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Horror Business: Director John Gulager Discusses The Creation of ‘Piranha 3DD’

Horror Business: Director John Gulager Discusses The Creation of ‘Piranha 3DD’

Director John Gulager is no stranger to the grizzlier side of cinema. He first came onto the scene when his stint on “Project Greenlight” lead to the creation of his terrifying feature “Feast”. The success of the first film lead to two sequels and opened the door for him to direct his latest project, the sequel to Alexandre Aja’s 2010 hit, “Piranha 3D”. In our opinion, when it comes to blending comedy and horror, there was no better choice for a director than John Gulager! “Piranha 3DD” incorporates the classic elements of the teen horror/exploitation movies of the 1970s, packed with ferocious flesheaters, scantily-clad young victims, and bizarre and exciting twists and turns. Whereas “Piranha 3D” took place on a lake, the 2012 sequel is set at a water park, complete with water slides and a lazy river – the perfect places for piranha mayhem! Back for more outrageous fun, Christopher Lloyd reprises his role as the eccentric piranha expert. After the terror unleashed on Lake Victoria in Piranha 3D, the prehistoric school of bloodthirsty piranhas are back and this time, no one is safe from the flesh-eating fish as they sink their razor-sharp teeth into the visitors of summer’s best attraction, The Big Wet Water Park. Now with double the action, double the horror, and double the D’s, “Piranha 3D” stars Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, David Koechner, Chris Zylka, Katrina Bowden, Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd, and David Hasselhoff. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with John Gulager to discuss the process of bringing the film from script to screen, the challenges of shooting in 3D and much more!

What was the initial spark that made you want to become a filmmaker?

My whole family has been involved with filmmaking and my Dad, Clu Gulager, wanted to be a director. I would act in things for him. At one point, he bought me a Super 8 camera. I wanted to do animation at the very beginning, probably when I was in sixth or seventh grade. He had bought me a little Vivitar camera and I could do things like that with it because it had the little release where you could shoot one frame at a time. We had gone over to Hanna-Barbera and they had shown me how to animate by drawing the cells, paint them and everything else. Needless to say, I was big into animation for quite a while for all of my little school projects and stuff like that. From there, I started shooting live action stuff. I was making little shorts with my brother. He was just a little kid but we would get little packets of ketchup and he would squeeze them at the right moment, so that it looked like he got shot in the head! It was the usual thing that you always hear about from someone getting into filmmaking during that time period. Since my parents were always involved in the industry, I was just used to that kind of environment. At some point, I was either going to make films or be a bum! I was pretty much a bum for a long time! [laughs] Then I slipped on a banana peel and ended up on “Project Greenlight” and then I could actually earn a living! I expected it to happen a lot earlier in my life, that is for sure! I expected it to happen when I was a teenager or in my early twenties but at the same time, I am kinda lazy, so it didn’t! [laughs]

Things are looking up!

I think so! I can actually earn a living and pay the rent doing this — doing something that I love. You hear about people who don’t like their jobs and I can’t relate to that at all. I can’t think of something I would rather be doing! I think you can think of different projects and different movies as a portion of your job but being able to go out and shoot stuff, put it together and have it come out has been mind blowing!

What intrigued you about helming “Piranha 3DD” and what state was the project in when you came aboard?

Now available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD!

I had seen the first film, “Piranha 3D”, and I was a big fan and I loved it a lot. I took Diane, my old ball and chain. I said “I really want you to see this!” I had already gone to see it. I took her down to the Chinese Theater and she liked it too. At the time, we didn’t have any idea that any of this was going to happen. The I got a phone call and they said “Hey! We want to do a sequel to this film. Are you in? Do you want to do it?” I was kinda like “Yeah!” [in an excited tone] This was at the very, very, very beginning. They had the genesis of the title and wanted it to be “Piranha 3DD”. I thought that would be pretty funny! They also knew that it would involve piranhas going through pipes and that was it. That was all they had! That was the studio, Bob Weinstein. It was at that time when I came on along with writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton. From there, we went to Louisiana to find a water park. We found one that we really liked and wrote the script. The water park read the script and said “NO WAY!” [laughs] We ended up checking out water parks from Michigan to Florida to Georgia and everywhere in between! Everywhere except California because they wanted this tax break thing. Ultimately, we ended up in North Carolina at a little Mom and Pop water park called Jungle Rapids. That is why some of the story changed a bit to accommodate that type of water park as opposed to some giant extravaganza type of place. That’s what it is all about, ya know? Adapting to certain circumstances and using what is available.

I came on at the very beginning and the script went through many stages as you can imagine. At first, they didn’t even know if they were going to have the rights to the movie. That lead to us writing a script that wasn’t necessarily a sequel but a script that was about piranhas! [laughs] If you can imagine the craziest scenario of what someone would say to you over the phone about going forward with a project — that’s what happened! [laughs] In the end, everything worked out. Obviously, there are boobs, there are piranhas and a water park! [laughs] The water park was just us goofing on “Jaws 3D” because that was set in a water park but it was more of a “Shamu” type of water park. Even though no one would necessarily know, that was our idea — set it in a kids water park where the piranhas can come in through the pipes. There are always these little stories that probably don’t matter for the public but for us that is where it came from.

How did shooting in Real 3D affect the filming process and how you tackled the project as a director?

Ya know, it definitely changed a few things. Everything took a little longer than anticipated. It was fun because you got to use a crane and all of these different things because everything was so heavy, you had to have it supported all of the time. Then we had the underwater version that used the silicone imaging cameras, which were a little bit smaller so they can be maneuvered a little bit. It did make everything take longer, I can say that for sure, so you have a plus and you have a minus when it comes to shooting. As a director, one of your main battles is always with time. People might think that it is equipment but the most expensive thing on any set is the whole crew being there for day after day and hour after hour. Any downtime you have, you are aware that the clock is ticking and the dollars are flying! [laughs] We had a finite amount of time to work with because the water park was set to open on Memorial Day and we couldn’t shoot there after that because of all kinds of health regulations regarding the water and the blood and everything, so we were limited that way also. Although the 3D stuff did take a lot more time, it was a lot of fun to watch in the dailies though! Every now and then our heads would explode! [laughs] If something went a little bit wrong in the dailies, we had a stereographer who would be on set with a black cloth over his head to see the monitor, like those old -time photographers with the 8 x 10 cameras taking the pictures in the Wild West, he looked like that kinda! [laughs] He would be working the stereo live while we would be doing the shots but every once and a while it would still be a little out there and it would be fixed a little more in post. The whole 3D thing was quite an experience!

As you mentioned, you were on the project since the beginning. How did the casting shake out and did anyone bring something to the project you may not have been expecting?

John Gulager

Well, for one thing, Ving [Rhames] wasn’t in the going to be in the movie originally. I think this is on the commentary but he actually called and left a message for us that said “Hello. This is Ving “You never saw me die at the end of Piranha 3D” Rhames…” [laughs] So after that, we wrote those scenes and stuck him in there! That was kinda surprising that he was even there! He actually ended up having one of my favorite lines, you know the “Bring me my legs…” line. David Hasselhoff was another element that was there from the beginning but then he didn’t want to do it, which we were a little freaked out over. We had to rewrite the script a little bit to make him not so down and out. [laughs] I wanted him to be so down and out that he had to open this crappy water park. He didn’t want to be that down and out, so we put two girls in his bed! [laughs] That whole thing was really interesting. There would be women across the street from where we were shooting screaming “David! David!” and stuff like that. I had never been around anything like that before on anything I have worked on! [laughs] That was really interesting! I think the kids in the film, like Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, Chris Zylka and Katrina Bowden, are all really good actors. I feel bad that Adrian Martinez, who plays Big Dave, got cut out of it so much because he was so freakin’ funny on the set, man! Paul James and Meagan Tandy were great as well and then you had Christopher Lloyd! That was pretty interesting because he was just the quietest guy. You expect him to be kinda whacky or kooky but he is so down to earth. Then there was Gary Busey and he is exactly what you expect — totally out there! [laughs]

Director John Gulager

Of course, any time any actress would take their clothes off, I would be so grateful! Even with a movie that has a title like “Piranha 3DD,” it is tough to have nudity in the background or whatever. It is harder than you think, no pun intended! [laughs] It is tougher than you think to get people to do this! People will show up and then change their minds at the last minute, so anytime people would come through, so to speak, I would be like “Ahhhhh!!!! Thank You!” There was no Spring Break or anything like that that was going on at the time. We actually had to go out and find people and cajole people into it. Obviously, some people came.That whole process was pretty interesting. I came from a different era but I think a lot of the actors today are scared of nudity. Maybe it is because of the internet but ya know, Sissy Spacek did it and it never hurt her career! [laughs] What can I say, it’s a different era!

Is there a particular type of film or genre you are looking forward to tackling in the future?

Yeah! One that is not funny! [laughs]

Is that on the horizon then?

No! [laughs] I know they say that sometimes you can’t help what you are but I think I want to try to make something that is a little more serious and a little more filmic! Possibly! [laughs] So we will see!

Thank you so much for your time today, John! All the best to you!

Thank you so much!

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No Ordinary Monster: Doug Jones Gives Us A Look Inside His World!

No Ordinary Monster: Doug Jones Gives Us A Look Inside His World!

Doug Jones is a rarity in today’s entertainment industry. He is a man known less for his face and more for his exciting body of work. Chances are you likely encountered him as one of the Gentleman in the award winning episode of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” Abe Sapien in “Hellboy” and “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”, Pan and the terrifying Pale Man from the multi-Oscar-winning “Pan’s Labyrinth” or a legendary title character in “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.” Most of his roles require this dedicated artist to endure countless hours in the makeup chair to bring these unique characters to life. However, he doesn’t rely on the prosthetics alone to sell a performance. His acting ability hearkens back to the days and talents of movies greats like Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff, who put every ounce of their body and soul into a performance.

How did he get to that point, you ask? It started simply enough. Doug Jones was born in May 1960 in Indiana, where he grew up in the city’s Northeast side as the youngest of four brothers. After attending high school, he headed to Ball State University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and a minor in theatre. During his schooling, Jones donned the costume of the school mascot, was part of a mime troop, and honed his skills as a contortionist.

After a theater run in his native Indiana, he followed his dreams to Los Angeles. His breakout role came in an unusual form, as he captured the role of a McDonald’s character, Mac Tonight, that was destined to become an iconic pop culture character around the globe. Since then, it has been a non-stop roller coaster ride establishing him as one of the hardest working people in show business. With an ever-growing resume running the gambit from film, television and web series to commercials and music videos with the likes of Madonna and Marilyn Manson, Jones continues to gain critical praise as well as new legions of dedicated fans with each new outing.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with this amazing actor to discuss his start in the entertainment industry, how his unique skill set established him as one of Hollywood’s most interesting artists, his process for bringing a character from script to screen, and what new projects lie in store for him!

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. I am a good ole fashioned, mid-western boy!

They say the entertainment is not for the faint of heart. I am sure this especially holds true for a mid-western boy like yourself! How did you get your start in the business?

Doug Jones

Well, I am going to go back to my time in Indiana where I spent time on the high school stage. In college, I was the mascot for the school. I was in a big bird suit as Charlie Cardinal and I was also a part of the mime troop there. We were called Mime Over Matter! So that was some early training that I did that I didn’t realize that I was getting for the career that I have now, wearing big costumes and learning the art of mime where I communicate with my entire body, not just the verbal dialog that comes out of an actors mouth. That was the early training that got me started. Then coming out to Los Angeles in 1985, a long, long time ago, I took a job at a bank just to make the excuse to move. The bank fired me after eight months! [laughs] Which they should have because I sucked as a banker! The favor that they did me that day was pushing me out into the L.A. market as an actor, much earlier than I had planned on. I took a television commercial acting workshop that I saw advertised in “Backstage” magazine. It turned out that the class was taught by an agent. That agent, after my second class, said, “Here’s my card, please call me at the office.” So that is kinda how I got my first agent. Then I was on my way doing TV commercials within six months of that. My fourth TV campaign booking was the Mac Tonight campaign for McDonald’s. That was the crescent moon head that sang at the top of a floating cloud with a piano. That was the campaign that kinda marked me as, “Tall, skinny, goofy guy who moves well. Wears a lot of prosthetics and costuming and doesn’t complain in the makeup!” That was the big one for the creature effects makeup people! A lot of actors are known to be divas, we are very selfish people! [laughs] I had said yes to doing something not human, therefore it comes with a cumbersome costume or some time in the makeup and that was fine. That was extraordinary to them for some reason! That is where the mid-western part of me came in. I had a work ethic that was as simple as, “If you say yes to something, you do it and don’t complain.” You just shut up and do it! [laughs] Apparently, that wasn’t done here at the time I guess! I was very surprised that I got the reaction that I did from that arm of Hollywood-land. The creature effect makeup people were the ones who then referred me to the next job and the next job and the next job. Before long, the roles were getting bigger and I was more acquainted with the directors, producers and writers that I was working with, so the referrals started coming from all ends. Here I sit today with the crazy, wacky career that I have had!

Who were some of the influences who inspired you? You have been compared to Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff of our generation. Did they factor in?

Oh yeah, yeah! Early childhood, haunting memories are staying up late on Friday night to watch Sammy Terry, the local Friday Night horror host, who wore a ghoulish vampire costume and would say, “Hello, I am Saaaaammmmy Terrrrrrrryyy!” [in a low vampire-like voice] He would introduce the horror movie of the week. I stayed up every Friday night to watch whatever the movie was. “The Mummy” was the first film of Boris Karloff’s that I remember seeing and he haunted the poop out of me! Those close ups where he opened his eyes wide was enough! How he physicalized walking around as a mummy was great. Of course, I saw “Frankenstein” after that. “Phantom of the Opera” with Lon Chaney was enough to sell me on him! They were absolutely early influences of mine. That is why I have been holding a torch, campaigning and hoping for a return of that Golden Era, where monsters were movie stars. The era where the actors playing them were press worthy, would have their name in the opening credits and that kind of thing. We lost that for a long chunk of time. Guillermo del Toro is one of those directors who took me on and made me a part off his family, so to speak, and he would write monster parts for leading men. He writes monsters as those old Golden Era monsters were, where they were the highlight of the film, not just something that came in to scratch up the lead actors, but ones who had a sympathetic cause or he might be a bad guy but it is against his own will or he is stuck in a conundrum himself or something sympathetic. That is where an audience wants to know who is playing that role and find that actor intriguing. I owe Guillermo del Toro just an awful lot for writing and directing me in roles that brought about those comparisons to those old Golden Era actors that I admire so much!

Absolutely! Having worked with Guillermo del Toro several times now, what have you learned from his direction?

Guillermo del Toro & Doug Jones

I have learned that my owns fears of my own shortcomings are stupid! [laughs] He is one of those directors that directs every actor that he has in front of him very differently. I saw that the most when I was on the set of “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” where I had way more on-screen time with Ron Perlman and Selma Blair. All three of us were handled very differently by Guillermo. He knew how our buttons pushed and he would find the space that we needed to be in, communicate with us in that space and then get out of us what he needed. It was fascinating to watch! He is such a studier of people and that is why he writes people so well and that is why he writes monsters with people issues so well, because he really knows people. That carries into his direction. It really inspired us as actors. He is amazing and knows more about my strengths and weaknesses than I do from an outsiders point of view, who has really absorbed and observed me. So when he says that I can do something that I really feel like I will fail miserably at, when Guillermo says I can do it, I have to trust him. And I do now! I learned that on “Pan’s Labyrinth.” When he told me that I was the only actor that could play the Fawn in the film, I was sure that someone else could have played better, perhaps even someone that could speak the Spanish as a native language, let’s just pretend there was someone there already. He kept assuring me that, no, I was the right choice. I was fighting him on it even! I am really glad that he won that fight! [laughs] Because that has become one the benchmarks in my career that I am so honored and grateful to have.

