Search TMT
TMT Founders
TMT Contributors
Weekly Columns
Contact TMT
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Tuesday
    Nov122013

    Exclusive Interview with House of Bad Star Sadie Katz

    Sadie Katz really packs a punch in this December's House of Bad. From director Jim Towns, this intense nail-biter tells of three sisters on the run with a suitcase full of stolen heroin that hide out in their childhood home. A home that happens to be haunted by the ghosts of their parents.

    We caught up with Katz to talk everything that's Good and yes Bad in her life and career at the moment.

    Fair to say this is the most gruelling role of your career? Did you need a stiff drink after shooting at the end of each day?

    House of Bad was definitely emotionally challenging. The days were long and hard. So there wasn't a lot of time to unwind before we had to be up and ready to go again. When the shoot was over, I think I drank a bottle of wine and slept for a week straight.

    Was it a straight audition process getting into the movie?

    I had just come off another shoot Meaning of Violence and was so exhausted I cried the whole way to the audition. But I liked the script for House of Bad so much I wanted to be a part of it. I was sort of a shaky emotional mess during the audition. But I think that worked for Sirah and I got the part!

    Besides from being emotionally draining, I imagine the film was also rather physically demanding.  Did that mean training more, eating better, and so on while working on the film?

    Yes, I did a cleanse, ate only kale and did 500 sit ups a day! Okay... not really. But that would be a cool answer if I did! I think my biggest work out was sugar free Red Bull and cigarettes. Kidding... sort of.

    Were you familiar with your co-stars prior to shooting? because you have great chemistry!

    Thank you for saying so. Cheryl and I had both studied separately an acting method by Eric Morris and Heather I believe studied Meisner which I also studied. We were all on the same page with our acting craft and all took the film very seriously. From the very first table read, I think we all just started relating to each other like our characters. I have a still from shooting where we all are hugging and we really look like sisters! I think we felt that way too! So much of acting and chemistry has to do with your ability to listen and be honest in the moment both Cheryl and Heather are so present you forget there's cameras going and you're lost in the scene. I'm so lucky to have worked with them.

    What's your favorite scene in House of Bad?

    The scene with Teig's bare-ass and she's talking to the ghost of our father. It was the very first scene shot. She had a ton of dialogue, she's nude and Heather just nails it. Very brave, very honest performance. Well done.

    You definitely seem to be an actress that refuses to be pigeonholed after doing so many different types of movies. Can we ask how Birthday Sex came about? And what kind of reaction have you had to that! What's good about it is that it's done tastefully, artistically and demonstrates just how brave you are!

    You're the first interviewer that's actually brought that up! That's awesome. Thank you for calling it brave! I like that and felt that way. It was a job, one that paid well, 60 pages of dialogue, was shot with a three camera set up, swoop cranes and a very professional crew in a mansion. I wore this weird...  ummm... nude taped thing over my ummm...you know. I got some heat about doing late night from ummm... everyone! However I was sorta terrified and intrigued by the idea. So you know that made me want to do it more. I actually did another one Hidden Treasures and did a couple of episodes for Playboy of their series 7 Lives Exposed. I'd probably do more but that's not a genre I'm working right now. The fans for those films are also pretty damn nice so I don't regret it and think it made me even more open as an actor.

    You have another film in the works called 13 Girls. Can you tell us about that?

    It's directed by Jim Towns and is CSI with Catholic School girls. Sounds awesome already right? I play a detective who is coming back from leave after accidently shooting her partner and is trying to redeem herself. Her first case is the unsolved death of 13 Catholic School girls. Demons are involved and it's scary. The script gave me nightmares. It also stars Daniel Robuck and Jamie Bernadette who I'm actually gearing up to be filming a gritty, dark drama Beautiful Ink in New Jersey after Christmas.

    House of Bad will be available on Home Video on December 3. You can follow Sadie Kats on Facebook, Twitter and her official website.

    Tuesday
    Nov122013

    Exclusive Interview with Rise of the Fellowship Writer/Director Ron Newcomb

    Ron Newcomb is such a fan of The Lord of the Rings that he made a movie about one's worship of the series. Out December 4 courtesy of Phase 4 Films, Rise of the Fellowship fixates on a group of online gamers who take their fandom to the extreme. Newcomb was gracious enough to talk to TMT as the release approaches.

    On a scale of one to Elrond, just how big of a Lord of the Rings fan are you?

    I'd say I'm Gandalf big... to give you some examples here. I have seen every bit of footage Sir Peter Jackson has put out. I'm talking all of the extended versions, of course, plus every bit of behind the scenes stuff which is basically like film school 101. Many of them more than once.

    Before The Hobbit, I watched all three Lord of the Rings films (Extended Editions) back to back to get ready. I went and saw some movie (which I cannot even remember what it was) just because I heard there was The Hobbit trailer playing prior which was worth every penny I spent.

    And for the ultimate geek out, back in 2007 I convinced six of my friends we needed to head off to New Zealand where I ended up getting an Elvish script tattoo on my right arm. So I'd say I'm an uber geek.

    Was it the idea of making a movie that served as a love letter to online gaming that initially appealed to you, or was it doing something that served as an ode to the 'Rings' franchise?

