Brian Henson talks about Syfy’s “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge” and the Sequel to “Dark Crystal”

Brian Henson is the son of Jim Henson, creator of “The Muppets” and the current chairman of The Jim Henson Company. For years Brian has been working with his family in the company as a puppeteer in roles like Jack Pumpkinhead in “Return to Oz” and directing//producing “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Muppet Treasure Island”. He was also behind the TV series “Farscape” as the Executive Producer. His latest venture is in reality TV on Syfy with the series “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge”, which is similar to other Syfy shows like “Face/Off”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian about the TV show and also get the scoop on upcoming projects like “The Power of the Dark Crystal” and “Fraggle Rock: The Movie”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did the idea come about to do this show, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge?
Brian Henson: We were trying to think if there is a show that would make sense for The Jim Henson Company in the reality side of television programming. There aren’t many…because we are The Jim Henson Company. Almost everything we do has an element of fantasy or science-fiction in it. In many ways we are the opposite of reality. We make things that reflect on reality and allow you to objectively compare it to what we are presenting. But we decided that one area that is particularly exciting of our company is in the creature designing area. These artists, who are designing, conceiving and then building these creatures, really are like magic. They are extraordinary artists. We thought that doing a show around that aspect would be the most interesting area to the general audience. It is sort of like this secret world. There are no Academy Awards for creature designers. There are some creature designers who have won Academy Awards for costuming, make-up or special effects. Joe FREID, one of the Executive Producers, really shared the same enthusiasm in that area of our company and also has a strong background in reality TV programming. We went out to pitch it and Syfy loved it. We made it pretty close to the “Face/Off” format or even the “Project Runway” format. But what is different about it is that it is going into an area and a type of artist that is much different than anyone has ever seen. It is taking place in the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and the prize really is a job with us.

MG: How do you come up with the challenges for the show like the first episode’s undersea creature?
BH: We basically kept making lists of creatures that we thought would be interesting. For season one, we said that none of the creatures should be allowed to use any compositing, puppeteer removal or some of the techniques that we would normally use in television or feature films. So that closed us up a little bit and kept us focused for season one. Then we had about 15-20 good ideas on the board and we basically produced what we thought was a good wide range of creatures. One thing that is great about creature making, which perhaps is not true of some of the cousins to our TV show, is they are very different depending on what kind of creature you are looking for and what kind of screen test you presenting at the end of the episode. It means that every episode is able to stand alone and be unique from the one before it, which is a lot of fun. You should also expect the challenges to be more and more ambitious as we go forward, which I think is pretty great.

MG: What are you feelings on CGI versus practical effects like puppet work?
BH: My take on it reflects my background and where I come from and where my dad came from, we are a performance oriented company. So what excites me is performing creatures and puppets. We do some CGI but we call it digital puppetry. The way we do CGI, is that we real-time animate 3D creatures using performers. So if it comes from performance and creating a real moment for the characters then that is what excites me and our company. So in that sense, I prefer the animatronic creatures to the CGI creatures. But that is also due to my background. If someone comes from key frame animation, they may prefer CGI to stop-action animation. But I think there is wonderful space for every technique. There is clearly a sacrifice you make when you decide to go CGI with a creature is that you are not actually creating a real moment that you then photograph. With most of our stuff besides the digital puppetry that we do, what you see has really been created and has been photographed and is now in the movie or TV show. It really happened and was really there. You can’t underestimate the value of that. It may mean that things are not quite as slick or accurate as CGI but it really happened and there is something really delicious and exciting about that. Certainly we have been seeing a big move towards CGI creatures but I think with films like “Where the Wild Things Are”, we are starting to see a movement back towards practical effects. But like I said there is definitely a space for both.

MG: I feel that this show actually brings this type of work back into the spotlight…
BH: Yeah, it’s been like a secret world. Nobody knows how these creatures are built and created. Nobody has done a show like this and it is really interesting watching them work.
MG: Yeah, one thing I would love to learn more about myself is the actual mechanics behind-the-scenes with these creatures.
BH: Well as you watch more of the series you will be more of that as well.

MG: Tell us about choosing your co-judges including Kurt Thatcher and Beth Hathaway?
BH: Initially we weren’t sure if we wanted to go with an all internal panel. Kurt is really an inside guy. Most of the work he has done in his career has been with our company. We wanted it to be as credible as possible because like I said the prize really is a job in the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Kurt is the type of person who would do the hiring along with me who would also be making those judgment calls. At a certain point, we realized it was just too much Henson. So we reached out to Beth Hathaway, who is also a very experienced creature builder but her background is along the lines of Stan Winston and Rick Baker. It was actually really fun bringing her in since she is kind of an outsider but we just love her. It was good having her point of views and opinions on the judging panel.

MG: What do you see that the future has planned for this type of practical effects and for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop?
BH: I think there is a lot of opportunity for us to do more creature work. I think we are coming out of a time where the industry has been in a flux. I think people are now starting to stabilize and spend more money for cool fantasy/science-fiction characters. I think you will start to see more practical effects…but probably mixed in with some CGI, which is like what “Where the Wild Things Are” was. I think the best creatures yet to come are going to be a little bit of everything used to bring that creature to life.

MG: Do you have any update on The Power of Dark Crystal and Fraggle Rock movie?
BH: The truth is that it took me five years to get “Farscape” on the air. These things take time. Some of that time feels like you are just waiting around. There is a lot of things that need to come together in order to make these projects work. You need to have the right talent, financing and distribution partners. But I can tell you that these both in active development currently within our company. We are determined to get them made. It is big though and a lot of elements need to come together to get a movie made.

Photos courtesy of Syfy


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Grand Entertainment Inks Deal With Pilgrim Studios for Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters”

Exclusive U.S. DVD Distribution Rights for Season 9 of the #1 Paranormal Show

LOS ANGELES, CA – Grand Entertainment Group (GEG), an independent multi-platform content and distribution company, has obtained exclusive DVD rights from Pilgrim Studios to Season 9 of their hit Syfy original series “Ghost Hunters.” Under the deal brokered by GEG President David Rand, Michael Purleski, Vice President of Legal Affairs for Pilgrim Studios and Executive Producer Alan David. Grand Entertainment Group will produce market and distribute the latest season on DVD throughout the United States.

“Ghost Hunters,” the #1 paranormal reality television series and longest-running series on the Syfy network, is executive produced by Craig Piligian, Mike Nichols, Thomas Thayer and Alan David. “We are very excited to be working with Pilgrim Studios and the ‘Ghost Hunters’ franchise,” states David Rand. “The show has a loyal fan base and past DVD sales have performed well — we anticipate as much success with Season 9.”

In Season 9 of “Ghost Hunters,” Jason Hawes and his team from The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) continue conducting chilling investigations across the country.  Locations include Los Angeles’ historic Sowden House, said to be the site where Elizabeth Short — more famously known as “The Black Dahlia” — was brutally murdered; the eerie Peoria Asylum in Bartonville, IL, where an estimated 16,000 people perished under gruesome conditions; and Sylvan Beach Amusement Park on Lake Oneida, NY which, according to its owners and patrons, is a rollercoaster of paranormal activity.

