was easy to do it at times. Dave Feloni noticed what I was doing and told me to do it even more. So that is what we ended up doing. Now that I have seen the episodes, I am confident we did the right thing. I love the show so much and I was really lucky to get the chance to do it.

MovieMikes’ “Perfect Couples” Interview Series

“Perfect Couples” is a romantic comedy that follows three flawed pairs trying to get it right. In the show we follow, Dave (Kyle Bornheimer) and Julia (Christine Woods) are the “everyday couple”. Vance (David Walton) and Amy (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) are the high-passion, high-drama couple who bring out the best and worst in each other. Lastly Rex (Hayes MacArthur) and Leigh (Olivia Munn) who are the “perfect couple” in the show.

“Perfect Couples” is created by Jon Pollack (“30 Rock”) and Scott Silveri (“Friends”), who also serve as executive producers with Andy Ackerman (“Seinfeld”), who also directed the pilot and the finale.

This show premiered as a mid-season replacement for NBC and it is by far the best new comedy on television.  Movie Mikes has had chance to chat with each of the cast from this show in our most exclusive interview series to date.  If you haven’t checked out this show yet, please give it a chance…with every episode this show gets better and better and since every viewer counts.

Hope you enjoy the interviews as much as I did doing them.








Olivia Munn (TBA)

Interview with Burt Young

Burt Young has appeared in over 100 film and television roles since the 1970’s. He is most often known as the gruff brother in-law Paulie Pennino in “Rocky” series.  Movie Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Burt recently to talk about his career in the film business and a few of his upcoming projects.

Adam Lawton: How did you get into acting?
Burt Young: I was chasing a girl! I was about 28 at the time and this very attractive girl wanted to go to Lee Strasberg’s acting school but she couldn’t get in. At the time I had no idea who Lee was and actually thought he was a girl. I knew I could get into anywhere I wanted with perseverance so I wrote Lee a letter. I guess it sparked his interest as he invited me over and from there I became very involved.

AL: How did your role in the Rocky films come about?
BY: My name was already out there as I was fairly established in the business prior to the first Rocky film. I had worked with the producers of the Rocky film previously and they asked me if I would be interested in the part.

AL: What were your initial thoughts of the original script?
BY: I knew it was a home run and so did the producers. The studio seemed a little leery but the producers really never had any doubt that the film was going to be a hit.

AL: What did you think when it was announced that there was going to be a sequel?
BY: That was very surprising. I didn’t really know sequels at that period of time nor did I wish to do the second film. I told Sylvester that I wasn’t up for it as I was going to be working on a film that I had written. I did tell him that if there was a problem to give me a call. Sylvester ended up calling which led to me being in the second film as well as the others.

AL: What were your feelings towards the latest film “Rocky Balboa”?
BY: I thought it was wonderful. Being set 17 years after the last film which I didn’t think was too good Sylvester took all the flavor of the first film and gave it chronological history resulting in what you saw. I enjoyed myself doing that picture.

AL: What was it like working with Ernest Borgnine and Kris Kristofferson in “Convoy”?
BY: That was fun! Ernest Borgnine was already a friend of mine prior to the film. He’s a very sweet man. I met Kris for the first time when we started shooting. I got to know him more throughout the filming and I thought of him as a shy genius. I enjoyed getting to know him. I really like working with director Sam Peckinpah who I had worked with previously. It ended up being a wild time.

AL: Is there anything that sticks out for you from behind the scenes?
BY: There was a little bit of tension on set as Steve McQueen kept jumping around as he and Ali McGraw were not getting along at the time so that was fun. There were 96 trucks in that film so we were bound to have some fun.

AL: How was your experience working on “The Sopranos”?
BY: In my opinion that series was like American Shakespeare. So I was very pleased to be a part of it. The episode I was in actually gave them their first Emmy. Everyone was very swell and gentle to work with. It was really great. The first day I was there James Gandolfini came up to me and said “To work with a master is very much a favor.” I had known some of the cast and crew from previous work but the whole experience was wonderful.

AL: If you had to pick one of your roles as a favorite which one would it be?
BY: That’s a hard question as I have been in over 125 movies. For different reasons there are different movies that I like. Location is always a factor as well as the individuals involved. The creativity of the script is important along with the depth of the character and how far I am allowed to take that character. I really liked some of the work that I have written. I of course love the first “Rocky” film. I also enjoyed some of the episodes from way back of “Baretta” that won Emmys and helped get that show renewed.

