Ralph Steadman talks about his work with Hunter S. Thompson and film “For No Good Reason”

Ralph Steadman is a British Gonzo artist that is best known for his work with American author Hunter S. Thompson, author of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. After meeting each other in 1970 to cover the Kentucky Derby, Steadman and Thompson formed a long-time relationship. Steadman’s did the artwork for Thompson’s books over his career. He is also an author himself having written numerous books focusing on his drawings…or as Hunter would have called it his “filthy scribblings”, according to Ralph. This April, “For No Good Reason” makes its U.S. debut in NYC, which is a documentary on Ralph’s career. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ralph about the film and his work with Hunter S. Thompson.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got approached for the documentary “From No Good Reason”?
Ralph Steadman: The director Charlie Paul initially came down to see me, then the producer Lucy Paul. This was over a period of twelve years, you know. They would stay for lunch, we would talk and then we would carry on. So over twelve years, we made this film. It just seems so long ago from when we first started it. They got Johnny Depp involved, which was good because he has become a personal friend of mine over the years. He is such a great guy, easy going, warm, genuine and terrific fellow…
MG: I loved Johnny’s narration in the film as well, very nice touch.
RS: Oh yeah, it was lovely. I agree.

MG: How did you feel about having a documentary about your life done?
RS: I first thought “For God’s sake…why?” “For no good reason”…that is what Hunter would have said. I used to always ask “Why are we doing this Hunter?” and he would always say “For no good reason, Ralph” [laughs].

MG: How was it seeing some of your drawings brought to life and illustrated in the film?
RS: That was quite interesting. I couldn’t be an animator in old Disney way when they used to draw one picture and then other but slightly different and then you would put them together like a flip book and they would actually move. The only thing I liked like that was doing something simple like a dot or a splat and putting it in a book form and flipping it and watching it move, that to me was magic. I like doing that kind of thing. But seeing my drawings in the film was really great.

MG: I find it so interesting that you said in the film that your work is unprofessional and “it is as unexpected to me as it is to anyone else”; can you talk about this aspect?
RS: Yeah, that is because I don’t do any pencil work. I never plan anything. I just begin and the drawing becomes what it becomes. My reaction every time is “I don’t know how I did that”. I am always amazed. “How the fuck did I do that?”, I usually say. It’s like Ludwig Wittgenstein’s idea that only thing of value is that thing that you cannot say but you can see it. I like that a lot.

MG: So how did your splatter technique come about then?
RS: Oh that was clumsiness. I was clumsy. I said “Oh shit” when I flicked my wrist with my pen but I realized it made this beautiful sweep of blots. I thought to myself them “Oh I like that, it’s quite nice” So I started to use it more deliberately. I would spill ink all over the place. I liked the idea of putting a sheet of paper on the studio floor taking a bottle of ink high on a ladder and dropping it. Not all of it…but just enough. It would make terrific, radiating splatters of different designs. Then you look and think “Hmm, it could be a spider” and I would go from there.

MG: Looking back at the film now, how do you feel that it has come together?
RS: I was amazed by it actually. After twelve years, it was nice to see it all come together. They did cut out a few things that I would have liked them to keep in like my art teacher, Leslie Richardson. This was a pity since I really wanted him in it. What they were after was the notoriety including the fame of Johnny Depp. So poor Leslie Richardson, who is now 93, was left out. But he still goes around kicking old ladies and children in the streets [laughs].

MG: Tell us how you originally crossed paths with Hunter Thompson?
RS: When I was planning to come to New York in 1970, I had some friends that invited me to stay with them in the Hampton’s. They were soon to be married, so I felt a little uncomfortable saying with them for a long period of time. So after staying a little while, I was going to leave for the city and I was about to leave when there was a cal from a guy named J.C. Suarez. He was an editor from Brooklyn. He wanted me to come to Kentucky and meet an ex-Hells Angels, who just shaved his head. I asked why did he do that and he said “Why? Because he’s a Hells Angels. He is a rebel”. So I asked “What for?” He told me that he was not only looking for a photographer but for an artist and they saw my book of pictures called “Still Life with Raspberry”, which was my first book of collected drawings. Don Goddard was the foreign editor of The New York Times and he had found the book in England and then came back and said that they need to put me with Hunter Thompson. So that is how it happened.

MG: Do you feel that your career would have been different if your path’s didn’t cross?
RS: As far as I was concerned, meeting Hunter and going to Kentucky was a bulls eye for me. For all the people that I could meet in America, he would be the one…go figure. Meeting Hunter was the best thing for me in terms of making a career. What we did for journalism was that we became the story and that became know as gonzo journalism. That was really what was so good about it. One day, this guy Bill Cardoso told us that the Kentucky Derby piece we did was “pure gonzo”. Hunter never heard the word before and it really stuck. He used to say “Don’t do those filthy scribblings”. He used to call my drawings filthy scribblings [laughs]. He used to also tell me “Don’t write Ralph, you will bring shame on your family”. But he always loved to sort of go against you but on purpose because he would know that it would provoke me and my work would benefit.

MG: “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is one of my favorite books and the movie is great as well…
RS: The thing is people get too sniffy about the movie and things like that. They say that it is not quite this or quite that. No! It is a version of the book. I didn’t mind it, especially since the whole damn thing, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” was a crazy idea to begin with.

MG: Do you recall how long it took you to complete the illustrations for the “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” book?
RS: I think I did nine pictures in a week and it was done. The rotten thing was that I ended up selling all of the originals since I was told it would be a good career move. I think I got $75 dollars each for them. Can you imagine what they are worth now?