“Ghost Hunters” Season 9 will be available second quarter at major retailers and online distributors.

Pilgrim Studios |

Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios produces a wide variety of unscripted programming for television, including Fast N’ Loud for Discovery; Ghost Hunters and Killer Contact for Syfy; The Ultimate Fighter for FOX Sports 1; Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy for History; Orange County Choppers for CMT; Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s and Raising Whitley for OWN; David Tutera: Unveiled for WEtv; Wicked Tuna for National Geographic Channel, and Swamp Pawn for CMT. In the scripted realm, Pilgrim’s original movies for Lifetime include Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy; Abducted: The Carlina White Story and the crime thriller Stalkers.  Pilgrim’s most recent scripted projects include a pilot for ABC Family and a mini-series for Spike about the 2012 terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Grand Entertainment (GEG) |

Grand Entertainment Group (GEG), launched in early 2012, as a complete destination for programming.  With the ability to distribute DVD; digital; streaming; television and limited theatricals, Grand Entertainment gives filmmakers and their films the platform they deserve. GEG is a subsidiary of Grand Distribution Group, which produces and distributes diversified products, services, and technologies.  With a line-up of films slated for 2014, GEG is moving forward in a “Grand Way.”  


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Sam Huntington reflects on season two of Syfy's "Being Human"

Sam Huntington co-stars in Syfy’s hit show “Being Human”, which returns this month for it’s third season.  He plays the character of Josh and is a werewolf that lives with a vampire (Sam Witwer) and a ghost (Meghan Rath). We spoke with Sam back in the very beginning of the show for season one, check it out here.  We got a chance to catch up with Sam again and got the scoop on the second season and what we can expect for the third.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about what you enjoyed most about playing Josh in season two?
Sam Huntington: I think for all the characters, it was great to see them go down their darker paths. As hard as Josh tries to do the right thing, sometimes that need to do the right thing forces him to do the wrong thing. So that was really interesting for me to see and play that aspect of him. As hard as he tries he just has these horrible flaws right down to the end of the season. So that was pretty cool. I also really enjoy the humor of the show.

MG: Each character seemed to go off on their own story in the second season, can you reflect on that for us?
SH: Josh is at his best when he is with Nora and with his roommates. Those are always my favorite moments. I think looking back I would have liked to be with those people more. I think in season three we are going to be put together a lot more so it will be pretty great.

MG: Do you feel that you have an creative freedom with the character now?
SH: I feel that I know Josh so intimately at this point. You are given these beautiful words to say, which sculpts the role. But then of course he takes on a life of his own now that I have been doing it for two years and going into a third. Put it this way, I think I know how Josh will react in every situation, which is super cool for me. I would say 99% of the time, the writers will nail it for his but there is that 1% when I have to chat it over and get on the same page. A lot of times they have reasons why I have to act in a certain way or do a certain thing. It is definitely a collaboration in that regard. We rarely have to intervene though, which is great.

MG: You parted ways with Nora and the surprise with Julia, no luck for you in woman department huh?
No he doesn’t. Word to wise for all those ladies out there who is curious about Josh the Werewolf…Don’t Do it! It’s a death wish. [laughs]. It’s just a bad situation. He is a wet blanket on relationships, trust me.

MG: How would you compare the two seasons production wise?
SH: I would say that season two was 100% more easier than season one. We ironed out a lot of kinks with everything…the make-up and the hours. The writers have figured out what works and what doesn’t. It is always process. You have to figure out what you are capable of doing. You want to always go right up to the limit but you obviously don’t want to kill everyone [laughs]. Season one nearly killed me. Season two was way smoother. I am hoping that season three is more of the same.

MG: During the first season when we spoke, I mentioned that I felt Josh bared most of the burden but in the second season it is more equally distributed.
SH: I think so. They were able to streamline a lot of the werewolf stuff  Beyond that also as far as the character goes but poor Josh just keeps getting hit and beaten down to the ground with the things he is dealing with. I feel so bad for the guy. He can’t win [laughs].

MG: Season two ended on cliffhanger, tell us what we can expect for this next season?
SH: When we finished the season we had no idea what was going to happen. We know now obviously since we’ve gotten the scripts. It is a great cliffhanger  What is the funny thing is that I don’t know if the writers knew [laughs]. I am sure they had a couple of ideas. At the end of the season everything kind of had their hands in the cookie jar, as far as what they wanted to see happen. They really want the show to be the best that it can be. The good news is though, now knowing where we go it is going to be SO awesome! It is such a great direction. I couldn’t be happier!

Jaleel White chats about season 2 of Syfy’s “Total Blackout”

Jaleel White has been one busy man on television. He was a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and started hosting Syfy’s new game show “Total Blackout”. Jaleel took out some time to chat with Media Mikes again to discuss the season 2 of Syfy’s “Total Blackout”, which premieres October 30th, and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: So we know the idea behind “Total Blackout” – challenges played in complete darkness, how is season two going to amp it up for viewers?
Jaleel White: I don’t think we are going to disappoint people. We have definitely improved upon last year. It all boils down to money. At the end of the day the more people to like the show, the more money we will get [laughs]. This season, the exotic nature of the show has been amped with the animals. Last year, we had little dogs and stuff like that. That wouldn’t even been be allowed on the idea table this season. So, definitely the exotic nature is one. Second, I have to say the contestants themselves. We got a lot of our first choice contestants. Last year people didn’t realize what the show was since it was new and we got a lot of people backing out at the last minute. But since the show has become a hit, trending on twitter and people like it – now we have the opposite problem. We have too many people that want to be on the show. So there is definitely no any contestant shortage this season.

MG: Last time we spoke you said “contestants get smarter” and were concerned about the screening process; do you feel that was addressed and planned for this season?
JW: I definitely felt like we chose some really great contestants. I am really proud of the people we got this season. There is an episode also where we bring back people have previously lost. So we have that loser’s all-star episode and in fact, it was particularly touching for the contestant that won and their reaction.

MG: Last season was your first go at hosting a game show, what were you personally looking forward to most in this second season?
JW: I said it last year and will probably keep saying it for as long as this show is on, it is really fun to be a part of TV that I feel like the love and the landscape make it that people want to watch the show. I don’t have to beg people to watch this show. It is just awesome for me man!

MG: What is your favorite challenge this season?
JW: It has to be the mouse trap mazes. It is so creative. They also got the most physical reaction out of our contestants. That is my personal favorite this season.

MG: Have they ever considered doing a celebrity, maybe with some Syfy talent, episode of the show?
JW: Well we got some surprises for you this season. I know we are boys but sorry man my lips are sealed. Stay tuned because it is going to be cool.

MG: Have they tried to convince you to get in that dark room yet?
JW: Joe Rogan doesn’t do his show. Why does everyone want me to do my show? [laughs] I am the host, man [laughs]. Well, I don’t know what circumstances would put me in the dark room but I would welcome whatever it would be. Obviously, I would have a far greater advantage from a psychological stand point. I welcome it if it comes along though. I got it, put me in there with Joe Rogan or some other hosts [laughs].