    Definitely to the Rings franchise. MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) has only allowed me to go deeper into Tolkien's world for sure. But it was that original story by Tolkien that captured my imagination. Lord of the Rings Online does a very good job at bringing you into Tolkien’s world and inviting you in on the adventure.

    I wanted a film my family could watch and to revisit this adventure in a different way. Through the eyes of Randall Dooley - our Frodo.

    What were some of your inspirations here? I can see a little Stand By Me, a little Detroit Rock City, maybe even Fanboys?

    Definitely a bit of all of those. It was the movies we grew up with. The ones that captured our imagination and brought us on an adventure. One that was fun and witty. A coming of age story about finding a bit more about yourself... an inner strength or self acceptance or even a bit of romance.

    Early on we described our film as "Fanboys for Lord of the Rings." So that is a great catch there and I loved Fanboys. So that would be an honor to be compared to them.

    Obviously, if you've not a super big budget to play with, it's hard to get any A-listers to cameo but did you approach any Lord of the Rings cast members to appear at any time?

    As an independent film, you are always on the look-out for the golden ticket moment and we definitely went after some of the stars of Lord the Rings. Primarily to do a nice cameo in the film. We got close on more than a few and thought at one point we were going to have Sean Astin which would have been extremely cool. But alas he accepted another project which brought him overseas, and so he had to turn us down.

    One of things we knew early on though, was the our fans "A-lister" was really what game we would have in the film, so landing Lord of the Rings Online was huge for us - it felt like getting a major talent.

    We did get permission to use Sir Peter Jackson's name in the film which was cool and this led to a "Thank You" in the film which then led us to be connected to him via IMDB!

    Do you think the days of geeks being outcasts and somewhat avoided are over? Is it true.. geeks are chic now?

    Our theme in Rise of the Fellowship is "There's a little bit of geek and hero in all of us." And this is so true. We are all geekie about something. We are just in an age where we can now at least admit it.

    I'm geekie about Lord of the Rings and filmmaking just like many of friends are geeky over Fantasy Football. Being comfortable in our own geekieness is what's attractive.

    How long have you been making movies for you? Is this the one that 'could change everything' for you?

    My first love was acting. So I've had that love now for over 20 years and did some early cool movie extras stuff, which only hooked me more. But now that we're in the digital age, it allowed me to take my destiny into my own hands and create my own future.

    Believe it or not, we started this film, from the time of "Hey let's make a movie!" My business partner and writer Scott Mathias and I have been at this since 2007. so it's been a long journey.

    I hope this is a game changer, in the sense it allows me to go play filmmaker again and bring along so many other talented people. Filmmaking is a team sport and to be able to do this the rest of my life would be the ultimate win with some very cool people.

    What are the release plans for the film - when can America see it?

    We have a release date scheduled for December 3, 2013 and you'll be able to find it on many platforms like Amazon, iTunes, Walmart and VOD. We'll definitely be keeping everyone up to speed on where they can find us, on our web site at Rise of the Fellowship.

    Friday
    Sep202013

    Exclusive Interview with Bad Behavior Writers/Directors Nicholas David Brandt & Lisa Hamil

    When the writing and directing team of Nicholas David Brandt and Lisa Hamil found out Terminator icon Linda Hamilton had agreed to do their film Bad Behavior, they were over the moon as the duo tell TMT.

    The big question. Linda "Sarah Connor" Hamilton. How amazing was it to work with her on this film?

    Nicholas: I'm not going to lie. My excitement nearly shifted into a panic attack when the reality of actually directing her set in, but when Linda asked if she could bring coffee to set, or if we needed anything, I knew she was a positive and grounded person and working with her was going to be a wonderful experience. o top it all off, Linda coined our co-directing name of "Nicolisa."

    Lisa: I grew up wanting to be Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. After working with her, now I just want to grow up to be Linda Hamilton. She joked with me on set that Lisa Hamilton sounded better than Lisa Hamil. So I'm considering it.

    This isn't a physical role for Linda though, right? She didn't have to spend 18-hours-a-day in the gym?

    Nicholas: She didn't have to, but I think she did it anyway. She's that kind of team player.

    Lisa: She gives her all to every role, so believe me, had it been required, she would have. We could not have asked for more professional and supportive actors in the pivotal roles of the parents than Linda and Ted McGinley.

    Lisa, you're in casting I see. I take it you cast this one? How did you settle on Hallee Hirsh?

    Lisa: Scorsese just recently said "More than 90 percent of directing a picture is the right casting," though it's a saying that has also been attributed to many other great directors. It's the truth. Though I'd include casting, the cinematographer and editor in that too. In LA, casting is very much like a machine - actors in and out every ten minutes. We did things a little differently and spent a lot of time just talking and getting to know each actor before we even had them audition. We wanted to make sure they were someone we wanted to go to war with, which is what making an independent film can be. Hallee and the rest of the young cast, all stood out not only as fantastic actors, but as fantastic people. It was the greatest experience of casting a film I've ever had, because we knew we had the right actors, and we were now free to focus on the technical side of the film.