AL: Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects?
BY: I just finished a movie called “Win Win” with Paul Giamatti that will be out soon. I think that movie is going to be really good. Paul was a pleasure to work with. I have a two character play I wrote called “Artists Found in Port Washington Flat” that should go to Broadway with a little finger crossing.

Interview with Joan Benedict Steiger

Joan Benedict Steiger started performing at the age 7 and since that time she has appeared in over 40 theater productions and dozens of television and movie roles. Joan’s latest film which will be released this year is titled “Dead Border.” Movie Mikes had a chance to speak with Joan about her new film and her career in show business.

Adam Lawton: What prompted you to become involved with show business at such a young age?
Joan Benedict Steiger: That’s all I ever wanted to do since I was 7 years old. I started out dancing and singing around that age which soon led into acting a short time later. It’s really hard to explain as I had of course seen movies and such before but I think even before that I knew I wanted to act. I guess it’s what I was born to do. Even though I was a shy girl I loved to show off (Laughs).

AL: You took a short break from screen roles in the early 90’s. What prompted that decision?
JBS: My first husband was diagnosed with cancer so a lot of my time was being spent in hospitals during those days. I still continued working as much as I could whenever possible. To this day I have appeared in over 40 plays. I am set to receive an award in the coming weeks from the Women’s Theater Festival for my work in the theater.

AL: Is there a stage role that sticks out for you as a favorite?
JBS: Absolutely! “Leona” which was a play I did in 1993 about Leona Helmsley. It was a one woman show that I put on at the Matrix Theater in Hollywood. I was almost able to take that play to Broadway however the writer and director were married and they seemed like they were always in conflict with each other. The play was very rewarding though.

AL: Can you tell us about your experience working on “The Prize Fighter”
JBS: That was a really wonderful experience. My first husband actually wrote that film with Tim Conway. I played a sort of Miss Kitty type roll. Tim Conway and Don Knott’s were extremely fun to work with and both are great friends. Before Don passed away he and I used to always celebrate our birthdays together as we were both born on July 21st.

AL: Can you tell us about “The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington”?
JBS: That was quite an experience. I played Joey Heatherton’s boss which was a fabulous role. There happened to be a lot of drugs around in those days and thankfully I was never a part of that however I think Joey may have been caught up in those things making shooting a little difficult. George Hamilton was also really great to work with. He was so good. I remember he kept telling me he wanted to do comedy. At the time no one thought he could but, later on in his career he proved them wrong. George is such a nice person.

AL: Were you ever reluctant to be a part of that film because of its title?
JBS: No. The title may have evoked ideas about the film but it was actually the total opposite. There were no people undressing or anything like that. When you think about it compared to today’s standards that film is like a church movie (Laughs).

AL: Can you tell us about your latest feature “Dead Border”
JBS: I play Dr. Charlotte Barnes who is a Government doctor that works in a forensics lab. Without giving too much away I will tell you that certain things start to happen along the Texas border and plenty of murder and mayhem ensues. I have also been attached to the sequel which should start filming soon.

AL: Was this a role you had auditioned for?
JBS: Barb Doyon who is a producer/director on the film was a fan of my previous work and contacted me to see if I would be interested in the role. I didn’t have to audition at all. I was very intrigued by the part of the story that I am leaving out. I want everyone to be surprised when they watch it.

AL: Do you have other upcoming projects we can be looking for?
JBS: Besides “Dead Border” and its sequel, I get a lot of calls to come in for auditions. Unless it’s a part that really strike’s me I don’t generally take everyone. I am fortunate enough to not have to do that. There are a lot of new TV shows coming out that I would love to be a part of.

Interview with Brett Rickaby

Brett Rickaby stars as Graham Sutter in Stevan Mena’s newest film “Bereavement”.  This is Brett first leading role and also his most intense and dark.  Brett is also know for his role in the recent remake of  “The Crazies”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Brett about his new film and working with such an intense character with “Bereavement”

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you prepared for such an intense role of Graham Sutter in “Bereavement”?
Brett Rickaby: Everything just sort of aligned.  I was at this point in my career where I was trying to expand my abilities as an actor.  I was really practicing emotional availability and it was a big thing I was working on in front of the camera.  Sometimes acting is like landing a jet on the head of a pin, you got the camera going and you got to deliver on the spot.  What is really important for an actor is to have quick access to their emotions and to a full range of emotions.  I had been practicing that and I felt like I could take on anything.  Next thing I know I get a call for this role and I thought it was perfect.  When I read the script, I never read anything that was as emotionally voliatle as this role was.  A lot of people buy into the fact that an actor has to go crazy to play crazy.  To some degree it is true…while you are on, you need to be in it and living it, but you don’t have to stay there for good.  That is something I have been practicing with the attachment and really getting into it.  I have seen the movie three times now and there are points where I say to myself “I wonder want I was thinking there?” There is some crazy stuff going on with my face and I have no idea what I was thinking at that time.  It is fun on that level to go back and look at it watching it again. It was really my first lead in a film.  I felt like it was written for me as from the moment I finished it.