MG: Has your drawings been affected since the death of Hunter S. Thompson?
RS: No, not really. I have been doing bird drawings for the last few years. I don’t like drawing politicians any more, I can’t be bothered. They are so awful. I don’t feel so bitter about it. I do not feel like I am trying to change the world. I have changed the world enough since I started and it is worse now than when I started [laughs]. So good, I have done what I had meant to do [laughing]

MG: Yeah, you start off the film saying you set out to “change the world”; I was going to ask if you felt that you have accomplished that goal?
RS: We’ll you look around, I have done my part but bloody computers have changed everything.The business and also people in general. You can’t walk down a side street without somebody passing you by and they are not looking at you or around them, they are looking down at their phone. I had to go on a train recently to Halifax for a show of my drawings and there was this woman on the train that was a good example. She had red hair which was long down one side and shaved on the other side. I have a drawing of it in my book here. She was so awful, I had to draw her. But she had her makeup out in one hand and her phone in the other from the moment she got on the train. That is the problem about the invasion of the computer, like Twitter. Everyone wants to tweet you now. So that is very weird to me.

MG: Tell us about your latest book “Proud Too Be Weirrd”?
RS: I collected together a bunch of things that I never had no good reason to use [laughs]. I thought I would start with the first page and go through my studio finding this and finding that and just building the book from there and that is how I worked on it. This guy Steve Crist from AMMO Books got in touch with me about doing it. He used to work at TASCHEN. Benedikt Taschen rang me after the book was made and said he was actually very disappointed because he wanted to do the book, but at the time I didn’t know this. He did my book with Hunter, “The Curse of Lono”. Steve Crist used to work with Benedikt and that’s where he began. He sort of adopted the style of big book like TASCHEN did. I really like the title “Proud Too Be Weirrd” and it is a great book

MG: What are some of the artists that inspire you?
RS: I love Picasso. He is such an inspiration for me. There is a film called “The Mystery of Picasso” that is really worth seeing if you can get a copy. It is fascinating for me to watch him at work. The director, who made the film, was allowed to by Picasso to be in the studio with him. This is what Charlie did with me as well for our film. Picasso would set things up for him including painting on glass and having him film from the other side. This is amazing work and it really continues to inspire me.

MG: Are you working on anything else new currently?
RS: I got a new book of creatures that I am working on right now. These are completely made up creatures for example instead of a pelican; you do a pelicant [laughs]. You have to keep doing something otherwise what is the point. I guess I am taking advice from my father, who couldn’t bear to just sit about. I am also learning how to etch steel plates as well. So I suppose I should continue to carry on.

 

Related Content

Product Review “Disney Infinity Figures: Rapunzel & Wreck-It Ralph”

Disney Infinity Series
Platform: Nintendo Wii, Wii U, 3DS, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3
Disney Interactive Studios
Exclusive Release

Rapunzel: 4 out of 5 stars
Wreck-It Ralph Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Since the release of Disney Infinity late August, I have been obsessed with this game. There are so many endless possibilities and Disney has been releasing so many great characters this year. Two of the latest figures released are Rapunzel & Wreck-It Ralph. They are also from two of my favorite movies of all-time…yes all-time! My daughter seriously watching “Tangled” at least 3-5 times a week and I try and watch “Wreck-It Ralph” at least once a month. I was really excited to give these characters a go in the Toy Box mode in Disney Infinity. They do not have their own world’s like “Toy Story” and “The Lone Ranger” but you can at least transform your Toy Box into their respective themes since both “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph” has Texture and Terrain Power Discs, which were available in Series 1. I would highly recommend both of these characters.

What is great about these both is that they speak to both male and female audiences. Obviously Wreck-It Ralph is no question going to be over so well with the “boys” and Rapunzel will be a must for the “girls”. My daughter in fact loves both of them equally…given she is only 18 months old but from the minute I took them out of the box she is carrying them around (even in the car) when I am not playing them in the game.  Wreck-It Ralph has a really cool special attack, in which he throws cherry bombs that when hits the ground or it’s target explodes and looks like something from an old 8-bit game. Ralph also runs and pounds the ground with his fists and he destroys everything or everyone in his path. Rapunzel is quite fun as well, she has a killer special move, which is a called Frying Pan Bash. Frying pans…who knew right? Sorry I’ve seen this movie was too many times. Plus there is nothing cooler than see Rapunzel piloting a Recognizer from “TRON” personally (another favorite of mine).

Overall, they are really well designed and look quite amazing. I love Rapunzel’s animated look and I also love her pose as well. That seen in the movie when she gets to the town and gets her hair braided is so sweet. Wreck-It Ralph has little subtleties as well that I love that he a really cool 8-bit sound when his attacks are done. Totally cool for a retro gamer like myself. There is tons of fun to have with these characters and I have a feeling that I have only just began to explore the many possibilities to enjoy with these.  I really can’t wait to see what they have planned for 2014 because this year will be very hard to top. Currently the Wreck-It Ralph and Rapunzel figures are sold exclusively at certain retail stores. Wreck-It Ralph is available only at Best Buy and Rapunzel is only available at Wal-Mart…if you can find them due to the holidays.

Rich Moore talks about directing Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph"

Rich Moore is the director of Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph”. He is best known for working on TV shows like “The Simpsons” and “Futurama”. “Wreck-It Ralph” has been nominated for both Golden Globes and Academy Award for Best Animated Film. It is set to be released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 5th. Media Mikes had the pleasure to chat with Rich to discuss the film and hopes for a sequel.

Mike Gencarelli: Just wanted to tell you how much I loved this film and that Media Mikes had voted “Wreck it Ralph” the best animated film of the year.
Rich Moore: Thanks. Wow, it was a great year so that is a huge compliment. Thank you that means so much.

