Jason Michael Paul talks about “Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” Tour

Jason Michael Paul is the producer of the new show “Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses”, which is currently on tour and heading to a town near you.  If you are a fan of Zelda, this is an event you will not want to miss.  Jason Michael is also known for his work with the show “Play: A Video Game Symphony”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jason Michael about the Zelda show and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us about bringing “Legend of Zelda” to a symphony tour?
Jason Michael Paul: I have been doing things like this since 2004. I first did it with the music from “Final Fantasy”. Since then I have created a show called “Play: A Video Game Symphony” which premiered in Chicago in 2006. I have developed a track record and worked with Nintendo along the way. With the 25th anniversary of “Zelda” coming up I had the idea to do a “Legends of Zelda” Symphony tour. It just so happened that everyone was interested. We had just planned to do a symphonic recording which was going to be part of a bundle that included the newest installment of Zelda “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”. From there we initially planned 3 concerts which were going to be held in Los Angeles, Tokyo and London. Those ended up selling out in record time and we decided to put together the “Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” tour. This tour is exclusive to the Zelda property.

MG: What would you say was the most difficult aspect of creating the tour?
JMP: This project has been a joy. There haven’t been a lot of obstacles. It has been a phenomenal collaboration between my company and Nintendo. They have been really great to work with and have given us all the access to the likenesses of their characters. It’s been really great and smooth sailing.

MG: What do you enjoy most about the music from Zelda?
JMP: I have done a lot of concerts as I have been in this business for 15 years. I have always had a problem watching my own shows because I see everything. This show I have been able to sit back and watch from beginning to end. To me that is really the most truthful testament to this project. I feel so confidant and am so proud that I can watch it from beginning to end. That is the best thing for me.

MG: How does your work on this project differ from your previous work?
JMP: I have been very fortunate enough to work and develop a relationship with Chad Seiter. He has single handedly put an amazing touch on this project. Hands down he is one of the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He has been the real difference in this project. I feel honored to work with him.

MG: What is your favorite game series?
JMP: I would have to say that “Grain of Time” is right up there but “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” is very close to my heart. I actually worked on that game. We did the orchestration that accompanied the game. This was the first time that Nintendo had done anything like this. Being asked to create something like this for them really resonated with me. That title is closest to me because I participated in creating it.

MG: What do you have planned next?
JMP: I am busy with “Play”. When I am not doing Zelda I am doing that. I am sort of a serial entrepreneur as I always have several irons in the fire. I love to create brands and identities. I am just going to continue with what I am doing.

Interview with Paul Bunnell

Paul Bunnell is the writer and director of the new film “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X”. The film is tribute to the 50’s B&W sci-fi genre. It recently premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Paul about his film and it’s road to the big screen.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about the origin behind “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X”.
Paul Bunnell: “Johnny X” came about after a few failed attempts to get other projects off the ground. Time had been ticking away and I felt too much of it had been wasted since the completion of my previous film, “That Little Monster”. I wanted to make a movie that would be completely original and fun — a movie with all the things I love: drive-in theaters, diners, movie palaces. It was kind of like my life all rolled into one movie. It’s who I am.

MG: How did you manage to pay homage to the 50’s B&W sci-fi genre without spoofing it entirely?
PB: By simply being sincere and true to the things that I love and what the characters in the movie love. It’s their world. They (the characters) aren’t making fun of the things in their universe. I had the actors play every line of dialogue with the utmost sincerity. That’s the key. Believability.

MG: How were the songs in the film created and were they difficult to shoot?
PB: The songs began as an afterthought to the story. I wasn’t always happy with parts of the script. I felt it either needed to be trimmed or rewritten. I decided to try out one song, which Scott Martin wrote. I loved it so much that I started combing through the script to find other places to switch out dialogue with a musical telling of the story. This became the rule: the songs had to move the story forward or they would not be in the film. Period. The only time where a song does not move the story forward is when Mickey O’Flynn (Creed Bratton) sings, but he is performing the song in concert. The songs in Johnny X were not any more difficult to shoot than the rest of the movie. One thing was certain, the crew seemed to be having fun whenever we had a song to shoot. So if anything, they were a breeze.

MG: How did you get Will Keenan, Kevin McCarthy and Reggie Bannister involved?
PB: Will Keenan was suggested to me by filmmaker Ramzi Abed. I saw Will’s reel on YouTube and decided to get in touch with him for an interview. I was not familiar with his work prior to meeting him but I brushed up before we met and screened a few of his “classics” like “Tromeo and Juliet”. He was an interesting fellow and had the exact look I wanted for the role, so I gave him the job. Kevin McCarthy was a guest at Cinecon, a classic film festival I attend every year with my wife. I introduced myself to Kevin and told him about my new project. After several phone calls and meetings he finally decided to take a chance on Johnny X and said he would do it because he “didn’t want to disappoint my wife.” As for Reggie Bannister, he appeared in my 1994 film, “That Little Monster”. I wanted to continue the tradition and offered him the role of the dead rock star, Mickey O’Flynn (that Creed Bratton plays). But he didn’t want to do that. He really liked the King Clayton character, so I gave him that role and boy is he great!

MG: You wore a lot of hats in this film, what was the most difficult task?
PB: Wondering if I was ever going to find the money to finish the movie. Six years of wondering! The planets aligned and a very good friend stepped forward and gave me the money. “Miracle” is not a word I use lightly, but in this case I think it applies.

MG: What is the release schedule for this film?
PB: For now, The Ghastly Love of Johnny X is having its world premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, California on March 3rd, 2012. There are two other screenings at Cinequest on March 6th & 10th. For tickets go to: http://www.cinequest.org/event_view.php?eid=1623

MG: I am sure people would love a soundtrack released, any plans?
PB: As a matter of fact, yes! “Kritzerland” is releasing it on their independent label in a few months. Stay tuned for more news.

MG: What do you have planned next?
PB: A little sleep and then on to the next project! It’s kind of top secret at the moment but if you’re a fan of fantasy and Victor Hugo, I think you will enjoy it.


Related Content

Interview with Harry and the Potter’s Paul DeGeorge

Paul DeGeorge and his brother Joe started the band Harry and the Potter in 2002. Since that time the duo have been the subject of a documentary titled “We Are Wizards” a film that delves into the impact of the Harry Potter book series on its fans. The group has also been credited with the creation of “Wizard Rock”. Media Mikes had a chance recently to talk with Paul about a variety of things related to the band.

Adam Lawton: What led you to starting Harry and the Potters?
Paul DeGeorge: It kind of started with reading the books. My brother and sort of pop culture at large turned me onto the books. I just thought there was something about the Harry Potter character that was similar to some of my punk rock heroes. I figured it would be cool if Harry had his own punk rock band.

AL: Can you tell us what some of those influences were?
PD: I would say as far as punk rock goes Fugazi as well as Adam and his Package were both real big influences. The thing about Adam and his Package was that they played really fun and goofy punk rock songs that were also smart. I remember being in college reading their tour diaries which made it sound like anyone could get out on the road and have a band.

AL: How did you guys get involved with the “We Are Wizards” documentary?
PD: We had received an email from the directors of the film telling us that they were interested in us being a part of a film they were planning that was going to talk about Harry Potter fans and different theories and phenomena’s related to Harry Potter. We said sure we would be interested and then one day they showed up to film us at our parents house.

