Denise Crosby reflects about her work on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”

Denise Crosby is best known for playing the roles of Security Chief Tasha Yar and Commander Sela in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. She was also the granddaughter of entertainer Bing Crosby. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Denise reflecting on the show and the fans support over the years.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect on being a part of the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” universe and it still being relevant today?
Denise Crosby: I feel like “Star Trek” is a much larger entity and we are all little pieces of it. It continues to reinvent itself generation by generation. You have a younger generation now discovering it for the first time, whether it is through their parents who watched it. It also continues to play endlessly on syndication and cable. It is ever present and never goes away. There are always fresh eyes seeing it for the first time. I think that is what keeps it new and exciting. I am always touched by the stories that I hear from people all over the world and how much the show means to the and how they were inspired by the characters. I am always fascinated by how many far reaching corners it has touched. All of that continues to keep it relevant.

MG: That describes me, I got a young daughter and I am started her young with the show [laughs]
DC: That’s what happens. You bring your kids into it. The beauty of it is that has become much more in the open and embraced by people. You are not hiding your Spock ears anymore and pulling them out on special occasions. People are able to be out of the “Trek-closet”, so to speak.

MG: You get to play two different roles in Security Chief Tasha Yar and also Yar’s own daughter, the half-Romulan Commander Sela; how was that aspect for you?
DC: It was really cool. I don’t know that anyone else has been able to do that. I mean, how many people can get to play their own daughter? Only in sci-fi, can you pull this off. It was great for me as well since I was actually very involved in creating that story line  It is wonderful to get a chance to continue being a part of this show. Fans were really delighted with that as well.

MG: What was it like working with such a legend as Gene Roddenberry?
DC: We were the lucky ones that were able to work with Gene and be a part of his vision. That was very thankful for all of us. He was a big cuddly teddy bear of a man. He was very protective of this franchise and all that it meant. He got how popular and how much it meant to the fans and he really embraced that. He also was very open with us. He wanted to know what our thoughts were and what our questions were. He wanted us to really define these characters and to help us do that in any way that he could.

MG: What made you getting involved with the “Trekkies” films?
DC: My thoughts always were that there is no “Star Trek” without the fans. It is the most symbiotic relationship with a television show that I have ever seen. There is something very unique and specific about being on one of the “Star Trek” shows. You enter into a world that is very exclusive. You can’t be talking about “Star Trek” without talking about the fans. I felt that the fans needed a voice. When set out to make the first “Trekkies” movie, the timing was perfect. It during the prime of sci-fi and comic books and it was suddenly cool to be a geek. The nerds were taking over. Everybody was a “Star Trek” fan and I felt the “Trek” fans needed a voice. I couldn’t believe that nobody had done this before. I just jumped on it, had no idea what I was doing, took a camera wherever I went and before I knew it…I had a movie.

MG: Any chance you would be making a new “Trekkies” film in the future?
DC: My partner, Roger Nygard, and I talked and we have some ideas. We really would like to do one more and make it a trilogy. It would be great to pass it on to the next generation with the JJ Abrams films and new fans. So we are hoping that we can do that in the near future.


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DVD Review "Men at Work: The Complete First Season"

Created by: Breckin Meyer
Starring: Danny Masterson, Michael Cassidy, Adam Busch, James Lesure
Number of discs: 2
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013

Series: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Men at Work” is one of the newest gems that has come out of TBS last year. TBS’ tag line is “Very Funny” and this show is the reason why they have that tagline. The series was created by Breckin Meyer (“TV’s “Franklin & Bash”) and stars Danny Masterson, Michael Cassidy, Adam Busch and James Lesure. We had the privilege of interview the whole cast, click on their names about for each one. The show is a simple comedy but there is tons of wit and creativity spewing out of it.  The jokes are laugh-out-loud and memorable. The show ended its July 2012 and yet it is March 2013 and I am still quoting it. “BOOM! That is a truth bomb!” The other thing I respect about this show is that creator Breckin Meyer was on the set every day, according to the guys busting his ass and making sure that the show was as good as it could be.  Check this DVD out for sure and get ready to have fun.

Official Synopsis: Man up with the guys from TBS’ original series MEN AT WORK – the bold new sitcom following four friends navigating their ways through work, friendship and women. Danny Masterson (TV’s “That ‘70s Show”), Michael Cassidy (TV’s “The OC”), Adam Busch (TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Meredith Hagner (TV’s “Royal Pains”) and James Lesure (TV’s “Las Vegas”) star in this edgy series’ freshman season, which introduces Milo just as he breaks up with his longtime girlfriend. But rest assured his three closest buddies are right there to help him get back in the game, and no matter what mischief ensues, these friends have each other’s backs.

The only bad thing about this show is that it is only 10 episodes.  With all the shitty shows on TV that gets 26 episodes a season, I would have loved to had more but at least with this show…every single episode is gold. The show is about relationships and the guys just get into nothing but trouble.  Some of the crazy shit they do is get into include a “devil’s threesome” (watch the show to find out), fight over a toilet bowl and only speak in song titles during work meetings.  That is only the tip of the iceberg here.  The DVD contains the 10 episodes from the first season and also a bunch of very funny deleted scenes and outtakes, which are a must see for fans of the show. I would have loved to seen some commentary tracks from the cast but either way. I am still left very satisfied here. I am literally counting down the days and can’t wait for season two, which airs on TBS on April 4, 2013.  So be sure to be tuned and spread the word about this great show!


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Danny Masterson talks about new film “Alter Egos” and Season 2 of “Men at Work”

Danny Masterson is known best for his role in TV series “That 70’s Show” and the new TBS hit series “Men at Work”.  He is also co-starring in the indie superhero film called “Alter Egos”, which is available now on VOD. Danny took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about his new film “Alter Egos” and what we can expect for season 2 of “Men at Work”.

