Streaming Film Review: “Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on ‘The Exorcist'”

  • Starring:  William Friedkin
  • Directed by: Alexandre O. Philippe
  • Rated:  Not Rated
  • Running time:  1 hr 44 mins
  • Exhibit A Pictures

What is a perfect film?  To me, it is a film that, when you’ve watched it and absorbed what you’ve seen, you can’t find any fault with it.  Not a false note, not a frame you would change.  Perfect films are rare and the list is short.  “Citizen Kane…”  “The Godfather…”  “Chinatown…” and the most terrifying film I’ve seen in my 60 years on Earth, William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist.”  The new documentary, “Leap of Faith: William Friendkin on ‘The Exorcist’,” which airs exclusively beginning November 19 on the Shudder streaming service, takes you on an amazing journey into the making of the film, with the film’s director as your tour guide.

In Mr. Friedkin’s opinion, the majority of religious-themed films from Hollywood  were “sappy.”  Films like “The Ten Commandments”  and “King of Kings” treated God as being “magic.”  To Friedkin, only the 1955 Dutch film “Ordet” really approached religion – the mystery of faith” – in a truthful way.  Friedkin also believe it was fate that put together all of the pieces that became “The Exorcist.” 

We learn how he came to read the novel and how he worked with the book’s author, William Peter Blatty, to bring the book he wrote to the screen.  Friedkin remarks that Blatty’s script for the film omitted key parts in the novel that Friedkin felt were essential to the story.  Friedkin also reveals that several directors, including Stanley Kubrick and Arthur Penn, turned the film down before he was offered the job.  And while I knew that several actors, including Roy Scheider, had begged for the pivotal role of Father Damien Karras, Stacy Keach was actually hired for the part until Jason Miller pleaded with Friedkin for a chance to test for the role.  As much as I love Stacy Keach, when you watch “The Exorcist” now can you see anyone else in the role of Father Karras? 

“Leap of Faith” contains some amazing archival footage, including footage featuring a possessed Linda Blair speaking with her own voice.  It’s disturbing enough  to hear a 12-year old girl utter the vile dialogue in the gravelly voice of a demon but when you hear those words uttered in Blair’s own soft voice it’s downright chilling.

As “Leap of Faith” progresses you can’t help but think that this is what it must be like to have Da Vinci describe how he created the Mona Lisa.  Nothing is left unmentioned, including a discussion on the many conclusions that moviegoers and critics have drawn from the ending of the film.  To Friedkin, the ending is the film’s only flaw, one he feels he did not fully explain.  Flaw?  Not in my mind.  It’s perfect!

William Shatner talks about his one-man show “Shatner’s World”

Photo Credit: Manfred Baumann

You might know William Shatner as Captain Kirk from “Star Trek: The Original Series”, or Denny Crane from “Boston Legal”, either way the man is a legend in the business. At age 83, he is still going strong and has tackled everything from acting to theatre to being an author. In 2012, he returned to the stage on Broadway with his one-man show, “Shatner’s World”. Since then he took the show on tour and now it will be playing in movie theaters for a special engagement on April 24th through Fanthom Events. Media Mikes had the special privilege to chat with Mr. Shatner about the show and his outstanding career.

Mike Gencarelli: You took “Shatner’s World” from Broadway, then touring and now to cinemas; what has been the highlight for you this journey?
William Shatner: The highlight is at the end of the evening…I think I am safe in saying that at every performance that I have done, the audience had stood up and applauded at the end. The emotion that comes over the footlights between me and the audience has moved me to tears many times. The audiences affection at the end of the evening is palpable and that is truly the highlight for me, Mike. And for the price of a movie ticket, you can see a Broadway play in theaters. This is a live capture of the Broadway play and it will be released in 700 theaters and you can see it for the price of only a movie ticket. So you can’t beat that.

MG: “Shatner’s World” calls back to your roots starting off in theatre; how was it returning back to that setting?
WS: I have been asked for years, since the last time I was on Broadway, to come back and do a play and in some cases a musical. But they needed to get at least a six month commitment and I didn’t have that time available. So I thought “I guess that’s it for me and Broadway”. But within months of saying that came an opportunity to go back to Broadway with this show and I even was able to go to the the exact theater where I was for my last Broadway play. So the irony of that, or the beautiful or symmetry of that is not lost on me.

Photo Credit: George Qua-Enoo Photography

MG: What was the the name of that last Broadway show?
WS: It was “A Shot in the Dark” with Julie Harris…many years ago.

