Tag Archive | "Danny DeVito"

Blu-ray Review: Olive Films Rolls Danny DeVito’s ‘The Ratings Game’ Out of The Vault

Blu-ray Review: Olive Films Rolls Danny DeVito’s ‘The Ratings Game’ Out of The Vault

This week, our resident movie reviewer, Jeremy Morrison, is back with a fresh review of one of Olive Films most exciting new releases, “The Ratings Game,” directed by the legendary Danny Devito and starring Devito, Rhea Perlman, Gerrit Graham, Louis Giambalvo and Vincent Schiavelli.

'The Ratings Game'

‘The Ratings Game’

First, a quick synopsis of this release: The Ratings Game stars Danny DeVito as a New Jersey trucking magnate who’s only dream is hitting it big as a Hollywood producer.  Luckily for him, he has a girlfriend (Rhea Perlman, TV’s Cheers) who works for the TV ratings service. Together they pull off a hilarious scam on television’s sacred ratings system. DeVito makes his directorial debut with this critically acclaimed satire.

The Ratings Game features an impressive cast that includes Gerrit Graham (Phantom of the Paradise), Louis Giambalvo (Weekend at Bernie’s), Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns), Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Barry Corbin (TV’s Northern Exposure), Michael Richards (TV’s Seinfeld), Ronny Graham (Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood), Huntz Hall (The Bowery Boys) with a cameo by Jerry Seinfeld (TV’s Seinfeld).

SPECIAL FEATURES: • Collection of rare short films directed by Danny DeVito • Collector’s booklet • Behind the scenes featurette • Deleted scenes

REVIEW: A TV Movie from 1984, “The Ratings Game” first debuted on The Showtime network. A fun glimpse inside how show ratings work, even today, when the practice is dated and out of touch with the advent of the DVR and various streaming devices. The film was directed by and stars Danny Devito, and stars all of his friends in the industry like Vincent Schiavelli, Frank Sivero, and Rhea Perlman, his wife of many years, just to name a few.

“The Ratings Game” is a fabulous effort by Devito who plays Vic de Salvo, a would-be television producer that has recently come into some money and is desperate to fit in on the Hollywood Scene. After several failed attempts at various networks around town, de Salvo manages to weasel his way in to the office of a recently fired network programmer for the struggling MBC Network. As a fuck you of sorts, the disgruntled former employee green lights de Salvo’s project and rushes the series to pilot.

Garrit Graham plays the sleazy Network President with the right amount of ooze. After the taping of de Salvo’s uninspired pilot, Graham’s Parker Braithwaite announces to de Salvo his plan to bury the pilot premiere in October against game 7 of the World Series. Luckily for de Salvo and his gang of mafia pals turned celebrity entourage, de Salvo has been falling in love with Rhea Perlman’s Francine Kester, and wouldn’t you know it, Francine happens to work at the very firm that collates all of the ratings data across America.

Once de Salvo’s property is an over night success, MBC finds itself in a tight spot and look to de Salvo to help turn the fledgling network around.

THE VERDICT: “The Ratings Game” has a lot going for it. I found myself loving it more than originally anticipated and would highly recommend the blu-ray to any fan of industry satire. The disc also comes packed with bonus content in the form of a featurette, deleted scenes, and a handful of Danny Devito’s short films.

Jeremy Morrison – Staff Writer
Co-creator/host of the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, film reviewer, screenwriter, Jeremy has more than eight years experience in television and film production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. J-Mo lives by one motto: #wecantallbezacksnyder
Twitter: @acidpopcult
IG: @almostgothim

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Directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien Discuss ‘Solitary Man’

Directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien Discuss ‘Solitary Man’

Brian Koppelman and David Levien made a name for themselves in Hollywood penning stellar scripts for “Rounders,” “Knockaround Guys” and “Ocean’s 13.” This dynamic duo, who have been friends since childhood, have become two of Hollywood’s most sought-after screenwriters. Now, their march to cinematic greatness continues with their second directorial effort, “Solitary Man.” In the film, Michael Douglas stars as Ben Kalmen, a used car magnate who becomes a shameless, aging, self-destructive lothario set adrift on an rapid decent from perceived greatness after an irregular EKG turns his world upside-down. Kalmen ventures with his wealthy girlfriend’s daughter to her perspective college campus in order to use his friendship with the school’s dean to ensure her admission, as well as a opportunity to get his declining career back on track. After a brazen sexual encounter with the daughter, opportunities for redemption continue to pass him by and his choices threaten to ruin him for good. Michael Douglas’ performance jumps from the screen as he nails his performance with interactions with a number of high-caliber actors like Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Jesse Eisenberg, Jenna Fischer, and relative newcomer Imogen Poots. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Koppelman and Levien to discuss their roots in the entertainment industry, the making of ‘Solitary Man’ and their upcoming projects!

You guys have been a dynamic duo for quite a while. How did you initially form that bond?

Brian Koppelman: We have been like brothers since we were 14 or 15 years old. We met on a cross country student bus tour. I was carrying, my idea of cool, a leather valise full of cassette tapes. Dave was the only one not put off by my geeky music fandom and we became friends.

David Levien and Brian Koppelman

How did you decide to pursue a career in the entertainment industry as opposed to going in a different direction?