Mike Gencarelli: With all the superhero craze this year (thanks to “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises”), how does “Alter Egos” fit in?
DM: I feel like our movie is a lot bigger than those films – no I’m kidding. This is a dark indie comedy. It was a ton of fun to shoot. It is a weird quirky story. It was shot for no money in the Hamptons, New York. Kris Lemche and Joey Kern are two of my really good friends. They are also two of my favorite actors that haven’t broke out yet. Jordan Galland had written and directed a great movie called “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead” that my wife (Bijou Phillips) was in. I fucking love that movie. He asked me to come out for a couple of days and play this asshole cop and I was down for that. Plus I had never met Brooke (Nevin) before and she was really sweet and a great actor. So that was how it came about.

MG: Tell us about your character and his ability in the film?
DM: Jimmy was written to be an angry, kind of generic cop. He is super fucking bitter because he can only turn invisible…for 2.3 seconds. It is like everyone knows that he is impotent. He hates the superheroes and just tries to fuck with them.

MG: How was it taking on that different role for you, playing the asshole?
DM: It is fun. Basically when I started working as a little kid in NY. Then I moved out to LA and started doing all the boyfriend roles in projects like “Beethoven’s 2nd” and “Cybill”. Then when I was 18, I grew my hair out, got a goatee and I just started playing the bad guy in everything. I was a street punk in “NYPD Blue” and the bad kid in and out of foster homes in “American Gothic”. So I did all of these really fun roles to show that I could play those characters. Now that I am in my 30’s, for these indie movies, I can play the bad guy or I can play the funny guy. For me it doesn’t matter. It is it all work and I enjoy comedy and drama the same. It is just a lot of fun.

MG: What can we expect from season two of TBS’ “Men at Work”? Guest stars?
DM: We just finished season two about a month ago. I just got to see a few of the finished scenes and it looks really funny. It will start airing in April 2013. It was just so much fun. The guest stars are literally insane throughout every episode. We got Seth Green, Kevin Pollock and many others. I don’t want to give it away but it is going to be awesome.

MG: Tell us about working with the show’s creator Breckin Meyer?
DM: He wrote seven out of ten episodes this season. We have a full writing staff and he still writes more than half the episodes. On “That 70’s Show”, even the creators only wrote two episodes a year. This show is literally Breckin non-stop. What is crazy is the show did so well in its first season that TBS ordered a second season and only gave us five weeks off. For actors it was perfect but for the writers it usually takes two months just to gets some scripts together. We literally had no stories when we finished season one. So they had to dive right in and start coming up with some new character arcs etc.

MG: What do you think is the reason why this show works so well?
DM: Why do you think it works so well Mike?
MG: I think it is cast. That is the first thing that James Lesure asked me as well and I told him that it was the collaboration of the guys together.
DM: We all do a good job of busting each other’s balls. We also really like each other as friends. I have known James Lesure for ten years. I hadn’t met Adam Busch before the show but we had a ton of the same friends. I also didn’t know Michael Cassidy but he is just a really great dude and also a really good golfer. Him and James play tennis twice a week. Adam and I go see rock concerts all the time. The four of us even get together and hang on Friday nights. So we just have a lot of fun hanging out. Meredith (Hagner) is also a lot of fun, who plays Amy. She is a sweetheart. It is like a big fucking family.

MG: When do you star production on “Killing Winston Jones” with Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Glover and Jon Heder?
DM: I am in Park City, Utah right now for Thanksgiving. I fly to Savannah to shooting Monday morning (November 26th). I haven’t met haven’t met Richard or Danny yet. I have met Jon before since he came to a taping of “That 70’s Show” back in the day. I am really excited. It is a hell of cast and a great story. We will have to chat again when it comes out!

David Lloyd reflects on his work illustrating “V for Vendetta” graphic novel

David Lloyd is known best for his work illustrating “V for Vendetta” graphic novel and working with Alan Moore.  David recently attending the 2012 New York Comic Con to promote this latest project called “Aces Weekly”, which is an exclusively weekly comic art magazine.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about his work on “V for Vendetta”, how it is still relevant today and his inspiration.

Mike Gencarelli: Where did you pull the inspiration for your illustrations on the “V for Vendetta”?
David Lloyd: If you mean the look of the character – the idea of making him a kind of resurrection of Guy Fawkes — it’s because it fit into what we needed for the character beyond his basic form as an urban guerrilla fighting a fascist tyranny. We needed a colorful eccentric look because that’s what makes attractive and fascinating characters in most mainstream comics. And he was a character branded a villain by history who was, however, a hero to his cause as many branded as villains by history were. A good man and a bad man at once. If you mean the style of the art – it was a simple choice because of the subject – it was about a stark, bleak future, so I chose a stark, bleak style of art. But it was influenced by seeing Jim Steranko’s Chandler and the work of someone who was a great inspiration to me and a friend who actually helped me on some of V – Tony Weare – a master of light and shade.

MG: You worked with Alan Moore on “Doctor Who” prior to this, how was the collaboration in comparison on “V for Vendetta”?
DL: Well, the difference was that we had full control and we could do what we liked on Vendetta, whereas the Doc Who mag stuff was work for hire. But our working relationship was as good. We were on the same wavelength creatively – influenced by many of the same books, tv, movies. And V was also produced at a very slow pace in the early days – 6-8 pages a month = allowing us time to experiment, think, talk, plan and have creative accidents that made it a very organic object, not planned out from the beginning but made up as we went along – like good jazz : )

MG: V is such an iconic character; if there is ever a comic convention he is always present. Why do you think he resonates so much with the fans?
DL: A colorful and admirable fighter for freedom against the tyranny of cultural and political oppression and repression who also happens to be a mad genius. It’s not rocket science… : ) Alan produced something very profound as well as a great adventure. It’s a classic of great storytelling with an important message for everyone – hang onto your individuality at all costs.

MG: How do you feel that the story was translated into the 2007 film?
DL: I see it as another version. In an ideal world it would have been nice for it to be exactly as the original, but a Hollywood movie has so many needs to fulfill – I’m glad it was as good as it was. There are great performances in it and it’s a powerful movie, and the Washowski bros and James McTiegue did a great job that in other hands could have been disastrous. And most importantly the central message of the book is right in there and has been spread to a much wider audience than might ever have heard it via the graphic novel alone.

