Tag Archive | "Netflix"

‘Voltron Legendary Defender’ Season 5 To Debut March 2nd on Netflix, New Trailer Unleashed!

‘Voltron Legendary Defender’ Season 5 To Debut March 2nd on Netflix, New Trailer Unleashed!

DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender Season 5 will debut on Netflix Friday March 2nd with six all-new episodes. Shocked by Prince Lotor coming to their rescue in the fight against the evil witch Haggar, the Paladins struggle with whether or not they can really trust him. Though suspicious, Team Voltron is able to liberate more rebels with the aid of Lotor’s intel. Just as things start to look hopeful, Zarkon strikes, resulting in a shocking chain of events. Check out the brand-new trailer from the fifth season below!

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Guillermo del Toro Expands ‘Trollhunters’ Universe With ‘Tales of Arcadia’ Trilogy Series

Guillermo del Toro Expands ‘Trollhunters’ Universe With ‘Tales of Arcadia’ Trilogy Series

Guillermo del Toro is brining ‘Tales of Arcadia’ to Netflix.

Guillermo del Toro has announced that the world of Trollhunters will expand to become a trilogy of series called Tales of Arcadia.

On the surface, Arcadia appears to be a slice of timeless Americana, but it is no ordinary town.  It lies at the center of magical and mystical lines that will make it a nexus for many battles among otherworldly creatures including trolls, aliens and wizards.  DreamWorks Trollhunters, the first installment in the Tales of Arcadia trilogy, will be followed by two additional series 3 Below in 2018 and a final chapter Wizards set to debut in 2019.

Following Trollhunters, DreamWorks 3 Below will focus on two royal teenage aliens and their bodyguard who flee a surprise takeover of their home planet by an evil dictator and crash land in Arcadia. Now on the run from intergalactic bounty hunters, they struggle to blend in and adapt to the bizarre world of high school all the while attempting to repair their ship so they can return and defend their home planet.

DreamWorks Wizards brings together the three disparate worlds of trolls, aliens and wizards who have found themselves drawn to Arcadia. The final chapter of the Tales of Arcadia culminates in an apocalyptic battle for the control of magic that will ultimately determine the fate of these supernatural worlds that have now converged.

Premiering in 2016 to critical acclaim, Trollhunters introduced audiences to the seemingly quiet town of Arcadia and an ordinary kid who embarks on an extraordinary adventure in a hidden world right beneath his feet featuring the voices of Anton Yelchin, Kelsey Grammer, Ron Perlman, Steven Yeun, Anjelica Huston and more. The first season lead the Creative Arts Daytime Emmys with six wins, more than any other program, including writing for an animated program (Marc Guggenheim), directing (Rodrigo Blaas, del Toro), casting (Ania O’Hare, Mary Hildalgo) and a voice acting win for Grammer.

DreamWorks Trollhunters is created and executive produced by del Toro with Marc Guggenheim (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow), Rodrigo Blaas (Alma) and Chad Hammes (Dragons: Race to the Edge) and Christina Steinberg (Rise of the Guardians) serving as executive producers.  Dan Hageman (The Lego Movie, Ninjago) and Kevin Hageman (The Lego Movie, Ninjago) serve as co-executive producers.

www.netflix.com/trollhunters
www.netflix.com/3below
www.netflix.com/wizards

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UNSTOPPABLE: Kelly Karbacz On Her Career, Evolution & ‘Orange Is The New Black’

UNSTOPPABLE: Kelly Karbacz On Her Career, Evolution & ‘Orange Is The New Black’

For Kelly Karbacz, her passion for the arts took hold early on in life. A graduate of the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, she would go on to study drama at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, part of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Over the past decade, she has carved out a truly unique body of work both on screen and on the stage. Never afraid to pour her heart and soul into her work, she is one of the rare actors who truly elevates the quality of each project of which she is a part. In fact, her undeniable presence and razor-sharp skills are what landed her biggest role to date as part of Netflix’s award-winning series, “Orange is the New Black.” On the show, Karbacz plays the role of inmate, Kasey Sankey, who was introduced in season four. Sankey is a primary member of the White Power Group, inadvertently created by fellow inmate, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling). Sankey quickly finds herself in multiple altercations with the other inmates and pursues Piper to be an active member of her “movement.” Throughout her time on the series, Kelly Karbacz has continued to intrigue viewers as a true scene-stealer in the ensemble cast.