    Nicholas: We settled on Hallee the same way we settled on Austin Rogers, Elsie Fisher, Andrew James Allen and Jeremy Dozier (who play Tyler, Grace, Kansas and Jack, respectively) – the actor that brought the words to life, made us forget what we'd written, and won the role. We were blessed by a phenomenal cast from top to bottom and I think that was predominantly fuelled by spending that additional time getting to know them all as people.

    The movie sounds a little like a cross between Misery and the recent horror film The Purge. How close are we? What films is it alike?

    Nicholas: My pitch was always Adventures in Babysitting gone horribly wrong. I grew up watching, and infatuated with, The Twilight Zone as well so that may factor into my personal creative process.

    Lisa: It's Misery meets Adventures in Babysitting with a little sprinkle of the non-supernatural part of The Shining, We were also inspired by J. Blakeson's The Disappearance of Alice Creed which is a perfect minimal location film.

    Does working on other people's movies - either in an assistant position, writing capacity or in casting - better equip you for working on one you direct?

    Nicholas: I think the more you can know about the process, the better off you are. And it's great to watch others and see how they do it. My favourite story from my early days as a PA was when I worked on Planet of the Apes, the Tim Burton one, mind you, and saw Philippe Rousselot hold a china bulb just out of the shot to get the perfect lighting. It's not about ego, it’s about getting the shot. It was a great lesson to learn by watching a fantastic DP. I got to experience the same thing when our DP Craig Kief stood precariously with the camera on top of a garden ladder to get a shot for Bad Behavior.

    Lisa: Casting has been the best directing school I could have asked for, and that's coming from someone who went to film school. Casting a film is almost like being in a romantic relationship with a director. You spend all your time together, have your inside jokes, and have phone calls deep into the night. I've worked with both male and female directors from all over the world and incorporated bits of each of their styles to form my own. You learn what works and what doesn't, without having to suffer the same mistakes.

    Finally, the movie was previously titled Right Next Door. Why the change? Your choice?

    Nicholas: I think I was the only one who was ever really gung ho on the title Right Next Door. Cooler heads eventually prevailed.

    Lisa: Right Next Door was always a working title. Bad Behavior fits the theme of the film better, and the decision to change it was solidified after our distributor clued us in to the studies done that independent films that start with a number of the letters A through C consistently have more than double the viewing than titles that don't. It's a great tip for indie filmmakers to know, because every little thing helps on getting your film out there to the public. Now, Nick and I just have to figure out a new title for our next project, which originally started with an "H!"

    Bad Behavior is on DVD October 22 from Osiris Entertainment

    Wednesday
    Sep112013

    Exclusive Interview with Bloodline Director & Star Matt Thompson

    Bloodline has been in the works for a few years. Well, many years as a matter of fact, its 29 year-old writer, director and star Matt Thompson penned his first draft of the script a decade ago! But his horror dream has finally come to fruition. The film hits U.S. cinemas on September 27. On the eve of its release, he was kind enough to speak to TMT.

    Bloodline seems to be all over the media. How exciting is it to see your film getting this type of attention?

    It's very exciting. When you work on a project as long as I have on Bloodline, you're as excited as you are anxious for people to see the film finally come out.

    The poster is great.  Who came up with that concept? Have you been involved in the marketing process?

    I designed the original poster, but Osiris hired the same company that did The Expendables posters who came up with this amazing hand concept. The moment I saw it, I knew we had a winner. I have a background in graphic design so I made sure that everything was top notch along the way.

    What interested you about Bloodline? Was it the urge to do something in the horror genre?

    I feel like thrillers like Bloodline can grip you in a way no other film can, and I've always been a horror/thriller fan. So, naturally I wanted to film something in it. However, I feel like there is more to Bloodline then just the normal thrills. Brett, my character in the film, is a seminary student going through the motions. He doesn't believe in God or the supernatural, only to find that his own bloodline is cursed by an ancient evil, so it's also gripping from the story side as well.

    Is it difficult directing yourself?

    It's pretty hard to keep switching in and out of character one minute you're planning the next shot and giving your co-star some directing, then you jump right into a scene with them. I was fortunate to have my good friend and producing partner Michael Reinero as a co-director. He kept an eye on me in the scene and made sure I was delivering the way I should.

    Did you have a good working relationship with your actors? They took direction well?

    Most everyone was a blast to work with, I felt like we chose only the most talented people we came across, so direction and delivery were never a problem. The hardest thing I think I learned on this shoot was working with actors who had little experience. I really wanted to put some people who hadn't had a shot at a real movie yet in there, but quickly realized they just weren't taking things as seriously as they should be taken. The veterans show up and just do what needs to get done.  In the end, I did have a blast overall and feel like I made some amazing lifelong friends in the process.

    Where was the movie filmed?

    Bloodline was filmed in Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, and the Jenkison Reservoir.

    What's the feedback been like so far?

    It's been great! Everyone who has seen the movie enjoys it. The best compliment I got was "That felt like a thriller from the 80's with a modern look!" which, in my opinion was a golden era for film.

    Is this the start of a franchise? You hope to do a sequel?

    I think a sequel could be a lot of fun. We already have an outline for it, so I'd be stoked to see how we could raise the stakes in the next film.