MG: What would be your worst nightmare to encounter in there?
JW: Oh man! An alligator would be up there. Also for me if wouldn’t be a snake…it would be snakes.

Ryan Cartwright reflects on season 2 of Syfy’s “Alphas”

Ryan Cartwright is known best for his role of Gary Bell on Syfy’s “Alphas”. The show just wrapped up its second season, with a very shocking ending. The show has not been picked up for a third season as of yet, so if you want more “Alphas”, make yourself heard! Ryan took out sometime to chat with Media Mikes again, read our season 1 wrap-up here, to chat about this season and his upcoming guest starring role on “The Big Bang Theory” and what he is currently playing on his XBOX 360.

Mike Gencarelli: Now having played the role of Gary for two seasons in “Alphas”, how does season two for you compare to the first?
Ryan Cartwright: I have found that he has become a lot more isolated and on his own. He is a kindred spirit with now dead Anna and her message. He doesn’t really trust Dr. Rosen or anyone anymore. He probably loves them in his heart but doesn’t trust them. He sees that everyone has their own motives. They are going against what he believes is the purest belief of the Alphas from Dr. Rosen’s original message. So it is just a lot more isolated but also a bit more confident as well. He seems to have come in his own this past season.

MG: The finale left us all in shock with Gary being the last man standing, any insight into what happened?
RC: I don’t know. They always end them on these cliffhangers and I don’t know what they are planning…if and when we come back. I was just glad to be the only one standing [laughs]. You can’t kill the autistic kid. You just can’t.

MG: Have there been any talks at all if a third season is in the cards?
RC: It is down to the viewing figures, which I think we’re pretty solid throughout. It was difficult going up again Monday Night Football every week. I think we did pretty well. They are going to sit down now and go some market research and see what people think. So it is up to the money guys.

MG: Your character definitely dealt with a lot more issues like the death of Anna, your mother’s hospitalization etc; how did you prepare for this emotional aspects?
RC: I think with Gary it is more of a technical approach. He doesn’t show emotions the same as everyone else. I think the most emotional he has gotten was when Anna died. It was more tearing up from frustration. With his mum being ill, he understands it but it doesn’t affect him emotionally. He is just dealing with the circumstances. Just the technicalities of what that means and he can’t help but kind of think about himself and stay in the first person with it. It is hard for him to see others point-of-view. I think it just harbors back to the research I have done and just filtering it through that.

MG: You mentioned last time we spoke about the research you did for the role, did you find you had to do anymore research for this season?
RC: I really did enough to begin with. I felt that the character was then about to speak for himself. I think he successfully did that the first season and now has come into his own. I just went with what I had already created and all of the writers and producers were on the same page. It was just keeping that character’s continuity in these situations.

MG: Do you have a favorite experience or episode from season two?
RC: There was one were we all went out to the forest called “Alphaville”. That was pretty fun. It was a nice change from being at the studio. It was like a big camping trip for the cast. That is the one that I remember the most but it was also the biggest change for us not being in the studio.

MG: We recently spoke Summer Glau and we need to get a campaign going to get her as series regular.
RC: Yeah! She was in this season for a fair amount of episodes. It is up to the producers and where they want to take it. I think it is that line between what people what and what they want and then what they want. It will come down to creativity rubbing up against monetary things.

MG: Tell us about your guest starring role on “The Big Bang Theory” this November?
RC: What it was is that the creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady really like “Alphas”. They are big fans of the show. I wasn’t sure if I would like it but it was great. I am not sure if they are going to call me back and continue the storyline. To be honest though, I don’t do much in it. They got me in for the role of Cole and I am suppose to play this British intimidating person that Johnny Galecki’s character Leonard is jealous that he is going to steals Penny’s intentions. I haven’t done live studio since I was back in England, which I did a fair bit there. “Alphas” is hard work but this was fun and easy. It was also right around the corner from me, so I just hoped on the bus.

MG: Hopefully you can come back. We need to get a twitter campaign going for that as well.
RC: I would love to. I only got to do a little bit but I really wanted to do more. Once you experience the audience clapping live, you get just want to do it again. Yes, those Twitter campaigns always succeed [laughs].

MG: Last time we spoke you said you are fans of video games, what are you currently playing?
RC: I just got “Dishonored”, which is amazing. “Assassins Creed III” is about to come out. As well as “Halo 4”, so boys and I are going to go crazy for that. Zack Pen, the creator of “Alphas”, is taking us down to Microsoft for a big gaming party there. It will probably just be us getting our asses handed to us by the Microsoft employees.

Summer Glau talks about her role on Syfy’s “Alphas”

Summer Glau is known best for her role in TV series like “Firefly” and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”.  Last year, Summer appeared on Syfy’s series “Alphas”, playing the role of Skylar.  She returned again for this second season and hopes to continue in the third season as well.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Summer about her role in the show and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Last season when you were asked to guest star on “Alphas”, did you ever think that it was ever going to be on this scale that it’s developed now through this season?
Summer Glau:  Well I was hopeful. I love doing TV and I really like sticking with a character and getting to watch them evolve and contribute to a story line that continues week after week. So I was hopeful. This season I have been so blessed to come back as much as I have. I have love where Skyler has gone and I would be very excited to come back again next season.

MG: What was it specifically about Skylar that was so fascinating and that attracted to you to the role?
SG: The first thing that attracted me about Skylar was the fact that she was a mother. I’ve talked to Bruce about this before too. It was really exciting for me. I hadn’t – I had not played a mother before. One of the most challenging things about Skylar is that she is a mother but it doesn’t come naturally to her. She – in my mind, in the back story that I’ve created, she’s been on her own for a long time. And she’s used to just fending for herself. When it comes to her child she’s very conflicted because she has all of these new feelings that she’s probably never experienced before about loving something so much more than she loves herself. And caring for something and protecting someone else and making unselfish decisions. For me as an actor it just was a very, very fertile story line for me creatively.

MG: Playing a character that is very handy with gadgets, how has that been for you as an actor?
SG: Well I think I’m a pretty good actor because I really can barely program my garage remote. I’m very gadget challenged. So it’s really fun for me when I put on my Skylar clothes and I go on set, I really pretend like I’m in control and like I know what I’m talking about. The man who puts together most of my props is named (Skylar) too. I spend a lot of time under his supervision and guidance so that he can help me get really comfortable with my inventions so that I can really feel like I have a relationship with them. Because they’re always amazing but it doesn’t always come naturally to me. I’m always amazed. Like I’m on set and they hand it to me and say so this is what you built. And then I always take it apart so I know how to put it together and then we’re practicing that over and over again.

