Teenage Bottlerocket’s Ray Carlisle talks about being out on Warped Tour 2016

Ray Carlisle is the singer/guitarist for the Wyoming based punk band Teenage Bottlerocket. In November of 2015 the group suffered a devastating blow in the death of their drummer (Ray’s brother) Brandon Carlisle. The group made the decision to keep going and, is currently out on Warped Tour 2016 this summer promoting their latest studio release “Tales From Wyoming”. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Ray after the bands set in Syracuse, NY where he spoke candidly about the bands decision to move forward and about what the band has planned for the remainder of the year.

Adam Lawton: Tell us about the bands decision to keep going after the passing of your brother in November of last year?

Ray Carlisle: The decision was something that didn’t happen overnight. Brandon passing away put a lot of things up in the like if we were going to keep going as a band and playing music and also if we were going to go out on the Warped tour this summer. We had actually confirmed our spot on the tour before Brandon passed. I personally felt that I had already lost my brother and I didn’t want to lose my band as well. I truly feel that Brandon would have wanted us to keep going. We take the stage each day with him in our minds and in our hearts. His spirit is there while we play. It’s very helpful because I like being up there playing with my buddies. Brandon and I were really close so when I’m up there it’s a chance for me to not feel alone. We were just together all the time and I miss him very much. When we finally decided to get back together Darren Chewka our new drummer was the first guy I thought of to fill Brandon’s spot. We had him come down to Wyoming for a couple days to see how he fit in and everything went real well. We are really finding our chemistry together out here and have played about 45 or so songs together throughout Warped tour as we try and play a couple different songs each day. Needless to say we have been really throwing him for a loop. That’s kind of the spirit of this band is to just go song after song so we have had some great days out here so far and we have had some terrible ones.

AL: Today you guys opened up one of the stages here. Do you find that changing set times each day makes it a little more difficult to get in to a solid routine as a band?

RC: You sort of just have to go with the groove. When you are out on Warped tour you find out at 9:30am what time your set is for that day. You then just have to adjust your whole day around that. Going first is awesome! Everyone is fresh and super excited. The down side is some people who up late so they miss things. I enjoy the earlier slots over the later ones because you can just see the energy change as the day goes on. The heat can be tough on the crowd during these shows.

AL: With this being the bands second run on the Warped tour how do you feel the tour has changed since your last appearance in 2014?

RC: I am kind of bummed that they don’t have the acoustic stage this year. I recently had a solo album come out titled “Do You Wanna Go To Tijuana” and I was hoping to be able to do double duty and play some songs off of that. They also did away with the hip hop/rap stage this year. There are less bands and stages which means a smaller line in catering. Kevin I think really did his research this year for which bands he wanted to bring out and things are really positive around everything.

AL: Your latest album came out in March of 2015. Where are you at in the writing process for your next release?

RC: We are still on the cycle for “Tales From Wyoming” however Brandon did have some songs he was working on before he passed away. Cody and I have been talking about maybe finishing those up. They don’t necessarily sound like Teenage Bottlerocket so we will have to see. Cody and I are both still writing music and we have also talked about doing a concept album as well. There will definitely be more music and shows in the future. Things really changed when Brandon died so it’s something we are going to have to embrace and move forward.

AL: After Warped tour wraps up what are the tour plans for the band?

RC: In September were going to be doing a few shows in Canada which is where our new drummer is from. We will be up there to prove to all of Derrick buddies that he is in fact in the band. It’s also really great touring up in the Edmonton area. In December we are going to be doing a European tour with a band by the name of Bones.

For more info on Teenage Bottlerocket you can check them out at http://teenagebottlerocket.com/

Korn’s Ray Luzier and James “Munky” Shaffer talk about touring with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival

The heavy metal group Korn is out on the road this summer as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. The group recently released a tour version of their 2013 album “The Paradigm Shift” exclusively through Best Buy which features several new tracks along with some exclusive live tracks as well. Media Mikes had the pleasure of talking with drummer Ray Luzier and guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer during the tours recent stop in Scranton, PA about the release and how they connect with the different crowds they perform for each night.

Adam Lawton: When you are out on a tour like the Mayhem Festival is there any one thing that is the same from day to day?
Ray Luzier: We hear the same bands every day. (Laughs) What’s really great is that we get to play to diverse crowds every show. There are people who have seen us 27 times and there are people who are just seeing us that day for the first time. I’m not sure about constants but I try to stay in a similar routine from day to day.

AL: With the band playing all over the world how do you go about connecting with each of the crowds you perform for?
James “Munky” Shaffer: Every audience is different and that’s really the beauty of it. Like Ray said before you get people who have seen you a lot and you get people who have never seen you before. We are playing the same songs night after night so we try and keep that thought in our heads so we go out and put on a great show every night. We want them to really enjoy the show and to come and see us again.
RL: We may be super tired from traveling or whatever before we hit the stage but once we are up there we are energized bythe crowd. We are fans of music ourselves and still go out and see a lot of bands and buy their merchandise and what not. This is Korn’s 20th year as a band and I have been touring myself just as long. It never gets old. We are still excited to play every time we go up there.

AL: Have you guys seen any bands on this tour that you have really become fans of?
JS: Trivium is a band that has really impressed me. Their songs and how they engage the audience has really impressed me. Those guys are super tight professionally which is really inspiring. I know they have been around a few years but to see that level of commitment is really awesome. I was a mess at that stage of the game. (Laughs) I still am a mess but I have gotten a little better over time.
RL: I go out and check out the side stages from time to time and there are a lot of bands on this tour that have really impressed me. I watch bands like Mushroomhead and Miss May I and you can see just how hungry they are. They all have their own thing going for them which is really great to see.

AL: Can you give us some info on the tour version of your most recent album “The Paradigm Shift”?
JS: We initially released that album last year and after it was out for a couple months there were some songs that never got finished that we wanted to still work on. Jonathan went back in and wrote lyrics for these songs that we didn’t get to finish because we just ran out of time. They came out pretty good and we also decided to add some live tracks on the new release as well. When we are out on the road we like to have something in stores for people to buy that is fresh.

AL: Ray, how do you go about balancing your time in Korn and working with your newest project KXM?
RL: We all have side projects that we work on when we aren’t working on Korn. We just have a tremendous amount of music inside of us. I think these side projects are important for each of us to do as they help us remain creative. KXM is something that George, Doug and I have been talking about doing for years. The idea goes all the way back to my son’s first birthday party when we all were talking about jamming together. Scheduling is always the hard part as Korn is very busy but we hope to get some shows set up before the end of the year. Right now we are just working on videos and such.

Ray Wise talks about “Big Ass Spider!” and reveals Blu-ray plans for “Twin Peaks”

Ray Wise is a well-known actor in the business. He is known for roles including Leland Palmer in “Twin Peaks”, Leon C. Nash in “RoboCop” and the Devil in “Reaper”. Ray has a great role in the recent creature feature “Big Ass Spider!”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about his role in that film and he also was able to reveal plans for a complete Blu-ray box set of “Twin Peaks”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up working on a film like “Big Ass Spider!”
Ray Wise: I worked with Mike Mendez, the director, briefly before this on a project. I knew that he wanted me to play this military man, which was fine with me. I read the character description and I taught it was good role for me. He is not too over the top and conservative in his approach. It was also a nice contrast to Greg (Grunberg) and Lombardo (Boyar)’s characters. They supply a lot of the humor in the script, which was really well written. Mike Mendez did a really good job with it and I responded well to its humor. I saw a lot of possibilities in it and I thought if he could pull it off it would be a good film. I think he did just that and even exceeded expectations. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the first cut of the film. I think it is very funny and very effective. I think people are going to love it.

