Bobby Moynihan and Method Man talk about FX’s new comedy “Chozen”

On Monday January 13th, FX will debut its animated comedy, Chozen from the creators of Archer and Eastbound and Down. Chozen stars Bobby Moynihan as the eponymous openly gay rapper who’s fresh out of a ten year prison sentence and looking to make it big on the music scene while getting revenge on those who put him in the slammer. I got to catch up with stars Moynihan and Method Man along with creator Grant Dekernion and executive producer Tom Brady at this year’s New York Comic Con.

Bobby Moynihan (this writer’s favorite Saturday Night Live cast member) was eager to join the cast of the show,  “I got the thing that said ‘do you want to put yourself on tape for this?’ where I had the drawing of all the characters and I saw—I was a big Archer fan—so I saw that and it was just like ‘I want to do this.’…I called my agents every single day. Like 9 o’clock in the morning, ‘hey found anything out about Chozen?’” This isn’t to say Moynihan identifies with the brash character, “he just says and does whatever he wants…he walks in the room, his sister’s having sex with somebody and he’s just like, [dropping into Chozen’s voice] ‘Ooh, you havin’ sex? Good for you!’ He’s just pumped about things. I feel like I would be like ‘Oh my god, I’m so sorry! I apologize!’ And then never talk to my sister again…Just everything he’s thinking is just out there.” The comedian did add a personal touch to how he sees Chozen spending his time in jail though. “In my mind he just spent a lot of time aggressively going after taking what he wanted and just watching Lost…I keep saying it so hopefully it will come out. I’m a weird Lost nerd…I want to do a whole episode where it’s just him in jail watching Lost.” Would Chozen then have enjoyed that drama’s finale? “YES. YES” Moynihan says emphatically of his cartoon alter ego before adding, “It was perfect, I truly loved it.”

Moynihan is also a talented improvisational comedian, notably appearing recently on IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! as murderous orphan Fourvel (it’s one less than Fievel). “I didn’t really have much other than the name [and] that one joke” Moynihan says, “Just being able to improvise with Scott [Aukerman] and Paul F. Tompkins was a blast.” Fortunately we’ll get to hear Moynihan improvise in Chozen as well—“I feel very very lucky. It’s a lot of fun improvising and a lot of ‘oh my god, that was crazy, don’t use that…I don’t want the people to hear the fact that I said those things!”

Method Man plays Phantasm, the villainous ex-band mate of Chozen who was responsible in setting up the drug bust that puts Chozen behind bars. The rapper maintains that the sleazy voice he lends to Phantasm “comes from a family member named Daddio…you know, he smokes these backwoods cigars and it’s gotten to the point where his voice is so low you can’t even hear him!” Despite his background however, Method Man maintains he’s not behind the musical writing of the series “since I’m playing a character and not Method Man, no, I will not” although he’s not ruling it out adding, “if they gave me a shot to, maybe.”

 Behind the songwriting, and singing voice of Chozen is creator Grant Dekernion who was asked if we can expect more musical acts to come on the show in the future, he explained: “Obviously we got Method Man which blew my mind—and that’s definitely helped us open doors. You know, we’re hoping later this season we might see some more musical acts, I think once the show comes out and people get behind it and see what it’s about, that’s definitely something we can play with in the future. But I think just a lot of people are just curious to see it.”

Both Dekernion and executive producer Tom Brady are particularly excited to be creating the show for the FX network. “Been doing this a little while and you know, I’ve been part of shows that have been on networks and different cable shows and stuff and this is the right show for the right network” says Brady. “The content, the subject matter, FX seems to invest in voices. In this case, Grant’s, from his brain. And if they buy into it, they support it, they let you grow and they nurture it.” Other FX hits include It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League. Of the creative teams behind those shows, Brady adds “we’ve heard them talk about how supportive FX has been and them finding what identity those shows have, so that’s been kind of cool for us to think ‘hey, maybe we could be like that.’”

