3D Blu-ray Review “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

Directed by: Rob Marshall
Starring: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Kevin McNally
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 136 minutes

Overall Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I know that most are not big fans of “At World’s End” but I am a fan of it for sure. This film is definitely ranks better though and does not disappoint. I really enjoyed the 3D version of the film since it is not over baring effects. I felt that it is very subtle and very vibrant use of the beautiful landscapes. The “Pirates” series succeeds due to Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow. He doesn’t do much different from his last go as the Captain but he could honestly just stand in place the whole film and people will flock. All in all this is a great release and a must buy for fans of the series.

This time Captain Jack Sparrow sets his sights on the fountain of youth. Standing in his way is his lost love Angelica, played by Penélope Cruz and his latest enemy Blackbeard, played by Ian McShane, who is the most feared pirate. Geoffrey Rush also returns and shines in the film as his changes sides and also seeks the fountain of youth.

The picture on this Blu-ray is fantastic and very clear. The landscapes were the film was shot were so vibrant and colorful. The film was actually shot in 3D and it plays off all that very well and is such a sight to watch. Disney’s 3D releases have yet to disappoint and I am sure they will only get better and better with each release.  The sounds like most if not all Disney Blu-rays impresses with 7.1 sound and really captures the score and effects really well.

The special features are a little light for Disney standard and especially for such a large scale film but still are worth a watch. First off we have audio commentary from executive producer John DeLuca and director Rob Marshall. It is not most entertaining commentary but it is worth a listen to hear about some production insights. The next feature “Legends of On Stranger Tides” features producer Jerry Bruckheimer, writer Terry Rossio, Johnny Depp, Rob Marshall and more about they chat about the behind the scenes of the fourth installment. “In Search of the Fountain” chats about the Fountain of Youth and the legends behind it. “Last Sail, First Voyage” focuses on our villain Blackbeard. “Under the Scene: Bringing Mermaids to Life” is a really cool feature as we delve into the film’s visual effects. There are five deleted and extended scenes; “Old Bill,” “Smart Now,” “Tonight,” “Tango” and “Voodoo Doll”, definitely worth the watch. “Johnny Vs. Geoffrey” is self-explanatory from its title putting Captain Jack with Captain Barbosa. There are few scenes from “LEGO: Pirates of the Caribbean”, which I would love to see as a feature. Lastly there is bloopers, which are very funny. One cool feature that called “Disney Second Screen”, which allows you to sync with your computer or iPad and enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes content and more.

Interview with Irwin Keyes

Irwin Keyes started his career in the late 1970’s and has been seen in everything from TV shows to commercials to movies.  Movie Mikes’ Adam Lawton got a chance to talk with Irwin at this years Chiller Theatre convention and got a chance to ask him about his career.

Adam Lawton: You have been in the business since the 70’s and have done everything from TV series to movies and even video game voice work do you have one that you prefer over another?
Irwin Keyes: I like to do comedy, horror and drama whatever work comes along I do.

AL: Is there any truth to the rumor that you were considered for the role of Freddy Krueger in “A Nightmare on Elm Street”?
IK: That’s what I’m told. I was there yep but things went different ways. I was actually supposed to play Ajax in the movie “The Warriors” but they realized I was too old for the gang who were much younger. I was about 26 at the time and the rest of the cast was probably 17.  So Walter Hill told me “Don’t worry I got a better part for you”, you’re going to be the guy who arrests Ajax.  That actually ended up being a really good part and I got to beat the crap out of him and get my anger out.

AL: You were Ravelli in Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” was there any particular reason you were not back for The Devils Rejects.
IK: Well Universal put out the first film which had about a 15 million dollar budget and the second film had a budget of less than 3 million. There were a lot of cuts in the cast of the second movie and probably some of the quality in the script.

AL: Do you have any new projects coming up? Possibly “Wrestlemaniac 2”?
IK: HAHAHAHA “Wrestlemaniac” I think that’s a great movie and I’m surprised you have seen it because I don’t believe Anchor Bay really put it out well.  I feel it should have been on the Starz channel because when I saw it, I thought it was a really good movie. I don’t know why they didn’t do it right since they are a good company.

