Wizards of Winter’s Fred Gorhau talks about album “The Magic of Winter”

Fred Gorhau is the guitarist for the NY, NJ, and PA metro area band The Wizards of Winter. The group which formed in 2010 has strong classical and progressive rock influences features several former Trans Siberian Orchestra members. The group recently released their second full length album titled “The Magic of Winter” which is a continuation of the groups 2014 self titled release. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Frank recently about the new album, the group’s ties to the Trans Siberian Orchestra and the bands upcoming holiday tour.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the group’s initial formation?
Frank Gorhau: We all come from different backgrounds. Me personally I come from a rock and heavy metal background. The group was put together by our keyboardist Scott Kelly, his wife Sharon and Steve Ratchen the bass player. The whole concept behind the group was there was a food pantry in the area that needed help. Scott and company wanted to do something so they decided to put a band together. The first year they were performing they did strictly Trans Siberian Orchestra (TSO) music. I joined the group in the second year when things really started picking up. People were asking where they could get our music and there really wasn’t a place. We decided we better do a CD so we did and now we are just releasing our second album. We have some former members of TSO appearing on the album and have had the chance to tour with 5 former members thus far. It’s great to be able to get together and do something that has grown exponentially. The group has gone from being a TSO tribute act to performing 20 of our own original songs with just a couple TSO classics thrown in for the member of that group who our now playing with us. We are doing a holiday rock concert of our own so it’s fitting to throw in some of those great TSO pieces.

AL: You recently started working with Jonny Z and Chuck Billy how did that partnership come about?
FG: I think Jon had seen some things from us and he reached out to me while we were on the road last year. He asked me for my info which I jumped at right away because Jon’s pedigree speaks for himself. We spoke and he asked if we had any video of a full show. Sadly I did not have any pro-shot material at the time. He really wanted to see our full show and as luck would have it he happened to be in Philadelphia when we were playing in nearby Easton, PA. The show was sold out and from there one thing just led to another. He started Breaking Bands with Chuck Billy and Maria Ferrero and they have been making things happen for us quite a bit this year. We are super excited and can’t wait to get out there.

AL: What can you tell us about the new album which came out earlier this month?
FG: I think “The Magic of Winter” is sort of a continuation of our first album. I am really happy with my playing on this record and our producer Eric Rachel did a fantastic job on things. It’s a really great sounding record. Tony Gaynor who was the original announcer for TSO does a great job not only announcing the song but tying the story in with everything. The story acts as this metaphorical train which takes the listeners from one place to another as it looks into various people lives during the holiday season. At first I wasn’t too sure of the story line and how it would all work but after seeing how it affects our fans and having some of those fans come up to me crying after the show really meant a lot. The album was a lot of fun and with it being the holiday season people can get emotionally involved with this release. We try to address all aspects of the holidays both happy and sad with our songs. We know that sometimes the holidays can be difficult for people and we do try to address that. I think people appreciate at that as it shows that they might not be the only ones with those feelings at this time of year.

AL: Were you more involved with the creation of the new album as compared to the previous when you were still relatively new to the group?
FG: I did play on the whole first album but only really had my hands in a couple of the songs. Most of the stuff was already there and I just put my spin on things. With “The Magic of Winter” I was intimately involved with the writing and arranging. We started putting all this stuff together in March or April so to have it all done for a November release is pretty good. There was a lot of good feedback that happened during the creation of this project and I am just super happy and proud of what we came up with in such a short time.

AL: How does the writing process work for the group being that there are quite a few members in the group?
FG: If there is one person more than any that brings in material I would have to say it is Scott. He comes up with a lot of ideas just sort playing around. Scott and I work well together whether we are retooling a traditional Christmas song or working on a new piece of material. Everyone brings something to the table. All twelve of us don’t normally get together to write but there is a core four or five that do work together and throw ideas back and forth. From there we bring the more solid ideas to the rest of the group and share with them what we think would benefit the track. It’s just been a really great experience.

AL: Having a history that is really entrenched with pieces of the Trans Siberian Orchestra be it through starting as a TSO tribute band to recruiting former TSO members, how do you go about differentiating those similarities from your own material?
FG: We are definitely similar and that’s not something I am going to pretend we are not. We started as a TSO tribute, our name comes from a TSO song. I wear that on my sleeve as sort of a badge of honor. I am a fan and to get to know these guys as friends now is something very special to me. We do have some differences in that we don’t take as much of the traditional Christmas music and rework it with a modern spin. TSO has done quite of bit of that. I think a larger portion of our material has vocals too it where TSO is mostly instrumental. We try to have about a 60/40 split between songs with vocals and straight instrumentals. We try to keep things interesting for the listener without going too far outside of the normal song structure.

AL: What can you tell us about the bands current holiday tour run?
FG: We are bringing out a few new effects with us this tour to help enhance the stage show. We have changed up the storyline a little bit as we don’t want to keep doing the same thing year after year. We won’t be doing all of the new record but we will be doing somewhere between 5 and 6 songs from that. The idea of the show is that it all takes place within a snow globe and as the globe is shaken the scenes change. The new material is sounding really great live and I think people are going to really enjoy what we have in store for everyone this year.