MG: With “Wreck-It Ralph” being your feature directorial debut; how does this experience compare from your television work including “Futurama” and “The Simpsons”?
RM: It is different but the same. You know? With “Futurama” and “The Simpsons”, those were amazing projects to work with. Some of the people I worked with on those projects are some of the funniest and most talented people in that medium. My jobs on them were very much like the job I have on “Wreck-It Ralph”. I am telling the best story I can with heart, emotion and humor, while also having characters that we care about and make sure that the audience invests in and identifies with. In that regard “The Simpsons” and “Wreck-It Ralph” feel very similar. I feel like I am right in my element. On the hand, the machine itself here at Disney is big. In order to make these feature films it takes an army of artists to put them together over a long period of time. I feel like a kid in candy shop. It’s like going from having a toy train to running a real train [laughs]. It is fun and really great. It is just wild also just being at the studio during this process.

MG: Have you always wanted to be in this position?
RM: When I was a kid, the first film I saw in the theater was “The Jungle Book”. I was five years old at the time and it really got its hooks into me. It affected me in a way that really early on that I wanted to be involved with animation…or as much as a five year old could express that. So to find myself here at this point in my career at Disney Animation, at the place that put the bug in me, and adding my contribution to Disney movies is a spectacular feeling. It really goes down pretty deep.

MG: The cameos in the film are jam-packed but not overwhelming; what was the process for choosing which iconic characters to use?
RM: Well we always wanted to use the ones that felt appropriate to the scene. We definitely went for the ones that we loved as kids and now as adults. Early on in the production, I put up a big bulletin board in the break room with a sign asking what characters needed to be in the movie. We filled up that board quickly and kept that on hand and used it as a reference throughout. We didn’t just choose them all willy-nilly. It was based on characters that we loved and would need to see in the movie.

MG: You voiced Sour Bill and Zangief of Street Fighter in the film, which are two of my favorites. How did that come about?
RM: Thank You. What is funny about that was that those two performances started out as temporary dialogue – scratch dialogue. When it came time to cast actors in those roles, I was talking with John Lasseter about it, our executive producer, and I told him what I was thinking for Sour Bill and he asked me “Why do you want to change Sour Bill, it perfect?”. I told him it was just scratch dialogue but he told me to keep it in and that it was great. He also said the same thing for Zangief. So I am a reluctant actor.

MG: Well you know “Who else would crush man’s skull like sparrow’s egg…”
[laughs] That’s right [In Zangief’s voice] “like sparrow’s egg between my thighs” [laughs].

MG: When this film came out, I asked my mom if she was going to see it and she asked “I don’t know much about games, would I enjoy”; how can you address this concern for the non-gamers?
RM: Sure, that was something that I was very concerned about in the beginning. I didn’t want it to be so inside video games that only gamers would get it and enjoy it. It was very important to me that even if you just heard of video games but never played that you could watch the movie and enjoy it as much as a hardcore gamer. I was always checking this aspect as we were developing the story. I had a little core group of people. Some were hardcore gamers, casual gamers and some that didn’t play at all. I used them as a balancing stick to make sure if they were all equally enjoying it and able to relate. Once all those three points lined up, I knew that we got it in a good spot where everyone would be able to enjoy it. It was very important to me that that aspect was front and center.

MG: Well since then she has seen it twice and loves quoting it, especially the Oreo chant [laughs].
RM: It is funny that you can still make a joke about a movie that is over 70 years old and cookie that is over a hundred years old…and it still feels new.

MG: I also liked how you have little fun cameos like Devil Dogs, which are now not being made any more. So it is cool to see them get put in a piece of history.
RM: My experience on “The Simpsons”, Matt Groening would always remind us that the show is not for children, not for teenagers, or adults – it is for everybody. If we are making it too childish then we are losing a big part of our audience. If we are making it too adult then we are losing another part. The stuff that I love working on is the projects that don’t talk down to kids and doesn’t insult the intelligence of the adults. I think that the Pixar movies do that so well, as does the shows like “Futurama” and “The Simpsons”. These can play across and be a true family film or a piece of entertainment and that is my favorite kind of stuff.

MG: Is “Wreck-It Ralph 2” in the cards for you? What can we expect?
RM: The creative team would jump at it in a New York minute. The actors, the animators and myself – we all had such a great time making this movie and working together. We became like a family. It was such a cool experience. We really love these characters. There has been some talk about doing it and I am sure there will be some more talk about it. But we are all keeping out fingers crossed and hoping we get to go back there.

"Wreck-It Ralph" Blu-ray™ Combo Pack Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

© 2013 Disney

Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D™, DVD, SD Digital and
On-Demand Debuts March 5, 2013

To celebrate the Blu-ray™ release of “Wreck-It Ralph”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway 5 copies of the Blu-ray™ Combo Pack. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email indicating your favorite video game character. This giveaway will remain open until March15th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to residents of the United States only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

From Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Wreck-It Ralph” takes viewers on a hilarious journey.  For decades, Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) has played the bad guy in his popular video game. In a bold move, he embarks on an action-packed adventure and sets out to prove to everyone that he is a true hero with a big heart. As he explores exciting new worlds, he teams up withsome unlikely new friends including feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman).    The film is directed by Emmy®-winner Rich Moore.

Featuring an all-star voice cast including Jack McBrayer as the voice of Fix It Felix, Jr. and Jane Lynch as the voice of Sgt. Calhoun, plus breakthrough bonus features that take viewers even deeper into the world of video games, Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” has something for every player. Over an hour of all-new bonus material is featured on the Digital and Blu-ray Combo Pack, including deleted and alternate scenes, the theatrical short “Paperman,” plus much more.