AL: How was your experience with the filming?
PD: It was fun! Every two or three months the guys would pop up at a show or something and start shooting. As with most documentaries they use only a small portion of what they shoot. They shot some of our coolest shows ever played and I wish I could see some of the footage. I remember they were at one show in Brooklyn and it was a bigger show at a newer venue. At night I guess it’s a pretty intense place so they had their normal security crew there who were these huge dudes. These guys were patting down every 12 year old that was trying to get into the show. It started to freak everyone out so we moved the show to the space next door and it was really great. The place we had the show at now has shows pretty regular and is called Death by Audio.

AL: What is your take on being dubbed the originators of “Wizard Rock”?
PD: I guess we were in the right place and right time. (Laughs) We didn’t set out with any purpose to create a genre. A lot of what our band is about fostering the DIY punk spirit of doing things for yourself.

AL: Other than the show you already mentioned are there any others that stick out?
PD: We are all about pushing the boundaries of what you would expect a concert to be. From the start we were trying to do rock shows in libraries. The library is already a safe all ages places for anyone to go to. No one gets turned away at the library. We don’t want people to be turned away from our shows and the library is that kind of space for us.

AL: Can you tell us about the Harry Potter Alliance?
PD: The idea behind the Harry Potter Alliance was to form a real world Dumbledore’s Army and become the heroes that we read about. The books are really empowering and tell the storey of teens who all stick together to help change the world. We wanted to use the premise of the books to get youth involved with social activism and social justice issues. We try to draw parallels out of the books and relate them to real social and political issues. One of the current campaigns we are working on is that we are trying to get Harry Potter fans to lobby Warner Brothers who control all the merchandising related to the films to make their Harry Potter chocolate fair trade chocolate. Chocolate is notorious for really bad working conditions especially along the Ivory Coast where about 2/3rds of the worlds chocolate comes from. The main idea behind the campaign is to educate Harry Potter fans about the fair trade issues. We also have the opportunity to use our power as Harry Potter fans to maybe affect change on a large corporate level. We can use our leverage as an organization to get our message into the press which will hopefully influence Warner Brothers to change their business practices. We really want to tryand use Harry Potter as a tool to create global citizenship.

AL: What other upcoming plans do you have for the band?
PD: We just finished a two month summer tour and we are going to take it easy during the fall. I think the biggest thing on the horizon for us as of right now is we are in the planning stages for our annual Christmas shows. We have been doing these shows for a few years now in our home base of Boston, MA. This year will be our 7th annual Yule Ball in Boston. Last year we branched out to New York and Philadelphia which we plan to do again this year. We might possibly being do one other city but I can’t say too much about that just yet.

For more info on Harry and the Potters you can go to www.harryandthepotters.com

Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright’s “Paul” DVD Giveaway [ENDED]


To celebrate the DVD release “PAUL”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway FIVE copies of the film on DVD. If you would like one of these copies, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us your favorite buddy comedy. This giveaway will be open until Monday August 8th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

One tiny alien makes for big, big trouble in the comedy adventure Paul, coming to Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD August 9, 2011 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

The DVD version of “PAUL” includes the following bonus features:
– Hilarious bloopers
– The Evolution of Paul
– Simon’s Silly Faces
– Who The Hell Is Adam Shadowchild?
– Feature commentary
– Galleries

Two average sci-fi geeks get caught up in the ultimate interplanetary adventure after picking up an extraterrestrial during a road trip to Area 51 and becoming the targets of a nationwide manhunt. Graeme (Simon Pegg) and Clive (Nick Frost) are two British sci-fi geeks on holiday in America. After a trip to Comic-Con to meet their favorite author, Adam Shadowchild (Jeffrey Tambor), Graeme and Clive load up their RV and hit the road for a tour of some of the most famous UFO hotspots in the American Southwest. They know we’re not alone in the universe, but they won’t be satisfied until they get a firsthand glimpse of the famed Area 51. However, somewhere deep in the Nevada desert, the two UFO enthusiasts narrowly avoid crashing into a speeding car when they happen across a most unlikely hitchhiker. Paul (voice of Seth Rogan) is a pint-sized alien who has spent the last 60 years in Area 51. He’s been cooped up in the care of the U.S. Government for far too long, and he’s starting to get a little homesick. Though Graeme and Clive are more than willing to help their wisecracking new friend get back to his mother ship, Special Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) of the FBI is closing in fast. And he’s not the only one; in their race to get their new friend home, Graeme and Clive have also become unwitting kidnappers, and the enraged father of their not-so-unwilling captive, Ruth (Kristen Wiig), is determined to rescue his daughter at all costs. Sigourney Weaver, Bill Hader, Blythe Danner, and David Koechner co-star.

Interview with Paul Sampson

Paul Sampson is not only acting but also writing, producing, directing and even stunt coordinating in his latest film “Night of the Templar”.  This is Paul’s directorial debut and is packed with one amazing cast, including David Carradine, in one of his last roles, as well as Udo Kier, Norman Reedus and Billy Drago.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Paul about “Night of the Templar” and reflected on working with such a great cast.

Mike Gencarelli: Did you find it difficult to direct since it was your first feature, and also while acting in the film?
Paul Sampson: No, Directing came very natural to me on set. I don’t know why, but it was second nature. I’m an Actor, and I found it easy to relate to the other Actors. In knowing the craft, I allowed the Actors to do their thing. However, I could easily tell when they weren’t ‘honest’ in their performance, and needed guidance or another take. All the seasoned actors really trusted my Direction and confided in me. And when I acted in a scene it just put me that one step closer, so it actually made it even easier to Direct when I was Acting. Only problem was that I couldn’t see the camera work when I was in the scene and we had some problems with that in post. I could have used another one of me to make sure the framing was correct, and more so the continuity and strange things like people being in the shot…I’m serious…there were a lot of shots that I was in as an actor that had crew members in the shots or like a sandbag or coffee cup. But the creative decision making came very easy for me. Producing… now that’s a pain in the neck…especially when all the money’s not in place.