Blu-ray Review “Winter’s Tale”

Starring: Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, Will Smith
Director: Akiva Goldsman
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Run Time: 120 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to fairy tales and supernatural tales, I am a big of a sucker despite the film being perfect or not. “Winter’s Tale” is one of those. It is far from perfect but I found something magical about it that drew me in and kept me entertained. Even though I was not a fan of “Saving Mr. Banks”, Colin Farrell was quite amazing in it. After “Les Miserables”, I am gung ho for Russell Crowe and he continues to nail it, even in this film. Jessica Rose Brown-Findlay is best known for playing Lady Sybil Crawley in “Downton Abbey”. What I want to know is how the hell did Will Smith end up in this film. That’s right Will Smith in a rather small but nice role. Even though this film was smashed by critics and failed at the box office, if you are looking to escape for two hours, I would still recommend it.

Official Premise: New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake (Farrell), orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn (Findlay), a young girl, who is dying.

Warner Bros is releasing this film as a combo pack with Blu-ray + DVD and Ultraviolet Digital Copy. One thing about this film that I did like very much was the way that it was shot and its use of colors. The 1080p transfer really looks phenomenal. I loved looking at this probably more than I did watching it as a whole.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track also has a certain magical feel to it, probably thanks to Hans Zimmer’s score. In the special features department, there is some but not much included. There is a look into the production, which was based on the 1983 novel in “Winter’s Tale: A Timeless Love”. There is a profile on the “Characters of Good & Evil” with cast. Lastly there are a few additional scenes included.

Own “WINTER’S TALE” on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD on June 24th



Film Review “Winter’s Tale”

Starring: Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe
Directed by: Akiva Goldsman
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 58 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 1/2 out of 5 stars

“What the hell did I just see?”

That was my first comment to the studio representative after I screened “Winter’s Tale.” Allow me to save you two hours of your life: In 1895 a young man, with his wife and new baby, are attempting to enter the United States. Sadly, because of an illness, they are ordered back to Ireland. They beg to stay or at least leave their baby behind, thinking he would have a better life in the new world. Rebuffed, the father steals a model of a sailing ship and, when no one is looking they lower it, with the baby attached, into the harbor, apparently with the hope that the wooden toy model will carry the baby to Brooklyn. We jump ahead 21 years later to find Peter Lake (Farrell) the baby, now grown up, running from Pearly Soames (Crowe) and his gang. Cornered, Peter makes the acquaintance of a snow-white horse, one that bows and beckons Peter aboard. Once he’s on its back, he heads toward Pearly and his goons, eventually JUMPING OVER the 12 foot gate and flying away. No, seriously.

So begins what I can only imagine a film that read much better on paper. Director Goldsman, making his feature film directorial debut, is an Academy Award winning writer (“A Beautiful Mind”) that ought to know better. This film deals with immortality, chance, Satan and so many incredulous plot devices that wouldn’t pass for muster anywhere, much less New York City! When, in present day New York, Peter is asked to provide two forms of ID and can’t you have to wonder, as I did, how in the hell is he living in a nice apartment with no ID or obvious source of income? I mean this makes surviving a trip in a toy boat in New York Harbor almost believable! Almost.

Sadly the biggest waste here is a very fine performance by Colin Farrell. Equally good, in what amounts to an extended cameo, is Jennifer Connelly. Crowe appears to still be channeling Inspector Javert from “Les Miz,” only with a nasty scar added to his chubby cheeks. By the time of the “big reveal”, and if you’re still reading this you must be somehow intrigued, you’ve hopefully figured out the story. If not, like Peter Lake, you’re on your own!

Blu-ray Review “Lady Antebellum: Live – On This Winter’s Night”

Starring: Lady Antebellum
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
DVD Release Date: October 29, 2013
Run Time: 76 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

I think that there is nothing that Lady Antebellum cannot do. Their music is quite amazing and crosses from beyond just country music fans. Last year when the band released “On This Winter’s Night”, it was easily my favorite Christmas album of the year and was on loop for endless plays on my phone. I was thrilled to find out that Eagle Rock is releasing a filmed concert of the band performing these songs at Nashville’s famed Schermerhorn Symphony Center along with more than 40 symphony orchestra musicians. This Blu-ray is a great way to get into the Christmas mood. I have a feeling that we are going to wearing this Blu-ray out this holiday season.

Official Premise: In between dates on their massively successful world tour, country superstars Lady Antebellum spent their brief summer break recording Christmas songs for their festive album On This Winter’s Night . This live concert film brings those songs to life with the help of more than 40 symphony orchestra musicians at Nashville’s famed Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The program includes seasonal favorites like ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow’, alongside the self-penned title track ‘On This Winter’s Night’. The collection includes 11 live performances along with personal Christmas stories, memories, and traditions that Lady Antebellum are sharing with their fans for the first time.

Eagle Rock Entertainment delivered this Blu-ray with a slightly disappointing 1080i transfer. It still looks good enough for the live performance. The DTS-HD Master Audio track delivers a solid sound for these tracks. This Blu-ray includes some decent special features as well.  There are five acoustic tracks including “Blue Christmas,” “The First Noel,” “Silent Night (Lord Of My Life),” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas”. There is a promo video for “A Holly Jolly Christmas”. There are “5 Things You Didn’t Know About The Holly Jolly Christmas Video”. There is a behind-the-scenes look into the track “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and also a making of “On This Winter’s Night”.

