Todd Tucker talks about working make-up effects for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" and The Smurfs 2"

Todd Tucker is the owner of special make-up effects studio, Illusion Industries. He has worked on films like “Hannibal”, “Pirates of the Caribbean  The Curse of the Black Pearl” to TV shows like “Soutland” and “Hannah Montana”. 2013 is a very busy year for him with seven projects aiming to be released including “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and The Smurfs 2″.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Todd about these projects and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Let’s breakdown your projects for 2013, first let’s chat about your role working on “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”?
Todd Tucker: Unfortunately with this film, I can’t tell you exactly what we did yet but I can describe our experience. What I can say about “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is that I think the fans are really going to dig what we did on this one. We did a number of different aspects including character looks etc. The first film was cool but it felt a little too much like a video game. It was very CG heavy. Jon Chu, the director, really made this film look like it was happening. Everything is very practical and it feels like you are really experiencing what you are seeing, as oppose to playing a game. The actors are really good at locking in their characters and not making it cheesy. I think this film is going to be very cool and also visually off-the-charts.

MG: Tell us about your work on “The Smurfs 2” and how does it compare from the first film?
TT: It cool since right when I started Illusion Industries, we got called to work on “The Smurfs” and we designed and created the look for Hank Azaria. We made all the appliances. He has a fake nose, dentures, ears, eyebrows and hair. So he looks pretty different. For the first movie, I wasn’t able to be on set. We created everything, did the make-up tests and then handed it off to somebody else. For “The Smurfs 2”, I got to go to Montreal and worked on Hank Azaria’s make-up for the whole show. It was interesting since we started to used the same nose and ears from the first film but Hank had lost some weight and was a little more buffed out. So we had to go in and re-sculpt the nose and downscale it a little bit to adjust for the look. For that point on, we had to just maintain him daily. He is just such a great actor and perfect for the role. He really brought it to life for sure.

MG: We go from action to animation to drama, tell us about your role in “The Iceman”?
TT: Originally we were going to do all sorts of character age make-ups for this film but then we found out it was not going to help the film. We then created all these period looks. We made all the wigs, mustaches and hairpieces. We did a few things on the lead actor, Michael Shannon, for the film. I can tell you this, I saw it at the Toronto Film Festival and I am not a big mafia movie fan but this movie is intense and the performances are great. I was very proud to have my name at the end of this movie.

MG: If you had to choose out of these three films above, which was the biggest challenge?
TT: The most challenging was “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”. We have our main studio here in Burbank but I also have another in New Orleans. The only problem is for “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”, the build was kind of big and they wanted us to relocate everyone to our Burbank studio to there. So we had to all relocate and move into a haunted house for three months [laughs]. So that was a fun but also a challenge. But it was a really cool project to work.

MG: Can you give us an idea about your work on “Fright Night 2”?
TT: The DP on the film I co-wrote and directed “Monster Mutt” is also the DP on “Fright Night 2”. They were filming the movie in Bulgaria around Christmas time last year. They were going through some changes and need us to come up with a creature design for the finale scene. So two of my guys here put it together very quickly and traveled it down. I think it is going to be very cool.

MG: With the films mentioned above and TV shows like “Southland”; do you enjoy the variety of genres?
TT: The thing that is cool is that all different movies and TV shows that we have coming out this year are ranging all across the board. We have family, horror, action, drama and TV shows. We occasionally work on “Sons of Anarchy” and do a lot for the Disney Channel. We are also working currently on Conan O’Brien’s show doing these zombie skits. So yeah, we really like to dapple in all the different genres.

MG: Tell us what else you got planned for 2013?
TT: This year alone in 2013, we have seven films coming out. We got “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and “The Smurfs 2”. We just finished “Fright Night 2”. we did a movie called “Deadlock Pass”, which was shot in Russia by Renny Harlin. Just did a film called “The East”, which I saw at Sundance and it was a really great flick. Also did a movie called “Fort Bliss”, which is a drama. We are still also doing some TV with Disney Channel. We also have an in-house production company that we produce, direct and come up with in-house projects. We did a family film that I mentioned called “Monster Mutt”, which just came out on DirecTV, iTunes and Vudu this month. It is also available on, and So that is doing pretty well. We also have two in-house projects that I am directing this year. One of them is an action/horror film and the other is a very dark fantasy. We are looking forward to that.