MG: Where you familiar with “Malevolence” prior to shooting?
BR: No, I had no idea.  The suggestion to watch the first film kind of came hand in hand with my first call.  They came me the script and then said “here this is what we are going from” with the first movie.  Stevan had hopes to really outdo his first film.  He had a bigger budget and more to work with and was trying to improve on the work he did with the first one.

MG: What was the hardest scene you had to shoot for the film?
BR: There are two that comes to mind.  My death scene was really hard.  It took a long time to shoot the scene.  It was so brutal to do that and after shooting it for a while we all had to kind of take a break.  We all were kind of shakey and was like “Wow this is awful”.  The whole crew was messed up from that scene, but it works for the film.  The other scene is, in what I feel is the climax, when I am in the bedroom with the little girl.  Although I love the way it actually turned out and looks.  Due to labor laws, we didn’t start shooting till 1am that day and the little girl had to leave by 2am, so we only had an hour to shoot that climatic scene.  It was my first role and since it was the climatic scene of the movie and I was all upset. Firstly I had to be in crazy mode and then personally I am actually upset and I am wailing.  Everyone thought I was actually going crazy [laughs].  Stevan edited that scene really well. Since non of us were really happy with what we got when we shot that scene originally.  But it turned out really well.

MG: How was it working with Stevan Mena?
BR: Stevan has very particular and strong ideas for the film.  If I felt that there was something I had to fight for I would push for it.  So there times when we would rub up against each other.  He and I both believe it is about the work and we realized we are working towards the same goal.  When you have two strong creative people come together that is going to happy.  We understood that and both have tremendous respect for each other. Both of us put in a lot of loving making this movie.  It is almost like a survival thing between us.

MG: You are no stranger to intense roles, tell us about working on “The Crazies”?
BR: “Bereavement” is the hardest role I have ever done…in terms of preparation.  I have learned so much about myself and there was some really big challenges. “The Crazies” was the easiest role I have ever done.  One of the things that happened was I got Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which is shingles of the ear, the year before “The Crazies” was shot.  Breck Eisner was talking about the different various stages of the virus. It starts from low energy and then he said the next is when your worst thoughts became your prominent thoughts. When I had Ramsay Hunt syndrome, I went to bed at night and I was haunted from my negative and bad thoughts. It was an interesting experience but perfect for “The Crazies”.  I was already through that.  So when the house burns down I am sitting on the back of the truck whistling.  The camera come around in close and I just had to think bad thoughts. How easy was that?  The only thing was difficult was the physical part of throwing my arms through the jail cell.  Arms are not made to go through those and I had bruises up and down my arm.

MG: Do you have any plans for anything upcoming?
BR: I am working on a couple of short films.  I have a lot of people asking me to do different projects.  So I take a look for the following things, 1: Is there something I can do for this? and 2: Is it something I haven’t visited yet?.  If I could bring something unique it catches my interest. I am definitely interested.

Interview with Hayes MacArthur

Hayes MacArthur stars in NBC’s new comedy “Perfect Couples” as Rex.  His character is married to the amazing Olivia Munn and they really do play the “perfect couple”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Hayes about how much he loves working on this show and with his cast.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with “Perfect Couples”?
Hayes MacArthur: I met with Scott Silveri and Jon Pollack last year. They developed the show later on in NBC’s schedule…so it came out in March, which is a crazy time. Everyone is running around and reading scripts. Immediately when I read it, I saw these six characters being so fleshed out with such unique comedic points of view, that I got excited. I went in and met with them and they explained that they didn’t want to make the typical arc type of characters that you normally see. They wanted my character as a guy who is super psyched to be in a relationship and be married. When it came to Rex, I have never seen that type of character before. Former party guys or jocks are always put out by there relationship, but that was the complete opposite for this guy Rex. I jumped at that opportunity to work with these guys.