Track List:
1) A Holly Jolly Christmas
2) On This Winter’s Night
3) This Christmas
4) I’ll Be Home For Christmas
5) Silver Bells
6) Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
7) Blue Christmas
8) The First Noel
9) Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
10) Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
11) Silent Night (Lord Of My Life)


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Interview with Colin Michael Day

Colin Michael Day stars in the upcoming Independent film “The Loneliest Road in America”.  Movie Mikes recently had a chance to talk with Colin about his first feature film.

Adam Lawton: How did you get into acting?
Colin Michael Day: I had originally gone to school to play tennis and major in business.  I was playing Division 1 tennis and that really was my life at the time. I had been in plays growing up and I enjoyed it but I was always more of an athlete. In college, I took an acting improvisation class and I loved it! So over the summer, I took some acting classes. The teacher of one of the classes asked me one day if I had wanted to really do acting. He invited me to another acting class that he offered and I started doing scene work and from there one thing led to another. I really loved it and it filled a spot for me that seemed kind of empty at the time. The following year I had some troubles with the tennis coach and I was very frustrated. So I made the decision to stop being an athlete and change my major to theater.

AL: What was it like getting to work on your first full length feature?
CMD: It was amazing and stressful all at the same time. There were a lot of lessons learned along the way that will stick with me for the rest of my career. There really is so much work that goes into a film that people never see. It’s very tiring but the end result is worth it.

AL: Can you tell us about the movie?
CMD: The movie is called “The Loneliest Road in America”.  I play the character Jamie, who is a guy who has just graduated from college and is struggling with what he wants to do with his life. He decides that he wants to go on a road trip with his friend to get away in an effort to cleanse himself. Along the way the characters make stops a several small mining towns to talk with the locals in an attempt to understand others people’s lives. Along the way, a girl is introduced as a way of raising the guy’s game. (Laughs) If we were going to do a road trip we needed a girl (Laughs).  Once the characters make it to L.A., they meet up with a friend who is a story unto himself. This is where my character really starts to make decisions related to what he’s going to do with his life.

AL: How did your role in the film come about?
CMD: When I came out to L.A., I came with my roommate who was Mardana Mayginnes the writer/director of the film. We had become friends while attending the University of Denver. We both knew that we wanted to move out to L.A. and pursue careers in the movie industry. We also both had the same goal of wanting to make our own projects. I came to Mardana one day wanting to do a feature film. Mardana started writing with the idea of writing about something that he and I both loved. In college, we were always going on road trips. So that’s where the idea kind of started and it was an area we knew well. After about nine months or so, we started creating some contacts within the industry and gaining interest in the project and things have just really gone from there.

AL: So this movie is based on your road trip experiences from college?
CMD: Very loosely. Mardana did add his input from trips he had taken as a child. The characters are very loosely based on us as well as people we know.

AL: The ending of the film is kind of left open for interpretation. Is there going to be a sequel?
CMD: Everyone asks that (Laughs).  We would love to do a sequel, but I don’t think it going to happen.

AL: When is “The Loneliest Road in America” going to be released?
CMD: The film still has a few film festivals to be shown at.  We are currently in talks with distributors but we don’t have an exact release date yet. In March, we are going to be having a large screening in Denver, which is where we are originally from.

AL: Do you have any other upcoming projects?
CMD: I am currently in a play which opens January 14th. I can’t really say what it is right now but its being put on by the Elephant Theater Company here in L.A. There are also plans to start shooting another feature film in February called “Passenger” which was written and is also going to be directed by Tony McGrath who was the cinematographer on “The Loneliest Road in America.”

Interview with Matt Besser

Matt Besser is one of the founder members of the sketch comedy group “Upright Citizens Brigade” and the star of its TV series on Central Central. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Matt about this UCB theaters and his upcoming projects.

Click here to purchase “Uprights Citizen Brigade” DVDs

Mike Gencarelli: Out of the sketches from TV series, “Upright Citizens Brigade”, do you have a favorite?
Matt Besser: I really enjoyed doing the ‘Little Donny’ episode. That was an idea before we had before the show even started. It came from a one-liner on a piece of paper about a little boy that had this enormous penis. But he had this disease that he couldn’t be aware of it. Eventually it became a 30 minute show and we are really proud of it. It is the longest and biggest dick joke ever told.

MG: Any word from the Guinness Book of World Records?
MB: I am not sure why the Guinness Book doesn’t recognize us more.

MG: Do you plan on any expansion for The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre?
MB: Well besides the moon, that is our long term goal. We have flirted with the middle of America. I do not think we will ever do Chicago because they already have improv taken care of. We have talked about Austin or Atlanta. We are going to open up a new theater in Alphabet City, which will our second theater in New York. That will be our newest project.

MG: Starting up off four people in your group UCB, how many members would you say you have now?At each theater?
MB: Probably about 300 people at each theater. Sketch groups is what we like to call it. We are the 600 person ensemble.