MG: After working on series like “Firefly”, “Terminator” and now Alphas, what really draws you back to the sci-fi genre?
SG: I have always found in sci-fi that the roles for women are really exciting and dynamic and outside the box. In the finale of Alphas is a perfect example. I remember in – Bruce was there too. We were sitting and discussing a scene that involved every – all the girls. I was sitting there looking at the girls and it was so cool to get to do a scene that involved all of us. And I was looking at the girls and we were all four different and our characters are I feel complicated and fleshed out and dynamic and just it made me realize, I’m really happy to be here. I’m really happy to be in a story that creates this opportunity for all four of us actresses.  That’s why I keep coming back to it. I go for the character that I like.

MG: I really liked how Zoe on the show asked you if you were a Terminator in the second to last episode. I thought that was pretty funny.
SG: Yeah, I know. I looked at her and I’m like she doesn’t even know what she’s asking [laughs].

MG: During Comic-Con, Nathan Fillion joked about a possible animated revival of Firefly as a TV series, can you reflect?
SG: Absolutely. I would take any opportunity to get back together with my whole fam and keep telling the story. I think we’d all love that.

MG: Tell us what other projects you have in the works next?
SG: Well I just finished a Christmas movie. That’s the only other thing that I have that is about to come out. Oh and also “Knights of Badassdom”. So I have “Knights of Badassdom” and “Help for the Holidays”, which is going to be on the Hallmark Channel during the 12 Days of Christmas. So that was really, really fun. Yeah. I definitely enjoyed that one.

Morgan Fairchild talks about Syfy’s “American Horror House”

Morgan Fairchild is an actress with such a wonderful a presence in Hollywood. She has appeared in such television series as “Dallas”, “Mork & Mindy” and “Flamingo Road”. Her notable film roles are “Holy Man”, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2”, where she all played herself. She is also stars in the Syfy original movie “American Horror House”, which premieres Saturday, October 13 at 9:00 p.m. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the beautiful and sweet Morgan Fairchild about her this Syfy film and how she prepares for a role.

Mike Gencarelli: What about the role intrigued you to want to be a part of Syfy’s “American Horror House”?
Morgan Fairchild: Well I must confess I’m quite a devotee of the Syfy movie channel. I mean I watch Syfy movies on the weekends. And all my friends have done them, so it was quite fun. And they sent me the script and I thought well, you know, this is actually fun. I could do this. You know, I don’t have to get chopped up or anything too gruesome. She also does have a history with the house and that’s part of figuring out here history with the house is, is a big part of the story, of trying to understand what’s going on as the girls are confronted with different odd happenings in the house as to why they’re happening and what’s really going on there.

MG: Does working on a project like “American Horror House” somehow take you back to earlier in your career doing projects like “The Haunting of Sarah Hardy”?
MF: Well it takes me even further back to “Initiation of Sarah”, which was actually my first TV movie — which was also a haunted sorority house. So yes it goes way back.

MG: Can you talk a bit about how your character Ms. Margot fits into the story?
MF: Well like a lot of the characters I play, she’s sort of the catalyst. The bad guy is always the catalyst. So she’s not unlike some of the other characters I’ve played except that she does seem to just be pure evil.

MG: Is there anything then you found challenging about your role?
MF: You know, they’re always challenging. From Ms. Margot the thing was I didn’t want to tip it too early that she is actually a bad guy because at first she seems sort of supportive house mother kind of thing and sort of the normal everyday thing that a kid would encounter at college. I didn’t want to tip it too soon, so that was a bit of a challenge is just trying to find ways to play things that later people could go back and say, oh yes, I see that. But at the moment that they don’t necessarily catch on right away.

MG: Do you have any kind of technique that you use to for when you approach a role?
MF: Well I do sort of the basic thing everybody does, you know, that they teach you from the Day 1 — which is break it down, break down who is this character, what do they want, where do they come from, what is their background, where are they trying to go, what are they trying to get out of this. so it’s all that kind of basic thing. Then again it’s a very focus of energy. I’m a big Bruce Lee fan. And Rudolf Nureyev for some of you who may not know Rudolf Nureyev was probably one of the best ballet dancers of the 20th century. And watching him on stage with the focus of energy was just an amazing thing the way he controlled the stage. Back in ’73 I’d been living in New York and I went home for the summer for a visit to my mom. Mom always wanted to do anything that was hot in New York. So I said, “Mom, these kung-fu movies are just the hottest things on 42nd Street, so we’ll go to a kung-fu movie.” Well and saw kind of this Bruce Lee movie, Enter the Dragon, it opens with a scene in the Shaolin Temple with Bruce Lee just like stripped to, you know, his skivvies and I was just fascinated with the focus of energy — the total focus of Chi. I watched the whole movie and he’s just brilliant. If he had lived, he would just have been such a major star because of this focus of energy. When the camera is on him, you cannot take your eyes off of him. When Nureyev was on the stage, you could not take your eyes off of him. You know, the poor little corps de ballet dancers would be dancing their hearts out and he would be standing with his back to you and you’re watching him instead of these poor little girls dancing. That was what sort of inspired me again to spend 4-1/2 years taking kung-fu in Chinatown in New York. I mean even when I was doing Search for Tomorrow, I remember one day I was sitting there watching something in the control room and it was summer and I had one of my little Danskin things on and one of the guys came up behind and said, “Morgan, did you know you have dimples in your back, because they would kick your ass, honey.” Down there in Chinatown and I would take the subway to go down there and pick my ways over bodies on the Bowery. This is back when bodies on the Bowery really were there. And it was a little scary going to and from class. But, you know, 4-1/2 years until I moved out here I was there like five, six nights a week as much as I could get in. So yes that’s what I do. That’s part of it is because to play a good bad guy especially you have to have that focus of energy.

MG: What it was like to shoot in Louisiana? Did that add to the tone of the film at all?
MF: It was just fabulous shooting there. Everybody was so friendly and so nice. And we were shooting in April mostly before it got too hot, so I wasn’t dying there. And I’m from Texas, so I know what dying in the heat means. So it was fabulous and got to go down to Jazz Fest and go down to New Orleans a bit and see a bit of the countryside and it was just great.

MG: Can you tell us a little bit about working with the director Darin Scott?
MF: Darin was just fabulous to work with. He was so sweet and low key. And I mean I’ve worked some real screamers in my life, you know, who you never have a moment of peace on the set. And Darin is very low key, very patient with everything, very on top of all the technical stuff that was going on — which we had a lot of in this movie — and just a lot of fun to talk to and sit around at lunch. We became friends just sitting around and gabbing at the lunch breaks and on breaks and stuff and talking everything from politics to old Hollywood stories.

MG: You have had a great career in both TV and film. Have you ever preferred one to another?
MF: Well they’re all just very different and you forget also that I grew up in the theater. So I mean do a lot of theater whenever I can still and did a staged reading of a play this summer and did a big national tour of The Graduate in ’05 and have done big national tours of like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, have done Broadway, off Broadway. So they’re all very different. They’re all very different in the way you focus your energy — which is really what the difference between stage acting and film acting is. Then film acting is usually it’s also very different because of the size of the format. How you focus your energy is to me one of the most interesting things about it.