What is your typical process for bringing a character from the script to the screen and does that process differ when prosthetics are involved?

It does. I do like to physicalize any character that I play, even if it is a guy in a T-shirt and jeans. I think when you take on a character, you take him on physically from head to toe. Each human character might walk differently, talk differently, jester differently, run, squat or jump away from things in fear differently. So, I do bring that to my human characters as well. But when I am playing a character that is not human — actually, I just signed a contract for a new movie yesterday, which I can’t tell you about yet because the official announcement has not been made yet but I just signed on for a major studio film where I will be playing an other worldly creature. I knew this was coming so I have been back at the gym for a little over a month now. I have been doing some weight training, get my aerobics health back up and my heart rate back up to an athletic range because it is going to be very physically demanding for me. That is number one for me. I have to think like an athlete as well as an actor when I am taking on something with prosthetic layers and athleticism built into the role. After I get off of the phone with you, I will be headed over to the creature effects shop to get my first life cast and fittings done. I will see the creature designs today! At the meetings that I have had before, you have everything from “tall, postured and skinny” to “heavier, leaned over and groveling on all fours.” So I don’t know what design they picked but I will find out later today! When I see what the posture the drawings are and the girth of that suit, I will be more specific at what I am doing at the gym. It will include me going to the aerobics floor after all of the classes are done. I will use the mirrors and the big wood floor to learn my walks, my squats, my tosses, how does he crawl and what does the script call for. That is also very important. This role is going to call for a lot of tension and fight scenes and that kind of thing. I need to find some physicality with myself and the mirror. As I go back to the creature shop for more fittings, I will see if what I worked out at the gym is going to be feasible or not, can I move or not, will the costume or the makeup restrict or enhance what I have already worked on. It is a multi-step process! Then of course, the director comes in at some point and says, “I hate all that. Let’s try this instead!” [laughs] or says, “I love what you are doing!” We will have that discussion with his notes. So it is a multi-step process to get this to filming day.

Wow! That is really amazing. As you said, it all comes back to your early days as a mime. You have a very cool new project coming out in regard to that and the challenges that presented themselves along the way.

'Mime Very Own Book'

Oh my gosh, the book! This is one of those projects that took me out of the film and television world for just a minute to explore my roots as a mime. We talked about that mime troop that I was in, Mime Over Matter, right!?

Right!

It’s a big ole catch phrase! Did ya catch that catch phrase?

Oh, of course!

Yeah, see! That is funny! That is humor! [laughs] This book, which comes out in December of 2011 and it is pre-orderable on Amazon.com right now, is called “Mime Very Own Book” — another little play on words! This book, as the title might suggest, is just full of punny, pun, pun humor and is kind of a send up of all pop culture. Famous artworks, famous movie posters, iconic photos or moments captured in time in history, we redo with me as a mime, pose for pose, pun for pun! We have everything from me with my arms PhotoShopped off as Venus De Mime-lo or me with boxer shorts on and gloves with me on the floor as well, having been knocked out as Mime-hammad Ali, right?! Yelling, “Get up! Get up, sucka!” [laughs] That is one of the famous photos that we re-did. We also did old movie posters like “Say Anything” with John Cusack only ours is “Don’t Say Anything.” It’s a mime thing! Come on now! [laughs]

[laughs] That’s great!

We do other catchphrases too, like “A Mime is a terrible thing to waste!” or “Once Upon A Mime … ” right!? And what would that look like in photo! We also did a multi-page section where we told the story of “Little Red Miming Hood” where I play Little Red Miming Hood and the grandmother and the wolf, all as mimes! It is really the most ridiculous book I have ever imagined! The publishing company is Medallion Press in Chicago and they approached me about doing this a couple of years ago. Publishing takes a little bit longer than movies even. We had a three-day photo shoot where we took thousands of pictures, once the ideas were conceived. There are four co-conspirators that have authorship of it, including myself. Scott Allen Perry came up with many of the ideas and directed the photo shoot. Our publisher Adam Mock, who was also conceptual and had tons of ideas. All the tomfoolery that I just mentioned to you had to come out of someones brain and these two are nuts! You need someone who is really kooky to figure this book out! Our photographer Eric Curtis does the most brilliant things with light and capturing the moment, more than any photographer that I have ever worked with. The four of us are all listed as authors of this book. I cannot wait! We have an eight page flyer promo thing that just has a few images from the 250 pages that you will see in December and even this eight pager makes me laugh my little butt off!

It sounds great and I can’t wait to get a look at it to see what you guys have come up with!

We have an official website that just went up at www.mimeveryownbook.com!

I know you have many new projects going on. What can you tell us about those?

Doug Jones

Right now, this week, my second episode of “The Guild” comes out. I made my first appearance on “The Guild” last week, which is a very popular web series with Felicia Day, of course! As web series go, this one is among the most popular ever and she is kinda paving the way for this new medium. This is Season 5 of “The Guild” which means that it has been going on for five years already. Season 5 takes place at a gaming convention. At this convention, as you learn last week, one of the members of The Guild, who is played by Robin Thorsen, a hilarious, platinum blonde, lovely woman, stumbles upon the steam punk booth at the convention. In the steam punk booth there are three very snooty people dressed in period clothing, goggles and futuristic gadgets and I am one of those three people. I have been having the most raging ball with this! We affected fake British accents and the whole thing! For the steam punk lovers out there, we are not making fun! I swear, I promise! We are celebrating all that is steam punk and taking it to another degree! “The Guild” is one of those shows where everything is irreverent anyway, so we love steam punk and that style. I wear steam punk clothing on the red carpets all the time, so it was really fun for me to delve a little bit farther into a caricature of a steam punk person. Every new episode of “The Guild” starts on Tuesday on Xbox, if you are a game player and that same Thursday, that same episode will show up on MSN and Bing. There are all of these portals that I am only slightly aware of because I am not tech-savy! [laughs] You can easily find links if you follow Felicia Day or “The Guild” on Twitter. So that would be @feliciaday or @theguild on Twitter about where you can find them! I show up in about four or five episodes, so that is very exciting!

Speaking of Felicia Day, we also have “Dragon Age: Redemption” which is another web series based on “Dragon Age” the video game, where I play the main nemesis, bad guy in. As of Comic Con, I can tell you who I am now! I am Saarebas who is a Qunari mage. The gamers out there, especially those who play “Dragon Age II,” that will make some sense to them. Hopefully that will be starting sometime this Fall. They are being kind of gray about what our start date is with that web series. Then I am in a third web series, which is also based on a video game, called “Fallout: Nukabreak.” It is from the same people who brought you the short film of the same name on YouTube. It was a fan film that ended up with a couple of million views. It has now developed into a web series and I play a very colorful and fun character in that! That series just started last week and I believe that they have a new episode every two weeks. I show up at the end of episode 3 and take up the entire fourth episode. That is another fun thing to look for! I believe you can find that one on YouTube by searching “Fallout: Nukabreak.”

Then there is also, oh my gosh, I am such a promotion pig right now! [laughs]

It can’t be helped! You are very busy man!

Doug Jones: Jumping For Joy!

[laughs] Yes! Last weekend, my French movie, that I did a couple of years ago, “Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life,” was finally released in the United States. The film is based on the life of singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourgh and I play his alter-ego. He is a very famous and iconic French singer/songwriter from the 1960s and ‘70s. This year marks the 20th anniversary of his death, so it is very timely that the film is being released now. It is a biopic but it also has a fantasy element to it and that is where I come in! Being his alter-ego, I am a very extagerated, cartoony version of him. It was a five-hour makeup application, which was done by the makeup artists, Oscar winners, from “Pan’s Labyrinth” that created this very cartoony looking and big beaked — I have a huge nose, huge ears, everything that Serge Gainsbourgh hated about his own face. The call me, my name in French is La Gueule, which means ugly mug. That was kind of a fun character to play! “Oh, I get to play Ugly Mug? Great! Mom will be proud!” [laughs] As biopics go, this is one of the more creative ones that I have ever seen. It is in the French language with subtitles. It just started in New York and L.A. last weekend and it will be inching its way across the country to other cities throughout November. If you go to my personal website, which is www.thedougjonesexperience.com, there is a little box on my homepage that will show you all about “Gainsbourg” the movie and has click-ables, one with more info on the movie itself and another with what cities and dates. That will take you to our distributor’s page, which is www.musicboxfilms.com. They will tell you all about when you can look for it in a city near you.

You truly have an amazing story to tell. As busy as you are, have you given any thought to writing an autobiography about your journey in the industry?

Yes! It is funny that you would bring that up because now that I have a relationship with Medallion Press in Chicago, I did briefly discuss with them an autobiography. A lot of actors do autobiographies but I want mine to be different somehow. If I do one — Guillermo del Toro has talked about doing “Frankenstein,” his own take on Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” as a movie. It wouldn’t be a remake of the 1930s one with Boris Karloff but his own imagining of what the book should be. In my own mind, I decided that if I get to play Frankenstein’s Monster, as he has told the press I will be doing, that experience needs to be in the book. For sure! That is a couple of years away from happening, so I think that somehow tying in a monster, becoming one and feeling like one in my own real life, like “The Road to Frankenstein” or something about being a monster would be the theme of it where you get glimpses of my gawky childhood and my career under rubber, actually playing monsters. I somehow want to tie all of that together with a sympathetic twist on how a geeky kid’s dreams can come true!

I am sure you received great advice along the way on your journey in the film industry. What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to someone who has been inspired by your work?

Doug Jones: The Man Behind The Mask

Well, golly! I get asked all the time by actors who want to do the specific type of acting that I do if I have any advice. The first thing that I tell them is that you need to think like an actor first, don’t think like a monster or a creature. You need to have acting skills to where you can take on a character, feel his needs, his wants, his desires, his fears and be able to analyze the script and figure out how your character plays into that script, how the character interacts with the other characters in the story, just like any other actor would do. Then you can take on the physical traits that we were talking about earlier. That is where it all starts. My inspiration for that is actually not someone who is in the movie industry. He was the man who taught me how to do mime back in college, a guy by the name of Reed K. Steele. He was a tall, skinny, goofy guy just like me! Watching him work an audience silently and learning how to feel, he had an audience laughing or crying minutes away from each other. I have been translating that into the film world and into the roles I play now, he was the biggest inspiration that I have had as a mentor. Otherwise, I also got a good piece of advice from a director once. I was complaining one time about my agent, this was years and years and years ago, more than 10 years ago. Ya know, actors will always complain about their agents and managers! They are, “never doing enough for us” or “we don’t get out enough” or “I am not seen by casting people enough,” blah, blah, blah! We always want to complain about that! So, I was having one of those day! [laughs] A director friend of mine who had done a short film that was Oscar nominated that year said to me, “Doug, I know that your agent probably isn’t doing enough for you BUT your success as an actor does not rest in the hands of your agent or your manager. It rests in the hands of your relationship with directors.” That is a piece of advice that has come absolutely true for me! It is the directors that I meet and that collaboration between director and actor that proves to be what snowballs into the next job and an actual career that moves in a direction. You know what I mean?

Absolutely! Is there anything you want to say to your fans before I let you go?

Hellboy's Abe Sapien and Doug Jones

Oh my goodness! Well, if anyone calls themselves a fan of Doug Jones or as I dubbed them years ago, Fan-sabiens, I love you, I love you, I love you! Thank you for giving me the career that I have! Without you, I don’t have a job or nor would I have a house! Please come out and see me if I am going to be in a city near you at the convention appearances that I make. That is another bit of info you can find on www.thedougjonesexperience.com, my appearances page that will show you what cities I will be in with dates, times and click-ables to take you to the event websites to get tickets and all of that. I love, love, love coming out into the middle of the country and meeting fans. Meeting the people who have watched the TV shows and films that I have appeared in and have been supporting me all of these years is amazing! That is why I am such a hugger! I feel that I owe all of you such a huge hug! So, come on out and hug me if you see me coming to a city near you!

Thanks so much for your time, Doug! I hope we get the chance to speak with you again very soon! You are such an inspiration!

You are extremely kind! Thank you so much for having me today! Big love! Bye bye!

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Additional Photos by J. Regan Hutson – Check out his work at www.jreganhutsonphotography.com!

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Director Ruben Fleischer Talks About His Career, ‘Zombieland 2’ and Much More!

Director Ruben Fleischer Talks About His Career, ‘Zombieland 2’ and Much More!

Ruben Fleischer began laying the groundwork for his film making career while working as an assistant for Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl). It was there where he began to see what life behind the camera was all about and it was these experiences that began to fan his creative flames. Fleischer threw caution to the wind and spent the next two years experimenting with various low budget music videos and short films to develop his skill set. It didn’t take long for people to take notice of his considerable talents and things quickly snowballed for the young director. He poured his heart and soul into his work and each project led to something bigger — bigger commercials, bigger videos, bigger budgets. It wouldn’t be long before Hollywood knocked on his door.

While Fleischer may have not set out to become a director initially, there is little doubt that he made a huge impact on the cinematic landscape in 2009. His directorial debut, Zombieland featured Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin as survivors in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by flesh-eating zombies. The refreshingly different, delicately balanced mix of comedy and horror became an instant hit with audiences and critics alike. No small feat for a first time director!

Icon Vs. Icon‘s Jason Price recently caught up with Ruben Fleischer to discuss his past, his experiences while on the set of Zombieland, the status of the highly anticipated sequel, his work with Funny or Die and what lies in store for this amazing filmmaker in the months to come!

Where did you grow up and how did you get involved with the entertainment industry?

Ruben Fleischer

I grew up in Washington, DC. I went to college in Connecticut and then I moved out to San Fransisco after college. Actually, I didn’t know why I moved to San Fransisco. I ended up doing a bunch of web stuff, just because that was the industry at the time, this was 1996. It was kinda the beginning of the Internet, as we know it now. I lived there for a couple of years and then I moved down to Los Angeles for a web job, which quickly ended. I was out of work and broke! I needed a job and I got one being a production assistant on the television show called ‘Dawson’s Creek,’ mainly because I needed a job, not because of any grand ambitions for Hollywood. If you are here and you can get a quick job as a production assistant, it’s a good way to go. I took the job and got to work with a guy by the name of Mike White. He kinda became my mentor. He went on to write and star in a movie called ‘Chuck & Buck’. He got me a job being the assistant to the director of that film. It was my first real taste of production, film making, cameras, lights or anything else.

Who were some of the influences that you looked to as you came into the industry?

When I started directing my own stuff, the path I took was doing music videos, so Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Jonathan Glazer and Mark Romanek were my music video influences. Once I started doing more narrative stuff and doing comedy, I would say my influences were more along the lines of the classic 80s movies directors that I grew up on like John Hughes, John Landis, Ivan Reitman and Harold Ramis. They were big influences.

What was it about ‘Zombieland’ that jumped out at you and made you want to tackle this as your first feature film?

Honestly, at first I wasn’t too sure about the zombie component of the movie, because growing up, I wasn’t a huge zombie fan. I wasn’t a huge genre fan but I just loved the characters and I loved the comedy. They felt very real and they were guys that I wanted to go on a journey with. It is really about their relationship, the kinda ‘Odd Couple’, buddy comedy aspect of it that I was most excited to explore.

You mention the mix of comedy and horror. Was it difficult to find the right combination of actors to pull those elements off?