Check out Chozen Monday January 13th at 10:30pm on FX.

The Cast and Creators discuss their new hit show “Sleepy Hollow”

Sleepy Hollow returns to Fox this Monday after a brief World-Series-imposed break from the schedule. The new hit series follows Lieutenant Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), a cop in the small town of Sleepy Hollow, who finds herself partnered up with resurrected Revolutionary War soldier Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison). They’re on a mission to stop the four horsemen of the apocalypse lead by Death in the form of the Headless Horseman. So far the characters have encountered all manner of witches, demons, history and folklore from the Biblical Revelations to the lost colony of Roanoke. Sleepy Hollow marked Fox’s highest premiere ratings since 2006 and was renewed for a second season in the beginning of October. I sat down with the cast and creators of the show at New York Comic Con to discuss the supernatural drama.

Creator Alex Kurtzman spoke about the origin of the show, “the initial idea was just a modern take on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was something that’s never really been presented or approached in modern context, so that was fascinating to all of us and…when we came to the idea of blending that legend with Revelations and it seemed crazy, but can it possibly work? And that was where it all started. And can we put these things together and have something really compelling?”

Tom Mison added about his approach to the show, “Lots of people wonder whether how much we went back to the original short story, which was something I’d read a long time ago, but when we got the script for the pilot it was so vastly different to that or anything that I could begin to research. I just let that script speak for itself, really.”

Co-creator Len Wiseman is best known for helming the female-led Underworld film franchise, a trend which continues here. Not only is Lieutenant Mills leading the case, but as the series has gone along, viewers have seen how Ichabod’s wife Katrina (played by Katia Winter) revealed to be a witch caught in purgatory, has played an integral role in leading the case from beyond the grave. Additionally Mills has in recent episodes enlisted her sister Jenny in determining the fate of humanity. The cast spoke about having kick ass women taking the lead on the show.

“I think it’s kind of ground breaking what’s going on” said Nicole Beharie. “First of all, they brought in Abby and Abby is a hero sort of unbeknownst to herself. Like, she didn’t know that all these things were going to happen to her and that she had all these powers to sort of draw upon. And then she also finds out, when she reconnects with her sister that her sister has all of this information and these resources. And then we find out that Katrina is this witch that has all these–I love that all these women in the show actually are an integral part of saving the world. There not just there as like a piece to sort of move the story on. And they’re not just batting eyelashes, like we’re helping to make the thing happen–If not making the thing happen. I personally think, if you look at all the episodes, okay? I threw the book, I saved the guy, so yeah that’s really a big part of it and I’m honored to be a part of it. And also you know, it’s a diverse cast too, so that’s ace.”

Mison was attracted by this aspect of the show. “One of the things when I read the pilot that made it appeal to me so much was that you have the two female leads who aren’t defined by a man. You have Abby who, she’s just a strong modern woman with important things on her mind and [Katrina’s] well, a witch, who’s far more powerful than her pathetic mortal husband. And you don’t see it enough. All too often, scripts are–the women are the girlfriend or the daughter and they have very little to do other than support the male characters’ stories. Whereas this from the start and throughout, the female characters have been rounded and clear individuals. And that’s–hats off to the show for doing that.”

A great deal of fun on the show is derived from Mison’s 18th Century Crane dealing with the modern world, including its ladies. Not only does Crane seem to connect with Mill’s sister Jenny, but in one fan favorite moment, Ichabod advised a tearful OnStar representative about romance while being locked in his  21st Century car.

Mison commented on this trend, “I’ve not really thought about that! That in every episode, there’s a new girl who Ichabod kind of semi-flirts with. Just because the wife’s in purgatory…[Ichabod and Jenny] seem to be kindred spirits, she’s ballsy and she fights for what she believes is right…But then I think there was a very tender connection with Yolanda, the OnStar lady and I’d like to see her become a recurring character. She could be like Ziggy from Quantum Leap! She could, anytime he needs advice but can’t find Katrina, he just goes and talks to Yolanda….maybe.” On-screen wife Winter remained quiet, “No? Everyone completely disagrees!”