    Where do you hope to go from here - is acting your goal, or filmmaking? or a bit of both?

    It's definitely a bit of both. I started as an actor and through the process discovered my ability behind the camera as well. But I feel like to really have an edge these days you have to do more than just act. I have a series I'm in pre-production on called The Hive as well as a feature film in the crime/drama genre. So it’s been fun,  and it makes me feel more in control of my acting career.

    Where can we see the movie?

    If you live in California it will be playing at the Regal theatres, however it should hopefully be coming to your area soon if you don't. My guess is that it will be everywhere on DVD and video-on-demand within 3-5 months! Also be sure to fan it on Facebook at Bloodline The Movie for updates!

    Bloodline opens in cinemas September 27.

    Tuesday
    Aug132013

    5 Questions with Superthief Director Tommy Reid

    Filmmaker Tommy Reid's captivating new documentary Superthief: Inside America's Biggest Bank Score  tells the story of Phil Christopher, a career criminal, Mafia associate, and one of the most successful bank robbers in United States history. We had the opportunity to quiz Reid, brother of American Pie actress Tara Reid, how the picture came together.

    1. Captivating documentary. When did you first hear about Phil Christopher?

    Thanks, glad you like the doc. I first heard about Phil Christopher when I was about to go into production on my feature film Kill The Irishman. That film was an adaptation off a book I optioned, written by an author that also wrote a book on Phil Christopher, and that was when I was introduced to him.

    2. Was the story difficult to condense into the length of a feature film? Did you have to pick and choose the moments you felt were the most pivotal?

    Making a documentary is difficult because there are so many angles and stories you could tell, but how would that particular story mesh with the overall vision for what you want people to come away with is how you know what bits and pieces to keep or do away with. Phil has many great stories that he told that never made it to the film, and those are difficult for any filmmaker to lose, but you have to keep the integrity of the film at all costs.

    3. If Phil Christopher had tried to pull this off today, what do you think the outcome would've been? Stopped a lot sooner?

    If Phil tried to pull it off today, I think we would also be vested in what technology to use to bypass certain systems that would get him caught. He did so well at the time to invest in the knowledge of how it all works from the inside of ADT to the outside system used in the house. I think we would have the edge and might get away with it again today, but might get stopped sooner because of the internet and how fast they can tag you and watch your every move... there are cameras everywhere.

    4. How did John DiMaggio, of Futurama fame, get involved? He does a fantastic job here.

    John DiMaggio is a fantastic person. Not only is he one of the best voice over actors out there today, he is a close personal dear friend to me. He and I met in 1997 and have worked together on over 5 films and he actually acted in my first "Got Milk?" spec commercial in 1997. He is a wonderful talent and did an amazing job narrating the documentary. Johnny is a character and the narration comes through as one too. Great job, Johnny!

    5. Your sister is, of course, actress Tara Reid. Do you hope to collaborate on something in the future? Maybe you can helm the inevitable Sharknado sequel!? What is your next project?

    HAHA, first and foremost, I am NOT directing the Sharknado sequel. I do hope to collaborate with my sister, Tara in the future. My next project is a film I produced, called I KNOW THAT VOICE. It's a great documentary that puts the faces to the voices we all know and love. We cover everything from Mel Blanc, the god-father of voice over, to today's big name voices, such as SpongeBob, Futurama, The Simpsons, and Phineas and Ferb. It's a doc that inspires, enlightens and entertains.

    Superthief: Inside America's Biggest Bank Score is available from Osiris.

    Monday
    May202013

    5 Questions with Family Tree Co-Creator Jim Piddock

    TMT had the opportunity to chat with Jim Piddock, the co-creator, writer and co-star of HBO's Family Tree.

    1. What kind of torture did you put yourself through to transform into Mr Pfister?

    Ha. There wasn't any torture for me. But I thought it might be torture for people to listen to a character in a TV comedy, who has a South African accent. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be.

    2. Why do you think Christopher Guest trusted you enough to co-create his first ever TV series?

    Either because he's a genius or because no-one else was available.

    3. What are fans of Guest's movies going to think of the show, you think? Is it of a similar ilk to what they're use to from Guest? Did it have to fit a certain mould fans might expect from his work?

    I think it should make fans of the movies happy and also reach a wider audience too. The show has the same style and tone of the films and the subject matter and characters are very accessible.

    4. Are you going to be pickier now about the sorts of parts etc you do because of the impending success of Family Tree and your profile in general? Maybe shooting for The Jim Piddock Show next?

    I honestly don't project that far into the future, but if I was to do a show with myself as the central character, it would be called The Mindy Project. Oh, wait a minute...

    5. I see you met one of the stars of Downton Abbey while shooting in the UK. Did you visit the actual place? How was it? Snare yourself a background role?

    Yes, Chris Guest and I did visit the set, which was fun. Especially seeing the cast members from upstairs and downstairs all eating lunch together very cozily in a converted bus during a break in filming. Hugh Bonneville is also an old pal, so I was looking forward to seeing him that day and catching up, but he'd wrapped and gone home about half an hour before we arrived. Maybe he heard I was coming.