MG: Tell us about the film “Wild Girls Gone” and why it remained unreleased so long?
MB: We made the film on the fly…guerrilla style. We were under the impression that we were doing everything legally but it ended up we weren’t. it took us a couple of years to get everything legal with the unions. It was a lot of fun. It was a full improvised movie and the originally four members of UCB were in it. We also got a lot of the people from our theater in it. It is kind of exciting how illegal it was [laughs]. When we did scenes about breaking into a motel…we were really breaking into a motel.

MG: Do you have any new UCB movies upcoming?
MB: We just made a new movie that has been on the up and up called “Freak Dance”. It was based on a musical we had a stage for a couple of years at the UCB Theater. It was so popular we made it into a movie. It is a parody of all the dance movies. We got a lot of legitimate dance crews from “America’s Best Dance Crew” from MTV. There is a lot of real dancing in the movie plus a lot of the comedians from the theater.

MG: So do you enjoy directing that film?
MB: I love directing. I co-directed “Freak Dance” with a guy, Neil Mahoney. He is more a classic director. He knows what to do with the camera to make everything look great…he is like the vision. I was more the director to the actors. We split our duties that way. I really do enjoy directing comedy acting. It was a written movie, but were definitely was some great moments of improv.

MG: Why do you think that “Upright Citizens Brigade” season 3 was never released on DVD?
MB: Every season just takes such a long time to be released. It is always a battle with them. It is not up to us…they own it. We look forward to it…one day.

MG: When are we going to see more of “This Show Will Get You High”?
MB: The best place to see it is at UCBComedy.com. As far as it is being on Comedy Central again, it is possible that it will be back on 4/20/11. But it is not going to be a series.

MG: What else do you have planned upcoming?
MB: Besides getting “Freak Dance” into a festival, which is our next goal. I do this weekly show called “The Back Room”. It is on Yowie.com every Thursday at 7pm PST. It is a pretty cool show because I do it from my garage. I interview people and they are always doing characters. Yowie has this interacting thing that the viewers can chat with us via web cam. So we have people from all over the world chatting with us. It is really cool, so definitely check it out!

Click here to purchase “Uprights Citizen Brigade” DVDs

Interview with Kunal Nayyar

Kunal Nayyar is known for his role of Rajesh Koothrappali on the hit show “The Big Bang Theory”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Kunal about his role in the show.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally get the role of Rajesh Koothrappali on “The Big Bang Theory”?
Kunal Nayyar: I auditioned for the part during pilot season in 2007. They were looking for a first generation American that was of Indian decent. But they were also looking at other ethnicities as well Chinese or Japanese. It didn’t have to be Indian even though the guys name was Koothrappali. So when I went in there, I am from New Delhi, so I wanted to bring that side of me. I used my original accent that I have and I sort of cultivated it from some of my cousins in India. It worked out and they liked it from the beginning.

MG: What did you originally think of your character especially since you were oft-silent in the first season?
KN: When I read the pilot, I thought it was great. I thought it was not ethnically specific. The character was just a very smart guy who suffers from pathological shyness, selective mutism. I thought that it was really cool that I got to that much physical comedy on a sitcom. Usually multi-camera shows are about the language and our writers are so good. I thought it would be fun because I would get to improvise physically and show my creative side as well.

MG: Even though you may not talk a lot you have some great liners, is any of that improv?
KN: Whatever is written on the page is just the way it is. The writing is incredible, they are such experts. I would never want to try and change what they have. We improv physically and try different facial expressions, for example. The words definitely stay the same.

MG: Do you have a favorite episode from any particular season?
KN: Oh man there is so many. I would have to say one of the classics for me was the first time I got to speak to Penny. That was episode eight in the first season. I was drinking the grasshopper and I got to talk to her. I thought it was really great to learn so much about the character. That will always go down for me as one of the classics. I feel like every episode something comes up and I am like “Oh my God, that is brilliant, I am going to remember that forever”. Now we are over 80 episodes so it gets a little blurred together.

MG: What is the hardest part for you working on the show?
KN: I don’t want to sound like falsely positive but there really is nothing. There is nothing hard about working on the show, especially now since we are in the fourth season. In the beginning, of course you are trying to prove yourself and everyone is trying to get to know each other and walking on eggshells. Now we are such a family and we know each other so well. The show works like clockwork. I am very blessed not only to be working with an incredible crew and writing staff but great actors. The five of us, we work very hard to make this show what it is. We have a lot of fun but seriously when it is time to work…we work and work really hard. I really love that and I hope that it continues for the rest of the run of the show. It is the one of the main reasons of our success.

MG: What can you tell us about what you character has in store for the rest of season four?
KN: These guys don’t really have much room for personal growth. They are pretty similar and straight in there ways. The on-going relationship that Howard has with Bernadette continues to make Rajesh more and more jealous. As well as more and more lonely. He gets a little more desperate about finding girls. At some point he may even begin dreaming about other peoples significant others. He starts living fantasies with other peoples girlfriends. I guess that is all I can giveaway.

Change Places! An Interview with Mike Gencarelli of MovieMikes.com

Mike Schneider recently sat down with MovieMikes.com to be interviewed about ‘Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated’.  After completing the interview Mike decided to turn the table and stage an interview of his own, with MovieMikes.com co-founder Mike Gencarelli.