MG: In “Shatner’s World”, you mentioned several struggles on your career early on; what would you say is your defining moment?
WS: I have the kind of career that was a slow build. Every time something sensational was going to happen it didn’t work out that way it was suppose to. There was this slow wave of attention and activity that I think actually climaxes in this one-man show. To go on stage alone for an hour and a half to two hours and hold an audience and get the kind of reaction I’ve been am getting, that is the cumulation of years of experience and attention. It didn’t happen suddenly, there was no defining moment. Instead, there was a series of small wavelets as apposed to a tsunami.

MG: Having such a full career, what were some of the hard decisions you had to make to cut out in order to get this show down to an hour and a half?
WS: There were many parts that didn’t make it, especially getting the show ready for Broadway. I had to sharpen and refine and reduce it to it’s supreme moments, if you will, where it epitomizes everything that I wanted to say. Not only stories but also extraneous words, so it is a difficult process. The core of this show was to say “Yes” to life. To give this idea, this concept, that life is precious and needs to be embraced with both ears and smothered by you because it is over so quickly. So the stories that went along with that core were the stories that I kept.

MG: I loved the energy that you brought to the stage; how do you channel all that energy running around on stage and still while being funny and charming?
WS: It is part of the entertainer’s magic, I guess, but that is my energy and it comes from my core. That is what I bring to you on stage, you being the audience. I feel that there is a magical link between me and the audience. I feel it and you feel it. I am there for you. We are having a love affair, the performer and the audience. I actually feel the embrace and perform to that and that is energizing to me.
MG: I have to honestly say that from just watching the show, I felt pumped and I didn’t even see it in person, so congrats on that as well for being very effective.
WS: I am so glad to hear you say that, thank you. That is a lovely compliment and I appreciate you saying it.

MG: You bet!, what would you say is biggest challenge doing a one-man show?
WS: There is a number of challenges. You are talking continuously for two hours and trying to remember the words. It is not unlike musicians doing a set and having the set numbers in front of them. They have clues as to what is next. So that is what I had but it still had to remember those words. So now that I haven’t done this in many months I am going to be in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand on June 19th, 20th, 21st doing the one-man show, which is what a thrill let me say, so I am going to have to re-learn the lines now. So that is a challenge but not only that but I am going to have to teach the show to an individual on how to work that software for the electronics and the media. So that is going to be a challenge in Las Vegas. Then I am going on a tour for a few selected dates in January and have to re-do that again. So the dint of the words and the expenditure of energy that is so orgasmic [laughs] and you have to be ready for it, so those are challenges also.

MG: You mentioned your musical career in the show; do you have any plans to go down that road again?
WS: Well, I have been asked to do a cover album…and I just may do that. I love music. I can’t sing or sustain a note but what I do have is the musicality of the language. Many languages, English among them, has an intrinsic melody and rhythm that needs to be sought out, if you will. It is one thing to speak like we do but another to find the heart of the language and I love that. So my ability to be able to combine that musicality of the words with a melody line that comes in behind it, it became a signature thing. I just love doing it and I am anxious to do it again, so whether it is an album or live. I did perform my newest album, which is called “Ponder the Mystery”. I did it three times with Billy Sherwood’s group in the Los Angeles area last year and it got a great response and I would love to repeat that.

MG: From being an actor, author, spokesperson etc; what is left on your bucket list that you want to do?
WS: Oh my goodness. I haven’t done anything in life. I feel unaccomplished and I feel like I have done nothing [laugh]. Being a performer, once the performance is over…it is gone. It is in the ether. It may have just as well not happened. The next night is the next challenge. It is a challenge of many kinds. It is a challenge of redoing that performance that only you can remember. The challenge is also that if there will be an audience for that performance. I am feeling that way right now. Doing all this publicity is an attempt to fill that gap that I hope that 700 theaters will be filled up with people coming to see the show on April 24th. There is so much to do and so little time left to do it.

William Shockley reflects on roles in “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman” and “Showgirls”

William Shockley (born September 17, 1963) is an actor and musician. Shockley was born in Lawrence, Kansas. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in political science. Shockley has appeared in many movies and TV shows including Welcome to Paradise, In Justice, Showgirls, The Joyriders, and most notably Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in which he played Hank Lawson. He also appeared in the 2007 film Treasure Raiders.

Mike Smith: You led a rather nomadic lifestyle as a young man. Did that experience help prepare you for the different roles you’ve played as an actor?
William Shockley: Moving around all the time during my childhood actually proved to be a huge plus. I can pretty much travel anywhere and feel comfortable with my surroundings. I was forced to learn how to acclimate and get along with strangers. I’m sure that living in different parts of America and living abroad in Europe gave me insight and perspectives that I have woven into various characters.