    Family Tree airs Sundays at 10:30 PM on HBO.

    Sunday
    May192013

    Exclusive Interview with Donovan's Echo Director Jim Cliffe

    TMT had the opportunity to chat with filmmaker Jim Cliffe on Donovan's Echo, his evolution from short films to his feature-length directorial debut, the origins of the project, shooting in Canada and working with stars Danny Glover and Bruce Greenwood.

    1. How much did the success of your short Tomorrow's Memoir help get Donovan's Echo up? 

    Tomorrow’s Memoir helped in the sense that it demonstrated that I had an ability to direct. It won at the San Diego Comic-Con and caught a bit of attention online, but ultimately, it's still a short film, and there's a big difference between that and a financed feature. My goal was to try and make the leap from a short to a feature, so I knew I had to write something worthy enough for people willing to get behind it, and using the short as means of attaching myself as a director. Donovan's Echo was my first attempt at writing a feature (co-written with wife Melodie Krieger), and it became an award-winning screenplay, which was a nice boon. I thought I might be doing something right.

    Because of those screenwriting competitions, we were hearing from producers and companies in LA, but no one wanted to take that chance on me directing. As one director of development told me, "You could have fifty award-winning shorts, but financiers only see first-time feature filmmaker."  So we still had an uphill battle.

    In the end, I brought it to a producer in Vancouver that I'd known for a few years, Trent Carlson (Fido, The Thaw). I'd worked with Trent before as an artist. I knew he and his partners were developing their own projects and probably wouldn’t be interested in producing for someone else. If anything, I thought he might be able to steer me in the right direction. But he liked it, and believed in my abilities.

    2. Did you consider making a feature-length version of Tomorrow's Memoir your first film? If so, why did you decide to nix that in favour of something else...

    Not really. I think the premise would be pretty tough to stretch out over a couple of hours. I was drawing inspiration from things like The Dark Knight Returns – a retired superhero returning one last time. But the approach was to disguise that fact and make the audience wonder who this man is and why he's being pursued. I think you’d have to reveal the truth much earlier in a feature than I did in the short.

    3. Where did the idea for Donovan's Echo come from?

    The idea was sparked by a moment of déjà vu, which I’ve experienced many times. I started thinking this could be something to explore, and discussed it with Melodie (my wife and co-writer), who was an aspiring writer, and asked if she wanted to get involved. From there, we started breaking down ideas, characters, etc. One of the things we came to early on was that our protagonist should be older with a certain amount of life experience and regret.

    4. Was it hard to entice Danny Glover and Bruce Greenwood to do the film?

    Somehow it was easier than I would have ever expected. We're a smaller film (just under $3M), so I didn't have big expectations as far as casting choices. But we had a casting agent in LA and she put some names together for Donovan. We saw Danny's name in there, and something just sparked. He seemed like a very ideal and interesting choice. We put it out to him, and I think he got back in just a couple of weeks and said he wanted to do it. I was stunned. The movie just took a giant leap upwards. Apparently, he connected with the character and equated a few things to his own life, like his background in mathematics and dyslexia.

    From there, we started talking about Finnley, and Bruce came up. Again, he seemed like a fantastic choice. We put it out to him, and he also responded relatively quickly. He liked the script, and was keen to work with Danny. He also has a home in Vancouver, where we’d be shooting.

    For a first-time filmmaker, to get guys like that, it just never really happens. I was very thrilled they responded to the material and were willing to take a chance on me. It’s a fun movie with twists and turns, some humor and heart.

    5. Were you a Lethal Weapon fan? Did Glover share any stories about it or any of his other past hits with you on set?

    I was a huge Lethal Weapon fan, which is mostly where I knew Danny from, even though I've seen many of his other films and knew that he was someone with a lot of talent and range, like his performances in Witness and The Colour Purple. We didn't really get into the LW series much, although we did talk about Wes Anderson and The Royal Tenenbaums. He enjoyed that experience and mentioned that he had just seen Wes the other day. I'm a big fan of Anderson’s films too.

    6. Where did you shoot, and what were the positives/negatives of the locale?

    We shot just outside of Vancouver in a couple of smaller communities, Fort Langley and Maple Ridge. The bridge was even further away. About a two hour drive from where our main production was. All the locations were very ideal, cinematically-speaking. The biggest challenge was that we just had so many – Donovan's house, the hospital, the Manhattan Project, the grocery store, Kit's garage, etc. We had a 20 day shooting schedule which was very tough to fit everything in. You can only do so many setups a day. Most films of our size try to condense and keep it to a handful of locations – I believe we had over 40. We were pretty ambitious, but I think we succeeded in the sense that people seem to assume that it's a bigger film than it is. A lot of that is due to Danny Glover and Bruce Greenwood being attached, but it's also a good looking film. I give a lot of credit to our fantastic production designer, Grant Pearse, and cinematographer, Bob Aschmann, who really raised the bar.

    7. What are the release plans for the film?

    We did a film festival run in the fall of 2011, and had a theatrical release across Canada last February. But, it's just coming to the States now on May 21, which I'm excited about. It'll be available on demand, digital download, Amazon, Redbox, Walmart, and such. We're just trying to get the word out and hope people discover it.