David Levien: Our paths diverged for a little while after college. I went out to Hollywood and started working in the business. Brian had a successful career in the music business for a while but our goal was always to do movies. We had this shared sensibility, so we decided that we wanted to do a film together. We were looking around for the right arena to set a movie in, when Brian got taken to an underground poker club in New York one night. He lost all of his money but he smartly recognized that it was a great place to set a movie! He called me at 3 in the morning just to say, “Hey, I think I have the subject of this movie!” We started going to the clubs every night and playing cards. That is what ‘Rounders’ came out of and got us started.

As filmmakers, how difficult is it to get a film made outside the Hollywood system these days, like ‘Solitary Man?’

Brian Koppelman: That is a great question. Yeah, it is very difficult! We had a few things going for us. Obviously, the main difficultly was that it was a small story on Hollywood standards. It is about a character whose redemption doesn’t come easily, if it comes at all. Steven Soderbergh had read the screenplay early on and loved it. He sent it on to Michael Douglas. Once Michael agreed to be in it, it was a battle as it always is to get the money together to shoot and have enough resources. But once Michael and Steven were in, we knew that we had a movie! It is difficult every step of the way and we only had 26 days to shoot it, so if we wanted an actor other than Micheal for more than scale, we would have probably had to put our own money into the movie to get them. It was all worth it, you do anything you have to, to get these kind of movies made.

How did the script for ‘Solitary Man’ originally come about?

David Levien: We both grew up in New York and Long Island, specifically. There were a lot of men like this. There is no one person that the script is based on. This type of guy, the type who have a tremendous amount of business savvy, they think that it leads to a certain amount of authority in all other areas, was just fascinating. As a young kid, looking at these guys you believe that they have all the answers. As you get a little older, into your 30s and 40s, you start to realize that they don’t really. I started to wonder about hubris and power, people whose charm and ability to influence was so great that it perverted something essential about them. Then it was like, “How do you make that entertaining, funny and compelling?” The most rewarding thing has been that everywhere we have gone with the film, which started on two screens and ended up on 200 and there have been festivals, people come up to us and they say, “That was my dad up there!” or “That was my mother’s father up there!” or “That was my uncle and now I understand why he acted the way he did.” So, although it wasn’t based on one person, I think there are a lot of people out there that have aspects of Ben Kalmen.

You mentioned Michael Douglas, who plays Ben Kalmen and is in just about every shot in the film. How much of his own personality did he bring to the role as opposed to what was on the written page?

Brian Koppelman: From the moment that he showed up to talk about it, he had a complete understanding of the character. He didn’t draw any parallels to his own life. We never spoke to him about his personal experiences. It was always about the character and what the character was going through, yet he clearly had a very deep emotional understanding of the issues that the character was facing. He brought a complete command of the material and total professionalism. He really led by example and set a great tone. He made the whole thing possible to shoot in 26 days on a very high level.

You mentioned the time frame in which you had to shoot. Was that the biggest challenge in making this film or is there something else that stands out in your mind?

David Levien: When you are lucky enough to make movies for a living, like we do, we don’t really live in the place of taking off to challenges really. We wake up every day and are so glad that we get to do this and are able to tell these stories. There are challenges that come up every day but it is more about using the resources that you have and trying to tell the best story that you can within that framework.

David Levien and Brian Koppelman

You’ve worked with Steven Soderbergh several times before in different capacities. What was it like working with him as your producer?

Brian Koppelman: He is brilliant in whatever role that he is playing in a film. To watch him direct a movie is like watching a maestro in action and, as a producer, he is totally supportive. He has made enough movies and is secure enough that he doesn’t want to get into the business of the directors, he just supports the whole thing. He puts the movie first and has great ideas …

David Levien: We talk a bit about this on the commentary track of ‘Solitary Man’ on the DVD. We get into talking quite a bit about how Steven was helpful in the editing room and his various suggestions. He brought a real specificity, a filmmakers point of view that was very helpful.

How do you think you have evolved as filmmakers since your first film?

Brian Koppelman: That is definitely for someone else to say based on the work. But there is nothing like making your first movie to prepare you for making your first movie, unfortunately! By the time you are done, all the knowledge that you have gained is in you, so it is great to get to go and direct another movie to feel more experienced and ready for the challenge throughout the process.

Does directing get any easier as you move forward?

David Levien: Directing a movie is a job where even if you know exactly what you want to do, you never walk off the set saying, “Yeah! I nailed it! I am the best director in the world today!” There is always room to grow, so you just do your best every day. It is not a job that you can do perfectly, no matter what.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to aspiring scriptwriters or filmmakers?

David Levien: Sadly, the only advice is sorta the sage advice from the beginning of time. David Mamet said that, “People who make it in Hollywood are the people who refuse to go home.” I interpret that to mean that you have to take every day to move it forward. Write every morning. If you can’t write in the morning because you have to work, write at night. Surround yourself with talented people and don’t stop.

Brian Koppelman: Don’t let anybody else define the restrictions of the world for you.

You guys are attached to a lot of upcoming projects. What is next for you and will we see you behind the camera again soon?