MG: Can you reflect on working with David Carradine?
PS: That question is two-fold or perhaps three. First, working with him in the capacity of Actor-Actor; Second, Director-Actor; and then third, well…it’s David Carradine. David loved the script, he accepted the role within 24 hours and told his manager to tell me immediately that he wanted to do the movie. If you don’t know how it works, a lot of time when you deal with someone’s ‘representation’ they’ll make you wait until the last minute to let you know if they will ‘pass’ or take the role. Anyway, we’re on set and the Production Manager, Jack, approaches me and tells me that David Carradine has arrived (it was David’s first day), and he’s in his trailer and he wants to see me. I was running through some stuff with the D.P. and told Jack to get David through make up and that I’ll see him when he’s out and I’m finished what I’m doing. Jack moved closer to me and said, very seriously… and almost worried, “Paul, the last movie he did, he demanded a fruit basket in his trailer every day.” I looked at Jack, put my hand on his shoulder and told him that I appreciated the insight. A half an hour or so later I stopped by David’s trailer. I walked in and we just looked at each other for a moment. Kind of like two guys in a bar sizing each other up… and then he recognized it was me, who he thought it’ll be (we had met before on a movie). On cue, we shook hands and he told me he admired my writing and didn’t want to play games with me, and that he told his manager to call me right away to tell me that he was in. I told him I appreciated that. Also, he said he ‘asked around about me with a few people’ and he didn’t want to jerk me around. I thanked him again, and then the conversation got funny. Jokingly, I told him that I had also asked around about him. He gave me an inquisitive look, and then said, “And…” I got really close to him, earshot away, and I said, ‘You’re not going to try to muscle me for a daily fruit basket, are you” There was a beat and then he started laughing. He said, “No, not you, as a matter of fact, I have something for you.” He reached over to the table, moved his sides (scenes for the day) and uncovered a coin that was in a plastic package. He gave me a gift, a 1922 Liberty Silver Dollar. He went on about why he picked that gift (for me), but I was so into the coin I didn’t catch all of it, my mind was somewhere else. See, I use to collect coins when I was a kid, in as much as a poor kid could collect coins, and it was like ‘wow’, this is cool. I don’t know who enjoyed the gift more, me, or him watching me study the coin. He asked me if I liked the gift and I said something funny like, “A dollar, that’s it, you’re giving me a dollar?” He laughed, patted me on the back and we ran our scene. We got along really well the entire time he worked on the movie. He lost his cool one night and yelled for about a minute or two. I just stood there and let him rant. We were both holding swords so it’s probably better I didn’t take it personally and react. I was pretty calm the whole time… I just let him get it off his chest. It was a long day, and now it was 3 in the morning. I let everyone clear out and had a talk with David a couple of minutes later, alone. He apologized several times, and trust me, David isn’t the apologizing type. He was very honest, always, he said what he felt. No holds barred type of guy. I asked him what was wrong and he told me straight out, “It’s your crew, they’re going to fuck up your movie, don’t let them fuck up your movie, you have a great script, you’re doing great as an actor and director, but don’t let the crew fuck up your movie.” I smiled, and said to him, if it’s the crew, then why were you yelling ‘around’ me. He said because I had big shoulders and I could handle it. He apologized again and said that it was bothering him because he thought the movie (script) had potential, and that if he’s vested in something, then he’s a perfectionist. I told him, I was a perfectionist, too. He said, “No, you’re more of a lunatic.” I was like, “You’re calling me a lunatic, isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?”, and he laughed and again said I was more of a lunatic… but that it worked for me. We talked for close to an hour or so. If I told you the entire conversation you wouldn’t believe it, so I’ll save it. Some of it was very personal, some just really bizarre. It was as if we bonded in levels on the shoot. And that was another one. After we wrapped, he’d call me from time to time to check in on me, see how I was doing, and ask if I needed any help. He’d always bring up the yelling moment and apologize. He told me if I needed another day out of him he’s do it for free. And he’d always ask to see the work in progress of the movie and I’d be like soon, give me a little more time David, and then we’ll watch it. The last time we spoke was the week before he left for Thailand. He wanted to check in on me and see what I cut so far. I was almost about to run by his house and show him the rough cut and then I was like, you know what, David, when you get back I’ll show you, let me fix a couple more things. And he was like, fair enough, but when I get back, we’re watching it. He didn’t come back. I kind of regret not showing him, I wanted to wait til’ I had it a little better. I should have showed him. If not for anything else, it would have been cool to hang out with him just one more time. But you know what, I believe there’s more to all this, here, in this ‘world’ we live in. David was very spiritual in his own way. He’s around. He sees the movie. I’m positive about that. It’s funny in a way, the more we were around each other, the better we liked each other. We spoke a lot privately. We laughed a lot. We got along really well, and it shows in the movie. Some things you can fake on a movie set, some you can’t. When you watch the movie, you can tell that we’re real friends, old soul mates so to speak. It reads through when you watch the film.

MG: How did you go about getting the rest of the great cast of my favorites, including Udo Kier, Norman Reedus and Billy Drago?
PS: I shot the Medieval part of the movie first, in which I played Lord Gregoire. I used more ‘repertory’ actors because I wanted that aspect of the film to have more of a storybook theatrical feel to it. And then when the time came time for me to cast the Modern day shoot of the movie, well, I wanted more ‘contemporary’ actors. I have a lot of friends that are actors, so it wasn’t easy… decisions… decisions. Now Norman (Reedus) and I are very good friends. He knows and trusts me as an artist. I’ve heard him brag about me and speak highly (of me) to others. It’s incredibly fulfilling when not just a friend, but a pier like Norman Reedus respects you as a man and as an artist. We have a mutual respect in that way. He had complete faith in me and the project from the start. And that was prior to him seeing the footage from the medieval shoot, which he later saw and thought was cool. Before I even finished asking him to be a part of the project he told me he was on board. I was honoured to have my friend with me for my directorial debut.
So basically, for the Modern Day part of the movie, the cast began with Norman (and me). From there, we brained stormed and Udo Kier’s name came up in conversation. Norman called Udo for me and told him I was going to have a script dropped off for him to read. He was out of town in Palm Springs. A few days later I got from him (Udo) and he told me he wanted to talk to me about the script, but it needed to be in person. He then invited me to his home for lunch. We had our first meeting. He made me a sandwich. It was very tasty. I had noted on the script that was dropped off for Udo that I wanted him to play a certain role in the movie. And at his home, I learned that was what he wanted to talk to me about in person. He wanted to play the Priest instead, and asked if I was open to calling the Priest character “Father Paul” and that it was a good German Priest name. He then left the room and came back with a Priest outfit, and kind of ‘modeled’ it for me. It was stunning as I chewed my sandwich and drank my glass of milk. I responded, “So what you’re saying is that you’d rather play the Priest.” And then Udo, referring to his outfit, said in his German accent, “Why, yes, why do you think I have this here, Paul Sampson, for my health.” So now it was Norman, Udo and me. The next person on board was Max Perlich. I know you didn’t ask about Maxy in your question, but I’m going to mention him anyway. I went over a couple of names with Norman and he agreed with me on my choice of using Max. We both know Max and I knew he was perfect for the role. When I called him, I changed my voice for a goof, and asked for Mr. Max Perlich, he didn’t know it was me and said in a fake accent that I had the wrong number, gave me a bogus name, and then quickly hung up. I think he owed money to someone and thought I was a collector on the other line, it was hysterical. I mean, it was so obvious that it was him. So I waited a day or two and called him back and told him it was me. And then we were four. Now Billy (Drago) was one of those gifts from God situations. Up to a month before shooting, the role of “Shauna the Chef” was meant to be played by a stout, middle aged, Irish woman. And then something made me change it last minute to a cross dresser. It just seemed wrong enough to be right for the movie. Surprisingly, I got a lot of submissions for the role. I never realized how many actors wanted to do a role in drag…and I’m talking recognizable names. I filled the slot right away with another somewhat known actor, but I’ll cut a lot of the story out… he was a no-show on his first day of shooting because he was strung out on Heroine. No name needs to be mentioned, I’m just surprised that up to this point he still hasn’t manned up and called me to talk about it. I know we all have problems at times, I’ve been around it my whole life, but it kind of bothers me more that he still hasn’t come to me and had a conversation, even more so than the fact that he didn’t show up. Anyway, it really screwed up the schedule because he was demanding on what days he could work and I was already juggling the schedule around. Cutting to the chase, it really messed me up and cost me time and money. In the middle of the chaos, I called Michael Greenwald at Buchwald Agency on his cell and told him I wanted Billy Drago to be in my movie. Michael was like okay, send a script, make an offer, and give us a couple of weeks to get back to you. I was like, Mike, you don’t understand, I need Billy here tomorrow… in wardrobe … at 11 am. You have to understand, it doesn’t work like this in Hollywood. You don’t call in the middle of the afternoon and get someone like Billy Drago to show up the next day on set. There is a protocol, the agent has to receive the script and offer, they have to run it through the process, and then – if they deem it worthy – they pass it along to the actor, who needs his time alone with the material, and then there’s a truck load of things that happen from there. It takes time…well, it’s supposed to take time. Luckily, Michael’s a buddy of mine. So I tell Michael quickly what the film’s about, and tell him that Billy might know who I am, that we had met before – we were both doing (different) movies in Bulgaria and I was with Norman and we saw Billy at an establishment in Sofia while we were on the shoot, blah blah, and so on… And also I told Michael to tell Billy who was playing what roles so he could visualize it when he read the script… and oh, yeah, I told Michael to also tell Billy he wears a dress in the movie. Michael laughed at that, and then I told him I was being serious. I remember there was that awkward moment of silence on the phone after I told Michael that Billy had to wear a dress in the movie. Anyway, Michael just let me know he’ll pass it along immediately but he said it’s up to Billy ultimately. I was fine with that. Billy got the script, read it and got back to his agent right away…within hours. I look at the film and watch Billy and I can’t imagine anybody else playing that role. He was flawless. If he went past one take it wasn’t because he was off, it was because of another actor or a technical problem. He was on every take! I really got lucky with Billy, the “other guy” would have been a problem, and then there would have been more problems… because as work begets work… problems on set, beget more problems on set. In the end, besides it screwing up the shoot a bit, the initial misfortune of the other actor being strung out on heroine was a blessing in disguise. Again, I’m disappointed that he still hasn’t contacted me. It’s not manly. I thought much higher of him. I guess I was wrong. I have to end this particular answer by reiterating that Norman was intricate in the modern day casting of the movie as far as the main potatoes. If he wasn’t on board initially, there probably would have been no Udo, and so on. The casting would have went down in an entirely different direction. It still would have been good, but what I ended up with was great! I just can’t imagine it being better than what it was in the end. Everyone in the movie is who they should be … if that makes any sense whatsoever.