Her work within the world of theater is equally impressive. Karbacz made her Broadway debut in the leading role of Maureen Johnson, in “Rent” at the Nederlander Theatre, directed by Michael Greif. She also earned a Helen Hayes nomination for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical’ for her performance as Emily Andrews, in the world premiere of “Liberty Smith” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Her other theatre credits include Alfred Uhry’s “Without Walls” at The Williamstown Theatre Festival, “Nighthawks” at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, “First Date” at the ACT/5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, and “The Sound of Music” at Lincoln Center’s New York City Opera, where she starred as Louisa.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Kelly Karbacz to discuss her amazing body of work. In the interview, she offers an inside look at her early years as an actress, her process for bringing characters from script to screen, her creative evolution and her breakout role on Netflix’s ‘Orange Is The New Black.’ 

Let’s go back to the very beginning. How did you get involved with the creative arts early on in life?

I started in this business when I was a kid! I was singing and taking dance lessons from a very early age. I fell in love with theater and the business after seeing my first Broadway show. I watched what was happening on the stage and I thought, “I want to do that! I have to do that!” One year my dance school put on this variety show competition. While everyone else decided to dance, I decided to sing! I ended up winning first place in the competition and there happened to be an agent in the audience that night! I was invited to come down and audition for the agency, so I went down and did monologues and sang. I auditioned with hundreds of kids and I was fortunate enough to be offered a contract with them. After that, the rest is history! I started auditioning and I never looked back!

Wow! That’s awesome and leads to my next question. This is a tough business. Did you ever have any reservations about pursuing your passion professionally?

No, it’s crazy, there was just this dream in my heart and this passion that I had from the time I was very young and it’s never wavered. It has always sort of burned there inside of me. I’ve never regretted it and I just knew then, as I know now, that nothing else would make me as happy or bring me as much joy as being a performer!

Well, that certainly makes going to work every day a whole lot easier doesn’t it!

Absolutely! [laughs] I think that’s one of the greatest blessings in the world; being able to do what you love and having the privilege and good fortune to do what you love for living! There’s nothing better!

Let’s talk about some of the influences who had a big impact on you and your work? Who were some of the people behind the scenes who gave you a push and some of the actors whose work you gravitate toward?

To start, there were many significant drama teachers throughout my education who had a huge impact on me. Kim Bruno, Julie Sheinman, Vincent Grasso, Debra Wiley and, honestly, the man I feel really changed my life as far as acting goes was Geoffrey Horne. He was a teacher I had at NYU while I studied at the Tisch School of the Arts. He taught me acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. We studied at studios as part of our training and he gave me what seems like the simplest lesson but for some reason it really clicked in for me when he gave me these pearls of wisdom. He taught us that when you are acting, you didn’t have to do all this stuff or try to be cute or put all this stuff on top of everything. If you just started from the most simple, honest place in the moment, you would get where you needed to be. If you were just to talk as a normal person, you would get to where you needed to be in the scene emotionally. For some reason, that really clicked in for me and I was able to get to the core of my characters and find honesty and truth, as well as being much more effective at bringing these roles to life! He was a huge influence on me and I will be grateful to him for the rest of my life for how he changed my acting. As far as other artists and actors, I have to say there are a few actors who have recently blown me away and are doing what I aspire to do going forward — Viola Davis in “Fences,” Robin Wright in “House of Cards” and Jessica Lange in “Feud.” Watching them is like watching a master class! There are so many more! Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, Sarah Paulson and I could go on and on! Watching them is like a master class and the emotional depth and the way they bring these rich, complex characters to life to tell these compelling stories is simply amazing. These are the type of strong powerful female roles that I want to play! They have really inspired me and make me want to raise my game in the best way!

What is your process for bringing the characters you play to life?

When I am cast in a role, the first thing I do is go to the creative team of the project and request as much information as possible. I like to get as much information from them as possible so that I can really start investing in the world of this person and embody them to the best of my ability. Then I re-read the full script to get any details that I may have missed and I begin to focus more intensely on my own personal scene work. Not only do I try to find the objectives in each scene but, as part of my method acting training, there is a specific technique called substitution which has been very effective for me. Substitution is when you compare the elements of the life and scenes of your character to your own life. Doing so allows you to find more ways to deeply connect and bring the truth of this character to life. That has been incredibly effective for me in my work. Music is key for me as well, so I try to find music that connects me emotionally to where I need to be in the scenes. That helps me on set to focus and get in the moment before I start shooting or get on stage. In the end, the wardrobe, hair and makeup are the final elements that help everything come together, even when they are very stripped down like in “’Orange Is The New Black”. Then I just try to give the most honest and truthful performance possible!