MG: You play hard-ass Major Braxton Tanner but you are still quite funny; what is your process for balancing the comedy for the role?
RW: It came intuitively for me. It was sort of natural. That is the way I liked to approach all of my roles actually. I like to find the humorous aspects of the character as well as some of the more dramatic and create that blend. That is way I like do things naturally. Fortunately, it works out most of the times and translates well on screen.

MG: There has been quite the positive response around this film; I have a feeling it is going to stick around…
It is going to have legs…
MG: Literally [laughing]…
RW: Eight legs [laughing].
MG: [laughing] Exactly!

MG: If they decided (and hopefully they do) to make a sequel to “Big Ass Spider!” would you be on board?
RW: Absolutely! Yeah, I am on board. Absolutely!

MG: Tell us about joining the cast of “The Young and the Restless”?
RW: I am playing this Ian Ward. He has come in from out of town as is a past cult leader. He has these individuals that follow him religiously because he has this special philosophy of life that can help everyone achieve their own dreams. They are thinking that he is responsible for the pregnant of the character Nikki many years ago. Allegedly responisble. So, he comes to town to really stir things up. You know, it is another one of those characters for me.

MG: And you are no stranger to playing the baddie like with the Devil in “Reaper” etc; what draws you to these characters?
RW: I think it is because they are always so well-written. When the writers try and write the bad guy, they try and put in a little extra umph in these characters. They add a little extra than a rather bland and mundane good guy [laughs]. I think my own personal physicality and demeanor plays well to that aspect of the writing as well. When you see me, you think “Well he seems alright…but there is something going on here” [laughs]. That suspense and anticipation is really great for the audience.

MG: Do you enjoy going from a bad guy like those to funny roles in films like “FDR: American Badass!”?
RW: First of all I love Barry (Bostwick) and I thought his FDR was really great! I played Douglas MacArthur, so that might have been the beginning of my military chops [laughs], I am not sure. I enjoyed that experience very much actually. There was a lot of laughs and it turned out pretty well also like “Big Ass Spider!”.

MG: I heard you broke the news about an upcoming “Twin Peak” series Blu-ray; can you give us the scoop?
RW: It will be a new box set of the pilot and episodes combined with “Fire Walk with Me”, the prequel movie. It is everything. Everything! Also included will be deleted scenes from “Fire Walk with Me”. I think David (Lynch)’s original cut of the film was about 3.5/4 hours long, so there is stuff that no one has ever seen that is going to be on this new box set. I think it is pretty great. So stay tuned.

Steven Bauer talks about “Scarface” and new show “Ray Donovan”

Long before Steven Bauer was a star I was a fan. I caught him on an early 80s HBO program profiling young actors and something about him just stood out. Then and there I made a conscious effort to follow any career he might have. It turns out he’s had a great one.
Born in Cuba, Bauer and his family fled the island in 1960 as Fidel Castro was coming into power. His father was a pilot and later flew missions for the C.I.A., including during the Bay of Pigs crisis. A talented musician, Bauer hoped to pursue a career as a singer. However, he discovered acting in junior college and hasn’t looked back. Best known for his star-making turn in “Scarface,” he has appeared in such films as “Running Scared,” “Primal Fear” and the Oscar-winning “Traffic.” On television he’s had roles in popular shows like “The Rockford Files,” “NYPD Blue,” “Burn Notice” and starred in the fourth season of “Wiseguy.” This coming Sunday you can catch Mr. Bauer in his new project, co-starring alongside Live Schreiber in the new Showtime presentation “Ray Donovan.”

While promoting his new show Mr. Bauer took the time to sit down with Media Mikes to talk about working with his idol, network television and why, three decades later, “Scarface” is still going strong!

Mike Smith: I have to tell you that I was a fan of yours before you even made it big. I caught you on an HBO special that was profiling up and coming actors in the early 80s when you were going by the name Rocky Bauer. It was all about you trying to make it as an actor. I remember going to see “Scarface” and when you first came on screen I leaned over to my wife and said, “Look, it’s Rocky Bauer!”
Steven Bauer: Oh my God, I’d forgotten about that show. It was called “So You Want to Be a Star.” (NOTE: I’m so glad Mr. Bauer remembered this show. I can find no mention of it ANYWHERE on the Internet. The show followed Mr. Bauer, Melanie Griffith and a third person – – I’m assuming they didn’t make it or I’d have remembered them – if I’m wrong and it was someone like Bruce Willis my apologies- – as they went through the rounds of auditions while trying to make a living as an actor. As someone that had those same dreams 30 years ago the show really resonated with me) That’s so funny. I remember the producers approached me…I don’t even know why they approached ME…I had already done a TV movie (“She’s In the Army Now” – a film from 1981 that starred up and coming stars Melanie Griffith, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kathleen Quinlan). That’s where I met Melanie (NOTE: Mr. Bauer and Melanie Griffith were married in 1982 and divorced in 1987 – they have a son, Alexander). I had also done the television series “From Here to Eternity” with William Devane (NOTE: the 1980 series, based on the Oscar-winning film, also gave early roles to such future stars as Kim Basinger, Michael Jeter and Don Johnson). Anyway they asked me if I wanted to be one of the people that they profiled. I said, “sure…I guess.” And I remember…it’s probably hoaky now…that I thought it was kind of cool then. They’d take shots of me studying a script. Doing my lines out loud. Which was weird because I never did stuff like that. Especially in profile. They’d say, “we need you to pose while you’re reading.” Melanie used to get a kick out of it. She’s in it too.

MS: I know. I can’t remember who the third person was but you and Melanie sure fit the bill.
SB: (laughs quite heartily) Wow. That’s funny.

MS: Give us a little info on your new show, “Ray Donovan.”
SB: I think it’s a great show. And I think it’s going to be one of the big ones…I have a pretty good eye for this stuff (laughs). Ray Donovan is a tough guy from Boston – Irish-Catholic – who moves his family to L.A. and goes to work for an agency that “fixes” the problems of celebrities and powerful people. His job is to take care of the situation before something like TMZ can expose it. His method is simple – whatever it takes. He can be brutal and very “take charge” but he can also be very compassionate. And that’s the interesting thing about the character that I think will distinguish him. He’s really complex. To his family he’s also an enigma because he’s not home a lot. His wife wants more out of life. They live in the suburbs and she wants to move to where the action is. So Ray Donovan is a guy with a lot of pressures. But he handles them well. I play Avi, one of his assistants. Avi is the action guy, especially when a situation requires a little “force.” It’s a very complex show…it’s about family and lifestyles…greed and corruption…weakness…betrayal…it’s really interesting. It’s very realistic. Very hard hitting. The writing is brilliant. And we don’t have to hold back because we’re on Showtime. The other actors and I have shared with the writers that we’re in a very fortunate situation to be part of the Showtime family. There isn’t any pressure to be politically correct. We don’t have to stay away from certain themes…we don’t have the restrictions of network television. We also don’t have the pressure of having to shoot for ratings. We don’t have to alter the content in order to garnish ratings. The show is going on the air and it’s going to play. And I know the audience will find it.