MG: Your character Rex has some of the best lines in the show, do you enjoy playing him?
HM: One thing about playing Rex is that he has all of this competitive energy and he puts it in to make his relationship the best it can be. Rex also says these certain things that may seem totally absurd but very grounded from his point of view. It is great to watch the rest of the cast just crack up. That is what makes work so fun, just trying to make people laugh…that is really what it is all about.

MG: You and Olivia Munn have great chemistry together and are really funny, tell us about working with her?
HM: Olivia is just so much fun to work with. She always has these new gadgets to work..whether it is the newest phone or the latest camera. She is always taking pictures and doing these digital things. I like to say it is like working with a really hot and talented Radio Shack employee [laughs]. She always has the best stuff. She just brings so much energy and when she is playing Leigh we have just such a great time.

MG: What is your favorite episode that you have worked on?
HM: I think anytime we get together with a six person scene with everyone, those are always stand out scenes. They always end up encompassing the entire episode. Some of the later episodes as we work towards Vance and Amy’s wedding are a lot of fun. The guys go on a camping trip as a Bachelor Party. To get those characters together in that setting for this show is so great. You might think “a bunch a guys at a bachelor party…I’ve seen that before”, but again the writing takes it in such a great direction that you do not see it coming.

MG: One of my favorites was the “Man-Cave” episode.
HM: That is what I talking about. People might have heard of that concept but the way the guys wrote that episode was a man-cave designed by a dude’s wife who wanted him have it. Usually it is a guy who designs it to get away from everything. The show plays a lot with gender roles and that is so fun. Sometimes you are in a relationship and the guy acts more like the girl and the girl acts more like the guy. That is really a run dynamic to play with.

MG: This is the third project you have worked with Kyle Bornheimer, “Worst Week” and the film “She’s Out of My League”, how did you guys meet?
HM: We met in Pittsburgh during “She Out Of My League”. We had a lot a mutual friends but never met. When we got down to Pittsburgh and we had such a great time. We called ourselves an inadvertently comedy team. We keep working together but its never intentional. The stars just align like that. After “She’s Out of My League”, we came back to LA and played his brother-in-law in “Worst Week”…which was really fun. When he came aboard this project last Summer it just took it to a great level.

MG: What can you tell us about what’s to come in the rest of the season?
HM: Well I think as we see Vance and Amy build up till there wedding, we see how it sucks all the other characters into it. It is a nice thing to track through the series. There is a lot of fun things a long the way, like Amy loses her job and Leigh tries and help her find another job. That is coming up I believe March 17th, called “Perfect Job”.

Interview with Mary Elizabeth Ellis

Mary Elizabeth Ellis stars in NBC’s new comedy “Perfect Couples” as Amy. Her character is married to the very funny David Walton on the show and they are break-up and make-up couple….who are getting married. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Mary Elizabeth about working on this show and with her amazing cast.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the show “Perfect Couples”?
Mary Elizabeth Ellis: It actually was just one of many auditions that I had during pilot season last year. I wasn’t educated that Jon Pollack, Scott Silveri and even Andy Ackerman were the guys doing it, which was probably a good thing. I probably would have been a lot more nervous knowing the success of these guys. I went in and the scene I auditioned with was the one from the pilot episode, where we are doing game night. I get to freak out at Vance for telling me that my voice makes me want to kill himself.  So the opportunity to get to scream, be nervous and almost cry at someone was kind of [laughs] right up my alley. After I did that scene, I knew I totally loved the show and was all in.

MG: Tell us about your character Amy and how you enjoying playing her?
MEE: Amy is someone who is definitely jumps off the bridge and thinks about the broken arm later. She never questions what she wants to say or the emotions that she feels like normal people do. She just goes for it at like 110%. For an actor it is super awesome to get to play someone that is so emotionally available and just free. I also love playing her because I get to work with David Walton who is really so amazing and hilarious. The character he created with Vance is like nothing I have ever seen. It is a joy to get to go and play his other half.

MG: Tell us about how you and David Walton create such great chemistry on the set?
MEE: I was really lucky to have known David before the show started. His fiancé Majandra Delfino is an amazing actress and was on a pilot with me the year before. So through her I got to know David. Oh and also a few years, I had a guest spot on a show he was on years ago called “Cracking Up” with Molly Shannon. When we were doing the chemistry read, it was nice to know that, 1st: we know each other already and 2nd: we were in relationships with cool people. So it wasn’t going to be super weird making out with each other all the time…because we do. Vance and Amy make out a lot on the show.