    Donovan's Echo will be available on DVD, Blu Ray and Video On Demand in the U.S. on May 21. Check out their official site for further details.

    Friday
    Jun042010

    Exclusive Interview With Last Supper: The Russellville Hacksaw Murders Director Will Sanders

    TMT had the opportunity to sit down with Indie Film director Will Sanders for  an exclusive interview. Will is directing the forthcoming Halloween spin off Last Supper: The Russellville Hacksaw Murders which will mark his directorial debut.

    Will is producing the film through his own company JKSR Productions along with his fellow friend and contributor Ben Heckenkamp of Bear Trap Productions.

    We were able to ask will about his Halloween spin off, what his thoughts are on the recent barrage of horror remakes, and what’s next for him after Last Supper.

    Where do you plan to film Last Supper, and will it be on location or on set?

    It is going to be on location in Fairhope, Alabama. A nice little town in the gulf where there is a lot of farm land and old Victorian style houses. We can get a nice Midwestern feel out of it.

    Has casting begun, and will you be using mostly unknown actors?

    We are currently casting. We have some great resumes and have held a few auditions for Charlie. Most of the cast will be unknown, but hopefully depending on the budget, we will have a cameo or two from the original Halloween. None definite yet but we are working on it.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Loomis himself Malcolm McDowell a couple months ago at a comic con I was covering, very nice guy. Have you attempted to contact him for a possible cameo?

    Malcolm is a really great guy. I have met him a few times, he hosted the 40th anniversary of Night of the Living Dead in Dallas, that I helped with. I love him but he is no Donald Pleasence. No, I am thinking more along the lines of the original. I had the pleasure of chatting with Charles Cyphers (Sheriff Brackett 78 and 81) at a convention not to long ago. He said that he would love to get in some indie films.

    When is production set to begin, and what stage in the production are you currently at?

    We start production the month of all months October 1st. We are in pre-production for now, sorting things out, casting, scouting, etc.

    Aside from yourself in the director’s chair and Ben Co-Producing with you has anyone else come on board yet?

    Yes, Marcus Koch (100 Tears, Walking Distance, the upcoming Sinners and Saints) will be doing prop casting and helping with additional effects. He is the master of indie FX' from Autopsy FX Group. He was also hired to do a music video for an upcoming Saw box set

    Being this is an Indie production and the cost of sets and film production is quite costly, what equipment will you be using such as film?

    As much as we would love to film on 16mm or 35mm we are settling for digital. We are going to be shooting on a Panasonic HVX200. I was online and saw this, believe it or not, Friday the 13th fan film called Friday the 13th: The Storm. The film quality is amazing almost studio quality. It was done using HD Cameras similar to ours.

    Will the majority of the special FX be done practically or through CGI in post production?

    I am big on practical effects. Especially in a film like this, I truthfully feel CGI has no business in horror. I mean if you are shooting an action flick like Blade, yes, but just for limbs and slashing, no practical looks more real than CGI.

    As for Last Supper being based on a few line of dialogue from the original Halloween, was this an idea you had for a long time or did it just dawn on you while watching the film one day?

    I have been a fan of Halloween my entire film watching life, I think I have watched it more times than any other film. I write short stories and scripts in my spare time and have been toying with this story in private for some time. I finally let some friends and colleagues read it and they loved it and said you should film this. Another reason this story came about and why I am making this film is, I got a small interview from Quakezine a local magazine from Russellville, Ky. They have been working one a story, that has been a project for a while, about the real Charlie Bowles. The real Charlie Bowles was a theatre Manager in Russellville, back in the early days of horror master John Carpenter. He used to attend or (as rumour has it)  used to sneak into Bowles theatre with his girlfriend. John was from Bowling Green and would travel over to Russellville, where she lived, to take her on dates.

    Will you include any Halloween references in the film, if your timeline allows for it?

    Yes, but only if approved by Trancas Films. I have sent them the treatment and script and they are looking over it.

    Trancas own the rights to franchise don’t they?

    Yes, Trancas International films was started by the great Moustapha Akkad and is now ran by his son, Malek Akkad, which was one of the producers of the last two Halloween entries.

    Is this being developed with a possible sequel in mind, or is it a stand-alone film?

    This will be a stand-alone film. I don't want to give to much, but there is absolutely no way for a sequel. I don't plan to do a sequel.

    Can you go into details about the potential Halloween references in Last Supper?

    I would rather not at this time, but I will say that one of the references will be similar to how Bowles was referenced in Halloween.

    With Last Supper, are you hoping for at least a limited release or are you planning for more of a Direct to Video release?

    It all depends on distribution, I would love a limited release and we are definitely going to take it on the film festival circuit. But how it does there will determine, where it goes from there. I get kind of down when I hear indie directors shooting down ideas and screenings because of how much money they will or will not make. With Last Supper, we just want the story to be seen and told.

    When do you hope to start showing it at film festivals, and where would you like it to be screened first?

    Late spring or early summer of next year if everything goes as planned. If I had my choice I’d say Screamfest LA, but in a dream world why not Cannes.