MS: You’ve done a lot of episodic television, most notably “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman.” Is there a comfort as an actor when you’re adding to the same character each week as opposed to a one-shot film character?
WS: Being a series regular on a television show like “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” was a true gift. I loved the privilege of developing a character over a 6-year run. I became very attached to the role of “Hank Lawson”. He was a complex character… lots of layers, which is wonderful. He was one guy on the surface, and a totally different person in his heart. The great writing on “Dr. Quinn” was a huge bonus. I’ve done many films as well, and I seem to always want to do a sequel to a film when I have a character that I connect with and enjoy portraying. I feel this way about “Born Wild”, a film coming out this summer, where I co-star with Barry Corbin, Kix Brooks (of “Brooks & Dunn”), Tanya Clarke, Joe Lando and Justin Deeley. The role in “Born Wild” is “CJ Jennings”… a guy with a wayward, troubled past, who goes back home to reconcile his future. “CJ” has so many issues and so much baggage, yet at the end of the day, he finds redemption. I also got to reunite with Joe Lando, from “Dr. Quinn”, on this film. Joe is a dear friend and it was great to be back on a set with him.

MS: You’re upcoming film, “Reaper,” teams you up with “Starship Troopers'” Jake Busey. Did the two of you get to trade any Paul Verhoeven stories?
WS: I actually didn’t have any scenes with Jake. I worked with Danny Trejo and Vinnie Jones, both great actors and a lot of fun to be around.

MS: In the almost 20 years since it’s release, “Showgirls” has blossomed into a cult hit, with midnight showings ala “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Did you have any idea when you were making the film that it would still resonate all of these years later?
WS: I don’t ever have a preconceived idea of how a film will resonate with the audience. As an actor, all I can do is prepare to the best of my ability, show up on the set, and deliver the goods. The rest is up to the director and producers and other actors in the film. You can only control yourself in this type of setting, and then, anticipate the best.

MS: What do you have coming up next?
WS: I actually have several films coming out in 2014. “Ambush at Dark Canyon”, a western that Team Two Entertainment produced (my production company) starring Kix Brooks and Ernie Hudson, was released January 14 and is available on DVD at Walmart. This summer I’m in two films, “Born Wild” and “Dug Up”, a redneck-stoner-zombie-comedy. Later in the year “Reaper” will come out, followed by “Finding Harmony” with Billy Zane and Allison Eastwood, and a western, “Hot Bath ‘An A Stiff Drink”, with Ronnie Blevins and Grainger Hines. My partners in Team Two Entertainment are Kix Brooks, Dustin Rikert and Eric Brooks. We have a big announcement being made this Spring. There’s a really awesome deal being set up that I’m very excited about. Stay tuned for those details.

“William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” Book Giveaway [ENDED]


Who doesn’t love “Star Wars”? One of the best ideas of the year was to blend the world of “Star Wars” with the words of William Shakespeare. Thanks to author Ian Doescher. Media Mikes would like to giveaway a copy of the book. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite character from the franchise. Check some of the great one-liners below or be creative or choose others since there are tons. This giveaway will remain open until October 4th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to all fans of Media Mikes in US and Canada only! One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything. Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations–William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

Ian Doescher talks about his book “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars”

Ian Doescher has loved Shakespeare since eighth grade and was born 45 days after “Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope” was released. “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” is Ian’s first book and it is such a blast blend the two very different worlds together. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ian about the book and his love for “Star Wars”.

Mike Gencarelli: So why did you choose “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” as your first book?
Ian Doescher: That’s funny, I feel like I didn’t really choose it — it chose me! The idea came to me after three things converged: I watched the Star Wars trilogy with some good friends from high school, I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and I attended the Oregon Shakespeare Festival with my family. That was all within about two months. So I had Star Wars, Shakespeare and mash-ups on my mind, and the idea was formed out of that combination. Happily, this book mixes two of my passions, so it was really a joy to write.

MG: What was the biggest challenge to blend the Shakespearean aspect into the world of “Star Wars”?
ID:  The biggest challenge is how to make it somewhat believable that the action and futuristic technology of Star Wars could somehow exist on an Elizabethan stage. I handled the action by using a Chorus to explain what’s going on, as Shakespeare does in Henry V, but we still have this Shakespearean language mixed with things like blasters, lightsabers and the Death Star. You probably have to set aside any realistic expectations of a Shakespearean play when you read the book.