Meanwhile, Crane’s wardrobe has yet to be updated as he assimilates the modern era, since he’s in the same outfit five episodes along. Mison laughed and defended his character’s jacket “that he’s worn for two-hundred fifty years?…Uh, it’s a nice coat though, at least!” A moment later he added “That will be addressed in some way or other” while another member of the press rooted for a good pair of jeans.

Of course this wouldn’t be Sleepy Hollow without its legendary Horseman and other supernatural elements running around. Everyone involved with the show had a lot to say on that monstrous aspect of the show.

“Okay, I’m 5’1″.” Beharie began on the topic of the giant Headless Horseman, “In the next few episodes, I run down stairs, he’s like chasing me with an axe. And I’m a little person, he’s a big guy. Like in real life, the guy who plays the horseman. So I’m scared by the Horseman. He’s on horses and I’m in heels.”

Having the Horseman on set is likely due to Wiseman’s preference for practical effects wherever possible. He said “Tv lends itself to practical effects due to its schedule and time. It’s a bit of a double edged sword but we try to–and you don’t really have time for elaborate visual effects. You don’t have a load of time for practical, but if you plan ahead, it’s the perfect platform for practical and it’s one of the things that Alex and I both are fans of, like the movies that we grew up on, to be able to have an actual–if you have a creature on the episode. If it actually really is a creature, whether it’s Hellraiser or Pumpkinhead or you know, these, I think there’s just more of a connection to it and I miss that. You don’t see that on television a lot.”

Orlando Jones, who plays Mills’s boss Captain Irving, brought up some other demonic foes as scarier “The show is crazy because the Horseman’s there! It’s not like it’s CGI, and she’s right, he’s like 6’6″ and when he’s swinging an axe you know…but I’m sorry…the Sandman and the Blurry [a recurring horned demon that only appears blurry to viewers so far]? Come on, I’m sorry. That’s just weird!” When Beharie agreed about the Sandman, Jones went on, “Homeboy turns into dust? I ain’t with that. It’s creepy, for me. I mean honestly.”

The Sandman they’re referring to was a chilling creation defeated by Abbie in the third episode, Kurtzman elaborated on what set him apart from being just a demon-on-the-week. “Sandman was literally a manifestation of Abby’s past. And of her guilt and something she hadn’t dealt with. And so we really try and take the approach with our monsters, is not just having them be random monsters but actually echo something very important in our characters and what they’re going through.”

Speaking on future monsters, Wiseman and Kurtzman teased their versions of the classic characters such as a gollem and a scarecrow while Beharie assured us we’d see plenty more of the Horseman.

As for future plot spoilers, the cast was a bit more hesitant with Mison saying “there are things that I can’t say because I’ll get in trouble. And then there are things that I don’t want to say because they’re such nice twists that I want you to enjoy them when they come. But it’s all about Katrina. The more Katrina comes back, the more revelations there are not only about Ichabod but about the fate of humanity. So keep your eyes on her, really.” Jones later added ominously about his own character, “I think the best description for Irving is assume I know everything.”

Sleepy Hollow airs Mondays at 9pm on Fox.

Photography by Elizabeth Phillips

New York Comic Con: Main Stage Highlights

Photography by Elizabeth Phillips

            Media Mikes had an awesome time at the Main Stage of the Javit’s Center throughout this year’s New York Comic, here’s some of the highlights of the panels we enjoyed. Click on any of the banners to take a look at additional photos from each.

            Same as last year, the Adult Swim panels on NYCC’s Friday evening, Venture Brothers followed immediately by Robot Chicken, were hilarious. Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick brought no clips but assured the crowd of a great premiere of the next season of the show–chiefly because it was originally intended for the fifth season’s finale!