MS: Were those reasons part of what attracted you to the project?
SB: Yes! First of all, the writer, Ann Biderman, is an old friend. I was very fortunate to appear in one of her early films…one that was truly one of her shining moments…”Primal Fear” (NOTE: Ms. Biderman has also penned the screenplays for films like “Copycat” and “Public Enemies.” She also won an Emmy for writing an episode of “NYPD Blue”). I was fortunate to be in the film and I got to meet Ann. It turns out she’s also from Miami, as I am. She remembered me and asked me to audition for Avi. He’s not Hispanic, he’s Israeli. I’ve done three films in Israel so she knew I could do the accent. All of that appealed to me. I’ve had opportunities in the past to be on network television and they’ve been very frustrating and very, very sad. I told myself I’d never do that to myself again…take a job that had “conditions.” You put all of your heart and soul into something and then it just ends. It’s a horrible feeling. That happened to me on “Wiseguy.” I did nine shows but after they aired two the boss of the network decided the show wasn’t going to find an audience. HE decided. (NOTE: After three seasons as Vinnie Terranova, an undercover agent infiltrating organized crime, actor Ken Wahl opted to quit “Wiseguy.” When season four started Mr. Bauer starred as a former US Attorney who had been in contact with Terranova). There was no changing his mind. One day they just told us to stop working and go home. That’s just the worse thing in the world to hear. Showtime has some great people.

MS: You made your feature film debut as Manny Riberra in “Scarface.” So for your first movie your being directed by one of the best directors around (Brian De Palma) and acting with, arguably, one of the greatest actors EVER (Al Pacino). What was your first day on the set like?
SB: (laughs) It was an very auspicious debut! On the first day I remember being very, very focused. My training was solid and I was prepared, mentally. I had been in Hollywood…had gone back to New York. I was working for a living. I was three or four years into my acting career and I had no delusions of stardom. But I knew I had to get into a really good, creative situation. I wanted to make my film debut in something really strong…creatively strong. And I was fortunate because I was in the right place at the right time. They were looking for me. They were looking for ME. And I was ready to deliver. And the concept…to be put next to one of my idols…Pacino and Robert DeNiro were my idols…I’d say to myself, “Jesus, I want to be THEM. That’s who I want to be…that’s how good I want to be.” Now all of a sudden I’m working with Al Pacino. He was my partner. And he used me. As I was learning from him he was learning from me. I was able to offer him an insight into that culture. The Cuban culture. And so we would bounce off of each other perfectly. I didn’t have time…I couldn’t afford to be nervous.

MS: “Scarface” will celebrate its 30th Anniversary in December. Why do you think the film is still an important part of popular culture today?
SB: I think it’s because it’s very consistent in its tone. It has a very specific tone that’s humorous as well as heavy. It’s brutal but there is a weird sense of humor that we were able to find that has appealed to each generation. The only people it didn’t appeal to were the critics at the time it came out. But their thoughts were influenced by political correctness. At the time it was released there was a backlash against violence in films. So when “Scarface” was released there was a tremendous backlash from the journalistic corps. The people who saw the movie…the PEOPLE who saw the movie, even our peers…had a tremendously positive response. Put that up against the almost 90% negative response from the film critics. And those reviews killed us. It was such a blow. There was no Internet then. You couldn’t have that instant response from the audience…people blogging that this was an amazing movie. What we had were the newspapers saying “this is a piece of ****! These people should go back to film school and acting school.” It was terrible. It was so vicious and so personal. It’s amazing that it survived those years and now has basically been re-claimed by the Hip-Hop generation. It was brought back to the forefront of pop culture and then people started seeing it without the trappings and limitations…by the thought of the day. They saw that what it was was a really good movie and a really great depiction of the rise and fall of a very bad man. It’s really a very moral picture.

MS: You’ve done a lot of voice work for video games (“Scarface: The World is Yours,” “Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia”). Does that require a different “kind” of acting then film or television?
SB: Video games require a lot of energy and a lot of concentration. It’s not normal acting at all. Plus some of them are motion capture. You have to wear a suit of lights. It’s like nothing else. It’s more like pantomime. Plus it’s a big demand on your voice. I did one where I just worked for 20 minutes. But in those 20 minutes I had to do so much…calling out, shouting…it was redundant. “Get over here! Get over here now!” Having to scream it over and over. And nobody knows it’s me! What’s ironic is that I don’t play video games. But I’ll be out somewhere and someone will recognize my voice and say, “Hey man, you’re in that game!” Yep, that’s me.

MS: Besides “Ray Donovan,” what else do you have coming up?
SB: Well a couple of films that I’ve done recently are beginning to see the light of day. I had a film play at Cannes (“Five Thirteen”) that stars me, Tom Sizemore and Danny Trejo. It’s a great heist movie and I have a cool role in that. I’m also in a film that should get some attention at the Toronto Film Festival called “The Lookalike,” made by an Australian director named Richard Gray. It’s got a great cast – Gina Gershon, John Corbett, Justin Long – it’s really a dark, dark movie. I’ve also got a film coming out August 23rd which deals with MMA fighting called “Chavez Cage of Glory.” And Danny Trejo’s in that one too.

Blu-ray Review “The Ray Harryhausen Double Feature: She and H.G. Wells’ Things to Come”

Actors: Randolph Scott, Helen Gahagan, Nigel Bruce, Raymond Massey
Directors: Lansing C. Holden, Irving Pichel, William Cameron Menzies
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Legend Films
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Run Time: 500 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Ray Harryhausen Double Feature consists of “She (1935)” and “H.G. Wells’ Things to Come (1936)” as well as a bonus film “The Most Dangerous Game (1932)”. Now, if you are a fan of Ray Harryhausen then you would already know that he did not do the special effects for these films. But what you might not know was that he was behind the colorization and restoration of these three classic films. So this release is presented by him in terms of him acting primarily as the color consultant. So it might be a little stretch calling this a “Ray Harryhausen Double Feature” but still these are classics and it is nice to see them getting a nice Blu-ray transfer to high definition.

“She” Official Premise: From the creative team that brought you King Kong, a thrilling tale of adventure, immortality and lost love. A group of explorers, led by the dashing Leo Vincey (Randolph Scott), sets out on a mission in search of the legendary flame of life, a mysterious force that bestows immortality. Their perilous journey takes them to the heart of a remote glacier where they are taken captive by the beautiful but impossibly cruel She.

“H.G. Wells’ Things to Come” Official Premise: A landmark collaboration between writer H. G. Wells (Island of Lost Souls), producer Alexander Korda (The Thief of Bagdad), and designer and director William Cameron Menzies (Gone with the Wind), Things to Come is a science fiction film like no other, a prescient political work that predicts a century of turmoil and progress. Skipping through time, Things to Come bears witness to world war, dictatorship, disease, the rise of television, and finally, utopia.