MG: How do you feel that the comic genre is changing with now digital being so popular?
DL: Depends what is done with it. It’ll change depending on what the audience for them decide they want out of the techniques being used on them. I don’t like motion comics as we understand the term but I’m sure something creative and aesthetically satisfying can be done with the medium and some kind of movement. The digital comics myself and Bambos Georgiou, my collaborator on the project, are presenting via Aces Weekly are not digital in any sense other than they’re just fantastic art and storytelling on screen instead of the page. And they look beautiful and jewel-like!

MG: Who are some of your mentors and favorite artists?
DL: I was given a little book called The Observers Book of Painting, which had reproductions of the great masters. One of them was Turner’s ‘ Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus ‘ , which I managed to get a print of, and which remained on my bedroom wall for years – even during the ‘ film poster wallpaper ‘ period of my teenage years. It was the atmosphere made from light, that impressed me most with Turner – and Rembrandt was on the same team. Then Millais for his extraordinary photo-realist work allied to amazing lighting effects, Geoff Campion – he drew ‘ Texas Jack’ in one the English weeklies, Steve Dowling, who created the newspaper strip ‘ Garth ‘ – the first British superhero ( not Marvelman ), Giles – an English political cartoonist, whose work was an extraordinary blend of the realistic and the cartoony, George Woodbridge and Jack Davis in Mad magazine – loved their work so much, of daffy dogs and gunfighters, that I did tracings of them and hung them on the wall ; little, b/w reprints of US comic book stories, packaged in the UK under the titles – ‘ Mystic’ and ‘ Spellbound ‘, Wally Wood, Orson Welles, H.G.Wells, Ray Harryhausen – ‘ The 7th Voyage of Sinbad ‘, Ron Embleton, Rod Serling, Ian Fleming, Mickey Spillane, Robert McGinnis, Josh Kirby – who painted covers for a series of sf paperbacks ( some time before he did Pratchett stuff ) including some for… Ray Bradbury ; then there was Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Robert Sheckley, H.P.Lovecraft, Don Medford, Don Siegel, Alfred Hitchcock, Boris Sagal, Terence Fisher, Ron Cobb – of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Frank Frazetta, John Burns, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Frank Bellamy, Al Williamson, the EC crowd, Tony Weare, the early Warren crowd, Gray Morrow, Toth, Torres, Jim Steranko. Steve Ditko astounded me with his work on Amazing Adult Fantasy, which was the most consistently powerful, individualistic and atmospheric comic book work I’d seen to that date. I tried to draw like Ditko. I tried to draw folds in clothing like he did, but couldn’t because I knew practically nothing about the way people were put together at that time. At around the same period, I saw the work of the great English strip illustrator, Ron Embleton, on the first series of Wrath of the Gods – as I mentioned earlier – a centre spread in Boy’s World, in which the use of black shadow, expert pen work, and rich colors, collaborated with faultless draughtsmanship, to produce the single most impressive piece of work I have ever seen in this area of craft.  Amazing Spiderman appeared then. Then the Fantastic Four and Kirby/Lee – those fantastic, overblown, revolutionary, soap opera-style epics that had to be tracked down issue by issue through the various stores in my neighborhood  cos we had unreliable distribution of US comic books in England. Dr Strange. The EC guys came after that through the Ballantine books – you know the names – and not just the smooth guys. Al Feldstein’s work looked like he cut it out of pieces of wood – but it was extraordinary. Then I got the early Warrens. Even better. Bigger. More of it. FRAZETTA. UNBELIEVABLE COVERS. Blazing Combat. Gray Morrow on ‘ The Long View ‘. REED CRANDALL. ALEX TOTH. Too much. But not enough. Never enough. Then, when I was at the studio, I saw a newspaper strip called ‘ The Seekers ‘, which was drawn by a guy called John Burns. I thought he was American cos I didn’t think an English artist could draw in such a smooth, cool way – like Alex Raymond but with more realism. He took risks which worked – he drew water solid black, and minimalised it into a design element. He was totally in control. A master. Tony Weare was drawing another newspaper strip – a western called ‘ Matt Marriott ‘ – which was all done with one brush, it seemed, and looked lazy but wasn’t, and largely depended on shadow for delineation of figures and objects. All of all of that, and more I could list, helped me.

MG: Do you feel that your style has changed over the years?
DL: Well, other than from early days of learning, no. But then I don’t think I have a style that is a fixed thing to grow or not. I’ve chosen different ways of drawing using different tools on many subjects that demanded a variety of approaches. Sure there’s a core personality to it and to me as a creator – but a set ‘ style ‘ ? I don’t think so – though of course because I’m known principally for V many folks think of me in that context and no other.

MG: Tell us about your recent work with Aces Weekly?
DL: An EXCLUSIVELY digital weekly comic art magazine – not previewed for print – which I am publishing. You get this and only get this by subscribing and it’s delivered to you at the touch of a button every week to iPad, tablet and any computer anywhere as long as you’re connected to the net. It has up to 30 pages including extras of story and art every week featuring 6 continuing stories that run through 7 issues making a volume of up to 210 pages. And it’s a steal at just $9.99 for 7 weeks of some of the finest talent in comic art from me, Steve Bissette, John McCrea, Phil Hester, David Hitchcock, Mark Wheatley, Yishan Li, Bill Sienkiewicz, Colleen Doran, Herb Trimpe, Dylan Teague… and many more. We go straight from the creator to the buyer. No expenses on printing, distribution, warehousing, retail, and no barriers to sale. We have an international team of creators and we can sell internationally to anyone reading English. But we’re new and we need lots of subscriptions to thrive. So please help us spread the word : )

Brad Loree talks about playing Michael Myers and doing stunt work

Brad Loree is known best for playing Michael Myers in “Halloween: Resurrection”.  He is also has performed stunt work on numerous TV and film projects including  “TRON: Legacy” and “Watchmen”.  He is the star of the recently released “Mr. Hush” directed by Dave Madison.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brad about his film and stunt work.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved playing the role of Holland Price in “Mr. Hush”?
Brad Loree: Well Mike, I meet writer/directors at the con’s all the time who claim they want to work with me, but Dave Madison actually sent me a script and then kept his word by using me as Holland!