The Marshall Tucker Band’s Doug Gray talks about New Album and Touring

Doug Gray is the Founder and Lead Singer of The Marshall Tucker Band.  He has been with the band for 40 years now and shows no sign of slowing down.  He recently released a solo album of lost recordings called “Soul Of The South”.  The Marshall Band will be appearing in Orlando, FL at the Orlando Jai-Alai Fronton on Friday April 13th, click here for more info on that show. Doug took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about the new album, touring and what else the band has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your new album “Soul Of The South”?
Doug Gray: This was a record that never had a name and was never going to be released. I started recording it within a year after Tommy (Caldwell) had gotten killed, our bass player, so around 1981. I wanted to go to Nashville and pick some songs out.  I had wanted to do something more rhythm and blues, since I grew up singing rhythm and blues.  I found a Michael Bolton song that he had written but never release, as well as a bunch of different songs. I thought it would be fun to do if not to keep my mind off things. I ended up with the Memphis Horns on there and a lot of other players from Nashville and also other rock ‘n roll bands.  Once we made a cassette of it…we never listened to it for about 28 years. After that time, one of the partners for the record label got a copy of the cassette and said we should pull try and pull some of these tracks out and release them.  So we put it out and people really seem to like it. It was just another experiment and so far it’s paid off.

MG: What do you like most about touring today?
DG: You know what, people that left us after the first five years came back in 20 years and said “Man, you are as good as you ever were”.  20 years later, you get parents that come with their kids.  Now I am even seeing pregnant women and I know there is going to be another generation of fans.  I think that is cool as can be.  The music is good and that is what it is. We just love going out their and sharing it with our fans. As long as the fans come, we will still get up there on the stage.

MG: I know the fans have their favorites songs but what are yours to perform?
DG: Well I think “Take the Highway” is one of the first original rockers. You go back and listen to it today and it sounds better now than it did on the record. The good part is that we actually are playing it better.  We did it as good as we could back then but we updated it as time went along.  We play it faster.  It wears me out singing it and it is just intense. Just so fantastic and it only gets better and better.

MG: Do you feel that The Marshall Tucker Band as evolved from when you started?
DG: We had no choice.  A lot of the times, guys get older and they don’t want to be on the road. Toy (Caldwell) himself told me, before he passed, he said “I am glad you got it, your the one that will keep it going”.  We don’t sell anything compared to people that walk around with submarines on their head [laughs].  But we are continuously selling CDs and digital downloads. We have opportunity for the next five years to be with Sony Distribution.  They see it just like the public sees it.  Am I proud that I stuck with it and do I believe in all the people I brought in this thing? You better bet your butt I do!  Everyone plays and everyone is a part of it.  That is what is important!

MG: I am a big Lynyrd Skynyrd and Zac Brown Band fan, would love to see you guys tour together in the future.
DG: We do stuff with Skynyrd all the time.  As far as Zac Brown goes, we do have a gig coming up with them.  Somehow Marshall Tucker always seems to get incorporated in the mix.  As far as big group shows, I would love to go to Philadelphia at the JFK Stadium and have 120,000 people there with us.

MG: What can we expect from 2012?
DG: Oh man.  December the 21st, we will be waiting to be lifted up into the sky with this Mayan calender thing.  We will probably be on the tour bus and no better way to go if you gotta go.  We are going out there and got a lot of concerts and festivals upcoming.  I love doing the festivals, whether we are playing for 4,000 people or 200 people it doesn’t matter. As long people show up they are going to be treated to some of the best music they have heard in a week.