MG: Last question and off-topic, now that Dallas is back on the air, I was wondering if you would be interested at all in reprising the role you originated of Jenna Wade?
MF: Well sure. I mean I’d always be interested. Originally just socially a couple of people in charge over there had sort of reached out to me and asked me the same question. But I’ve never heard back from them sort of following up and deciding to put Jenna back in it with me or Priscilla, so I don’t know what their thinking is. I’m just happy just Larry and Patrick and Linda all working away again in those great parts again. They’re all friends, you know, so I’m just always happy to see people working and working in fun, wonderful parts.

John Dunsworth & Richard Donat talks about Season 3 of Syfy’s “Haven”

John Dunsworth & Richard Donat play brothers Dave Teagues & Vince Teagues in Syfy’s “Haven”. Vince is the artist and editor and Dave is photographer and editor of the Haven Herald…but there is much more to be told behind these two characters. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with John and Richard about season three and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: What do you enjoy most about playing Vince Teagues on Syfy’s “Haven”?
Richard Donat: Vince, well I just love him since he is such a quirky guy. Partly because he has a lot of hidden aspects, which will hopefully be coming out as the show progresses.
John Dunsworth: Well I love working with Richard Donat. We have known each other for a while and we have done a bunch of great plays together. I was mostly a professional actor in the stage before “Haven” came around.  I love working in Nova Scotia.  Regardless of the part, the people that we work with are just a joy to be with on the set.

MG: The new season has really started to show some light behind what Vince and Dave really know; has that been fun to see that reveal?
RD: Oh yeah, it is great. Because of John, I feel that it really helps. We just have a great time together. We both live in Nova Scotia and I have known John for a long time.
JD: I would like to be more in the know. We confess sometimes that we don’t know what is going to happen and sometimes we are lying and then sometimes we really don’t know. It is hard to figure out when we are lying and telling the truth.

MG: Vince and Dave seem like they are disagreeing a bit more than usual, can we expect any rivalry this season?
RD: Well, we have been sort of at odds. But we always seem to get back together. In terms of the progress, I won’t able to say too much now but there is definitely a couple of things that happen.

MG:You two play great off each other; can you reflect on this collaboration?
JD: Well, I have to reflect on the writers. We don’t know what are story arc is. At the end of season three, which is my favorite season so far, we were throw some real curves. I thought I had it figured out…but it was the complete opposite. There are so many different possibilities.

MG: Most of the cast is from California, how does it feel to have the home turf advantage?
RD: Oh it is just fine. The whole cast is made up of some really great people. We all get along great. Thank God! When you work in those conditions, it is nice to be able to work well with people. There is no sort of LA thing, everyone is great.

MG: How does season three compare to you from the first two?
RD: Well, I think a lot more interesting things are happening between the characters. Then we get the introduction of Dwight is really fun story (played by Adam “Edge” Copeland”), who came in last season. It all starts to blend in. I think they seem to concentrate more on a centralized story line instead of individual episodes. I just can’t believe the reaction to the show.

MG: Do you find that you watch the show as it airs on TV?
JD: Last week, my wife and I finally watched season two. I don’t watch television or even get TV in our house. But I got the season as a present and I was blown away. I am so impressed with the three principals. On the set, the acting seems very subtle but it really comes across on the show. And Adam “Edge” (Copeland), he is just great.

MG: What would you say has been the highlight for you working on “Haven”?
RD: I think the highlight is actually getting to do the show. I have always lived here and then this show comes along and suddenly your life is changed. It is quite extraordinary really.
JD: Yep, the highlight is showing off Nova Scotia and living here. Right now, I can see the Grey Gull from my house. It takes me five minutes to get to the set some days. It has to be some kind of a blessing to be able to work in my own community on such a great project. I feel like I am the luckiest guy in the world.
RD: Yes, me too. I live about 45 minutes from the set and I am able to go home at night. So it is really great.

MG: John, how was it going from “Trailer Park Boys” to “Haven”; how does it compare for you?
JD: Last week, someone asked a person; “are a character actor of a lead actor?”. The right answer, of course, is a character actor. I like different roles. I like to play villains. So this has been nothing but a pleasure. We also just got the ratings in for the first episode of season three and I got a feeling that a fourth season is almost guaranteed! So I am on a very big high.


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Bree Williamson talks about joining the cast of Syfy’s “Haven”

Bree Willamson played the role of Jessica Buchanan on “One Life to Life” for almost 10 years until it ended earlier this year.  She recently joined the cast of Syfy’s “Haven”, playing Dr. Claire Callahan.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Bree about the new show and also how it compares to working on Soaps.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got the role of Dr. Claire Callahan in “Haven” and your inspiration?
Bree Williamson: Well I auditioned like normal. It was just a really fun audition and felt that I really connected. On the soap, I got to play a crazy person and I guess I played her as the kind of therapist that I would want to have. She is smart, quick and tells it how it is. She doesn’t have a filter. She loves her job and is constantly working. She is someone that you can’t have dinner with because everything you say she would be analyzing it and doing her job.

MG: Was your hair color change for the film role, in particularly?
BW: Oh…it was because of the role. When I moved to L.A., I had darkened my hair to brown and for the role they wanted me red. So now it is back to brown/blond, so there ya go. Red hair was really hard to keep so they had to dye my hair like one a week, it was intense. This was one of the best crews I have ever worked with. They were amazing.

MG: Everyone character has their own secrets, what does skeleton’s does Dr. Claire has in her closet?
BW: She is straight forward and then she isn’t…that is all I am going to say [laughs]. This is a really fun show and I am really glad to be a part of it.

MG: How was it joining the show in its established third season?
BW: There really wasn’t any challenges. Everybody was great. My job was easy. Everyone was like business as usual and they had a routine. Working with a cast like Emily (Rose), Eric (Balafour) and Lucas (Bryant), they were all so nice. Working in Nova Scotia was great. Pretty much everyone in the cast is from L.A. and they all work hard and play hard. We would go surfing on the weekend and I got the low-down on all the best restaurants and best places to give your coffee.

MG: How do you feel this differs than your work on “One Life to Live”?
BW: With the Soaps, I was a little bit spoiled. It is a 9-5 job. You always know what to expect. We got to live in NY. You always give up something and get something else. With a Soap Opera, I did audition for other things but was mostly caught up with the Soap. Now not being on the Soap and doing other shows, it is exciting for me. I get to go to places like Nova Scotia. It is not as comfortable but that is the part that I enjoy the most. The hardest part was being apart from my home but at least my son got to come with me. My husband also got to come for a while.

MG: Tell us about your role in the NBC midseason series, “Infamous”?
BW: It is a great show with a really great cast. I play Vivian Bower, this high-class drug addict socialite, who gets murdered in the pilot episode. Meagan Good’s character Johanna she is a police officer, undercover into the Bowers household to solve the mystery of my death. It is a “Revenge” meets “Twin Peaks”. I get to come back in flashbacks so that is really great.