MG: Since the project what independently financed what would you say was your biggest challenge?
PS: Well, you kind of answered that question in the question. Yes, it was independently financed, and because of the magnitude of the film, it was a much larger budget than most Indy films. Horses, Costumes, Chain Mail, Weaponry, Action, extensive Props and Automobiles, Classic Songs, et cetera, start to add up very quickly. And even though I negotiated well, I still raised every penny myself. That was challenging. A lot of the financing was hand to mouth as the project went along. If the money had been in place prior to production, it would have made things a lot easier. As I mentioned before, the Creative stuff was second nature, even if I hadn’t done it before. Producing without having all the money in place was the biggest challenge.

MG: Now that you have directing under your belt, what do you have planned next?
PS: Once I have the movie in place to sell, I think I’ll see what’s offered to me as an actor and take a role or two in something I want to be a part of… that’ll be like a vacation to me … to just act in a movie and have to do nothing else.

“Night of the Templar” Official website: http://www.nightofthetemplar.com
Paul Sampson’s Official website: http://www.paulsampson.net

Paul Sampson IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0760196/
“Night of the Templar” IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0768222/combined

MovieMike's "Devil" Cast Interviews

At Movie Mikes, we are a big fan of horror movie genre. “Devil” is sure to be a roller coaster thrill-ride, I knew I needed to get interviews from that cast. I set out to contact everyone that I could get a hold of and below we have some amazing interviews from the cast of the film.

I really hope everyone enjoys these interviews as much as I did doing them. These people in the film are so great. Each and every one of them has fantastic stories from the film and they were a pleasure to interview. I would hope that I could have the opportunity to talk with them again very soon.

Enjoy and please leave comments!




Interview with Jacob Vargas

Jacob Vargas is appearing in the recent horror film “Devil”.  He is known for his roles in “Next Friday”, “Death Race” and “The Hills Have Eyes 2”.  A big thank you to his friend Clifton Collins Jr. for setting up this interview. Movie Mikes was able to chat with Jacob and discuss his career and his latest film “Devil”.

Click here to purchase “Devil” on DVD or Blu-Ray

Mike Gencarelli: Tell me about working on the film “Devil”?
Jacob Vargas: It was great.  I have always been a big fan of M. Night’s work.  One of my favorite films is “Unbreakable”.  I thought it was a fresh take on an action hero movie.  Not your typical “Hey I got bit by a spider, now I am swinging on a web in a costume”.  I was looking to do something special on this.  Early on when I signed on, there was no script.  It was all top secret.  I think we all went on faith.  I didn’t get a chance to work with a lot of the guys in the elevator, though.  I play Ramirez, the security guard. Chris Messina plays Bowden.  With his role and also Matt Craven and Joshua Peace, we are the four guys in the security room.  Our goal is to try and get these guys out of the elevator before anything else happens.  All of our stuff was shot later on so we didn’t really have a lot to work with.  We had a green screen monitor that we looked at the whole time.  We had to create our moments of fear and anxiety and make those moments feel real.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your character, Ramirez?
Jacob Vargas: My character is the spiritual one.  He has a lot of faith.  He is also the narrator of the film.  He talks about the story that his mother told him about the devil.  So Ramirez, with his background, realizes that what is happening here is this phenomenon called the Devil’s Meeting, which has been documented throughout time and history.  It is the moment when the devil/Satan will present himself in some form and gather a group of people to toy with, torture them and eventually steal there souls.  My character realizes that this is what is happening and it is his theory.

Mike Gencarelli: Did you get to meet M. Night? If so what was it like working with him?
Jacob Vargas: Night was there in the very beginning.  He was there for the table reading, wardrobe and camera tests.  He went back to Philadelphia and worked on something else.  He tends to really believe in his directors and he really lets these guys do their own thing.  He would just kind of come in, watch over and give some advice.  For the most part, he was just an observer and watched everything go down.  He was very happy with it.

MG: What was the most demanding aspect of working on the film?
JV: For me having really to believe and see the devil’s face, it is an intense experience for my character.  That was tough maintaining that level of intensity for long periods of time.

MG: Going back a little, how was it working  on the film “Next Friday”?
JV: It was such a fun project to work on.  A lot of people don’t get the slight homage to Cheech’s character in “Up in Smoke” with the beanie and all that.  I am a huge Cheech and Chong fan.  It was a fun character to portray and being able to bring out the comedy of that character.  It is amazing how it resonates and became such a cult classic.  I still get people yelling my lines down the street and quoting it back.  It is love man, its great.

MG: What made you want to start your own production company, Third Son Productions?
JV: I formed the company because I wanted to do more producing in my career.  I did a movie a while back called “Road Dogs” with Clifton Collins Jr.  and myself.  We had a blast.  We shot it for $150,000 dollars over 17 days.  It was a labor of love.  I caught that producing bug and I decided to form a company and started producing more projects.  I also want to create vehicles for myself because there is not a lot out there, especially for Latino actors.