Well, as scripted, the characters were very different on the page. It was definitely that classic dynamic between “tough guy” and “nerdy guy”. Woody Harrelson was my first choice and he is who I went after for the part. When he agreed to do it, and I honestly can’t think of anyone better who could have done it, we did a pretty thorough series of casting to find Jesse (Eisenberg). He was a leading candidate but we did read three people opposite of Woody. Jesse seemed closest to the person on the page that we had all kinda fallen in love with.

One of the biggest on-screen surprises for your film or any film in 2009 was the appearance from Bill Murray. How did that come about?

That was purely Woody pulling a favor at the last minute. We had originally scripted the part for other people but they had fallen through, so we were kinda scrambling the week before shooting. Woody offered to make the call to his buddy, Bill. Honestly, their couldn’t have been anyone better or more exciting for that role. It really took the movie to a whole different level and it is part of what makes it so special.

Woody Harrelson & Ruben Fleischer

I come from a low-budget background where we never have enough money to do what we wanted to do, but you have to solve those issues in creative ways. ‘Zombieland’, while it was a big studio movie, certainly didn’t have a major action movie budget. We had to get really creative on how to accomplish some of those stunts and to pull off the whole film. Coming from a low-budget background like that really impacted the approach to the film making of ‘Zombieland’.

You certainly accomplished making it look like you had a big budget and the film had a very cool look to it throughout.

Thank you!

Looking back on the film making process for ‘Zombieland’, what was the biggest challenge for you?

I guess that it is probably the same as what any first time film maker might say, but the duration of the shoot was a challenge and having to think of the movie as a whole. You know, spread out over 41 days as opposed to a video that will be shot in a day or two or a commercial that is shot in a day. It was a matter of trying to manage the whole story and keep it in my head, because obviously you don’t shoot it all in order. There was a lot of thinking about the scene that preceded a certain shot or that might follow, one that we might have shot two weeks ago or might not have shot at that point. Trying to keep it all clear and knowing where their characters are at, for each point, so you know what the performances should be like so that it all fits together, it’s a big challenge.

What is the status of the sequel, ‘Zombieland 2’?

We have been talking to the studio and we pitched them some ideas that they seemed to really like. We are definitely doing the film in 3D. Sony has their own 3D division now and we are going to go get a little tour of that on Tuesday (3/2/2010), of the 3D department. I know that the cast are all excited to be a part of the sequel, so it should be a great, fun movie to make! The script is about to be written and hopefully we will shoot it sometime towards the end of the year or early next year.

Did you have any reservations about doing a sequel?

I didn’t because the movie was originally conceived as a television show, so it was kinda always meant to lead to another episode. There was no finality to the characters or the world in the original concept, so it’s not like we are stretching it. That’s why ‘Zombie Kill of The Week’ is ‘Zombie Kill of The Week’, because that is the kill of the week and next week there will be another one. That’s why I don’t feel that we are being oporrtunistic or too exploitative of the success of the first film. I feel that this is the way it was always intended to be.

You mentioned 3D and at this point everyone has seen James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’. As a director, how big of a game changer was that film for you and will it have any bearing on what you try to do in your film?

Yeah, I feel that ‘Avatar’ has bearing for everybody who makes or watches movies. For me, it was such a significant advancement in entertainment. I loved it and was transfixed while watching it. If we want to tackle 3D, we will need to bear the lessons of that movie in mind and try to create a world with as much dimension, texture and wonderment as that film. I feel like that film didn’t exploit the tricky, “gun barrels in your face”, gimmicky 3D, which I appreciate but I think we will be more prone to have things flying at you than ‘Avatar’ did.

Ruben Fleischer On The Set

Will you be shooting with 3D cameras or is that something you are more likely to handle in post-production?

Nothing has been determined yet but just from the little that I know about 3D, I would greatly prefer to shoot it in 3D.

Well it seem you have plenty on your plate for this year. What else do you have coming up in the near future?

I am kinda working on this bank heist movie that is a kind of a dark comedy. That will hopefully shoot this summer. No one has really been cast yet but it is a dark comedy called ‘Thirty Minutes or Less’. Ben Stiller’s company, Red Hour, will be producing.

You have done a lot of stuff for Funny or Die in the past. How did you originally get involved with them?

I have had a long relationship with Funny or Die. Actually, I met with Adam McKay and Chris Henchy even before they had the website up and running. I showed them this little thirty second video that I had shot with Nick Thune, who is a really funny comedian, called “Masturbation”. It is just the most basic kind of stupid humor. They loved it and said that they would put it on their site. “Masturbation” was one of the earliest videos on the site and I think it has been seen over two million times by now. That lead to doing a bunch of other Nick Thune shorts and I have done a fair amount of little things for them. When they were launching the television series, there is a comedian named Rob Huebel, who I have known through comedy circles, and he wrote and was starring in this thing called “The Holdup”. He asked me to direct and we shot it in a weekend, a couple of weeks after I finished shooting ‘Zombieland’. It’s actually a bank heist thing too, really funny! It has the most incredible ensemble cast that we could ever have hoped for Funny or Die.

I saw the trailer for it on your blog and it looks like it is going to be great!

Yeah, just having Ed Helms, Rachael Harris, Rob Huebel, Creed Bratton, Tom Lennon, Brandon Johnson, Jerry Minor and Malin Akerman, is just an incredible cast for something we shot in a weekend. It really turned out great and I am very proud of it!

You do a lot of projects based around comedy and you clearly do it very well. Is there any other genre that peaks your interest that we might see you tackle in the near future?

I definitely like the action stuff in ‘Zombieland’ and there is a nice action component in ‘Thirty Minutes or Less’. I don’t know if I could ever do anything, purely action but I really love it. I think that there would have to be a hint of comedy but action stuff is very funny to shoot.

Social media is playing such an important role in the marketing of films in the past year. How has it affected you as a film maker and how do you think it will affect film making?

I think the immediacy of the reactions is the biggest thing. I feel like people have been using the internet to promote and market things for a while, whether it is commercials, trailers or online ads, and people are going to be swayed by marketing just as they were before. The biggest change for me is that instant feedback of whether something is good or bad, it is no longer just word of mouth. It is a much more direct feedback loop, whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs or whatever else. Whether it is something really good or something really bad, you hear about it quickly and that will have tremendous impact.

As a young film maker yourself, what is the best piece of advice that you would give to someone looking to take that career path?

Definitely go shoot stuff! Technology is so affordable at this point that you can have a really great camera with relatively good sound for not that much money. You can do editing and pretty sophisticated visual effects on your computer these days, so there are pretty much no limitations for people to make their own stuff, which is how I started. I started doing low-budget music videos or short films on my own with my computer and my video camera and made a ton of stuff that way. Now there is the internet which provides a great forum for people to see the stuff that you make. You can build a reel and shoot stuff and have people see it, be it on YouTube, Funny or Die or your own website. There are no excuses not to be making stuff. That is how you learn, by teaching yourself how to do it and hopefully it is how you get discovered as well. There are plenty of people that I know, including myself, that were doing things on a small scale and then it got popular and recognized on a larger format and lead to greater opportunity. The only reason that I got to make a movie is because I made a music video that was a viral video before YouTube existed. It happened to get seen a couple of hundred thousand times, back in 2001-2002. Then I got opportunities to do commercials and other projects but it was purely because I had made something on my own that got seen be people. There is no reason why that anyone else can’t do that! I didn’t go to film school, I didn’t have a lot of money, I just did it — and I feel like everybody can.

You are getting to the point in your career where you can look back and see some pretty big milestones. Large or small, what has been the most exciting thing for you so far?

Some of my greatest memories from the past year, beyond making ‘Zombieland’, are getting to watch it with an audience in theaters. Hearing the laughs from the audience was an incredible experience, particularly because as a commercial director, you don’t typically get to watch your stuff with people. It is usually just on TV or on internet. It was really exciting to get to hear the public feedback. The movie gets a lot of laughs, so it was really fun. Then, there are some of the people who I have had the opportunity to meet through the film’s recognition. I got to meet Ivan Reitman, John Landis and some other people that I really have been a big fan of, so getting to talk shop with them has been pretty neat.

It seems like your schedule is pretty full for 2010!

Yeah, it’s been great and I can’t complain. I am a lucky guy!

Thank you for your time, Ruben and I wish you all the best!

Thanks, man! I appreciate it.

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Be sure to check out everything that Ruben Fleischer’s has going on at his official website and Twitter account! Check out a teaser for his latest work for Funny or Die below:

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Sean Patrick Flanery Talks “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” And More!

Sean Patrick Flanery Talks “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” And More!

feature-sean-patrick-flanery

To many of his fans, Sean Patrick Flanery will always be one half of one of the greatest action duos of all time, The McManus Brothers. It would be his performance alongside Norman Reedus in “Boondock Saints” that would help spawn one of the biggest cult sensations in movie history. Throughout his career, Flanery has proved to be anything but a one-trick pony. This dynamic actor has continued to grow his already impressive resume by immersing himself in the characters and continually testing his limits as an artist.
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Over a decade after the original film debuted, Flanery and Reedus find themselves reprising their iconic roles in a sequel that many people never thought would happen. Alongside director Troy Duffy and an amazing ensemble cast, they are poised to astound audiences around the world by unleashing a new, action-packed chapter in the franchise. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Sean Patrick Flanery
to discuss the new film, his love of the martial arts and all of his upcoming projects.
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spf-1Where did you grow up?
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I grew up in Lake Charles. Louisiana until I was about four years old. Then we moved to a tiny town outside of Houston, Texas. I spent the rest of my time there, all through college and then I moved to Los Angeles.
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What drove you to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?

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Ultimately, it was because I saw a beautiful girl leaving this building at the university every Monday, so I dropped an English class to sign up for whatever in the hell they were teaching in that building. [laughs] And it happened to be “acting.” I fell in love with it. That is a true story.
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Well don’t hold out on us. What happened with the girl?

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Ummm, I kinda lost interest. She was a function follows form kinda chick. [laughs] She looked good but there wasn’t a whole lot of anything going on. I fell in love with acting and I started writing, because I wanted to write and produce my own stuff. Then I moved out to LA and that is how it all happened.
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Did you have many influences in regards to acting?

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I didn’t have a lot of influences in acting. Starting out, I knew I wanted to do it and I knew that I enjoyed it. I wanted to be a writer. Acting seemed like a lottery. Ya know, moving out to Los Angeles to make a living acting seemed, low percentage, so I moved out there to try and write. Low and behold, I met an agent and she said “Do you want to try a couple of things?” and I said “Oh what the hell! Sure, it will help augment my income.” One thing lead to another and the next thing I knew, I was making a living at it. It’s kinda crazy!
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spf-5One of the biggest projects you have been involved with in the past is “Boondock Saints.” How did you first get involved with that project and director Troy Duffy?

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I first got involved with it through the audition process. I certainly wanted to do it and wanted to be a part of it. I loved the script. You audition for the things that you want and you get offered the things that you don’t really care about. [laughs] That was something that I really cared about so I auditioned. Then I re-auditioned and did a screen test, the whole thing.
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What was it like for you to step back into the role of Connor MacManus 10 years later?

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Ya know, it is ten years later but it is like we never missed a beat. We just continued on like we had just shot the first one a year ago.
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What was the vibe like on the set with the new ensemble cast that was assembled for the film?

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The vibe was pretty much the same as the first film. People are kinda like chameleons on movie sets. If everybody is cool, then they end up being cool. The climate is kinda pre-determined so everyone steps into it with that in mind. Everyone was really nice and we all had a great time. There were no bad apples! [laughs]
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Was there anyone that you were looking forward to working with on the film?

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Billy Connolly, again.
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He seems like quite a character. I imagine having him on set is great time.

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Yeah! Billy is a great guy. He is funny, funny, funny and has great stories. He has lived a lot of life! He is wise, funny and has a great perspective on life.
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I know that there was a buzz about the original script and you all knew that you were working on a very unique film, but did you have any inkling on the cult following that it would go on to spawn?

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No, I don’t think any of us could have foreseen that. It is kinda unheard of with no advertising and the fans fell in love with it and took ownership of it. You can never foresee that but you always hope for something like that! We made a little independent film and people really dug it. It is very flattering!
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spf-6I know a lot of the cast headed out to Comic Con in San Diego to promote the film. You had quite a turn out to say the very least. What was that experience like for you?

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It was like being a rockstar, man! [laughs] It really was! It was like being Mick Jagger for a day! There were so many fans there, we really had no idea.  We thought we would go and present it and there would be some people there that would dig the movie and hopefully be excited about seeing it, but we had no idea that it would be like that! I certainly didn’t!
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I know you don’t want to give to much away but what can you tell us about Boondock Saints II and have you been able to see a cut of the film yet?

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I have seen cuts in various incarnations. I can tell you this — It stays true to the first film in theme and style and everything. Most sequels are bigger, louder and this film is a perfect sequel to the first one. It explains a lot of things, but it is not big bang just for the sake of big bang, ya know what I mean? I think that everybody is really going to like this film. I really do!
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A lot of people thought that this movie would never get made. As a fan, I am excited that it did. Did the cast do anything special to celebrate the achievement?

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We had a barbecue over at Troy’s when we wrapped. Everybody came over and we watched some clips. It was really cool that we did something and ten years later we get to do it again, simply because the fans mandated that we make another one! We all think that is amazing.
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I know that over the years, Troy Duffy has gotten a bad rap in a lot of circles, which isn’t necessarily fair. Having worked with him, twice now, I wanted to see what you think the biggest misconception about him is?

spf-4Probably the biggest misconception about Troy is that he is some kind of weird tyrant, but he is not that way at all. The cat is a good dude, he really is. You can edit anything together. [referring to the documentary “Overnight’ filmed during the making of “Boondock Saints”] When you are directing a scene, there are different vernaculars that different directors use to talk to their actors. Some directors take a soft tone and delicately describe the magnitude of the scene and it’s importance. Other directors might say “Ok, this is what this motherfucker did. You get in there and you FUCKIN’ KILL HIM!!” That is Troy’s vernacular. He’s not yelling at you, ya know what I mean? Everybody is amped up for this scene and he is amped up for you to be amped up. I don’t know, I don’t really get the bad rap at all. Someone might say “Oh, that guy is an egomaniac and he thinks Boondock is going to do…” Well, it kinda did. He did what he said he was gonna do. He made a film that he thought was great and other people agreed with him and thought it was great too. I have never had a problem with Troy. Not ever. Not any one single fuckin’ moment! I have always thought that he was a cool cat and I would work with him on anything. I think he has great composition, he has a great rapport with actors, he understands dialogue, he understands, he understands storytelling — all of the above. I don’t really know what else to say except that he is a solid cat through and through.
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I also wanted to touch on a few of your other projects. What can you tell us about “To Live and Die”?

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“To Live and Die” is an MGM film that I did with Robert Kurtzman. It is a really cool psychological thriller. It is kind of a vengeance tale, I believe that is coming out after the new year.
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Another interesting project you are working on is “Sinner and Saints”… what can you tell us about that?

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Yeah, that is Will Kaufman’s film. You may know him from his other film “The Prodigy.” It’s a very cool, action/fighting movie. I play a small part in that but it was a lot of fun. He makes some really good action movies too.
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spf-2You mentioned your work as a writer and director in the past. What do you have in store for us in regards to that aspect of your career?

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I am trying to get “Sunshine Superman” off the ground. I have set that up a number of times, so now I am trying to set it up again! It is a love story about two ten year old kids. Some people may already be familiar with it. It was an article that I originally wrote for Jane Magazine. It is a true story about a moment in my childhood. A lot of people really plugged into the story so I really hope that we get to make that in the near future.
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What can we look forward to in the immediate future?