    What era or time frame is Last Supper set within?

    You know, that is the one thing I like about Zombie's remake, he never says. Some fans say 1978 is where it starts, but the remake part is definitely present day. It has to be with cell phones and modern vehicles. So that almost have to put it  around 1992 for Judith's murder. We are doing a similar route, the date will be left up to the fans.

    Based on the the time line in the original Halloween, and the story being technically a prequel as well as spin off, wouldn't the story need to be set closer to the 70's that very latest?

    The film is definitely set in October and around Halloween. Have you been to the small towns of the mid-west and south? If not for modern phones and autos, even in real life you can't tell what date it is. It could be 2010 or 1963 who knows? Oh there’s a cell phone it must be 2010. That is my point, the only definite thing is that Bowles' night of carnage will coincide with Judith's murder. But as for a date, none of the Halloween films got a timeline right? They are all over the place in regards to time, but you can only do that if you have a good story.

    So the film takes place all within one day or is there a back story for Charlie Bowles?

    There is back story on Bowles and his family, but most of the major events take place on Halloween Evening, Night and then Nov 1st morning. The story all takes place in the month of October.

    So would you say the majority of the film has to do with the murders or is there more leading up to it, with the murders as a conclusion to the story?

    You will have to wait and see that when it debuts. I want to leave it vague what Charlie does not in the film until everyone sees it. But really, everyone knows though, it’s a horror movie.What else could happen?

    Are Charlie’s motives explored at all or is it more like Michael Myers as in He just one day decides “F*** it your all going to die, now!”

    F*** It! you are all going to Die! I couldn't put it better myself. Charlie Bowles is a testament to those who say there is always a motive, sometimes people just snap. Motives to me are just excuses. Sometimes in my opinion folks are just born for it, it's their destiny. But I am trying to make it enjoyable for even those who don't know about Halloween.

    I know that Ben Heckenkamp recently formed Bear Trap Productions after a trip to Show West earlier this year. What exactly is their involvement in Last Supper?

    Ben has been a great friend. Right now, he is helping produce the film, but he has a lot of the same goals as me and it may end up being more than that. I am just waiting for the say so to add them on officially. If all goes well with this project, and there is no reason it won’t, I would love to do another with Ben and his company.

    When can we expect to see some promotional art work, pictures, teaser trailer etc for Last Supper?

    The one-sheet teaser image will be coming soon. We expect a teaser trailer by the end of July and stills will not happen until October. We were going to try to do some shots of the garage location and the saw next week for the teaser.

    How do you feel about the barrage of horror film remakes in recent years?

    I have mixed feelings on them. On one hand I think that most of them are a cheap cash in on the originals and most are forgotten as soon as the credits finish. On the other hand I see first hand, kids going out to see these films that have never seen the originals and because of thse films new fans are created, so it's a double edge sword. Overall I have approved of most of them, I love the remake of Dawn of the Dead, TCM and "at least" the remake part of Zombie's Halloween, but not the back story prequel part of the film.

    True, but there is an excessive amount of shortcuts used in horror today like CGI for example, do you agree?

    Yes, I totally feel, it is a cheap and easy way out, but in some cases especially in slasher films it just looks plain goofy

    What’s next for you after last supper? Are you hoping this opens up other opportunities or do you already have other projects in development?

    Yes, I have two other scripts I am wanting to work with Hell Broke Loose, that is a Bank robbery film with a plague and then Brainwrap, which is a Hitchcockian murder mystery.

    Are both of those projects original ideas, and did you write them yourself as well?

    Yes, they were actually written before Last Supper as it stands now. Hell Broke Loose is a collaborated effort of my friend and editor Chris Neal and Brainwrap was written some time ago. Both scripts are all original, I'm not a one trick pony that takes lines of dialogue and turns them into scripts.

    Can you tell me about the premise for either of those?

    Hell Broke Loose is the tale of two older bank robbers and a reckless brother that is just along for the ride. They have planned the perfect robbery...The last score. It all goes just fine, until hell breaks loose. Brainwrap is a psychological thriller about a projectionist that seems to always have people turning up dead around him.

    Hell broke loose sounds like more of a studio picture where as Brainwrap sounds more indie. Would you agree? Or are these both something you see as studio pictures?

    I would agree. Hell Broke Loose is going to have to have a huge budget. It is like 28 days later meets The Inside Job.

    Also be sure to visit the Facebook Page and Twitter for Last Supper and JKSR Productions

    Coming 2011

    Sunday
    Apr252010

    Exclusive Interview With Len Wein & Chris Claremont

    Chris Claremont is one of the X-Men's most prominent writers, and Len Wein is one of the co-creators of Wolverine.

    TMT had the opportunity to take part in a round table interview as well as an exclusive interview with Len and Chris at this weekend’s Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. You can read the exclusive interview below.

    Len, Why is Wolverine from Canada?

    No reason in particular, I just threw a dart at the map in landed in Canada, I said fuck it, he's from there. No, what really happened was, at that time x-men comics weren't selling in the states, but was selling in a lot of other country's, and the marketing people at Marvel decided hey lets make the characters from all these different locations to help boost the sales. The problem was, they didn't tell us where they were selling, so we just made the different characters wolverine included from wherever we felt like.