MG: How did the whole process take you from inception to release?
ID:  I was extremely lucky in this process, and I don’t take that for granted. After I had the idea, I looked up Quirk Books online (knowing they had published Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and other mash-ups) and found the email address for my editor. I emailed him out of the blue with my idea, and he said he would take a look at the manuscript if I actually wrote something. That was enough to prompt me to write the first act, which I sent to him, he enjoyed, and off we went. Quirk handled the contract with Lucasfilm, and the book was published just under a year after I had the initial idea. This is not the way publishing is supposed to happen — normally it takes much longer for a book to go from inception to release, formal proposals and agents are involved, and so on. Again, I recognize how lucky I am!

MG:  What is your favorite piece from the “Star Wars” universe that you were able to put into the book?
ID:  Han Solo has always been my favorite character, so probably putting his dialogue into iambic pentameter and writing some soliloquies for him was the most fun part of the book. He’s just such a stud — hopefully I made him a Shakespearean stud.

MG: Why is Han Solo your favorite “Star Wars” character?
ID: He was so full of swagger, and for a kind of dorky kid like me it was inspiring to watch someone that cool on the screen. It’s no wonder that Han Solo was the role that made Harrison Ford’s career.

MG:  Do you know if this has yet to make it into the hands of George Lucas?
ID: No, I haven’t heard. I’d like to believe he has read it!

MG:  Since the book is called “Verily, A New Hope”, can we expect a few sequels in cards?
ID:  It would be really fun to see the sequels happen, but at this point nothing is certain. There’s still so much richness to be explored in the trilogy — I have fun imagining what it would be like when Luke finds out Darth Vader is his father, or what Lando might soliloquize about. Maybe the biggest question: how would Yoda speak in a Shakespearean context? It would be fun to play around with (and ultimately answer) those questions.

MG:  What else do you have planned next?
ID:  I’m developing a children’s book with a friend of mine who is an illustrator, and I think there’s another Shakespearean adaptation in me (whether it’s the Star Wars sequels or something else).


Related Content

Book Review “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars”

Author: Ian Doescher
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: July 2, 2013

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“In a time so long ago begins our play, in a star-crossed galaxy far, far.” – William Shakespeare

Where it is “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” or “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters”, the mash-up titles have become very popular in recent years. Well Quirk Books has been behind these releases and I have been a fan of them since day one. After working with the literature of Jane Austen, what next then William Shakespeare. And of course what better to blend the unique language of Shakespeare with than the world of “Star Wars”. When I heard about this book, I honestly couldn’t have been more excited. Now I have to admit that I am not the biggest Shakespeare fan to be honest.  But what I am is a huge “Star Wars” geek and I had a feeling this was going to be epic…and guess what…it is! What I loved most about it is that it has that certain Shakespeare feel but you didn’t have to major in classic literature in order to dig it! Since this book is subtitled “Verily, A New Hope”, we can only hope that this will be the first in a series.

Official Premise: Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything. Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations–William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

I have to point out how much I love the author’s intro on the back cover flap “Ian Doescher has loved Shakespeare since eighth grade and was born 45 days after Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope was released”. That cracked me up. This is his first book and he really does solid job of blending these two very different worlds. They are so different but yet this blend works so well together. I originally thought that this was going to be a laugh riot, parody book but let me tell you I was quite wrong.  The book is quite humorous but it is in no way a joke.  This is some serious literature here with an ever so subtle smile smirked behind the words. It may not be for everyone, since we all know that Shakespeare style of writing is not the easiest to digest but it is definitely different, unique and very entertaining.  I have a feeling that this is going to satisfy both “Star Wars” fans and also fans of Shakespeare’s work as well.  Hell it might even convert a few classic literature fans to the world of “Star Wars”.

William Salyers talks about voicing Rigby in Cartoon Network's "Regular Show"

William Salyers is a stage actor that got thrown into the world of voice acting with his role in Adult Swim’s “Moral Orel”. He is currently the voice of Rigby in Cartoon Network’s “Regular Show”. The show, which won an Emmy last year, is continuing to grow as it enters its fifth season. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with William about his role in the show and about the fandom surrounding it.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what made you want to get into voice acting?
William Salyers: I kind of slipped into it acually. I never really planned to be a voice actor. I have been a stage actor for most of my life. Over the years, I’d be doing regional theater and someone would ask me to local commercial or two. I would do it but never thought of it as a destination for me. Going on 10 years ago now, I was here in LA and a friend of mine Scott Adsit, who was one of the co-creators of “Moral Orel”, contacted me when they working on the first season. Scott called me up and said they had the first season in the can but they had a voice that they weren’t happy with. I had no voice career and I thought it was not worth my time. But I figured it was a friend trying to throw another friend a bone. So I remember during my read through with the show’s creator Dino Stamatopoulos, he told me not to worry since “You’ve done voice over before right?” and I said “No, not really”. [laughs] I knew it wasn’t going to go anywhere so I wasn’t trying to lie. So I was completely relaxed when I read for the part of Reverent Puddy. Scott called me a day or two later and said “Network loved you…you’re in!” So that was the beginning of it.