Kelly Karbacz – Photo by Nicolas Wagner

Let’s talk about ‘Orange Is The New Black.’ Obviously, this is a big milestone for you. Tell us about how you got involved with the project and what drew you to the material?

I was a huge fan of “Orange” before I was cast, so I was very invested in this world already! I love the characters and the writing. I really felt that was in my wheelhouse and that would be a really great fit for me as an actress. Of course, I knew I would jump at the chance to be a part of it if I could! Jennifer Euston, our incredible casting director, has been so good to me throughout the years and brought me in for any projects that she felt I was right for. She actually had me in for several other characters throughout the first three seasons of the show but my character, Kasey Sankey, was the first inmate that I have ever auditioned for. I knew that she would be a challenge! The breakdown of the character said that she was proud to be white, this wasn’t her first time in prison and that she was tough with a very short fuse. I knew that was going to be very different from who I am in life but I was certainly up for the challenge!

As you said, this character is associated with the white power movement which is pretty polarizing. Was this a scary world to step into with things being so PC these days?

Absolutely! I think that because it is so challenging, I remind myself of a few things. One is that it is not my job to judge her because it would be too difficult to play her if I had to do that. I try not to judge her and instead try to remember that it is my job to bring her to life and tell the story that our genius creator Jenji Kohan and our incredible writers want to tell! I also remember that she behaves in this way and as a supporter of this ideology because that’s what has been ingrained in her. That’s what she has known all her life and she’s a product of her environment. This is what she knows. I really try to find ways to connect with her to bring her to life. I’ve been loving that the one thing they do so brilliantly on this show is to find the humanity of all these people, especially the inmates on our show. They’ve given me these beautiful moments to play of possible redemption for her where she pulls back from confrontation at times or rallies the other inmates for the greater good of the prison or where she tries to acknowledge that maybe the other women aren’t as she expected them to be. I love that they’ve given her these moments of struggle where she thinks, “Is it possible that my belief system doesn’t always have to dictate my behavior?”

Kelly Karbacz as Kasey-Sankey on Netflix’s ‘Orange Is The New Black.’

The material for this series is undeniably good but I definitely feel you have continued to elevate it. What do you feel you might have brought to this character that wasn’t on the original written page?

When I went in for the audition, I immediately after reading the scenes had sort of an idea of how she would speak, how she would move and what her behavior would be. I brought that into the audition room with me. I don’t know if I was exactly what they had in mind when they wrote it but I’m certainly so fortunate and grateful that when they saw it they said, “That works! We want that!” With each script that I get for every episode and with each scene that I’m in, I just try to deepen her, explore other facets of her and explore different sides and colors of her to really create this fully fleshed out person. I’m really excited about where she will go going forward from here. Is there a redemption for her? Or does she stay more of a villain and we show the consequences of it? Ultimately, I’d really love to be able to tell the story of why she has been incarcerated, what makes her tick and how she got to be the way she is!

You mentioned using music to get in the right headspace for character. What can you tell us about the soundtrack of Kasey Sankey?

It’s funny, hip-hop, R&B and rap have always been my go to music choices. There is a lot of Jay-Z and Kanye on my playlist for sure when I’m trying to get in her headspace. She is so extreme at times, well, most of the time I should say! That music really amps me up and gets me energized. Every scene and every episode calls for different things emotionally so I try to skew whatever I’m listening to in a way that I know it will get me where I need to be for that scene. It’s definitely what I’m drawn to in life because I know it will really give me that personal connection and hip hop, R&B and rap is what I’ve always loved. I love all music in general but those types of music have always been my go to.

Talking to you today, I can already tell you are a bit of a sponge when it comes to soaking things in on the set. What are the biggest things you’ve learned from your time on ‘Orange Is The New Black’?