MG: I love the “Man-Cave” episode, do you have a favorite?
MEE: Doing “Man-Cave” was a lot of fun because I got to some gymnastics. I got to prove to that myself that even at 31…I can still do a back-hand spring. That was pretty exciting. Plus it was really cool to get to do the chewing tobacco scene. My family is from Mississippi and my dad told me one of his friends came up to him and was like “I can’t believe she was doing chewing tobacco on TV”. I told him that it obviously wasn’t real chewing tobacco [laughing]. I also liked an episode that hasn’t aired yet, when Vance buys these super tight red pants and just because I don’t like them…he doesn’t take them off for days and days. I do everything I can to foil him. That one was a lot of fun as well.

MG: What can you tell us about the upcoming episodes, is there a wedding planned?
MEE: Yeah we started off the season with us going to Paris to get engaged. So the wedding planning has been happening throughout the season. Yeah, I am not sure which order it is going to play in but there is definitely going to be a bachelor/bachelorette party episode. That is going to be amazing what the guys decide to do and then what they end up actually doing. It is pretty classic what happens. Also Amy’s best pretty Dottie comes up from Louisiana and kind of steals Julia thunder as the maid of honor.

MG: If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing?
MEE: I would have trained in something else like dance or music, so I could be good in it. That or I would be doing street art. I would love to do street art that would be amazing but I do not have the balls [laughs].

Interview with Stevan Mena

Stevan Mena is the director of “Malevolence” and his latest “Bereavement”.  Both films are part of a trilogy that Stevan is creating.  I have known Stevan for many years personally and he is a really talented filmmaker.  His films reach a different level in the horror genre that a lot of filmmakers usually overlook.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Stevan again, rehash and chat about working on his latest and my personal favorite film “Bereavement”.  The film hits theaters on March 4th and should be checked out by all genre fans and it will surely become a cult classic.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell me about the process of making “Bereavement”?
Stevan Mena: We started shooting in 2008 and were really excited to get guys like Michael Biehn from “The Terminator”. I was thrilled he liked the script and decided to come on. Alexandra Daddario, who since I cast her has blown up in the scene. She just was in “Hall Pass” and “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”. She is really taken off. It was a tough shoot going back to the original location. It is a very precarious place to make a movie. I wouldn’t say it is a dangerous location but I do not think it will be standing for much longer. We got out of there in the nick of time. I wanted the film to explore all the things I did not get to do with “Malevolence”. I had things I wanted to shoot and explain and got to expand on all that stuff with this film, which is great.

MG: When did “Malevolence”, was this film always planned for you?
SM: Yeah, actually the whole thing was a conscious decision. Shooting “Malevolence” first was premeditated because I wanted to make sure the killer was as mysterious as possible. If I did “Bereavement” first where it is all about his torture by Graham Sutter and how he becomes a serial killer, then you kind of diminish the scare factor because everyone knows who he is in. Where in “Malevolence”, the first time around he is a complete mystery and that is always more scary.

MG: Are both the films able to be watched in sequence?
SM: You certainly can watch “Bereavement” and then “Malevolence” right afterwards. In fact if you stick around after the credits in “Bereavement”, there is a scene from “Malevolence” that you never saw before and it is really cool.

MG: Did you find it hard to work with such dark subject matter?
SM: It definitely was rough. I knew it was going to be a really dark film to make. There definitely were times, especially with the hook scene it was grating on all of us to listen to the screams over and over. That is the price you pay if you want realism. So, I think reaction when a lot of people watch the film is it feels so authentic and that is what I was shooting for. But to get it like that it is a very laborious process to get everybody up to speed and get ready to do that…then to watch it unfold. It feels real, so you wouldn’t be a human being, or you would be a slightly demented human, if you didn’t get upset doing it.

MG: What would you say was the most difficult part for you working on the film?
SM: I would have to say getting out of the car everyday [laughs]. You do not sleep at all when you are shooting six to eight weeks. You get up at 4am…get to the set by 5am…you are prepping and blocking the shots for the next two hours…then you shooting for twelve hours…then you come back and you are watching dailies for three or four hours…and then you have to sit and plan your next day and your shot list. Maybe you will get one hour of sleep but there was points where I was going 72 hours with no sleep. You have to get the actors up and motivated to hit their marks and get their lines right and also keep the crew going. I think the hardest part is keeping the momentum going and your energy up.