MG: Was that a challenge going from theater to voice acting?
WS: I am sure you can find people that disagree but I think that stage training is a challenge, especially if you are playing the lead. You have to pick up a show, put it on your shoulder and carry it for two hours. I think that is fantastic training for anything whether it is film, TV or even voice over because you have already learned how to create and span that character and then the rest of it is all technique. I certainly do enjoy it and consider it a natural extension of what I have been trying to do my whole life.

MG: How did it come about for you to voice Rigby on “Regular Show”?
WS: With “Regular Show”, I didn’t know anyone involved with the project. “Moral Orel” got me legitimized into the world of voice over and got an agent. So I got an audition one day from Cartoon Network for this pilot. I didn’t even understand what I was reading for at first. Besides that I knew the character was a raccoon. I remember one of the lines I had since I had no idea what it meant. It was “Chew ties you don’t know what I am going to throw next baby”. I thought what kind of ties are they talking about “neck ties, railroad ties…what are we talking about here”. Based on the way the dialogue was written, he seemed a little hyper active to me, so I delivered the line like this [speaking in Rigby’s voice] “Chew ties you don’t know what I am going to throw next baby”. From the audition, I booked the pilot.Actually, I had to audition again once the pilot got picked up. So I booked Rigby, not once but twice. The second time they called me to audition for the part, I got to do the hamboning bit which is probably one of my favorite bits of Rigby’s as we are going on five seasons now. I went to town with that. I knew it was a good sign when I saw J.G. (Quintel) laughing in the booth. So that is how that came about.

MG: Working with the show’s creator J.G. Quintel (who also voices Mordecai), do you find that you have a lot of creative freedom?
WS: Voice over really is a very precise art. You have people creating how you are going to look while you are deciding how you are going to sound. Within that though, I do feel like I have a lot of freedom. I am not just blowing smoke but I find that working with J.G. is really such a treat. It is remarkable to see a guy be so successful while also being so cool. If he loses it, I have never seen it. And you know he has tremendous pressure around him. Over the five seasons, we have developed a great rapport. We can usually knock out a scene in one or two takes since we have been working together so long.

MG: Are you surprised with the success and fan base surrounding this show?
WS: Oh my God! Yes, absolutely. I continue to be and remain surprised. I knew it was hilarious when I started working it. But there is a larger question though of if the show is going to tap into a specific demographic, let alone multiple demographics like this show has. You have dads in their 30’s laughing at this show with their kids. J.G. has achieved that. I remember last year when we went to San Diego Comic Con, the entire Cartoon Network booth was “Regular Show” themed. So they had a giant blow up parade float version of Mordecai and Rigby in the golf cart. You could see it across the whole convention center. So that was overwhelming. I have had to get used to that sort of thing. I am not what you would call an extrovert. I am more of an introvert. It is still kind of stunning for me to be ousted as the voice of Rigby and see all of these people lining up to meet me and wanting autographs. The fans are really great though. It has just been mind-numbing.

MG: After 120 episodes, what keeps it fresh for you?
WS: So far there hasn’t been an episode that my character hasn’t been in. Even if he might spend most of it in a coma…he is there [laughs]. I will tell you honestly Mike; the key is that when I get a storyboard, which is weekly, I am laughing out loud. Our writers are phenomenal and that is what does it for me.

MG: After winning an Emmy last year, what can we expect from the show next?
WS: I can’t speak in specifics but in round terms, I can say that J.G. and the staff are looking for more opportunities to writing extended shows. Half hour shows. He is interested in exploring how the characters are maturing including some major life changes and what that would do to the show. We also continue to have amazing guest stars. As the show gets more and more popular it just keeps growing.  We continue to get some fantastic people who want to be interested in working on our show. I think it is going to be bigger and better.

William Forsythe talks about roles in "Happy in the Valley" and "Boardwalk Empire"

After several successful years appearing in various television (“Fame,” “Hill Street Blues”) and film (“King of the Mountain,” “The Lightship”) William Forsythe made an impact on filmgoers everywhere as escaped convict Evelle Snoats in the Coen Brothers comedy “Raising Arizona.” This led to featured roles in films like “Weeds,” “Dick Tracy,” “Out for Justice” and “American Me,” in which he gives one of my favorite performances – that of JD, a Caucasian gang member who acts Chicano. He continued to find success with roles in films like “The Waterdance,” “The Rock,” “Blue Streak” and “The Librarians,” which he also wrote. He also had a memorable turn as Al Capone in the television series “The Untouchables.” He recently completed a stint on the acclaimed HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” and will soon be seen as former boxer Jake LaMotta in the “Raging Bull” follow-up entitled “The Bronx Bull.” While promoting his current film, “Happy in the Valley,” Mr. Forsythe took some time to answer some questions. We traded blizzard stories (I was in the middle of one when we spoke and he had just dug himself out of one the week before) for a few moments before he talked about his new film, “Boardwalk Empire” and what could be next for him behind the camera.