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Syfy’s “Haven” Season 3 Interview Series

The scary mysteries and odd eccentricities of this small coastal Maine town will continue to unfold when Haven, Syfy’s hit drama series, returns for its third season on Friday, September 21 at 10PM (ET/PT).

In the premiere, Haven picks up immediately following the events of the gripping season two finale with Audrey (Emily Rose) having been kidnapped; Nathan (Lucas Bryant) warned against pursuing a romantic relationship with Audrey; and Duke (Eric Balfour) seemingly engaged in a fight to the death with Nathan after he discovers his family lineage is to kill Haven citizens with Troubles.

This season’s guest stars include Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey), Bree Williamson (Gossip Girl, One Life to Live), Laura Vandervoort (Smallville, White Collar), Edge (WWE Superstar), Dorian Missick (Southland, The Cape), Kate Kelton (Harold and Kumar, American Psycho 2), Nolan North (Uncharted video game series, Pretty Little Liars), and Claudia Black (Uncharted video game series, Farscape).

Following last year’s successful innovative Twitter campaign, season three will introduce online viewers to a new entity in the Haven mythology—The Guard. Mysterious and deeply entrenched in the history of Haven, The Guard has hijacked Haven social media channels to get their message out—if you are troubled, we can help #EscapeToHaven by @TheGuardHaven. The Guard—represented by Kate Kelton, who portrays ’Jordan McKee” — has taken over Facebook (, YouTube ( and Twitter profiles for Haven (, using these social media channels to tell the story of Haven, and to attract new “recruits” to Haven.

Haven, based on the novella The Colorado Kid from renowned author Stephen King, follows former FBI agent Audrey Parker, who becomes a cop in the small town of Haven, Maine, and soon discovers the town’s many secrets, which also hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of her lost past.

In order to time with the premiere episode, we have interviewed the following cast members: Adam Copeland, Bree Williamson, Emily Rose, Eric Balfour and Lucas Bryant. We will be posting more interviews with John Dunsworth & Richard Donat on 10/5, so stay tuned!

Adam Copeland

Bree Williamson

Emily Rose

Eric Balfour

Lucas Bryant

John Dunsworth & Richard Donat

Emily Rose talks about season three of Syfy’s “Haven”

Emily Rose is known best for playing the role of Audrey Parker in Syfy’s “Haven”. The show starts its third season on September 21st and is pack with a vengeance. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Emily about this season and what we can expect from her role.

Mike Gencarelli: What do you enjoy most about playing such a strong female character like Audrey?
Emily Rose: I think one of the things that is the coolest gift that the writers have given me is this wonderful Pandora’s box that Audrey has existed before herself. This season is so fun and I get to play these different people. Audrey is very tenacious and courageous. In this season we get to see a lot of her frailty. But we also get to see these other sides of her that are not her. To me, that is the most exciting part. Sometimes you can be on shows for a long time and you get to the point where you look for the next challenge. This show is a gift since we have the ability to create a whole new character and be allowed to have that within the storyline. It has been a real treat to me and also to the fans.

MG: Are we going to see more of Lucy Ripley this season?
ER: That and more sir. That and more. Yes.

MG: Due to this season being amped, what was your most challenging aspect for you?
ER: We have a really great show runner this season, Matt McGuinness. From the very beginning he helped streamline our writers and focus them. He has been great at talking to the network and discovering what we can do to amp it up. I think one of the great additions to the show this year is the whole other storyline. Usually we have a “trouble” of the week and then its mythology. But now we have a whole new ball in the air, so to speak, to deal with in a long form crime. With all those things in play, this amps up the urgency for the season. We also feel like our audience is sophisticated enough to handle all of that. I think it is really great trying to see it unfold. That was definitely a big factor in this season.

MG: This show was spawned from Stephen King’s novella “The Colorado King” but has really developed its own wings, can you reflect?
ER: I remember when we first started, everyone was asking about that. I read the book too when I got the job. I wondered where this would go. Stephen King set up the seams to our where our world exists. What I like about that novel is that it ends unresolved. It addresses what happens to a town that isn’t given closure. In that world is where Haven can exist. It has been great to have Stephen King’s permission and blessing to open the possibilities to take this show even further.

MG: Going into the third season, what were you looking forward to accomplishing most that you weren’t able to do the first two?
ER: I always say, but it is really true, I feel like the first season was like when you walk into a party and want people to really like you. You are really funny and quirky. You have some issues but they’re not a big deal and you can laugh about it. With the second season now, we are all good friends and could things get a little heavier. But now this season, here are able to reveal our deep issues. The first season is all about creating a likeable character, for fans to like and invest their hour each week with. I think the thing I was looking forward to most is go darker with Audrey and have people still stick around with that. As they told us more about the season, the part that I was just ecstatic about doing was playing the other characters and creating different people. That to me is an actor’s dream. You can go to bed being happy with that.

Lucas Bryant talks about season three of Syfy’s “Haven”

Lucas Bryant is known best for playing Nathan on Syfy’s “Haven”. The show is starting its third season on September 21st, 2012. The show originally spawned from Stephen King’s novella “The Colorodo King”, but has developed its own legs, especially in this new season. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Lucas about what we can expect from this season and how it differs.

Mike Gencarelli: How do you feel that Nathan has evolved now going into the show’s third season?
Lucas Bryant: Thinking about Nathan over these three seasons, his story is similar to a coming-of-age story. Initially he was in denial about who he was, what was going on in town and what he part was going to be. In the second season, they leaned more towards what part he was going to play and accept what is going on. In the third season, you get to see him being more decisive, active and making decisions, which seems a little out of character for him. By the end of the season, the reasons for his actions become clear. It has been a real journey for him to find himself.

MG: What can we expect from the organization known as “The Guard” this season?
LB: Yeah, “The Guard” is a totally cool storyline for season three and a big important part for Nathan. It was sort of hinted back in season two. In the third season, we find out who they are and Nathan becomes involved with them for reasons that may not be clear initially. There is this whole other side of Haven that you get to see this season. Especially at the end of the season, there is a very large reveal about “The Guard”, which pretty wild.

MG: Tell us what we can expect from Nathan and Duke’s relationship this season?
LB: Those two guys relationship is always interesting. This total love-hate relationship. Total enemies in one respect and brothers in another. They have a real love for each other. That relationship is tested even more in this third season. Working with Eric Balfour is such a blast. Nathan is such a straight man and Duke is such a clown. It just ends up being great playing off each out. Balfour performance in this show just helps me amp up my game.

MG: What new guest stars and/or characters are we going to get to meet this season?
LB: We have a bunch of great new characters this season. Dorian Missick plays an out of town cop that comes to Haven. His character is exactly what the show needs. He is an outsider that comes to town and asks “What? Are you kidding me”? It is great to have someone questioning what is going on in the town. Nathan and Tommy get to hang out a bunch. Bree Williamson is going to be playing Claire, who is a very big person for Audrey on the show. She is just so lovely and a great actress. Then Kate Kelton plays a character named Jordan that Nathan also has a lot to deal with. Their relationship I can’t go into but its going to be wild.