Both “She (1935)” and “H.G. Wells’ Things to Come (1936)” have been restored to high definition from their original 35mm film elements and for films that are nearly 80 years old they look quite impressive. Since these have been selected and personally color-designed by Ray Harryhausen himself, you know that there was some love given to them. Also in this collector’s set we get both the color version of the film along with the original black-and-white format. Even though the transfer looks good, the audio tracks are not really up to Blu-ray par standards. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono tracks may not be perfect but they are able to deliver for these aged film, especially with Max Steiner’s amazing score on “She”.

The special features are impressive, especially for a Legend Films release. The bonus film “The Most Dangerous Game (1932)” is available on the extra DVD included, also in both color and black-and-white. The Blu-ray disc includes a great commentary track for “She” by Ray Harryhausen and Mark Vaz. We get some great details about the colorization and restoration. There are “Colorization Process Interviews with Ray Harryhausen” and “Film Interviews with Ray Harryhausen”, which is a must watch for any fan of his work. There are 12 minutes of classic sci-toy commercials, which are a great retro piece. Lastly there is a biography and filmography included for Ray Harryhausen.

A Friend Remembers Ray Harryhausen

Many of you are familiar with the name Bruce Crawford because Media Mikes helps promote his benefit classic film screenings. Bruce was blessed to have been able to call the great Ray Harryhausen a friend. Here is a brief tribute he composed for him:

I am still dealing with the fact that I will not hear his booming baritone voice again, and his puckish sense of humor.

I know it isn’t common at all for someone to have been a childhood fan of such an artist, and then become such close friends. Even Ray would comment on that. When I would stay at his house in Kensington I would get the mail for them at the front door and, my God, there would be letters for him from around the world. And this for a special effects filmmaker, not Tom Cruise!

We would walk to the grocery store and pick up brook trout that his wife would prepare and was it ever good! I have dozens of stories I could share, but he was so much more than a great and legendary filmmaker to me. We had so much fun together. He would jokingly call me his illegitimate son! At my “King Kong” event, he addressed me as “Sid” Crawford, after the greatest showman in Hollywood history, Sid Grauman. Praise from Caesar.

We went on a dinosaur dig in Canada with paleontologists… how amazing is that? Digging dinosaur bones with Ray! And he taped it on his hand held video recorder. I still have that tape today. Only a handful of people in the entire world had the kind of relationship I had with Ray and his wife and daughter and I knew it at the time. It seemed so normal and actually expected…like I always knew, even as a kid, that this would happen the way it did.

One of the most influential filmmakers in history…an artist, genius and for me someone who has been a part of my life…. all of my life…. and will always be so.

Visual Effects Legend Ray Harryhausen Dead at 92

James Cameron. Steven Spielberg. John Lasseter. Rick Baker. Peter Jackson. No, the category isn’t Oscar winners. It’s a list of people whose careers were influenced by one of films true legends: Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen, whose career spanned six decades, died today in London. He was 92.

Beginning with 1942’s “Tulips Shall Grow” and ending with his best known film, 1981’s “Clash of the Titans,” Harryhausen inspired moviegoers throughout the world.

Born in Los Angeles on June 29, 1920, Harryhausen’s life changed when, in 1933, he saw the original “King Kong.” Interested in filmmaking, and experimenting in animation, a friend introduced him to Willis O’Brien, who had created Kong. He showed O’Brien some of his work and was soon taking classes in sculpture and graphic arts. In 1939 he and an author friend joined a local Science Fiction League which was presided over by Forrest J. Ackerman. The author was Ray Bradbury and the three remained friends up until their deaths. One of my most cherished autographs!

After securing a job working on George Pal’s “Puppetoons” he was drafted into the United States Army, where he was placed in the Special Services Division under the command of Colonel Frank Capra. He was a jack-of-all-trades for Capra, filling in wherever a hand was needed on his film crew. After his discharge Harryhausen went to work on his first big film, 1947’s “Mighty Joe Young,” which allowed him the chance to work with his idol, O’Brien, who went on to win that years Academy Award for Best Special Effects. He went on to produce the visual effects for such films as “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms,” “Earth vs the Flying Saucers,” “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” and it’s sequels, “One Million Years B.C.” and “The Valley Gwangi.”

I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Harryhausen on a couple of occasions and a nicer man with a genuine affection for his fans you will never find.

In 1992 he received the Gordon E. Sawyer award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But perhaps a greater honor came in PIXAR’s hit film “Monsters, Inc., where Mike Wozowski takes his dinner date to the best place in town. It’s name: Harryhausens.

Lauren Graham and Ray Romano talk about working together on NBC’s “Parenthood”

Lauren Graham and Ray Romano are starring in NBC’s “Parenthood”. Lauren has been playing the role of Sarah with the show for going on its fourth season. Ray has recently joined the chat this season playing the role of Hank. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Lauren and Ray about working together on the show and their chemistry between the characters. “Parenthood” airs Tuesdays at 10:00 pm on NBC.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to “Parenthood” and what can we expect to see you do on the show?
Ray Romano: Well I was a fan of the show. I watched the show since the beginning and I was on my show while it was on. I just like the tone of it and there’s nothing quite being done like that on television. knew Jason Katims, he created the TV show. I knew him and we had been in touch. He was a fan of my show. I was a fan of his show. Then unfortunately my show no longer existed. And in between trying to find out what to do next I had been speaking to Jason and I believe I put it out there first. Kind of jokingly I said, “Hey, if you ever find something for me I work cheap.” And he took me up on it and cheap it is but I’m still happy to do it. And what am I going to do on it? I mean, if you’ve been watching up to now you kind of get who the guy is. We’re going to see a little more of him and I guess find out a little more about him.

MG: Is there something about him that kind of drew you to do this character and do you relate to him in some way?
RR: I like the character. I do like the character because first of all I like how he’s introduced and I like how they’re writing him. We don’t really kind of find out about this guy. As it goes along we find out a little more and more and he’s a flawed person. He’s a troubled guy and yet I guess we’re finding out the good in him. Lauren’s bringing that out – Sarah I guess is finding that out. But I like it because I also haven’t really played that much. In Men of a Certain Age, I wasn’t Ray Barone but it was kind of close to the vest I guess. And this is somebody a little different, so yes I do enjoy playing him that’s for sure.

MG: With the kiss between Hank and Sarah, how awkward was it for the two of you to play that romantic awkwardness?
RR: Take it away. Take it away Lauren.
Lauren Graham: I don’t think it wasn’t awkward. Look, that stuff can always be awkward but what I like about it is these loaded moments that are confusing I think are the most interesting of life. It’s like I think there’s all these mixed feelings and I don’t know, hopefully we capture just kind of two people trying to connect. And people more often than not kind of did sound perfect and so I don’t know. I like that.
RR: Well I like doing it because first of all, awkward I can play very – that’s in my wheelhouse. It’s very easy for me to be awkward especially around women. But with this guy that’s why I like this because it had to be awkward but filtered through Hank, which was totally different than anything I’ve done, with Ray Barone or even Men of a Certain Age or anything. It was awkward without – there was like a little bit of refusing to accept that it was awkward kind of. So I felt that that scene was really unique and felt good when we did it.