MG: What do you have planned next?
JV: We have a couple of projects in the pipeline.  I am also developing a TV show sitcom with Cheech Marin.  I am really excited about that.  Cheech will be playing my dad.  I think it is going to be awesome. I launched a web channel with my best friend Clifton Collins Jr. called the TheTVFantastic.com.  It is a way for us to stay creative in between gigs and hang out with each other and laugh.

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Interview with Geoffrey Arend

Geoffrey Arend is known for his comedic roles in such films as “Super Troopers” and “The Ringer”. He is starring in the recently released horror film “Devil”. Movie Mikes had the chance to conduct Geoffrey’s first ever phone interview so it was an honor to speak with him about his roles and his new movie, “Devil”.

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Mike Gencarelli: You started your career as the stoner in “Super Troopers”, how did you get the role?
Geoffrey Arend: It’s funny this guy, Pete Lengyel, who is the Executive Producer on the movie, saw me in a play like two years before. He remembered me for two years and tracked down the pizzeria that I was working at in New York. He called me up like three or four times. Finally I called him back, I was like “Why is this creep calling me, who is this guy? He asked me to come and audition, which was pretty wild. I do not even think the casting director liked me, but the Broken Lizard guys did. Pete said “I am funding the movie, hire this kid!”. I only had one day on set for the first scene. They ended up calling us back then for the scene at the end. That first day was so fantastic, I have never been on a movie set before, it was pretty wild.

Mike Gencarelli: You stole the show in “The Ringer”, tell us about working on that film?
Geoffrey Arend: It was great. The Special Olympics were part of that movie, so half the cast was handicapped in some way. I have never had an experience like that before. I might have one or two great lines in the movie. For the most part I didn’t really have a part. Barry Blaustein, who directed it hired me. The movie was supposed to be made three years before it was made because I remember auditioning for it. When I auditioned in front of Barry, we were going through the script and at some point I was in character and I threw the script down in frustration. Barry is a funny guy, he used to write jokes for Eddie Murphy on SNL. Barry started asking me questions and I stayed in character and I started answering all of the questions. I was improving the whole thing for like five minutes. He called up and said “There are a couple of holes in the movie I want you to fill. I don’t have a character for you. I would love for you to play any of the characters in the movie but I really want you to come in and do what you did in that room for the entire movie”. The improv is difficult alone. But improv of a mentally handicap role, it was kind of making me a little crazy. You kind of can’t write it,  it is a kind of stream of consciousness. The ice cream line, “When the fuck did we get ice cream?” I remember I did it and everyone laughed, except Peter Farrelly. He started yelling “How am I supposed to make a movie, if everyone is going to laugh?!” I thought, “What happened, I finally came up with something that worked”.

Mike Gencarelli: You not only starred in “500 Days of Summer,” you also sang, did you enjoy working on that film?
Geoffrey Arend: I remember reading the script. After I finished it, I turned to my wife and said I really want to be in a nice movie like this. It was a really nice movie. I went in and met Marc Webb, who couldn’t have been a nicer guy. I went in three times. On the third time, I went in and read with Joe Levitt, who was awesome. The second time I went in, he made me do one of the scenes as an Indian guy. He was laughing so hard he fell off the couch and hit his head on the floor. [laughs] It was the craziest thing I have ever seen. I looked at him and said “I have to get this role now, right?” It felt like a bunch of romantics made this film, that is why it came out so nice.

MG: Tell us about you role of Vince in “Devil”?
GA: I have made it this far without saying much. I remember I had to sign this whole thing. M. Night will come and beat the crap out of me. I grew up in New York and I started out doing theater. I got married and the day after I got married, my wife left to do a movie and I went to Toronto. We didn’t see each other for two weeks from the day after we got married. I was in Toronto with these people and it was like the greatest thing that could ever happen to me. The whole movie was setup in one place. All of my scenes, except the entrance into the elevator, everything takes place in one little room. It was like theater. I was trying to figure out how to stand in a tiny room with four other people and how to make my body act in this tiny space. It was the best experience ever. The Dowdle Brothers are absolutely fantastic directors. I haven’t seen it myself but I am very excited to see it.

MG: You have done a lot of comedy, was it hard to switch to horror/thriller mode?
GA: I didn’t find it hard at all. It was one of those challenges you come home from everyday and you’re exhausted but you just wanna sleep because you worked to your highest ability. That was how I felt after that movie. Getting to the question, the comedy-drama thing, I go at it the same way.
You treat whatever situation you’re in realistically and to behave under the given circumstances realistically. I mean it is not any different than “The Ringer”. I can try and say a bunch of things that sound funny or I can sit there and try and figure out how my character’s mind works.

MG: On a scale from 1 to 10, how scary is this movie going to be?
GA: Depends if you are claustrophobic or how you feel about elevators. When we auditioned, we didn’t get the script. I think that is the standard practice with M. Night’s movies. When I read the script, I had the same feeling when I read “500 Days of Summer”. Two totally different movies but I thought it was going to be a really good movie. You never know how it is going to turn out but when I first saw the trailer I think they nailed it. It looked really scary. I think it is going to be up there, around 8 and up, just from the trailer.

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Interview with Danny Trejo

Danny Trejo is the star of the recent film “Machete”.  “Machete” is Trejo’s first starring role and starred off as a faux trailer from “Grindhouse”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Danny about his new movie and his career.

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Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally get involved with Robert Rodriguez?
Danny Trejo: Originally I cast for a movie called “Desperado”. I walked into his office and he told me “You remind me of the bad guys in my high school”.  I told him “I am the bad guys in your high school” and we just hit it off.

Mike Gencarelli: Your character Machete was featured in Robert Rodriguez’ movies going back to first “Spy Kids”, how was that character created?
Danny Trejo: Robert Rodriguez told me about Machete when we were doing Desperado.  Everyone thought I was the star of the movie.  Nobody knew who Antonio Bandaras was.  Everyone was crowding around me and asking for autographs.  Robert came up and said, “Hey they think you are the star of the movie” and I told him “I am, aren’t I? and he cracked up.  He told me about this character Machete and said that I am perfect for it and that was 15 years ago.  He made me Machete as a joke.  He named me Uncle Machete in “Spy Kids”.  When we did the fake trailer for “Grindhouse” he said “At least we did the trailer, just in case we can’t do the movie”. Then the fans demanded we did “Machete”.  We got more response from “Machete”, then we did “Grindhouse”.

Mike Gencarelli: With “Machete” opening up number two in the country, you must be thrilled right?
Danny Trejo: Its awesome.  George Clooney had a bigger budget and his film, “The American”, opened up on a Wednesday.  We opened on Friday like regular and we came close.  Just to be in the room with George clooney is an honor.  I giggle everytime they compare us [laughs], I mean come on its George “Fucking” Clooney.

MG: What has been the hardest film that you worked on?
DT: I think “Machete” because I was there everyday.  Usually I come in two or three days.  I would kill a couple of people and call everyone motherfuckers and leave.  On this one I was there everyday and Texas had 70 days of over 100 degrees. It was pretty brutal.  It was my first lead and also the first Latino action hero.  It was fun but a lot of work.

MG: I hear your son and daughter are also in “Machete”
DT: I got my whole family in the business.  My daughter Danielle, was the machine gun toting mechanic.  When they gave her a machine guy, they asked if she knows how to use it and she said, “Yeah”.  Rodriguez laughed and said “Trejo’s Kid” [laughs]. My son Gilbert played Jorge in the movie but he didn’t have any lines.  It is so unbelieveable, he is 22 years old and putting me in a movie called “Skinny Dip”.