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I did a really whacked out, crazy character on “Criminal Minds” that will be coming out at the end of September. I am really looking forward to that because this guy is totally out of his tree! [laughs] I got to work with John Cassar who is a killer director, he is one of the best directors that I have every worked with. He let me go pretty crazy with this role, so I am really looking forward to seeing that. I also have “Citizen Jane” which is a Hallmark movie that I did.
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What can you tell us about “Citizen Jane”?
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Well, it is a true story. They actually did an episode of “48 Hours” about it. It is about this guy who kills a family member to get the money and low and behold, everyone else thinks that someone else did it. Little did they know that the guy living in their own house is the one that did it. It’s kinda creepier.
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I remember hearing about that on the news actually.

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Yeah. It’s the true story of Jane Alexander and Tom O’Donnell. It should be pretty good. The script was great and we had a really good time doing it. I got to work with Meat Loaf Aday and Ally Sheedy. So that was pretty cool.
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Is there a specific role that you haven’t had a chance to take on yet that you would like take on in the future?
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Nothing specifically. I like good material, ya know. If it is written well, chances are that I am going to dig it.
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spf-mmaIn addition to your other work, you are very involved with martial arts. How did you get into that originally?

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It came into my life from watching Bruce Lee movies and stuff when I was around nine. I started studying martial arts around that time. Most recently it has been Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I actually own an academy here in Hollywood. I spend pretty much everyday there training. I’m completely addicted to it, it is a passion of mine and I love it. I am headed their in about 45 minutes! I can’t seem to stay away from the academy. [laughs] I absolutely love it.
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You received your black belt from Shawn Williams. What was that experience like for you?

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Yes, on May 4th of 2008. It is pretty amazing. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a belt belt there is not like any other black belt. It can take 15 years to get a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It was a monumental moment in my life. Especially since it came under Shawn Williams who is widely regarded as one of the most technical instructors on the globe. It was one of the most proud days of my life, it truly was.
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Being involved in the world of martial arts, and do you follow the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships)?
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Oh yeah! Of course!
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Is that an arena that we might see you dabble in?

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No, you will never see me in the UFC. At this stage, the fighting game has grown and those guys really are professional athletes.  They live, eat and breathe fighting. Because of my job, I could never train, do the strength and conditioning, the dieting, the cardio, the grappling, the striking — it’s an all day thing. They are training like Olympic athletes and in this day and age there is no such thing as an Olympic athlete that is also an attorney during the day. [laughs]
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It’s a full-time job.

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Exactly. I can’t compete at that level. But on a daily basis, I entertain doing smaller shows! [laughs] I really do! It is something that I am very passionate about. It is something that I would like to try out just to say that I did it. There was another sanctioning body awhile back in ’02, that I did a different level MMA thing and it was pretty eye-opening. Luckily, it didn’t last long as I went to the guys back and choked him relatively quickly but I was really nervous for that, man! Really nervous! [laughs] It was a tiny little thing down in San Pedro, to do something on the big stage would be very different, but I really enjoy just training and practicing on my own and training with our group of guys and competing in tournaments. But, I am too old for that shit now, too old to climb into a ring with someone that wants to kill me! [laughs]
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spf-7What is the best piece of advice that someone has given you along the way in your career?

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Realistically, I think that a lot of people in the business can be legitimately accused of “Physic Hoarding.” [laughs] Nobody is too ready to divvy out the advice.
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That being said, what is the best piece of advice that you could give someone who would like to get involved in the entertainment industry?

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That getting a job in this industry is a gift and not to forget that your first job you would have actually paid to do, as opposed to getting paid. This is the only industry in the world that I can say this about. You can’t find me a ditch digger that would say “Yeah, that first ditch I dug, I would have done that for free, man!” He wants to get paid for that first ditch that he digs, but in acting, if you go up to anyone that doesn’t have a SAG card and said “Hey, I let you be in this little indie film but you have to pay me five grand.” That motherfucker will find you five grand faster than you would ever believe! [laughs] It is the only occupation like that. People need to not forget that down the line. You can’t forget that we are lucky to get paid for what we do anyway! It is ridiculous when people start showing up at the set angry or mad and storming off to their trailer. It’s like “Wow! You have the best job in the world. Why are you doing that?” You have to think of how lucky we are to be doing this. We get to play make-believe, it’s a gift.
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Is there anything else that you would like to say to your fans before I let you go?

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I really, really hope that they like Boondock Saints II and I would definitely like everybody to check out that episode of Criminal Minds. Give me some feedback on that because it is something that you haven’t seen me do before. I love my job! I love my academy. Check out www.hollywoodbjj.com for all the updates on my academy. Other than that, I am glad that the fans have stuck by Boondock long enough for us to make the sequel. I am really, really excited about it.

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Thanks for you time, Sean and keep us posted on what you are up to!

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I appreciate it. Thank you very much, man!

For all of the latest news on Sean Patrick Flanery, be sure to head over to his official site at www.seanflanery.com.
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Norman Reedus Talks “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” And More!

Norman Reedus Talks “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” And More!

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Norman Reedus first exploded onto the silver screen and our collective conscience in “Boondock Saints.” Directed by Troy Duffy, Reedus played opposite of Sean Patrick Flanery as one of the McManus brothers in a unique film that would go on to become one of the biggest cult sensations in movie history. Over a decade later, the duo find themselves stepping back into those shoes, or in this case peacoats, to bring on one of the most highly anticipated sequels of all-time.

Reedus has been a very busy man in the years since the original “Boondock Saints” film. This seemingly fearless artist has taken roles that have showcased his amazing range and solidified his presence as one of entertainment’s most versatile actors. Reedus drives the point home that he is far from one-dimensional as he is also an accomplished photographer and will soon be taking on the role of director. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Reedus, who makes his home in New York City, to discuss his past, his upcoming projects and the triumphant return of The Boondock Saints.
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Where did you grow up?
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Wow, let’s see. I grew up in a million places. [laughs] I was born in Florida, lived there for a couple of months. Then I lived in Northern California for a bit. Then we moved to Japan, right at the very end of high school. We lived in Kosovo and then London for a bit and then onto Spain. Finally, I made it to Los Angeles. It was there were I got a job at a place called Dr Carl’s Hog Hospital fixing motorcycles. The girl that I had followed to LA left with her ex-boyfriend and got married in Hawaii, so I was kinda stuck there by myself working at the Harley place and went to a party in The Hills and started yelling at a bunch of people and someone asked me to be in a play. The first night of that play, they were hip pocketing me and then I started pulling movies. That is how it all started.
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normanreedus-1When you were starting out, who were some of your influences?

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One of my influences was Willem Dafoe, and I’m not just saying that. Harvey Keitel and Jim Jarmusch were influences as well. One of my favorite movies at the time and it still is one of my favorites is “Midnight Cowboy”. That role, that type of movie, that editing job and it’s cinematography, I really saw that as “art” and something that I could inspire to be part of.
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You have played a variety of diverse roles in your career but you are best known for your role in “Boondock Saints.” How did you first get involved with Troy Duffy and his film?
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I remember the script going around when I was living in LA. I read it and thought it was amazing. I went out and met Troy at a bar and we started talking about the storyline and the part. I really wanted to do it. Back then, there was another film that I was up for that was a Miramax film. They flew me up to New York for a meeting. I met up with Bob Weinstein and he asked me what I thought and if I wanted to do the film. I told him, “I’ll do this one if you give me Boondock Saints!” So I kept talking to Troy and was trying to get the part. I know there was a big casting war going on for it at that time, I think everyone wanted that part! I remember that Mark Walberg was in there, Ewan Mcgregor was there. A lot of people wanted it. Troy had to fight for me to get the part, because I hadn’t really done anything before that. I was very excited to be a part of it.
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What was it like for you to step back into the role of Murphy McManus a decade later?

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Ya know, the first day was a little weird, putting on those peacoats and revisiting that. It was fun though! It was like visiting an old friend and once we were in them, we were right back in. It was like riding a bike, everything just switched back on. The script is better than the first one, the scenes are better, the action is better, everything is better! Bigger and better! It was a blast to jump back in!
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Once again, Troy Duffy assembled quite an ensemble cast for the sequel. Was there anyone that you were really looking forward to working with?

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I was really excited to work with Julie Benz and Clifton Collins Jr., I have known Clifton for years, since way before we did the first film. It was really nice to be working with friends and it was nice to see Sean Patrick Flannery again. It was a blast and a really cool experience.
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You mentioned the buzz about the original script, so I have to ask, did you have any idea that the film would develop into the cult phenomenon that it has?

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normanreedus-2No. I was really green back then. It was one of my first things. I had no idea. I was just happy to be on a movie set! [laughs] I was just taking it all in. I was like “What do I do? How’s this all work!” It was kind of overwhelming going from a motorcycle shop to a movie, instantly!
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Definitely.

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I knew we were doing something cool but I didn’t think it would be as huge as it has become!
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I know that over the years, Troy Duffy has gotten a bad rap in a lot of circles, which isn’t necessarily fair.  Having worked with him, twice now, I wanted to see what you think the biggest misconception about him is?

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That whole thing with “Overnight” and all that shit — if you had enough footage of Santa Claus, you could edit it to make him look like an asshole. I have said this before but in the first film, where we are doing the courtroom scene, instead of yelling “Action!” Troy was slamming his fist on the table yelling “You deliver these people!” That is Troy’s attitude, but Sean and I couldn’t help but be like “Fuck Yeah!” You can’t help it! That is Troy’s personality and he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He truly is one of the nicest guys that I have ever met. He totally works with you, listens to you and is a sweetheart of a guy. Ya know, those two guys who made that film came to him. The deal was that they would film it and do something with the footage afterwards. Then they started asking Troy for money. Troy said “That’s not our deal. I don’t have any money. All of my money is going into this movie.” They got into an argument and said “Fuck You!” Then they went on to take the worst parts of the footage and assemble it in the most dynamic, evil way that they possibly could to make him look like an asshole.
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The truth is that he is the nicest guy on the planet. I think that after the first one, he toned down a little bit and realized that when there is a camera in front of your face that you might need to not say some stuff and to hold back some stuff. That was a whirlwind ride, that first film.
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Yeah, that is very true and why I asked. I think it was a raw deal and it is interesting to hear from people who were there as it all unfolded and clear the air.

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Yeah. You can edit anyone to make them look like a jerk. You really can.
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normanreedus-3Obviously, it is an amazing feat you all have pulled off with making this sequel. It is really exciting to see the studio get behind the film. Are you guys doing anything special to celebrate the return of The Saints?
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I know they have a really big press junket that we are going to do but I don’t know the details just yet. I am leaving to do a film soon, so I am hoping to find out those details before I leave. I think that we will be doing a premiere in Boston. I think they are doing that to give back to the fans.
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You mentioned that you will be starting work on a new film soon. What can you tell us about that?

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It’s a biker movie. It’s about a biker gang. I recently went out to LA and took my motorcycle class so that they can insure me and so forth. Basically, it is a tough Harley film. Which is really cool. I also just finished another film called “Meskada,” which is sort of a suspense, action, drama. That one was really fun to make as well. So, I am jumping back in with that. There is a film that I want to direct that I also want to start working on. Lots of cool stuff going on!
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You mentioned directing and I know you have been behind the camera in the past, so it sounds like we will see you in a directorial setting in the future?

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I have shot some short films and I have a production company called Big Bald Head. If you go to www.bigbaldhead.com or www.normanreedusonline.com, you can order them. They are three very strange short films, which are all completely different. It is something that I really enjoy doing. I directed them, shot and edited them myself. I had done some shows as a photographer and I have done some video installation shows in the past. My friends here in New York are all artists and they do art and shows together and I always liked doing that. So, I just sorta jumped in and I really enjoyed it. I don’t know if that is what I want to end up doing for the rest of my life but I certainly want to give it a try, especially since it is something that I am very passionate about.
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Well we definitely look forward to seeing all of you work.

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Thank you.
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You have played such a wide variety of roles in your career. Is there a part or a specific genre that you would like to tackle in the years to come?

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Yeah! I want to do a comedy! I think I am really funny! No one really thinks that I am funny but me, but I think I want to do a comedy. My Mom would love it if I did a movie where I didn’t kill everybody! [laughs] She is always saying “Why don’t you do a nice little romantic comedy with Jennifer Love-Hewitt or somebody?” I tell her “I don’t think they see me as that person.” But, I would love to do a comedy. There is an old one that I love called “Neighbors” with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. I would love to do a dark, dark comedy like that.
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That would be cool.

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Yeah, or a western. That would be cool. I’d like it.
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normanreedus-4A few year’s back you worked with legendary director John Carpenter on the series “Masters of Horror.” I think “Cigarette Burns” was a really great performance. Just curious on what you might have learned for working alongside one of the horror genre’s greats.
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John Carpenter is one of the coolest motherfuckers that I have ever met. He has this laid back, sarcastic attitude that is so infectious that it makes you want to hang out with him all day long. He is really fun in this very dry kind of a way and his mind works visually in this super fascinating way. You are doing something and you are wondering where he is going with it and then you will realize “Holy shit! Here’s going there?” Ya know? It always works. He has done some of my favorite films and he is such a dynamic character. Him and I became friends making that film and we talked quite a few times on the phone afterwards. He is one of those people who I like as a director, as a person and he is a remarkable guy.
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One of the film’s that you recently worked on is ‘Night of the Templar’ which was one of David Carradine’s final performances. Did you get to interact with him during the filming?
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No, not really. I have heard stories about him and the director [Paul Sampson] of that film is an old friend of mine. I did that movie because he asked me to and if you can’t help your friends out with their movies, then what’s the point? Ya know? He told me stories about David Carradine and I remember him calling me after we heard the news and he was like “That was not a suicide. I know that dude and it was not a suicide.” I don’t know how the story ended up but he [Paul Sampson] told me that he was such a great guy. It is a real shame that he is not around. There have been so many deaths lately, it is crazy to me how many people have been dropping.
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Yeah, it has not been a good year for for that type of thing.

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Yeah, it is nuts! Every week there is a new story that someone else has died. Actually, DJ AM lived right around the corner from me. Heath [Ledger] lived right around the corner from me. It is just really weird.
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What is the best piece of advice that someone has given you along the way in your career and what advice do you have for anyone who would like to get involved in the film industry?
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normanreedus-5I think that you really just have to want it and keep going after it. Ya know, it is really weird how people get to where they get. These days, you can have a sex tape and become a huge star. You can date somebody and become a huge star. It’s weird, but if you really like acting and you like that process, you just go act. If you are into it, people can see that you are into it and if you are passionate about it, you will get jobs. If you are an actor in a small town, do theater. Think about doing theater there for a few years and then moving to a bigger town. Pursue it. It is weird because there are actors and then there are celebrities. that line gets crossed all of the time, ya know?
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It gets a little blurrier every day.

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It’s true. You can be on a reality TV show and become an actor, ya know what I mean. Those lines are blurred all the time. I have had some of the nicest things said to me by some of my heroes, like Sean Penn and Gary Oldman, two really cool people, basically stating that there is a difference between this person and that person. “We’re happy you are this person and not that person.” I see that all of the time. I see someone who is really good at what they do and no one knows who there are.  Then I see people who are considered “huge” and they just blow. It’s like if you want to be a photographer, carry a camera around and shoot all of the time. It is kinda the same thing. At the end of the day it is a job like any other job. You go to work, try to put in a good day, you may fight and it effects your whole day, you go home and hope that you did a good job and gear up for tomorrow. It is just like any other job when you strip it down to the bones, ya know.
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You mentioned photography. I know that you did some modeling in the past and you are an accomplished photographer. I was curious about what attracted you to photography?