MG: “Bereavement” had quite a larger budget than your first two films, did that make it easier for you?
SM: No, not really. Same problems…more money just equals more problems sometimes. The good things are you can get the equipment you want for your shots and you can get the actors you want. That is what makes it better. As far as the day-to-day grime, it is all the same stuff.

MG: The score in “Bereavement” is so haunting and well-done and even reminds me of classic 80’s horror scores like John Carpenter and Goblin, tell us about working on the score?
SM: Well, I actually hired a couple of different composers but I wasn’t getting what I was looking for. So I ended up jumping in and doing it myself. It is really just me by myself. The orchestra is me and my computer. I have learned how to write music and then program it into the computer to basically play what I want. Then part of it is actually me playing, since I play piano and I can do a lot with keyboards. I love the old Goblin and Carpenter scores myself, so of course that is a huge influence for me.

MG: Do you know what you will be working on next?
SM: I do…I actually have a lot of different projects coming up. I will be focusing on the third film in this trilogy to end Martin’s story. So all of that is on the burner. As a filmmaker it is always, “What have you done for me lately”…so hopefully this film will perform and people will continue to back me. Then I will be able to make movies as long as people come out and buy a ticket.


Interview with Meaghan Rath

Meaghan Rath is the star of SyFy’s new hit show “Being Human”.  Adapted from the British series, Meaghan is playing the character Sally, living in a house with a vampire and a werewolf.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Meaghan about her character on the show and what we can expect the rest of the season.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got involved with Syfy’s “Being Human”?
Meaghan Rath: I got the script and audition material from my agent.  I haven’t heard of the British show before.  I went home and read the scripts and immediately fell in love with them.  I really connected to the characters, the people that they were and the struggles that they were going through.  I just knew I had to be a part of it.  I auditioned a couple of times and read for the casting agent.  Next, I work-shopped the audition with Adam Kane, the executive producers and director of the first two and finale episodes.  Then they flew me to screen-test and that is where I met the guys for the first time.

MG: Tell us how you prepared for your character Sally Malik?
MR: I wasn’t trying to play her as a ghost…I was playing her as a real person.  I think that is the whole trauma of our show.  We are not playing the stereotypes of a vampire, a ghost or a werewolf.  We are playing them as real people.  It wasn’t too hard for me because I really saw a lot of myself in her and connected with that she was going through.  It wasn’t much preparation.  When people ask me “What type of research did you do to be a ghost?”, I have always believed in the supernatural my entire life…I didn’t have to research that much.  Sally is really new, so I am going through everything she is going through at the same time.  I am learning as she is learning.

MG: In the show you actually forget that she is a ghost until she disappears or something, that is planned right?.
MR: Exactly and that is great that you say that because that is sort of what we are going for. The show is a character based show and it is about their relationships but on top of that we have this element of the supernatural that makes the stakes higher.

MG: Since being a part of the show, did you go back as check out the British version?
MR: I watched maybe two episodes during the audition process just to get a sense of the tone.  We made the conscious choice not to watch anything while we were shooting because we wanted to just bring ourself to it and not be influenced by what we were seeing, or we didn’t want to see something we really liked and then not be able to do it.  We wanted to completely put it out of our minds.  Since we stopped, I haven’t seen any more but I think Sam Witwer bought the DVDs, so maybe we will all watch it.

MG: We recently found out a big secret about your character and your killer, can you tell us a little about that?
MR: It was a really intense episode to shoot.  I had a feeling of what it was though from the beginning.  The writers were very secretive about our character arcs and plot lines. I was really happy to see that they were going to go there pretty early on in the season and now that leaves a lot of room for development for my character.  I found in the first couple of episodes, I didn’t want Sally to just be mourning and luckily they got the death thing out in the open.  By the end of the season, Sally ends up in a completely different place then when she started and it is really exciting.  It is not necessarily a happy place. It is really exciting for an actor to be place to play that kind of thing.

MG: Tell us about working with such a great cast?
MR: It has been amazing to work with Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington and even Mark (Pellegrino).  The Sam’s are the two of the most talented people I have ever worked with.  They are so generous on set.  We never have to worry when we are doing scenes together, the three of us, we have so much friendship and history already to bring to these characters.  We find our ways through scenes and discover new things as we go along and it is really nice to work with them.  It is like going to work with your best friends.