Mike Schneider: How did you get started doing reviews/interviews?
Mike Gencarelli: I started submitting reviews to various sites back in 1995. These included interview questions and reviews to myvideostore.com (now Video ETA) and user reviews to DarkHorizons.com. I finally launched my own site, BoxOfficeWizard.com, in 1997. ‘Box Office Wizard’ was devoted to my movie reviews and box office reports. It ran off and on for over a decade until last year when I launched MovieMikes.com with my partner Mike Smith. I’ve always been a big fan of movies so reporting on them just felt right.

MS: When did you launch MovieMikes.com ?
MG: MovieMikes.com officially launched in February 2010. Not even a year old, our site has grown at an unbelievable rate from 50-100 unique visitors per week to 20,000-25,000 unique visitors per month… and still climbing. My old site, BoxOfficeWizard.com, wasn’t even a blip on the map… but this… this has been one crazy year.

MS: How long did it take before companies were willing to send you review copies and/ or giveaways?
MG: For the first 6 months, I was making all the calls and responses were sparse. Once I got their attention, it’s been like a snowball effect.

MS: Do you still need to solicit giveaways and review copies or are they offered to you?
MG: It all depends on what I’m looking to promote. I have developed some solid relationships with studios. Some of them are very loyal, providing us with a steady flow of prizes to giveaway and films to review… but there are always new relationships to be made.

MS: Have you ever turned down an offer for a review copy and/ or giveaway?
MG: We try to accommodate all requests but if it becomes overwhelming then we might need to be more selective in the future.

MS: If given a review copy, do you feel obligated to watch it through and review it?
MG: I have honored many requests and wrote reviews whether the movie was bad or good. I did, however, have one situation where the film was so unbearable that I couldn’t finish it and trust me, I have a HUGE tolerance for bad movies. If it’s so bad that I have to turn it off, I don’t think it’s fair to write a review.

MS: What are the best and worst things you’ve ever reviewed?
MG: The site is relatively new, but I’d say ‘Monsters’ was my most enjoyable so far. ( The review practically wrote itself. ‘Monsters’ is a must see with a breathtaking score by Jon Hopkins. ) The worst, hands down, was ‘Jonah Hex’. ( ‘Hex’ was a 75 min. piece of shit. )

MS: Who was your first ‘big’ interview? How did it go?
MG: When I started the site, I said I wanted Denzel Washington for my first interview and guess who I got? He was on Broadway in New York doing press and when I asked about interviewing him, they said yes. I had my face to face with Denzel and it was amazing. Coolest guy ever!

MS: Have you had an interview which went so poorly that you couldn’t post it?
MG: There have been a few stinkers. Maybe it was their mood or maybe it was my questions but with the magic of editing, I’ve been able to make every interview work.

MS: Do you ever feel pressured to be supportive of a film after you’ve dealt with the studio/ people involved?
MG: I want the reps be happy with me but nobody wants to just read positive reviews. If I did not like something, I’ll let that show.. plain and simple.

MS: Have you had anything you wrote come back to bite you in the ass? If so, did you retract it, take down the article or stand up for it?
MG: The only issue we’ve had, so far, was someone revealing something in the interview that he contractually shouldn’t have. We were asked to take the interview down and in that case, you have to respect their wishes. If it was a matter of opinion, I would stand up for it but, in that situation, it wasn’t our wrong.

MS: Do you prefer to work with large studios, independent labels, or directly with creators?
MG: It really depends. Working with the talent directly is easy and I’ve made some good friends from it. Dealing with studios and reps is sometimes harder because I’m not EW or Variety so I can’t push too hard. In general, everyone has been very kind to me.

MS: What kind of people are you interested in interviewing?
MG: I personally love the genre of horror but interviewing is interviewing. We cover everything ranging from ‘The Walking Dead’ to ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’.

MS: Are you open to people sending you review copies or giveaways from their projects (maybe even offering themselves up for interview)? If so, how should they get in touch with you?
MG: We love review requests and giveaways. It’s always great to help promote upcoming or current projects and talk with the talented people involved in them. They can get a hold of me via email ( mikeg@mediamikes.com ) and we’ll go from there.

MS: Finally, being someone who writes on the web, do you see print press such as magazines having a future in the entertainment industry?
MG: I used to wait for magazines like ‘Entertainment Weekly’ to read the latest news and information but now with Facebook, Twitter, and social media, we have more information then we can process… seconds after it happens. Print will always be around but, most likely, in a different form.

You can read our interview with Mike Schneider here

Interview with Tom Sizemore

Tom Sizemore started his acting career right out of college at the age of 25. His first role was in Oliver Stone’s “Born on the Fourth of July.” Tom has since been in several blockbuster movies such as “Saving Private Ryan” and “Black Hawk Down”. Movie Mikes recently had a chance to talk with Tom about his career his recovery from drugs and alcohol and his new film “White Knight.”