David Levien: We are currently writing a project set in the world of online gaming, the off-shore web casinos in Costa Rica and places like that. That is a project for Leonardo DiCaprio’s company. That is one that we are writing, not sure about the directing aspect of that. We plan on directing again as soon as we find the project that is totally animating to us.

Well guys, our time is short. Is there anything you want to say to your fans before I let you go?

Brian Koppelman: Just thanks! We hope that everyone gets a chance to see the film that didn’t get to see it in theaters.

We will be spreading the word. I think it is a film that a lot of people will enjoy. The dialog in the film was fantastic and I wish you all the best!

Brian Koppelman: That’s awesome, man! Thanks so much!

David Levien: Thank you! We really appreciate it!

– –

‘Solitary Man’ is available on DVD and Blu-Ray on September 7th, 2010! Visit the official website for the film at www.solitarymanmovie.com.

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‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ Cast Members Launch Mac’s Tavern In Philly

‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ Cast Members Launch Mac’s Tavern In Philly

Even though “Grilled Charlie Sandwiches” are not on the menu, fans of the hit TV show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia are sure to flock to Mac’s Tavern, the real-life bar that Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olsen, also known as Mac and Sweet Dee of Always Sunny, opened this month in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood. With 17 beers on tap, gastropub fare, a jukebox and occasional acoustic musical talent, it’s sure to be a draw for foodies and Always Sunny fans alike.

The opening of Mac’s gives fans of the hit show a great reason to explore the city where The Gang — Charlie, Sweet Dee, Dennis, Mac and Frank — have done everything from cracking the Liberty Bell to running the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps Rocky Balboa-style. In a two-day, two-night itinerary, Always Sunny fans can see for themselves where the ego-driven characters create scenes all over Philadelphia — that is, when they aren’t arguing or scheming in Paddy’s Pub.

The full tour — including a stop at Mac’s Tavern — is now available at visitphilly.com/sunny.

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Rowdy Roddy Piper Talks “It’s Always Sunny,” MMA, WWE And Much More!

Rowdy Roddy Piper Talks “It’s Always Sunny,” MMA, WWE And Much More!

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Rowdy Roddy Piper is a man that needs no introduction. He started as a small town boy chasing a dream. Through the years, he would battle some of the fiercest warriors ever to grace the squared circle, fight evil aliens hellbent on world domination and capture the hearts of millions of fans around the globe on his rise to super-stardom! His most recent project is no less of a challenge as he takes on the cast of FX’s ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ in one of his most interesting matches to date! The last chapter in the story of Rowdy Roddy Piper has yet to be written. To hear him tell it, he is just warming up!

Icon Vs. Icon‘s Jason Price recently sat down with this legendary performer to discuss his amazing career, the recent rumors regarding his health, his excitement about working with the cast of ‘It’s Always Sunny’, his son’s blossoming career in MMA and what he has in store for his fans in the years to come! That’s right fight fans, Rowdy Roddy Piper is back once again to chew bubble gum and kick ass…and he’s all out of bubble gum!


A Young Roddy Piper

A Young Roddy Piper

Hey Roddy! How are you doing today?

Good Jason, how are you doing?

No complaints! You?

No complaints. I am doing well. I am on this side of the grass, ya know! [laughs] And I have more kids then I know what to do with! [laughs] Do you have any children, Jason?

Nope. Not yet.

Would you like some! [laughs]

I’d don’t know, Roddy. I hear that they can be quite a handful!

Well, I have a couple, you could have your choice! I want them back eventually because I sure love ’em! But you could have a couple of them right now! [laughs] So what do you have going, Jason?

First off, with all due respect, I want to ask you about your health and how you are doing. I know there had been some internet rumors circulating over the last week and I just wanted to clear that up if we could.

Absolutely! It was actually a very ugly piece of business. I did have some health problems and I was in a hospital in West Palm Beach. While I was in there, I wasn’t in contact on a daily basis with my family and somebody in the press put out a story that I was dying of cancer, terminally, with Lymphoma and that I only had a couple of weeks to live. People sent flowers to my home. My younger kids that are in school, kids came up to them and said that they were sorry about that news. My son that is a mixed martial artist and my daughter that is an actress got it too. None of it was true. I’m not sure where it came from and I don’t know why. Because my family couldn’t get to me, they got rather upset. But the bottom line is that as far as I know, I’m still going to be kicking pretty hard!

Well that is good! That is exactly what we all want to hear!

Thank you very much. I appreciate the chance to clear it up!

piper-4When you started out wrestling all of those years ago, did you have any idea that your career would take you to the heights that it has?

No, no. I was living on the street and I just grabbed onto something. I wasn’t doing well scholastically and I just grabbed onto a chance. I didn’t know where else to go and I just held on. I was so scared that I just tried as hard as I could and here we are. At the time it was just a means to get a quick twenty five dollars. God takes care of fools and babies and he is still taking care of me!

What do you attribute the longevity of your career to?