MG: Since you’ve had so much success in your career, how do you relate to Hank’s bitterness about where he’s at right now?
RR: Success is only in the eye of the beholder. First and foremost I’m a comedian so I’m never really happy with myself for what I’ve done. You’re always looking for something, for the next thing and you never think you really got it. So it’s kind of a dichotomy. You’re successful but you don’t accept and you don’t really believe it. I don’t know if I connect to the bitterness but I do connect to the feeling of wanting, you know, there’s an artistic need for something, to accomplish something more and falling short of that. Believe it or not I do kind of connect to that so, it’s easy to kind of tap into that. I mean, it’s not all about money. My wife has all the money.

MG: Lauren, since Sarah had the kiss with Hank is that going to change things with Mark?
LG: Hopefully it’s sort of neither one nor the other. I think it made her resolve a little stronger to try to keep her life on the track that she’d planned and hoped for and finally looked like, she’s about to achieve. By the way we still don’t really know what is going to happen, nor does the creator of the show if we, believe what he said. I mean, one of the funny things about this show is he kind of adjusts as things go along, and kind of picks up on the threads that are interesting to him more than maybe they do on most shows that are – which is not to say it’s not planned. So the line I’m trying to play is confusion. And I think it’s justifiably confusing what’s happening. But yes in that moment I think she was like, “This felt like a sort of step outside the lines. Let me bring myself back.” But I don’t know that it’s going to work.

MG: Ray, Hank was obviously overwhelmed when he met the Bravermans. What was it like for you jumping into this show with this enormous ensemble?
RR: Well I got to tell you, I guess I’m kind of in the business and I’ve done this and I’ve seen all the bells and whistles and I know what goes on. And yet I – like I said I was a fan of the show. And I still on the first day it was just with you Lauren but the third day was when I had a scene with the whole cast and it was a weird feeling. It was a feeling of because first of all I was just like a viewer. I was like, “Wait a minute.” You really get wrapped up in that this is the Braverman family. I’m like, “Well wait a minute. I know it’s not. I know that guy and him. I’ve worked with him and whatever.” But yes I was a little bit – I don’t know if star struck is the word but it was a little surreal that I’m in this world that I’ve just been watching and been wrapped up in. I do still get intimidated by certain things, and I was slightly intimidated on that day because also just on a regular level of this is the first time they’re seeing me I want to not screw up. I want to do well and I want to fit in. You know, they’ve been together and they’ve got their rhythms and the tone and everything, and I want to make sure my character fits into the show and the universe that they’re in. But everybody was nice except for a few. No I’m kidding. No everybody was great and it was fun.

MG: Lauren, do you have any interest in getting behind the scenes at all?
LG: I do for sure. It’s actually more helpful to have someone who is on the inside who knows the show and who knows how we rehearse and how we sort of find the scenes. So yes that would be of interest to me for sure. I think that it would be great to direct an episode.

Chris Olen Ray talks about directing films like “Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus” and working with The Asylum

Chris Olen Ray is known best for his work with The Asylum on films like “Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus”, 2-Headed Shark Attack and the recent “Shark Week”.  Chris took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about his work on these films and his love for the genre.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you became involved working with The Asylum?
Chris Olen Ray: Basically a couple of years ago I was trying to get back into the film industry and the only people to give me a job was The Asylum. I did a lot of line producing for them and the rest is history dude [laughs].

MG: Tell us about how you got involved directing “Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus”?
COR: “Mega Shark” was really cool. I heard about it when I was producing “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid”. I had down two other similar films, “Reptisaurus” and “Megaconda” and they thought it was good enough to give me a show on “Mega Shark”.

MG: Where you happy with the final cut of “Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus”?
COR: Once I edited the film, they really didn’t do much to it. I have done though some after this film, which just have been chopped to shreds [laughs].

MG: Going from a directing a Mega Shark to a 2-Headed Shark, tell us about your experience on “2-Headed Shark Attack”?
COR: “2-Headed Shark Attack” was really fun. We shot it in the Florida Keys with a great cast, Brooke Hogan, Carmen Electra and Charlie O’Connell. The problem with this film was that we were trying to do a combination of CGI with the puppets. Initially in concepts the puppets were really cool but for some those damn teeth would stay in the sharks mouth [laughs]. There was quite a lot of CGI outflow, so to bring in the puppet it helped down a bit. It also gives the actor something else to work with.

MG: You are also directing “Shark Week”, tell us about that film?
COR: That film was very hard to make. Everything that you think could go work, went wrong. I was happy and surprised we were even able to get a movie out of it. I can’t talk about what
happened but whatever you see if better than we thought we had. The concept behind this movie was such a great concept for it to turn out the way it did. I am just hoping people enjoy it.

MG: What do you enjoy most about the creature feature genre?
COR: “Shark Week” was a little more serious tone but with “2-Headed Shark” and “Mega Shark” were a lot more fun. For “Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus”, your coming in on an already popular film and just want to keep it going well.

MG: What would you say has been your most challenging project to date?
COR: “Shark Week” honestly has been the hardest for me. In the 30 years I’ve been in Los Angeles and even talking with my old man, it just so wild. It really has to be my worst experience ever for me.

MG: What do you have planned next?
COR: Recently I’ve being doing these episodes for a project called “Silicon Assassins, which stars Richard Hatch. I also got a new film I am producing for The Asylum as well and just trying to stay busy.

Andreas Apergis talks about playing Ray on SyFy’s “Being Human”

Andreas Apergis is known best for playing Ray on SyFy’s “Being Human”. Andreas also has a role in the upcoming third “Riddick” film coming out in 2013. Media Mikes had chance to chat with Andreas about his role and reflecting on season two shocking cliffhanger of “Being Human”.

Mike Gencarelli: What do you like most about playing Ray in “Being Human”?
Andreas Apergis: I love the whole supernatural aspect of the show. It is definitely cool to be playing a werewolf. Usually for these characters their word is dangerous. It always allows for interesting situations as an actor. It is definitely not a boring show to work on. Ray is kind of a tortured soul who has been through a lot. I’m sure it’s not easy being a werewolf. It’s a very rich role.

MG: How do you compare playing your character from this season to last season?
AA: I call Ray this season Ray 2.0. He has kind of evolved and it is nice to see that growth in a character. He is definitely not the same character we see in season 1. He is more unbalanced and I think still reeling from his change. When we see him this season he seems to have made a pretty good turn around. He has some stability in his life and is happier. He has found some balance and seems to be in a way better place this year. It was nice to come in to a Ray that wasn’t a lunatic. Of course playing Ray last season was fun but he has grown in season 2.

MG: Can you reflect on the shocking season 2 finale?
AA: These characters get very desperate. Making themselves human is a real struggle. I don’t even know where the chips will land for next season. I guess we will find out what happens but the characters have been through a lot. Josh has really paid the price for being a werewolf. I am a fan of the show also so I am waiting to see how everything is going to be resolved.

MG: What are you most looking forward to for your character in season 3?
AA: I wish I could tell you. I have no idea what happens after the cliffhanger from season 2. I am in as much of the dark as to what comes next as everyone else. I don’t know? I am dying to find out what happens.