AL: There definitely is room for a sequel with the way the first movie ends.
IK: Yeah, he could stop at the gas station and get me.  I actually had a discussion with the producer about that and I was gonna play the guy who kinda straightens him out after after he goes nuts but nothing came of it.

AL: Do you have any projects coming up that you want to tell the fans about?
IK: We have “Dahmer vs Gacy” coming out which has been all over the internet.  I also have a short film which is going to be made into a full feature film but more to come on that later.

Interview with Patricia Quinn

Patricia Quinn is probably best known for her role as Magenta in both the screen and stage production of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Movie Mikes’ Adam Lawton got a chance to talk with Patricia at this years Chiller Theatre convention and got a chance to ask her about her career.

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Adam Lawton: Tell us about working on the film adaptation of  “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and how it differs from the stage?
Patricia Quinn: The stage and screen were completely different. The stage version didn’t have the castle setting or the Transylvanians. The movie had a lot of surprises and I didn’t know what was going on from day to day. We were at the dinner scene and Tim pulls the cloth off and there is Meatloaf underneath and everyone screamed because they had no clue he was under there. The movie was made so fast and the crew had no time to talk to the cast.

AL: Your lips are featured in the beginning how did that come about?
PQ: In the stage version, there are usherettes who sang the ‘Science Fiction Double Feature’ song and I played one of those as well as Magenta. So the only reason I agreed to do the movie was to sing the song, not for actual part of Magenta. So when I asked “Am I signing the song?” they told me “No”, so I said “I’m not doing your film”. So then Richard says to me “You always say no after lunch Pat, not during it” I said “Well I wanna finish it”. So on the last day of shooting Jim Sharman had to find a way to sing the song, so they had O’Brian’s voice who was not as pretty as me.  He asked if I had seen the painter/photographer Man Rays’ “Lips” and I said “No”, but have since seen it many times since.  He used that picture for his inspiration.  This movie was shot on a shoe string budget so they draped some material on the camera.  In order keep my head from moving the screwed it into an art lamp that had been sitting on the stage, this made me look like Frankenstein.

AL: How long did that scene take to shoot that scene?
PQ: It took a good long morning to shoot and was not much fun but was worth it.

AL: Did you get to keep any props or costumes from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”?
PQ: No I didn’t want them…what would I want those for? (laughs) But I tell you people have built houses buying those things on eBay.  I should have taken them but I don’t do that.

AL: Can you tell about your experience from being in “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life”.
PQ: They are a very clever crew and Jon Cleese is a most brilliant actor.  I adore him. I was doing a “Hammer House of Horror” film “Witching Time” and he says “I think I have a role for you but you’re going to have to undress a bit” and I said “Oh that’s fine I’m doing “Hammer House of Horror” and our joke is ‘Knickers off, ready for work'”.  It really was a joke, I had a cloak on and all but not really a lot of clothes.

AL: So he kind of took you up on the offer?
PQ: Slightly and then Terry Jones directed the film and it got worse and worse. It was quite memorable I think.

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Interview with William Sadler

William Sadler began his acting career in New York theatres, appearing in more than 75 productions in just 12 years after which he ventured into movies. William has starred in films ranging from “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” to “Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight” to “The Mist”. Movie Mikes’ Adam Lawton got a chance to talk with William at this years Chiller Theatre convention and got a chance to ask him about his career.

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Adam Lawton: You began your career with a pretty ambitious stage career, how did you bridge into movies?
William Sadler: I actually did about 11 years of theater in NYC before I did my first picture. Stage really wasn’t my choice, I was living in New York and was trained as an actor but I loved the theater. I was doing “Biloxi Blues” on stage with Mathew Broderick. When Mathew went off to do “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and I continued with the show and then Mathew went on to do “Project X” and the producers at 20th Century Fox I guess saw me in the show and I got to play the man who kills all the apes.