As an actor, I have to say that it’s been such an incredible privilege to work alongside what is undeniably one of the most gifted ensembles in television. To be on set with these other actors and pass the ball back-and-forth with them has been amazing. They’re such generous scene partners and so professional. They truly up my game with every moment I spend on that set. That is such a blessing and it is never lost on me. As far as the show itself, to be a part of something that has been so critically acclaimed and groundbreaking in so many ways is an unbelievable experience. This series is telling stories that need to be told and that are reflective of our society. It truly tries to shed light on the most important issues in our current culture and hopefully is influencing change for the better. It gives me such great pride to be a part of something like that. I think it’s a rare thing and I think the way “Orange” does that puts it in a class by itself.

As you mentioned, this show has had an incredible impact on you creatively. What are some of the other creative milestones you hold close to your heart?

I’ve had some wonderful successes throughout my career in both theater and film and television. As far as the milestones go that have impacted me and help me evolve, for theater it would certainly be ‘Rent.’ I played Maureen Johnson in ‘Rent’ on Broadway. I was a “Renthead” and I was in love with that show! When I saw Idina Menzel play that role, I walked away from the theater thinking, “I have to play that role!” it was an absolute dream of mine! Many auditions and many years later, I was able to do it. To be able to play her, sing that score and play with the ‘Rent’ family 8 times a week was incredible. It really changed my life! That role gave me such confidence. It tapped me into my sexuality. It helped me to lose inhibitions and go to places that I’ve never gone before as a performer. I think it’s an experience  that changed my life and will stay with me for the rest of my life, especially the message of the show, which is “No day but today.” It’s really about love, inclusivity, living in the moment and cherishing every moment as if it were your last. When it comes to theater, that was huge for me. In television, I had the good fortune to be part of a multi-camera sitcom called “Regular Joe” where I got to star alongside Judd Hirsch, Daniel Stern and John Francis Daley and a beautiful cast! Being able to do a multi-camera sitcom, to me, was the best of both worlds because we got to perform in front of a live audience, which felt like theater, but it also has the capacity to be seen all over the world. It was able to reach a broader audience. I thought, “This is it right here!” [laughs] Those are two major ones. There are a lot of other milestones but I think those stick out in my mind as the ones that had the biggest impact on me!

Kelly Karbacz – Photo by Nicolas Wagner

You are making it look easy and knocking it out of the park with each new project. What other roles or projects do you look forward to tackling in the future?

You know, what’s amazing is when you are able to straddle both worlds! So, I certainly want to continue in the world of film and television. I want to tackle not only more television drama but comedy as well and create these rich, complex roles wherever I can. I would also like to dive deeper into the film world, whether it’s a really cool indie or a huge feature, that would be fantastic as well! In theatre, I would love to be back on Broadway or off Broadway. There are so many amazing projects happening right now. I’m actually working on two pieces that I can’t share details about yet because they are in the early stages but one is a musical and one is a straight play. They are both meaty, wonderful roles and I’m loving being able to help develop them and get back to my theater roots. I’m excited to see what comes next for me!

You can definitely serve as a huge inspiration for young actors. What’s the best lesson we can take from your journey so far?

I would say the thing that has really helped me was that I learned that it is very helpful to run your own race. You have to learn to not worry about where everyone else in the industry is or what they may be doing. Everyone is on their own path and there is no timeline for your dream. Like I said, I’ve had some incredible successes but there has been a lot of heartbreak along the way in this business. There’s always ups and downs. In those tougher times, you have to hold onto the hope, positivity and passion that got you into the business in the first place. Instead of getting negative, bitter or frustrated, which is only going to bring more of the bad energy to you, you have to focus on consistently doing your best work and trust that people will notice. When you do that, the roles that are best for you will find you. I think that has served me well. When I’ve looked back on my career, when things haven’t come to fruition, it was always because something better was waiting for me down the line. I always experienced the most struggle right before my biggest breakthroughs! I think if young people coming up can keep that in mind, it can take a lot of the pressure off and it will help you stay focused and centered on what’s important!

That’s great advice! Thanks so much for your time today, Kelly! You truly are an inspiration and I know there are big things in store for you in the future. When you are a big star, count on me circling back around to chat some more!

Oh, Jason! Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me. I do hope we get to meet each other in person sometime soon! Take care!

Catch Kelly Karbacz in Netflix’s ‘Orange is the New Black’ — Season 5 is now streaming! Follow her continuing adventures via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 247: Going Easy On The Line

ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 247: Going Easy On The Line

acidpopcult-podcast-2016

On the latest episode of the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, Jeremy and Jason are taking it on the line when Jeremy runs through his latest movie marathon. Don’t be alarmed, folks, Jeremy isn’t blasting thru 524 this year. But first talk of recent vehicle maintenance has the boys pondering how well they’ve been treated in the past at heir local garages. Then J-Mo tells us all about his latest on-set gig. As always ratings and review are appreciated and encouraged!