Click here to purchase Tom’s movies

Adam Lawton: What made you want to get into acting?
Tom Sizemore: (Laughs) that’s a big one! I really loved movies when I was growing up. I had started in my teens trying to figure out how you actually went about acting. I went out for a play at my high school and I really enjoyed it. From there I went on to college as a theater major. I really was pretty good at it from the beginning. I think because I wanted to do it so badly and the fact that I worked at it very hard resulted in my success so early on. By the time I was 18 years old I was fully committed to becoming an actor. It’s funny because I never looked at acting as a career choice. As it got closer to my high school graduation and before leaving for college is when I started to investigate if I could actually become an actor. I had found that there were a few grad schools such as Temple University that had what were called League of Professional Actors Training Programs. In order to get into one of these schools you had to audition. I went and auditioned and was accepted to a few different schools. When everything was said and done I chose to attend Temple University due to it being close to New York.  By the time I was 25, I was making my living as a professional actor.

AL: How was your experience on “VH1’s Celebrity Rehab/Sober House”?
TS: It ended up being a very good one. I didn’t really like it when it was happening but the end result has been great.  I had worked with Dr. Drew previously, however things did not work and I returned to using each time. Prior to being asked to take part in the show, I was having a really tough time. I called Dr. Drew and told him I was in bad shape and needed help but I didn’t have any money for treatment. Dr. Drew and Bob Forrest came to my house and told me they would help me at no charge. They also asked if I would be interested in taking part in the show. They weren’t being manipulative by any means! I have known both Dr. Drew and Bob for quite some time and they truly wanted to help me. I agreed to do the show and it worked!

AL: Do you think having the cameras on you all the time during your recovery process helped or hurt?
TS: It must have helped mine because I had never completed treatment or remained clean. This time I have. I think either way with or without the cameras I would have remained successful in my recovery because I truly wanted to get clean this time. About mid-way through the recovery process I just ignored them because I was so focused on my recovery. I didn’t care what was going on around me. It was time for me to get myself together.

AL: For you which process was harder, the rehab portion or sober living?
TS: Sober living was much tougher. Even more so was that after the show was over, I went on to another sober living facility that was an additional 90 days. During those additional 90 days, I had no cameras or anyone following me around. I had total freedom. It was extremely hard! However I had to get back out into the world and reintroduce myself. This was very humbling and hard for me and there were times where I wanted to say “Fuck it…let’s get high!” But I didn’t as it was really time for me to put my best foot forward.  If I was using Dr. Drew told me that I wouldn’t be putting my best foot forward.

AL: You have had the opportunity to be a part of some really great movies. Is there one that sticks out as a favorite?
TS: That’s a tossup. I was in some really great movies!  “Natural Born Killers” because of its subject matter.  At the time, I think it was a type of movie that had never been made. The way that movie was made was just totally unique. Probably the best time I ever had, was the series I did called “Robbery Homicide Division”.  I had so much fun working with Michael Mann.  I worked very closely with him on that show. I love all my roles and always have a good time.

AL: What was it like getting to be part of such a great cast in the movie “Heat”?
TS: The caliber of people involved in that movie was so high combined with Michael Mann being such a brilliant director.  It really made working on that film a pleasure. The scenes were all great as well as the characters.

AL: You had the opportunity to work with Oliver Stone very early in your career. Do you think that opportunity had an effect on your career as a whole?
TS: I learned very quickly that films were a director’s domain. The director has pretty much the final say as to what is going to be on the screen. Oliver made a really great impression on me. Going into my first film I had no idea that shooting days could be 18 hours long. Nor did I realize all the work that went into a film after the shooting had wrapped. The way Oliver approached film making really had an effect on me.

AL: Did your previous work with Oliver kind of impact his decision about having you in “Natural Born Killers”?
TS: Yes. Oliver had been following my work after “Born on the Fourth of July.” I went in and met with him as there were a few other names being considered for the role such as James Woods and Gary Oldman. They weren’t really looking for a white trash guy or an all American guy.  They just wanted a normal everyday mid western type.

AL: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
TS: “White Knight” is a really great movie that I just completed with Stacey Keach and Kevin P. Farley. It’s a comedy based around the character I play being imprisoned. I also have some other things in the works but I can’t say too much about those at this time.

AL: Was ‘White Knight” your first film after rehab?
TS: Yes it was. It was about 5 or 6 months after I finished sober living.

AL: How was that experience?
TS: It was very hard however it went very well.  I wasn’t used to being clean. My confidence was somewhat shaken but after just a few hours on set I started to have fun again. Act 2 is going to be even better than Act 1!

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Interview with Chris Carnel

You may not know the name Chris Carnel since he is usually behind the screen doing stunts.  Chris is probably known best for his role of The Miner in “My Bloody Valentine 3D”.    Movie Mikes had a chance to ask Chris a few questions about his films and what he does besides movies.

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Mike Gencarelli: How did you get started in movies and working stunts?
Chris Carnel: I got started in movies by having a misspent youth. When I was a kid I was called crazy. there was no name for the things I was doing like jumping motorcycles and riding skate boards in pools. Now it is called extreme sports and people make a living at it. I am making a living in the movies biz as an actor and a stuntman. My martial arts skills are the first thing that got my foot in the door in the biz, but everything comes into play on a regular basis!