AL: I can’t watch that movie because of the monkey killing…
WS: I know I hate monkeys killers myself.

AL: Do you have a preference for one over the other (stage or screen?)
WS: Stage is very very satisfying because it’s all tied up into one night. Theatre is tougher and it is exhausting. You can’t yell cut. You can’t have a headache. You don’t have 100 people fussing around you with hair and makeup. Film is a good deal easier or less strenuous. But on the upside film pays better. There is something very freeing about how you can always do another take. This allows you to feel free to improvise the performance, you can have a great deal of freedom that your allowed on film that you are not allowed on stage. On stage, once a production is set people want to see the same show that they read about.

AL: What was it like working with George Carlin?
WS: George Carlin was wonderful he was a very sincere man. Very thoughtful and quiet like a lot of comedians. They have to be able to turn it off and on. When the cameras were off, he would just sit down and relax.

AL: How did the role of the Grim reaper in “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” come about?
WS: I auditioned on tape with the accent I would use in the movie. They got all excited at Orion because they had auditioned people like Christopher Lloyd and Christopher Lee and they were really looking for someone who looked like Boris Karloff, you know really scary. I was about 30 at the time. The casting person called me and asked if I could go to the costume place and get some grey for my hair cause they think your too young. I thought it was gonna look like shit. So I called up the make-up man from “Die Hard 2” and told him my problem. He tells me to come over to his kitchen where he proceedes to make me look about 70yrs old. As soon as he’s done I drive over to Orion in full makeup and do the same audition this time live. As I was leaving Karen Ray, the casting person who said I looked to young, says “You know he looks a lot older in real life”. Then I got the job.

AL: Do you have any films coming out that we can be watching for?
WS: I have a film coming out that I’m shooting in NY called “Man on a Ledge” with Ed Norton and Sam Winston.

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Interview with Rizwan Manji

Rizwan Manji plays the scheming assistant manager, Rajiv Gidwani, on NBC’s new show “Outsourced”. Movie Mikes’ Adam Lawton had a chance to speak with Rijwan about the show and also some of his other film and TV roles.

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Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the show “Outsourced” and the character you play on the show Rajiv Gidwani?
Rizwan Manji:“Outsourced” is a fish out of water comedy about a character named Todd Dempsy who is played by Ben Rappaport. Ben’s character comes back from management training and finds out the call center he has been chosen to run has been outsourced to India. So he has to make the choice of either being let go or move to India and train his replacement. This is where he meets me and the rest of the cast. My character Rajiv Gidwani is the assistant manager. He’s what you call your lovable nemesis. He wants the top job and to become the manager of the call center. So he’s going to do anything in his power to get that job. Rajiv will sometimes attempt to make Todd look really horrible and get him fired.

AL : How did your role on the show come about?
RM: Well the show is actually based on a movie that came out in 2006 which also is titled “Outsourced”. However during the shooting of the pilot we were instructed to not watch that film so I haven’t. But I do know there is an assistant manager character in that movie and that’s where the idea for the show’s character came from. However the character in the TV show as compared to the character in the movie is quite different. The movie character was a bit more helpful to the Todd character. Where my character Rajiv is more of the schemer and more opportunistic than the character in the film. Since the pilot, the character Rajiv has evolved a little. In a recent episode you find out Rajiv is engaged to a woman he found via a love match and not the traditional arranged marriage. So in order for him to get married, he needs to have a higher status and income. So this is really why he’s doing the things he is doing. He’s not just doing them because he’s insane. He has noble motives for the things he does.