Spread the word, leave a review and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes for our continuing adventures! Download the latest episode of Acid Pop Cult on iTunes now!


Acid Pop Cult on iTunes – Click here!
Acid Pop Cult on Twitter – @acidpopcult
Acid Pop Cult on Facebook – facebook.com/AcidPopCult
Jeremy on Twitter – @almostgothim
Jason on Twitter – @iconvsicon
Hank on Twitter – @thehenrypricejr

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VOLTRON 84: Classic Voltron Episodes To Hit Netflix On March 24th!

VOLTRON 84: Classic Voltron Episodes To Hit Netflix On March 24th!

Before DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender debuted, there was the original 1984 series, Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Now, 12 of these classic episodes have been handpicked and introduced by the creative powers behind DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender, who share the iconic moments that entertained them as kids and inspired them as adults as they formed an all-new Voltron for audiences today. Voltron 84: where 2017 meets 1984. Voltron returns with these 12 classic episodes on Netflix Friday, March 24th with Voltron 84!

In support of this awesome revival featuring intros and episodes hand picked by the creative minds behind  DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender, DreamWorks Animation Television and Netflix have released a brand new trailer!

Intro’s from the cast and crew of DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender include commentary from Joaquim Dos Santos (Executive Producer), Lauren Montgomery (Co-Executive Producer), Tim Hedrick (Story Editor), Josh Hamilton (Story Editor), Josh Keaton ( voice of Shiro), Kimberly Brooks (voice of Allura), Steve Ahn (Director), Chris Palmer (Director), Mitch Iverson (Writer), Christine Bian (Design Supervisor), Benjamin Kaltenecker (Line Producer), and Jeff Adams (Supervising Picture Editor), all sharing their favorite moments from the classic Voltron: Defender of the Universe series that inspired their work today.

Check out specific episode info below along with an exclusive interview with EP’s Joaquim dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery!

EPISODE SELECTION

Joaquim Dos Santos (Executive Producer)
“The Stolen Lion”

Lauren Montgomery (Co-Executive Producer)
“The Sleeping Princess”

Tim Hedrick (Story Editor)
“Doom Boycotts the Space Olympics”

Mitch Iverson (Writer)
“Space Explorers Captured”

Josh Keaton (voice of Shiro)
“Escape to Another Planet“

Steve Ahn (Director)
“The Missing Key”

Christine Bian (Design Supervisor)
“The Right Arm of Voltron”

Kimberly Brooks (voice of Allura)
The Lion Has New Claws

Benjamin Kaltenecker (Line Producer)
“Secret of the White Lion”

Jeff Adams (Supervising Picture Editor)
“The Witch Gets A Facelift”

Chris Palmer (Director)
“Give me Your Princess”

Josh Hamilton (Story Editor)
“The Treasure of Planet Tyrus”

 

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ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 210: Stranger Things For Sure!

ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 210: Stranger Things For Sure!

acidpopcult-podcast-2016

This week on the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, the boys are back at full-strength. The power trio delve into the fantastical with a bevy of strange topics. Hank leads the charge with a story on how his being a cheap bastard lead him to purchasing Chinese underwear online. They then dive deep into J-Mo’s psyche as they attempt to diagnose his yearly need to rearrange the furniture in his home. Only time will tell if he will start leaving glasses of water around the room to fend off aliens. In other news, Jason recounts his recent trip to meet The Boz and gives us a look inside the differences better sports autograph shows, horror cons and Wizard World. They cap off the episode with a look at Netflix’s ’Stranger Things.’  Spread the word, leave a review and be sure to tune in each week for the latest and greatest!

Rate and review the show on iTunes! Hell, it’s a podcast so nice, you should rate it twice! Send us some feedback on Facebook or Twitter.

Download the latest episode of Acid Pop Cult on iTunes!