Mike Smith: Introduce us to your character in “Happy in the Valley,” photographer Stewart Fox.
William Forsythe: What kind of introduction would you like? He’s pretty “balls to the wall!” What I think is amazing about Stewart as a character is that he’s a guy that has basically lived on the very bottom of the Hollywood scene. He worked his way up and rose to the top of his profession. He’s now fallen back down.

MS: What about the character drew you to the project?
WF: What drew me to the project is that this guy has seen it all in the course of his life and he’s been at the top of his game. And now, at this point of his life, he’s back at the very bottom. He’s become bitter. He has a drinking problem. He has a drug problem. And what really drew me to this picture is that you have this world that is really seedy and ugly as the backdrop. It’s really a story about his epiphany. One of the main things is that this guy, who has been everywhere, really learns that he needs to go back to the beginning…to where it all began. It’s such an uplifting story, especially for a film that’s set in the porn business.

MS: Stewart is described as “The World’s Greatest Erotic Photographer.” What exactly does that entail?
WF: I think it entails different things that occur during his life and career. In the beginning he was touted as one of the great photographers. He did very classy shoots…very classy and erotic shoots. But at this point in the game…as the porn world goes from film to digital….it’s like boxing is being replaced by crazy cage fighting…this world that he once knew has changed. In order to support himself he has to take himself to the bottom of the industry. He makes money but the amount of dignity he can take home with him is literally none.

MS: You’ve had such great success in both film and television projects. Do you have a preferred medium to work in?
WF: I love to make movies. Movies are my favorite. I love to take a story and tell the whole story from beginning to end. I enjoy television too but basically every week you get handed new pages and you don’t have a lot of control about where the story is going. And there are so many types of films. I’ve done my share of big studio pictures. But when you take on a beautiful independent film like “Happy in the Valley” you can see the magic happen…it’s the closest thing to the old feeling I used to get on stage. It reminded me of going off and doing summer stock.

MS: Speaking of getting pages and finding out you’re no longer on the show, do you miss the experience of working on “Boardwalk Empire?”
WF: I had a great time working on that show and I miss all of the people involved. The one thing about “Boardwalk Empire” – to the man and woman – is that people were dedicated to putting out something special. And that is not as common as it used to be. And that aspect of it I miss. But I knew….when I entered “Boardwalk Empire” everything was rolling along fine…but I knew the minute that I killed those two girls that I had a thunderbolt hanging over my head. And it’s true. You do find out on the day. They hand you your pages and you’re dead!

MS: You wrote the film “The Librarians” and you’ve produced several projects. Do you ever see yourself sitting in the director’s chair? WF: I do. I’ve had a couple offers and I certainly have a lot of scripts that I’ve written. So yes, I do.

MS: Any word on when “The Bronx Bull” will be released?
WF: I’m not sure on the exact date. The last time I spoke to the producers they were shooting for late spring. They’re hoping for an initial theatrical release of 20-25 cities but they haven’t set a release date yet.

MS: Thank you again for your time this morning.
WF: Thank you. And stay strong in that blizzard, buddy!

William Joyce talks about the film “Rise of the Guardians” and book series “The Guardians of Childhood”

William Joyce is the author of the “The Guardians of Childhood” series, which is being made into the film, “Rise of the Guardians”. William also served as executive producer on the film. William recently released the third novel in “The Guardians of the Childhood” series, called “Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies” and also a picture book “Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies”. Media Mikes had a chance to ask William a few questions about turning his series into a film and chatted about his new books.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your work on DreamWorks Animation’s “Rise of the Guardians”?
William Joyce: The upcoming DreamWorks Animation “Rise of the Guardians”, set for release on November 21, is based on my book series “The Guardians of Childhood.” It takes place 200 years after the team’s formation in the books; it tells the story of Jack’s recruitment to the team and centers around four of the guardians; Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost and the Easter Bunny. The Guardians of Childhood book series tells a sweeping tale of the ongoing battle between Pitch, lord of nightmares, and the eponymous guardians, consisting of figures such as the Man in the Moon, Nicolas St. North, the Tooth Fairy, Bunnymund the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, Mother Goose, and Jack Frost. I also worked as the executive producer, so I collaborated on all aspects of the film. Design, story, and casting.