I think the way that I started. I was fifteen. It was a very hard-knock school but if you made it through that school, you had a basis that was not only an athletic basis but a showmanship and theatrical basis that was hard to beat. By that I mean, as far as getting the basics down and understanding what you were doing and what you were selling and how you had to back it up, ya know? It is easy to come out and say a lot of words but the trick is that every night you have to back it up. I think that is one of the bigger lessons that I learned. It was due to a bunch of wonderful people, old-timers and competitors that were very kind to me in a very evil way! [laughs]

Let’s touch on one of your latest projects. How did you get mixed up with the gang from ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’?

piper-2b-180They are a wonderful bunch of people, man! Unbelievable! I am an experimental model as far as my business goes! With the explosion of wrestling in ’85 and in ’87 I did ‘They Live’ with John Carpenter, so my point is that there are a lot of very nice people that grew up watching different events that I did. The same is true with the cast of ‘It’s Always Sunny’. Danny DeVito, you can look this up on YouTube I think (watch the clip here), 1985 was the last time that I saw him. He was doing an interview and I was a little forward back in those days! [laughs] I burst right into it! It was great to see him again and he is a great guy! Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day are fantastic! Kaitlin Olsen, she is great! They all were so kind when I came onto the set. They let me improv, and being as talented as they are they didn’t have any problem keeping up! It made the episode really special. I wanted to do this piece of work. ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ is a very hip show to do right now. It’s a good career move and it’s good to keep ya alive, ya know! And it keeps you out there in new ways, sometimes that is hard to do. So I went, and I haven’t done this in twenty years, but I had to audition for it!

Really!?!!

Yeah! I went and auditioned for it and I got the part. Ya know, I remember when Tom Hanks did his baseball movie about ladies baseball, set during the second World War. Madonna was in that film and they made her audition for it. I think it says something for the artist and the clout of the show. I wanted it from the ground, so I was very appreciative when I got it!

Did you teach those guys a thing or two while on set?

piper-3-240-160[laughs] I showed them how to put someone to sleep real quick! [laughs] So if they have any problems with paparazzi, they can choke them out real quick! Rob was good at it! Charlie was really cute. [laughs] I guess I can be a little intimidating, you don’t realize that when you are in my shoes. We were doing this scene right at the bar and I locked right into Charlie there and grabbed him by the pants! He didn’t know me yet, as I was only on the set for maybe five minutes. They thought maybe I was getting a little rowdy! I was gonna take a hard left hand turn on them! [laughs] They tried to get through the scene but they broke down. That broke the ice all the way around cuz I started laughing! I wasn’t meaning to be that mean! It started a really wonderful bonding experience with everybody there. When you see the scene when they are at their home, the bar, know that about three and a half minutes, check Charlie out cuz you will see him breaking down! Now you know what happened! I guess I scared him! [laughs]

Now that you have broken through on ‘It’s Always Sunny,’ are we going to see some more acting or comedic work in your future?

Ya know, there is a company that did ‘The Real World’ called Bunim-Murray. I am in negotiations with them right now to do a sitcom, a developmental deal for a sitcom. I don’t want to ruin it for ya but I am going down to LA tomorrow and I think that will be the next piece of work that I do.

piper-9Awesome! That sounds like it is going to be great for you!

Yeah!

You have mentioned your family quite a bit and we know that people from the wrestling world like Hulk Hogan have dabbled in the world of reality television. Is that something that you and your family had ever given thought to doing?

It surely has been brought up. I have never included my family in my business. But the same time I have a daughter, Ariel Toombs, that is an actress in LA and my son Colten Toombs is a mixed martial artist, so it would be good for them to help gain in their careers. I have all the respect in the world for Hogan but I just wouldn’t want to make those mistakes, so being honest and frank with you as a dad, that is what bothers me with it.

You mentioned your son being involved in the world of MMA. Were you a fan of MMA and being someone who has taken his share of lumps along the way in a very physical profession, did you have any worries with him becoming involved in the sport?

Interesting question, very good. Mixed martial arts is something that has been in the bowels of professional wrestling since wrestling started back in the 1700s, so I was familiar with the style but had no idea that it would come to the heights that it has come to now. My son started when he was eighteen, he is with Team Quest and a wonderful silver medalist from the Olympics, Matt Lindland as his coach. You know, when I started out, they beat me up a lot, man. With Colt, they didn’t do him any favors but I could stop the normal [pauses] “hazing” maybe, that would take its course and does absolutely no good. So, I was worried about that. He has just finished his fourth fight, he has not been beaten yet, he’s turning pro, he’s twenty. I don’t like it, but I sure love him! It’s unconditional love. I would rather him do mixed martial arts then pro-wrestling. With pro-wrestling, the politics and the amount of damage to the body from night after night after night… wheewwww! and I don’t know what they would expect of him. I am glad he is flourishing in his own field but I need a doctor or a lawyer! I don’t need another fighter! A psychiatrist preferably! [chuckles] But I love him, so be a smart fighter, Colt!

piper-7Good advice! I am curious, what is the best piece of advice that someone has given you along the way in your career?

Wow! Holy cow! I’ve got many. A lot of the guys that I fought in the eighties, I fought their fathers. One of the fathers was Johnny Valentine. He is the father of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, who I had a horrendous match with and I lost fifty percent of the hearing in my left ear. It was in the very first Pay-Per-View ever in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1983, maybe. His father, when I was about sixteen or seventeen and wrestling in Houston, was an unbelievably rough, tough guy. Loooooong matches, he hit real hard. It was the main event in Houston and he was coming back to the dressing room. I had just showered down and changed. I don’t know what got into him but he grabbed me by the throat and slammed me against the wall! He almost knocked me out because my head banged against the wall. He looked at me and he said “I can’t make you believe that wrestling is for real, but I sure to hell can make you believe I am!” I based fifty percent of my career on that! That was a good piece of advice!