            The Q&A session featured much discussion of David Bowie and was capped off by a fan in an amazing Venture-covered dress being too nervous to ask Doc a question, “ARE YOU TOO NERVOUS TO DANCE WITH ME?” he replied before launching off the stage and sharing a short dance to, oddly enough “Greased Lightning” from Grease.

            Robot Chicken’s panel, or the meeting of the silly hats club,  was moderated by Adult Swim VP Keith Crofford and included co-creators Matt Senreich and Seth Green and actors Clare Grant, Breckin Meyer and, in his “annual public appearance”, Macauley Culkin. Later, Doc Hammer emerged from back stage for a bit of light streaking and group hugging that ended with Seth Green licking Doc’s nipple (“He tastes like Dr. Girlfriend!”)

            The Q&A with fans produced their now-traditional sexy pose request and a sudden rivalry between Meyer and a ten-year old audience member named Emmett, who came to the mic with a beef against Green’s new sitcom “Dads.”

            On Saturday, The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel was light on cast and crew—moderator/executive producer Jeph Loeb spoke with the duo of Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge who play techies Fitz & Simmons on the show. A short Q&A was followed by a screening of the “Eye Spy” episode of the show. In the pre-screening talk, De Caestecker discussed his desire for his character to gain a pet monkey while Henstridge offered supervillain Loki as her favorite Avengers character.

            Also making showings on NYCC’s Saturday were three tween hit shows with MTV’s Teen Wolf and the CW’s Beauty and the Beast and Reign. The latter two screening full episodes which, admittedly had some of the audience impatiently shifting in their seats anxiously for the Walking Dead that evening–fans seated in the Main Stage are not cleared between panels–making waiting it out a popular option. Meanwhile, the Teen Wolf panel of Dylan O’brien, Linden Ashby, and Jeff Davis was one of the loudest of the day with a hugely enthusiastic crowd.

        Finally the people behind The Walking Dead took the stage to a huge reception from the crowd. An awesome surprise was Dead fan and Community star Yvette Nicole Brown moderating the panel. For a show about a zombie apocalypse, there was quite a bit of arguing over coupling on the show. On relationships in the show, Brown yelled at the crew, “You don’t have to put love in the show, we’ll put love in…we’ll add it in our minds!” From the fan Q&A, a young boy decked out as Daryl Dixon threw down a challenge to actors [Lauren Cohan and Steven Yuen], “Since Maggie is such a bad ass, do you really think she needs Glen to protect her?” 

New York Comic Con Fan Photos

New York Comic Con took over the Javits Center in midtown last weekend. Of course it had amazing panels and merchandise booths but the show floor wouldn’t be the same without the tons of costumed fans that flooded in. We’ve highlighted some of our favorites from the floor in the following photosets:

Marvel Universe
DC Universe
“They’ve Got Red on Them”
Random Faves

Photography by: Elizabeth Phillips

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Zachary Levi Raises Money For Operation Smile at NYCC

If you found yourself in The Nerd Machine booth this past weekend at New York Comic Con, you may have noticed a multitude of celebrity guests dropping by for impromptu photo and signing sessions with fans. These guests, as announced via the twitter hashtag #Smiles4Smiles, included stars such as Seth Green, David Duchovny and “Community’s” Yvette Nicole Brown. Actor Zachary Levi, who is currently in New York appearing in Broadway’s First Date, was behind bringing these guests together at NYCC to raise money for Operation Smile.

Can you talk about what Smiles4Smiles is?
Zachary Levi: “So basically, I’m an ambassador for Operation Smile and our main events called NerdHQ that we do at San Diego Comic Con, we make most of our money doing the panels that we do called “Conversations for a Cause“. But there’s a lot of time in between where celebrities might not be able to do a panel for us but they have time to do some photos for us or or do some signings for us. And by for us, I mean for the fans obviously. And I just kind of believe that, I don’t know, for me, you know I’ve been really blessed and…I make my money doing the acting gigs that I do and I love that I’m able to do signings and do photos and stuff and make it affordable– twenty bucks a pop–and you tell people that that all goes to charity, everyone feels a lot better about the whole process of it. So then I was just trying to figure out a catchy way to call it. So it’s Smiles, you’re smiling for a camera for Smiles, Operation Smile. And Signing4Smiles. So that’s what Smiles4Smiles is.”