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Photography is something that I have always done. I just had a big show in Berlin a couple of weeks ago. I have had a few shows there and a few shows here in New York. I was part of a show in LA last week. It is something that I have always enjoyed doing. I like to take really ugly things and make them pretty. That’s my thing. You can do that in acting or in whatever you do, you just kinda find a niche.
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What other projects do you have coming up that we should be on the look out for in the near future?
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Well, “Pandorum” is coming out soon and the film that I mentioned, “Meskada.” There is a script based on a book that I am going to direct which is called “I Was A White Slave In Harlem.” I am excited for that. It is about Margot Howard-Howard who was a transexual living in New York City in the late ’70s, early ’80s, who was kept as a sex slave in sort of an ivory tower by a herion dealer.
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Sounds very interesting.

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Yeah, Like I said, it is based on a book and it is really cool. Like I said before, I have this production company and if anyone wants to check out my short films, they can go to www.bigbaldhead.com or www.normanreedusonline.com and order them. They are pretty interesting and some of my photographs are there as well. I am always doing stuff!
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That’s great. We will help spread the word! I thank you for your time and best of luck with everything you have going on.

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Thanks, man! That’s so cool of you. It was great to meet you and thank you so much.

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‘Deadgirl’ Directors Talk About Their Unique Film, Upcoming Projects

‘Deadgirl’ Directors Talk About Their Unique Film, Upcoming Projects

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Directors Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel met in seventh grade and shared a love movie making. As a matter of fact, they would lay the groundwork for their filmmaking career the old-fashioned way — Betamax. The duo would harness the power of the handheld Betamax format and begin shooting their own renegade films in backyards all throughout their New Jersey neighborhood.

More then twenty years later, only the format has changed, as these independent filmakers decided to team up to create a unique and powerful film. ‘Deadgirl,’ is best described as a gritty, twisted, yet smart coming-of-age story that follows two teenagers who make a shocking discovery while exploring an abandoned sanatarium. Deep inside a forgotten room of the decaying facility, the pair find a young woman draped in plastic and tied to a gurney. They soon come to realize that this “dead girl” is anything but dead. Their discovery tests the limits of their friendship but also threatens their young lives. Icon Vs. Icon‘s Jason Price was able to catch up with both Sarmiento and Harel to learn about their experience in making the film, the process of bringing an edgy film like this to the masses and what lies in store for them in the not too distant future.

Where did you both grow up?

Marcel Sarmiento: All over, Texas, New Jersey, DC, Boston…

Gadi Harel: Mostly the suburbs of Jersey.

How did the two of you originally meet?

Marcel: 7th grade. I moved to New Jersey and somehow met this weird kid.

Gadi: Junior High. Marcel was one of the first people I knew with a video camera. It was love at first sight.

When did you decide to pursue a career as filmmakers as opposed to going in a different direction?

Marcel: I think we had so much fun making movies with a betamax camera and seeing people’s reactions after the fact that there’s no use in trying to top that experience with anything else.

What were some of your influences, be it a other filmmakers or outside influences?

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Shiloh Fernandez

Marcel: There’s this great Russian animator named Igor Kovalyov that i really like. His short films, especially Hen, His Wife which is just an amazingly ingenious cinematic use of sound and image that really inspired me while we worked on the script. I played it for Gadi and our DP, but really, there’s no connection to what we were doing. It just moved me, in the smallest of moments, and I strive for that. And before I sound too stuffy, I also was really inspired by movies like Over the Edge and Stand by Me. So go figure.

Gadi: I’ve always loved comic books and movies and music, and it’s easy to spot a unique voice in any of these fields when you encounter it. Even in unexpected places. When you see The Road Warrior for the first time, you know you’ve seen something special, that exists on its own terms. Same with Escape from New York. Everyone has their “movie that made me want to make movies” and for me it was probably those two. They weren’t full of crap like so many other things I watched when I was ten.

Can you tell us a little about the process of how you first got involved in the ‘Deadgirl’ project?

Marcel: We were getting frustrated. A bunch of projects we’d been working on seemed to be going nowhere, as we waited for other people to decide their fates. We decided we were going to find something and just do it ourselves. And Gadi suggested we go to Trent’s house.

Gadi: Trent had been a great friend for a while, and when I moved to Los Angeles I’d go over to his house and he’d just tell me stories. He’s one of the best in-the-room storytellers I’ve ever know. Some were scripts he’d already written and the others were just scraps in a notebook. So one day I brought Marcel.

DeadGirl-1How did you first happen upon the script and writer Trent Hagga?

Marcel: We knew he was going to give us a few things to read when we left his house. But after giving us a couple of scripts from his shelf, we saw one up on top, “covered in dust” as we say, and we asked to see that one.

Gadi: He didn’t want to waste our time with it. He was convinced that we were never going to do it. Or that we’d screw it up. So he was more than a little reluctant and probably regretted bringing it up.

What was your reaction to the script the first time you read it?

Marcel: We called each other that night after reading it. I think the first thing we asked each other was “Do you think we can really do this?”

Gadi: We knew how risky the material was… but we also knew what a rare opportunity it is to get something this original. It was easy to see why it had been Trent’s favorite.

You co-directed the film. What dynamics were involved in that process?

Marcel: It’s a hard question to answer and it’s one we get asked all the time. There’s this perception of the solo director as king, and everyone can’t understand how two people can share the throne. All I can say is, if you’ve made a movie, you realize there are a few core people who really make the movie together, who are in tune with each other and the material and when it works, that core becomes ‘one’ and something beautiful happens. Gadi and I had a pretty clear vision seeing the same movie. And really, on our budget and time frame, it was the only way to make it happen.

Gadi: Also the first movies we made together were when we were thirteen, so it’s been a long collaboration. That helps.

Was it difficult to get a film like ‘Deadgirl’ financed due to the fact that it contains content that some might find shocking?

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Shiloh Fernandez & Noah Segan

Marcel: Surprisingly less so then others. The fact that the movie was «out there» made it frankly easier to get funded. People either got it, or they didn’t, but mostly, our investors got that this movie could get noticed. In the end, they understood from a financial position, a film that can get noticed has a better chance to earn a return then one that may not. I’d like to think we also had something to do with it too. I think they trusted us to make something that rose above the basic perception of the material.

‘Deadgirl’ is equal parts “coming-of-age” film and horror film. What are some of the movies that inspired this mix?

Marcel: Mostly the movies we leaned towards were of the coming-of-age camp. Movies like Over the Edge, Stand by Me, The Outsiders and River’s Edge. The script delivered the other disturbing element in spades, so it felt more important to spend our time thinking about the characters and their world.

Gadi: When Blue Velvet came out it felt so original because it took a story that captured small town life and characters that seemed almost stock, and then injected it with this completely surreal and horrific element that went way beyond anything you expected. David Lynch and Cronenberg do that sort of thing brilliantly. We always wanted something that had that sort of mix, that maybe felt more horrific because it wasn’t coming in the form of a horror movie.

The film is truly a great ride and you made it look easy. How easy was it to for you to successfully blend the elements of the story without going to far in any one direction?

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Marcel: There was a lot of trial and error. We knew the tone we wanted but it was absolutely a balancing act. Which is why it took us almost a year to finish the movie once principal photography wrapped. Throughout the year we also did a lot of test screenings. One of the most important things was making sure that while the story was disturbing that the movie was never hard to watch, never pushed you to look away.

Gadi: Bingo. To make something that was unsettling but also compelling took a long time to finesse. Ironically, after all that, we still get accused by detractors of making something with no other intention than just to shock and disgust. If only these people knew how far off from our goal that is. And the truth is, we get accused of going too far just as often as we get called pussies for not going far enough. What can you do.

You assembled a very talented cast. What was the casting process like for the film and was it difficult to find the right mix of people to achieve the end product that you were aiming for?

Marcel: We got lucky. A lot of people wouldn’t read for us because of how they perceived the material. The actors who showed up really got it, and were committed. In many ways, I’d rather have it this way.

Gadi: It’s true. Nobody was there for the paycheck. The people that showed up begged us to do it. Seriously.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the “dead girl” herself. How difficult was it to find someone willing to tackle this role and what can you tell us about Jenny Spain and what she brought to the film?

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Shiloh Fernandez & Candice Accola

Marcel: We started off thinking we might be sunk. You can imagine who showed up at our casting calls willing to play this part. Nobody we wanted, let alone anyone we’d want to be stuck with working intimately for twenty days. No offense to anyone, but Jenny was a real pro who understood the role and all of its subtleties, and it had nothing to do with being naked.

Gadi: Yeah it was almost impossible to cast. Trying to find someone who could play such a vulnerable, challenging and uncompromising part… there’s no movie without the dead girl but for a long time there was a lot of fear about finding the right actor. To say we got lucky with Jenny would be a massive understatement. But it’s true. Even people who hate the movie spend a lot of time praising her performance.

The film has been making the rounds at many film festivals and is generating quite a buzz. How has the overall process of presenting the film to the masses been for you, be it fans of the genre and the critics?

Marcel: Some of the best moments are from people who hate the film because they express that hatred at such great length and with such passion. You know you’ve got something when both sides take their time making their case.

Gadi: It’s been amazing. The audience – whether genre fans, cinephiles, regular movie going couples on a Friday night, critics, whomever – have been passionately divided from Day One. And it’s impossible to know ahead of time which side of the debate anyone’s going to fall on. You see a couple leaving the screening and the guy will be looking down, unable to look at us. And the girl will smile and say how much she liked it. You never know. Which makes every screening fun to watch.

deadgirl_poster-240Dark Sky Films will be presenting the midnight road show for the film, which must be very exciting for you guys. For those who aren’t yet familiar with the film or on the fence about heading out to a screening, what would you say to sway the into coming out and experiencing this unique film?

Marcel: The greatest compliment we get after a screening is from people who come up and say “It’s not the movie I thought it was going to be.” People who were dragged to see it by their friends because they “don’t like that kind of movie.” Then they see what kind of movie it is, and it’s not what they expected. And you can see how excited they were by it.

Gadi: Exactly. The biggest supporters at a recent screening were a mother and her teenage daughter. We understand the film has a reputation and we know how vile the simple description sounds, but the person that is open to what the movie actually is as opposed to what they thought it was going to be is usually the person who responds the strongest. But the flip side of being pleasantly surprised is being disappointed. People who go into it wanting some extreme exercise in brutality might actually be bored.

What can we expect from the DVD release of ‘Deadgirl’ in the way of extras?

Marcel: We have a commentary that includes us, the actors, the writer, the director of photography, the music composer and our editor/sound designer. It sounds like a lot for a single track but it works surprisingly well and as far as independent film commentaries go we think it tells a pretty honest story about the ups and downs of this kind of filmmaking. It’s a warts-and-all conversation with hopefully very little bullshit.

Gadi: There’s also a making-of featurette, trailer, and a fun behind-the-scenes photo gallery focusing on the make-up effects.

Looking back on making the film, what are your fondest memories of it?

Marcel: Working with my fiancee (soon to be wife). I fell in love with her over coffee trying to see if she might be willing to play a part. She ended up making the whole experience so much richer for being able to share the day-to-day grind with someone who was also on set with me start to finish. All the terrible sleepless hard work was just so damn fun having her along for the ride with me.

Gadi: As difficult as a movie like this is to make, the shoot itself ran pretty smoothly. There was very little time but everyone was incredibly dedicated to pulling it off. My favorite memory though was actually the night before our first day. It was really late at night and Marcel and I decided to drive to our first location, just to take one last look at it before the next morning. It was quiet and desolate… the exterior of a junkyard near the LA river. In just a few hours, the trucks would be showing up, and equipment would be unloaded and the production would start. We’d been working on the movie for a long long time before that night, but it had been mostly just the two of us up to that point. But standing on the corner that night we knew how many people out there had their alarm set to 5 a.m., all those people who would be getting up to come make this movie, Deadgirl. There was no stopping it. That was a feeling I won’t ever forget.

You have created a very unique film. As filmmakers how do you feel about the remake trend in Hollywood that we have seen in recent times?

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Jenny Spain as "Dead Girl"

Gadi: Since the financial risks in Hollywood are so massive, the less risk there is, the more likely a movie will be made. And remakes comes with so much built-in awareness, which is attractive — especially horror remakes because it’s considered a cheaper genre to produce. So from a financial stand-point, it makes sense. I get it. I see why this is happening. The real surprise is actually how little effort is put into so many of these. It should be that because you have a built in audience, you can afford to shake things up a little — but mostly the finished product ends up being a glossy, weaker version of the original.

That being said, it was recently announced that you would be directing a re-imagining of the Danish film ‘Murk’ for Gold Circle Films. What can you tell us about what you have in store for us and where are you in the process at this point?

Marcel: Honestly, it’s less a remake then a re-imagining. And only those in Norway will hate us for it.

Gadi: We’re working on our second draft, but they seemed really excited by what we already turned in. The movie is going to be pretty messed up in a completely different way from Deadgirl.

This question may be a little pre-mature considering you will be jumping into ‘Murk’ but will we see you two directing something outside of the horror genre in the near future and what other genre might peak your interest?

Marcel: If anything, it might be more surprising if we make another horror film anytime soon. We didn’t set out to make a horror movie, we just found a story we wanted to explore. It just happened to have a zombie.

Gadi: Exaclty. Even Murk is far from being a horror movie. It’s more of a completely disturbing thriller. There’s a medical angle, a love angle, a high-tech component, too. It will hopefully surprise audiences and even though we’re not aiming to be controversial with this one, someone read it recently and said “You guys are going to piss off a lot of people.”

DeadGirl-8From the experiences that you have had, what is the best piece of advice that you could give to someone just starting out on a career in the film industry?

Marcel: Don’t listen to anybody. Especially us. Just do whatever you can to get involved. The rest will work itself out.

Gadi: You’re never quite ready to shoot the movie. But it’s important to just start shooting anyway.

Any last words?

Marcel: I dunno. We worked really hard and are very proud of the film. I couldn’t be happier with what’s happening with it today. Hopefully it will be one of those films that finds even more divergent perspective as time passes, too. Who the hell knows. We’ll see!

Gadi: Deadgirl: In select theaters this summer and out on video August 15th, 2009.

Thanks for taking time out to talk to us guys! Deadgirl is an amazing film and we are happy to spread the word about it. Best of luck to you and we will be on the lookout for all of your future projects!

– – – – –

For more information on Deadgirl, as well as dates and locations for the Deadgirl Midnight Roadshow screenings, visit the official site of the film at www.deadgirlthefilm.com.

Posted in Blog, Featured Stories, Interviews, Movies, TV and More!Comments (9)

In Search of … Bumblefoot: An Interview with Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal

In Search of … Bumblefoot: An Interview with Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal

Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal of Guns N' Roses

Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal of Guns N' Roses

Who or what is a Bumblefoot, you ask? At first glance, your trusty dictionary will describe it as “Ulcerative Pododermatitis: an infection found on the feet of birds of prey and rodents.” Well class, throw those textbooks out the window because the Bumblefoot we will be discussing today is much more complex than that. Bumblefoot is none other than Ron Thal, an accomplished guitarist, solo artist, writer, producer, engineer, hot sauce connoisseur and guitarist for a little band called Guns N’ Roses. With a resume like this, one might wonder, “Is there anything this man can’t do?” Jason Price and Steve Johnson of Live-Metal.Net struck out on a mission to meet up with this man of mystery, find out what makes him tick and observe him in his natural habitat, New Jersey. The results of this grand experiment are below, as we go “In Search of … Bumblefoot.”

Live-Metal.Net: What inspired you to get into music and to go this route?