MG: Can you reflect on playing such an iconic character such as Michael Myers in “Halloween: Resurrection”?
BL: When i got offered the part of Michael Myers, I was already on another show. But when they explained that I wasn’t going to be just the stunt-double, but actually play The Shape, I quickly left my previous gig and jumped into the role! It was a great honor!

MG: What do you like most about working in the horror genre?
BL: My favorite thing about the horror genre is doing conventions and meeting the fans. Great people!

MG: You’ve worked stunts in two of my favorite films, “TRON: Legacy” and “Watchmen”, can you tell us about those experiences?
BL: Well, on “Tron” I got to meet ‘The Dude’, Jeff Bridges. Awesome guy! Did a little gag where he gets kicked by his younger self and slides several feet backwards on this platform. “Watchmen” was fun because I got to be a motorcycle cop, an arresting officer and also the lead character’s fist punching thru a wall! And Zach (Synder), the director, is my fav of any I’ve worked with!

MG: What has been your most challenging role stunt performing?
BL: My most challenging stunt was on a TV show called “Mantis”. I had to jump thru an 8ft by 8ft window from the 3rd story and, across a 14ft abutment below! If i’d fallen short, well….

MG: Tell us about your upcoming projects?
BL: My next project is to be determined. I’ve been laid up for a few years now due to a motorcycle wreck. But i am hoping to do more acting in the future and may try my hand at writing/producing. Wish me luck!

James Tolkan reflects work in “Top Gun” and the “Back to the Future” trilogy

In a career spanning six decades, James Tolkan has conquered every medium he’s ever attempted. While pursuing a career in music at college he auditioned for a school play on the advice of a friend who suggested performing in front of an audience would help him with his stage fright. Tolkan was cast in the lead and he hasn’t looked back. Though best known for his work in “Top Gun” and the “Back to the Future” trilogy, I knew him best for his theatre work. In 1984 Mr. Tolkan originated the role of quick-tempered real estate salesman Dave Moss in the Pulitzer Prize winning drama “Glengarry Glen Ross,” a role I myself played many years later. While preparing for his appearance at this weekend’s Con X Kansas City Convention Mr. Tolkan spoke to Media Mikes about Broadway, “Back to the Future” and his memories of directors Tony Scott and Sidney Lumet.

Mike Smith: I guess I’ll start with the standard first question: what led you to become an actor?
James Tolkan: Oh my gosh! It’s a really complicated answer. When I got out of the Navy I was totally lost. I went back to college where I majored in art and minored in music. I was studying singing. I was very nervous getting up in front of an audience so a friend of mine suggested I try out for a play so I could get used to being in front of an audience. So I tried out for a play and was cast in the lead. I was like, “hey, this is interesting.” So I did another play at the community theater and suddenly I became very interested in acting. I then went to the University of Iowa, which had a large theater department and it was there that I was “encouraged” to go to New York and study the Method with some of the great teachers. So in 1956 I got on a Greyhound bus in Iowa City with $75 in my pocket and I went to New York to become an actor. I didn’t know what I was getting into…I was a total hick. I got off the bus and I was scared to death. I went through all kinds of various jobs while I studied with Stella Adler. After the first year she gave me a full scholarship to study with her. And then I started working. The first play I auditioned for off-Broadway I was cast. A lot of casting people saw me and I started going from one play to another. I also wanted to study with Lee Strasberg, which I did for three years. Both teachers were very valuable…but very different. It’s been a great experience. I’m really just a New York actor. I’m a stage actor. And I said I was never going to Hollywood until Hollywood sends for me. And in 1984, while doing the David Mamet play, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” on Broadway, Robert Zemeckis called me and asked me to be in “Back to the Future.” Of course nob ody knew who Robert Zemeckis was back then but I said “ok” because this was my chance to go to Hollywood. So after a year on Broadway I went to Hollywood and did the movie. I stayed in California and did some television series. Then I did “Top Gun” and all of a sudden I’m a Hollywood actor! It’s been a wonderful odyssey and I’ve survived it all!

MS: You started your career in what is now referred to as the “golden age” of television. In your opinion, what’s the biggest difference in the way television shows are produced today versus then?
JT: Well, at that time, a lot of television was done live. It was live television. You go on and you do it and that’s it! Today everything is much more safe. The three camera comedies. You have a live audience and a controlled condition. And the writing is very different. The writers today are very bright and very…demanding. They don’t always know how to use actors.

MS: You understudied Robert Duvall in a couple of Broadway shows, including “Wait Until Dark.” Did you ever get to play “Wait Until Dark” villain Harry Roat on stage?
JT: I took over the role of the Longshoreman in Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge” from Robert Duvall on Broadway and played that part for many months. Then “Wait Until Dark” opened with Lee Remick. Two weeks into the run I get to the theater and there’s no Robert Duvall. The director tells me Duvall broke his hip riding horseback and I was on. I was ready and I went on and I played that part for two years. I played it for a year on Broadway with Lee Remick then I played it with Shirley Jones on a tour and then later with Barbara Bel Geddes. And the character was so dark. Believe me it was hard on one’s psyche to do that.

MS: I’m so glad you mentioned “Glengarry Glen Ross.” You originated the role of Moss on Broadway and I’ve actually played Moss in a production here in Kansas City.
JT: Really? Good for you. Isn’t that just a fantastic play? It was a great experience in my life. To work with David Mamet. We previewed in Chicago and it was a big hit there. Then we took it to New York where it was a huge hit. It was one of those shows where you know you held the audience the whole night in the palm of your hands. It’s getting ready to go back to Broadway this year with Al Pacino playing Shelly “The Machine” Levine.

MS: Really? Pacino was a great Ricky Roma in the movie. Of course he’s older now.
JT: Before the movie was made Sidney Lumet had the rights to the show and he called all of us to come in and have a reading up at his office. At the time Sidney wanted Pacino to play Shelly but Al insisted on playing Roma. The project fell through and the production ended up in someone else’s hands and Al got to play Roma.