AL: How did you get involved in acting?
RM: I definitely knew very early on. In JR high school back in Calgary, there was a one act played I auditioned for and I got one of the main roles. It was a comedy. I think after I got that first laugh in the theater production, I thought this is what I want to do. Why would anyone want to do anything else? For a short Indian guy with a big nose I couldn’t be the basketball player. That was my way to make people laugh. I have been perusing acting right out of high school. I went to University of Alberta for a year and majored in drama. I then decided I wanted to go to a conservatory. So I moved to New York to go to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

AL: Are comedies your main interest or do you want to bridge into more serious roles?
RM: I have always thought comedy was my forte. I grew up watching mutely camera sitcoms like “Three’s Company” and “The Cosby Show”. I always just felt that that is what I wanted to do and I felt that was my forte. However because of the political climate once I moved to LA there was a lot of stuff that I got approached to do that was more drama based such as “Charlie Wilson’s War”, “24” and “Without a Trace”. A lot of the stuff that was coming my way, due to my looks, was dramatic based. I enjoyed doing that but I feel that I have the most fun and I contribute the most is when I do comedy.

AL: You played Akram in the blockbuster “Transformers” can you tell us about that?
RM: I shot for a week in New Mexico at an air force base and it was a kind of crazy experience. This was the first time I had to deal with big budget movie stuff going on like explosions and people getting shot and I was in one of those major scenes where all this stuff was going on. It was definitely an interesting experience. I had a blast and I think it really was the first time I got to work in a blockbuster.

AL: There are rumors that Michael Bay can be tough to work with at times. Did you experience any of this?
RM: I was there for a very small portion of the shoot and he was very nice to me. When I went to the initial audition with the casting directors, I guess he had already watched my audition tape. So when I went to the call back to audition again, Michael Bay said “I have seen your tape and I think you’re great you got the job”. He was very nice to me and from my personal experience he was very cordial to me.

AL : Your character has a pretty impressive mustache on the show. Did they make you grow that or do they apply it prior to filming?
RM: (laughs) unfortunately it’s very real. I’m with it everywhere I go. I’m not allowed to shave it or trim it. Everything is all done on set. My wife hates it. She doesn’t like to stand next to me when we are out, but my daughter loves it. I think when I shave it off, my daughter who has only seen me with the mustache, won’t recognize who I am (laughs).

AL: Do you have any other projects coming out in the near future?
RM: I have a small part as a producer in the upcoming film “Morning Glory” which stars Harrison Ford Rachel McAdams and Diane Keaton. It’s definitely something in a different light. I don’t have an accent (laughs) so it a little something different than “Outsourced”. Right now it’s hard for me to do auditions while we are filming the show but I am looking forward to doing stuff during the hiatus. Possibly some theater or screen work will come my way.

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Interview with Darin Brooks

Darin Brooks who won a Daytime Emmy for his role as Max Brady on the day time series “Days of Our Lives” and is currently starring in the Spike TV’s original series “Blue Mountain State” took a moment to talk with Movie Mikes’ Adam Lawton about season two of the hit television show “Blue Mountain State”.

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Adam Lawton: Being back for the second season of “Blue Mountain State” were you allowed any input or direction for your character Alex Moran?
Darin Brooks: This season of shooting went by so fast for me and the other actors who returned to the show.  We shot for three months and before we knew it it was over. We had already developed who our characters were, so we didn’t have to start at ground zero for season two.  We able to just coming back and have fun.

AL: There are a lot of big sports names attached to this seasons episodes, was there one in particular that you were looking forward to meeting and working with?
DB: This year we have a whole bunch of really fun people. We have Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Bill Romanowski, Bill Parcells, Brian Bosworth as well as Chuck Liddell and Denise Richards of course. I was excited to work with everybody.

AL: Was it hard for you going from a more serious role on “Days of Our Lives” to a more comedic role on “Blue Mountain State”, where you’re shooting scenes like the “cookie race” from season one?
DB: “Days of Our Lives” was a great training ground for me and I think any actor. The people who work on those shows are some of the hardest working people in the business. On “Days of Our Lives”, we would shoot six episodes in five days with each hour episode being around 80-90 pages per script. On “BMS” we shoot around ten pages at the most a day.  I learned a lot of technical aspects of acting that you might not learn in an acting class.  Like working with the lights and focusing on where your mics are and memorization skills. It was again a great training ground for me.  It was fun but it can be a little dramatic, so I tried to put some comedy into that character.  Now I’m kind of doing the opposite because we are shooting less pages.  We get to explore and make different choices.  With “BMS”, we can get more takes and can choose your best performance and concentrate on your character. Spike kind of let’s us do what we want, which is a lot of fun.