MG: Tell us about “Skinny Dip”, it also co-star Michelle Rodriguez?
DT: Yeah, It’s me and Michelle Rodriguez so far.  We just started working on it, we are trying to get Eric Roberts and some other people.  We’ll see, they’ll jump aboard.  It is going to be one hell of movie.

MG: You also play Johnny 23 in one of my favorite action films, “Con Air”, must have been a blast to work on?
DT: YEAH!! CON AIR!! [yelling]. Yep, that was the biggest test of testosterone that I have ever had in my life.  EVeryone was in competition.  If you would spit, somebody would spit further.  Pretty soon, 25 guys would be spitting [laughs].

MG: What else are you currently working on?
DT: We are getting ready to sell a movie called “Vengenance” right now, it should be coming out this October.  After this I am flying to New York for a premiere of a movie called “Modus Operandi”.  It was done by my son’s business partner.  He is name is Frankie Latina.  Yeah man, we are doing it all.

MG: You are also involved with some charity work, tell us about it?
DT: My wife and I have a foundation called Canine Compassion.  what we do is we help people that rescue animals.  We put up fundraisers and Jillian (Reynolds) is going to get involved with us from “Good Day LA”. It is great.  I also work with drug addicts at Western Pacific Medical Corp. You got to give back man!

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Interview with Electra Avellan

Electra Avellan is known best for her role of one of the Babysitter Twins in “Grindhouse”. Electra also appears in this year’s “The Black Waters of Echos Pond and “Machete” with her sister Elise Avellan. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Electra about her roles and how was is working in Hollywood.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us you involved working with Robert Rodriguez?
Electra Avellan: Robert Rodriguez was married to my Aunt Elizabeth and I have always have known him as my Uncle. When I was 16 years old, he thought I was too young for “Sin City” and too old for “Spy Kids”. He told us to work on our English and a few years later when my sister and I were 18, he asked us to come and audition for “Grindhouse”. I auditioned first and the role was originally only for one babysitter. My sister and I started arguing. He wrote down everything that we said and thought it was perfect. He was said he wanted us both in it and wrote the Babysitter Twins based off that.

Mike Gencarelli: You and your sister, Elise Avellan have appeared together in a few movies now together, how do you find it working with your sibling?
Electra Avellan: I love it, it is amazing. I have been working with her for as long as I can remember. My mom is a very well-known actress in Venezuela. She got us in the industry there and that is where we started. When we moved here, we got the opportunity to break into the industry together which was a great opportunity. We are seen as a package deal. Even though my sister is not 100% interested in pursuing the acting career at the moment, she is still open to working with me. She is my best friend.

Mike Gencarelli: We recently interviewed Sean Clark and you worked with him on “The Black Waters of Echos Pond”, can you tell us working on that film?
Electra Avellan: Sean Clark is a good friend of mine, I love him. We met a few years ago right after I finished filming “Grindhouse”. He told me about the convention scene and wanted me to work with him. I went to a couple conventions with him and loved it. He told me he has written a movie and wanted my sister and I to be in it. The movie was so good and the script was phenonomal. Sean is awesome to work with and it was such awesome experience. The director Gabriel Bologna is insanely creative, he has so many great ideas for the film. Sean Clark took all of his ideas and made it into an amazing screenplay and that is what you see in the movie.

MG: Are you a fan of the horror genre?
EA: Yah, tell me about it. I have never liked horror movies. I have though been drawn to “The Exorcist” and the Freddy Kruger movies. I have always liked but never watched all the time. I rather have scary than gorey. “Saw” movies are too much for me. “Hostel” movies are too much for me. I love the horror more now that I am apart of it though. It is not real, but I play with those emotions and I create awareness in different aspects of life. I love it, I just love it.

MG: You recently appeared in “Machete”, how was it working on that film?
EA: Oh my God, it was life changing. It was so incredible and amazing. Working with that cast was so great. Jeff Fahey is a good friend of mine and working again with him was awesome. Danny Trejo has taught me most of the things I know in the American industry. He has taught me so much. Lindsay Lohan is a phenonomal actress, I learned a lot from her. Robert Rodriguez was great, he treated me like a princess. It was a blessing.

MG: What else are you working on?
EA: I have two projects, the first is called “Perfectus” with Danny Trejo, Malcolm McDowell, Sid Haig, Dana Rosendorff and my sister and I. It is a sci-fi action thriller, you will love it. The other is called “Ushers” and it was written by Nicholes Cole and Jeff Tuttle. Lindsay Lohan and Edi Gathergi are in it with me and it is a really cool comedy/action movie about these kids in the 90’s that work in a movie theater and who start a gambling ring in the theater. It is so great. I can’t wait for you to see it. You will love it.

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Interview with Denise Nickerson

Denise Nickerson is know most for her role as Violet Beauregarde in 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. With the 40 anniversary of the film approaching, Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Denise and travel back in time to visit the set of “Willy Wonka” and talk about her experience on the film.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your experience working on “Willy Wonka”? Was it a positive experience?
Denise Nickerson: I was one of the few kids that had actually worked as an actor before “Wonka.” I had already been doing “Dark Shadows.” I used to get mobbed every day coming out of the studio. And I was also doing a Broadway show at night so I was getting up at five in the morning, going to the studio and doing “Dark Shadows.” I’d get off at four, go home and eat dinner, then go to the theater. I was getting home every night around eleven. And my schooling was all through correspondence. This was the late sixties so of course there was no FedEx. I would get a week’s worth of school assignments in the mail. And I had no tutor because a tutor wasn’t required in the state of New York. I would have to complete every single assignment and mail it back to the school. And I got straight A’s. I would usually do my work while doing the Broadway show. The more important role you had in a show decided what floor you were on. The stars were always on the first floor. I was on the fifth floor. And the performance is piped into the dressing room. So I’d do my homework while listening to the show and sometimes in the middle of a problem I would stop, run down five flights of stairs and do my three minutes. Then I’d run back upstairs, do some more math problems, listen and when it was my time again, out I’d go. It was an unusual childhood. When it came time for “Wonka,” I was so tickled pink when I went on the first interview because I was going to be able to work with kids. I started in the business when I was 2 ½ and I very rarely got to work with other kids. I worked with Henry Fonda. I worked with Margaret Hamilton. I worked with Lee Grant…Gig Young (note, with the exception of Ms. Hamilton all of these actors won Oscars). These were all adult actors. Very famous actors but still, they were adults. So when I got the script I was like, “Oh my God, there’s going to be kids and chocolate. How cool can that be?”

Then when I heard they were filming in Germany I thought, “Oh my God, a foreign country. I’ve got to get this role.” And when I got it I was over the moon. I went over and met the other kids and it was great. There was never the internal strife that you sometimes see with kid actors…or any actor for that matter. We became good friends and had a wonderful time. It was a great memory for all of us. They flew us back in 2003 for a documentary and we all stayed in the same hotel. You know how they say you can’t go back in time? I kid you not I was 13 again. We all picked up like we had just seen each other yesterday. Even though we were older and having different discussions, we were interacting the same way we did thirty some years earlier….what a legacy. I am so fortunate. What you see on screen does not mirror what I saw in reality. As beautiful as it looks on screen…the chocolate room was one entire building. It was a fantastic experience doing it and, almost forty years later….well I never get tired of it. How lucky was I? And how lucky AM I, to be a part of this legacy.