MS: Which leads me to my next question. You were obviously a favorite of Sidney Lumet, having worked with him several times. As a director yourself did you pick up any tips from watching him work?
JT: If you want to learn about how to approach actors and acting on a film, work with Sidney Lumet! Of course it’s a little late now but he was so special…so wonderful. He made you feel like THIS is why you want to be an actor. He was just amazing. With most movies in Hollywood you get together just before you start shooting and sometimes it’s 20 takes…50 takes…whatever until everyone is comfortable with the scene. With Sidney it was three weeks of rehearsal. The first week you just sat around the table. He’d say, “OK, no acting…just talk.” It’s very simple. We’re just trying to relate and connect with each other. The second week we’d start getting up on our seats and playing the various scenes. The third week we’d run through the script in sequence like it’s a play and he’d would go off with the cinematographer setting up all of the shots. So when we got on the set everybody knew their job. You’d start shooting and he’d get everything in one or two takes. You were going home every day at four o’clock. It was like working with a master. He was just a wonderful, warm and brilliant person.

MS: Tony Scott, who directed you in “Top Gun,” recently passed away. Do you have any memories of him to share?
JT: He was such a regular guy…rough and ready. He was always smoking a cigar. He was a mountain climber and he rode motorcycles. He was quite different from Sidney Lumet but a very good man to work with. Sometimes he’d want to do a scene that wasn’t scheduled and I’d tell him I wasn’t ready and he’d just smile and say, “you can do it, James” and we’d get it done. He was very off the cuff and non-chalant. But at the same time intense, if that makes sense. I’m still stunned about how he passed. Why he would make that kind of choice is totally a mystery.

MS: Originally “Back to the Future” ended with the words THE END. Only when it was released on home video did the words TO BE CONTINUED appear. Were you aware while you were filming that there were three films planned?
JT: Oh no. The first film was a very small movie. Steven Spielberg at the time was more interested in another movie he was producing called “Goonies.” This was something that was really on the back burner. Nobody knew who Robert Zemeckis was. We were working for not a lot of money and had really tiny dressing rooms. Then that movie opened and it was an amazing success! Like they say, all of the planets had to have been aligned for that movie to be so successful. And right after that they said they were going to do a part two and part three. But when we finished filming part one there was no talk whatsoever of the sequels.

MS: Were you able to do any scenes with Eric Stoltz?
JT: I did. When I got to the set Eric was playing Marty. But after seven weeks of shooting they shut down the production. During the dailies the filmmakers discovered they were more interested in the characters AROUND Marty rather than Marty himself. And that’s when they decided they would wait for Michael J. Fox to wind up his television series and then start up production again. And believe me that was a very brave decision. If that didn’t work out you would never have heard of Robert Zemeckis or Bob Gale. I was told that when they shut down the production after seven weeks Eric Stoltz was in his dressing room and he commented, “well, they can’t fire me now.” And that very day he was fired. But that’s how it goes. It’s a crazy business. (NOTE: Michael J. Fox was the producer’s original choice to play Marty McFly but, due to his commitment to the television series “Family Ties” the studio went with Eric Stoltz. Due to many reasons, including those Mr. Tolkan mentioned, Stoltz was let go and Fox brought on, often fulfilling his television duties during the day and filming “BTTF” at night.)

MS: Are you working on anything now?
JT: No, I’m pretty much retired. I did do an HBO movie over the summer with Al Pacino and Helen Mirren about the trial of record producer Phil Spector. I play the judge. Again, it’s a David Mamet script which he also directed. He called me up and cast me. If someone calls me, I’ll do it. But right now I’m enjoying my life.

Kristina Anapau talks about her work on Season 5 of “True Blood”

Kristina Anapau has appeared in films like Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan”. She also appeared as Maurella in season 5 of HBO’s “True Blood”. Media Mikes had a chance to ask Kristina about her work on “True Blood” and what we can expect next.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with “True Blood”?
Kristina Anapau: I auditioned for Alan Ball and the True Blood producers. I did the scene once, they said thank you, and I left. It was apparently a ‘Thank you, that was exactly what we were looking for’ because I got the call that I had booked the role just a few hours later. As an actor, you always tend to feel that a quick audition with no discussion or adjustments means that they don’t like you or that you are not right for the role, but it is often times exactly the opposite.

MG: How was it joining an already established cast in season five?
KA: I feel very privileged to have worked with the actors I have worked with thusfar. Chris Bauer is an incredibly generous actor and human being. I learn something new from him every time we work together and with every conversation we have. I adore working with Anna [Paquin], she is tremendously talented and focused. She has a magnetism that pulls you in—she is really beautiful inside and out. The True Blood cast is phenomenal—incredibly talented actors on set and absolutely wonderful people off. It is such a pleasure to come to work.

MG: Tell us about your character Maurella and what do you ejnoy about playing her most?
KA: Maurella is a seductress from the faerie dimension who has a passion for Andy Bellefleur. She is 500 years old, although she only claims to be 300;) She is on her way to becoming an elder of the fairies, and is called in to help Sookie and Jason gain clarity surrounding their parents death . I enjoy everything about Maurella. Being able to shoot balls of light out of my hands, read peoples minds, and orgasmically give birth to quadruplets after a one week gestation period? What’s not to love?

MG: Can we expect you past for season six?
KA: We are a pretty secretive operation…don’t think I can give hints away as to where the storyline may be headed by answering that:)

MG: What other projects do you have upcoming?
KA: I just shot a really great episode of NBC’s Grimm that will be airing on September 10th. Sighting, a film I am very excited about, will be out later in the year. It’s a fantastic project. And early next year another film I am very proud of, BlackJacks, will be released.

Kodi Smit-McPhee talks about voicing Norman in “ParaNorman”

Kodi Smit-McPhee is best known for his role in the dark horror film “Let Me In”. Kodi also voices the role of Norman in the stop-motion animated film “ParaNorman”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Kodi about this role in the film, the process of doing voice work and what he has planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your experience voicing Norman in “ParaNorman”?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: It was really cool. I have done voice over work before but it was computer generated, a lot quicker and overall very different. I knew about stop-motion before this but when I worked on it, it was completely not what I expected. When I when to Oregon to see Laika studios, I was just blown away at how much passion they have and seeing how much work and patience goes into creating the town and these characters. It really motivated me to do the best that I can really do.