MG: Of course I have to ask, what was the hardest stunt you have performed?
CC: For me all the stunts have been hard. I am a stunt double generally. If it was easy, the actor would do it. Because of the degree of hazard involved in the shots I get called for it is because somebody is going to get hurt! I have no family in the biz so when I get a call it is because it is going to hurt. Going down a flight of stairs backwards always sucks but hey! It is just another day at the office. The car I rolled in the Crazies was pretty difficult because I had never done this stunt before and I had everybody convinced that I could do it, but there is always that chance!!! They only had one car and one shot at this so if I fucked it up the level of disappointment in me would be unbearable for me! To this day, that was the best day of my career!

MG: Do you have a favorite movie that you have worked on?
CC: Usually my favorite move is the one that is feeding my family at the time. But I have to say that “My Bloody Valentine” has to rank up near number one because it put me on the map in the horror world. Up to that point, I had not gotten any recognition or notoriety. I had the most screen time in “MBV 3D” but I had the most influence on “The Crazies” for sure. All the action, fights, fire, car work is all me and my crew!!!

MG: You have worked on quite a few horror films, is that one of your favorite genres?
CC: I love horror cuz horror loves me! The fans are off the hook loyal and super cool to me at the conventions! I love em!!!!!

MG: How was it playing the role of The Miner in “My Bloody Valentine”? Did you watch the original to get any inspiration or tips for the role?
CC: The director of “MBV 3D” did not want me to watch the original because he wanted me to bring a fresh very different look and feel to our version!!! Of course when I was through with my version, I studied the original and loved Peter Cowper’s work immensely! That was a super cool film and a great cast!

MG: Tell us about your work on the upcoming “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”?
CC: “Transformers III” looks very cool. But that comes at a price. The level of action is extremely high and people get hurt when the don’t have to! It should be a very exciting film to watch because of this high level of action. I played a Lennox guard. There are hundreds of these guys, but there were 5 of us that really did some huge action. Glad to have walked off of that set every day in one piece!!!!!!

MG: Where you aren’t working movies and doing stunts…what are you doing?
CC: Surfing, yoga, mountain biking, pilates, and training to stay in shape for the next adventure. I have a two sons one named Tyler that in in a band called Wicker. You can visit their MySpace page here. He is the drummer in that band. Also, I have a son named Wyatt that is in high school. he wrestles and plays lacrosse. Great athlete!  My wife Kim puts up with all of this and is an angel! Her nickname is Cookie!!!

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CC: Of course when I was through with my version, I studied the original and loved Peter Cowper’s work immensely! That was a super cool film and a great cast!

Interview with Jocelyn Towne

Photo by David Noles

Jocelyn Towne is the Writer/Director/Producer/Star of upcoming independent film, “I Am I”. Jocelyn is producing and starring in the film with her husband, Simon Helberg (“The Big Bang Theory”). Jocelyn is working with the website, Kickstarter, in order to help fund the movie. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Jocelyn about the film. What is really cool is that, she actually reached her donation goal from Kickstarter during our interview.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally find out about the website Kickstarter?
Jocelyn Towne: I had found out about it through my producers. There is a guy by the name of Peter Broderick who does a lot of talks about indie filmmaking and hybrid distribution. In one of his lectures he mentioned the Kickstarter site and my producers then mentioned it to me. I thought it was something that was a really good option being I was a first time filmmaker.

Click here to check out website from photography David Noles

MG: Do you think that this is the future of raising money for filmmaking?
JT: I think it’s going to be huge. There will probably be different models of it starting up. Kickstarter is a donation based site. The down fall with that is that you can’t legally invest in a project through that site. I believe though that as these sites start to grow and be developed more possibilities and options will become available.

MG: Tell us about how you came up with the idea for “I Am I”?
JT: As a child my father often played the music from “Man of La Mancha” and I really loved the story. As I was developing this project I had the idea what if Don Quixote was a more modern character.  I also added that he was Vietnam veteran. The other thing I did was I took the character of Aldonza/Dulcinea who is normally a stranger and made her the daughter. The big thing however is that the father doesn’t remember his daughter. He only is able to vision his daughter as his wife who has passed away. Sancho Panza was also re-imaged into a friend that also lives at the assisted living facility. I was always a fan of unconventional love stories. This one is more of a platonic love story but more so a story of a woman getting to know her father for the first time.

MG: Besides writing, how did you come to directing “I Am I” as well?
JT: I hadn’t originally intended to direct the picture. I had been meeting with my producers about the story and at one of those meetings the idea was presented for me to direct the film. I had never really considered doing both. After thinking about the idea for around two months it became clear to me that because of my passion for the project that I should go ahead and take the director role on. I am really happy that the producers had such faith in me to do both the writing and the directing.

MG: Are you looking forward to working with your husband, Simon Helberg?
JT: I am really excited! We actually have worked together before on some theater projects which were always a joy. At first I was really nervous but over time it really turning into a wonderful experience.

MG: Did you always want to get into film making?
JT: Yes. It’s actually a love hate relationship with writing. I love being able to tell a story. I had always wanted to be an actor and I have been doing it since High School. Lately things have really come together and this will be my first screen play. It took about two years to get this far.

MG: Congratulations on reaching your funding goal, so what is the next step for “I Am I?”
JT: Thank you, well the next step is for us to start on the casting. Simon, Jason Ritter and I are going to be in it but we still have to round out the rest of the cast. I will do a final polish on the script to make sure everything is in line and then pre-production will start. It really is mind blowing that this has become a reality.