AL: Speaking of “Days of our Lives” you won a Daytime Emmy for your performance on that show, can you tell us a little bit about what that was like for you?
DB: To be honest with you, I was shocked. I know we had submitted all the tapes but I didn’t expect to win. I was just going to go to hang out with everybody. I think my Emmy speech is on YouTube and you can see how shocked I was. I think I stood up and mouthed “Oh Fuck” and as soon as I got on stage I said “Oh Shit” and they beeped me and started playing music to get me of stage. I was very surprised.

AL: Do you have any projects coming up that you would like to tell our readers about, maybe season three of “BMS”?
DB: Right now we are not sure if there is going to be a season three but it’s looking good. Everyone has to keep tuning in and do their part to help keep the ratings up, but hopefully we will find out by the end of the year. I have a guess spot on “CSI Miami” coming up.  I’m also doing some writing and trying to produce a film, along with a bunch of other stuff.  Just getting out there and doing my thing.

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Interview with Paul Davis

Paul Davis directed a feature length retrospective on the first horror movie he ever saw, “An American Werewolf In London”. The documentary covers the making of the film and feature interviews with the entire cast and crew.  Since the documentary Paul has become friends with, “Werewolf” director, John Landis and has a cameo in his latest film “Burke & Hare”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Paul about his documentary and what he is working on next.

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Mike Gencarelli: Why did you choose “An American Werewolf in London” to make documentary about?”
Paul Davis: “An American Werewolf in London” is a movie that has been dear to me since a very early age, in fact, when I was 3-years-old and first introduced to movies, we only had, I think, five movies taped from the television that I would watch over and over – “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Star Wars”, “Superman II”, “Blazing Saddles” and “Werewolf”. I was a huge Michael Jackson fan, right up to his shocking death last year, and my parents were aware of Werewolf from “The Making of Thriller”, so they taped it for me. I saw it and instantly fell in love with it. It didn’t scare me because thanks to “The Making of Thriller”, I knew that movies and monsters were work of fiction. That people made these things for a job. So from that point on I could watch anything and know it wasn’t real. Fast forward many years later and I was writing a retrospective article on the film for Horrorhound magazine and that’s when I thought it’d be cool to really delve into the making of and give the movie a well deserved, feature length chronicle to celebrate all it did for horror movies and special effects make-up.

MG: Tell us about the hardest aspect of making “Beware the Moon: Remembering ‘An American Werewolf in London'”?
PD: Making “Beware the Moon” was not really difficult, and actually a lot of fun. A lot of dreams came true in the nine-months it took us to shoot it. The hardest part was getting it released, and for that we really have to thank John Landis, because it was his influence and stronghold with Universal (plus the fact he’s made them a bazillion dollars with “Animal House” & “The Blues Brothers”) that stopped them from shutting us down, let alone releasing our movie. It took a lot of patience and hard work from New Wave Entertainment, to work with us and Universal, on getting all of our legal clearances in order. I’ll never forget being told that Clint Eastwood had given us the thumbs up to use his likeness for a “Kelly’s Heroes” poster we put in there. That was pretty trippy.  As for the making of the doc, the hardest part, if any, was just the initial gathering of cast and crew and arranging interviews. It took a lot of explanation, dedication and heartfelt sentiment to get some people on board – specifically John at first, which is totally understandable. He eventually saw that we were genuine in our approach and helped us in every way possible to get the movie done and on the Blu-Ray release. The best things to come out of this for me are stories of people who genuinely dig the documentary and understand that our love and enthusiasm for the film was the driving force. It’s been a pretty exciting and bizarre experience. One that I’ll never forget and look back on with great fondness.