MG: Tell us about the process of recorded your role?
KSM: We knew that there were ten sessions that I had to record and there were a few months in between. I would go in and record the whole script and then send it off to Laika. They would work around my around my voice and then I would go back in and touch up anything we had to do over.

MG: How long did the whole process take?
KSM: It was about two years. I started when I was fourteen and now I am sixteen.

MG: When you recorded the voice were you with any of the other cast?
KSM: Yeah. It was really cool when I got to record my material with someone. Usually since I was typically in this black room when recording solo. When someone came in it helped fill in your imagination a bit and makes those scenes very natural. You can actually interact with someone and react off their energy. It was an awesome experience.

MG: What was your biggest challenge doing voice work?
KSM: I think the biggest challenge was keeping the voice up in that area, since I was getting older at the time. In the Town Hall scene, where he climbs up the side of the building and was yelling at the Witch, it was such an emotional scene. It was very hard to do. To get all of that emotion out through my voice was a challenge but we did get it in the end.

MG: After starring in “Let Me In”, what do you enjoy most about the horror genre?
KSM: I think the cool thing of horror is that as it gets older, people are bringing so much more into it. I think with “ParaNorman” and “Let Me In”, there is the horror aspect and it is fun but there are also these underlining deep stories within them. So you are able to take two things away from it.

MG: What do you have planned next?
KSM: Right after “ParaNorman”, I did “Romeo and Juliet”, which is something totally different. It is with Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth and Paul Giamatti. Then I did a sci-fi film called “The Congress” which is also with Paul Giamatti and Jon Hamm. Right now, I am in New York working on a new film called “A Birder’s Guide to Everything” with Ben Kingsley.

Michael Cassidy reflects on the first season of TBS’ “Men at Work”

Michael Cassidy recently co-starred as Tyler in TBS’ hit new comedy series “Men at Work”.  The show is already in production for it’s second season.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Michael about the first season and what he enjoyed most.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what you enjoyed most about playing Tyler in “Men at Work”?
Michael Cassidy: Getting to see some of Tyler’s specific preferences was really fun. When we did the pilot I didn’t know that he was going to have his own thing. The toilet episode was a lot of fun as were some of the more recent episodes. All the things that Tyler has going on are just so much fun to watch come out. Everyone on the show has enjoys making fun of me and the character.

MG: How was it working in front of a studio audience?
MC: That was definitely a favorite of mine as an actor. We have such great audiences and I don’t know if you can really have a bad audience in that type of set up. Things have been great. I did theater in the past so this was comfortable for me. It was familiar without being boring. To work on a show all week and then perform it in front of a live audience all the while not knowing how it will be received is very rewarding. It’s phenomenal.

MG: What has been a highlight for you from season 1?
MC: My two favorite episodes where the toilet episode, where Milo moves in with Tyler and also the last episode of the season. We shot so much for that last show in front of an audience. A

lot of times there are scenes that need to be pre-shot as they just can’t be done in front of a crowd. We were able to shoot so much in front of the audience on that last episode and it was all very well received. We were shocked how well the song title being played in front of the audience went over. The audience was dying on that stuff.

MG: In the episode “Decath-Lynn”, how did you not die laughing with the meeting song titles?
MC: We rehearse the scenes for about a week. By the time we are in front of the audience our professionalism takes over and we start wondering how the scene will play. Throwing something out and waiting for the audience to react is just so fun. Sometimes you do get new stuff that hasn’t been rehearsed. That stuff tends to go off like a grenade. We will hold it together while the audience laughs and then we just crack up. That’s really my favorite part of the whole deal.

MG: Were there any guest stars from this season that you were really excited to work with?
MC: I couldn’t wait to work with JK Simmons as I wanted to ask him about working with the Cohen brothers. I also loved working with Billy Baldwin. He had never done multi-camera stuff in front of an audience before so he was super stoked to be there. He was really great to talk with and once he got in front of the audience he just blew up.

MG: How does your work on this show compare to some of your previous work?
MC: This show is a different demographic. It’s definitely a male skewing show. I have never done a show like this. The other shows I have done were slightly more favoring women. I am sort of playing more of an adult on this show. I am a young professional. It’s nice playing a character that has a job. (Laughs)

MG: When does production start on season 2?
MC: We are currently in production already. We don’t know when it’s going to air but what we have heard is it will be sometime in 2013. For now I guess we will shoot a bunch of episodes and just wait and see.

Adam Busch talks about working on TBS’ hit show “Men at Work”

Adam Busch is currently co-star on TBS’ hit show “Men at Work”.  He co-stars along side Danny Masterson (“That ’70s Show”), James Lesure (“Las Vegas”) and Michael Cassidy (“The O.C.”).  “Men at Work” is one the best new shows on television right now and was already renewed for a second season next summer. Like myself Adam is also a Long Island, NY native who then moved to Orlando FL (also like myself) to pursue acting.  Media Mikes had a blast chatting with him about “Men at Work” and if you haven’t seen this show be sure to check it out on TBS.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to “Men at Work”?
Adam Busch: I have always wanted to do a sitcom. I started working for Nickelodeon on the show “The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo” and across the hall they were recording the sketch comedy “All That”. Our show was serious and we would hear this laughing and screaming next door whenever the stage door was opened. They were always having such fun and improving on the fly. I said myself that I wanted to do that.  Well, it took about 15 years later but I am finally making it happen. It was definitely as fun as I thought it would be.

MG: How do you prepare for the role of Neal?
AB: I like that it’s a place for Breckin (Meyer) and the writers to really explore relationship problems. You get heartache, you get serial monogamy and the pressure of a new dating system. Neal is the only chance to get the positives and negatives of being in a long-term relationships and the things that come up. I think it is a constant reminder to the other guys that things can be much better or much worse depending on the situation.