Levi will next be seen in Thor: The Dark World and I couldn’t help putting a spoiler-free question to the new–taking over the role from Thor‘s Josh Dallas–Fandral the Dashing.

What’s the coolest thing about being an Asgardian?
Being a blond, I guess. (Laughs)

It was more fun being a blond?
It was! It was fun. It was different.

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NYCC 2012 – Adult Swim’s “Children’s Hospital” and “NTSF:SD:SUV” Panel

As part of this year’s New York Comic Con cast members from Adult Swims “Children’s Hospital” and “NTSF:SD:SUV” came together for a panel where they aired new promos for the coming seasons and answered a number of questions from the large group of fans who filled one of the convention hall rooms. Media Mikes was on hand to cover the panel which proved to be quite entertaining.

Question 1: Now that “Children’s Hospital” has won an Emmy do you think “NTSF” will be next?
David Wain: Highly unlikely.
Curtis Gwinn: It takes a lot of money to win an Emmy as you have to pay those people a lot.
Paul Scheer: Look, I don’t kiss the ass of Hollywood. I make shows for people. Not to win awards.
Rob Corddry: I feel like we won Paul. It’s all of ours Emmy.
PS: Whatever! (Laughs) At “NTSF” we have talked about this and we want to get a Grammy. We plan to work really hard at figuring out how to do that.
CG: I want to win an Obie.

Q2: In last season of “Children’s Hospital” you did an episode which told Chief’s back story. Do you have any plans to do more of those with other characters?
RC: The first episode next season will feature as much back story as we have. Lucky you guys, your winning! (Laughs)

Q3: What was Henry Winkler like to work with?
RC: He was a Bastard! (Laughs)
PS: I can tell you what he was like to work with. He’s coooool.

Q4: David you have established a specific style of making out. Do you tell the actors to make out a certain way?
DW: I don’t tell them I show them! (Laughs)

Q5: In the first season of “NTSV” how did you survive the Mustache dimension?
PS: In that episode we ended up in this alternate reality/dimension where everyone had mustaches. CG: It’s a television show. But who is to say that since we are playing with multiple dimensions like “Fringe” that who’s to say that the original trend from that episode is even the trend that the show is actually about? PS: Think about that. It goes deep.

Q6: Rob in the movie “End Game” did you ever find out what Tempest felt like?
RC: You are referencing a movie that only you and my Dad saw. I have no idea what you are talking about. (Laughs) I don’t feel anyone.
PS: I think he is asking what a woman feels like. (Laughs)
DW: Without going in to too much detail I will say that touching the boobs is so great. (Laughs)
PS: It’s like hot Jell-O. (Laughs)

Q7: Do you think there will ever be an episode made of “Children’s Hospital” that can be show to children?
RC: Not interested in children other than my own kids. I don’t have anything in common with them. They are not easy to talk to and don’t understand irony or sarcasm. They can be dicks! And I don’t have time for that whole genre. (Laughs)
PS: Most of the cast and crew on “Children’s Hospital” have children and yet we don’t make episodes they can watch.
RC: Zero interest.
PS: However I have no children and have been on “Yo Gabba Gabba” like 8 times. (Laughs)
RC: Is that even really for kids? I am not sure.
PS: No it’s for Brooklyn hipsters. (Laughs)

Q8: “NTSF” was originally a fake commercial during “Children’s Hospital”. How did you get from that to a real TV show?
PS: Adult Swim had some programming holes during the show so we shot a fake trailer and based on that they picked up the show.
RC: Paul basically saved our ass because we had a show that was under time.
PS: We filled that 90 second hole and then made a TV show out of it. (Laughs)
CG: It worked out so well that we do it at the end of every “NTSF” episode hoping that it will work out some more.