MG: Besides “An American Werewolf in London”, favorite horror film and why?
PD: This is a question I get asked a lot and my answer often generates confusion. My favourite movie of all time is “The Exorcist”. To me, it’s the perfect film (the 1973 theatrical edit, not the 2000 re-cut). However, I don’t consider it a horror movie, it’s a movie about life and choice and Faith etc… so my favourite horror movie is Stanley Kubrick’s “Tbe Shining”. It’s so damn creepy and I think a lot of people share a deep fear of the unknown, and the movie certainly delivers that. I know it is very different to the book, but novels and movies are very different. The reader’s imagination can conjure up any vision it wants based on the written material, whereas with a movie, you’re seeing the preferred vision of a director. I think the differences between the King’s novel and Kubrick’s movie make them incomparable. Other horror movies I adore include the portmanteau classic “Dead of Night”, “Night of the Demon” and the brilliant “The Haunting” directed by Robert Wise.

MG: Tell us about work with John Landis? You also have cameo in his latest film “Burke and Hare”?
PD: Working with John Landis is an absolute joy and pleasure. He’s one of the nicest and warmest people I’ve ever met and is quite possibly the best storyteller I’ve ever been in the presence of. Meeting and working with him on “Beware the Moon” was one thing, considering he was the first person I was ever aware of being a ‘director’, but then to be asked to play a small role in “Burke & Hare”, oh man, that was a dream come true. I got to spend the day on location in West London, working alongside the masterful Tim Curry – with Curry playing Dr. Munro, and myself taking the role of one of his unfortunate amputee patients.  Being directed by John was a lot of fun, but it was amazing to see him doing what he loves in person. His enthusiasm and energy on set is contagious, and he always gets the best out of his cast and crew. It was also thrilling to experience some of his quirks that people had told me about while making the documentary… specifically, I totally geeked out when I heard John yell ‘More blood, here, give me the blood!” to the make-up girl, and then proceeded to pour blood ALL over my leg. The movie just opened in the UK and it really is a lot of fun. John is certainly back to his comedy best, and Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis are brilliant as the title characters. I hope you guys in the US get to see it sooner rather than later.

MG: How did you get involved with Horrorhound Magazine (hands down best horror magazine ever…thanks right Fangoria!)?
PD: I got involved with Horrorhound back in late 2005. I was already familiar with the editor, Nathan Hanneman, as we would both frequent the same Horror forum at the time. I think I was just about to curate the horror section of a UK entertainment convention and Nathan got in touch because he was planning a retrospective on “Re-Animator” and I had access to Jeff Combs that weekend. I started out doing a few interviews and giving him the low down on some British horror productions, but it wasn’t until issue three that I really started to chime in. Between 2006 and 2009 I contributed to all but one issue. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, without the “An American Werewolf in London” retro in issue five, there would be no “Beware the Moon” – and I’m eternally grateful to Nate and the publisher Jeremy Sheldon for giving me the opportunity to contribute to their wonderful magazine. I still keep in touch with Nathan from time to time, although not as much as I’d like to, and he has said that the door is always open for me to work with those guys again. So, never say never, I guess.

MG: Tell us about your involvement with “Habeas Corpus”?
PD: “Habeas Corpus” is a good old-fashioned anthology in the same vein as “Creepshow”. You’ve got four stories with a linking story, all focused on the concept of exploitation of the dead. I’m directing a segment called “S.C.U.M.” which is about a student who uses dead bodies to help create an art project/exhibit. It’s very tongue-in-cheek (this particular story, not the whole thing) and draws a lot from pop art and post-modern imagery. I can only describe it as De Palma and Warhol in a blender! It’s going to be pretty fun and extremely ambitious. Right now the movie is still in development. We were set to start shooting early next year, but the effects budget just took a considerable leap. People are interested; it’s just a case of when rather than if it happens.