That’s definitely one for the ages!

Oh, man! [laughs] He was serious too!

The rumor is that we may soon see you gracing WWE’s Monday Night RAW sometime in the near future!

[laughs] What do you think of that?

Well, I know that you have indicated that you were looking for one more match to put a cap on the remarkable career that you’ve had, so I wondered if that wasn’t going to pave the way for last match.

Very astute. I wasn’t very happy with Wrestlemania XXV. In my mind, I want to put a cap on it as you say, with one more match, an extraordinary performance. Yeah, ya know the clock is tickin’, let’s be honest, so sooner rather then later. So, I think if you saw me in RAW that it would be leading into that match. I don’t know what it is yet. But yeah, you are correct.

Even though you have stepped away from the sport in recent years, do you still follow the world of professional wrestling?

piper-11You know, it is funny, to me anyway, I have never watched wrestling. When I was performing, I never watched the show. When you watch the show, you get preconceived notions and it hinders your performance. This is the easiest example that I can give you: when I first came to Madison Square Garden, the match that I told you about with Greg Valentine that I lost fifty percent of my hearing, I was still pretty bad. They had me in the stable but I couldn’t wrestle. There is a fella named Paul Orndorff and they had me managing him, talking on the stick for him until I healed up. At the Garden, they said “Ok, go out with Orndorff.” I had never seen anything because I didn’t watch. I went out with him and he gave me his robe, I threw it to the guy that brought us down and I stayed out there the whole match. They almost had a riot! When I came back, they had all of these ideas and plans. The truth of the matter is this, Freddie Blassie, Capt. Lou Albano, The Grand Wizard, all of those managers… the way they are supposed to do it and the way the law read… was that they go down to the ring, take the robe and walk back. Nobody ever stayed out. If I hadn’t stayed out, I might not have gotten the attention from Vince McMahon, Sr. at that time that I did get. If I would have watched the show, I would have come back, but I didn’t know any better. Sometimes in my world, that is the best way to come out, man.

piper-8Well it certainly looks like it worked out for you in the long run!

Thank you, thank you, man!

I know that you did a autobiography a few years back but a lot has happened in your life since that time. Is there another chapter to be told there or possibly another book in your future?

Oh man, good for you! You have done your homework! Ya know, the first book, they took sixty thousand words out of it. It made the first book stutter a little bit and there is information that needs to be known. Boy was it hard to do! Holy cow! So much has happened since then. I had a guy try to kill me in a car, while I was finishing writing it and before I went on tour. I was five days in intensive care at Cedars Sinai. I broke my right ankle and four ribs. One rib went into my liver, my spleen and my back in two places. They thought I was gonna die! Somehow I got off the table I guess and went into that tour! So, there is a lot missing. I don’t know, I don’t know! It’s really difficult and now with my reputation, it would be a hard book to write. Ya know what? It’s looming, it’s looming! I don’t know the answer to that one, Jason.

I have to ask you about Ethan Dettenmaier’s Sin-Jin Smyth movie. You had indicated earlier in the year that you were kinda giving it until the end of the year to see what happened before giving up on it. Any movement on that front?

Unfortunately, I have heard nothing from the director/producer. It’s unfortunately that I don’t think I will be able to promote that movie or hang with it. It has been too long. Nothing is happening and I think someone is pulling the wool over someone’s eyes.

Last one for you, Roddy. Do you have any words for the critics or the fans?

For the critics, I would say that you need to see the story unfold before you cast your opinion. Sometimes, the critics on Roddy Piper are harsh and they try to figure out what he is doing. Sometimes he keeps secrets, that way, you enjoy it more when it all unfolds. The critics are hard on me. I don’t know, man… the critics are hard on me. I have been doing this since I was fifteen years old. There’s nobody, NOBODY living right now that has done what I have done in my business. For the fans, without them, I couldn’t have done it and I say to you… hang in there, keep you heart on the right side of life, God on your side and I will see you down the road someplace. I’m not finished yet!

Thank you very much, Roddy. All the best to you and your family!

Cheers, man!

– –

For all the latest news and updates on Rowdy Roddy Piper, check out his official site at www.rowdyroddypiper.com!

You can learn more about what Rowdy Roddy Piper’s two talented kids, Colt and Ariel Toombs, by visiting www.thetoombsclan.com!

You can get the latest and greatest on ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ at www.fxnetworks.com/shows/originals/sunny!

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Glenn Howerton Talks “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” And More!

Glenn Howerton Talks “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” And More!