    Claremont, your known for writing very strong female heroes, which is your favorite to write?

    I've known them all so long how do you pick favorites, I could say I love this about storm or so and so is very cool for this. There really is no way I could narrow it down to just one character, I love writing all of them, for different reasons.

    Len, How did creating Nightcrawler come about?

    The thing about Nightcrawler is he started out just as a visual. We had a bunch of characters drawn up, that hadn't been developed yet. We wanted him to be the nicest guy on the team as well as the most Christian, partly just due to the fact that he looks like a very demonic character. We also thought it would be great for him to be best friends with Wolverine, just to really throw people off. Sometimes we would do ridiculous things just for the fun of it, no story arch, no plan, just for fun.

    As far as Nightcrawler's ethnicity and his origin, that relates back to the Marketing people wanting every hero to be ethnically diverse and from all over the world.

    What kind of decision making goes into killing off a character?

    In some cases it's just a lazy writer, someone who doesn't care about that character. I'll notice someone is killing off a character, and I'll ask them why, they tell me because I hate them, so I say don't use that character anymore. One writer may hate a character they're writing and want to kill them off, but that doesn't mean that when they're done someone else isn't going to come along and love that character, but look now that character is dead.

    Other times we'll plan to kill someone off right from the start. It can be for different reasons, they're popularity starts to fade off, or it serves a story arch that may last several months or years. A lot of factors are usually taken into consideration before killing someone off.

    Back in the day, Marvel said if they're dead they stay dead, but now you can kill a character today and bring them back next week.

    Len, What was your involvement with the X-Men animated series from the 90's?

    I worked as a writer as well as director for a short period of time. I know that I worked on at least three or four episodes, but I was actually credited and paid for five (laughs).

    What are your opinions on the Marvel Live Action films?

    I loved Iron Man, can't wait for the sequel, and I liked most of the X-Men films. I always thought the casting was amazing. I mean Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, for Wolverine and Storm were great. They got the heights right for Wolverine and Storm, except in reverse (laughs).

    When Lauren Shuler Donner cast Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, that's when you could tell she'd earned her money, that casting was brilliant!

    Robert Downey Junior as Iron Man, how many people heard this and thought, yes this is the guy. Another situation with amazing casting.

    What do you think about Hollywood's current infatuation with comic book movies?

    It all has to do with the studio executives. Their number one job is to keep their job. They pick books and characters that people will know, and then hire actors that at the same time are "hot", and if the movie fails, they can say how could I have known this would fail.

    It's plausible Denial ability!

    Sunday
    Apr252010

    Exclusive Interview With Scott Morse

    Scott Morse is an animator, filmmaker, and comic book artist/writer. Much of Morse's published work consists of stand-alone graphic novels. He's currently working on 'Cars 2' for Pixar Animation.

    TMT had the opportunity to take part in a round table interview with Scott Morse, as well as an exclusive interview with him at this weekend’s Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. You can read the exclusive interview below.

    What can you tell us About Cars 2?

    I'm actually not allowed to talk about that at all right now. What I can tell you is that for the people who liked the first one, but didn't love it, they're going to love Cars 2.

    How long does it take for an Animated Feature Like Cars, to be fully developed?

    With movies like cars, where we're using 3D animation. It can take anywhere from 2-3 years up to sometimes 8-10 years from the original inception of the idea. A lot of time and money goes into developing these worlds the movies are set in, to make them appear as real as possible with out making it too realistic.

    In other words in order to keep an audience interested for an entire film, the look needs to be somewhat grounded in reality, and have a certain element of realism to it.

    What is the hardest thing to do with both 2D and 3D animation?

    I would have to say in terms of 3D animation, whenever your dealing with water, its extremely hard to replicate cresting waves. If you look at Finding Nemo, you'll notice this.

    As for 2D a lot of the time every different character will be drawn by a different artist. For example The princess and the frog, every character was different in some way because they had their own individual artist. It's very hard to integrate several different artists work together into one film to make them look cohesive.

    Pixar has roughly 1200 people working for them, and maybe 100 of them actually draw traditionally.

    Do you think that with Animation being done primarily in 3D, that 2D animation is done?

    The thing is, 3D is getting to be alot cheaper and easier to do. So I think 2D will have to re-invent itself and in some ways learn to be smarter and stay relevant. 2D will need to evolve.

    What are your thought's on Stereo 3D being used for animation?

    I think it should only be used for event films, not just as a gimmick. Lately everyone seems to be turning to Stereo 3D just for the gimmicky effect. When it further expands the experience of going to the theatre to see a movie, then it's don't its job. People need to feel like they're getting something special when they need to spend so much to see a movie in the theatre.

    What is your Favorite project, that you've been apart?

    The thing is, whenever I get on a project I love it. Like Cars 2 for example at first it's amazing, and then about half way through I hate it, I want nothing to do with it anymore, then once we're closer to finishing it, you begin to love it again. It's really a love-Hate relationship with most projects.

    My absolute favorite thing to do though, would have to be my own original graphic novels.

     

    Cars 2 is expected to hit theatres Summer 2011.