MG: This show was spawned from Stephen King’s novella “The Colorado King” but has really developed its own wings, can you reflect?
LB: “The Colorado King” doesn’t really answer much in the book. It poses a question and then leave you. Season one was true to that. We asked a lot of questions and brought the character to a place but left them clueless, like the audience. Season two we got a little more answers. Then season three it is like the lid is blown off with the questions. The reveals are big and huge. The character of the The Colorado King factors hugely in season three, which is a really cool storyline. It just blew me away.

MG: I have been a huge series since episode one but it seems like this season is going to be so much more than the past, can you reflect?
LB: On the last day of shooting, we looked back on the season and I said to Emily (Rose) and Eric that I was just totally stoked with this season. The pace of the show is just totally elevated. The season is much more ambitious than anything we have ever done. The production value is phenomenal. Fans of Stephen King will enjoy that the show is a lot darker, creepy and dangerous this season.

MG: Speaking of Stephen King, has he ever visited the set or considered a cameo?
LB: Stephen King calls me every morning….no [laughs]. I haven’t met him yet but would love to. I know the writers have been in contact with him. He has given his blessing and seems to be happy with the show and where it is going. That is totally cool. We are consistently trying to get him to come and do a cameo. That would be very wild and I would love to see that happen.

Eric Balfour talks about season three of Syfy’s “Haven”

Eric Balfour plays the role of Duke in Syfy’s “Haven”. The show begins its amped up season three on September 21st. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Eric about what wee can expect from this season and his character.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your relationship this season with Nathan?
Eric Balfour: I like to think of Nathan and my character’s relationship as sort of like when Harry met Sally. We’re sort of in the second act of “When Harry Met Sally” when I think they’ve probably slept together at this point but it was a little awkward and they’re going to have to now realize how much they actually mean to each other. No, I think the show obviously has this really exciting element of the troubles and every week you have these, you know, fantastic scares and mysteries. But, at the core of this show, it really is about this love story and this triangle between these three characters and about the different relationships that Emily’s character, Audrey, has to these two men. And they sort of represent different components of her own personality, if it’s okay for me to say that.

MG: What can we expect from season three?
EB: I think what the writers even told us at the beginning of the season and what was most exciting for me and I think is going to be incredibly exciting for the viewers who turn in this – tune in this year is that this love triangle is really going to just be like a rubber band. It is going to expand and contract and move and grow and cause riffs and strifes and it really is dynamic this season. I think that’s what’s going to be ultimately I just think the most exciting part for the fans of this show because we really do get to take the audience on a ride this year with the love story that goes on between these characters. As friends, as lovers and it’s my favorite part of the show this season.

MG: Can you reflect on the world that has been created for this show?
EB: My favorite part is that episode that really take you out of your everyday life. I think what we’ve created here in Haven is this sort of strange macabre, quirky world and it exists in its own reality in a way. Those are my favorite episodes when we really dive into that world and that reality where Haven is a town that although it’s not completely different from the world we know, it is unequivocally not the world that we know. And that’s my favorite part when we live in that reality.

MG: Any memorable moments from shooting?
EB: My most memorable moment was there is an episode where a woman is trapped in a car that is sinking under water and it was a huge stunt. And it was the first time where our

show felt really big and we have the car over this cliff, in the ocean waves crashing on it, paramedics and stunt guys and cranes. And that to me was probably the most memorable moment was this. I felt like we were making a movie. It was really cool.

MG: Tell us about “Haven” working side-by-side with social media?
EB: I think the coolest thing about what we’re trying to do with Twitter, the online interactions and storylines is really to enhance the experience of the show for everybody. It’s not necessarily something that nobody else is doing at this point. But we’re really trying to do it in the unique way that makes it exciting for the viewers and makes it exciting for the fans to feel like they get a little bit extra and a little bit more than just from watching the episodes on television. And then hopefully, also enhance the experience of watching the episodes.


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WWE Superstar Adam “Edge” Copeland talks about his role on Syfy’s “Haven”

WWE Superstar Adam “Edge” Copeland recently retired from wrestling and is the youngest person to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Adam was a guest star on Syfy’s “Haven” during its second season and became a regular throughout season three. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Adam about working on “Haven” and his transition from wrestling.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about becoming a regular in season three of “Haven”?
Adam Copeland: I always use the term “happy accident”. I was told I had to retire from WWE about a year and half ago now. I guess Syfy had decided to use one of the WWE wrestlers from “Smackdown” for their show “Haven”. I think there was some trepidation since there is still that misconception that wrestlers just yell and scream in their underwear. Thankfully one of the writers showed a clip of my retirement speech and t hat in essence was my audition video. I got the call if I would be interested and I said “Of course”. I flew up for what would be just one episode initially. But after seeing my speech, they took two different characters and merged them into one. After the first episode, they decided to write him in more and that become four episodes in the first season and now seven episodes into this season.

MG: What do you enjoy most about working on the show?
AC: Everyone was just so friendly shooting in Nova Scotia. Especially coming off of the road and doing 250 shows a year. I thought this would be nice pace for me. That is one of the things I enjoyed the most was sleeping in the same bed every night…but still working. That is something that is very foreign to me. It was nice to have a script and be able to study the lines. I just liked really being able to prepare for the role. It has really been the best of both worlds for me personally.

MG: Just from the first two episodes of season three, the show seems amped from last season, can you reflect?
AC: I don’t know if angrier is the right term, but things are put up with more of urgency this season. Things really come to a head and a lot of questions get answered. I feel that it is a little darker and aggressive and I like that. One of the things I like and even going back to last year, I am fan of this show and I really proud to be a part of it. It is not just a pay-day job for me. This is really cool for me. I also like that it is still shot on film and it still looks so good.

MG: Tell us about your dynamic with your fellow characters on the show?
AC: My character has a completely different relationship with each character. With Duke, they really don’t like each other but they are a lot alike. With Nathan, that is Dwight’s partner and he looks after him. With Audrey, he looks at her like a little sister. Then Vince and Dave, they are like these grandfatherly/uncle types. They are all awesome to work with. Vince and Dave are just awesome, their facial terms are just so subtle but effective. One of the things that people don’t realize is that in the U.S. is that Dave (played by John Dunsworth), he is like a national icon in Canada. He is in this show called “Trailer Park Boys”, which is so awesome. He and I went out one day and there is not a person walking down the street that didn’t stop him. I am sort of used to that with my prior career. I get stopped occasionally but no joke; he gets stopped by everyone in Canada. I’m like “Hey I used to do that little wrestling thing, anyone remember that?” [laughs].

MG: Your character Dwight has a lot of mystery behind him; can we expect any reveals of his background?
AC: It delves a little more into all of our pasts. It tells us a little bit of how everything is intertwined. It was touched on before but we get a few more layers into it. You find that there is definitely some cool things going on. I had a lot of cool scenes with Vince and Dave this season, which is great. Last season, I spent it primarily with Lucas (Bryant) and Eric (Balfour). But yeah, it gets deeper into who Dwight is and his involvement. Also from a fan perspective, when I found out where it was going this season I was really excited.