Mike Gencarelli: Were you familiar with the book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” before working on the movie?
Denise Nickerson: I actually read it on the plane over to Germany. I had just finished eight weeks in California doing one of the very first television movies of the week (“The Neon Ceiling”). I flew back to New York. I was there for 36 hours, just enough time for my mother to unpack my summer clothes, pack my winter clothes, and get on a plane to Germany. I arrived the day they were shooting the “I’ve got a Golden Ticket” scene. I arrived on the soundstage and, on a break, Mel Stuart (the director) came over to me and asked what shoes I had brought with me. For whatever reason we had to bring out own shoes. I only had one pair of winter shoes and he went off on my sister, who was my chaperone. “How could you only bring one pair of winter shoes!” But those were the shoes I wore. And during filming one of the shoes broke and new ones had to be ordered from New York. It’s funny how one pair of shoes can stick in your mind for so long. And they were ugly shoes. They looked like something the Pilgrims wore. And I wore them for eight weeks. And when the one broke I remember thinking “you can create a chocolate river but you can’t create a damn shoe?”

Mike Gencarelli: What was it like filming in Germany? Did you get to tour the country at all before/after filming?
Denise Nickerson: On the weekends my sister and I would go to Austria, which wasn’t too far of a drive. We saw some magnificent castles. I wanted to stop in London on the way back but I had another engagement book so there wasn’t enough time between when I left Germany and when I had to start my next arrangement. And I’ve always regretted that…I still want to go to London.

MG: Why did you chose to leave acting shortly after Willy Wonka?
DN: True story…I moved out to California when I was sixteen, which was probably the worse career move I could have made because I was close enough in age to 18 year olds, so they would hire 18 year olds instead of me. In New York there weren’t any of the Jackie Coogan/Child Labor laws at the time, so I was able to do soaps during the day, Broadway at night and I was able to work 18 hours a day. But when I moved to California the law there said I had to do four hours of school work, then four hours of work. So at 16 they were hiring the 18 year olds. It was really a bad career move. So I kind of limped along. I did a movie with Melanie Griffith and Bruce Dern (“Smile”)…I did “The Brady Bunch.” I did a few things but it was real sporadic. Which was fine because all I really wanted to do at this stage of the game was be a normal kid. I had been working, usually two jobs at a time, since I was 2 ½, plus going to school. So I hung in there for a few more years. I did my last film (“Zero to Sixty,” which starred Darren McGavin and Lorraine Gary) right before I turned 21. I had the lead role…I repossessed cars. The people at First Artists (the studio that produced it) decided to tinker with it and it was never released. So if you see it on DVD give it a look. It was 1978 and I knew that the average “life” of a television actress was about 10 years, which would have taken me to age 31. I had always wanted to be an attorney. However, because there were no Jackie Coogan laws in New York my parents had spent all of my money. And it was a lot. In a slow year like 1966 I made $46,000. But all of my money was gone and my hopes of being an attorney were dashed. So I’m 21 with no money to go to college. I know I need to get a job. Back then you didn’t need a college degree to get a position. It’s much harder today. But I realized that if I started at the bottom and learned through “on-the-job” training, I might be able to make it. I had decided I didn’t want to act anymore. So the first thing I did was go cut my hair. And my agent just lost his mind…as did my mother. But I went ahead and got a job. I’ve really had two very different lives. I had that life. And now I have this life. And I’m very blessed. I’ve seen both sides of the coin. I’m a very rich person. You know what’s really interesting about us “Wonka” kids? We still get along and we’ve all ended up pretty normal people. And we had a great experience. I mean, nobody got to see what we saw. Even if you see it on the big screen you will never be able to recreate what I saw. And I had the weirdest experience after I was done shooting. I’m back at school in New York and we’re at the Museum of Modern Art. All of a sudden some kids start pointing at me and I turn to my best friend and she says, “Oh my God, you’re turning blue!” I go into the ladies room and look in the mirror and everything…my face, my hands, my neck…is blue. So I was it off and go back out. A few minutes later I’m blue again! This went on for 48 hours. Finally I learned that the “blueberry” make up they had used in Germany had blue food dye in it and it was coming out through my pores!

I remember when I was in the blueberry costume, rather than have me get out and back into the costume Mel Stuart left me in the suit hanging from the rafters while we broke for lunch. He gave a crew member instructions to turn me 180 degrees every five minutes. So for five minutes I’m looking up at the ceiling, the next five minutes I’m looking at the floor.

MG: How long did it take to film that scene?
DN: A whole day of filming. Eight hours. The day before they had me lay down on a piece of paper and they did a tracing of my body. The next day I come in and there is a giant Styrofoam ball with a place for my body in the middle. It was like an Oreo. So they put me inside the ball. And after five hours of flapping my arms, I was pissed off! If you look at my face in the film, I am not acting…I’m pissed. And those damn Oompa Loompas did not have their blueberry drivers license so every time they’d try to push me out the door they’d lose control and I’d slam into the door frame. Every time it would happen I’d hear Mel yell, “Cut! Do it again.” And I’d think to myself, “you sons of bitches!” Watch the film…by the 32nd take I’m looking at these little guys and thinking “look here, ass holes, if we don’t clear that door frame I’m making you shorter then you already are!”

MG: What do you think about the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp remakes for Willy Wonka and now the confirmed “Dark Shadows” remake?
DN: That Johnny Depp is always on my tail. He’s trying to follow my life. He must ask himself what else can I do that Denise Nickerson did? It’s obvious that he’s trying to mirror my career! (laughs) The local television station filmed me going to the theatre to see it and talked to me afterwards. The Denver Post found out that the girl who plays Violet in the remake was also from Denver so they ran a story stating that Denver has cornered the market on blueberries.

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Interview with Paige O'Hara

Paige O’ Hara is known for voicing the character of Belle in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”. She has since reprised that role numerous times for Disney. Paige is also a veteran of the New York stage, she made her Broadway debut playing Ellie May Chipley in the 1983 Broadway revival of “Showboat”. Since that she has been in numerous production including Broadway’s “Les Misérables”. With Disney releasing its timeless classic “Beauty and the Beast” on Diamond Collection Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack release of on October 5th, Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Paige about her career and her work for Disney.

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Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally get involved with Disney and become to wonderful character voice of Belle from “Beauty and the Beast”?
Paige O’ Hara: Well you know, I was working in New York as a Broadway actress for many years. I read about the movie in the New York Times and asked my agent to get me an audition. I went in and auditioned several times. It was odd because they would close their eyes when we would audition, then send the tapes back to the producers in in LA. Eventually the directors and producers came in and I auditioned in front of them and they would close their eyes again. So out of 500 actresses I was the lucky one to get the part.

Mike Gencarelli: You also have reprised your role as Belle numerous time in other Disney projects, how have you become connected to the character?
Paige O’ Hara: It is a lifelong effort. I am constantly recording different project for the CD-ROMs, the sequels and whatever comes up. It is kind of great because I made my voice higher when we started to record and Howard Ashman said “No no no no, we want that womanly sound”. That is why now as I get older I can still do Belle.