MG: The show is filmed in from of a live audience, does make it more difficult to shoot?
AB: That is the best part! If at all everything else is a challenge and that is where I feel the most comfortable and have the most fun. When you have been rehearsing a line all week long and right before you say it one of the writers or Breckin comes over and hand you a brand new fresh line that you haven’t had time to think about, you have no choice but just to commit to it. To hear the reactions from the crowd, that is so much fun. I love the studio audience. There is also a rhythm you can into like if the audience is laughing or Oooing and Ahhhing, you can tap into that and just go with it and make the audience happy.

MG: You find that their is a lot of room for improv?
AB: Well, yeah there is room for it and it certainly does happy sometimes. The really exciting thing is that it gives room for Breckin and the writers to come up with lines on the fly.

MG: Breckin Meyer seems like he is always there on set, huh?
AB: He is always there. Every day, after we rehearse with the director, we do a run through for him to hear it and see it. He is the one giving notes on our performance or walking around making sure everyone is cool or has questions before the shoot. It is a really lucky situation having a young actor as your boss. Also everything is ripped right from his life, so he has all the answers.

MG: The chemistry between you and the guys are great, you find it hard to stay serious while shooting?
AB: Yeah, I do…I do. But that is what is great about doing a show about four friends. Very often if I am laughing at something James (Lesure) is saying during the shooting, there it is right in the show. We are friends and he makes me laugh and that is it. I don’t have to remain serious. We enjoy the way we all interact. Our dynamic of us hanging out is actually a lot different than our dynamic on the show. In the show everyone makes fun of Neal but outside we all make fun of (Michael) Cassidy. He is so freaking pretty and you can’t resist [laughs].

MG: What has been your favorite episode so far this season?
AB: I don’t know if I have a favorite episode. But I certainly have a favorite scene, like when I smack Cassidy back into reality. That was really fun and it changed so much throughout the week. First it was him smacking me, then it was me smacking him and it ended with us both smacking each other. We decided we were just gonna do it, no blocking with camera to fake it. I said I gonna smack you and your gonna smack me and that’s it. I also loved meeting J.K. Simmons and working with him. It was really wonderful.

James Lesure talks about new TBS comedy series “Men at Work”

James Lesure appears in TBS’s new comedy series “Men at Work”.  The series was created by Breckin Meyer and James co-stars along with Danny Masterson, Michael Cassidy and Adam Busch.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with James about what we can expect from this new show.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to the TBS’ new series “Men at Work”?
James Lesure: The script, written by Breckin Meyer. Once I got the pilot, I responded and said I wanted to be apart of it. I have known Breckin for years but really only athletically. We played basketball together for years. I had know idea he could write so well. I am a big fan of his work as an actor and now also as a writer.

JL: What do you like most about it, Mike?
MG: Honestly, I like the dynamic between the guys. You guys all play off each other. This show really works well with that.

MG: You’ve worked on many TV series like “Las Vegas” and “Mr. Sunshine”, how does a show like this compare?
JL: Right now, I would have to say the speed we do it. Currently we are filming in front of a live audience, so its like we are putting on a play each week. We get the script and then get about three days to put it down. So that is a bit of an adjustment for me.

MG: You seem to have natural comedic timing, how do you prepare for the role?
JL: Mike, listen keep the compliments coming because I appreciate them [laughs]. I have to give a lot of credit to the writers. When I get the scripts, they just make me laugh and that is a good sign. It is up to us then to just take the words make it deeper and better. So, that is my goal.

MG: Any room for improv throughout shooting?
JL: They let us fly off, here and there, with an ad lib and I appreciate that. The producers are open for us to be collaberative. It is a special kind of work environment we have. I just hope we can do some great things with it and do it for a while.

MG: What has been your highlight on the show so far this season?
JL:  It’s been working with this cast, Adam Busch, Danny Masterson and Michael Cassidy. They make me laugh on and off the set. It’s kind of nice to have that geniue chemistry and respect. I respect them and really enjoy what they are doing. I also have to give a shout out to TBS and Sony because they have been treating us very well. Thus far the whole experience has been very great.

MG: What else can we expect from season one?
JL: I know we got an episode about a special toliet [laughs]. They are blending together right now. But let me just tell you that everytime I read a new script, I’ve been laughing so hopefully that will carry over to the viewers.

Blu-ray Review “Blood Work”

Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels and Anjelica Huston
Distributed by: Warner Bros
MPAA Rating: R
Release date: June 5, 2012
Running time: 1 hour 50 mins

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Eastwood stars as Terry McCaleb, a former profiler for the FBI who retired after having a heart transplant. A well known name in his former occupation, McCaleb is approached Graciella (Wanda De Jesus), who asks him to find the murderer of her sister, Gloria. McCaleb says no but is swayed to take the case when he learns it is Gloria’s heart now beating inside his body.

The story is based on the novel by Michael Connelly with a top notch screenplay adaptation by Oscar winner Brian Helgeland (“L.A.Confidential”). Not as flashy as some of Eastwood’s earlier investigative films (“Tightrope,” “True Crime”) but still enjoyable. To see Eastwood not at his peak form (the heart transplant has left McCaleb very weak…he requires daily naps and can’t drive himself) is a rarity and he obviously has fun with the characterization. Also look for Clint’s missus, Dina Eastwood, as a reporter which she was when she met him. Like pretty much all of the Warner Brother Blu-rays I’ve seen the transfer is clean and sharp. Even the many night scenes jump off the television screen.

The extras included are Teaser Trailer, Theatrical Trailer, Making of “Bloodwork” featurette and “A Conversation in Spanish” with Wanda De Jesus, Paul Rodriguez and Clint Eastwood. Another disappointing group of extras, though better then those on “A Perfect World.” Besides the trailers there is a pretty much by-the-book “making of” piece. The best “extra” is “A Conversation in Spanish,” in which De Jesus and Rodriguez try to explain their roles in the film in Spanish. Clint drops in halfway through and you can see that the stories about his cast and crew loving him on set are not exaggerated.