MG: What has been your favorite episode to shoot so far?
MR: I have a couple of favorites.  You know that flying sequence we did, that was one of my most amazing times ever spent on the set.  There was something really special about it.  I also really love episode five, a lot of shit goes down in that episode.  I think that is really a pivotal episode of all of our characters.  It is where stuff really kicks into gear.  Also episode seven, it is just really good.  We are all just finding our grooves really well and it is working.  I think it just gets better every week.  I have only seen to episode ten and I am telling you each week  gets better and better and more dark and more funny.  It is amazing.

MG: What can you tell us about your characters’ storyline in the upcoming episodes?
MR: Expect to see a more darker Sally.  I am more sober…in the beginning of the series, she is kind of bubbly and excitable.  She does retain a lot of that during the season but I think she is constantly hitting these new rock bottoms.  She is now brought into this supernatural world.  I think that, especially with the reveal of how she died, she is dealing with a lot of feelings of revenge and she has a darkness to her that grows.  She is struggling and sort of on the fence of being on the light side of things to the dark side of things.  She is trying to find her way.  It is really cool.

Interview with Andrew Clement

Andrew Clement is the owner of Creative Character Engineering, an SFX company that has been around since 1993.  Just in 2010, Andrew has worked on the following films, 2010’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Repo Men”, “Let Me In” and HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Andrew about his latest work and what he has planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: Where you nervous re-designing one of horrors biggest icons Freddy Kruger in 2010’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street”?
Andrew Clement: I have to honestly say that the main thing that I was nervous about was getting the work done on time. We didn’t get Jackie Earle Haley until the eleventh hour, and we had a deadline for a makeup test a few weeks after that. I didn’t want to compromise the look, or how the makeup went together, so it meant a lot of crazy hours. I always have a certain amount of stress when I prep a makeup, because I want it to be the best it can be, and I’m a pretty tough critic. When I was awarded the film, I knew that no matter what I did, there would always be a segment of the fan population who would hate it on principle, just because we changed it. I was really happy that there was an almost universal acceptance of the make-up, especially with the people who were invited to see it in person.

MG: When working on make-up effects for “Let Me In”, did you refer back to the original film?
AC: I actually didn’t know that the film was a remake until after I began working on it. I asked Matt Reeves if he wanted me to see the film, and he requested that I not watch it, so my take would be fresh. I still have not seen the original, even though I bought a copy. I got too busy with projects right after we wrapped “Let Me In”. Again, like “Nightmare on Elm Street”, I got a lot of positive feedback on the make-up, even with people who were familiar with the original.

MG: How did you start working with Dick Smith?
AC: I had been sending photos of my work to Dick ever since I was a kid, and he would send nice responses to me.  Eventually, I would call him for advice and help when I began to get professional jobs. Around 1984, I heard that he was thinking of writing a book or something on make-up. I called him to say hi, and let him know I would be interested in buying a copy if he ever got around to it. A few months later he sent out a flier advertising his professional make-up course. I sent out a check to him for a copy that day, and my promptness resulted in me being his first student. Then around 2004, Dick called me to say he wanted to find someone to carry on the work of the course, and to update the material. I was his first choice, and would I be interested? Of course I said yes, and we have been business partners since. It’s allowed me to spend a lot of time and travel with him teaching, and it’s been a remarkable experience.

MG: You have worked on a few projects with Steve Oedekerk, can you tell us about how that became?
AC: Steve is one of my favorite people to work with. He’s terrifically funny and a nice guy. I was brought in on “Kung Pow” by a prop master friend of mine, and we hit it off. I wound up doing some small things for his “Thumb” series of projects after that. I look forward to him doing something big again, because he always has fun, silly things to do.

MG: What has been the most difficult project that you have worked on?
AC: I can honestly say that “Let Me In” was far and away the most difficult project I have ever been on. Working with a limited budget, in the mountains of New Mexico in the dead of winter, with effects in water, and on kids who have a limited schedule for filming. The production that did not have a lot of experience working with practical effects and that made it extremely stressful. But we got through it, and delivered work that I am extremely proud of.

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MG: What has been your favorite project that you have worked on?
AC: My favorite project to date, in terms of work I have created has to be “Repo Men”. On that film, we got to do everything from tiny brand/tattoo appliances to full effect replicas of Jude Law and Alice Braga. We also broke new ground for ourselves in creating the futuristic artificial organs in the computer.  We then printed via a 3D printer and plated with actual metal to create these hyper real working props.