Mike Gencarelli: Are you excited about the release of “Beauty and the Beast” coming to Disney Bu-Ray?
Paige O’ Hara: Yes, I didn’t even have a Blu-Ray player. My husband went out and bought one. We watched it and after seeing the movie a few times, I was absolutely blown away by it. The clarity, the depth, the detail was just remarkable. It was something I had never seen before with the original. The technology has improved so much. What was so wonderful and as an artist, I also paint for Disney as well, I could look at the characters that were hand drawn and see details and little things like Belle blushing. These are little things you couldn’t see in the original DVD. It was remarkable. I really got goosebumps watching it.

MG: Was it fun having a cameo for Disney’s live action “Enchanted”?
PO: Oh I loved it! Wasn’t that fun?. I thought It was so great that the director Kevin (Lima), brought myself and Jodi Benson and Judy Kunn and we did little cameos. Actually Jodi’s part ended up being pretty big. It was great fun. I really enjoyed it. I got a lot of fan mail from it.

MG: Tell us about playing the role of Fantine in Les Misérables on Broadway for almost 10 years?
PO: It is amazing. It was a tough part to play. You were exhausted by the end of that play. Mostly when I was in New York for the first 15-20 years, most of the roles I did were comedic roles. Elle in “Showboat” and Ado Annie in “Oklahoma”. I did a whole series of Jerome Kern’s Princess Theatre shows before “Showboat”. We did those at Carnegie Hall. I kind of switched over and got to play “Evita” for quite a long time off and on at different companies. I changed over to being leading lady then.

MG: How did you realize you have such a beautiful voice, have you sang your whole life?
PO: Yes, pretty much so. As little kid, I was in acting class. I would sing and dance around the living room with my mom to show records, in particular Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand and Ella Fitzgerald. I probably realized around 10 or 11 years old that I actually had a voice. I had been already studying acting so then I started studying signing with an ex-New York opera performer who had retired in Fort Lauderdale. I worked with her and then went to a performing arts high school my mom was the director of in Florida, then went back to New York at 17.

MG: You just realized a new CD correct?
PO: Yes the CD is actually one that I revised. It is a lullaby CD for children. It is so funny, I have a lot of girlfriend that I work with at the Luxor that have children and little babies. They say that that CD just does the trick. One little boy that screams all the time teething, she put on the Merry-Go-Round song and she said it’s a miracle, it puts him right to sleep. That is a good thing. It is an easy listening CD.

MG: What else are you currently working on?
PO: I am currently working at the Luxor in Las Vegas, we are in our fifth year of “Menopause: The Musical”. I play the aging soap star. It is great. It is a great empowering point for women, it makes them feel great about themselves, makes them laugh a lot. It is really fun.

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Video Interview with Akihiro Kitamura

Akihiro Kitamura has written, directed, and starred in two feature films, “Porno” and “I’ll Be There With You” (starring Daniel Baldwin). He was featured in TV shows such as VH1’s “New York Goes to Hollywood” and MTV’s “From Gs to Gents” and also NBC’s “Heroes”. His most recent role was in the horror film “The Human Centipede (First Sequence)”. Thanks to the beauty of Skype, Movie Mikes was able to get a chance to chat with Akihiro about his role in “The Human Centipede” and his career.

Click here to purchase “The Human Centipede” on DVD or Blu-Ray

Click here to purchase “The Human Centipede” on DVD or Blu-Ray

Interview with Richard de Klerk

Richard de Klerk stars in the film “Repeaters” which is a gritty mind-bending thriller about three twenty-somethings living in a mandatory rehab who find themselves waking up to the same day over and over. The film will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 13th. Richard was last seen in the award winning film “Cole” and received a 2010 Leo Award nomination for “Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Feature Length Drama” for his portrayal of the title role. The film is being distributed by IFC Films and will be available on September 15th via their Sundance Selects label which is currently available in over 50 million homes across the United States. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Richard while he was attending the Toronto Film Festival to talk about his films and his love for movies.

Mike Gencarelli: You are in the “Repeaters”, opposite Dustin Milligan and Amanda Crew, tell me about the film and your role?
RK: “Repeaters” is a story about choice. It is framed in a rehab institute. Myself, Dustin Milligan and Amanda Crew are in a rehab facility and we are about try our step nine, which is about the people that we hurt. The day goes horribly and we are all in a horrible place.  That night we all get a shock of electricity. We wake up the next morning in bed, no memory of how we got there. We realize the day has started to repeat. The film takes a turn since we were unable to get away with things in the past, maybe we can get away with things now. I take kinda that a little too far at one point in the film. It becomes more about if you slate is wiped clean, do the consequences even matter? It is a thriller but it has that nice little drama element too. I think it will play really well.

Mike Gencarelli: You also server as producer on the film?
RK: I did yes, my sister and I took the reign on it. We actually have a production company that we formed a few years ago. The first film that we did together as a whole family, my mom, dad, sister and I was “Cole”. We did “Cole” with Carl (Bessai) as well. Carl and I were talking and we really enjoyed working together on that film and we said why don’t we do it again. He had a script optioned and we decided to do “Repeaters”. It was a really good experience producing. It was really cool playing the actor as well because it was something so different. “Cole” was such a heartfelt beautiful film and “Repeaters” is a great and dark but also beautiful film. So my producing role on both of them kind of took charge more so when the film was wrapped. For example finding deals in Vancouver for special effects or finding composers. It is really cool and I think it also makes you a better actor.

Mike Gencarelli: Are you exciting about the premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next week?
RK: I am very very excited and a little nervous. I do not think that is every going to go away. I was nervous last year when “Cole” premiered too. I think that is a natural reaction. I am very at ease now but I think that once the film starts I will be very nervous.

MG: Tell us about your film “Cole”, in which you play the lead?
RK: I play Cole in “Cole”. “Cole” takes place in Lytton, British Columbia, Canada. It is about three hours north east of Vancouver. He is a small town guy, a really good guy who has aspirations of becoming a writer. He drives three hours to the city every day and takes a writing course, under the objection of his sister who wants him to run the family gas station. Cole also helps his sister take care of their mother.  While following his ambition and taking the class he falls in love with an African American girl played by Kandyse McClure. It really becomes about balancing your life with your obligations, your family, your ambitions and your love.

MG: Has the film been released worldwide yet?
RK: “Cole” has played all over the world now. People in Moscow really responded to it. That is the power of film to me.  That is why I am in this business because if you can make a film that is so blatantly set in one location and it speaks to people on the other side of the world, that is really cool. Even though it was subtitled, all the laughs and emotions came through at the right time. Everywhere in the world, you have people who have ambition and who move to the big city against their family wishes who want them to stay in the small town. It is all about balance. Some people came up to me and said I went through that exact same thing. Hopefully people will say the same thing about “Repeaters”, I do not know about the day repeating but it would be kind of cool. It comes out on Sundance Select video on demand on September 15th.

MG: Do you plan on doing any more producing or perhaps directing?
RK: Yeah, I working right now on a documentary that I started shooting last year. It is about a charity based out of Holland, they are called Miles 4 Justice. They are a sailing team and every mile that they sail they raise money from pledges. I was just there recently and I had the kids filming interviews of each other. I am going to go through that footage pretty soon. It will be kind of an on going project. I am really excited.