MG: What was the most challenging aspect of bringing “The Guardians of Childhood” to screen?
WJ: Narrowing the story down to a 90 minute film, then bringing that story to the screen. Animated feature films are titanic endeavors, and take years to realize.

MG: Tell us about the next novel in the series “Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies”?
WJ: Toothania, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies, is the third and the newest in The Guardian series. It delves into the secret world of the third Guardian, the mysterious Tooth Fairy. This third chapter book presents you to Her Royal Highness, Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairies. There’s a lot more to her than has been previously understood.

MG: How many other book do you have planned in this series?
WJ: The Guardians of Childhood Series and The Guardians series will consist in total of thirteen books; the seven picture books in The Guardians of Childhood series and six chapter books in the Guardians of Childhood series.

MG: How did the idea for picture book “The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie” come about?
WJ: I’ve been working on a unified mythology for the icons of childhood since my daughter asked me if Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy knew each other. As a parent, I felt that Santa Claus, the Man in the Moon, all of them had become a little diminished. They deserve to be thought of as grand. Heroic. Epic. If Spider-Man has an origins mythology, then why not the characters we actually believed in? Creating a voice for their stories became my mission.

MG: Tell us about the road to “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” winning the Best Animated Short in 2011 Oscars?
WJ: We started Moonbot Studios three years ago, in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. It’s an unlikely place to have an animation studio. We are, I believe, the 104th largest city in the United States. But we love it. Shreveport is home. To do the short we had to mortgage our houses and hunt for every nickel we could rub together. It was a huge risk. But we believed in ourselves and the story. Most of our employees were fresh out of college. Working at Moonbot was their first job. When we won, the whole city, the entire state of Louisiana, went nuts. It was like a Frank Capra movie come to life. They gave us a ticker tape parade, a key to the city, and sang for he’s a jolly good fellow. Our lives became like the movies we’d been inspired by and loved. It was surreal, unspeakably happy and perfect. But now our employees are totally spoiled.

MG: What can you tell us about your next film “Epic”?
WJ: Epic is an upcoming 3D computer animated fantasy-adventure film based on my children’s book “The Leaf Men.” It’s an epic adventure that just happens to be in the secret world of a teenage girl’s backyard. A race o tiny beings threatened by an ancient evil. I like to think of it as an intimate epic. It’s being produced by Blue Sky Studios and directed by Chris Wedge, the director of Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005). It stars the voices of Beyoncé Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Knoxville, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, and Steven Tyler. The film is scheduled to be released on May 24, 2013.

William Holden’s daughter, Virginia, to appear at screening of “The Bridge on the River Kwai” in Omaha

In conjunction with the release of her new book, “Growing Up with William Holden,” his daughter Virginia Holden will appear at a benefit screening of director David Lean’s masterpiece “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” The screening will be held at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska on Friday, November 4, 2011 and will benefit the Nebraska Kidney Association.

The 1957 film stars William Holden, Alec Guiness and Jack Hawkins and received seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Lean) and Best Actor (Guiness).

Copies of the new book will be available for purchase at the event and Ms. Holden will be available for autographs. This is the 29th Class Film Event presented by Bruce Crawford and his Omaha Film Event organization. Previous screenings include “The Godfather,” “Jaws,” “Singing in the Rain” and “Young Frankenstein.”

Tickets are $20.00 and are available at all Omaha area HyVee Food Stores. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door the night of the screening. For more information, or to find out how you can obtain tickets from outside the Omaha area, please call (402) 932-7200. For more information on Bruce Crawford and previous Omaha Film Event screenings go to

Eric Brevig To Direct Brendan Fraser in “William Tell: 3D”


Brendan Fraser Reunited with JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH Director