The home entertainment debut of “Wreck-It Ralph” will be available in multiple ways, containing exciting all-new bonus features that extend the fun-filled movie experience.

Bonus Materials Overview for These Products:

HD Digital

SD Digital

4-Disc Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (Blu-ray™ 3D + Blu-ray™ +DVD + Digital Copy)

2-Disc Blu-ray™ Combo Pack  (Blu-ray™ +DVD)

Includes:

  • Bit by Bit: Creating the Worlds of “Wreck-It Ralph” – Fans of the film will get a look at five new worlds created for “Wreck-It Ralph.” The short takes viewers into Game Central Station with the artists who brought Sugar Rush, Hero’s Duty and Fix It Felix Jr. to life.
  • Alternate & Deleted Scenes – Four separate scenes are highlighted with an introduction and optional audio commentary from director Rich Moore.
  • Video Game Commercials – Viewers can check out the commercials created for the video games featured in the film – Fix It Felix Jr., Sugar Rush, Hero’s Duty and Fix It Felix Hammer.
  • “Paperman” – This animated short film played in theaters before “Wreck It Ralph.” It tells the story of a young man in an office who sees the girl of his dreams in a skyscraper window across the street. But how can he get her attention?

Blu-ray™ Exclusive Bonus Materials

 Includes:

  • DisneyIntermission: The Gamer’s Guide to “Wreck-It-Ralph” – When the film is paused, host Chris Hardwick appears on screen to guide viewers through a series of 10 video segments offering an inside look at the many video game references, Disney references and other hidden surprises featured in the film.

Matthew Modine talks about joining Ralph Bakshi's "Last Days of Coney Island"

Matthew Modine is probably known best for playing Pvt. Joker in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” and Louden Swain in “Vision Quest”. He also recently appeared as Deputy Commissioner Peter Foley in “The Dark Knight Rises”. Matthew has a production company with partner Adam Rackoff called Cinco Dedos Peliculas and also has a deep love for animation. He recently signed on to produce and voice act in Ralph Bakshi’s latest film “Last Days of Coney Island”, which is currently trying to become funded via Kickstarter.

At the time of posting, there has been over 900 backers since it was launched and just over $140,000 dollars pledged of the $165,000 dollars goal. We are almost there but we need your help. Be sure to rush over to Kickstarter and help Matthew and Ralph on this project. Click here to join the fight and see “Last Days of Coney Island” get made and be sure to mention Media Mikes sent ya! The campaign ends on Sunday March 3rd around 12pm EST, so don’t miss out! Spread the word!

Check out our interview with writer/director Ralph Bakshi about the film as well, click here. Also be sure to check back next week to see the second half of our interview with Matthew about reflecting on his work on “Full Metal Jacket”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, his iPad app and also his upcoming role on the Steve Job’s biopic “jOBS”.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got involved with Ralph Bakshi’s “Last Days of Coney Island”?
Matthew Modine: First of all you should know that my dad was a drive-in theater manager and I became hip to Ralph Bakshi when I was too young [laughs]. At an inappropriate age, I feel in love with “Fritz the Cat”. So that is how I found the work of Bakshi. So also this last year, I have been working with the animator Bill Plympton. We met at Tribeca Film Festival and became fast friends. He asked me if I would be interested in voicing the narrator, this sort-of Walter Winchell character, in an animated film he was making called “Santa, The Fascist Years”. It is a very funny short film. I also worked with him on a film he was restoring called “The Flying House”. My partner, Adam Rackoff and I have a production company called Cinco Dedos Peliculas, which means Five Finger Films. The reason we called it that is we thought it would be appropriate to have a production company that offered a hand to other filmmakers. We used Cinco Dedos to help Plympton get his money for restoring Winsor McCay’s film. So, it was through Bill Plympton that he told us about Ralph Bakshi. So I asked my producing partner what he thought about Ralph’s project “The Last Days of Coney Island” and he wanted to be an animator when he was a kid and just loves Ralph Bakshi’s work. We told him we wanted to help out with his Kickstarter program. I also told him that I would do a voice if it would be helpful to do the raise. He was very grateful and was excited about me voicing a character for the film.

MG: Tell us about the character you are going to play?
MM: It is really an awesome character named Shorty. He is described as a mafia guy who thinks he’s Elvis Presley and sings like Chet Baker. So it just sounds awesome to me. So I am very excited to be first helping him but ecstatic that he is giving me this opportunity to also voice one of his characters. It is just going to be a lot of  fun.

MG: Like you said you are no stranger to indie animation, what is it about the genre that draws you?
MM: I think it is from my childhood. I really go back to the original “Popeye” cartoons, the early ones, where they were beautifully drawn. As a boy, I also wanted to be an animator and was discouraged by the way that Hanna-Barbera did their animation, with shows like “The Flintstones” and “Scooby Doo”. It wasn’t that creative and felt like cheap animation. I didn’t want to be bothered with it at all, until I saw Bill Plympton’s animation in the 80’s when he was doing the MTV TV spots. Since then also the work that Pixar has done has brought a whole new life to animation in a way that is unimaginable. So I think that this is an exciting time for animation. The work that Ralph Bakshi does because it is so irreverent, original and beautifully hand-drawn. What he is planning first with “Coney Island” is only a chapter in a larger film of mixed media of video art and animation. I think it is going to be something that is extraordinary and very Bakshi.

MG: What is your favorite film that Ralph has directed?
MM: I think it would have to be the first one that I was exposed to, “Fritz the Cat”. I was also so excited when “The Lord of the Rings” came out and it is still an extraordinary film. The world that he created for people that really love the book – it exceeds the reality of even Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings”. “Wizards” is also amazing!