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Oh man, this goes way back to when I was about 5 years old. All the older kids in my neighborhood were into KISS. Then I heard the KISS Alive album for the first time and it just blew my mind! I wanted to be a drummer and so did my brother. So we got into this contest where whoever had the faster drum roll got to be the drummer. Me being 5 and him being 8, he was a little bit faster, so he ended up being the drums. So I was like, “OK, I want to be a bass player because Gene Simmons is badass with the fire, the blood and the high shoes!” Bad shoes! [laughs] So, I went to a place to start taking bass lessons and at this point I was about 6. The bass was taller than I was and the strings were thicker than my fingers, so that wasn’t going to happen. So they lied to me at the music store and told me that by law you have to play acoustic guitar for two years before you can switch to bass. So I was like, “OK, if that is what I need to do I will do my time, man! I am gonna take it like a man, like a 6 year old man, and do it!” So I got into it and just stuck with it and forgot that I was supposed to switch to bass. Twenty years and I forgot! But I do play bass now too, but I play it like shit because I never did get those bass lessons when I was 6. So it all kinda worked out and I have gotten to do everything, although I am the world’s shittest drummer. So it is a good thing that I didn’t take the drum lessons!


How did you brother do with the drums?

He did well with it, but he is probably the world’s shittest guitar player!

For those not familiar with you or your music quite yet, how did the name Bumblefoot come about?

From her! [points to his wife Jen Thal aka Mrs. Foot] My wife was in veterinary school many, many years ago and she is a veterinarian now, she passed! Thanks to my help, of course! I was helping her study and one of the diseases was called Bumblefoot and I was like, “What the fuck is that? That is so stupid!” So I am reading about it and it said that turkeys get this disease and that one way to treat it is to rub hemorrhoid cream on their foot. I was thinking, “This is so idiotic! I am naming my band Bumblefoot!” It sorta became my nickname, which worked out to not being the best thing in the world. Especially following someone named “Buckethead” in a band. You get all the jokes like “Buckethead and now Bumblefoot? What’s next, Bumperdick?” Everyone has something to say, but whatever! At the time I guess I was more in a Monty Python state of mind where I thought being named after a giant fucked up foot might be funny and good for the rest of my life. So I wake up one morning and I am taking myself a little more serious or I should say that other people are taking me more seriously and the name is, I wouldn’t say a detriment, but it makes you scratch your head.

Is the name something you think that you will need to separate at some point or are you not taking it too seriously?

I think I should just see what happens. If I have legal troubles, I can always come up with a symbol and do that whole thing. “The Artist Formerly Known as Bumblefoot” and then people will be asking what the fuck is this symbol and what the fuck is a Bumblefoot, just to make it worse! But who knows, I may wake up one morning and decide that I am changing my name to Bumblefuck and just do that. I almost considered doing that by putting out a press release saying that I have changed my name to “Bumblef**k” and then from there I can just shorten it to “Fuck”!

Who and what were some of the influences that have helped shape you, the musician, that we know today?

Oh Jesus! Ummm … No, not Jesus, well maybe a little bit! Yeah, whatever! [laughs] Drinking hot sauce has been a major thing, whichI really need to stop doing! I have been drinking too much of it and it is way too hot! I got this stuff that is as hot as commercial grade pepper spray and can be used as a weapon. I put it on my food. You are supposed to put one drop in a four-quart vat of chili and I am using one drop on a forkful of chicken! It has reached the point now where I am basically taking a shot of hot sauce and putting a piece of chicken in my mouth! If I keep doing that, I am probably going to die! I will probably get up one day and shit out all my organs and they will all be liquified. So I need to quit that, but I definitely think that helped shaped what I am today. What else? My mom and dad, I got their genes so they are partly to blame. Oh wait, did you mean musically?

Guitar-wise, I was always into Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen really opened my mind up to a different way of looking at things. For the most part, I really played a lot like Angus [Young] when I was a kid and was totally into that vibe. When I heard Eddie Van Halen for the first time, I was like, “What? What the fuck is he doing?” and that kinda changed the road that I was on.

Who were some of the other guitarists that top your list as “the greats?”

Well definitely Eddie. Hendrix is there, for that feel and he had such a fucking vibe to him. It is so hard to say. Even Yngwie [Malmsteen] because, to me, I think of the ones that had such an impact on music or guitar players, or both. People started shredding because of him. He’s to blame for that because he inspired a lot of people that went on to take what he did and add it to their schooled, jazz approach that they had to things and suddenly you have all the shrapnel artist for next 10 years. So he has to be given a lot of credit for being a major inspiration for a lot of people. I could even throw in some people that you wouldn’t expect like Elliot Easton from The Cars because he was so fucking tasty in what he played. If you want to go down that road, you could even say Ace [Frehley]. You can sing his guitar parts more than you can even sing the vocal to a KISS song. You could go on forever, people were great for so many different reasons either by what they contributed or by how something hits you individually.

What is the biggest misconception about yourself?

I would say that one misconception is that everything I do is a big fucking joke, that I don’t take it seriously and all I want to do is make people laugh. Maybe I put out a song with a funny title, but the 11 other songs on the album touch on some serious personal shit. Maybe I talk about it in a light hearted way because I am not trying to drag anybody down, but it is still serious shit nonetheless. I think that and being called “Bumblefuck,” when you put those two elements together and I think that people may think I am not serious about music. So that is one misconception, but ya know, I am just being myself. I have an obnoxious sense of humor and sometimes it comes out in whatever I am doing. Sometimes I say the wrong thing at the wrong time because I know it’s the wrong thing at the wrong time and that is why I just fucking have to say it. So I do it. Maybe I am like that a little bit musically too.

What else? Hmmmm, that I am tall! I’m not and I am not afraid to admit that! [laughs]

It was recently revealed that your new album will be called Abnormal.

Yeah, because the world was really waiting to know! [laughs]

So what can you tell us about the album?

Well, back up one step to Normal. That was pretty autobiographical about what was going on. I guess in a sense, everything anyone writes is autobiographical whether it is about an event that happened in their life or about the way they perceive it. Usually an artist is trying to get you to see something through their eyes not that I am an artist, I’m a “Bumblefuck”! [laughs] Normal was trying to tell the story of where shit was at, where I was beaten, battered and bumblefucked! I went on some mind-altering medication before I put a bullet in my head and that got me through that. The side effect of that is that on those kind of meds, you can’t really get creative anymore. They block a lot of the bad shit you use to create. So it was a whole time period of weighing what was better: to be happy and silent, or a head case but be able to give something. So in the end, music always wins! Otherwise there would be no musicians. If you ask half of them they are like, “Why the hell am I doing this?” It’s because you have to. You have no choice in the matter. It was assigned to you and it is not your choice. You have to do it and if you try not to, you feel like your holding your breath. You have to breathe and you have to make the music.

So, with Abnormal, the meds wore off. I’m a fucking head case again! [laughs] Ask her! [motions to his wife] So same old shit, a lot of love songs. Sure! [laughs] From everyone that has heard it, they say it reminds them of the Sex Pistols but with this Queen musical thing that is going on. There are moments where there is a little bit of opera and I did have opera singers come in and sing on it. I think guitar-wise, my head was in a different place with this album. I wouldn’t even say that I cared more about everything. I think I cared less about everything and that allowed me to do something a little more natural because I wasn’t guided by the idea of “this is what people want to hear” and “this is what I should or shouldn’t be doing.” I was just like, “Fuck it!” I just have to do whatever. In the end, I think a lot more melodic shit came out. The crazy shit was crazier and the pretty shit was prettier because when you let go of something and let it run free, it’s like taking the intensity knob and turning it up a couple of notches! So I am pretty happy with this album. It’s in the same direction as Normal was as far as songs with noodley-noodley over it, but I feel like I have stepped it up in every way. The sound quality, I put so much more time into the tone of everything. It just hit me over the head one day that it doesn’t matter what you play if your final tone is not pleasing. So I really put extra into that. I don’t know if it helped, but I tried! [laughs]

So Abnormal, it’s not as freaky as the name. Well, it’s got it’s moments. You know how I had that song, “Guitars Suck”? Well, now I have a song called “Guitars Still Suck” and it’s a little crazier than the last one! It was actually inspired by my friend Guthrie Govan, who is a wonderful friend of mine and an old friend of mine going back 20 years, lives in England. I was a guest on one of his songs that had a kinda country vibe to it and I wanted to make a song that was an answer back to him.

So a battle of sorts?

In a sense or more like a reply. I would call it that because it’s not like a challenge or that kinda vibe. It’s almost like swapping porn! Here’s one and here’s one back to you!

Mrs. Foot: It’s like they are having a conversation with guitars. Sometimes it will go on for an hour. They will come up with the most ridiculous things.

RT: Yeah! There are times when Guthrie and I will jam for an hour and a half straight of going back and forth. As we are trading off, we might even throw in the theme to some cartoon and stuff like that. We always have a great time. I love the guy, he is wonderful!

When do you think you will be releasing Abnormal?

Well, I would like to get it out there as soon possible. It’s a plus and a minus that I am doing things all by myself. It’s a plus in the sense that I don’t have to organize and wait and work it out. I can just put it out as it comes out, which is also a minus because there is no big bang when it comes out. Suddenly it is just there, but I kinda like that. So I am just making it available as I can and hopefully people will discover it and they have the option of deciding whether they like it ot not when it is there.

You are also known for having quite a few signature guitars and you held a year-long contest accepting submissions for a new design. When can we look forward to that new design seeing the light of day?

Vigier is working on it as we speak. They’ve been sending me photos and schematics as it’s coming together, working out any modifications that might be needed. Workin’ out the kinks, making sure the hand can fit comfortably between the necks, making sure the weight is distributed properly, stuff like that. Kinks.

You just announced that you will be creating an “all-star band” for the 2008 Rock Against Diabetes charity concert. How did you get involved with the charity?

Darrin Buchanan, a wonderful guy, this is his baby. He is putting it together and he has been doing it for a couple of years. Diabetes has been kicking his butt a little bit, lost a few toes, lost a foot. So obviously he has personal passion about this, as any of us would. He is putting all together and he contacted me and asked if I wanted to play. I told him that I could play it, but I thought we should do something bigger than that. I don’t know who is going to be available and what the end result will be, but I am sure everyone would love to do it if they could. Time will tell and I hope that I live up to the expectations of what this could be.

A lot of people might have become familiar with you by way of Guns N’ Roses. How did your involvement with the band come about?

It was about four years ago that we started talking. Joe Satriani recommended me and then I got a funny email from Chris Pitman, the keyboard player, and we all just started talking. It took a minute for us to get it together but we started touring in 2006. We just started jammin’ and the next thing you know we are doing it in front of people, then we are doing it in all different places, then I am laying guitar tracks on the album and then here we are in New Jersey!

Did you know any of the others in the band before joining?

Pretty sure most of the guys had a previous relationship, except for me, haha. Tommy [Stinson] and Richard [Fortus] worked with Frank [Ferrer], things like that. Funny thing about Frank is that we had all these mutual friends, going back 20 years, but Frank and I had never met. Or maybe we did but just didn’t realize it. So relationships developed. Frank and I get together whenever we can.

How did you react to the news that Robin Finck was leaving Guns N’ Roses to rejoin Nine Inch Nails?

He’s playing the 27th of August up at The Meadowlands, which I will always call it. I don’t give a fuck if they are calling it Izod Theater or Continental or whatever they want to fucking call it. It’s the Meadowlands! Bring the name back, dammit! [laughs] That’s all I’m saying, haha.

Do you ever tire of being asked what is slowly turning into the Million Dollar Rock Journalism Question, “When is Chinese Democracy going to be released?”

How can you not ask that question? It’s like, “Doesn’t anyone notice that elephant in the room?!” We have new management and they are good guys, and it’s in negotiations.

It has to be exciting for you, since Chinese Democracy is becoming such a piece of rock history. Do you know what your contribution to the album is?

I played on every song. Yeah, it is exciting, but I can’t get that excited without thinking of the other guys. I am more excited for them because their journey with this is so much longer than mine. For me, it has been two years of seriously being active and there are guys who have been doing this for 10 years and I am just so fucking happy for them.

Ever had a Spinal Tap moment on stage?

When haven’t I? [laughs] On stage, off stage, that movie rings more true all the time. A great Spinal Tap moment was when we were playing in England two years ago. We’re doing “Rocket Queen” and as we are doing the intro we see a bunch of guys bringing out these little, foot-high platforms behind us. As they are bringing them out, we are looking at each other like, “What the hell is going on?” and we go into the song and they quickly take them away. We had no idea what that was about. We found out later that we were going to have a bunch of “little people” dancing on these platforms for an extended intro to “Rocket Queen,” but we were never told, so we had no clue. So we are arguing about the communication breakdown after the show, so I of course in the middle of it have one question to ask in a British accent, “Will we be doing ‘Rocket Queen’ tomorrow night? [instead of “Stonehenge”] And one of the guys says back [in an English voice], “No, we won’t be doing fucking ‘Rocket Queen’!” So that was a Spinal Tap moment. Little things like that can happen and when they do you just have to laugh. We try and make a rule of not mentioning anything from Spinal Tap before a show because it will jinx the show. It’s all in good fun.

What does a guitar virtuoso like yourself think of Guitar Hero? Is it fun or is it like when those little kids are watching Marty McFly play Wild Gunman in Back To The Future 2? “That’s like a baby’s toy!”

It’s a fun game. I like playin’ it. It’s like asking a race car driver how he feels about a racing game. They are two separate things, but it is a fun game. [laughs]

Being in the music industry as long as you have, are there still surprises?

The changes that happen in the industry now happen at an exponential rate, where the growth that would happen in 10 years now happens in a year. I guess technology is moving so fast, everything has to restructure to keep up with it. So there are always surprises but it boils down to it being the only form of legal slavery still allowed in America. I am not speaking on Guns behalf, I am speaking from my own personal experiences. I have had to remedy situations with baseball bats or hire hitmen to kill the owners of labels. [laughs]

How do you feel about the current state of rock music?

Well, with any kind of music, there are gonna be a million people that love it and 10 million people who hate it. It’s not for everybody. Whatever that is out now that you don’t like is not for you, it is for the people who do. That’s just how it is. My music is for the 10 people that like it, for everyone else, it’s not for them. So fuck ’em! [laughs]

 

Related Links:
www.bumblefoot.com – Official Site of Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal
www.myspace.com/bumblefoot – Official Myspace Page of Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal
Rock Against Diabetes – Live from Las Vegas on August 23, 2008
Rock Against Diabetes on Myspace – Befriend This Worthy Cause on Myspace
www.gunsnroses.com – Official Site of Guns N’ Roses
Here Today…Gone To Hell – An Unofficial Guns N’ Roses site
GNRSource.com – An Unofficial Guns N’ Roses site

Bumblefoot Fun Fact:
Ron Thal once played Guns N’ Roses covers in a band called Leonard Nimoy.

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Round and Round with The Donnas: An Interview with Allison Robertson

Round and Round with The Donnas: An Interview with Allison Robertson

donnas1For more than 15 years, The Donnas have brought their unique brand of balls-out rock n’ roll to the masses. These lovely, yet hard-rocking ladies are currently on tour supporting their seventh studio album, Bitchin’, on the latest leg of their “Feather the Nation Tour.” Jason Price of Live-Metal.Net recently caught up with guitarist Allison Robertson when the band stopped in New York City. She tells us all about how the band has managed to remain such a tight unit for so long, what it is like to perform alongside one of there biggest idols (Stephen Pearcy of RATT) and clues us in on the future of the band. Allison pulls no punches and quickly proves The Donnas are more than just a bunch of pretty faces.