MG: Do you have a favorite genre to work in?
AC: I love to create characters, and some of my best memories came from when I worked at Jim Henson’s company. I love when an audience can have an emotional response, be it awe, or fear, or affection, to something that I have created. I would have loved to stay at Henson’s, but they have an edict that keeps them from pursuing films that are not family friendly.  I needed more latitude in my work than that, so I decided to form my own company where I could explore those kinds of projects. If I had the opportunity to create more fantasy or alien characters, I would be very happy.

MG: Tell us about your two upcoming projects “The Apparition” & Wanderlust”?
AC: Unfortunately, I’m not permitted to talk about either of those projects yet. I do have a lot of things in the works, including some exciting CG projects, that should really show the full range of the work that we can do.

Interview with Giovanni Lombardo Radice

Giovanni Lombardo Radice is known for his roles in such classic Italian horror films such as “City of the Living Dead” & “Cannibal Ferox”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Johnny (as called by his friends) about how he actually dislike for horror genre and “Cannibal Ferox”, as well.

Mike Gencarelli: You have made quite a career in the horror genre, has that always been a favorite for you?
Giovanni Lombardo Radice: Not at all. As a cinema goer I stopped watching horror films with Dario Argento’s “Deep Red”. I get easily scared (and don’t like it), I do not like gore, blood, violence. Curiously enough as an actor, I have been in it up to my hair (when I had hair).

MG: What was it like starring in the film “Cannibal Ferox”? they do not make films like that anymore.
GLR: And I am very glad they don’t. “Cannibal Ferox”, in my opinion, is one of the greater pieces of shit ever made. Tasteless, useless, cruel and fascist. Making it was a nightmare (Lenzi + jungle is a fatal combination) and I am still deeply ashamed about being in it and I also think I was terrible in that movie: Over the top, bombastic and bleah!!!!

MG: How did you feel when you found out that it was “Banned in 31 Countries”, that is something really incredible?
GLR: I couldn’t care less. Sorry if it comes to a disappointment to you or others but I really HATE the thing. If it had been for me it could have been burned in Times Square.

MG: How was it working with the late Lucio Fulci in “City of the Living Dead”?
GLR: To me he was always very kind. He liked my acting and respected me. The atmosphere on set was edgy, because he was always shouting (at the production mainly) and work was quite hard. But all in the same, I have good memories. He surely had a bad temper and frequently mistreated people. He was very unhappy both for tragedies that had happened in his family and because he was unsatisfied about his career. Once I invited him to a party in my house. He went to the toilet and found out that whilst theatre posters were displayed in the living room, the horror movie posters were decorating the bathroom. He came back yelling “Hey, people, I’m in the loo!” Anyhow, he was a cultivated man and respected me for my family background and for my theatre credits. He was always very polite and friendly with me.

MG: Tell about playing your intense character in “City of the Living Dead”?
GLR: I liked the character of Bob and, as I always do, had most of all a physical training, working on the character’s body, his frailness, the slight twist on one shoulder.

MG: How do you feel Italian horror films differs from American horror films?
GLR: I haven’t seen many from either countries because, as I told you, I don’t like them. What can I say is that Italians are generally less technical and more inventive. They rely more on fantasy than on special effects.

MG: How can you reflect how your films resonate with new and old fans still through today?
GLR: It’s a mystery. I learned to accept with gratitude. It’s quite strange to be loved and at times idolized for something you don’t like yourself, but I think an actor must always be grateful to his audience for affection and esteem.

MG: Going on working on zombie horror films to “Gangs of New York”, how was that process for you?
GLR: As I told many a time, in “Gangs Of New York”, I have almost an extra role, which I accepted (against the opinion of my agent). I was paid as an actor and because I was very curious about the huge reconstruction they had made of 1860’s New York. As a matter of fact these characters in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” originally had lines, but they were cut before shooting because of the movie length. Anyway before zombies I had been on stage performing Shakespeare and others plays. I kept doing theatre all the way and being in a lot other stuff than horror film. Mainly period European miniseries, some of them really good.

MG: What are you favorite types of films to watch if not horror?
GLR: I like mysteries, ghost stories, thrillers. I could name “The Others”, “The Sixth Sense” and the recent “Hereafter”, which I thought a work of genius.

MG: Tell us what are you currently working on?
GLR: I recently made an independent movie in Texas called “The Infliction” by Matthan Harris. I translated and directed a Neil Simon play here in Italy called “The Dinner Party” and occasionally acted in it, sharing the role with another actor. I am now starting to translate “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”, which will be staged next year.