Acid Pop Cult on iTunes – Click here!
Acid Pop Cult on Twitter – @acidpopcult
Acid Pop Cult on Facebook – facebook.com/AcidPopCult
Jeremy on Twitter – @almostgothim
Jason on Twitter – @iconvsicon

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ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 190: Fuller Blouse – The Return of Steph Tanner

ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 190: Fuller Blouse – The Return of Steph Tanner

acidpopcult-podcast-2015

This week on the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, Jeremy and Jason return once more, to dish on the latest and greatest happening in the world of pop culture. The duo take a look at one of the biggest television revivals to date with Netflix’s ‘Fuller House.’ That’s right! The Tanner’s are back together (along with Kimmy Gibbler) but questions remain! Is the magic back? Will there be a Season 2? What ever happened to Cousin Howie? Jeremy offers up some viewing suggestions with his latest 366 in 366 Challenge update. Then he opens the floodgates and reveals his true ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ addiction and the purchase of the “Ultimate Ticket.” Spread the word, leave a review, for the love of God get J-Mo some help but, most importantly, be sure to tune in each week for the latest and greatest!

Download the latest episode of Acid Pop Cult on iTunes!

Rate and review the show on iTunes!  Send us some feedback on Facebook or Twitter.


Acid Pop Cult on iTunes – Click here!
Acid Pop Cult on Twitter – @acidpopcult
Acid Pop Cult on Facebook – facebook.com/AcidPopCult
Jeremy on Twitter – @almostgothim
Jason on Twitter – @iconvsicon

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ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 169: Binge and Purge

ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 169: Binge and Purge

acidpopcult-podcast-2015

This week on the Acid Pop Cult Podcast it is a blast from the past as Jeremy and Jason welcome back former host Lee Arnold for a very special episode. We get the scoop on what Lee has been up to, the poisoning of his town and then a healthy dose of what is on his mind. Talk soon turns to the trio’s love for fantasy sports of all sorts. However, if that isn’t your bag, they have you covered! They take a look at the animated juggernaut that is ‘South Park’ and Jeremy’s latest “think piece,” titled “DREAMBOATS: The Hottest Hunks On Elm Street.” Take a walk on the wild side… Download, listen and spread the word!

Download the latest episode of Acid Pop Cult on iTunes!

Rate and review the show on iTunes!  Send us some feedback on Facebook or Twitter.


Acid Pop Cult on iTunes – Click here!
Acid Pop Cult on Twitter – @acidpopcult
Acid Pop Cult on Facebook – facebook.com/AcidPopCult
Jeremy on Twitter – @almostgothim
Jason on Twitter – @iconvsicon

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FROM NOISE COMES CHAOS: Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn On His Directorial Debut!

FROM NOISE COMES CHAOS: Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn On His Directorial Debut!

joe-hahn-feature-2015

As the turntablist and creative visionary for legendary rockers Linkin Park, Joseph “Joe” Hahn has spent the better part of his career rocking crowds around the globe. Having directed more than 30 music videos for the iconic band, along with a number of other projects, making his transition to the world of feature films was the next logical step in his creative growth. His directorial debut, ‘Mall’ (based on Eric Bogosian’s novel), is clearly most ambitious work to date. The film explores the  world seen through the eyes of Jeff (played by a captivating and immensely talented Cameron Monaghan) and examines the lives of a group of disaffected suburbanites who find themselves at a shopping mall in the wake of a seemingly random shooting, and whose outlooks on their own lives are positively transformed as a result. The film boasts a star-studded cast featuring the talents of Vincent D’Onofrio (who pulls triple duty as star/producer/screenwriter), Gina Gershon (Showgirls, Killer Joe), Peter Stormare (Fargo) and James Frecheville (Animal Kingdom). Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Joe Hahn to discuss his influences, evolution as an artist, the challenges of breathing life into his first feature film to life and what the future might hold for this director on the rise.

Director Joseph Hahn

Director Joseph Hahn

What attracted you to the arts in your youth and later propelled you into it as a career?

I think it was originally just reading comics, storytelling and listening to music that got me interested in the arts. Like most people, I had an interest in music very early on. In high school, I got really interested in DJing. I found it very interesting, especially what a lot of DJs were doing at the time as far as scratching and manipulating records. It quickly became a focus for me and it was something I wanted to learn. In my later years of high school, I started playing around with it, buying record players and records and all that sort of stuff. Soon after that, I started pursuing art and went to The Art Center, which is where I met Mike [Shinoda]. He was working on a project that he was putting a band together for, a band called Xero at the time. That started with three songs that were on a cassette that we all learned and it eventually grew to become what Linkin Park is today.