Live-Metal.net: For those not familiar with The Donnas, who did the whole thing come about?

Allison Robertson: We started when we were in middle school, at about 13 years old. We pretty much just formed because there were a bunch of other bands playing at our school and we just started playing guitar. I asked Brett [Anderson] if she would be interested in singing and Tori [Castellano] if she wanted to play drums. We just pretty much formed just for one show. We ended up having a great time. It wasn’t really about getting signed or being a professional band at that point. It was more of a pastime, a kind of afterschool thing.

What inspired you to get into music and to go this route?

I really don’t know. I have always liked music and my dad is a musician and my mom is very musical. My mom worked at record labels and did album art. I was born in L.A., so my parents dragged me to a lot of rock shows. So I always kinda wanted to do something, but I was painfully shy as a kid. So I always had dreams of being in a band, but I never really thought that I would try to learn an instrument or have the balls to get up on stage up until the age that we actually started our band. I think that forming the band gave me the courage to do it because it is like a gang and it’s not just me up there by myself.

The band has been together for more than 15 years. To what to you attribute the band’s longevity?

I guess because since we formed at such a young age and such an awkward age. We really didn’t know many people and we all came from different cities and ended up in this small town. I think because we were so awkward that is how we bonded. That is why we formed the band. It was a way of having something to do and not feel like total outcasts. I think that is what has been our foundation, still today, even though it has been so long and we have changed a lot and we are different. In a way, we are kinda still the same that we always were. We appreciate each other. It’s like, I know what they were like when they were 13. It’s good to be around people that remember you that way. You can’t be fake or be assholes to each other because the others will call you out because they know you so well.

What is the biggest misconception about The Donnas?

I would say that it is that we are Valley Girls or that we are stupid. I think that some of the songs, the content, it’s obviously not the most serious music in the world. We obviously aren’t throwing a million vocab words in there and I think a lot of people just assume that we are really stupid or that we have done so many drugs or drank so much that we are really screwed up. I think people are pretty surprised when they meet us that we are easy to talk to and friendly and not total dumbasses! So that is probably the biggest misconception! [laughs]

donnas4The tour that you’re out on now just started about a week ago. How is it going so far?

The tour is going very well. I think that this is one of the best tours that I have ever been on. It’s kind of hard to imagine it ending. The Hives are amazing to tour with. It’s very much like being on tour with our brothers, not to mention that they are one of my favorite bands. So we get to party with them and have fun backstage and every night get to see one of our favorite bands on stage, right on the side of the stage. They really sound awesome. It’s the perfect tour to be on. You can make friends with other bands when touring but not necessarily like their music or like their music but they turn out to be assholes. So this is pretty much the best tour I have ever been on. We might be doing some more touring with them soon, so we are hoping for that!

Who and what were some of your influences that have helped shaped The Donnas we know today?

All the years of touring have made us hardened in certain ways. We definitely used to get stressed out and worry about what people thought of us. We kinda got that out of our system and I think that has really helped our character. We used to be very self-conscious or had people heckling that it got to us and we would mess up on stage. Every year since we started there was something we learned about ourselves, either on stage or in interviews. I feel like now we have been through it all and just don’t care about it anymore. We want people to like it, we want people to have fun, we want to have people like our music and to keep our fans happy, but besides that we don’t care if we look cool or if people think we can’t play. We feel pretty confident in almost everything we do now. I don’t think we have ever thought that we were perfect and there is always room to get a lot better, but at the same time it isn’t like we are “Oh my God! If we screw up, it is going to be a career breaker!” or “Someone’s going to laugh at you,” ya know? We just have fun and it makes it much more enjoyable that way. That way we can just kick back and party, which is what we always should have been doing.

The Donnas music has evolved since the first few albums. Where do you see the band going musically from here?


Every album we try to change it up a lot, but the goal is always to make something bigger and louder than the last one. I feel that with the songwriting, it always depends on what has happened since the last album. We really base our songs on what has been going on in our lives. Since Bitchin’ came out, we have had a lot of fun touring and a lot of crazy stuff has already happened, so we already have a lot of ideas. I feel that the general direction of the future is just to outdo ourselves and create an even harder, louder album than the one before. I don’t think any of us don’t think we can’t be a little bit better than we were before every time on our instruments. On guitar, I am always looking for new ideas and trying to do things that I thought I couldn’t do. So hopefully, on every album after this one it will be something like that coming from all of us. Outdoing ourselves is always going to be our goal.


What is the songwriting process like for you?

I usually come up with riffs and just gather up ideas. Maya [Ford] and Brett write a lot of lyrics. The last album we all collaborated a lot more on the lyrics than we had in the past. They definitely both come up with a lot of things that are prolific and have notebooks full of concepts and titles. I usually keep a notebook. I am usually better with titles and choruses. I have never been so great at lyrics. So we just kinda get together and get a running theme or maybe someone has a song idea that fits with someone else’s song idea and go from there. Then I pull out some riffs and we start thinking of titles or different concepts and work with that to come up with the melodies once we have a chorus idea. I usual just create a sort of backbone of the song with guitar and go to rehearsal and figure it all out. This time we came up with a lot of the melodies for the vocals before the lyrics were finished. I think that helped because then we already knew what we where writing the lyrics to and I think the phrasing came out a lot better then it had before.

How have the fans, in your opinion, been reacting to the new album?

Oh, well our fans are always really, really supportive. I think that most of them are really excited about this album. We always try to give them what they really want and on this album I really think we tried to leave no stone unturned. We tried to go over it with a fine toothed comb and think about “Do we love it?” and “Will our fans love it?” Even though we always do that, we tried to remember all the things that they loved about past albums, even the packaging. I feel like our older albums had a lot of pictures and we tried to make sure that we included that even though not a lot of people are buying the physical album anymore. We still have fans that do that and we even have a lot of fans who buy the vinyl, so they were pretty psyched that we did that like we always would. Everyone seems to like different songs, which to me is a compliment because it isn’t like there is just one song on there. If all the fans are kinda strewn over the whole album, it’s even better because it means that we reach different people.

How long do you plan to stay out in support of this album?


I guess until it feels like we are sick of playing the songs or it seems that nothing much is going on. But, I think so far, especially with The Hives tour that we are on now, it is kinda like the album just came out. The album came out in the fall, which is always kinda bad time for new releases. It’s almost cursed, ya know? If you put an album out around the end of the year, it is pretty much going to go missing until the next year with Christmas music all over the radio and people just go for the blockbusters during the holiday shopping, so it gets kinda lost in the shuffle and excitement of the holidays. I feel like now that we are on The Hives tour, it is a rebirth for the album, so I feel we have quite a while. We are definitely going to tour through the end of the year for it!


Are you working on any new material while you are out on the road?


Well, some bands write on the bus or do a lot of demoing while on tour, but we don’t usually do that. We usually just try to concentrate on what is at hand. I think everyone really just collects ideas. I know Brett keeps notebooks and I usually jot down ideas whenever I get a melody or a riff. A lot of times, I know this sounds stupid, but I wake up from having a dream and I think of the melody and I just record it on my phone. You just never know. So I feel like we just start the gathering on tour and once we are done and on a break, that is when we will actually start working on the next songs.

You recently worked with Stephen Peary of RATT on a remake of “Round and Round.” How did that collaboration come about?


Well actually, I think he just had heard that we were doing a cover. It was just for fun. We were doing it basically because it sounded like a challenge. We loved the song and we were looking for a new cover to do on the tour. We don’t always play covers, but I think our fans like it and it is a nice break from the album. We were doing it on this last tour in the fall and we got a call from him. He contacted us and said that he had been working on a remake and was just kicking it around for fun and thought it would be a really good idea for us to come in and play on it. He already had some of the track finished, but he let me do some of the guitars and a mini solo. Brett sings on it, as well. It was just really fun and easy. We invited him to come sing with us inL.A. at a show a few weeks ago. That was really cool because we idolize him and he is the nicest, coolest guy. It was a match made in heaven and I hope that we do more stuff with him because he rules!

Where will we see the single end up?

It is all his thing. I think he is going to release it when he is done. I am not sure if he is actually putting it on a CD or if he is going to release a single or something on the Internet, but it is definitely his track.

Doing covers to me is a great way off saying, “Hey we like other bands, too!” I always like showing the appreciation for our favorite bands through covers because it’s not all about you. It’s about who you’re inspired by.

Ever had a Spinal Tap moment on stage?

Definitely, all the time. It’s everyone’s favorite movie and we know it like the backs of our hands. Almost everything that happens feels like a Spinal Tap moment. On stage we have had many times that we couldn’t find the stage door. That kinda thing always happens. We don’t have a lot of stage production, but we have had that smoke that covers the entire stage, so you can’t even see across the stage. It’s kinda ridiculous, it kinda looks like a school dance! [laughs] It seems to me anytime you try and take a chance you can end up with a Spinal Tap moment. You have to take a risk every time you do something weird. There have been times when I tried to do something cool and have tripped, so those are like mini Spinal Tap moments, but I would rather get out there and do something stupid than not do anything at all by standing there trying to look cool.

Do you think music today and rock n’ roll in particular has lost it’s flair from the past?

I think it is weird because you could say that everyone is really styled now, but look at the ’80s and see how everyone was so obsessed with image, whether it was metal or new wave. I also feel like that there was something about back then that was a little more original. Now people are really styled and a lot of rock bands to have some type of schtick. It is really hard to find something that is original. I feel like in the ’80s, there were a lot of things that were really different and more bands and people with crazy images and stage shows, but they actually backed it up with good songs and good performances. Like Poison, for instance. People make fun of it and some people love it, but they always made sure that they had really good moves. If you look at some of those videos they are doing dances and knee slides, but now when you go to a show you don’t see people taking chances like that. I feel like things are a little bit stale these days. I think people are afraid of losing there cred for doing something more fun and are obsessed with looking cool.

Any plans in the works for more releases on Purple Feather Records?

There aren’t yet, but we definitely want to get to that point and put out our friends’ bands or bands that were in the position that we were, where you just don’t fit in. There are plenty of bands out there that just might not fit in at a major label that just want to get their music out there. That is how we have always been.

So you have a show, “Fun in the Dungeon with Allison Robertson” on Women Rock Radio. What has that experience been like for you?

Great! I have always wanted to do something like that, but I was too shy or too awkward to have done it, even a few years ago. Now it’s very low key and it’s for the Internet, so I don’t get paid and it is for fun, so I can stop and start again whenever I want. I love the people who run it because they are so amazing. That is why I did it in the first place. They interviewed me and I just loved the vibe. I also liked the message because I don’t believe in separating women and men in music, but I do feel like it is cool to have a station that only concentrates on females in rock. It is a great way to celebrate some unsung heroes. I have had the opportunity to play bands like Girlschool, Rock Goddess and, of course, everyone loves The Runaways. I try to find more rare tracks by some of those bands and put on stuff that maybe people have never heard, like really weird, rare bands. I don’t mind also playing pop or dance or rap and mixing it up because I feel like concentrating on females rocking no matter want the genre.

And finally, when do you think Chinese Democracy will be released?

Hmmmmm, I’m gonna guess in the year 3000! [laughs] I don’t think it is ever coming out. Just a side note, we saw Guns N’ Roses play in Belgium a few years ago and they did a bunch of Chinese Democracy tracks. I waded to my knees in mud just to see those songs and just to see the vibe! So I was one of the lucky couple thousand at that festival who got to see that. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t bad! But I just get the feeling that it is never coming out! [laughs]


That’s all the questions I have for you. Is there anything else you want to add?

I just want to say thank you to everyone who does come out to support us and bands in general. I think a lot of people aren’t even going to shows anymore, probably because they’re thinking, “Why go to a show when you can just watch it on YouTube?”, which I can kinda relate to, but it is cool when people still feel a connection to us and want to come out and see us live. I feel it is really different to be there at a show. It is such a great feeling and I hope that doesn’t die with the Internet as so many other things have. Go out, support those bands, have a beer, listen to some live music and don’t forget about it!

Related Links:
www.thedonnas.com
www.myspace.com/thedonnas
youtube.com/thedonnastv
www.womenrockradio.com

Allison Robertson Fun Fact: Her father, musician Baxter Robertson, wrote the track “Feel The Night” on the Karate Kid Soundtrack.

Posted in Interviews, MusicComments (1)

Sebastian Bach: “Back in the Saddle” with Angel Down

Sebastian Bach: “Back in the Saddle” with Angel Down

bach-int3Sebastian Bach is a man who needs no introduction. With more than two decades in the limelight, no one embodies the spirit of rock n’ roll quite like him. This jack-of-all-trades has run the gamut from rock frontman, to Broadway actor to reality TV star and back again. Bach is now ready to return to his metal roots and unleash his latest project. Jason Price of Live-Metal.net recently sat down with Bach to talk about what lies in store for fans on ‘Angel Down,’  the evolution of the album, the re-emergence of W. Axl Rose and the burdens of being an unofficial mouthpiece for Gun N’ Roses.

Live-Metal.net: It has been eight years since your last solo release. How does it make you feel that this record is about to see the light of day?

Sebastian Bach: Well, it feels amazing! I gotta mention that I did put a record out in the year 2005 called Frameshift 2: The Absence of Empathy, which is a progressive metal album. So if you like Angel Down and Slave to the Grind, I think you would definitely dig a lot of the music on that record. The singer on Frameshift 1 was James LaBrie of Dream Theater. I sang on the whole record and co-wrote a lot of the music on it, so check that out. Angel Down is more of what you would expect from me and what I expect of myself, which is ass kickin’ rock n’ roll! I am really happy with the songs, the playing, the production, the artwork and, oh yeah, I have a guest star on the album, too! [laughs

Yeah, I think I might have heard a little something about that!

Yeah, I have Mr. Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses singing three songs on the record with me, so it is a very historic album. All of us have been waiting for some new Axl and new Baz, and we have them both on the same record!

How long has this record been in the works?

I spent seven years writing the record. The first song was written in the year 2000, right after I was done with Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway. I wrote “Falling Into You,” which is the last song on the record, with Desmond Child. Then I went through many, many different band members over the course of the years. I had many different guitar players and musicians in my solo band, so each one of them had something to offer and it basically took me seven years to assemble 14 songs that I feel is an album. That is why it took that long.

What was the biggest challenge in making the record?

Getting the record deal that I got. I got signed by EMI to my own label, through their subsidiary MRV. Jason Flom is the guy that I sent the CD to, that ended up getting the deal, he is the president of EMI. I have known him for 20 years. He signed me in Skid Row back in 1987. He didn’t just automatically sign me because I am Sebastian Bach. I had to believe in myself up to the point that I ended up paying for the record out of my own pocket when the previous record company went out of business. So he didn’t just sign me because of my hairdo or because of what I did in 1989, it’s not about that. I dumped a CD on his desk in 2007 that blew his mind, and that is the record that you are hearing today. He was like, “OK, dude, now you’re ready,” ya know. He came through. That’s how it happened.

How did you pick the guys that you would go into the studio with to record this release?

I played a show called the Bang Your Head Festival in Balingen, Germany, in 2004 and the opening band was Testament. Then I opened up for Iced Earth. In Testament was “Metal” Mike Chlasciak and Steve DiGiorgio, and in Iced Earth was Ralph Santolla and Bobby Jarzombek, so there is a lot of my band right there! After the show, we all got drunk and the drunker we got, the more these dudes were whispering into my ear, “Hey dude, who are these guys your playin’ with!” [laughs] It was a “Here is my number, if you ever want a real fuckin’ band!” kinda thing! [laughs] So they kinda schooled me, all these metal guys. One of my favorite albums of the ’90s is Halford’s Resurrection, so when Halford went back to Judas Priest, Bobby Jarzombek and “Metal” Mike were free, so that how I got them. I called them up. “Metal” Mike is from New Jersey, which is where I am from, so that is really cool.