MG: Can you tell us how you got involved with the “Assassins Creed” video game series?
AA: Ubisoft is based out of Montreal. I played a couple minor characters in the second game and then they asked me to come in and read for the Cesare Borgia charcater. It was a lot of fun. You are in a world where the characters are larger than life. There are a lot of things going on. How often do you get to play a maniacal guy who wants to take over the world? (Laughs) Cesare is very nutty. It’s a fun role to play. There are so many diehard fans that are into every single detail of both “Being Human” and “Assassins Creed”.

MG: Are you working on any other projects?
AA: I just finished doing the 3rd Riddick film which doesn’t have a release date yet. I play a necro-monger commander. I can’t wait to see how that turns out. That was shot in Montreal and we just wrapped on that about a month ago. I have a knack for getting into these situations where the characters and their worlds are larger than life. It was fun to meet Vin and David Twohy. I am really looking forward to seeing the film.

Book Review “Ray Harryhausen’s Fantasy Scrapbook: Models, Artwork and Memories from 65 Years of Filmmaking”

Author(s): Ray Harryhausen, Tony Dalton
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Aurum Press
Release Date: May 1, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Ray Harryhausen is such a legend and the creator of so many film special effects that were pre-CGI. Some of the classic films he is known for are “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad”, “Clash of the Titans”, “Jason and the Argonauts” and “One Million Years BC”. This book is a must for Harryhausen fans. More importantly this book is authored by Harryhausen himself, so you know that it is the most accurate and up close and personal information available. It is co-authored by Tony Dalton, who has known Ray for more than 30 years. He worked on the publicity for such iconic films such as “The Omen”, “Star Wars”, and “The Towering Inferno”. To sum up, if you are looking for a rare look into Harryhausen work, then look no further than this book.

Showcased in this book are some really amazing never-before-seen film artifacts, which were recently discovered in a garage in Los Angeles. The aspect of this books that I enjoyed the most are various outtake prints from his films, early concept drawings and storyboards.  There is also a lot of personal artifacts such as written letters, production budgets, and even a diary which describes Ray’s first meeting with his mentor Willis O’Brien.  I am fan of production art and there is some really cool publicity posters and rare brochures included also.  A lot of the images included are kind-of raw and provide a unique look into this amazing era of filmmaking. It also covers all of the films that he worked on and even from some projects which where never made like Harryhausen’s version of “War of the Worlds”. I could imagined that film would have been awesome.

Since this is formed in nature of a scrapbook, it really creates an amazing visual journey. The book is setup so beautifully that it is hard to turn the page. Each page feels like a work of art and a lot of love has gone into each one. The images are also extremely vibrant and colorful. If you are a fan of these films you will really jump at the chance to get an inside look into some of these productions whether it is rare pages from the scripts and productions. Also to top off this amazing book is an amazing foreword from writer/director John Landis.  Kudos to Aurum Press on releasing another impressive book covering the work of Harryhausen.

DVD Review “Ray Charles: Live in France 1961”

Directed by: Jean-Christophe Averty
Starring: Ray Charles
Distributed by: Eagle Vision Entertainment
Running Time: 111 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This DVD consists of concert footage from the 1961 Antibes Jazz Festival that has been lost for the last 50 years. These newly discovery concerts add up to about an hour and 45 minutes of footage. Just to be able to watch this is considered a treat. The footage was transferred and restored from its original 16mm and really looks great for what it is. I love Ray Charles and his music is just genius. This early concert with him is a great insight into his music prior to being a legendary star.

The concerts from the 1961 Antibes Jazz Festival are split over two days July 18th and July 22nd, 1961. Some of the tracks included are “Let the Good Times Roll”, “Georgia on My Mind”, “Sticks and Stones” and “Hallelujah, I Love Her So”. Since it is two different concerts over two days there are some duplicate songs from each day. There are also some bonus tracks includes on this disc from July 19th and July 21st, 1961, including “The Story”, “Yes Indeed”, “I Believe My Soul”, “What’d I Say”, “Wonder”. Also notable included on this disc is Nat King Cole track “With You On My Mind”, which is a song that Ray never recorded.

It is amazing getting to watch Ray Charles perform especially on the old black and white 16mm transferred film. His band is also really great to listen to especially the Raeletts. These concerts in France are the first time that Ray Charles has performed in Europe. The DVD case and inserts are very impressive as well. Lately these days little goes into the sleeve-art and pamphlet. The pamphlet is an informational and colorful 15 pages.  This is definitely worth the purchase and I recommend it for sure.

Interview with Cris D’Annunzio

Cris D’Annunzio recently starred in the acclaimed short film “Clemency”, which showed at the 2010 Sundance Festival and won several awards from other film festivals. He wrote and co-starred in the Ray Liotta and Rory Culkin film “Chasing 3000”, which follows the real-life story of two brothers driving across country to see Baseball Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente get his 3,000 hit with the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the film was made in 2008, it will get its official release in Summer 2010. Movie Mikes had the chance to talk to Cris to discuss “Chasing 3000” and his flourishing career.

Click here to purchase “Chasing 3000” DVD

Mike Gencarelli: It has not been an easy road for “Chasing 3000.” How do you feel now that it is finally hitting the big screen?
Cris D’Annunzio: It’s interesting. Obviously I’m very excited that it’s finally coming out and hitting the big screen. And yet there’s also…I don’t know how to describe it, it’s not disappointing…I just feel a little bad that it’s taken the film so long to get out there because it’s a really sweet film. I mean, it premiered three years ago at the Tribeca Film Festival. I judge certain things by my wife and my kids’ reaction and they just loved it. I think it’s a nice family, kid oriented film. It’s too bad that it had to take the route it took to get here but, with that being said, I’m really thrilled that it’s going to get a release. Hopefully it will pick up some steam after people see it and it should do real well on home video.

Mike Gencarelli: You co-wrote the screenplay with Bill Mikita. How was that experience?
Cris D’Annunzio: Any creative/artistic endeavor has it’s challenges. Ultimately the story really came to me through Bill. It’s loosely based on his life and growing up with his brother, who is the oldest surviving person IN THE WORLD with MS. The story really touched me when he first told it to me and my experiences with my own sister who, unfortunately, passed away a year and a half ago…she had a disease called Lupus…the experiences that I had growing up. My parents divorced and my mom basically took my sister and I and left. It’s a lot like the story in “Chasing 3000.” Oddly enough, what brought my sister and I closer together was baseball. We both shared a fondness for baseball. The Mets were our favorite team. The experience of writing it with Bill…with both of us bringing our personal situations and our personal histories into it…it’s interesting that we’re talking about this over the 4th of July weekend. It was nine years ago, over the 4th of July weekend, that we locked ourselves in an office at Warner Brothers and wrote the script over a long three day weekend. It’s kind of interesting when you have two grown men sitting in a room crying a lot and writing. It was a good experience.