Working with the band eventually gave you the opportunity to turn your focus to directing. How did that aspect of your career come about?

When I was younger, like I said, I was into comics and storytelling through pictures and a few words. I actually went to art school for about a year before it became too expensive for me. However, I was fortunate enough to start landing some cool jobs. I started working in special effects where I would design characters, creatures and doing storyboarding! The thing I learned in that environment was that we were being hired to come up with solutions to tell a story through these special moments. We were basically designing scenes for the director’s pitches and this really gave me the ability to do what they were doing. Flash forward to the band getting signed, we started making music videos and I just asserted myself into the process because I found it very interesting. We did a couple of videos with a couple of directors but I realized, to get to have our voice come across, I would have to direct it myself. That is when I started directing the music videos. It was cool because I was really able to experiment and find new ways of telling stories, especially in motion, and that kind of stuff.

Joseph Hahn: Bringing his talents to the world of filmmaking.

Joseph Hahn: Bringing his talents to the world of filmmaking.

What were some of your influences and how did that translate into developing your style?

I think style is something that happens over time, that is how I try to approach it. Some people may disagree and treat style as a way to brand themselves. The things I gravitate towards, being a lover of art and film, the inspiration comes from different places. It can come from stories, pictures you have seen, animation and a ton of different places. I try to stay as open minded as I can in the process and I love the opportunity for collaboration. I used to do a lot of storyboarding to articulate to everyone exactly how I wanted it and also to allow for a degree of improvisation through that. I enjoy doing that because it helps to establish the lighting, mood, costumes and the different vibey elements that will be used. It kind of goes on a case by case basis. If I need to articulate something super specific, I would draw something out but I always try to remain open to whatever it takes to move the process along. It’s all about building blocks and having an idea of what you want to do and mapping out a plan and how to achieve it.

Joseph Hahn's 'Mall' - Now Available on Netflix!

Joseph Hahn’s ‘Mall’ – Now Available on Netflix!

Those videos and what you learned in the process, would ultimately lead to creating your directorial debut, “Mall.” What was it about this particular script that made it the right project to make your introduction to filmgoers?

Directing a feature film has been something I was evolving toward for a very long time. I hadn’t had the opportunity or figured out where to assert myself the best way until I came across this script. I loved it and thought, “OK. How do I make this?” It was really different and I knew I could tell the story in a way that was really cool. I also knew I could get some really good performances out of some really cool actors. I guess it was the excitement from reading the initial script and the challenge of getting it made that really intrigued me. That is where it started. It took a lot of hard work but I am really happy with the outcome!

The cast was great on the project and you definitely walked away with some great performances. What can you tell us about finding the right group of people to flesh out these roles?

One of the producers of the film is Vincent D’Onofrio, who is also a great actor. It was him who originally had secured the script with his relationship with the original content creator, novelist Eric Bogosian. He optioned the book and wrote it with Joe Vinciguerra and Sam Bisbee. When I met him, I told Vincent how I would tell the story. He said, “OK! I want you to do it!” That was pretty amazing! When it came to casting, I was pretty surprised because a lot of people really wanted to be a part of the project. I was very fortunate to be able to choose between a ton of really talented people for the roles. It was a creative challenge when it came to choosing certain characters, Cameron Monaghan playing Jeff is a great example. I met tons of kids who would have been great for the role but, when I met him, I knew the subtlety that he was able to bring with his performance made him the right one to play the character. After that, I feel like all of the other actors fell right into place after we started casting.

 From music to videos to film; Joe Hahn does it all!

From music to videos to film; Joe Hahn does it all!

Were there any particular goals, aspirations or techniques you were eager to tackle with your first project?

Yeah. For me, coming from the music video world, the medium has allowed me to be experimental, even though I don’t do too many of them anymore because record labels don’t take them as seriously as they once did. It is almost like I have these visual ideas that I store in a little file in my head and I am eager to put them together in the right way. It becomes a matter of how these visual elements that I envision in my head come together and enhance the emotion in a scene. There is a technique called datamoshing, which you might see if you watch a digital feed being interrupted and it causes the image to distort. I always thought it was a cool technique because it accentuates one element interrupting another element. I felt it could be exciting as an almost spiritual, layered experience. I was interested in connecting the idea of something coming out of something else, something that isn’t bound physically to this world but that might be happening on another spiritual or mental plane. I tried to use that technique in the film, especially when some of these guys are tripping on acid and they are seeing life in a different way. I wanted it to have an almost transcendental feel to it where there might be something very scary or very enlightening about it. Also, there were a lot of other things used to agitate the view as Jeff was taking the drugs and seeing the world differently, showing that he is going down a dangerous path. I wanted those effects to make you feel a little bit uncomfortable in a cool kind of way.