MG: What has been your biggest challenge transitioning from wrestling to dramatic series?
AC: Since I was told I had to retire from wrestling, I think it was easier for me to transition. I couldn’t do it anymore and this other thing came up and I figured I could give it a shot. That has made it fun for me and not given me any pressure. This has felt not like it is not a job and thankfully neither did WWE. So it is kind of cool that for my entire adult life that I haven’t worked. I have just been involved on these really cool projects. The biggest transition was pulling back my mannerism and face movements. In wrestling, you have to translate things to 80,000 people away…all the way to the back row. You do that with bigger face expression and more physical theatrics. With “Haven”, I had to realize that this camera can pick up my nose hairs. I had to pull back my facial expressions otherwise I told myself they are going to look completely insane [laughs]. But that was still fun working on that. I also got to work with like three or four different directors, including Jason Priestly. So it was great to get the different feedback and see how each person works.

Marc & Shannon Parker from Parker Brothers Concepts chats about working on Syfy’s “Dream Machines”

Marc & Shannon Parker are the owners of Parker Brothers Concepts, which is located in Melbourne, FL.  They are also the stars on Syfy’s “Dream Machines”.  They have created cars for 50 Cent, WWE’s John Cena and Universal’s recent film “Battleship”.  Media Mikes recently had a chance to visit the shop in our first collaboration with and got a chance to sit down and chat with the guys about the show and their inspiration behind it.

Mike J. Gencarelli: Tell us about the origin of Parker Bros Concepts?
Shannon Parker: It actually happened by accident. We started out just building things just to be building things. To begin with Marc and I talked about just building choppers, just regular bikes. I thought with the economy the way it way, I thought it was a bad idea because there are a lot of chopper builders out there. We only had enough money to build one…
Marc Parker: We didn’t even have enough money to build one [laughs]
SP: We didn’t have quite enough money to build one vehicle. So we talked about it a little bit and I really wanted to do a replica of the Batpod from “The Dark Knight”. I thought if we run out of money or can’t sell it at least I got something I wanted anyway. So we built it and put it out on the internet to get attention to sell it. We put it out there for $100,000 and when we did that it drew all kinds of attention. We weren’t able to sell it right away but it gave us some great attention and a step towards what we should do next. I think the next step we built our Xenon Light Motor Bike. After that we were off and running…

MJG: How did you get involved with SyFy and “Dream Machines”?
MP: Once the Xenon Light Motor Bike hit the internet it started going viral and before we were even done, we got a call from the TV people. At that point we were only in business for a couple of months. A guy named Edwin Zane called us up and asked “How would you like to do a TV show because the stuff you do is really cool?”. The company he was with at the time threw out a couple of numbers to us and at the time went with out gut and didn’t go with it…luckily. Especially now that we know what we know. He left that company and went to another company and pitched us again.
SP: In the meantime, we were getting pitches from other production companies as well but we never felt comfortable. We liked Edwin as a person and felt comfortable with him. Edwin then moved to another production company called Triage, Inc. and we ended up going with him full circle around.
MP: Triage is taking good care of us. It is a good show for them. They are a big enough company that they are able to do what needs to get done but still small enough to where we are important to them. Once we signed up with him then he pitched it to seven-eight networks. Literally the next day, he had four of the networks interested in the show. Syfy stepped up and said the first day “He is a contract we will take it”. No messing around. They are revamping that network right now and our show fits in well with them.

Mike P. Gencarelli: What made you switches from Parker Bros Choppers to Parker Bros Concepts?
SP: It was the show. More than anything, we didn’t want to come across as old school bike builders and that is it.
MP: When we first started, the original idea and name of the business was going to be Parker Bros Concepts but then we thought no one would know what that is. The original thought was choppers sell, the stuff we are building is weird and not sure if it would sell or not. We were probably going to end up building a couple of choppers local and build our way up. Then on the side build the concept and if people like them great and if they don’t we can just keep them. We went with Parker Bros Choppers for the name and then it came around full circle since the stuff we were doing was more important to the TV people. They didn’t want us to look like the Orange County Choppers. We switched it over to concepts.

MJG: What was it like shooting a reality show and working your day to day business?
MP: Oh my God!
SP: It was difficult…
MP: …and a lot different than we thought it was going to be. SP: You think it is just going to be a camera standing there off in the background and shooting but it doesn’t really work that way. There is a lot of interviews. It is a totally different world for us. It was a cool experience but it was pretty difficult to build something when they are asking us to do it over. Sometimes they may not get it the first time or may need a different angle.
MP: Or before you do anything you need to check it first with the showrunner or director and make sure it is something if they want to get on camera or not. Then we need to wait for them to get the cameras ready before we do the work.

MPG: On the show you guys have these ridiculous deadlines. Is that due to the show and now that we know about filming; how does that affect the deadlines?
MP: It kills the deadlines.
SP: Normally you would think the deadline is reality. All of these things were needed for certain events or premieres. It was one of those “have-to” situations. You have to have it done by this time.
MP: In addition all of these projects, like 50 Cent’s car, if 50 came to us normally and said I want this car, wewould say give us a year/year and a half and we will have this car for you. But you can’t build a show around something like that. All of the deadlines came into play since we only have “X” number of months to film “X” number of episodes. So a lot of these we had to cram into a shorter period of time just because of being able to film them.

MPG: Got a funny question, why is the logo on the roof?
MP: It is actually not!
MPG: It’s not? CGI?
MP: On the show they will show the roof two or three times and sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not. They spent a lot of money on this helicopter for one day. One of the shotsthey wanted was a building shot. The building looks kind of plain and didn’t really stand out against everything else on the road. They wanted to use the shot since they spent the money on the helicopter and so they CGIed it up there.

MJG: What was your most challenging project to date?
MP: Filming a TV show [laughs].
SP: I don’t know I think John Cena’s car was very difficult. Trying to figure out all the things that go into it. That was was also weird for us beecause we started out with a frame, since normally we don’t. We had a lot of issues…
MP: …trying to work around it. Sometimes starting from scratch makes it a lot easier on you with the crazy designs we are working with. It is hard to take sometime and make it fit into that design. If you just start from scratch, even though there is a lot more hours into it, it makes the design and the build come together a little easier. The most difficult in my mind was the Shredder from “Battleship”. With the Shredder we really got to showcase what we wanted to do. When we started this show, we threw a bunch of really over-the-top project out there at the network. They had us tone it down a bit but not completely insane.
SP: Like the single man sub-marine.
MP: Yeah we wanted to do a one man attack sub-marine and some flying vehicles. But that was personally the hardest but also my favorite build.

MPG: Besides plans for season two of “Dream Machines”; what do you see yours doing years down the line?
MP: Hopefully, we get to execute our plans from the very beginning. We want to be the go-to guys for Hollywood. We want to be the guys to build the vehicles for the movies and TV shows. Whether we are on TV or not, if we are building these things that is what we are into.