MG: Any other documentaries planned in the future or any features in the works?
PD: No more documentaries from me, but I do have a feature screenplay currently sitting with a UK based production company. It’s a comedy/horror set in the early 90s. I’m hopeful that will move forward in the coming months. Mainly, however, I’ve been getting more acting work than anything. “Gladiators Vs. Werewolves” is still on the cards to start up again at the beginning of next year.  One of the first things Rick Baker said to me, when I met him on the documentary, was that he wanted to put me in a monster suit. When I was cast for “Gladiators Vs. Werewolves”, I fell in love with it. The casts, the make-up, seeing myself change into a monster… and so now I’ve pretty much put it out there to all of my make-up artist friends that I want to do as much creature suit/monster work as possible. So right now, who knows what the future holds.

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Interview with Melinda McGraw

Melinda McGraw played the wife of Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) in “The Dark Knight”. She is also co-starring in this Fall’s TV series “Men of a Certain Age” and has two new films coming out. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Melinda about her role on the new show and what is coming for the future.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your new role in “Men of a Certain Age”?
Melinda McGraw: The show is about men facing and struggling through, or trying to avert, mid-life crises. Scott Bakula plays Terry, a womanizing, kind of Peter Pan grown-boy character. I am an old acquaintance, who reappears in his life, and unlike most of the women he’s been involved with, I was actually born in the same decade as he was. My character Erin is happy to be around someone so fun, and I’m not sure either of them is expecting much to develop. The whole relationship kind of takes them both by surprise.

MG: What is like working with such a great cast?
MM: Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Scott Bakula as well as the great recurring cast—everyone is terrific, hard working, and fun. Most of my stuff is with Scott who I love working with, who wouldn’t? I first met Scott on my first American television job, “Quantum Leap” in the 90s. I was right off the boat from years of theatre, mostly in England. I knew nothing about marks or set-ups or two-shots, ANYTHING! He basically taught me Camera Acting 101. Such a generous guy and so talented, extremely professional. So it’s so cool to be working with him, all these 19 or 20 years later. He still is teaching me stuff, he can’t help it.

MG: How did you get the role of Barbara Gordon in “The Dark Knight”?
MM: Wow, one of the weirdest auditions ever. No script or any material was sent out to me beforehand. I just arrived at the casting office and there were lots of very well known, talented actors in the waiting room, obviously all there for different roles. We all were given different sheets of paper with a few lines on them.  The casting director John Papsidera took me to the door of the room and said, “Okay, this might be the oddest audition you’ll ever have. No one will answer your questions so don’t ask. I cannot tell you anything about who you are playing. Just look at the scene, make some choices and do it.” so he took me into the room, met Christopher Nolan and read, maybe twice.  I left thinking—what the hell character was I reading for? Three months later I got a call from my agent, telling me that I was playing Barbara Gordon, Gary Oldman’s wife and I practically fell down.

MG: What was it like working one of the highest grossing films of all time?
MM: Well, it was surprising. A big hit is always a surprise. That scale of hit is kind of a once in a lifetime scale. But I’m in a supporting role. It didn’t change my life or anything. It’s not like being a lead in the Twilight movies. I happen to love the film, so it was incredibly gratifying to know so many people saw it. But when I went to go see it, I was entirely a spectator too, because most of us in the movie were not allowed to read the script, so it was riveting.

MG: You have worked a lot in TV, what has been your most challenging project?
MM: Well, there’s challenging in a good “wow, this is stretching me and I’m becoming a better actor” way, and there’s challenging in a bad “oh, just get me to the end of this job” way. In terms of the first, the more complex a character is, the more challenging. In terms of the bad way–I find the procedurals the least rewarding. I am much happier doing anything more character-driven.  Shows where there are “too many cooks in the kitchen” creatively can also be terribly challenging. The network has one vision, the producers another, the lead actors something else again. The challenge is getting past all that and still telling a story that is vital and rings true. But that’s the gig.

MG: Any other projects in the works?
MM: I shot a movie called “Skateland”, a drama with Shiloh Fernandez and Ashley Greene that premiered at Sundance 2010, and shot a movie called “Meeting Spencer”, a comedy with Jeffrey Tambor.  Though Warner Brothers and the producers of the “Batman” movies are very secretive, I should hear soon if Barbara Gordon appears in the next installment that shoots next year. Of course, I won’t be allowed to tell you…or even my mother.

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