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You may know Glenn Howerton best as Dennis Reynolds, one of the devious yet lovable characters from the hit FX comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” The show centers around four very politically incorrect friends that run a local pub in The City of Brotherly Love. The self-absorbed group tackles some of today’s hottest social issues with topics ranging from racism to abortion while constantly showcasing their complete inability to care for others. Howerton is not only one of the stars but also serves as one of the shows creators, producers and writers alongside the very talented Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day. In what is a Cinderella story of sorts, these three hard working guys shot their own pilot, sent it into the network and got picked up for a series — which is not an everyday occurrence in Hollywood. Along the way, the boys added the talents of Kaitlin Olson and comedy legend Danny DeVito to the mix and spawned an underground sensation! The show is now headed into it’s fifth season on FX, which begins it’ run on September 17th, and continues to gain steam and win over fans worldwide. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Glenn Howerton to discuss the show’s creation, the highly anticipated new season, the process of bringing “The Nightman Cometh” episode to the stage and all of his upcoming projects.

ghowerton-1Where did you grow up?

I grew up all over the place, I was an Air Force brat. I was born in Japan and I grew up in England and Korea, and I moved to Montgomery, Alabama when I was ten. I lived there till I graduated high school, and then I got the fuck out! [laughs]

How did you get started in the entertainment business?

I used to do plays as a kid at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery, but I kind of just did it for fun and just got involved in it. My parents got me involved in some little acting class for kids when I was little, and I started doing all of these plays. So, I don’t know, it was just like one of those things that I did along with all the other shit I was doing like playing sports and whatnot. I was graduating high school and I was going to go school for aeronautical engineering and at the last minute, and it was actually my parents oddly, they encouraged me to go to school for acting. I got offered a full scholarship down to the theater school down in Miami and I wasn’t going to do it but my parents encouraged me to, so I’ve gotta give them some credit for that!

Well it seems to be working out so far!

Yeah man so far so good! I never thought I’d be writing and producing a television show. That was a bit of a spin on the whole acting career thing, but it’s fun and I like it.

How did you originally meet up and then spawn the series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”?

We were friends and knew each other from New York, but we became closer friends out here in L.A. We were all a bunch of actors trying to get gigs and had a shitload of free time on our hands. We got our hands on a couple of cameras and started shooting stuff together just for the hell of it, just to stay busy. And basically we were constantly complaining about all of the material we were getting, so we were like “Well fuck man if we’re go God damn smart lets go out and buy some cameras and see if we’re any better than anyone else that’s trying to make shit.” We just started making our own home movies really, that’s what they were, and this “Sunny” thing was just one of the home movies that we made. When we put it all together and looked at it we were like “Shit this is actually really funny this could actually be something.” We showed it to all our friends and they thought it was funny, it just kind of spiraled out of control from there because we all had the same manager. He worked over at a company called 3 Arts Entertainment, they produced a lot of television. He showed it to them and they loved it, and within a couple of months we literally were shooting an actual pilot for FX. It was bizarre.

ghowerton-6In addition to creating the series you all also produce, write and star in it. Is it difficult to balance all those aspects or is it old hat to you now?

It makes things both easier and harder, it’s a ton of work. In terms of balancing things, it’s extremely difficult because we’re trying to do them all at the same time, most shows the producers and writers are one thing and the actors are another. They are pretty much producing and writing at the same time as they’re shooting and they’re all acting at the same time. For us we have to do things in phases because we have such a heavy hand in every phase of the production. We try to take four months out of the year and write all the scripts first before we go into the acting of it, but it never works out that way. [laughs] We always end up writing as much as we can and then we go into shooting, and we’re usually shooting and writing and producing all at the same time. It’s a real haggle man, I mean it’s tough and a lot of fucking work. And then I guess in a sense it does make things a little bit easier only in the sense that we have full control over the product. So if we’re frustrated with the way a scene is written then we can actually do something about it as opposed to other actors on things that are frustrated about a scene and they think it’s not working but they can’t do anything about it because they don’t have any power.

You tackle a lot of edgy subjects on the show, do you and the network ever butt heads or is it pretty much smooth sailing?

They’re fans. We don’t have a lot of trouble with them. I think we, from the very beginning, because at least initially were such an incredibly low budget show it’s almost like we were FX’s little experiment you know what I mean? They wanted to get into the comedy business but they didn’t have a whole lot of money to spend and they found these guys that they thought were funny and they were like “Well let’s just put a little money towards this and just see what happens.” So because of that, we were so under the radar and we were able to get away with pretty much whatever we wanted, if anything they were always pushing us to go further. There is no studio attached to our show, it’s just us and the network, so that set the precedent right from the beginning that we could kind of get away with whatever we wanted. Then as the show got bigger we were just able to continue doing whatever we wanted because we already established, I keep using that word, but we’d already established the precedent so moving forward that made things a lot easier for us. I think it’s kind of the same thing with some of these other shows that get away with murder, like “Family Guy”, again they were so under the radar that they just got away with doing whatever the fuck they want to do with it and continued on that way from there on out. I can tell you the standards are a little bit different for newer shows that have a little bit more on them from the very beginning.