Q9: How did you come to cast Kate Mulgrew in “NTSF”?
PS: I can only tell you what it’s like to touch her. Curtis is the one who actually had the idea.
CG: I am a gigantic “Star Trek” nerd.
DW: That lady is a complete fox!
PS: We had the character of Kove and we couldn’t figure out whom to play her. We went through all these lists of names and then Curtis brought up Kate. We thought she was great but didn’t think she would ever do a comedy on Adult Swim. Especially wearing an eye patch and smoking a pipe. We ended up calling her and she said she would do it. She only said no to one thing and that was saying the word vagina. However she would use another word to convey that same message. That was the only thing that she said no to.
RC: What was the word she ended up saying?
DW: Cunt I think it was. (Laughs)

Q10: Will there ever be an episode of “Children’s Hospital” featuring the Insane Clown Posse?
PS: Season 2 featured the Boom Town Break Down Crew so what’s the difference?
RC: I assume because they also wear clown makeup? Yeah I get what you’re saying. I never thought about it before only because it would never make any sense and there is no relation to the show. It would be kind of annoying to have them around.
PS: Have you ever thought of having Ronald McDonald on the show?
RC: That is another clown and I am terrible at this!
DW: I think we should have the crew from “Mad Men” come on the show because they all wear ties. (Laughs)
RC: I have been thinking about this all wrong. Thank you.
PS: Adult Swim would probably have to take out a big Faygo sponsorship.

Q11: Will Jason Mantzoukas be doing any more episodes of “NTSF”?
PS: This season of “NTSF” has no more Jason Mantzoukas because we are done filming it. He is definitely on “The League”.
DW: If you want to see more of Jason he will be in the movie I am editing right now titled “They Came Together” which comes out in June.
CG: He is my neighbor in Hollywood and if you want to meet him I will take you to his house. (Laughs)

Q12: With both of these shows having similar DNA will we ever see Trent go to “Children’s Hospital”?
DW: It could happen.
RC: We talk about that a lot and we just want to make sure if and when we do it that it’s done in a cool way. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.
PS: Maybe we could do just a half assed version?
DW: That’s what my girlfriend said. (Laughs)

Q13: Will there be any more cult show reunion’s happening on “Children’s Hospital”
RC: We don’t have plans for anything but, that was one of the most satisfying shooting experiences on the show. I was a big fan of “Party Down” except for Adam Scott who is a dick! (Laughs)
PS: “NTSF” has been trying to do “Different Strokes” but it has been very hard. No one returns phone calls.

Q14: Is there any chance we will see a Frank Wrench cameo in the upcoming “Arrested Development” episodes?
RC: I assume I would have been called already. I was not like an important character in the “Arrested Development” mythology. Thank you for remembering his name.

NYCC 2012: Yakko’s Modern World?

Media Mikes was lucky enough to catch up with emmy-winning voice actor Rob Paulsen on the floor of NYCC this past Friday. Paulsen can currently be heard in Nickelodeon’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as Donatello alongside Sean Astin’s Raphael. However he was equally ready to talk about one of his most iconic roles, Yakko Warner, of “Animaniacs”.

Children of the 90s will remember the impressive and catchy “Yakko’s World” in which Paulsen sang the names of the nations of the world. As political lines have shifted since 1993 when the song first aired, Paulsen revealed that he and the writer are hoping to be back to get an updated version recorded:

“I don’t know if I’m recording it for sure, Randy Rogel who wrote Yakko’s World–and all the other cool stuff on Animaniacs, by and large–told me a couple weeks ago that he updated Yakko’s World to reflect the Soviet Union no longer being around and all the ‘-stans’. Uzebekistan, Kazahkstan, Tajikastan…so yea, apparently there is a new, updated version of Yakko’s World and I hope that we can record it one day and release it!”

Great news! Now, all together, “Uuuunited States, Canada, Mexico, Panama…