New Original Screenplay by Chad and Evan Law
Gary Hamilton’s Arclight Films Handles Sales
Toronto, ON, Canada – September 7, 2011 – Producer Todd Moyer has announced that Eric  Brevig will direct Brendan Fraser in the historical family action adventure WILLIAM TELL: 3D, to be shot in spring 2011 in Romania.  Brevig, who replaces Nick Hurran at the helm of the film, also directed JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH and YOGI BEAR; both pictures grossed over $US100 million each domestically and over half a billion worldwide theatrically. Brevig is also known as a visual effect supervisor, who won a special achievement Academy Award® in Special Effects for TOTALL RECALL was nominated for PEARL HARBOR and HOOK.  Other VFX credits include MEN IN BLACK, THE ISLAND and THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.
Moyer says, “We’re delighted to reunite Eric Brevig with Brendan Fraser; family action adventure is exactly what Brendan and Eric do best. Eric’s skills and experience will make this film compete with any studio film.”  Owing to the change in director, brand-new, original script by Chad and Evan Law (SIX BULLETS; THE HERO; THE HIT LIST), advancing winter weather in Eastern Europe and pre-production time, Moyer expects principal photography to begin in mid-March 2012 Castel Studios in Romania and on location in Switzerland.  The budget’s been upped to an estimated $27 million sourced from a Chicago hedge fund.  Gary Hamilton’s Arclight Pictures will handle international distribution of the film at Toronto.
William Tell is a legend in North America for shooting an apple from the top of his son’s head with a bow and arrow (it was really a crossbow).  What Americans don’t know is that he’s a revered historical figure in Europe.  In the legend, Tell just can’t leave well enough alone.  The local potentate of the Hapsburg monarch, Hermann Gessler forces Tell to shoot the apple because he refused to bow before Gessler’s hat, erected in a town square.  Tell succeeds in cleanly (and safely) cleaving the fruit and wins his and his son’s freedom.
But Gessler asks Tell why he had two arrows is his quiver, and Tell replies he was going to shoot Gessler with the second if he’d missed.  Tell’s defiance of Gessler ignited an uprising against the Austrian government which led to the formation of Switzerland.
A veteran of dozens of films and one of America’s most charming leading men, Brendan Fraser’s best known for playing amiable archaeologist Rick O’Connell in the three blockbuster MUMMY films for Universal; he’s also starred in EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES, GODS AND MONSTERS, CRASH and SCHOOL TIES. Fraser’s shot a number of new films in recent months, including the “fish heist” comedy WHOLE LOTTA SOLE, GIMME SHELTER, and the animated ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH.  Fraser’s repped by CAA, Joanne Colonna with Brillstein Entertainment Partners and attorney Patti Felker.

Ethan Hawke and William Hurt Lead “Moby Dick” Sails Onto Blu-ray And DVD October 4th



Co-Starring Gillian Anderson And Donald Sutherland, The Timeless Epic Tale Sails Onto Blu-ray And DVD October 4

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA – With the famous words, “Call me Ishmael,” begins the spectacular adaptation of Herman Melville’s novel, considered the greatest work of American literature, MOBY DICK, arriving in brilliant Blu-ray and DVD October 4 from RHI Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment. A two-part original miniseries event that premiered August 1 & 2 on Encore, the New York Times calls it “an ambitious, beautifully made adventure tale that seeks to be respectful of the book while still making the characters and story accessible to modern viewers,” and the Wall Street Journal adds, “there is much to marvel at in this production.”

Led by a “persuasive and compelling” (New York Times) performance from Academy Award® winner William Hurt (Children Of A Lesser God), the miniseries features powerful dramatic performances by a cast of celebrated actors including Golden Globe® winner Donald Sutherland (Citizen X), Academy Award® nominee Ethan Hawke (Daybreakers), Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”), Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes) and Billy Boyd (The Lord Of The Rings).

A psychological thriller of one man’s decent into madness, the story begins when inexperienced sailor Ishmael (Charlie Cox, Stardust) joins the crew of the whaling ship Pequod helmed by the mysterious and tortured Captain Ahab (Hurt). Though the journey at first appears to be a routine whaling quest, the crew soon is unwittingly forced to join Ahab in his singular purpose – to hunt and kill the enigmatic white whale, which nearly killed him years before. As they sail across the desolate ocean, Ahab’s obsession to seek the deadly whale they call Moby Dick, no matter the cost, soon proves fatal. Never straying from his quest to hunt and kill the monstrous whale, the crew realizes that their captain is so blinded by vengeance that he may soon lead them all to an ultimate peril.

From the rocky shores of Nantucket to the deepest depths of the Atlantic Ocean, enthralling special effects also highlight the two-part original miniseries that is “lavish, exciting, well-acted and admirably thorough” (Washington Post). The MOBY DICK Blu-ray will be available for the suggested retail price of $29.95, while the DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $19.97.

Ishmael sees his dream of a whaling voyage come true when he joins the crew of the Pequod, a sailing vessel leaving port in Nantucket. Unbeknownst to Ishmael and the mates, the Pequod’s megalomaniacal Captain Ahab is taking them all on a mad and personal mission to slay the great whale Moby Dick—an obsession that will open their eyes to the wonder and spectacle of man, of beast, and the inescapable nature of both in this epic retelling of Herman Melville’s masterpiece.


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