Mike Gencarelli: You play Principal Motley in the film. Tell us about your character?
Cris D’Annunzio: What happens in the film is that the two boys, played by Trevor Morgan and Rory Culkin, move with their mom to California. They grew up in Pittsburgh and moved to California primarily because the younger brother has this disease and the warmer weather is better for his lungs. Of course the older brother becomes despondent and misses his friends and has a lot of teen angst. He starts to not do well in school and get in trouble and I’m kind of the principal who…not necessarily sets him on the right course but…disciplines him, puts an ultimatum to him. He kind of makes him realize that California is not the place he needs to be in at this moment. So he and his brother “borrow” their mother’s car and head across the country to see Roberto Clemente get his 3000th hit. Hopefully you’ll see it…hopefully a lot of people will see it. The casting director did a fantastic job of assembling a pretty well known cast. It has Ray Liotta and Lauren Holly and Ricardo Chivara from “Desperate Housewives.” The story, I think, touched a lot of people and that really touches me. I think that’s why a lot of people got involved in this project.

MG: Tell us about your one man play “Digging Up Dad”? Any plans to return to the stage?
CD: I just completed the run about a month ago…we ran for about three months. The play was an autobiographical solo show about my relationship with my father and his mysterious death at an early age…he died when he was 48 under very mysterious circumstances. The story is really about me trying to come to terms with that and also the fact that my mother left him when I was 12. At that age I was still developing my knowledge and my opinions about my father and it wasn’t until after he passed
that a lot of his life and what he did and was involved with…it wasn’t until then that I became aware of them. I grew up with it and I was aware of it. And I’ll use the word “mafia” but today I can’t whole heartedly tell you or anybody with any certainty that there is such a thing as the mafia, at least not in the way we think it should be based on what we see on television and in the movies. Maybe that was what my father was involved in but my father certainly wasn’t John Gotti. If anything he was…I would liken him to Paulie Walnuts from “The Sopranos” which was about the level of involvement that he was at.

MG: Your short film, “Clemency” has been hitting the festival circuit. Tell us about it?
CD: It’s a little project that I’m very excited about. It’s an interesting piece. It’s been playing the festival circuit but it’s kind of been categorized as a horror film but it’s really more of a mystery/suspense thriller. The way it’s shot and edited is a lot like the film “Se7en.” It’s about a sociopath in the mountains of West Virginia that abducts and murders some girls. One sister actually escapes and comes back many years later. The guy has spent many years in prison on death row and right before he’s scheduled to be executed he receives clemency from the governor who rules him insane. The sister who survived comes back and poses as a reporter. She gets in to interview him and ends up killing him. I play the murderer, which is a 180 degree turn from the character I play in “Chasing 3000.”

MG: Tell us about your upcoming web series, “Vampire Mob”?
CD: The first episode aired this past week and it runs six episodes. It’s done by some people I got involved with when I did my one man show, the Ruskin Group Theater. Every month they do what they call a “cafe” play. Five writers come in on Friday morning and they’re given a theme and two head shots and are told to write a ten minute play based on the theme and based on the two actors they’ve been given the pictures of. They write the play in the morning, give the play to the actors at noon. They rehearse it from noon until six and then they have the opening night performance at seven and the closing night performance at nine that evening. One of the writers, Joe Wilson, had written a play loosely based on a vampire hit man for the mob and that gave him the idea to do the web series. It’s about a mob hit man who gets shot and makes a deal with the devil not to die. But in choosing to live forever he also has to choose to be a vampire. He figures that since most of the work he does is at night anyway this would be perfect for him!

Click here to purchase “Chasing 3000” DVD

Interview with Paris Themmen

Paris Themmen played Mike TeeVee in 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Paris took time out on his birthday to talk to OnlineCasinosSpelen and discuss how it was working on the film, what he has done since and how he is hoping for a 40th anniversary cast reunion.

Click here to purchase “Willy Wonka” merchandise

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally get the role of Mike TeeVee in “Willy Wonka”?
Paris Themmen: I started acting when I was six.  My mother brought me into an agent and I went up for a commercial.  The first commercial I ever went up for was for Jiff Peanut Butter where I had to sit on top of a mountain of peanuts.  Of course it was just an angled chicken wire creation.  I hooked the first commercial I went up for and then the second commercial was for a product called “Crazy Bubbles.”  I was the only six year old who could say “Crazy Bubbles Bubble Blowing Bubble Bath.”  I could say it three times fast so they hired me.  In those days there weren’t many child actors in New York.  So I kept doing commercials.  Eventually I booked a Broadway show called “Mame” with Ann Miller as Auntie Mame.  So I was doing a lot of commercials and theater in New York…I did Circle in the Square…and when I was around eleven years old I auditioned for the film.  As I recall there was at least one call back…not a lot.  As I said, there weren’t really a million child actors in New York…maybe me and a few others.  I had a call back and I remember being in a phone booth with my mother and getting the news and both of us being very excited that we were both going to go to Munich, Germany to film the movie.

Mike Gencarelli: What was your most memorable moment on the set of “Willy Wonka”
Paris Themmen: My most fondest memory was the chocolate room.  Unlike Julie who didn’t like it because, strangely, she doesn’t like chocolate, I loved the Pure Imagination room.  As you may have heard elsewhere, the reaction shot that they took of us from the top of the stairs was a true reaction shot.  It was a closed set and we had never seen the room before.  So when they opened the doors…unlike today where they digitize things or build them in portions…it was all laid out for us.  We were probably 30 or 40 feet above it looking down at the whole room…the river flowing, the waterfall flowing, the boat moving.  I think that was the first day we saw the Oompa Loompas.  It was such an amazing feeling to be looking down at what the crew had been laboring on.  To see the fruits of their labors was amazing.  That was probably my favorite moment on shooting the film.

Mike Gencarelli: Do you still keep in touch with the cast and crew?
Paris Themmen: Mostly by email, but yes.  Here are the people I’ve seen in the last 20 years:  I’ve seen each of the four other kids, I’ve seen Diana Sole, who played Charlie’s mom. I’ve seen Rusty Goff, who played the lead Oompa Loompa.  I’ve seen Mel Stuart, who directed the film.  I’ve seen Frawley Becker, who was the script consultant.  I think for people that were directly associated with the movie…that’s it.  No wait!  I saw Leonard Stone one day.  I was doing commercial counseling sessions and he came in as a commercial actor for me.  And that’s it.  I know a lot of them have passed…like Jack Albertson.   Oh, and I did see Gene (Wilder) once.  I saw him about a year ago at a Barnes and Noble signing for his book.  And the thing about being Gene is…I was eleven, the other kids were thirteen.  People ask me who was nice and who was mean.  Julie, surprisingly, was a very well mannered, well behaved British young woman.  Peter, true to form, was a very gentle and well behaved young man.  Michael didn’t speak a lot of English and Denise was a lot like me…sort of a hardened child actor.  But I was two years younger…and I was trouble.  I was rambunctious and precocious everywhere on the set and Gene remembered this.  He tells a story about being asked about a part in the additional footage on the DVD when someone asks “what about me” and he replies “oh, he was definitely a brat.”  Then he pauses, looks into the camera and says, “But Paris…You know I love you now,” in a very Gene Wilder sort of way.  And another one that I love…Gene was asked what he thought about working with the kids and he said, “four of them are great and one of them I’m going to kill tomorrow!”  Wait a minute, my girlfriend is correcting me.  He says “Four of them are fantastic, one of them I’m going to shoot in the head tomorrow!”  (laughs).  So years later I go to this book signing and I say, “Hi Gene, I’m Paris, I played Mike TeeVee” and he says, sure as rain, “Oh…you grew a brat.”  So that’s his recollection of me. And I told him that I’d like to think I’ve had time to change and he said, “yes, of course…I’m sure you have.”  But like I say I was sorta precocious…much like my character.