Buy It 6/5 on Blu-ray™
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Synopsis: FBI profiler Terry McCaleb almost always gets to the heart of a case. This time, that heart beats inside him. He?s a cardiac patient who received a murder victim?s heart. And the donor?s sister asks him to make good on his second chance by finding the killer. That?s just the first of many twists in a smart, gritty suspense thriller that?s ?vintage Eastwood: swift, surprising and very, very exciting? (Jim Svejda, KNX/CBS Radio). Clint Eastwood produces, directs and stars in this edgy, acclaimed mystery based on Michael Connelly?s novel and scripted by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential). With a superb cast brought to a hard boil playing characters to quicken your pulse and hold you spellbound, Blood Work works exceptionally well.


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President of Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc, James J. Sullos Jr. & Archivist Cathy Wilbanks talk about the film “John Carter”

James J. Sullos Jr. is the President of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and Cathy Wilbanks is the Archivist of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. They took out some time to chat with Media Mikes to discuss Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic novel “A Princess of Mars” – the first novel in Burroughs’ Barsoom series and Disney’s film “John Carter”. Both James & Cathy also helped create the bonus feature on the “John Carter” Blu-ray called “100 Years In The Making.”

Mike Gencarelli: What`s the best part of working on Mr. Burroughs’s Legacy?
Jim Sullos: Mr. Burroughs wrote over 70 novels and 40 short stories. There is no end to the literary content that he created. I continually read material that has not been published for quite a few years and yet the storyline are still exciting. That why his legacy is never ending.
Cathy Wilbanks: I really enjoy working with the archives because every day is an opportunity to find treasures. The archives are filled with amazing artifacts from the past and I have the pleasure of discovering each and every one.

MG: What do you think Burroughs would have thought of this adaptation of “John Carter”?
JS: Burroughs would have been pleased that the movie accurately portrayed much of what was in his first novel “A Princess of Mars”. And he would have been amazed that current technology could finally do justice to his vivid imagination which was not possible until CGI was developed.

MG: What scene did you most enjoy in “John Carter”?
JS: It is very difficult to select just one scene that I most enjoyed because the whole movie was an incredible joy to see. Andrew Stanton was a genius in bringing visualization to the entire storyline that had never been seen before. As I watched the movie I could feel the passion he devoted to each segment of the film. Picking one scene would not be fair to so many successful portrayals of this timeless story.
CW: My favorite scene in the movie would have to be when John Carter saves Dejah during the marriage ceremony. My favorite character would have to be John Carter, but Woola is a close second!

MG: This big adaption of “John Carter” was 100 Years In The Making, what was the biggest challenge to get it right?
CW: The biggest challenge was finding an actor to portray Edgar Rice Burroughs. We were able to talk John Burroughs, ERB’s grandson, into taking on the part. When I saw the film for the first time, I was amazed to watch John interact in the background because he resembles ERB so much. It was like ERB was back with us again.

MG: How do you feel that the film “John Carter” interpreted the novel “A Princess of Mars?
JS: I think Andrew Stanton, the fabulous Director, who read all of the 11 Mars books as a youngster gave Dejah Thoris an added dimension as both a scientist and an accomplished fighter, greatly expanding her role with positive effects.

MG: What do you think makes the book “A Princess of Mars” so unique?
JS: At the time this book was written in 1911-1912, the scientific knowledge of planet Mars was limited and scientists had to guess as to the makeup of the surface of the planet. Mr. Burroughs novel gave a vivid description in detail of Mars that persisted for decades as the imaginary life that might exist on any planet in the universe.

MG: What were Burroughs’ sentiments toward filming his works in general?
CW: Edgar Rice Burroughs moved from Chicago to the San Fernando Valley in 1919 so he could be closer to the Hollywood scene. He was very excited and realized that he wanted to move in that direction. However, once filming started, he realized that he had to give up some of the control of how his characters were portrayed. Burroughs was mostly frustrated with the portrayal of Tarzan. He wanted his TARZAN to be portrayed as an intelligent, insightful heroand did not like the line “Me Tarzan, You Jane.”

MG: Can you give us some examples of the artifacts you worked with in the treasure trove of ERB material?
CW: The archives at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. are filled with historical treasures. I have had the pleasure of holding in my hands many first edition books, a huge variety of comic books, toys, merchandise from around the world, movie props like a pterodactyl, and of course, original art. But some of the most meaningful artifacts include the handwritten TARZAN Of THE APES manuscript as well as the A PRINCESS OF MARS manuscript and personal letters signed by Edgar Rice Burroughs himself.

MG: Despite being a hundred years old, the characters of ‘John Carter’ and the Barsoom series are still relevant and don’t feel the least bit dated. Why do you think that is?
CW: Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the story focusing on human conditions such as love and conflict. He understood that to have a successful story, he must include factors that would have a wide appeal. The ‘John Carter’ character was developed with characteristics like humor, intelligence, emotion and strength. John Carter (Taylor Kitch) is very ‘relate-able’ which makes the story current in today’s world.

MG: We wouldn’t have Star Wars if it wasn’t for Princess of Mars, do you think pop culture gives Burroughs the credit he deserves for being such an influence?
CW: No, I don’t believe pop culture gives Edgar Rice Burroughs enough credit. He was a gifted, prolific writer and unfortunately has not been recognized for his contributions.

MG: Do you think there should be a sequel to John Carter movie? If you had to choose another adaption of Burroughs to be made into a feature, which would it be?
JS: I definitely think a sequel should follow. First, I would hope that the planned sequels will be produced because they will show the path that John Carter took to become the “Warlord of Mars”. There are 11 ‘Mars’ books that can be drawn on to create several more exciting movies. But in addition Mr. Burroughs wrote many other science fiction novels and particularly intriguing is the Venus series which portrays the hero Carson Napier who planned to fly his spaceship to Mars but miscalibrated and ended up on Venus to discover an unknown world.

MG: Will there other movies on the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs?
JS: At the present time Warner Bros. has in development a Tarzan live-action. And Constantin films will release its first Tarzan 3D animated film in 2013. We are currently in discussion with several producers who are looking at other Burroughs novels for potential new films.