Ralph Bakshi talks about his Kickstarter campaign for "Last Days of Coney Island"

Ralph Bakshi is one of the last great animators in the business and also a good friend of mine.  He has created some really classics films like “Fritz the Cat”, “Wizards”, “The Lord of the Rings”, “American Pop” and many many more.  Ralph is trying to get his last his latest film, “Last Days of Coney Island”, started with the help of Kickstarter and his fans support. The film is planned to be “an animated cop, mafia, horror movie set in the 1960s in Coney Island, with political overtones both realistic and outrageous”. Sounds awesome right?

This is Ralph’s first and hopefully not last attempt at cr0wd-funding.  At the time of posting, there has been over 900 backers since it was launched and about $140,000 dollars pledged of the $165,000 dollars goal.  We are almost there but we need your help. Be sure to rush over to Kickstarter and help Ralph on this project and be sure to mention Media Mikes sent ya!. He is a man who fights for hand-drawn animation in an industry that is fighting against him. Click here to join the fight and see “Last Days of Coney Island” get made. The campaign ends on Sunday March 3rd around 12pm EST, so don’t miss out! Spread the word!

Check out our interview with Matthew Modine who recently joined on the film, click here.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about you decision to use Kickstarter for “Last Days of Coney Island”?
Ralph Bakshi: I am 74 years old and I didn’t want any trouble. I figured I would try and raise the money if I could and that way I would be able to do what I wanted. I am not looking for anything major. If it turns into something more like five shorts then I would be more than happy. But I have my freedom, as you can see and I am not bothering with anyone. I do not have to show around storyboards and scripts. It is really a great sense of freedom. We got a lot of push from fans, which is great. We even got a new large donation from a Formula One racer, since he said he grew up with my movies. I am amazed by that. I am really looking to the internet here. I would like to spark an audience reaction to find out what they think. I am not going to get big money online but I will still get to make the film I want.

MG: On the Kickstarter page, it lists the film as “Part One”. You mentioned there will be more?
RB: That is right. I will just keep going with the shorts. Also remember they are also pilots. If I get part one done, Hollywood will realize that this guy has a nice following and he is not dead, that is number one. Number two is that if I do something really cool, I can show it to somebody and have them finish it for me, like a promo real. That could always happen.

MG: Tell us about the involvement of Matthew Modine and how that came about?
RB: I just got this email from Matthew Modine. He loves animations and grew up with my films. He said he wants to come help me and came on as a producer. He will also be voicing a character called Shorty, who is very fun. Modine is great though and he has helped me out a lot. We got hundreds of news stories when Matthew Modine came on board. It has just been amazing. Kickstarter made people realize that I am not dead and it has helped quite a bit since we all know that Hollywood is all about hype.

MG: How do you feel your style of animation stands up in today’s times?
RB: My animation isn’t perfect and that is what companies like Disney they strive for…that perfection. I would love to do perfect animation but what that takes is money. So the perception in the industry is that my stuff isn’t good enough. Animation isn’t about perfect. Art isn’t about perfect. They take it too seriously. I am not perfect and they hold it against me. Uncle Walt wants perfect. I can’t. You can’t be perfect with $1 million dollars.

MG: What has been your biggest challenge that you faced with trying to get the word out?
RB: There has been a lot of support from fans, yes. But you look at the animation blogs, they are all taking to each other and no one has Bakshi on there. Let’s talk about Cartoon Brew, they have not mentioned a word about the Kickstarter for “Last Days of Coney Island”. They also never put up my last cartoon “Trickle Dickle Down” either. Now, I am a 74 year old animator who has been around for a while and has fought for animation over the years. Look, we are trying to do a lousy five minute cartoon. Yet they will not assist with us on this project. I am more shocked and upset out of amazement on this, but I am not bitter. If I succeed in “Last Days of Coney Island” doing hand-drawn R-rated film, which is possible not probably…but possible. If I get to make this into a feature and its makes big money like “Fritz the Cat”. All of Hollywood is going to say “Oh my God, hand-drawn and R-rated?” and everyone would be put back to work. So we may make it…we may not. It is very close.

MG: I have to ask what are your plans if funding does not meet your goal?
RB: I don’t have a backup plan. If I don’t reach the limit, then I don’t reach the limit. I would have had a good time. I am trying hard. But I am not going to go crazy. If the guys don’t support me then I won’t do it. If places like Cartoon Brew don’t want to mention that I am out here fighting for animation, especially since they are all for animation. Remember they get their ads from Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks and they realize that I am at it again doing stuff that those guys can’t do because of their family audience. So they don’t mention me. I just won’t do it then. I don’t want anyone to think I am angry. I am very proud. We raised a ton of money.

MG: Tell us about your team you’ve you have working with you right now?
RB: I have hired some great young animators. I got this Japanese guy from Brooklyn. He sent me his reel and they are very crude and very honest. I emailed him and gave him some work to do. I later found out that he was living on the streets in Brooklyn. He has all his drawing up on my Kickstarter page. His name is Tsukasa Kanayama. He is such an amazing guy. I also got this woman, Colleen Cox, who taught herself how to animate. What I am saying is that I love working with these young animators. I see the passion through their eyes and its reminds me about my own passion and what it is like to be young and have that drive. One of my animators JoJo Baptista is using Toon Boom Studio to work on the animation, which is 100% 2D. With this program, you can draw on paper and scan into the software. Toon Boom colors and does the in between. It works great. As the director, I want it to look like hand-drawn animation and they are and using this software to fill in the necessary in-betweens. Also My son Eddie Bakshi is producing and breaking his ass. He is taking on a lot of hard work and the Facebook stuff, which is beyond me. So we have a wonderful team and we are just waiting to see if this will work out.