I felt the music in this film also had a similar effect when it was incorporated. How did you go about incorporating the music into the story?

Some of the basis for the soundtrack built from the Linkin Park song at the start of the film. There are also three or four vocal tracks on there. I worked with Alec Puro and we identified songs that fit with major characters. After that, we would create themes for the other characters. Once we established those themes, it was just a matter of Alec and myself pounding out some cool music that felt really vibey and providing some melodic hits to pertain to what was going on with that character. It was a satisfying process putting it all together.

Director Joseph Hahn

Director Joseph Hahn

What is the biggest lesson you took away from your first feature that you will take forward to future works?

Wow! There were a lot of lessons! You definitely have to improvise as you are going along. On my next project, I will definitely start fresh and look at it as it being its own thing. However, with the nature of indie film or low budget film, you are trying to build something big by using only a few tools. I definitely had the tools but the main thing I found myself fighting was time, the film was shot in 18 days, and utilizing the resources I had to the best of my ability. The financial issues can also affect a process. Not having enough time and money can definitely be worrisome but, at the same time, I feel it creates an environment where you have to be more creative. At the end of the day, more money doesn’t necessarily equate to making a better film. I think that is part of what excites me about this process, you don’t know what the next day will bring. You can plan it out as much as you want but it is really how you conduct yourself and be a leader to your crew. By that I mean setting yourself up for success by empowering everyone to be creative with you. Part of the joy of filmmaking is working with other great people from the crew to the cast and everyone else behind the scenes whose names you see at the end of the movie when the credits roll. The project is a blank canvas when you start and then everyone brings something to it and in the end, hopefully, you have something really cool because people have let their imaginations go to a different place.

That is a really terrific way to view the process. Where do you see yourself headed in the future in regards to filmmaking?

Currently, I am developing a bunch of different projects. It is a little slow going because you have to nail all the story elements first and then convince people to help you make the film. I have a bunch of those going. As far as things that excite me about the future, I see technology moving so fast and giving us some really great tools. More and more, it is giving people at an entry level such great tools to create and it is really exciting. I also feel that live elements combined with traditional pre-recorded material may come into play as we move forward. There are things like virtual reality and biometrics that are improving by leaps and bounds. I am really excited to be part of those explorations as well!

Thank you so much for your time today, Joe. I really appreciate it and we will continue to spread the word on all of your projects!

Thank you, Jason! I appreciate it! Talk to you soon!

‘Mall’ is current available on Netflix – Click here to learn more.  Follow the ongoing adventures of Joseph Hahn on Instagram at www.instagram.com/mrjoehahn. Check out the official website for ‘Mall’ at www.mallthemovie.com.

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Joe Hahn of Linkin Park’s Directorial Debut, ‘Mall,’ Now Available On Netflix!

Joe Hahn of Linkin Park’s Directorial Debut, ‘Mall,’ Now Available On Netflix!

Joe Hahn

Joe Hahn

Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn made his directorial film debut in 2014, with Mall.  Adapted from Eric Bogosian’s 2001 novel of the same name, the film stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Gina Gershon and Cameron Monaghan. The movie as seen through the eyes of Jeff (Cameron Monaghan), examines a group of disaffected suburbanites who find themselves at a shopping mall in the wake of a seemingly random shooting, and whose outlooks on their own lives are positively transformed as a result.

Following the film’s theatrical release last October, Mall is now available on Netflix. Check out the trailer for the film below, along with what people are saying about the project!

You can watch Mall as a basic low-budget horror-thriller about people making their way through a mass shooting event, and you’ll be satisfied enough. But the real pleasures come from considering the deeper layers, and from the old school nods to the grind house sensibilities and psychedelic theater. – Forbes

Joseph Hahn proves that when he’s got a couple of weeks and a talented cast that anything’s possible in “Mall.” The member of the Grammy-winning rock band Linkin Park takes a sociopath, automatic weapons, and a group of people in the wrong place at the wrong time and manages to craft it into one of the the most thought-provoking coming-of-age films of the year. – AXS.com

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