MG: Tell us about next year’s Rock Legends II cruise?
DG: It is going to be cool, man.  It is from January 10-15th, 2013. The most important thing is that Paul Rodgers is now on the roster, he is such an amazing singer.  The Foreigner guys are gonna be there. Hatchet is on there with us.  We are just so excited for this.  There is going be some amazing four-hour jams on this cruise.  I have already spoke Rodgers and plenty of other guys.  I don’t have to even ask Hatchet or .38 Special because they can’t keep their asses off the Marshall Tucker stage [laughs]. We just jam and it is going to be fantastic.

The Marshall Tucker Band Keeps on Rockin’ – Live Concert News in Orlando FL

The Marshall Tucker Band Keeps on Rockin’
Live Concert
Friday, April 13 at 8 p.m.
Intersection of SR 436 and 17-92 in the Orlando Jai-Alai Fronton
Tickets Start at $45; On Sale Now at or 407.339.6221 x 100

Featuring a definitive blend of rock, rhythm & blues, jazz, country and gospel, The Marshall Tucker Band is proving to a new generation of fans that good music knows no boundaries. With hit singles like “Heard It In a Love Song,” “Fire On The Mountain,” “Can’t You See,” and “Take The Highway,” the band earned seven gold and three platinum albums as a Capricorn Records artist. Marshall Tucker Band’s debut album spawned numerous hits. Their latest CD, “Way Out West!”- Live from San Francisco 1973, is a time capsule from that period.

Still led by founding member and lead singer Doug Gray, The Marshall Tucker Band represents a time and place in music that will never be duplicated. Current members also include slide guitarist Stuart Swanlund, the highly respected drummer B.B. Borden, multi instrumentalist Marcus Henderson who also contributes lead and background vocals, Pat Elwood on bass guitar, and Rick Willis on lead guitar and vocals. Together, they present a powerful stage presence as they continue to tour the country and serve as a powerful force in the world of music.

Today, the band records new material on its own RAMBLIN’ RECORDS Label which is distributed by SONY by way of a joint venture with SHOUT! FACTORY.

The Marshall Tucker Band plays live on April 13, 2012 in the Orlando Jai-Alai Fronton, which offers free parking, spacious stadium seating, and dynamic sound for a unique and convenient entertainment experience in the heart of Seminole County.

Blu-ray Review “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil”

Directed by: Eli Craig
Starring: Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Chelan Simmons
Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 88 minutes

Overall Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Usually when you mix horror and comedy together it is either hit or miss. This definitely falls into the hit category. It delivers some great laughs, good suspense and great gore. In fact, the gore is very over the top and has tons of it. This is not your typical horror movie and that is why I think I really enjoyed it. It is very unique and is really fun to watch especially after numerous viewings. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine delivers a great performance as the clueless hillbillies and play off each other really well. If you are looking for a great time and some great laughs, be sure to check out this film.

The story is about two hillbillies, Tucker and Dale, that are heading to their recently purchased cabin in the woods summer home and while doing they have a run in with a pack of college kids doing the same thing. While fishing the hillbillies end up save one of the girls who gets injured and take her back to their house to help her but the rest of the college kids take it as her being kidnapped. That is when all things get out of out of control and the college kids wage war on the hillbillies. Tucker and Dale finds themselves in deeper that then can handle.

The video on the Blu-ray is sharp and very impressive. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is also impressive also and worked well with the action. The special features on the Blu-ray release are worth checking out. There is a very funny but also insightful audio commentary with director Eli Craig and stars Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk. “Making of Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil” is a decent featurette that covers behind- the-scenes footage and key interviews. “Tucker and Dale ARE Evil: The College Kids’ Point of View” is a really funny shortened cut of the film turned around from the kids POV. There are quite of bit of outtakes from this film and they are FUNNY! There are just shy of 100 storyboard drawings also included. Like all Magnolia Picture releases. there is an “HDNet: A Look at Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil”, which is a short version of the making of featurette. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer for the film and also previews from Magnolia Home Entertainment Blu-ray.