3D Blu-ray Review "Wreck-It Ralph"

Actors: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch
Directors: Rich Moore
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Run Time: 101 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The first time I saw “Wreck-It Ralph”, I was blown away. Read our review here. Disney has done it yet again. Since that first viewing, I have seen this film five times now and it gets better and better with every viewing. If you are a fan of video games great you will love it.  If you have no idea about video games you will still love it. That is why this film succeeds. “Wreck-It Ralph” packs various cameo including Zangief from “Street Fighter II”, Sonic the Hedgehog and Q*bert to name a few. There is also appearances from Oreos, Devil Dogs, Mentos, Nestle Quik and Laffy Taffy. All of the cameos are very clever, not in your face and get tons of laughs. “Wreck-It Ralph” besides being funny and clever, also packs a lot of heart. Be sure to check this get ready to have some fun.

Here is our premise from the theatrical review: On the eve of celebrating the 30th anniversary with his game “Fix-It Felix, Jr.”, Wreck-It Ralph is tired of being the bad-guy.  He wants to be recognized for his work like Fix-It Felix does every game with his medals and getting respect from the buildings residents.  When Ralph leaves his own game to win a medal and prove that he is more than a bad-guy, he gets more than he bargained for.  After heading into the high-def first person shooter game “Hero’s Duty”, he is able to steal the hero’s medal but ends up taking one of the uncontrollable villains known as Cy-Bugs to the kart-racing game called “Sugar Rush”.  This is where he meets the cutie Vanellope von Schweetz and get involved with helping her with her issue of being a glitch and her dream to race in the game.  Of course, the ruler of the game, King Candy, has another plan.  With the help of the lead character of “Hero’s Duty”, Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun and Fix-It Felix Jr., they set out to find Ralph and return him to his game before it is put out-of-order for good, as well as to prevent a Cy-Bug invasion of “Sugar Rush”.

Disney spared no expense with this Ultimate Collector’s Edition.  We get a Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy included within this combo pack.  The 3D effects on the Blu-ray look stunning.  You literally get swept into this video game world and taken for ride. The depth added is well balanced and the colors really jump off the screen. I prefer to watch this film in 3D but I have to tell you the 2D Blu-ray of this film looks just as impressive. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio track really delivers as well.  It is absolutely stunning, exciting and action packed.  Overall, Disney has again amazed with with their audio/video on their Blu-rays.

In terms special features included here, what is delivered it is amazing but overall a little light on content.  Firstly “Paperman” is one of best short that Disney has ever made it is available in both 3D and 2D.  “Bit by Bit: Creating the Worlds of Wreck-It Ralph” is a nice production featurette with Director Rich Moore, producer Clark Spencer, writer Phil Johnston, art director Mike Gabriel, co-art director Ian Gooding, effects supervisor Cesar Velazquez, animation supervisor Renato Dos Anjos and more on the creation of this video game world. There are four deleted and alternate scenes with an introduction and optional commentary with director Rich Moore. There are four fun promos for the film’s games “Fix-It Felix Jr.,” “Sugar Rush,” “Hero’s Duty” and “Fix It Felix Hammer.”  Lastly be sure to pause the film since it comes with “Disney Intermission”, which is hosted by Chris Hardwick (“The Nerdist”, “The Talking Dead”).  He spends the time informing us about the in-game jokes and video game references. Probably more for parents then kids but still worth pausing.

Book Review “The Art of Wreck-It Ralph”

Author: Maggie Malone, Jennifer Lee
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: November 1, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When I saw the film “Wreck-It Ralph”, I thought that my prayers were answered as a video gamer that grew up in the 80’s.  This book shows just how much work went into this film and really allows you to appreciate it much more.  I had seen this film prior to reading this book and it literally made me want to run out again to see it.  If anyone reads this in reserve order you will surely get the immediate urge to see it. It is literally a perfect companion to this fantastic film.  The film is so extremely colorful and creative and unique and this book compliments all those aspects very well. Perfect idea for a Holiday gift!

The collaboration between authors Jennifer Lee and Maggie Malone really show that they love this film themselves and are looking to share it.  Jennifer Lee was a writer on “Wreck-It Ralph” and Maggie Malone is the director of development at Walt Disney Animation Studios, where she has worked on films including “Tangled”, “Tinker Bell”, and “The Princess and the Frog”. They succeeded in developing and delivered a very sharp book that makes you unable to put down.  It is very in-depth and goes into great detail on each of the video-game worlds created for this film.  There is specific focus on the design process and character development, which I enjoyed the most. It was cool to see the evolution of Ralph and how he came about. I also enjoyed the different interviews with the people behind this film. The artwork in the book is beautifully presented and very colorful.  Great job, Chronicle Books – yet again!

There is a preface included by Pixar’s John Lasseter, which nicely sets the mood for the book.  Rich Moore, the director of “Wreck-It Ralph”, gives a supporting foreword. Since this film takes aims at video games from the classic 8-bit arcade games to the video games of today’s high-def digital age. Both periods of gaming are perfectly respected and honored throughout this book. If you are looking for something to complement this great film or just something for your sweet tooth, then be sure to check out the “Sugar Rush” section. It made me crave some sweets ASAP, especially Devil Dogs.  Oh I miss Hostess already! If there is anything wrong with this book is that it ended, I would have love to kept reading for much longer.

Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” Prize Pack & Disney Store Bonus Shop Card Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

©2012 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

To celebrate the release of Disney’s “WRECK-IT RALPH”, we are excited to giveaway a $25 Disney Store bonus shop card, as well as some t-shirts and other movie goodies.  If you would like to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite video game character. This giveaway will be open until November 11th 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.

Visit your local Disney Store or DisneyStore.com to live the adventure of WRECK-IT RALPH.

Official Website: Disney.com/WreckItRalph
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Voice Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch
Director: Rich Moore
Producer: Clark Spencer

From Walt Disney Animation Studios and Emmy®-winning director Rich Moore comes “Wreck-It Ralph,” a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping adventure. For decades, Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) has been overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), the good-guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.

On his quest, Ralph meets tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty, and feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, who may just be his first real friend. But everything changes when a deadly enemy is unleashed, threatening the entire arcade and Vanellope herself. Ralph finally gets his chance to save the day—but can he do it in time? “Wreck-It Ralph” is now playing in theatres in 3D.

Film Review “Wreck-It Ralph”

Directed by: Rich Moore
Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 101 minutes

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Wreck-It Ralph” is the latest 3D animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and it also has become of my favorite films of the year.  When I heard that Disney was making a film based on an 8-bit game, I was ecstatic.  I grew up playing classic video games from Atari to Nintendo and now high-def  games on systems like XBOX 360 and PS3.  So this movie is a perfectly targeted for someone like myself.  But what also works well is that it isn’t a total nerd fest, a complete video game layman can still enjoy this film just as much as myself. If you are looking to escape for 90 minutes, I highly recommend this film for the whole family.

The video game world created throughout “Wreck-It Ralph” is just simply breathtaking.  They are extremely colorful, specifically “Sugar Rush”.  The 3D effects in the film also really help to add that WOW-factor to this amazing world.  I loved the ever-so subtle touches in each game ranging from the 8-bit “Wreck-It Ralph” to completely different high-def first person shooter “Hero’s Duty”.  The visual effects in this film rival those of the wonders of Pixar for sure.  After seeing the beautiful “Tangled”, I was blown away and thought how can they top this but “Wreck-It Ralph” takes the animation to a new level. Get it level? Anyone? (Sorry had to throw in a little video game humor).

On the eve of celebrating the 30th anniversary with his game “Fix-It Felix, Jr.”, Wreck-It Ralph is tired of being the bad-guy.  He wants to be recognized for his work like Fix-It Felix does every game with his medals and getting respect from the buildings residents.  When Ralph leaves his own game to win a medal and prove that he is more than a bad-guy, he gets more than he bargained for.  After heading into the high-def first person shooter game “Hero’s Duty”, he is able to steal the hero’s medal but ends up taking one of the uncontrollable villains known as Cy-Bugs to the kart-racing game called “Sugar Rush”.  This is where he meets the cutie Vanellope von Schweetz and get involved with helping her with her issue of being a glitch and her dream to race in the game.  Of course, the ruler of the game, King Candy, has another plan.  With the help of the lead character of “Hero’s Duty”, Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun and Fix-It Felix Jr., they set out to find Ralph and return him to his game before it is put out-of-order for good, as well as to prevent a Cy-Bug invasion of “Sugar Rush”.

I am huge fan of John C. Reilly. I love how he is able to range in roles from crazy TV series like Adult Swim’s “Check it Out” to kid friendly roles like this. To be honest though, I am not particularly a fan of either Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch but I am a fan now.  They completely won me over in this film. Sarah was super-cute playing Vanellope von Schweetz and Jack McBrayer was a riot as Fix-It Felix, Jr. The all-star medal should definitely go to Alan Tudyk for stealing the show (and channeling his inner Mad Hatter) playing King Candy, from the game “Sugar Rush”.

The film is jam-packed with amazing video game cameos but it never becomes overwhelming. I felt that it was a nice balance of cameos and didn’t take anything away from the film. Some of them had speaking roles and some were just background. The best cameos were from characters like Ken, Ryu and Zangief from “Street Fighter”, who get some good laughs. Kano from “Mortal Kombat” gets his signature finishing move in. “Sonic the Hedgehog” has a small role as does the bartender from Tapper, which almost got me out of my chair laughing. Lastly Q*bert lands a few good lines as well (if you can call them that). Some of the non-speaking cameos are including Bowser from “Super Mario Bros”, Doctor Eggman from “Sonic the Hedgehog” and even Pac-Man. If you are looking for other types of product cameos you will find them in the game “Sugar Rush” ranging from very clever uses of Oreos, Devil Dogs, Mentos, Nestle Quik and Laffy Taffy.  I have a feeling I will be repeating the following chant for months to come: OREOOOOOOOO….OREEEEEEEEEO! Once you see it you will know why.

When it comes to video games, music is always a very important factor. I absolutely loved the score by Henry Jackman, it captures the video game feel but also adding in the Disney flare.  The Japanese girl group, AKB48, sings the super catchy theme song for the in-movie video game “Sugar Rush”. It will have you bouncing through the credit.  Speaking of credits be sure to stick around for a brief “glitch” scene after the credits. Also if you have an iPhone, be sure to download the free game from Disney’s “Fix-It Felix, Jr.” It is tons of fun and makes you feel like you are in the movie. It will also get you saying “I’m Gonna Wreck-It” after everything you say! My wife loves it 😉

This film is accompanied by another wonderful short film by Disney called “Paperman”. It is one of the cutest short films that I have ever seen. It is wordless, presented in glorious black-and-white and packs a perfect score from Christophe Beck. The film is in 3D put contains some of the most beautiful hand-drawn animation mixed with the aspect of CG. I would recommend highly getting to the theater early to catch this for sure!