And Bobby, well, no offense to any drummer that I have ever played with, but Bobby Jarzombek is by far the best drummer that I have ever played with, without a doubt. There is no comparison to how amazingly this fucking guy plays drums. Listen to the song “Stabbing Daggers.” He just goes insane in this song! [laughs] He deserves to be up there with Neil Peart, Tommy Lee and fucking John Bonham! I am serious! He really is THAT good!

In your opinion, where does Angel Down stack up in comparison to your previous work?

Well, one thing that really surprises me about Angel Down is how young my voice sounds on certain songs. There is a song called “You Don’t Understand” on which I really concentrated on singing really clean and pure. I have been beating the shit out of myself and my voice for 20 years, and there is no way that my voice should sound the way that it sounds on some of these songs, which is just surprising to me. I can only attribute it to theater and all the theater that I have done. That taught me a lot about singing. I can hear the theatrical influence in certain parts of the record.

You used artwork from your father, David Bierk, as the cover for Angel Down. The painting is titled “David Watching.” How did you decide on this particular piece for the album cover?

Well, my dad was extremely prolific. There are thousands of images that he painted during his lifetime. So there is really a wealth of paintings that I could choose from. When I did Jesus Christ Superstar in 2002, that image really haunted me because it looked like it was him in heaven, made of rock, lifeless, looking down at Jesus in the painting, and I was playing the role of Jesus at the time. So to me it was like an image from beyond the grave. And then we have the song “Angel Down.” I had already been thinking of using that as the title track because I always want the title track to be super fucking ballsy and heavy. And on that song, that is the heaviest riff I have heard in years. So when I thought of the title Angel Down, with the painting, it was meant to be. It totally fit together. Then, a lot of the lyrics on the record have a lot to do with the war, and I am sure any parent or family member or friend that has lost a soldier in this war knows what an “Angel Down” means. It is like saying “man overboard.” It has a very military feel to it, which again is what a lot of the lyrics have to do with.

You had the painting tattooed on your arm by the legendary Kat Von D, what was that experience like for you?

That was great, man! Because a lot of my tattoos are really super old and Kat Von D has such a new style with the way she does tats. It is so fucking detailed and she has her own style that is very, very happening and cool. So that was really great to do that show. I loved how they played “Love is a Bitchslap” on LA Ink. A lot of the fans were like, “Dude, your fucking song sounds KILLER on the show!” I loved hearing it on the show. It was the first time that I had heard one of my new songs on a TV show and I freaked out. I was like, “Oh my God, I really do have a new record!” [laughs]

Do you have any plans for creating videos for any of the singles off of the new album?

Yes, absolutely! I was talking to my manager about this the other day. The problem with that right now is that we cannot decide what song to do. If I only had one choice, I would have to pick “By Your Side.” My manager said that I am going to have more than one choice. So we will definitely do two videos at the least. So that was good news! Basically, radio right now is really reacting to “Back in the Saddle” a lot. So we can’t decide whether to do that or “Love is a Bitchslap,” which people are also freakin’ out about. But then again there is “Stuck Inside” which is CRAZY! [laughs] So I don’t know. We are still choosing right now, that is all I can say.

Can we expect to see you tour in the near future in support of Angel Down?

Yes! We are putting together tour plans as we speak. I don’t have any concrete plans yet, but we are trying to put together a package with some other big bands! So we will be out there soon!

One of the biggest stories about this album is the re-emergence of W. Axl Rose. How did the collaboration come about?

I spent the better part of a year opening for Guns N’ Roses all over the world. I know it sounds crazy and I keep trying to find new ways to tell this, but what happened is that I just asked him and he did it! [laughs

That is all you really need!

Yeah! I texted him and he said, “Yeah.” So he drove to the studio and sang all night. Then he came back two nights later to listen and get a CD of it. He is a human being and it is hard to realize that, even for me who is around him all the time, what a mythological icon of our times he has become to many people. I feel like my life has been blessed. To do a solo record and have him come and sing on it is any musician’s dream. I can’t even believe it and I can’t thank him enough.

In many ways, especially in the “rock media,” you have become a sort of “unofficial mouthpiece” for Guns N’ Roses in the past few years. 

Yeah.

Does this ever put you in a bad spot or become a bit of a burden?

Uh, yeah, actually it does. Actually, just yesterday. I do talk about him a lot and I don’t know what to do. What, am I not supposed to talk about the best singer in the world who just happens to be my buddy? [laughs] It is kinda hard NOT to talk about it! I did an interview with a magazine last week where I went into detail about our collaboration and they condensed it into about three sentences, which wasn’t cool. So, he [Axl] was asking me about it and I said, “I never said this.” So maybe sometimes I should talk a little less about him, but it is hard. Number one, I am a fan and mumber two, he is a friend, and number three, he is on my record. So I just have to trust the writers not to twist my words and I don’t have a bad word to say about him. It is not in my being. So I do have to be careful.

You have been in the public eye for a very long time and have a very well documented career. What do you think is the biggest misconception about Sebastian Bach?

There are a lot of misconceptions. You know, I don’t like the word “80s” because it always makes me cringe. Or “hair band,” I hate that word. I don’t like being lumped in with a bunch of other bands that I have never even met, have never even played with and have nothing to do with, but somehow we are all in one big band together. That drives me nuts. The real fans know the difference between Skid Row and a lot of the bands that Skid Row gets billed with. The Skid Row of 2007 doesn’t help matters at all by what they are doing. They are wrecking the name worse than can ever be wrecked. So they make my job harder when I am trying to do something cool and new, and they are just touring the world two out of five original members, playing with all the bands that we would never have toured with me in the band. So they make it hard. So I have to fight “80s hair band” all the time and I guess I don’t make it any easier on myself when I have long blonde hair down to my asshole, but that’s just too bad! [laughs] TOO BAD!

Being the jack-of-all-trades that you are, you have without a doubt lived quite an interesting life. Any plans to document your life and times in a book?

100 percent. That will definitely be coming. But ya know, it will take a long time because it will be good. It will be worth the wait! 

I am sure it will be!

I want to put out more CDs, dude, before you see a book from me. Now that I have my own record label, I am gonna use it! That’s my first passion. So I am gonna release albums before anything else. 

Will you be doing anything special to celebrate the release of Angel Down on November 20, when it is released?

I do plan on going to my area stores and just making sure that it is there! [laughs] Hopefully, I don’t have to yell at anybody on the phone at the end of the day! Really, at this point, I have worked so hard on it and listened to it so many times and I have approved it. It’s amazing. But I still haven’t seen the finished product yet! Hopefully, they didn’t spell something wrong or fucking leave a song off or something! As long as it is like we approved it, it is amazing and it is everything that I want it to be. So really, all I can do then is just hope for the best! It’s like I put a stamp on an envelope and put it in the mail, it’s gone! It’s out of my control! Once I say it’s done, it’s yours as much as it is mine. So I hope you like it!

The other thing I would like to say is, that if people really want to support rock n’ roll, please go to the store and buy the CD. CD stores are going out of business to the point where it is getting really fucking scary to be a musician. You can download it, but you are gonna miss out on the full sound of the CD, which is way better than MP3 sound. You’re gonna miss out on the artwork and the double-sided poster which is included in the packaging. And we all put a lot of work into making a package that you are not even going to know about if you just download an MP3. If anyone is thinking about the CD, please, go to the store and support rock n’ roll, support record stores, support the CD industry, support my kids! [laughs] And BUY THE FUCKING CD! [laughs]

We all have to do that. When I want a new CD, I go to the store and buy it. That is the only way rock n’ roll is gonna survive and every rock n’ roller better know that! People talk about global warming, let’s talk about “rock n’ roll colding!” [laughs] I don’t like seeing Tower Records going out of business and Best Buy and Wal-Mart cut down their CD space. Every rocker, go out and buy the CD to show the world that we want to rock!
 

Related Links:
www.sebastianbach.com
www.myspace.com/sebastianblog
www.merovingianmusic.com

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Elvira, The Queen Of Halloween: Interview with an Icon

Elvira, The Queen Of Halloween: Interview with an Icon

Elvira

Elvira

With more than 25 years as the undisputed “Queen of Halloween” under her belt, Elvira is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, she is looking to expand her reign of terror with an entire army of Elvira clones. Sounds like a horror movie, right? Well, actually it is reality TV. The Mistress of the Dark is set to star in her own Fox series, ‘Search for the Next Elvira’. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently spoke to Elvira’s alter-ego Cassandra Peterson about the new series, her strangest moments through the years and the many exciting new projects she has up her spooky sleeves.

How did the idea of Search for the Next Elvira come about?

I thought of this idea a couple of years ago and my main goal was to find another Elvira, and then we came up with the brilliant idea to make it a television show. We thought it would be an interesting process to find another Elvira, kind of an “Elvira’s Evil Handmaiden.” So we shopped it around and Fox really liked the idea and decided to do a miniseries during the month of Halloween, and that is how it ended up there.

You have played the role of Elvira for so long. What will it be like for you to let someone else step into the role?

Well, I think it will be a big relief at this point! [laughs] I have looked at Santa Claus for many years now with a lot of envy in my eyes. He gets to pick up all the gigs. The character becomes such a pop culture icon and so closely related with Halloween that I just can’t get the character out there enough. So at this point I think it would be fantastic to see another Elvira out there. Actually, during the process of the show it was fantastic to see some of these young girls who have watched me since they were little girls who really get it, who love it and have the Elvira thing down. For me it is flattering and I love the fact that there will be someone else who young and quirky and gets it.

What are you looking for in the contestants looking to be the next Elvira?

There is certain body type that you have to have. If you’re gonna play Santa Claus, you have to be fat, and if you play Spiderman you have to have a few muscles on your chest, and to play Elvira you have to have a few special assets [laughs]. So there was the body thing, but that is only a third of the equation. The more important parts are if they got the humor behind it, if they have a sense of humor and if there were kinda sassy and had the whole Elvira feeling down. And thirdly, were they into horror and the whole spooky side. Those are the three elements that comprise Elvira and make her unique in the horror genre and that is sexy, funny and spooky. They had to have all of those things, so it wasn’t as as easy as finding some girl with big boobs! We saw a few girls that I loved and they looked so perfect, but they just did not get the humor thing. There is the fear factor, too. In my career, I have had to do things like lay around on the ground covered by 150 snakes for photo sessions. I have had to be buried in a coffin for hours on end. So the girls have to be able to do a little bit of that stuff, too.

What will the winning handmaiden’s purpose be?

She will be doing some of the overflow that I get for Halloween. Every Halloween, I get hundreds of requests to appear at people’s haunted houses, shopping malls and theme parks, and obviously there is only one of me, so I am not able to get to very many of them. I take the ones for all the big bucks! All these other venues go begging, so I thought if I had another Elvira or ideally an entire army of Elvira clones, they could go make these appearances where they pose with fans, sign autographs and take pictures. So that is basically what she will be doing.

I would really eventually love to have 10, 20, 30 Elviras to go around to shopping malls and sit on a throne and get photos taken with everyone during the month of October, leading up to Halloween. Just like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus!

Now that you will have another Elvira, will you have the opportunity to explore new projects?

I am working on a lot of really great projects right now and they are big, long-term projects that I have to get going in the next year. You would think that things would calm down with more Elviras, but they are actually speeding up. I am getting a Miss Teen Elvira together for Elvira Inc. and eventually see Elvira being the Martha Stewart of the macabre and having a web site that sells all things spooky! I am also working on a very large project that is just beginning, which would be an animated Elvira feature. So, having more Elviras is going to slow it down. I will be busy training the at boob camp, I mean boot camp!

Would this animated Elvira feature be the third installment in an “unholy trilogy” or can we look forward to another live-action feature as well?

I don’t know. I am going to be going out after Halloween and pitching a live-action movie that I sold at one time. I wrote this movie and sold it to them and got paid for it, thank god, but they went out of business. So I have this complete finished script and see about getting a deal with that again. It is separate and doesn’t really have the storyline from the first two films. My main goal is to get this animated feature going and that can be years out because animation takes so much time to put together and first I have to go out and make a deal. I am working on all that stuff!

What has been your most memorable moment as Elvira throughout the years?

That is really hard to say, wow. Most memorable moment, hmmm.

Or strangest?

Strangest, well, meeting Michael Jackson was pretty damn memorable and strange! He said [in Michael Jackson-esque voice], “Elvira, I should have hired you instead of Vincent Price to do the voiceover for Thriller.” And I was like, “Yeah, Thaaaaankkks!” I don’t know, being in the Rose Parade was pretty damn strange and I had my own float for the Post Office. It is the biggest and most televised parade in the world, pretty bizarre. Ringing the closing bell at the New York stock market was pretty weird. Introducing Bono at the Zoo TV Tour was also pretty cool and bizarre. I have had a lot of really strange moments, like the first time somebody asked me to autograph their arm and then went and tattooed it in and came back the next day with a bloody old patch on their arm, I was like, “Oh my God, that is the sincerest form of flattery!” Now that is like old hat, there are hundreds and hundreds of people with Elvira images tattooed on their body which I see all the time.

What other projects do you have in the works that your fans may want to check out?

I am representing Hot Topic this year for Halloween. I am having a whole new line of different T-shirts this year in the stores, along with doing their ads. I have a Barbie! Mattel is making a one-of-a-kind Elvira Barbie that will be unveiled at Dream Halloween (www.caaf4kids.org), which is a big fundraiser for the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation [CAAF]. So I am pretty happy to become a Barbie! We also have a lot of new merchandise coming out, we even have Elvira checks! Just in case you want your checks to have Elvira on them! [laughs]

Elvira's Alter-ego Cassandra Peterson

Elvira's Alter-ego Cassandra Peterson

Why do you think that the Elvira character has endured throughout the years?

I think that it has endured because of the Halloween season and that Elvira has become so closely tied to a holiday. Every year Halloween comes back and so does Elvira, and I am all over the airwaves. I took a sabbatical for about 10 years to raise my daughter and not to be working constantly. So I went into a bit of a lull there, but I never stopped. Another reason is that the horror never goes away, the genre never goes away and I have become a maven of horror and even though some of the greats like Vincent Price and John Carradine have passed on and left kind of a hole there and Elvira is one of these endearing kind of characters that is still around.

You mentioned your daughter, has she ever showed interest in possibly taking over the reigns for Elvira in the future?

Well, not so far, man! [laughs] Right now she couldn’t be more embarrassed about what I do! She says, “Oh my God! Can’t you act like a normal person ever!” She is into playing the bass and so into the Sex Pistols. She just wrote a song and I love it. I have really long black finger nails, so she wrote this song and the first part goes “My mother has claws! She’s not a person, she’s a thiiiiiiiiiinnng!!!” [laughs] So that is what my daughter thinks of me right now! That is pretty much her assessment of me and thinks the whole Elvira thing is incredibly, incredibly embarrassing. So that can change over time, but right now she is 12 years old and is at that embarrassing stage where your parents embarrass you no matter who you are. But right now, she would rather die than be Elvira!

Thank you very much for your time and Happy Halloween!

Thank you!

– –

Related Links:

Elvira’s Official Site

Elvira’s Official Myspace Page

The Search For The Next Elvira

How to apply the Elvira Makeup

Elvira’s Movie Macabre from Shout! Factory

Children Affected by AIDS Foundation [CAAF]

Posted in Interviews, Movies, TV and More!Comments (1)