MG: After “Willy Wonka”,  you didn’t do a lot of other films.  Why?
PT: The real question is, “Paris, what have you done since?”  There are a couple of answers.  One:  After the film I went back to Broadway in a play called “The Rothchilds.”  I also did the first national tour of the show.  I did a couple more commercials.  I basically worked from six to sixteen.  Then I got my degree in theater at NYU and they didn’t want you to work at that time.  They wanted you to be process oriented, not results oriented.  So they really didn’t want you to work.  Then I got out of college, got distracted and discovered other things.  I did a few commercials in my thirties and I was in the background of some films, mostly because I was working in film production.  The other side of that question is what have I done NOT as an actor and…that is a lot.  I’ve travelled all over the world…I backpacked through sixty different countries on six continents.  Particularly in some very exotic locations like Borneo, the Sahara Desert, the Amazon, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal.  Just try to imagine the cool adventurous things you’d want to do in your life…I’ve done many of them.  Swimming with sharks…piranhas.  I’ve done some sky diving.  I’ve also had some great business experiences…managing money with Smith-Barney…being a real estate broker…film production, like I said.  I worked in casting for awhile.  I was what they call a Walt Disney Imagineer, during when they were building Euro Disney.  I’ve started two or three businesses.  So I haven’t been just sitting in my room contemplating my navel.  I’ve been out doing things.  In terms of major motion pictures that people will remember…that’s it…one film, “Willy Wonka”.  One good film.

MG: With next year being the 40th anniversary of the film, how do you feel about its impact over the years?
PT: I agree with you that the film has had a life of its own.  And it’s been passed down from parents to children throughout the years.  The script that Roald Dahl wrote appeals not only to children but also to adults, with many adult references, so the parents don’t mind watching it with the kids.  And they are in fact excited about bestowing it upon their children.  And as the film has grown there are very old Wonka fans now and there are very young Wonka fans now.  So in terms of my reaction to that I think it’s great.  I think it deserves to be where it is.  Obviously at the time none of us expected that it would be that way.  But watching the film I understand its enduring popularity.

MG: Ok, the dreaded question, have you seen the remake from 2005? Your feelings?
PT: Here’s my experience with the new film…there was a time right after it came out when people would ask me “what do you think of the new film” and I would say, “Oh, I think it’s great!”  I don’t remember exactly what I said but I know I was positive.  But as the years go by and I speak to fans who tell me that they prefer the old one I feel more and more comfortable expressing my opinion which is that the new one had some things about it that I liked…things like the squirrels.  And by that I mean Veruca getting eaten by squirrels, which was true to the book.  I liked the pink Seahorse boat.  I thought the chocolate looked more authentic in the river then ours.  But I thought that there were many ways that they missed in the new one.  Chief among them is the relationship between Wonka and Charlie.  I felt that, although the new movie is called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the focus in fact was more on Willy Wonka, while the old movie was called “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” but the emphasis was more on Charlie.  In terms of the relationship with Wonka, I think that one of the key moments in the old film was in the end when Gene says “My boy you’ve won,” and there’s this great moment that happens between him and Charlie.  To me that’s the heart of the problem in the center of the film.  The choices Johnny Depp made, and far be it from me to judge Johnny Depp…he’s one of our finest actors…created such a neurotic persona so that there was no relationship between Wonka and Charlie.  I thought that was the biggest problem.

MG: Do you ever think we will see another cast reunion any time soon? Perhaps for the 40th anniversary?
PT: There is some talk of doing something but I really can’t give specifics until things are nailed down.  But, yes, we’re definitely talking about doing that, either at the end of this year, which technically be 40 years since we shot the film or in 2011.

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Interview with Sarah Clarke

Sarah Clarke is known for her role as Bella Swan’s mom, Renee, in “The Twilight Saga”. She also co-stars in TNT’s new dramady “Men of a Certain Age” and will return for Season 2 this Fall. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Sarah to discuss the “Twilight” craze that is currently overtaking the world.

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Mike Gencarelli: How do you feel about being a part of the “Twilight Saga”?
Sarah Clarke: Well it is mind blowing. You just kind of go and do your work though. I am fortunate that because I do have a family and I feel like I am in my own little world with that. But every once in a while I peek out and to be a part of something like this, it is fun. But I enjoy being able to switch back and forth.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role in “Eclipse”?
Sarah Clarke: They obviously want to focus on the vampire love affair going on. The mom, poor thing, is down in Florida trying to wrestle everything that is going on. I really like what they have established with our relationship. I felt like our scene in “Eclipse” really gave us something to work with.

Mike Gencarelli: Your fans have some devotion to these films, I haven’t seen this type of fan craze since like “Star Wars”.
Sarah Clarke: I know! I think what it is, is that people are excited because they have these books in their mind for so long. They have read them over and over and are getting to see it come to life. It’s great.

MG: Were you a fan of the book series before you became involved?
SC: No I didn’t know about the books. I feel the books started it but the movies have definitely made this a bigger phenomenon. Fans have really come to this franchise in droves. You don’t even have to be a fan of the books as much any more. You get people from all sides and it is great how things can grow exponentially and make it even bigger.

MG: Have you actually watched the movies so far and do you have a favorite?
SC: They are all great in the way that the story is built. I still hold the first one to be the most fascinating because its when everyone is introduced. What I liked about “Eclipse” is you are given a glimpse into their back story. Like Emmett and Rosalie. You get that in the first book though a little bit. It is really rich for cinematic experience though.

MG: How was it working with the the cast on both films?
SC: It was great. Mostly all the stuff I’ve done is with Kristen (Stewart) and Rob (Pattinson). The first movie, I am on the phone and then I go to the hospital with them. In “Eclipse”, they visit me in Florida. So my main experience has been with Kristen. I feel that she is such a strong actress. So grounded in the face of everything that is going on. It was really easy to feel maternal towards her [laughs]. She is such a lovely person.

MG: For us non-readers, what should we expect from your character in the next chapter, “Breaking Dawn, Part 1”?
SC: I can’t give you anything. It is never the same [laughing]. Whatever my character is doing in the book, they could change it for the movie. I do known they get married. We all know that from the book. Mothers are always involved when there is a marriage.

MG: You worked on one of my favorite new shows of 2009, “Men of a Certain Age”, tell us about working on that?
SC: It was fantastic. I am going to be coming back next season as well. Ray (Romano), Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher are phenomenal. I worked mainly with Ray. He is just so much fun. They gave me such fun stuff to do. I can only hope the same fun will continue this coming season.

MG: You played Nina Myers in “24”, with the show finally seeing its end, how do you feel?
SC: I did. It was like an end of an era to see the show end. When I went to the finale party it was great to see so much of the crew that was still involved. The fact they they were able to keep it such a viable show for eight seasons is great. We didn’t think it was going to get past second two.

MG: What do you have planned next?
SC: “Men of a Certain Age” and the next “Twilight” are what I have going on for the rest of this year. I want to get my new born daughter pretty established before I embark on anything too time consuming. If something comes around I can’t pass it up, I will do that. But otherwise I am set for the year.

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