A few seasons back you added Danny DeVito to the cast, how did that come about and in your opinion what does Danny bring to the table as far as the show is concerned?

ghowerton-4Initially after the first season, which was only seven episodes, we were so under the radar that the president of FX essentially told us “Look I’m a big fan of the show, I want to pick it up for a second season but I’ve got to be able to sell it to my bosses at the corporation. So I’ve got to be able to tell them that we’re going to do something different to bring these ratings up.” His first thought was, you know he was kind of laying it out there because we can come up with whatever we want, but why don’t we add a cast member who’s got a little bit of star power and bring him onto the show? And we had already been thinking of that for a character for the show, or a character or two as reoccurring characters anyway. Cause we thought it would be funny to get these parental characters to give an idea of where these people came from. So it all kind of came together and John Landegraf President of FX was friends with Danny and worked with him in the past and he brought up Danny’s name. And it was just right from the beginning, I mean we’re all huge Danny DeVito fans and we felt like he was such a natural fit for our show because his humor is skewed so dark. It’s so sort of bizarre anyway, so we thought “Shit, if there’s any chance in hell that we can ever get this guy on our show-great!” He’s clearly a smart guy and he’s a great actor, he’s funny and people love him. How could you do better than that?! So we basically came up with the character for him that we felt suited him and pitched it to him and by the end of the day he had said yes. We were all of course shocked, we didn’t think we could get somebody of his caliber involved in our tiny little under the radar show. We knew our show was good, we felt our show was good and we felt like we deserved it [laughs] but we didn’t think for a million years we were going to get it. But yeah I think it worked out. Basically one of the main reasons I think it worked out was because Danny’s kids were big fans of the first season of the show and I think he really puts a lot of credence in that.

You’re heading into season 5 now, what can you tell us about that?

About the new season? [laughs] I probably shouldn’t talk about this. The episodes specifically I never know what to begin with. I mean what can I say? It’s gonna be great, I think it’s our best season. All I know is that whenever we’re in the editing room going through these things we’ve been living with these episodes for eight or nine months. The fact that we’re sitting in the editing room still laughing every single day is a REALLY good sign. If we’re still laughing at it and we’ve been living with it for that long then I know that we’ve got something good on our hands. All I can say is that I’m really excited about it. I think everybody is really at the top of their game right now, and I can absolutely for sure say that this is Danny’s best season. He’s found something this year, I don’t know what the fuck is going on with that guy, but he’s so funny this year on the show. He’s fully embraced the insanity of this character and he’s killin’ it, he’s killin’ it!

ghowerton-5One of the biggest developments in the last few seasons has been emergence of The Nightman, when you put that together did you have any idea of the impact it would have with the fans?

No we never know, that stuff never ceases to amaze me: the stuff that people sort of latch onto and find the funniest. You know like The Greenman thing and The Nightman/Dayman thing, when we were writing those things we obviously thought that they were funny or we wouldn’t have put them on the show. But I never in a million years dreamed that The Dayman song was going to become such a giant giant phenomenon with people. I do however remember in the third season when we did that episode and shot that scene the first time we sang that song on the set, I remember from that time, it was actually a scene between Charlie and I when we first sing that song it was the first scene that we shot in the third season. From that time forth everybody in the whole crew was singing that song. I kind of had this feeling, I was like “Well that’s interesting.” Everybody on the crew kept coming up and telling us how much they loved that song, how much it made them laugh and how catchy it was and they couldn’t get it out of their head. So I was like “Well that’s interesting.”, and then I kind of just didn’t think about it. So the episode came out and people just kind of went nuts for it.

Now you’re bringing it to the stage, what can you tell us about what’s been involved with that and what can people expect from the live show?

The live show is essentially an expanded version of the actual episode of “The Nightman Cometh” which was the season closer for season four. There are some added moments, added scenes, added songs and extended versions of songs that already existed. [laughs] This is another thing that we never intended to do, we just kind of did it for fun at The Troubadour here in L.A. and people just went absolutely ape shit for it. So Live Nation approached us about doing a tour, our initial reaction was “No that’s crazy, we’re never going to take this on tour that’s insane it would never work.” They were like “We think you guys could sell out three thousand, four thousand seat venues.” And we thought they were crazy, then they said “Look we’ve run the numbers and we think you guys could do it and would you be interested?” We thought it could be a really fun way to kind of connect with the fans and help promote the fifth season of the show and just see what it’s like to experience the life of a rock star for a second. [laughs] That’s how it evolved into this whole tour thing which is insane. And then those tickets sold out in like 90 minutes or something so we were like “Shit man!” We knew that people were watching the show, we knew that we had finally had created a nice firm fan-base for the show but it’s not till you see it firsthand that you get that gratification.

Speaking of your fan-base, there has been a lot of buzz around the internet from fans about a Christmas episode that you guys put together. What can you tell us about that?

ghowerton-3We’d been wanting to do something like that for a long time, we’d been talking about doing double episode specials. We just wanted to do some kind of special: a Halloween special, a Thanksgiving special, and we thought that Christmas was great because you really want to see how at that time of giving how these characters would react. And we wanted to do something where we just had absolutely nothing holding us back whatsoever and we knew the only way we could do that would be something straight to dvd. Cuz even though we can get away with a lot on FX there are some things that you just can’t do you know?! [laughs] So we thought we’ll just do something exclusively for dvd. That’s how the idea came about. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say without hesitation that we’re definitely getting away with a lot. [laughs] There is going to be a lot of havoc reeked on this dvd, I’m really excited for people to see it and it’s very funny. It’s a very funny take on Christmas and there’s a lot of crazy shit that happens on that episode, crazy shit!