After “Tangled”, which is one of my favorites films (of all-time), I am glad that Walt Disney Animation Studios is successfully making films outside of just working with Pixar. “Frozen” is up next, which is a 3D animated musical based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. It features the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel and is set for release on November 27, 2013. Count me in for sure!

Complimentary Passes to an Orlando, FL Screening for “Wreck-It Ralph” [ENDED]

ALL TICKETS HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED.  WINNERS WERE NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL.  THANKS AGAIN FOR ENTERING AND CHECK BACK WEEKLY FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

If you would like to enter for a chance to win tickets to the following advance screening below, please leave a comment below with your favorite video game character. Tickets are limited and will be chosen on a RANDOM BASIS on Friday October 19th. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON/PER HOUSEHOLD PLEASE! OTHERWISE ALL ENTRIES WILL BE DISREGARDED. The winners will be will notified then via email and will be instructed how to pick up the tickets. Good luck and hope to see if you at the screening!

Theatre: AMC Altamonte Mall
Date: Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Time: 7:00 PM
Format: 3D

Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/WreckItRalph
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/disneyanimation

Voice Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch
Director: Rich Moore
Producer: Clark Spencer

From Walt Disney Animation Studios and Emmy®-winning director Rich Moore comes “Wreck-It Ralph,” a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping adventure. For decades, Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) has been overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), the good-guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.

On his quest, Ralph meets tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty, and feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, who may just be his first real friend. But everything changes when a deadly enemy is unleashed, threatening the entire arcade and Vanellope herself. Ralph finally gets his chance to save the day—but can he do it in time? “Wreck-It Ralph” crashes onto the big screen on November 2, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

Ralph Bakshi talks about ‘Wizards” and it’s possible sequel

Ralph Bakshi is now best for his animated films like “Fritz the Cat”, “Wizards”, 1978’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “American Pop”.  Ralph is a legend in the animated world and has such a unique vision.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ralph about his films and he even leaked a very cool top secret news about a possible sequel to one of his films.

Mike Gencarelli: Let’s talk about the recent Blu-ray release of “Wizards”, tell us about your involvement?
Ralph Bakshi: Fox did it all by themselves.  They can be a good company when they want to be [laughs].  They did the book by themselves, designed and remastered it.  Then they called me and told me that they were going to release it.  I nearly had a heart attack.  But I loved the picture and I think they did such a great job.

MG: “Wizards” only cost $1 million dollars and looks great, how do you feel about these polished $150 million dollar animated films today?
RB: The artists who are making these films today are so talented.  The kids today are coming out of school with this computer knowledge and its just great. I think it is all too much of the same.  I think that they focus more on the merchandising.  I think they should do something with more of a social bite or dabble in the R-rated area, if not only to do one and try and push the boundaries.   When I was doing my films like “Heavy Traffic” and “Fritz the Cat”, I was yelling at Disney for those same reasons.

MG: There aren’t too many people that are able to pull off adult animated films, why do you think that people steer clear of doing these?
RB: That is a great question Mike, let me tell you what it’s like.  Guys get the wrong impression about my R-rated films.  They think it is about sex, tits ‘n ass and cursing.  Basically what is underlining all of my films are political ideas.  In “Heavy Traffic”, Michael’s father was a racist and he had a black girlfriend.  Those are issues that far transcend the dirty words, the sex and the violence that people think that R-rated violence is all about.  I never start my animated films with trying to shock somebody.  I try to have a reason to make the film personable.

MG: A few years ago there was talk of a sequel to “Wizards”, any chance it will still happen?
RB: Well Mike, you are the first person to hear this.  I don’t know why they never made a sequel but right now, the head of Dark Horse Comics, Mike Richardson, is writing a script for “Wizards 2″. He and his partner are writing the script and he is very interested in making the movie.  I feel that Dark Horse is really the right team in order to get this project done. I will definitely read it once it is completed but I doubt I will direct, probably executive produce. I would also contribute storyboards and sketches for the film if needed. In order for it to work though, I feel that it has to also be political important with what is going on today.

MG: What would you say was your most difficult production?
RB: Well look, they were all hard.  I left the business burnt out and crazy.  Every picture I had was a massive fight.  Like with “Fritz The Cat”, Robert Crumb hated my guts and was screaming at me.  They gave me an X-rating and my mother was mad at me.  Everyone of them was hard.  Everyone of them I worked seven days a week with no money.  I am shocked but happy that people still love these films.  I am grateful to the internet and guys like you who have saved my ass.

EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS: Ralph Bakshi announces “Wizards 2” script is in the works!

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ralph Bakshi this afternoon and he was nice enough to leak us a very exclusive tip. According to Bakshi, there is a script in the works currently for a sequel to his 1977 film “Wizards”.

Here is a quote from Bakshi in our upcoming interview:
“Right now, the head of Dark Horse Comics, Mike Richardson, is writing a script for “Wizards 2″. He and his partner are writing the script and he is very interested in making the movie.  I feel that Dark Horse is really the right team in order to get this project done.”

Bakshi addressed his intentions once the script is done:
“I will definitely read it once it is completed but I doubt I will direct, probably executive produce. I would also contribute storyboards and sketches for the film if needed. In order for it to work though, I feel that it has to also be political important with what is going on today.”

Stay tuned to Media Mikes for more breaking news on “Wizards 2”. We are also trying to get a quote from Dark Horse Entertainment’s Mike Richardson and we suggest to you to reach out to Dark Horse as well at dhcomics@darkhorse.com and let them know you want “Wizards 2”.  Our full interview with Bakshi will go live next week.