Click here to support the movie, “I Am I” at Kickstarter
Click here to visit the film’s official website

Interview with Tony Moran

Tony Moran was the face of Michael Myers in John Carpenters 1978 horror classic “Halloween.” Until recently Tony had left the acting business to pursue other ventures. After a chance meeting with a fan Tony has returned to the acting game. Movie Mikes had a chance to speak with Tony about his role in “Halloween” and a few of his upcoming projects.

Click here to purchase the films in the “Halloween” series

Adam Lawton: How did you become involved with the original “Halloween”?
Tony Moran: Great Story. I was a struggling actor who was at the time sleeping on a friend’s couch. My agent called and started to apologize for the lack of job opportunities. She then goes on to tell me that she did however have a role that was going to be for a B movie horror flick called “Halloween.”  She said that the movie was only going to have around a $300,000 budget but it was going to have Jamie Lee Curtis in it. I went on to tell her that I didn’t have a clue who Jamie Lee Curtis was and I really wasn’t into doing a horror movie. At the time horror movies were not at all popular. She goes on to tell me a little more about Jamie Lee and I was still very hesitant to try out for the part. I was still also unaware of the fact that the role called for a mask to be worn. What ended up really getting my interest in the role was my agent had mentioned Donald Pleasence was also going to be in the film. I was a very big fan of his and couldn’t really believe he was going to be in such a low budget film.  Three days later, I am in an office in the ghetto section of Hollywood for an interview. I walked into this decrepit office and sitting on one side is Irwin Yablans and on the other side is John Carpenter, who at the time had no clue who he was. We met for about 15 minutes and that was it. A couple days later I received a call saying I got the part. I told them “Yeah, so what!” (Laughs).  I never told anyone that I even auditioned because I was embarrassed. The first day on set I find out I have to wear a mask! I had longer thick hair at the time so the crew tells me I should think about putting Vaseline in my hair so when the mask is being ripped of my head the hair doesn’t stick to the mask and get pulled out. I was thinking “Oh great!” I will say that Jamie Lee Curtis was very down to earth and a pleasure to work with.

AL: Did it ever bother you that up until recently you never really received recognition for being the face of Michael Myers
TM: Nope. I didn’t ever really care. I never really followed the horror genre. In 1980, I did get a call asking to use my likeness in “Halloween II” and that they wanted to pay me for it and give me credit. I asked if they were really making a sequel. When “Halloween” was being released, I got an invitation to the premier and just laughed and threw it away. I did however go see it in a regular theater and couldn’t believe that it was actually pretty good! But still I never really followed the genre or sought out the recognition for being in the film.

AL: Shortly after the release of “Halloween” you left the business. What made you decide to do so?
TM: I worked on a bunch of TV shows and things like that until my early 30’s then I decided to split. I was very tired of the Hollywood scene and the people that were involved in it at the time were not the best.

AL: As of lately you have started to re-emerge into the acting scene. What sparked that decision?
TM: About ten years ago a friend of mine told me a story about how he was at a party and there was  a guy there asking about me.  He had heard my name mentioned in conversation. The guy said he was a writer for horror movie stuff and that he had been looking for me for quite some time. After talking with the guy a few times on the phone we set up an interview. Ater the interview he asked if I would sign some things for him.  I said “You want my autograph?” I said “Ok, whatever”. This led to me getting involved with doing movie conventions around the country. People then started contacting me through MySpace offering me roles in their films. One of these requests was from a guy named Kevin McDonald. Kevin had a script that he said was written specifically for me called “Beg”.  If I wasn’t interested in doing the film, he wasn’t going to even make it. I called him back and we are actually partners now along with his wife. I really liked the script and in it there was a role for someone to play my wife. I called Kevin and told him the script was great and that I would do it. I then asked if he had someone in mind for the wife. I told him I thought P.J. Soles would be perfect for the role. Kevin started laughing and said that he had tried to contact her but got turned down.  I told Kevin, P.J. was a friend of mine and that I would try to get her for the role. I sent P.J. the script and she called me back and said it was great and agreed to do the film. This kind of led to a bunch of other people getting involved in the film such as Tony Todd and Michael Berryman. Being involved with Kevin has led to us starting another project called “The Witching Hour.” The movie is going to be four horror shorts based around a radio DJ who takes calls during the witching hour. William Forsythe has agreed to play the DJ and the movie is also going to feature Tony Todd and Michael Madsen.

AL: Are there any release dates for these films?
TM: They are independent releases so right now we are finishing up the little stuff on “Beg”.  I have been talking to some distribution people who are also aware of “The Witching Hour”.  So we will go from there and hopefully go with the highest bidder.

AL: Will we be seeing these at upcoming movie conventions?
TM: Most definitely!

AL: Any other upcoming projects other than what you have mentioned already?
TM: I did a cameo in a movie called “Emerging Past” which also has my nine year old daughter in it! She plays a living dead kid. In one scene she’s on a counter top stroking a Michael Myers mask laughing at the lead actress. She totally nailed that scene.

AL: Did your daughter know your association with the Michael Myers mask?
TM: Oh yeah. I think she saw “Halloween” when she was four.

Click here to purchase the films in the “Halloween” series