You’ve had quite a full plate here lately, and a couple other projects I wanted to touch on. How did you get involved with “The Cleveland Show” what can you tell us about that?

I’ve been wanting to do animated voices since I was basically a kid, I just never really put myself out there just because I didn’t have the time and was doing too many other things. Initially I got very close to booking one of the main regular characters on the show and I guess they liked me over there so they started hiring me to come in and do little things here and there. Which I started doing. I guess they liked my character voice work, they just kept calling me. [laughs] I guess I did between fifteen and twenty episodes in the first season. I was going in and doing character voice whenever they needed me to. Really it’s all I have time for outside of “Sunny” right now and it’s such a great great fun gig. I think as an actor you get pigeonholed and there’s only so many characters you can play but if you can do stuff with your voice you can play anything you want if your voice can do it. I’d be hard pressed to ever get hired as a Puerto Rican man or a black preacher you know what I mean?! It’s never going to happen. But on “The Cleveland Show” I’ve gotten to play both of those, two characters and one is a Puerto Rican man and one is a black preacher. Roles I would never have gotten to play as an actor, so it’s a lot of fun.

ghowerton-7You’ve been working on the pilot for “Boldly Going Nowhere”, again what can you tell us about that and when might we see some movement on that project?

It’s slow going only because we’re so busy, like you said we’ve got a million things going on. “Sunny” has always been our first priority, we were very strict with ourselves in the interest of expanding our business and doing other things which we all of course want to do, we never wanted to let “Sunny” suffer. Because it’s a show that we really love and a show that we really care about and we don’t want to let ourselves or our fans down. It’s just been tough to find time to concentrate on that without burning ourselves out. We wrote a script probably about a year and a half ago and it was a script that we thought was very funny and got a lot of traction and we actually shot a version of it but we are in the process of rewriting it and possibly re-shooting it. That’s essentially where we’re at.

Has there been a particular highlight along the way, or what is your favorite memory from “It’s Always Sunny”?

[pauses] Hmmmm, let me think about that for a second. It’s always the most simple things, I’m not always the best one to answer that question because there’s really no real real big moment. But if I had to say the first thing that pops into my head really was doing the live show at The Troubadour. Getting to experience the performing in front of people who are clearly die-hard incredibly enthusiastic fans of our show, and coming onto the stage and people went absolutely ape shit! I’ve never seen anything like it and it really hit home for me just how much our fans really care about our show and how much they love it. It’s really gratifying, you know? I mean when people approach me on the street, they don’t ever approach me because I’m some big celebrity. They approach me because they just love the show. I’m not banging Lindsey Lohan, I’m not on “Beverly Hills 90210” or “Melrose Place”. People aren’t like “Oh it’s that guy!”. And that’s not the kind of recognition I would ever want anyway, but to have someone come up to you and say “Hey man, I love your work.” is like the greatest feeling. So I would have to say, if I had to pick a moment, it would be the first time I stepped out on stage at The Troubadour for that first live show.

ghowerton-9What’s it like working with the legendary Fred Savage?

[laughs] Fred is a great guy man, he’s got a ton of energy, he farts way too much on set I’ll tell you that much! He’s a gassy son of a bitch, man he’s so gassy. He’s a lot of fun, he’s game for whatever, he’s just a good dude and I like him a lot.

What advice would you have for someone getting involved in the entertainment industry?

My only advice is that if you don’t love what you do and you’re just doing it because you’ve got nothing else going on or because you want to become famous or you think you deserve to be famous, then just don’t do it. Just don’t. Because you’re not bringing anything to the world and you might just get your heart broken when you realize no one gives a shit who you are. I hate seeing people in the entertainment industry that are only doing it for the money or for the fame or they’re just doing it because they think they deserve to be a celebrity. That kind of shit in our society just needs to fuckin die, I hate that kind of stuff. And you know I see it all the time, in Hollywood and in the entertainment business people just like the “idea” of being famous or being rich and famous and being on the cover of “Us Weekly” and I say “Fuck that!” If that’s what you’re in it for then you’re never going to be a happy person.

Well I appreciate all the hard work you put into the show, we are looking forward to the new season. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for watching! We’ll keep the standard high and you guys just keep buying the dvds.

Thanks, Glenn! We are looking forward to the new season of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and we will be tuning in!

Thank you!

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It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Go Green With “Greenman Tweet Week”

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Go Green With “Greenman Tweet Week”

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greenmantweetweekTo kick off the September 17 season five premiere of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, FX has launched “Greenman Tweet Week” where teams of talent dressed as Greenman will be hitting colleges, events, and hot spots making random appearances in unexpected places and engaging passerby’s.

During each encounter, Greenman distributes palm cards that proclaim “You’ve just had a Greenman sighting” and provide fans with instructions to tweet about it. The fans are then encouraged to post messages and photos about their Greenman sightings by tagging their posts with #sunnyfx.

Additionally, in support of the new season and Greenman Tweet Week, FX is asking fans to show their love for Greenman by putting on the suit, showing up at events, taking photos, shooting videos and sharing details with the gang by also sending tweets tagged with #sunnyfx.

You can see all the Greenman Tweet Week activity at www.Fxnetworks.com/sunnytweets.

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